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Old 06-28-2003, 07:39 PM
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300D vs 300SD

What are the basic differences between the 300D and SD...I'm thinking years 1983-1985. Are the SD's two door and slightly bigger. I'm interested in Safety so initially thought the SD would be bigger and Safer, but I really want a 4 door. Are they both just As strong and Solid and Safe mechanically. I've been told diesels last forever and I like the style of the early years....ANy advice on Year?....and again, do you think the 300d to be as safe as a 300SD...any years better than others?.......and what should be my upper limit of mileage on the car I should consider....
Thanks Much,

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Old 06-28-2003, 08:09 PM
ned2683's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 693
both the D and SDL's are 4 doors. the only 2 door diesel i think is the 300CD. the 300D is on a W123 chassis and it is a E-class with a diesel engine. the s-class is on a longer W126 chassis. i think the S-class has a lot more options and interior stuff because it is an S-Class. but have not driven a W123 my self i can't say about the hadleing, ofcourse everybody will have their own opinion. but the S-Class is heavier.

and i think both these mercedes are pretty safe in collisions. safe being totaling the other car, and coming out with minor damage.

i own a 300SD, and the 300D is just too small for me.
198? 300D ???K - Future DD
1989 300TE 285K - traded in '12
1984 300SD 186K - Sold in 08
1978 300SD 330K - Died in 05
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Old 06-28-2003, 08:24 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 12,781
Being a new 300SD owner I will say that the SD is alot more car than the 300D. A couple different issues. To me the SD is easier to work on because of more room under the hood and beats the 300D hands down when it comes to interstate travel with a wife and two boys. The 300D (and 240D for that matter) are, in my opinion, better "around town" cars but only slightly so. If you are going to be using it more in town/traffic I would suggest the 300D. If you are going to be doing alot of loaded down freeway traveling the SD is the way to go. Not sure what your location is but if it is anywhere that gets real hot (95dF+) during the summer make sure that the a/c still operates on r12 freon versus the r134 (new stuff).
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Old 06-29-2003, 12:59 AM
BoostnBenz's Avatar
Benötigt Mehr Druck!
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,855
Myself I prefer the 300D looks better, I think the 300SD is to long. The SD will get better fuel mileage on expressways as it is geared a little better for it. (the 85 300D is geared better for highway than the previous 300Ds) As for mileage, all I can say is a car mistreated most of its life may never see 150k. Most will see 225k, but it seems much higher than that varies with how well the car was treated. Maybe lower 200ks would be a good ceiling.

As for safety, I would think that both are in the same ballpark so this should be irrelavent. However since we are speaking of this, the rigidity of these cars almost arise an issue because it won't absorb the impact much no matter which you choose. Maybe this could be worth looking further indepth if you're concerned with safety.
Jeff M.
Mercedes W123 DIY pages are now located here.
1983 / 1984 300D Sold
2000 CLK430 Cabriolet ~58k Sold
2005 Avalanche 4x4 ~66k
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Old 06-29-2003, 01:33 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,220
My father drove an '84 300D 463K miles before an oil ring blew. Original tranny and everything. Of course the car was driven on the highway most of it's life.

The 300SD, if you're not used to it, can be a huge boat to drive. I came from an '85 300D into that car. It seemed to be a lot heavier then the 300D, and handled heavier too. 225K miles on a well maintained diesel is like nothing at all. It's just broken in at those miles.
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:25 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hayward, CA
Posts: 45
I have an 83 300TD and a 85 300D for my bride. Within the past three years I have owned and sold 85 300CD, 77 240D, 81 300D, and a 79 300SD. While I don't remember the wheel base and track width on any of them, the overall length of the SD was about one foot longer than the 123 cars, and the overall width was about six inches more. While the larger size makes the SD less comfortable for city driving (thats why I choose the smaller 123 cars), in my estimation the SD is by far the better car. I feel that they are all reasonably safe, but the SD has considerably more space to absorb a hit from any direction. Because the SD is heavier, combined with the extra wheel base it rides much better (smoother). The extra width and length allows the SD to handle much better. I keep my 123 cars in good mechanical condition. I have to in order for them drive half way decent. The 79 SD that I owned for a short time had so many suspension parts worn/missing (entire upper control arm bushing missing) I can't even remember the entire list, and the car still drove somewhat straight and respectable. If I so much as put tires of the wrong type (something other than "H" rating) on the 123 cars, they will suffer drivability quality. If I had any amount of open Interstate, I would choose the SD for interier space, ride, and good handling.
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Old 06-29-2003, 11:39 PM
edge's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: CT
Posts: 1,398
I have both. The SD is more refined and a later generation and is consequently, more quiet. The 300D feels like it's going to run forever. I suggest you go for the SD, however, I like them both.
85 300CD Signal Red/Tan sold
83 300D Manganese Brown 109K
97 E420 Midnight Blue 197K sold
98 BMW 328i Vert White 100K, sold
95 BMW 525i White 125K, sold
93 BMW 525iT Red 193K, sold
95 E320 Green Wagon 125K, sold
94 E320 White 127K, sold
85 300SD 156K Grey (Annie), sold
84 300D Lapis Blue 170K (Judy), sold
99 ML 320 Black (lease), 1998 C230 White (lease)
00 Honda S2000 Red (lease)
86 Mercedes 300E (sold)
84 Porsche 911 Red (sold), 1965 Porsche 911 White (sold)
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Old 06-30-2003, 02:58 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
both my wife and I agree that our 126's don't feel like big cars after driving them for a few weeks.I think it's partly because of their good vision,percise steering and their tight turning radius,and we started out our MB obsession with a 240 D, it dose feel smaller.The 81 to 85 SD's have to be one of the best cars ever made..........
William Rogers......
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Old 06-30-2003, 03:25 AM
The Warden's Avatar
Certified diesel nut
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pacifica (SF Bay Area), CA
Posts: 2,946
THe 300D that I currently have is my first Benz. I chose the 123 over the 126 because I was concerned about the 126's extra weight and how that might affect acceleration. I love diesels (refuse to drive anything else ) and don't especially mind slow acceleration for my own sake, but I live in an area with a lot of traffic and have fuond that sometimes you need to be able to accelerate quickly to get out of a bad situation.

In all honesty, though, while I have no intention of getting rid of my 123, I'm starting to wonder what it'd be like to have a 126; the extra room and the quietness could be nice on long trips...maybe I can convince my girlfriend to get one
2001 VW Jetta TDI, 5 speed, daily driver
1991 Ford F-350, work in progress
1984 Ford F-250 4x4, 6.9l turbo diesel, 5 speed manual
Previous oilburners: 1980 IH Scout, 1984 E-350, 1985 M-B 300D, 1979 M-B 300SD, 1983 M-B 300D
Spark-free since 1999
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Old 06-30-2003, 12:47 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Reno/Sparks, NV
Posts: 3,063
I owned an 87 420SEL which is even longer than the 300SD before I owned my 82 300D. The 420SEL was very presidential looking, had huge leg room, and really felt like a tank or a boat and I liked that at the time. However, I like the W123 chassis more now and came to the conclusion that the 420SEL was just too big. I like the more compact and cozy W123 but that's just a personal preference.

2004 VW Jetta TDI (manual)

Past MB's: '96 E300D, '83 240D, '82 300D, '87 300D, '87 420SEL
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