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  #1  
Old 02-26-2001, 11:41 AM
ericd
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We have a 79 280CE- Silver w/Navy Interior. We bought this car with a locked up motor for $1300.00. We replaced the motor with a used motor and have $800.00 in that. We have changed the plugs, wires, dist cap & roto button on the car. But for some reason the Idle is still erractic and the throttle is unresponsive. We have taken the car to a local mechanic who does work on MB. They are running a compression test on the car and we are hoping to get some idea of what it will cost to get her road ready.

Our question is this? Is this car worth keeping?? We like it- it is very pretty with great paint and the interior is in good condition with only a few minor things that need repair- the body has no rust and is straight- but before we put any more money into we want some opinions. It's a cool two door with enough of a back seat for the kids ..

Thanks in advance....

EricD in TN
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2001, 12:08 PM
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That's a tuff question. I think you should consider how long you expect to keep the car. You already have $2100.00 in a car that's probably worth about that much. However, if you plan on keeping it, it's worth pursuing.

If it were me, I'd set a limit as to how much more I'd be willing to "invest" to get it running. I say invest because, once running, you should get a lot of pleasure driving it. Set a limit because, if it just won't run right, you're going to take a loss.

Who knows, it could be something minor. Unfortunately, you are off to a bad start. IMHO, any 123 Benz that needs a motor or tranny isn't worth more than $750.00, for the reason you are experiencing. A used motor is a pig in a poke, unless you heard it run. A compression test is a great idea... before you buy it.

The best advise I can give, read this forum. you'll learn a lot!

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91 300E 120K
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2001, 12:49 PM
ericd
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Thanks for the input. Not exactly what we wanted to hear but honesty is appreciated. We have heard from the mechanic and the scope they did was fine, they are now doing a wet/dry compression test. Their initial thoughts are that it is something electrical but are doing the other test just to be sure.

I have a question though. I understand that it's a 123 body style (although I'm not so sure what that means)and you say its only worth about $2400 or so. We see them on-line and in the paper for nearly $7000. Are these cars that overpriced?? We have decided how much we'll invest in the car. And hope one day to "upgrade" to an SL. The wind in our hair

We appreciate your post and believe me, we are learning TONS from this board.

Thanks again
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2001, 02:20 PM
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Nuts! I was typing you a reply and my cat stepped on the keyboard and erased it.

Anyhow, a 123 is the chassis number given to all MB cars that look like yours from 1977 to 1985. There is a cool sight that has a link that explains the numbering system. I think it's http://www.benzowners.org.

If you are interested in learning more about your car go to Pep Boys and get a Haynes Manual. Between this forum and that manual I have learned alot and saved a fortune.

As for as $7000.00 for a '79 280CE, I'm on my way to where you live to sell both my cars. Kelly Blue Book only goes back to '81. But even an '81 280 SE in excellent condition retails for less than $4000.00.

It is possible a collector might pay big bucks for a pristine one. However, yours now has a motor whos' numbers don't match the car's. To someone willing to pay big bucks, that's a big no no.

But don't worry. You have a cool car you like, at aprice you are comfortable to pay, that will last longer (given proper maintainance) than your neighor's new Ford or Chevy.

You might spend $1000-$1500.00 a year in repairs, but that's alot cheaper driving than $300-$400 a month in car payments! Best of all, when your neighbor decides to trade that new domestic in in three years, he'll owe more than it's worth. You on the other hand will be able to sell yours for pretty much what you have in it.

Aint that cool!(and smart)
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2001, 03:28 PM
ericd
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Weeellllll, we heard from the mechanic and the #6 cylinder has low compression. Only about 75 pounds. The others are fine and run 155lbs. The estimate just to tear it down is a little bit more than I want to spend. I am curious though- is this a difficult repair or is it just time consuming. I wonder if I just brought it home and tore it down myself if I could do it. Or maybe just sell it and let someone who is more familiar with them fix her up. We've got $2400.00 in it now. Any suggestions? Or buyers?

Thanks-

EricD in TN
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2001, 06:26 PM
ericd
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MAN, this has been a stressful day... We have got three different opinions from 3 people and are trying to make sense of it all. The tech that looked at the car and checked the compression says that it has an air leak in the intake manifold. That's what is causing the low compression in #6. He says that a top end overhaul will fix. He has given us an estitmate of $2000.00 - - We aren't sure if the car is worth keeping for that. So we talked to a guy that belongs to the local MB Club of American.. He says these cars are very reliable and the M110 motors are good motors and that the valves may need to adjusted before a compression check ?? He then referred to us another tech who said he wouldn't fix it.

