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Old 04-10-2001, 07:48 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
Posts: 856
I love my 350 SDL ... great car, but I would like to get a "backup" diesel - too much time flying airplanes in the Navy to consider a gas engine ... love that smell!

As a believer in statics, it seems to me that some combos of chassis, transmission, and engine must have "the best" numbers ...

What was the best MB diesel car? I have always wanted a '83 240D, but they are getting too hard to find. So, looking at 300SD/SDL (5 and 6 cylinders) ... advice?

George Stephenson

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Old 04-10-2001, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Send me back to Atlanta
Posts: 876
1983 300D Turbo

Mine runs like a top! and parts are cheap!
2000 Ford 7.3 Powerstroke 4x4
2006 Mazda Tribute
1983 Black 300 D (donated to charity)
1993 Teal 300 D (160K) Sold
"I love the smell of burnt diesel fuel in the morning, it smells like ....VICTORY"

Semper Fidelis
USMC 1973-1976
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Old 04-10-2001, 08:28 PM
nellotare's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 334
I have the 82 300D Turbo, 123 style and love it. Before this I had the 83 version.. same car for all practical purposes. I didn't care for the SDs in the 126 styles, but love the SDs in the 116. I think the "older" ones are more reliable.. made in the hayday of MBs. I'm sure other members can speak more of motors/xmission/chassis combos than I, but I would opt for the SDs from '79 to 80 or D-Turbos from '82 to 85. By the way.. they all drive differently, so test drive as many as you can. My 82 accelerates faster and changes gears better/smoother than my 83 did. I just drove an 80 SD and it is faster, smoother than mine.. could probably get it for less than $2K and fix the minor things that are wrong, but I don't really NEED another one
Nello Tare

1982 300D (266,001 mi.) looking and running great

Previously owned:
1976 450 SLC
1983 300D
1976 300D
1982 Jaguar XJ6 (loved, but gone)
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Old 04-10-2001, 09:15 PM
ML Dude's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 373
1985 300D Turbo........

I don't know if there is a stat on most reliable engine/chassis/drivetrain combo?? However, the S body was heavier and you know how much we like heavier vs. slimmer .
Mine runs and looks great, I love this car and the 85 was the last year of the classic body style.
Soooo, she's the bout them apples!
Ed "Don't Benz's just feel better..."

Current wives...
2000 ML430 Skyview "The Mel"
2000 CLK430 Cab "The Cab"
85 300D Turbo "The Diesel"

Past wives...
92 300E
85 190E

"One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to
avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond
this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to
interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
Bertrand Russell
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Old 04-11-2001, 10:25 AM
goldenbear's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NorCal
Posts: 442
At this point, the OM617.95 engine in the '81-'85 300 SD (W126) and '82-'85 300 D (W123) is, without a doubt, the most reliable MB diesel EVER. The '86-'87 300 SDL (W126) is a close second.

I've been told that the transmission mated to the engine/drivetrain in the 300 SDL is perhaps the best combination MB put together in terms of longevity, smoothness, and performance. My $0.02.

'04 ML500 - 53k, Inspiration Edition, Desert Silver
'11 Audi A4 Avant - Brilliant Black
'87 300SDL sold
'99 C280 Sport sold
'85 190E 2.3 sold
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Old 04-11-2001, 07:13 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 437
Consumers Union called the 78 240D an "almost perfect car" and, having driven one for years, would have to agree. You can find them in good shape here in CA for about 2K$, with a 4 speed tran., and they are easily and cheaply fixed. However, by comparison, the 300 SD or SDL is a limousine.
'76 240D-Sold
'78 240D-Sold
'85 300 SD, 165K-Sold
'88 300 TE, 165K-Sold
'64 Porsche 356C Cabriolet
'86 560SL 124K Miles
'94 320E Wagon, 74K Miles-128K Miles JUNKED
'06 E350 Wagon, 84K Miles
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Old 04-11-2001, 10:28 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 59
Well George... I am a Diesel nut...I have had a '79D, '82TD, 87 300SDL, '90 300DT, 91 SDL, and finally a 98 E300D. The best is the latest the 98 E300D. Of course the most expensive but with hundreds of thousands of miles registered in all my diesels, and a multitude of diesel related problems,(ie: seals, vaccuum, glo-plugs, injectors) the 98 is truly the most refined, quietest, fastest, trouble-free diesel of them all. RSL007
1999 ML430
2001 C320 Sport
2000 SAAB 9-5
1998 E300DT
1998 C280sport
1991 300D
1991 350SDL
1982 300DT
1972 Porsche 911 Targa
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Old 04-11-2001, 10:46 PM
ymsin's Avatar
Driver, Mercedes-Benz
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 1,645
I have much respect and admiration for MB diesel engines simply because its built to outlast every other competitor.

I am sure whichever diesel MB one chooses, the choice can be far off the mark provided (again a common thread) its been serviced and looked after, as adverse to neglected.

I have never driven a diesel MB for the simple reason its not as popular over here. I am quite taken by the new W210 270cdi though. Looks very interesting and the technical aspects seems to match the petrol-engines. We've been told the release is due sometime this year and the price is not quoted yet. The only setback is that we Malaysians have to pay more road tax for diesel engines.


... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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