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Old 12-18-2000, 05:50 AM
Ryan Miller
Posts: n/a
I've got a 1984 300SD, and I currently live in Atlanta. It's 20 F outside right now, and I can't start it. Letting the glow light go on and off once isn't enough, and if I do it more than that, it doesn't have enough juice to crank.

First, is there someway to fix this? Second, I'm moving up north to RI in Jan. I'm concerned my car won't be able to handle the weather. It was originally purchased in South Florida, and it doesn't have a block heater(or even seat warmers). Do I need to find a new car, or can this one make it up north?


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Old 12-18-2000, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Holland, MI
Posts: 1,316
My vote is to have it checked by a tech. If low compression is why it's reluctant to start, it won't stand a chance in RI winters (it's 4F here in Detroit as I write this ) and it will live longer in the south unless you spend $$$ replacing/rebuilding the engine. A good check by the tech is money well spent before you decide what to do, or transplant it without knowing and have it let you down when you most need it.

Besides, they might find something for fewer $$ and you can take your buddy with you!

BCingU, Jim
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Old 12-18-2000, 11:05 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 460
Southern Diesel

1) replace your glowplugs and take a file or sandpaper to all glowplug-system connecitons. The car is 16 years old, so there is bound to be corrosion everywhere.
2) when was the last time you had the valves adjusted?
3) when was the last time you had your timing chain stretch inspected/adjusted and injection pump timed?
4) make sure there are no leaks in the fuel system

I'll admit, I don't own a Mercedes, but I do own a VW diesel, and I can tell you that addressing the above 4 outlined things will make a HUGE difference in the way your car starts. As for the valves, I don't know why, but most people never even have heard of "getting valves adjusted," but I can assure you it is REALLY important for your motor.

As for the fuel leaks, your fuel system should be completely dry. I know many people see a little leak and think "no big deal." But with a diesel, a little leak IS a big deal, even if the leak is in the return line. Any amount of air in the system = hard starting. Make sure none of your injectors, fuel lines inbetween injectors, or any other line from or back to the tank have any signs of leaking whatsoever.

Before you spend any money on anything, have this stuff addressed. Good luck.

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Old 12-18-2000, 11:09 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 127
Ryan, have you had the battery and charging system checked? The battery may not have the proper cold crank capability. It should crank longer than you indicated before running out of juice.

I don't see why you would glow the plugs once, let them cool off and try it again. When the plugs are red/yellow hot, that's when the engine will fire, (assuming everything else is OK). When you crank the engine, the glow plugs stay on. If the engine won't fire with properly functioning glow plugs, then your problem could be fuel or compression-related.
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Old 12-18-2000, 01:46 PM
Ryan Miller
Posts: n/a
It's warmed up again, but the battery is way to low to crank. I'll have to wait for my roommate to get home and give me a jump.

I had a feeling it might be the glow plug/battery. The question now is how much will it cost me to check/repair the above items and where can I find a good tech in Atlanta? I know my limitations, and I'd rather have a proffesional do this work.
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Old 12-18-2000, 02:07 PM
Wm. Lewallen
Posts: n/a
Larry and all the others are correct. Have the valves adjusted; battery and charging system checked. Auto Zone, Advanced Auto and maybe some other auto stores will do this free.Change the oil with a lower viscosity. All of these things will greatly improve the starting.
No one has mentioned installing a block heater. They cost about $45. I had one installed for $65(cash)so if you have one put on,check around about getting it installed. If you have one installed and use, it you won't have to worry about starting your diesel even in the coldest weather.
Bill Lewallen Lex.Ky.
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Old 12-18-2000, 07:43 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Looking for a good Tech in Atlanta?


At the top of this page there is a "Shops" tab, click on it and check out the third shop on the list. It's in the Atlanta area. Oh, and what a great way to pay back this site too .
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 12-19-2000, 12:07 AM
Robert W. Roe's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Lehigh Valley PA
Posts: 1,330
electrical possibility

Make sure that your trunk light is going off when you close the trunk. My 1984 300SD has a trunk light that stayed on all the time, running the battery totally flat within a few days. If you drive longer distances, your battery may not totally die, but you could still be losing a lot of voltage as the bulb burns all night. This is an easy check; open the trunk and see if the bulb burns your hand. If it does, it's been on a lot longer than 10 sec or so.
Bob Roe
Lehigh Valley PA USA
1973 Olds 88, 1972 MB 280SE, 1978 Datsun 280Z, 1971 Ford T-Bird, 1972 Olds 88, 1983 Nissan Sentra, 1985 Sentra, 1973 230.6, 1990 Acura Integra, 1991 Volvo 940GLE wagon, 1983 300SD, 1984 300SD, 1995 Subaru Legacy L wagon, 2002 Mountaineer, 1991 300TE wagon, 2008 Murano, 2007 R320CDI 4Matic 52K, some Hyundai, 2008 BMW 535xi wagon, all gone... currently
2007 Honda Odyssey Touring, 2014 E350 4matic
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Old 12-20-2000, 02:12 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440
Park it for the winter and get a cheap gasoline car to use. Then next year you won't have a car that looks like Swiss cheese. Driving a car in road salt is the worst possible thing you can do to your car. I think there is a conspiracy between manufacturers and road maintenance to ruin your car so you have to buy a new one.


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