So what's a guy to do? Would this be worth towing home and trying to do and learn on my own? Or would I be better letting them fix it? This is so frustrating... Advise is greatly appreciated- We are also thinking of parting it out. Thanks in advance....

EricD in TN
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2001, 07:51 PM
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The valve adjustment would ensure that the valves can open far enough to let in enough fuel or to ensure that the valves don't stay open during the compression stroke. If they don't open far enough, you should hear a lot of clacking noise in the valve cover.
As far as rebuilding the top of the engine, have you ever done anything like this? Can you spare the time for the project? You would have to disconnect a lot of stuff, label it and then put it all back. The reason it costs $2000 is the labor charge. The good news is that the stuff usually comes off quite fast. Putting it back together is a different story. Can you check with a local technical college? They may do jobs like this, they may even be happy to see a Mercedes.
Good luck and keep in touch.
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2001, 07:54 PM
benzat
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let me tell you about my car 1982 380 SEC..we bought the car in Hawaii..then 3 months later moved it to Guam (and no one there had any clue how to fix Benz cars). when the car was there we replaced the fuel hoses..fuel pump relay and the fly wheel..idle control valve..idle control relay..most of the parts came from the internet and shipped to me then we had it shipped from Guam to GA when I got the car the 2nd shipping company demolished my muffler system..they paid for some and the insurance paid the other part.

well now in the last 3 to 4 months I have 4 new tires..tie rods..center drag link..ball joints..front windshield..battery..had the gear box sealed..new front calipers..pads.. brake hoses..and rotors put on the car..now looking to put a new cadaletic converter on it in 2 weeks

OK so I bought the car in 1998 for under $6,000 and can deduct all the shipping costs..but no matter how much money this car has *taken me for a ride* I could never decide to get rid of it..

I know there is that limit on how much to spend on a car..but think about how much is a new Benz and they are just not the same as the *OLD* days.

a great Benz will never die...*S*

good luck

benzat
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2001, 09:24 PM
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Eric,

Who did you purchase the engine from? Did they give any warranty? Even most junk yards will give a 30-90 day exchange warranty. Talk to whoever you got it from and see if they'll do the right thing and swap it for one that runs.
You'll be out whatever you paid for labor, but you would still be better off.

As far as doing it yourself, it's a big job (time) and unless you have proper tools, difficult.
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  #10  
Old 02-26-2001, 09:41 PM
ericd
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Hi - - No we got what we got!! The people (Lowe's Auto Parts in Seymour, TN-DO NOT USE) had the car for 10 weeks and every other day would tell us that it will be "just another day to fine tune it". They finally relinquished the fact they could go no further with the car, told us it was probably something simple and asked us for another $1200.00 - - - We told them if it was indeed something simple then we would take to Knoxville Motor Company, let THEM tell us that and then pay the rest of the bill. Well to make a long story short- Knoxville Mercedes said that the oil pan was dented in and a few other things and they REALLY didn't want to fix it but said they would be happy to put a new $10,000 motor in it. :0 We contacted Lowe's Auto Parts (DO NOT USE THEM)- they got all mad and said they didn't have anyone to fix the car and they really didn't want it back. I said we really didn't want to pay them anymore money, so we cut our losses (he said he has more in the motor than $800.00) and parted ways (Not friends)...So we're pretty much stuck I guess...

We have thought we may just go ahead and get the top end overhaul done and PRAY that is all it needs. We are going to go and talk to the tech in the AM to have him answer some questions.. The scope on the engine was fine - he said the fuel distribution was fine and the ignition was okay too. The compression check showed that #6 was only at 75 pounds and the others were 145 to 155 (within normal?)- He also said that when they "blew air in it"(?) that it leaked and he figured it was a leaking air intake valve.

I think this goes way beyond what I can do in the driveway, my wife wanted to be able to drive the car, we both like it, I guess we're still stinging from the first burn. But if the motor is able to be fixed and fixed properly, then we really shouldn't have any other problems should we??

This board has been great and we are learning so much. Thanks for answering and I will keep you posted.

Eric D In TN
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  #11  
Old 02-26-2001, 09:52 PM
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Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
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my $.02 worth

I just recently purchased a 1985 300D turbo with 215k miles showing on the clock for $1500. I have already spent about $500 on it (approximately 1/2 of that amount on fastlane.com) and after this coming weekend will have a dependable commuter car.

