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Old 08-15-2003, 10:41 AM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for all the feedback folks. I will follow that Quantum wagon, although it seems to be getting a bit pricey now. Blue Book says $800 retail value--RETAIL. $500 for "Private Owner".

Yeah-will keep my eyes out for a 240. The one in Texas is inexpensive enough, but cautious about driving it back to the Palmetto State. Would prefer to find something closer...
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Old 08-15-2003, 01:34 PM
Admiral-Third World Fleet
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Central FL
Posts: 3,068
I have an 82 Rabbit Pickup that I have had for 9 years . It is now approaching 300K miles on the clock, but I have rebuilt the engine and replaced just about everything that moves. I would say that there is a lot evidence of cost control in the truck. On the other hand, you won't go broke replacing the front suspension unlike on the W123. I do watch the temperature of the engine like a hawk- I have an adjustable electric fan themostat that I keep set around 190 and I have a panic switch on the dash so I can manually start the fan. Apart from that, the engine seems to be robust. Last time I checked I had 400 psi on all cylinders. The truck get 48 MPG on my normal commute. On the other hand, my 240D stick gets 35MPG over the same terrain and sure beats the crap out of it for comfort and safety. I will probably sell the truck fairly soon ( if I ever get my 67 F-100 online) and maybe find another 240D stick.

I would steer clear of the old VW turbos. Not that they are particularly poorly designed but simply because of the scarcity of parts and the high parts prices for turbo hardware.

80 300SD (129k mi) 82 240D stick (193k mi)77 240D auto - stick to be (153k mi) 85 380SL (145k mi) 89 BMW 535i 82 Diesel Rabbit Pickup (374k mi) 91 Jetta IDI Diesel (155k mi) 81 VW Rabbit Convertible Diesel 70 Triumph Spitfire Mk III (63kmi)66 Triumph TR4a IRS (90k mi)67 Ford F-100 (??)
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Old 08-15-2003, 03:26 PM
Zeitgeist's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 2,304
Having owned quite a few VW NA diesels, as well as working in a VW/Volvo shop for a brief spell in the early '90's, I give them a qualified 'thumbs-up'.

Timing belts-timing belts-timing belts...learn it, know it, live it. Any VW diesel owner should repeat that mantra on a daily basis. Every 60k replace them as if it were a religious homage to Rudy D himself, otherwise, you'll be eating a head, or worse--trust me BTDT.

I had an '80 Rabbit that went to 275k without major problems. Our '96 Passat tdi has reached 130k with no problems whatsoever. I believe the newer tdi's are the best engine VW has ever built, bar none.

The sociologist in me says that since MB's were much more expensive than VW's to start with, that the owners of MB's could afford to be more meticulous with maintenance that VW owners. So old high mileage MB's are more likely to be in better condition than a similar vintage VW.
I concur, and this jibes with my own anecdotal observations over the years. The VW is not an inherently inferior engine by design. Their lower initial price typically ensures that they fall into younger and poorer hands sooner, thus increasing the likelihood of improper maintenance and repair procedures etc.

I'd say go ahead and pick up a VW, but Caveat Emptor. Always try to purchase from the first or second owner, rather than from a car dealer or from the umpteenth owner.

Good luck
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Old 08-15-2003, 05:05 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,373
I'm with Larry and Kerry:

I think you can find well-maintained MB's (even 300DT's) in the $1500-2000 category. What continues to amaze me about them is that if you're somewhat picky, you can find engines in excess of 200k that don't even sip oil. Of my four daily drivers, none of them are even down 1/2 quart at oil change time (3k miles). If you'd said that to me a couple of years ago, I would have considered it a fable.
Maintainence is cheap or free (if you have a parts car) BUT you have to enjoy it.
Nothing against VW's as I haven't owned one. Its just that these others are amazing cars.

