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Old 11-09-2005, 04:49 AM
aroohk's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Orange County, CA 'the OC' as it is called now
Posts: 67
So I bought this 1986 300SDL Turbo

So my aunt and I (a college science professor) wanted to try the whole bio fuel thing. What better car to use than a good ol diesel benz. It started out looking at 1985 300SD's and 1987 300D Turbos. Since I will be driving this car, I really wanted a car with ABS. Well... what we came up with (on a fluke) was a nicely maintained 1 owner 1986 300SDL Turbo. silver/blue power rear seat, VERY original car. 409091 miles on the odometer, with a tranny in the past two years and a front end rebuild within the last year. All the power stuff worked/works on the car. The car had been sitting for quite a while and when the former owner started it up, he noticed 'something' so off to his high prices mechanic it went. He ended up buying a MINT 1990 350SD that his mech. had up for sale cause he was told the SDL needed a head gasket. So we picked up Inga (thats her name) for 1076.00 and were going to ship it from palm desert, ca to my home in orange county, ca (gotta love AAA Premier Service). They were convinced it was a head gasket, but since the temp guage never showed any sign of getting anything above normal, i was going to drive the car 20 miles slowly, and use one of my 100 mile tows. Well the car was driving GREAT, and so I safely and slowly drive the car the 110 miles home and the temp gauge never went above the mid point. There was NO white smoke out the back and the coolant light never came one.

Since then I have put close to 500 miles on the car, and it all seems fine. I checked my fuel econ on my first 1/2 tank and got just under 24mpg. I talked to two mechanics, and they both said it didnt sound like a head gasket, as there would be other tell tale problems. The coolant level is fine, the oil is fine (badly needs a change) and the car performs like a 300SDL should.

Any advice or input as to what I should look for, or just keep driving it and being watchful of the temp gauge.

At idle with the AC on, the temp gauge sits just above 80. At idle in traffic, the oil pressure gauge sits right at 2 or just above.

I dont know a lot about this car, and would love to know a lot more about what I bought. I also own a nicely tastefully modded 2000 BMW 323ci coupe, and have fallen in love with my 3800lb tank. I live in southern cal, and could not be more pleased cruzing along in traffic in that solid 126 chassis. It is sad to say that the newer S Class cars have NOTHING on this car.

So guys... give a newbie a hand and shoot of some input, suggestions, and specs on my new car. I will post some pictures when it gets an appropriate detail this weekend. The only problem is the rear power seat is not working (either motor, relay, fuse, or switches...) and the sunroof made a odd/loud sound... so it is staying closed till i can get it checked out. And the teflon clip that guides the left rear window up and down broke (already have two spares sitting in the trunk waiting for my brother to install the repair kit).

I had the old perfectly working becker out and replaced with a spare panasonic cd player i had sitting around. Ahh the modern age...

Also, anyone know if I can pull apart and clean the power seat switches. They work fine in ALL positions, but they are kind of stiff. And can you replace the lights that illuminate the console window switches and the dash rocker switches. Some light up and some dont...

The only issue I had this evening was hitting a CA pot hole and the radiator light turned on, and then off in like 2 miles. I pulled over and checked the coolant level and it was right where it should be. I think the sensor just got tripped by the bump.

OK... thats enough for now, and feel free to message me here or email me at

Thanks for your time, and I think I did ok with a one owner 300SDL for a grand! I have to say I think this is the best auto bargain I have picked up EVER!

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Old 11-09-2005, 05:13 AM
MS Fowler's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Littlestown PA ( 6 miles south of Gettysburg)
Posts: 2,208
Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you found a reat buy.
Drop down one forum and visit the dieselheads in the "Diesel Forum". There, you will also find lots of information on biodiesel, converting used veggie oil, and other diesel stuff.
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:10 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 32,822
it sounds like

YOu are on the right track with your thinking. if you can get some electrical cleaner into the switches and just work them 100 times in each position i bet they will be fine.

tom w
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual. It still needs upholstery redone...I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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