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  #1  
Old 04-15-2001, 01:08 PM
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Location: SW Chicago Suburbs, IL
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I currently own a 98 VW Jetta TDI (with 170,000 miles), a 91 Cadillac Seville, and a 91 Cadillac Deville. Since it's hard to beat the characteristics of a diesel and I do a LOT of driving, I am in the process of selling the Cad's and want to replace them with a nice MB diesel. I believe the one featured in the following link may be a good one...

http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=578183813

I've communicated back and forth with the seller. He says the car is a one owner, has full service records, 162,800 miles, everything works, paint is original and in excellent shape, interior is fine, the trap oxidizer was removed, has never been overheated and all vacuum lines replaced.

I have a friend who referred me to this site for some good information, which I have found invaluable. My questions are as follows:

1. What would a fair price be? It has now exceeded my max bid and I don't want to pay too much. $10.5k? $12k?

2. Keeping in mind, I will be buying it sight unseen, what are some additional questions I can ask?

3. Other than the Trap Ox, head gaskets, and steering, what else are the problem areas of this model?

If this one get away, does anyone know of a similar car out there that is in nice shape. I don't mind paying more for a solid car. Also, I like the updated look of the 86 and 87 SDL's, but if they are more problematic, I would be willing to purchase a nice 83-85 SD.


Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Lance Allison
98 VW Jetta TDI, 170,000 miles
2-91 Cadillacs
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2001, 06:49 PM
steve hutson
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Lance,
The only real suggestion I can make is to take the car to an independent shop (not the one that has done all the work on the car) and pay for them to go over everything.
I bought a dealer maintained car that had the trap oxidizer removed that had exhaust leaks from every connection due to loose bolts and nuts. Someone also broke off an allen wrench in a bolt that holds the oil supply line to the turbo, and kinked the oil line itself , and left if for me the unwary buyer to discover! Happily it is all fixed now after 10 hours in the garage(I'm slow). Don't
be afraid to get one of these cars because they are great, just try to do your checking before the fact. Good luck
Steve
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2001, 07:08 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
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Intellichoice lists the wholesale on this car with this mileage as $5700, the Retail as $9750. Kelly Blue Book shows the retail as $10,425, and states:
"Suggested retail represents the price a dealership might ask for this make and model vehicle. This represents a fully reconditioned vehicle in excellent condition with a clean title history. This retail price is not a trade-in or private-party value, but rather assumes that a dealer has absorbed the cost of making the vehicle ready for sale, reconditioning, advertising, sales commissions, arranging for financing and insurance and standing behind the vehicle for any mechanical or safety problems."

A private party may not stand behind a problem, whereas a dealer has some liability. I personally wouldn't pay close to $10,000 from a private party unless MY tech said it was perfect. It is probably a good car, but the price may not be so great, IMHO
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
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  #4  
Old 04-15-2001, 09:57 PM
CJ CJ is offline
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Lance,
I personally do not like buying anything before I get to look at every facet. I do not care how low the price is, etc. I would take your time. I am in Baltimore and I see diesels for sale in The Baltimore Sun all the time. You can check them out on-line at SUNSPOT.NET
If you find one that sounds good and it is close by, I would be happy to look at it for you. I used to wholesale high end cars for many years and consider myself to be very picky.
By the way, if this car has the original spare, why does it have "LF" (left front) on it and a used dust shield on it? The rear left back-up lense looks dirty, perhaps this diesle smokes a bit more than your average diesel. I read this guys ad and I just get a funny feeling. Is he trying to prove some thing by letting us know he has two other of the same cars and a Lexus.
My advice, CAUTION!!
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2001, 03:27 PM
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Location: SW Chicago Suburbs, IL
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Thanks for the links. I actually found a really nice one doctor-owned 1987 300SDL on the Autotrader site.

It has around 230k miles, but has all service recs from when new, the window sticker, stamped books, owner's ID plate, etc. I looked through some of the service history. Recent service (<50k miles) included a new transmission, new head and related gaskets, timing chain and related parts, and AC work among several other things. These things alone were almost as much as the asking price of the car. Also has less than 500 miles on new Michelin tires.

