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  #1  
Old 08-10-2014, 01:46 PM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)

G'day Folks,

With the advent of the new long term build and project section on the forum I thought I'd join in with a new thread showing what I've been doing to my W123 300D.

This car was my first Mercedes. I bought the car because I wanted to have something that could carry a family of five, do 40 to 60 mpg and run on free chip fat. So that was one of the first mistakes I made!

The next mistake was to think I was buying a reliable vehicle that (most importantly in Holland) would be exempt from the dreaded road tax. Road tax here in Holland is ridiculously expensive if you don't really want or need to go anywhere, but that wasn't the case for a “classic” which used to be exempt.

In January 2014 the rules changed, however, and now all diesel powered vehicles younger than 40 years old have to pay what is essentially a higher business rate of road tax. At the time of writing road tax for my 300D will cost 1760 Euros a year before I go anywhere because they expect all diesel vehicles to travel at least 50,000 km per year (business distances). The future of the vehicle in its current guise is uncertain.

So to cut a long story short the road tax is no longer free but despite the low miles (160,000km ~ 100,000 miles) the car didn't turn out to be particularly reliable either!

Still it is not all bad news. I've been having fun – I've been distracted – I've digressed – I've been self prescribing automotive therapy during a time in my life when things have been pretty rough. I've stripped the chassis to component parts and taken many smaller parts down to nut and bolt level. I've learnt a lot. In terms of pleasure and satisfaction the car has already paid for itself because I'm a bit of a mechanical engineering nut case. To me taking something to bits – seeing how it works – admiring the engineering – thinking of ways not to buy expensive special tools – to substitute special tools with commonly found hardware and wood has been my reason for car ownership.

This is a story of what has gone wrong so far and what I've done to fix it. This story might not end well – the car is in danger of being scrapped – but you never know things might work out well for it in the end. Then again pigs might fly. Only time will tell.

Many people have said “scrap it and move on”. But this is after all a four door W123 – the best looking W123 body style in my opinion. The W123 is a bit of a boring design but comparing the W123 saloon to the W123 coupé (that looks unfinished and too short for its girth); and the kind of afterthought-ness of the estate (which seems to amplify the Mercedes geek design element); the W123 saloon is quite obviously the car they wanted to make in the first place. I think they designed the W123 four door first whereas the W114/W115 chassis was obviously a coupé first because that looks the best...

...anyway I consider a four door W123 to be worth saving. Here in Holland there aren't as many on the roads as there were a few years back. The W123 is getting to be a rarer every day. The chip fat craze definitely killed off most of them and now older petrol engined cars converted to run on LPG are also being targeted by governmental envy and they are disappearing too.

As I'm not willing to pay the price of driving a diesel in this country any more I reckon I'm going to have to go down the petrol engine route. This isn't really what I want. Given better (in particular cheaper) battery technology I'd go all electric and for the type of distance I'm likely to travel in this vehicle it would be just fine. But that's not going to happen just yet. The jury is still out on what I'm going to pick engine wise (but between you and me it will probably be a M104 and a 722.3)

The car is mine, The doggone car is mine - so what now? Diesel dilemma...

The car is mine, The doggone car is mine - so what now? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

So here's the car. This is what it looked like when I got it.

480 Manganese brown (metallic). Steel wheels and hub caps.







Attached Thumbnails
The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-manganese-brown-480-was1.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-manganese-brown-480-was2.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-manganese-brown-480-was3.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-manganese-brown-480-was4.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-manganese-brown-480-was5.jpg  

__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!

Last edited by Stretch; 08-10-2014 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Pictures
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2014, 01:53 PM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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Location: Between a rock and a hard place (Back in Holland at the moment)
Posts: 13,986
Leather interior







Black dash - no wood - wind up windows - manual sunroof

All in all it looked like quite a good buy the paint wasn't too grotty either after a bit of a polish



Turns out all that glitters is not (automotive) gold


#########



If you like these cars looking like this - I warn you now - look away it is going to get "different"
Attached Thumbnails
The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-leather-interior1.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-leather-interior2.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-leather-interior3.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-manganese-brown-480-was6.jpg  
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:12 PM
gatorblue92's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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I forgot what this car looked like in one piece
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1977 MB 240D 4 speed 144K - Nearly Perfect
1991 MB 300TE 5 Speed 274k - Back on the road!
2014 Honda CR-V 70k - Wife's DD
2015 Ford F150 2.7TT 45k - My DD

1979 MB 280E 90K - Sold
1983 MB 240D 238K - Scrapped
1984 MB 300D 347K? - Sold
1987 MB 300E 5 speed 258K - Scrapped
1993 MB 400E 130K - Sold
1995 MB E320 - Sold
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:13 PM
Stretch's Avatar
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So what went wrong?

I used the car as a car for almost a year before I finally started to get the itch to "fix it".

The first thing I wanted to do was to assess and keep an eye on the rust. Then I wanted to rebuild the front suspension - and of course the back then followed...

...the more I worked on the car the more I was aware that things weren't as good as they could be. The rear subframe bolts for example were totally corroded in place



The mounts were stuck too



Still I got that done



Rear subframe removal and bushing replacement

I did the rear wheel bearings too

W123 rear wheel bearing removal help needed

I got the front and rear suspension rebuilt (quite a common job for many a new W123 owner) and even got it aligned (self alignment)...

How I adjusted the toe in / out, camber and caster on my W123 300D

...I got it back on the road only to find that the engine was kicking out more and more black smoke.







