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  #1  
Old 11-23-2005, 08:45 AM
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Advice on eBay Listing

I'm looking at a 1981 240D on eBay where the buyer claims to have an electronic problem that he can't fix, but that the car is otherwise mechanically sound. I sent him a message asking for symptoms and received the following:

"The electronic problem seems to be systemic. This year, after initially only the hazards quit working and the battery quit charging, I replaced the battery, the negative top pole, and the alternator. It then ran well for another couple months until the starter went out, which I replaced. Everything was fine for another month or so and then i ended up replacing the glowplugs and the glow plug relay (which had to be ordered from germany.) The car then ran until the end of the summer, when it started acting like the alternator had gone out again. I then started grad school and had not time for the car. I lost the only key, hence it needing to be replaced. I never checked to see what went wrong the last time, though I also never tested the ignition. It seems to me like a positive short is happening somewhere and causing a cascade of effects."

I'm trying to find something for my son to drive and although we won't mind a fixer-upper, I don't want to get saddled with some impossible electrical problem. Any ideas from the gurus?

Thanks,
-Ken
1984 300SD

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  #2  
Old 11-23-2005, 09:06 AM
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240d

Have you made sure the battery to block ground is good; the engine to chassis ground is good? It is hard for me to see, though I could be wrong, that these cascading failures are dependent on an iternal ignition problem. Even if the grounds seem tight, take them all off and wire brush them and remove any grease with a solvent prior to reassembly. Also make sure the positive and negative battery poles are well cleaned and you have a good fit with the cables (not beat up from abuse), plus the positive battery to it's first connection. Let us know how it goe's for you.
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2005, 09:15 AM
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IMHO, the multiple failures are more a result of the car being 25 years old rather than some mysterious electronic gremlin. It's not like the electrical system on this car is all that complex.
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Old 11-23-2005, 09:24 AM
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Buying a car sight unseen is a HUGE risk. Auto forums are full of tales of ebay buyers who took delivery of a car only to discover it didn't meet their expectations...at all.

At the very least, start a thread asking whether there's forum member in the area that can check out the car for you.
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Old 11-23-2005, 10:42 AM
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It is not uncommon for the negative battery cable to be bad on these things. They can look perfect and be corroding from the inside. Five minutes and five bucks will fix it. Positive battery cable, same thing. Usually you can just replace the positive terminal. With the P.O. being a poor colege student, it also seems likely that he may have installed low cost, substandard electrical components which only lasted a short time. It might just need some TLC and a few parts to bring it back into shape. It sounds like you will need to supply your own battery for testing though.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2005, 11:16 AM
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If you decide to get the car have the current owner get the key from MB before hand. You may have to wallk him through it.
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2005, 12:31 AM
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A large cluster of electrical problems may indicate a flood-damaged car. Is this Benz for sale in a "Katrina" country?
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2005, 12:54 AM
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Flood Damage...

Good thought, but the car is in Austin which I think is a bit far north for Katrina...

Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2005, 12:57 AM
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New MB Key...

TX76513:

As for walking him through getting a key from MB, I'm not sure I'd know what to walk him through having never done it myself. Any specific instructions I should be aware of?

Thanks!
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2005, 08:10 AM
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One of the things we used to see in my automotive shop over the years was the systematic breaking down of the electrical system. Almost always it had to do with the negative battery cable. When the car is new and all the cables have perfect low resistance the alternator and all the current consumptive devices have to draw just enough current to operate. The more resistance that gets introduced in the negative battery cable the more current the alternator has to produce and the more current that has to pass thru any consumer devices. The telltale sign is the short alternator life. It is not unusual to see alternators burning out in 6 months to a year because they are turned on all the time. In a normal car they turn on only a short amount of time while driving but in the other situation they are operating at full bore all the time trying to overcome the poor complete circuit that the alternator has to deal with. The interesting thing is in the alternator the brushes will be completely worn out because of the constant turned on state of the alternator. The other thing is the current consumptive devices have a shorter life span due to them having to draw more current to operate all the time in order to overcome the low voltage they need to operate.....
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  #11  
Old 11-25-2005, 09:02 AM
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it

sounds like you can about name your price for the car. i suggest $100. and there is a good chance that this is a good car. all of the above posts seem right on. just deferred maintenance, it looks like to me.

the 240s came with 45 amp alternators. i can tell you that even 15 years ago that wasn't big enough. they need to be upgraded to 65 amp if you intend to use the ac.

tom w
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  #12  
Old 11-26-2005, 01:46 PM
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Possible/Probable Flood Damaged Car

Well, I learned from the seller that there is a good possibility that this car had in fact been through a flood.

Don't want it, auction over, bye-bye...

Good Call TeeJay...

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