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  #1  
Old 12-13-2000, 05:22 PM
apollo21
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I have an opportunity to purchase a 1983 300 C Turbo Diesel, which was one of several MB owned by an individual. I have never owned a diesel auto but ALWAYS wanted to own a MB. The car is supposedly in excellent shape as described by a relative that owns it. Her late husband owned the car.
What I am looking for is HELP from anyone that can give me some general info on MB diesels and what to look out for if anything for this particular model, or any information that would be helpful. I can't find much info on this model on the net.
Thanks for your help!
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2000, 06:00 PM
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Always, always, always get the opinion of a professional mechanic in this situation. Neither you nor the lady are "detatched" from this decision to make it based on facts.

The big worries for this class and age of benz are structural rust and engine quality. A replacement tranny might only be 1,000$. That's not much compared to having to rebuild the engine because it's not quite up to par.

This is the right time of year to make a casual check of the engine. With the motor stone cold (sitting for more than 4 hours), start the car (follow the instructions about the glow plugs and all that). If you turn the key and it starts in under 3 seconds, the motor is most probably fine. The longer it takes, the worse off it is. This check doesn't replace getting a deisel mechanic's opinion, but it's a good rule of thumb.

As for the body, the rust you don't see is what you worry about. This car is a unibody, so there is no separate frame. Structural rust will kill the car before the paint starts to peel on the hood & roof. The area under the doors is called the rocker panel (or frame rails). Look at them (each side) carefully from 4 different vantage points. Usually, you'll find it cosmetically pretty on the outside, painted portion directly under the doors. But, that is just paint. Now, look at the very front (and rear) of this long, round, hollow rail. The front (and rear) should be sealed shut and you'll find a thick welded rail down the bottom (like a seam of a lady's stocking) from one end to the other. No seam means body work has been done. That means there was rust damage that had been filled in. The last perspective is from directly underneight. That seam is also the seam for the floor. See any along the way? There is suposed to be a thick rubbery undercoat. It protects the metal, but it traps water. That water will rust out the car. Now that you've been on your back peering under the car, check out the fire wall, both in the wheel well area and under the hood. The open area of the fender wells is cut off at the firewall with a bolt-on panel. Is the panel there? Is it bolted on, riveted on or held on with bondo? If they ain't bolts, then something has been done to fix a problem.

Finally, use your eyes over the rest of the car. Is it shabby? You might have noticed that by now. Wear and tear on the instruments, seats, door skins, headliner or exterior paint? These things are expensive to make perfect. Assume that whatever state they are in now, they'll stay that way. Can you stomach it?

Finally, if you've actually done all this in the presence of the car, you're probably hooked and you're going to buy it one way or the other. At least it's no longer a pig in a poke and you've had your eyes opened a bit. Use this information to come up with a fair price.

-CTH
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2000, 09:22 PM
patsy
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My dream car

Hey Apollo, did you say a 1983 CD turbo? That's my dream car. I want that, and a TD, to go with my SD, and then my stable will be full.

If you don't know much about diesels or Mercedes, try to find an Independent Technician who will look at it for you.

You will have to repair things as you go along because of the age of the car, regardless of how great your tech thinks it is. Don't be surprised or disappointed.

CTH has some great advice about the body. The front and rear of the Rocker Panels will tell you a lot. I would not buy any Mercedes if the floor pans were rusty or "soft". Mercedes are known to leak around the window seals and older ones often have water sitting under the sound deadening material under the carpet. Even if the floor pans look good from outside the car, I would advise taking all the floor carpet pads out and snooping around inside the car. If the Rocker Panels have been repaired they may not have fixed the inner frame rails and you will see this from inside the car.

I hope it's a nice one!
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  #4  
Old 12-14-2000, 05:47 PM
apollo21
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1983 300 C Turbo Diesel

Wow, thanks for the detailed information. I am still trying to get more info on the vehicle. I do know it has never been wrecked and kept indoors. I also know the man spent $1,000 on sheep skin seat covers, but do not know if this was to cover up bad leather. He supposedly loved this car over the other two MB they drove all the time.
When I get the mileage and other info, I will post it as well.
This is really a great forum.
By the way cth350, what the heck are glow plugs????
And Patsy? Any kind of Mercedes to me is a dream car!!! ...LOL....I am 46 years old and ever since driving my uncle's 4 in the column 60's model Benz in my teens, I have always wanted one. Plus, my wife is dying to get an SLK Kompressor.
Again, all info is welcomed and appreciated!
Apollo21
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  #5  
Old 12-14-2000, 11:04 PM
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Diesels work by compressing their fuel until it explodes. No spark is required to do this. But, with a very cold engine, just compressing the fuel & air doesn't work at all well. So, each cylinder gets a glow plug. It heats the cylinder a little just before you start the car.

Never having owned a diesel, let alone started one, you're going to have to ask the lady how to start it.

Be sure to ask her to have the car stone cold when you get there so that the time-to-start test can be fair. Preferrably, the car should be outside for a while, not in a warm heated garage. Of course, if you're in San Diego, this advice won't mean much. If you're in Chicago, perhaps the test is a wee bit unfair.

-CTH
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2000, 02:35 AM
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Apollo, what nice cars the coupes are!
I'd love to have one also.