This was the culprit



Broken valve guide



OM617 manifold oil = broken valve guide
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:15 PM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorblue92 View Post
I forgot what this car looked like in one piece
Me too!
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:28 PM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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Location: Between a rock and a hard place (Back in Holland at the moment)
Posts: 13,986
Nothing for it - take the engine to bits!

On removal of the head I also found the cylinder bores were a bit gone so I removed the engine







How I took out my 1981 W123 300D (euro) non-turbo engine

Whilst I was rebuilding the engine I started having fun with the automatic transmission







722.118 Automatic transmission rebuild (Monster DIY)

Got that done too



Seeing as the engine and transmission was out being fixed I figured I'd take a look at the steering box





What a feeling it will be! A properly adjusted W123 / W116 / W126 power steering box

Then there's the starter motor



An OM617 starter motor is for LIFE not just for Christmas!

And the alternator





Refreshing the alternator on an OM617

Did the fuel pump (lift pump)



Refreshing the fuel pump on an OM617 (European spec – non turbo)
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:49 PM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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Posts: 13,986
...and so it went on.

Then the vacuum pump was fun (I got a bit carried away with that thread)





More than you are likely to ever want to know about OM61X piston vacuum pumps

But the fun had to stop!

I started off looking at the body - spring pocket areas were first



W123 hood / bonnet spring pocket refurbishment

But the rust kept on being found!

In the end I found old accident damage too - different coloured doors



Pushed in floor pan








So in the end I had an attitude of "well I may as well keep going"


So it went to this



I found this



And I took this bit off again



Because I found this








...and so it goes on!

My W123 saloon / sedan old accident repair (and a bit of rust repair) thread
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!

Last edited by Stretch; 08-10-2014 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Made a correction
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  #8  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:55 PM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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Posts: 13,986
Now it looks like this













I'm still positive about the car. I'm thinking about colour =>

Colour choice for a W123 300D 4 door - what would you choose?

I reckon it could look good again with a bit of elbow grease and with a nice powerful engine in it (and a W126 suspension and brake upgrade) it could be good fun.

But I'm taking one step at a time.

The plan is to practice my (new acquired) welding skills and see how far I can get with that. If I can fix the rust and paint I think the car has a chance of survival.
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!

Last edited by Stretch; 08-10-2014 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Added a bit
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2014, 05:22 PM
Moderator
 
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Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
I really enjoyed reading this thread, but does this mean you are done with the W201?
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #10  
Old 08-10-2014, 06:15 PM
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Looking good.

I like the original color, one of my favorites.

Did you hits your photos on the forum? If not I'd try and do that with all of them so to preserve them in the future. Your work will help me with my 240D restoration.
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  #11  
Old 08-11-2014, 01:45 AM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suginami View Post
I really enjoyed reading this thread, but does this mean you are done with the W201?
When is a car ever "done"?

At the moment the W201 is more or less ready to go. I reckon I could just bung on the old exhaust and do the alignment and take it to the testing station for it to be road legal again...

...however other (nasty) stuff is happening at the moment so I'm in no hurry with that one just yet.

If I can get further along with the W123 the chances of it not ending up on the scrap heap improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDon View Post
...
Did you hits your photos on the forum? If not I'd try and do that with all of them so to preserve them in the future...
What does this mean?
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #12  
Old 08-11-2014, 08:56 AM
Mölyapina's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
What does this mean?
I think he's asking if you've hosted all of your photos on the forum. IIRC, the answer is yes...
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"Senior Luna, your sense of humor is still loco... but we love it, anyway." -rickymay ____ "Your sense of humor is still loco... " -MBeige ____ "Señor Luna, your sense of humor is quite järjetön" -Delibes

1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

2 Samuel 12:13: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
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  #13  
Old 08-11-2014, 10:42 AM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jooseppi Luna View Post
I think he's asking if you've hosted all of your photos on the forum. IIRC, the answer is yes...
So this could have been an auto-correct mobile bollocks thing...

...I have to remember that everyone else has moved on to a world where you now need to guess what they meant to say before the machine made it incomprehensible!
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2014, 06:10 AM
Stretch's Avatar
Gettin' outa chokey
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Between a rock and a hard place (Back in Holland at the moment)
Posts: 13,986
Too much rust in difficult to reach places?

I think this is getting a bit out of hand - I'm not sure if I can fix this car.

I can't get access to all the tight corners and see properly so I can weld them. Here's an example of the driver's foot well





And the passenger side





I'm not sure if my welding abilities are up to this.
Attached Thumbnails
The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-drivers-foot-well-rust1.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-drivers-footwell-rust2.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-passenger-footwell-rust1.jpg   The ups and downs of owning a W123.130 (non turbo 300D)-w123_130-passenger-footwell-rust2.jpg  
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #15  
Old 08-14-2014, 09:18 AM
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Posts: 3,051
Sorry to hear about the BS road tax situation in Holland. Clearly a bunch of eco-freaks wanting to get rid of older vehicles. I agree that the rust seems bad but I don't think it's insurmountable. All just depends really on if you think baling out now would be better than sticking with it. Seems you have more skills than most and I'd think you can likely keep it going if you really wanted to. I assume you don't have and are not considering a new car? So without having to compare the cost of the road tax to that of a new car payment the cost of the tax looms larger as a consideration than it otherwise might. I agree with you that the 123 sedan is the best looking of the series. And if it were me and I were to keep it I would keep the original color. It's a nice color for that car and in general I prefer keeping cars original if doing a resto. Especially Mercedes. Either way good luck. Hope it works out.

- Peter.
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81 240D stick. 316000 miles at purchase. 339000 now
2000 GMC Sonoma
Formerly...
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1981 240D 4spd stick. 389000 miles. Deceased Jan 08
1984 123 200
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