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Old 10-17-2001, 09:50 PM
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To diesel or not to diesel?

I am trying to decide between two cars that have found, and not looked at yet. Both are for under a grand. The first is a 78 300D 123 that has 135K and the owner claims to have taken good care of it. The second is a 66 200 4-cyl that the owner claims only has 80K on it but it was missing the head when he bought it 2 years ago. Since he has found a head, had new valves put in, and all the extra parts. He just doesn't have time to work on this car.
I have only seen pictures of these cars and the 66 looks to be in better condition (he claims no rust anywhere). I don't have a lot of money to throw at an extra car right now but I really want a project. Does anyone have any suggestions about which one they would get?
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Last edited by s_kelly; 10-19-2001 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 10-18-2001, 07:49 AM
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I guess part of this is my own personal opinion and taste.

For me, there is no difficulty in this decision whatsoever. To start with you're looking at TWO generations of difference in technology. I had a '59 finback sedan like the one in the picture for a short time while I lived in Germany in '69. It was okay as transportation, but not a very good driving or handling car, even for it's time. Add to that the fact that I think the finbacks are without a doubt the UGLIEST Benz ever put on the road.

The 123 on the other hand, again is two engineering generations of improvement over the finback. The 123 car is totally refined as compared to the finback. Also it sounds like the 300D is a running, well cared for car. If the 300D has been even barely well cared for, 135K would be low mileage.

That said, without seeing these two cars up close it's hard to really make an accurate assessment, but unless there is something really good about the finback and something really bad about the 123, I wouldn't give it another 30 seconds of thought, I'd go with the 123 in a heartbeat.

My $0.02,
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Old 10-19-2001, 05:26 PM
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78 300D

I am leaning towards the diesel and will look at it this weekend. Another concern of mine is that it is a 5 cylinder. Does any one have an opinion about this particular engine? Are parts available and are there any oddities about this engine that I should know about?
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Old 10-19-2001, 06:01 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 18,745
> Another concern of mine is that it is a 5 cylinder.

Are you concerned that there are too many or too few cylinders? Anyone who's spent time with the OM617 will swear it's the perfect number of cylinders for an engine

> Does any one have an opinion about this particular engine?

The only thing missing from a 78 300D is the turbocharger available in the 82-85 300Ds.

> Are parts available and are there any oddities about this
> engine that I should know about?

Parts are everywhere and no further than the FastLane button at the top of this screen. With a modicum of attention, they have a nasty habit of lasting forever. That's as odd as it gets.

If you're new to Diesels, it can take some doing to get them started in really cold weather. Nothing thinner oil, longer glow times and possibly a block heater can't fix. This engine requires valve adjustments every 15K miles and timing chain replacements every 100K - 150K miles. Neither job should cost more than what it costs to tune up a Honda.

91 300SE
81 300SD
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