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Old 12-06-2002, 10:28 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: CO
Posts: 30
buying 1st d: 123 or 124?

greetings all,

i am ready to take the plunge! i love my toyotas, volvos, and audis, but i'm ready for a diesel. and as you all know, when going diesel, go benz, right? I am really keen on the idea of converting the engine over to run on vegetable oil, which is not a difficult or expensive trick. anyway, i am thinking about a 300d or (preferably) a 300td, and i am trying to decide whether to look for a 123 or a 124. from what little i know about these cars, it seems like the trade-offs are about even. the 6-cylinders appear to have more power, but i know that parts for the the 5-cylinders are easier to come by (used that is). is one engine or chassis particularly more difficult to work on? i have never (been able to afford to have) had a mechanic do anything to my cars, so i am just thinking ahead. what do you gurus think? other questions: is the 87 3 liter turbo engine really better than other years? how hard is it to pop a 5-speed into a 300? can one use a 5-speed from any 190d? what is the output from the 5-cylinder engines? i have not been able to find this stat. Are there any other significant things I need to think about when making this kind of decision?any and all advice is appreciated. thanks much, guys!

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Old 12-06-2002, 10:31 AM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
I'm not a diesel expert, but from what I've read, the 240D is the most reliable MB to be had, without exception.

The biggest tradeoff is that it's slooowwwww...
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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Old 12-06-2002, 12:44 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 283
The 5 cyl turbodiesel (300's) are almost as reliable an engine as the 4-cyl. The 123's with the ACC all seem to have quirks, but I haven't had much bad luck with mine. The 6 cyl engine had head problems in some years, research that. But, having driven a few of the later 6's, they have a smoother and faster engine. I'd love one in my wagon.

The 123 is a heavier chassis than the 124. My tech says he prefers the 123 wagon to the 124: highway manners, winter driving, heavier feel. The diesel 124 wagons are hard to find, only made for 2 years I think.

The 123 has a slight edge in reliability. May not be an issue if you do all your own work. I'd stay with the 123 to avoid surprises. With two otherwise equal cars, each with no or little repair history, you are a bit safer with a 123. Otherwise find a 6-cyl with records, pick the right year(s) and go for it.

There have been a few 4-speeds (from 240's) transplanted into 300 5-cyls. The tranny from the 190 is not rated for the torque of the bigger engine, and I am not sure it bolts up at all. My guess is you have to go automatic in the 123-4 chasses. I have heard great things about the 190D, speed for one. They are small cars, and the later larger engined model seems to be a rocket. If you really want a diesel stick, that's your choice. But the MB automatics are fairly stout.

Not too many benzes disappoint. Ones you buy cheap cost you later, but they are all great cars. .
1985 300TD 4-speed 212K
1992 400E 343K
2001 E320 72K
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Old 12-06-2002, 03:08 PM
Fimum Fit
Posts: n/a
Veg oil experience indicates several things, not entirely consistent:

If you are chemically astute and can expect to produce ASTM quality biodiesel, then the later models are the way to go, because their hoses will be up to date on chemical resistance, etc., but if you are going to play around with SVO or WVO like I do, you need a car from 1985 or earlier to have the tough old Bosch injection pump which is resistant to varying viscosities, etc.
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