Went and looked at it the other day and will probably be picking it up in the next few days.





[Edited by Lance Allison on 04-21-2001 at 02:35 PM]
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Lance Allison
Lance@LanceAllison.com

Sold: 1987 MB 300SDL, 320k miles, Astral Silver, Blue Leather, all books and records from day one.

Totalled: 1998 VW Jetta TDI, 488k miles, Classic Green/Gray Leather, loaded, E-Codes, "Slightly" modded, "Slightly" faster than stock, arrived 11/07/1997.

MBCA Member, Chicago Region
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2001, 11:55 AM
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Buying a car at ebay would make me uneasy..be careful
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2001, 03:14 AM
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87' 300SDL

Another thing to look for in purchasing a SDL or SEL is the rear end of the brake support bushings (front suspension). The brake support rods angle back from the lower ball joints (front wheel) towards the center of the car just below the transmission shifter. S class cars are heavy and do eventually wear out suspension parts. The brake support bushings are usally the first to go. The front end will clunk over speed bumps, clunk at initial brake application, and cause wheel vibrations at higher speeds. Your looking at close to $1000 for a full front end overhaul, dubble that number from the dealer.
If your going to spend $10,000, it better be showroom.
The 300SDL is a very nice car. I've got 270,000 miles, my interior is near perfect, with the 6 cylinder it does 30mpg in town, and 34mpg on the road. It starts at first crank, burns no engine oil, and only blows smoke if the fuel filters are due for a change.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2001, 10:39 AM
Icesailor
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When I was looking for my car I found AutoTrader had many more cars listed and that they were much more reasonably priced, and there is no one in the wings popping bogus bids in to inflate the selling price. I looked mainly at the for sale by owner cars and had great luck. I found that many of the people I called did not know that when they put an ad in the AutoTrader it went on the net, most thought it only was in the local ads. Good luck.

Rick
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2001, 10:44 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
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"If this one get away, does anyone know of a similar car out there that is in nice shape."

You could just pick one up right here in this shop.

The 1987 300SDL sounds like a good find. Prejudice has it that if its owned by a Doctor, its bound to be good value.

But I'd be pretty careful if it was a lawyer's 300SDL

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126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2001, 10:51 AM
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Well, I used the Autotrader internet site and found one. It's an 87 300SDL with 230k miles. It was owned by a doctor and was serviced exclusively at the dealer it was bought from or at an import repair center. Came with all the records and has had much work over the last two or three years. A new transmission, AC, front and rear suspension work ($$$), timing chain(50k ago)), and a new head were some of the things that were done.

The color is Astral Silver with blue leather and has brand new Michelin Pilot tires on freshly refinished factory alloys.

Anyway, thanks for the guidance. I've had it just over a week and love it. I'm certain this car will be a nice addition to the stable.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2001, 11:03 AM
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Congratulations Lance, and welcome to the shop.

I'm sure we'd be hearing more of your stories and experiences along the way as we ride this journey together.

Wishing you well.
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126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2001, 12:46 PM
steve hutson
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Buyer beware! My wagon had two previous owners, both doctors, and it was trashed! Not that doctors trash cars, but be careful of any claim that hasn't anything to do with the actual condition of the car. "Little old lady owned", "highway miles", "babied" come to mind though there are many more. Nobody ever claims "owned by a burnt out 9 to 5er", or something more closely resembling the truth!
I might, having determined that the car was in fact pristine with genuine books and records, consider the professional services of the doctor! Good luck.
Steve








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  #14  
Old 05-03-2001, 01:40 AM
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I am certain the previous owner's claims were legitimate, as we met face to face prior to the purchase. Also, all the service recs had his name with the "MD" after it. I made the buy from the owner himself, rather than through a dealer or broker.

Hopefully, the car was a wise buy. I planned on putting some work and money in the car and the price I bought it for allows even more cash for such things.

Thanks for the advice!!
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