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Old 10-17-2003, 04:04 AM
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Repairs...300D Turbo Diesel

I've been wondering lately, should I rehab my '92 Ford Exploder (140K miles) or really get the 300 (240K miles) up to snuff. Then I had my inspection on the 300D. I had it inspected 8 mos. ago no sweat. After about 3200 miles I had it inspected again because I'm a very busy guy and I didn't have the car titled after I bought it and I lost the last inspection certificate. So, thinking, no sweat, I'll take it wherever and it will pass, I stopped into the newest local garage.

I've never seen an inspection like this. They looked it over, checked the lights, etc. Then they jacked it up. This car was forever garaged, and they were miffed the car was so clean underside. So, the guy calls me over, says the rear CV is gone.. He's right, its corroded enough to allow grease out. Big deal, does that stop it from passing inspection? No. You also have a leaking power steering pump. I knew this when I bought it. This doesn't stop passage either. So, he says, I still have to check the brakes. I'm like, OK. Like there's anything wrong with those...

He checks the brakes, and lo and behold, the rear brake lines are "about to go", and that does keep it from passing inspection These guys had all the wheels off and were checking over everything with a minilite.

I was a bit pissed off about it. But, I'm going to my Benz guy this week for a lot of little repairs. Long story short, the rear axle costs $118 parts, plus about 3 hrs labor. The brake lines, $60 plus labor. I should get all new hoses and belts anyway, an oil change, my sunroof stopped working so I'll get that fixed, there's something loose somewhere that makes a weird cowbell sound on engine revving, and a new thermostat. All said around $1K.

My Expoloder needs new front ball joints, new tires, 4X4 service, and a new driver's seat. Total cost? Closer to 2K. So, I'm sticking with the Benz and to hell with the Exploder. I can't believe how cheap the 300D's parts are! And I'm used to British Sportscars!
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Old 10-17-2003, 10:55 AM
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You don't say in your profile where you are from, but are you talking about a state mandated vehicle inspection for your car to be registered. It sure does sound thorough.

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Old 10-17-2003, 11:00 AM
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Location: San Francisco Area
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About the economics of repairing a 300D, it seems like these cars are now worth about $1,500 in average shape but give a pleasure to drive like a a $8,000 car. If your paying full price to fix everything, you'll soon be paying more than the car is worth, and economically will be fixing the car for sentimental value rather than economic sense.

But a lot of things on the car are very repairable by a regular joe. So, my view these cars have fallen in value to where they are a good deal if you do a portion of the maintence yourself, but if your going to pay full price for every repair, better to look for another car.
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:48 PM
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Of course. I got the car for $1500 about a year ago. It does have major sentimental value, however, and I need to keep it up. I only drive around town anyway.

As far as strict economic sense, I chalk it up to operating costs. Even with the repairs I'm making, its cheaper overall than financing a pre-owned Audi/VW, or even a Cavalier for that matter.

And yes, this was a state safety inspection (Missouri). And yes, they were a little thorough. They were just looking for something to charge me for, really. Problem is, even though I'm a British sportscar veteran, I have cruddy mechanical skills. I'm also a full time law student clerking and bartending, so time is short. Anyway, just sharing the inspection story, really.
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Old 10-17-2003, 09:23 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 5,514
You drive British cars and you aren't mechanically inclined?! THAT must be expensive! They are fun cars, but need lots of TLC. How many times have your Brit rides left you stranded?

1979 300 SD
350,000 miles
1982 300D-gone---sold to a buddy
1985 300TD
270,000 miles
1994 E320
not my favorite, but the wife wanted it
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Old 10-19-2003, 01:11 AM
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Times I've been stranded in Brits:

Two and one half times:

1.) 74 MGB-GT, blew the engine, long story, had another engine, after I got myself home on a train (about 130 miles), convinced my brother to take me back to my car and haul it back with his truck to my mechanic who swapped engines with the roadster, thus ending its life. Never had another engine problem with the GT, though. I bought the '74 GT for $1400, and the '71 Roadster for $1250 IIRC. Roadster held on for one more year, GT lasted six. I was a little more keen on the Roadster because it had wires, I prefer the '71 front grill (most people don't like them I hear), and it had the passenger side mirror on the fender.

2.) Right around the same place (between Chicago and St. Louis) my radiator blew up. Towed back again. I pulled the radiator myself and had it all welded up and replaced it. I'm not that hamfisted.

2 1/2.) My radiator hose blew. I walked off the highway into some small town and bought another one. Then later on, like 650 miles later, it was overheating. Changed the thermostat in some creepy little town in Georgia and never had another problem with this car until it all went to hell over the course of one month years later.

I drove the GT for six years, year round and every day in Chicago. Even in the Winter. Parked it on the street in Lincoln Park. It would get so cold the temp gauge would warm up at a light, and then drop considerably while driving to the next light. It always started. Wipers always worked. Unreal. I put a lot into the car cosmetic wise, mahogany wheel, mahogany trim on the doors, lots of new trim pieces. The car was in great shape outside, too. White, no rust. Tube shock conversions were already in place.

I left Chicago with all my belongings in it including two cats and travelled from Chicago to Ohio and Pennsylvania, then to St. Louis and then to New Orleans, where I lived for a year and continued to drive the car daily. Then back to St. Louis for grad school. It was still cruising when it finally gave out-bad clutch, bad suspension, electrical problems, and it needed all kinds of things I can't think of.

Bottom line, the car was a tank. It wasn't plagued with the BS problems so many have like my Roadster did, electrics and so on.
I still have a basement full of parts and I'm waiting to get another one, but the prices have gone way up for some mysterious reason. I blame ebay. These cars don't have the kind of "rare, collector" values their owners pretensiously aver. They are simple, fun and cool, British styled sportscars for people who don't have the money or the priorities to justify a Jag or Aston but have tastes better than a Fiat! They were behind the times in the 60's and 40 years later they're totally antique. I love them.

All told, my GT cost me less than $6000 to own and operate for six years. That includes purchase, insurance, repairs, tires and tags. Everything but gas and oil. I figured this out before I plopped down 10K for my Exploder four years ago. I knew it was going to be BS. Sorry for the long post.
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