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Old 09-18-2003, 05:53 PM
clarknova's Avatar
Idiot Savant
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 67
Unfamiliar Territory

My first diesel car...
Just received a 1979 300D (Euro).
A friend was just about to send her to the scrapyard when I volunteered a good home.
She's got a great body (considering she's lived in a harbor parking lot for five years) and has racked up only 170k original miles, but sadly is not currently running.
Former owner had it rollin a few days prior when she suddenly stopped running. Compression is good on 4 of 5 (number 3 is low, but apparently always has been). He started to dive into the fuel delivery system (checking injectors, replacing fuel filter and worn return lines) and thinks it may just be old diesel (it had been sitting for several weeks). Used to be a daily driver for his daughter, now it's a seagull perch (until I can tow it to my garage).

I work on boats (sail and power), so I am no stranger to the diesel critter. However, I've never laid a wrench to a German born land yacht, so any tips, hints or reminders would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-18-2003, 06:32 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Canton,Texas
Posts: 987
I'm sure you know this but new fuel filters and new fuel would be a good start. Return line would also be good because they probably leak or soon will if they haven't been replaced recently. A valve adjustment won't hurt either.

I bet the Diesel has algae in it though since it died and it sat for so long..... gotta kill that stuff.
1985 300D Turbo ~225k
2000 F350 (Powerstroke) 4X4, SWB, CC, SRW, 6spd ~148k
1999 International 4900, DT466e (250hp/660 ft/lbs), Allison MD3060 ~73k
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:45 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 18,355
Get a can of diesel Purge and follow the instructions. you put it in a bottle and put the fuel line into it to draw it out. Put the return line in the bottle so it recirculates. If it runs off that, you know there's a fuel problem somewhere. The purge will clean the injectors while telling you if the fuel delivery has a problem somwhere.
1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: central Texas
Posts: 17,277
I love that kind of deal... he will be jealous when you find and correct the problem/s.... What Wasuchi said is a great place to start... your car may have three filters... in the tank , one inline and one screw on... and the Purge is great also...
On the fuel algae... a tube of diesel doctor in the tank run a few minutes and left a few days should do that for at least half a year.. then change the filters as the algae may drop from the sides of the tank and clog the filter in the tank...
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Old 09-18-2003, 08:10 PM
clarknova's Avatar
Idiot Savant
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 67

I appreciate the responses.
Will keep you posted on how the repairs are going.
Pictures soon.
Thanks again.
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Old 09-18-2003, 09:15 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
Leading cause of a suddenly dead engine on a car that age is a leaking suction line filling the IP with air. Can also be a leaking primer pump -- I'd replace it on principle it if is the old unscrew and pump type, they leak all the time anyway. New style is completely enclosed spring loaded type, never leaks.

Plugged filters would be a good suspect, too.

I'd adjust the valves and leave them a bit loose, chances are they are crudded up and will go tight again promptly unless the PO was good at keeping them adjusted.


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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