I purchased the car for the following reasons:
a) I wanted a cheap commuter car to drive to work and beat around town in (I am not worried about "making an impression" so looks do not matter)
b) I wanted a diesel vehicle (my first)
c) I wanted a "project" car because there is not enough to do to the Honda and the E320 to keep me busy with my hobby (tinkering with cars) on weekends
d) I am sure by the time it is all said and done I will have put more $ into this vehicle than what I will be able to sell it for. I am trying to "pace" myself and want to take 1 to 2 years to get it where I want it.

Just about every time I drive or climb underneath the vehicle I find something else to add to the "to do" list. It even has a dent in the trunk that I may or may not resolve (I have never done body work). If I did not enjoy it I would not do it.

Based on everything I have seen and done to the car to date it is my opinion that this vintage 300D (early 80's) has got to be absolutely one of the best vehicles ever built. I would probably feel the same way about a 300SDL but that may be the next project.

Jim
'85 300D
'95 E320
'97 CRV
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  #12  
Old 02-26-2001, 09:52 PM
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just like Benzat i have turned my car into a real money pit.
there was really no need to. the car was/is great for an everyday driver. but since i plan on keeping the car for a while i like to have it in its best condition. any signs of wear, interior/exterior, i fix it. the car appears to have about 50,000 miles on it. and it will look even newer whenever i get done with it. ( if i ever get done with it!$$$$$$) i love this car, best auto i have ever owned.
anyway, id say if you have the money, time, effort and willing to drive it for a few years. go for the valve job.
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  #13  
Old 02-27-2001, 12:12 AM
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I did the same as Adam for the 300se I currently have now. Having said that, its really a satisfaction as the car runs as smooth as new and *hardly* requires any other repairs or services ... said with fingers crossed.

The most expensive and worth-while thing I did for the 300se was a complete overhaul and change of springs/suspension ... the whole lot for RM7,000 (USD3,000).

If the value of passion and love for the MB exceeds the cost of repairs, might be worth the while to keep it.

However, if your gut feeling tells you otherwise, you're left with extra choices.

I think everyone else has said pretty much what has to be said, especially Bill.

Whatever you decide, we're always here to offer our support and humour. There wont be lack of either.
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  #14  
Old 02-27-2001, 12:45 AM
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My 2 Cents.

First things first - get the valves adjusted. You know once cylinder has low compression, you know someone blew air into the cylinder and could detect air leaking from one of the valve (I'm assuming they are a competent mechanic). The only reason this could be happening is because the valves are out of adjustment or you have a burnt exhaust valve (meaning the exhaust valve got too hot, cracked and is not longer sealing well). Anyway, by paying a competent Mercedes mechanic to adjust your valves for you, you have nothing to loose except around $75 if it doesn't solve your problem. You are looking at a lot more money than that to pay these other guys, so do that first. And keep in mind that a lot of things like this are caused by simple things - which is why I can't believe all these people are just telling you to replace your motor or do a major tear down. Sounds like they are incredibly shady people to me. Anyway, don't jump to conclusions, just get the valves adjusted and then check the obvious. For example: are there any kinks or anything about the exhaust that would be restricting airflow, how is the catalytic converter, are the plugs and wires new (and good quality), are you sure the wires are installed on the right plugs, have you replaced the fuel filter, have you replaced the PVC valve, is the EGR functioning, do you have proper fuel pressure, are all the electrical components funcitoning correctly, have you made sure all the electrical components have good, clean, rust free connection, etc. If your car has coolant temp sensors, or MAP sensors, etc, replace them, they can cause wierd problems. Inspect the entire wiring harness, at this age it is possible that the insulation has deteriorated and is causing a short somewhere, and also check to make sure there aren't any leaks in the intake manifold gaskets. Lots of things to check before you condemn the motor.

Forgive me if I have made reference to something your car might not have, I'm not a specialist on your particular model, but that is just the point - don't think "Its a Mercedes, it must be difficult and expensive to fix." Good luck, and get those valves adjusted.

Greg
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  #15  
Old 02-27-2001, 01:55 AM
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Greg is right! Don't rush into an expensive repair. Haste got you into this mess.

Do a search to see if there is a good tech in your area. Check with the local MB club. Ask around. I'd start with a valve adjustment and while they're in there check the timing chain for sretch. But, take your time.

If it were me, I'd have my attorney write your "pals" at Loew's Shop a letter, as well as the BBB and call the Attorney General, they love to get involved with these kinds of things. Why should you be the only one losing sleep over this.

I'd park next door on a buisy Saturday with a sign in the window that tells everyone these guys ripped you off. (Check local laws first) I'd call them and say we can resolve this the easy way or the hard way.

Don't take this lying down!


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