'84 300DT 298k (Aubrey's)
'99.5 Jetta TDI IV 251k (Julie's)
'97 Jetta TDI 127k (Amber's)
'97 Jetta TDI 186k (Matt's)
'96 Passat TDI 237k (Don's
'84 300D 211k Mint (Arne- Undergoing Greasecar Conversion)

'82 240D 229k (Matt's - Converted-300DT w/ 4 speed
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Old 08-15-2003, 08:22 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
I have a 1985 Volvo 740 GLE TD (same engine as the Rabbit, only a 6 rather than a 4 or 5) -- as the IP driven off the other end of the camshaft.

Currently awaiting some time (and a winch to drag it into the garage, or my brother getting his truck fixed to push it in) and money for a new head gasket.

I think it got hot this winter -- had a minor leak in a heater hose behind the head, and on the day I finally found the leak (could smell coolant by never FIND any), it refused to start in 5F weather. Has been inert ever since, will crank fine and blow smoke, but only stutters.

I see considerable vapor and smell partially burned fuel coming out the blowby tube, a very new condition as it NEVER had blowby at idle before -- this with the no start condition makes me want to yank the head as see, I'm betting a blown head gasket so low compression -- I re-set the IP timing, but it wasn't that late before, and it cranks kinda fast. Hopefully the head isn't warped beyond repair....

However, I bought it with 150,000 miles on it seven years ago, has almost 230,000 on it now, and gets 20-32 mpg all the time!

I'll fix it, I cannot afford the Big Benz at 15mpg forever!

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 08-15-2003, 08:32 PM
Hawk180's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Seattle
Posts: 155
I have a '76 300D that I recently purchased for $750. So for it has run like a clock. I had to replace the starter as the old one was acting up ($160). The previous owner was convinced that the car needed rewiring as the battery light stayed on all the time and he had to put the battery on a charger every three or four days. I replaced the lower alternator pivot bolt that was missing and tightened the belt. The light went out and I haven't had to use a charger since I bought the car. I drove the car 25 miles to work today after letting it set for about three weeks. I started right up and ran like a watch. I think it is probably the best $750 I have ever spent.
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Old 08-15-2003, 09:40 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 597
Great story, I LOVE 115s; worked for MB when it debuted the 300D in '76.

BTW, my brother bought a diesel Rabbit for $400 and drove it problem-free for years before giving it to a niece. Thing won't destruct -- but what a clatterbox at idle. And gutless, OMG. Got 40-plus mpgs, though.
'91 300D 2.5 Turbo 330K
'00 VW TDI Golf, 190K
'67 BMW R50/2
'73 Norton Commando Interstate
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:22 PM
Posts: n/a
Originally posted by Hawk180
I have a '76 300D that I recently purchased for $750.
I went to a local auction and found a well running '76 300d. I ran it, looked it over, and even helped some other people looking to buy it. In the end it sold for $250! What a fool I was not to bid for it! I had no money to spare, so I had to pass on a great deal that might never come again.
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Old 08-16-2003, 05:10 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Catron County, NM
Posts: 27
I've got an 02 Jetta TDI that gets about 45 mpg and is bulletproof so far at 80K miles.

I watched my father and brother run the heck out of their early 80's diesel Jetta and Rabbit. My dad put 275K miles on his 1980 diesel Jetta before selling it and buying a 1990 diesel Jetta. My brother put 250K miles on his 1982 (I think) diesel Rabbit before getting rid of it. Neither of them did anything major in repairs to the engine, just the ususal drivetrain components that wear.

I finally picked up this 02 and what a solid improvement in the engine pickup and overall fit & finish of the body and interior. Reminds me of a Saab I had many years ago, real solid number.
02 MB S500
02 VW Jetta TDI (diesel)
00 MB C230 Kompressor
01 Dodge Ram CTD (diesel)
96 Dodge Ram CTD (diesel)
95 MB E300D (diesel)
98 John Deere 5210 (diesel)
06 Kawasaki Mule 3010 (diesel)
96 Honda Foreman ATV
88, 90, 93, 94, 98 QuarterHorses (hay)
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