Check the rear axle-half boots. They are rubber
and ribbed (black) If they are cracked or split, that will cost some to replace the axle-halves.
Alot of times the steering wheel lock begins to
get tricky. Find out if their have been
regular incidents of the ignition key not turning
because the steering wheel could not be moved enough to
unlock the mechanism. Good to replace the lock and tumbler
if needed because if it gets stuck, it can be expensive to
undo.
Check the air conditioning. If you don't need it and it is broken, just deduct from the price.
SERVICE RECORDS!!! look at them
Don't get scared. What a neat automobile.
Keep us posted.
Good Luck
__________________
1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
********************
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
SAN FRANCISCO/(*San Diego)
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2000, 10:48 AM
apollo21
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Updated Info on the '83 300 C Turbo

I have additional info on this car...
It has only 135,000 miles on it...which comes out to a little less than 8,000 per year.....The seats are in excellent shape and the $1,000 sheep skin seat covers were a grad present to the hubby.
She told me the only two things she knows that are wrong with the car are these; A missing rubber strip across the front bumper and the cruise control doesn't work. She also told me there is a heater in the pan and an outlet plug to keep it warm.
I also asked her about rust and she said unless there is rust underneath the body, she says there is none anywhere on the exterior that she knows of.
So, in my opinion, sounds like a good $4,000 investment at this point.
Additionally, she lives near DC and I live in Charlotte. I will probably have much less use of the heater than she does up there. It usually stays above freezing here except a few days during the winter.
So I guess the next step is to fly up and take a look at it and drive it home!
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2000, 12:50 PM
cth350's Avatar
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No, your next step is to find a benz mechanic in the DC area and have the car inspected. Once you get a favorable report, then you can fly up. Unless you want to visit our nation's capital anyway. It's very pretty in the snow. Be sure to budget at least 2 days of visit the hallowed halls of our seats of power, the Smithsonian and the national gallery. There's lots to see 'round washington.

-CTH
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2000, 01:21 AM
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Location: San Francisco, Ca
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Low miles.....

I second the motion! Take a few days. Get the car looked at
then get the report, fine tune the price as appropriate and get under it and look for rust, also under fender wells. Face it, if it is in snow country, there was
probably salt on the road to deter icing, and that equals rust.
Service records!
Good Luck.
__________________
1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
********************
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
SAN FRANCISCO/(*San Diego)
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2000, 11:25 AM
apollo21
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All good advice but I have two problems---
First, this auto is part of her late husband's estate and unfortunately if I buy it, I cannot negotiate below the set Blue Book price as per the lawyers for the estate. She told my wife if she knew we wanted the car she would have given it to us and not listed it as his property. My intentions are to fly up and use my judgement (with all of the excellent info obtained here) and either buy it and drive it home or walk away and fly back.
Secondly, in the past 7 weeks I lost my job in which I had a company car and two weeks ago my wife t-boned a car in her Miata, totalling it and the guy that was at fault has NO insurance and the car wasn't even registered.
So I am in need of at least one auto. I have looked at prices for this model year and found most to be above this asking price with much higher mileage. Now I know what happens when you "assume" something and I am assuming an awful lot here. Both you guys are right on about getting it checked out but I will probably not have time to do this by a mechanic. I have a pretty good knowledge of cars although nothing about diesels. The info you have shared is GREAT and will go with me when I inspect the car. I will crawl under it, do the start test and since it will be winter when I go in a couple of weeks that should be a good time to test it. I will also get the service records and scour them closely.
In taking your advice, I will attempt to find a MB mechanic near her and if it can be worked out, set an appointment and get a once over the same day I am there.
Finally, my wife's Aunt is a very smart individual and knows a fair amount about MB since they owned 3 of them. I have to believe that with less than 8,000 miles per year put on the car and with their love of the auto it has to be in reasonable condition at the least.
If I think it has problems I won't buy it. I will only be out a few thousand frequent flier miles and the upside is I get to visit with the Aunt a few hours.
As far as sightseeing in DC is concerned, no thanks..lol..That was part of my territory the past two years and I've seen enough to last me a lifetime! The traffic..AAARRRRGHHHH!!!!!!
Thanks again for the help. Ya'll are great!
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  #11  
Old 12-17-2000, 11:09 PM
unkl300d's Avatar
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Location: San Francisco, Ca
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Sorry to hear the downside notes, but you have the right idea and motivation. Knowing that it comes from a
'good family' , blue book sounds o.k. to me.
Good Luck in the new year and post your result!
p.s. blue book for '83 300 CD TURBO IS 6475 GOOD SHAPE RETAIL and 8150 for excellent shape. This is from a 1998
blue book so you are in the ball park fer sure. The leather seats add to value.
__________________
1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
********************
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
SAN FRANCISCO/(*San Diego)
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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  #12  
Old 12-17-2000, 11:58 PM
CJ CJ is offline
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Posts: 1,318
I live in Baltimore and could help you get it looked at. Second of all in Maryland & DC, they have a "black-top" snow policy, which means all primary roads must be down to black-top in snow, or in other words they salt the heck out everything here. After the first snow fall it looks like tthe Bonneville Salt Flats!!
Good luck!
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