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Old 03-13-2004, 10:11 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Philly
Posts: 127
1985 300d

I've been looking for a w124 diesel. The finalist seems to be a 1995 with 114000 miles on the clock. It's black with no significant defects, loose headliner, cracked bumper. It does not have records. They're asking 12,500. I plan to take it to my mechanic next week.

In today's paper what sounds like a very nice 2 owner 1985 300D popped up. It's got 160,000 miles. I haven't seen it but the owner has all service records from new. According to the owner, everything works, no accident or rust damage, good interior, etc. They're asking 5900. I thinks that's way too high. If it really is perfect, what might it be worth? I wasn't really considering a 123 but if the price is right, in a way I'd prefer the older car.

BTW - I been looking to get a diesel for about a month. I searched the internet for MB diesel forums. This is the best one I found. You've got some really knowledgable members!
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Old 03-13-2004, 10:23 PM
MS Fowler's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Littlestown PA ( 6 miles south of Gettysburg)
Posts: 2,208
Welcome, I am sure the knowledgeable ones will post soon, but let me get the ball rolling.
Spend some time reading the archives of this forum; there is MUCH great information contained therein.
Cars w/ complete records are preferred over those w/o.
Do you do your own work, or will you pay someone? The W123 chasis cars are getting old, but they are generally exceptionally reliable. and cheap to maintain if you DIY. There are also more plentiful in the junkyards--for parts scavenging. They also mark the end of an era--The W123 was the last chasis that was priced after it was designed. All newer cars have been designed to a price. Some W123 diesels have exceeded 1 million miles, many have over 300,000 miles.
Principal things to check on a W123 include ----
RUST, RUST, climate control, odometer failure ( easy, cheap to fix), poor instrument lighting, RUST.

Post your location, maybe there is a member nearby who might be able to help look over your prospective purchases. If you're not interested in both of them, someone may want to snap one up.
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Old 03-13-2004, 11:33 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,373
The Pros:

1. The final drive ratio on the '85 is the best
2. The trannys are the best of the lot
3. The engines are obviously the best (5 cyl, indestructible)
4. As noted above, if you enjoy working on them yourself, they are stinkin cheap to maintain.

The Cons:

1. Its older and things like starters, alternators, etc do go out from time to time.
2. Look at the area around the jack points and look under the front grill. Rust is likely to start there.
3. The price. A bit high but there is no doubt you'll get it out if the car is in pristine shape and you run it ten years.

I've paid from $500 to $5000 for my cars and the best (rust free) ones were around $3100.

I would not trade one of my 84's for a new domestic off the lot (other than selling it outright and buying a couple more MB's)

'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 03-14-2004, 12:08 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Wakefield, RI
Posts: 2,145
I paid $5700 for my 84 300D. It had 127K on it and only one small dent in the pass side rear door, otherwise exceptionally clean and completely rust free. Complete records including the original window sticker. I was willing to pay quite a bit more for a completely rust free car. A car is only worth what a prospective buyer is willing to pay. My mental math says since the car originally cost over $30K I paid 1/6th that amount for a vehicle with at least 50% of its life/value left. And thats not factoring that $30K+ is in 1984 dollars.... These cars are fantastic value for the money IF you can DIY. If its super-clean its easily worth $5K to the right person. RT
When all else fails, vote from the rooftops!
84' Mercedes Benz 300D Anthracite/black, 171K
03' Volkswagen Jetta TDI blue/black, 93K
93' Chevrolet C2500HD ExCab 6.5TD, Two-tone blue, 252K
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Old 03-14-2004, 08:48 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Philly
Posts: 127
Thanks for the quick responses. Looks like there's more w123 fans than w124 I am a DIYer with a garage full of tools but not a lot of spare time. I do have a spare car however so I'll be able take my time to do repairs. That's part of the appeal of the older car. One other good thing, my wife likes the look of the older car.

I won't be able to see it tomorrow, maybe monday night. I'll keep you posted. Any more ideas, let me know.

Many thanks
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Old 03-14-2004, 03:21 PM
lietuviai's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: SW WA
Posts: 5,741
The biggest nightmare that I am aware of on the W123 turbo diesels is the R&Ring the starter. It is very hard to get in and out. Also check to see if the cruise control works, they are notorious for failing or working poorly. Another thing, is the car a CA model? Then you must make sure the the trap oxidizer has been replaced. There was a recall campaign from MB that replaced them for free. The price seems steep but if it is in pristine condition and has had many of the major components replaced then you might be ahead of the deal in the long run. You might save some frustration and won't have to put in a lot of extra money on a cheaper car.
Stay away from the W124. Very complex and expensive to fix. Not a DIY car.

84 300D Turbodiesel 190K with 4 speed manual sold in 03/2012
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Old 03-14-2004, 11:07 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Philly
Posts: 127
Speaking of 300d's check out this car. Apparently, it didn't get to it's reserve
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