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Old 05-30-2013, 09:27 PM
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Are these cars a labor of love? Help decide if I keep my 300D

Just want to get some feedback to help me decide if I keep my 1975 300D.

First the pros:

The car has no rust. The paint is almost perfect. The engine and tranny are good as far as I know. I like the old diesel sound.

Now the cons:

The door locks leak and that means a big vacuum job. I certainly will not be ripping apart the doors to fix the problem. The AC compressor does not work. Don't know why. It needs a new AC switch vacuum valve at the very least. It needs about $1200 in upholstery stuffing. The washer nozzles are plugged. The fuel sender is shot. It is missing the wood veneer that goes on the dash and the insert on the top of the dash vent.

I like this car as far as cars go. But I don't care to work on cars in my spare time. Nor do I want to spend money on old cars that can never be recouped.

So the question is, are these old cars places where money goes to die? Is a 40 year-old Mercedes a car for a guy with significant disposable income to throw at it? Is it just a hobby?

If I fix what it needs, is it likely to need other expensive repairs down the road?

As a point of comparison, (not that I intend to use an old Mercedes as a daily driver) I bought a used 2003 Chevy Venture four years ago for work with 65,000 kms on it. I have driven it for another 100,000 kms in the last four years and have put $0 in it. 100,000 kms for Zero dollars. Gas, oil, wiper blades and some bulbs.

Frankly, that's the kind of car I like the most. Compared to that, where does a 1975 300D fall on the kilometer per dollar continuum?

I like my dad's old Mercedes. But I don't like it enough to put up with problems, especially problems that cost money. That being the case, should it stay or should it go?

Thanks
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:55 AM
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Are these cars a labor of love?

YES. You either DIY, or you're rich. (I DIY, for the record)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post
Just want to get some feedback to help me decide if I keep my 1975 300D.

First the pros:

The car has no rust. The paint is almost perfect. The engine and tranny are good as far as I know. I like the old diesel sound.
Awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post

Now the cons:

The door locks leak and that means a big vacuum job. I certainly will not be ripping apart the doors to fix the problem.
Door locks are fairly simple, once you understand "the system" and that the leak is likely just one actuator. The lines run under the carpet, and when you find the junction blocks by the front seats, a Mity-Vac can be used to actuate/test individual lines to isolate the troublesome one. Unfortunately, you seem resigned to not doing it. No biggie, not everyone can immerse themselves in the labor of love.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post
The AC compressor does not work. Don't know why. It needs a new AC switch vacuum valve at the very least. It needs about $1200 in upholstery stuffing. The washer nozzles are plugged. The fuel sender is shot. It is missing the wood veneer that goes on the dash and the insert on the top of the dash vent.

I like this car as far as cars go. But I don't care to work on cars in my spare time. Nor do I want to spend money on old cars that can never be recouped.

So the question is, are these old cars places where money goes to die? Is a 40 year-old Mercedes a car for a guy with significant disposable income to throw at it? Is it just a hobby?
Spending money wisely is rewarded by a car that lasts forever; spending it wrongly, well, yeah, they become a money pit that gets sent to a few more buyers before being scrapped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post
If I fix what it needs, is it likely to need other expensive repairs down the road?

As a point of comparison, (not that I intend to use an old Mercedes as a daily driver) I bought a used 2003 Chevy Venture four years ago for work with 65,000 kms on it. I have driven it for another 100,000 kms in the last four years and have put $0 in it. 100,000 kms for Zero dollars. Gas, oil, wiper blades and some bulbs.

Frankly, that's the kind of car I like the most. Compared to that, where does a 1975 300D fall on the kilometer per dollar continuum?
Oh dear. One is close to 40 years old, built with technology a decade older. The other is a modern rolling appliance that does everything you desire in a vehicle except have sentimental value and the ability of turning heads in a parking lot, yours included.

My W108 280SE is older, built with even older technology, and I would put it at $50-100/1000 miles driven, all in, except for oil/gas, more or less. That's parts, upkeep, greasing its 140 zerk fittings, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post
I like my dad's old Mercedes. But I don't like it enough to put up with problems, especially problems that cost money. That being the case, should it stay or should it go?

Thanks
Find it a buyer who can give it the attention it needs, will keep in in good nick, and you can enjoy the 2003 Chevy Venture without worrying about the Benz. The Venture will serve you well, it may go another 100,000 or 200,000 miles, you may get a grille badge for that, and oil, bulbs, wipers, starter, alternator, etc., are likely all you'll need to put in to it. Oh, gas too. Once things start going wrong with it, get a 2006 Chevy Venture. It will run another couplahunnert thousand miles.

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Old 05-31-2013, 06:25 AM
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Easy.

Sell it, preferably to someone who will be happy to lavish attention and money on it.

Jim
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:11 PM
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I hate the new car to my old Mercedes comparison thread....yes that new car is not costing you anything yet.....but in 20 years you will not want to see the repair bill and that's if the electronics portion can even be repaired. And will that new car even make it to 40 years? I would say sell the Mercedes and keep the new car but you may soon regret no putting money into it....you have to also look at, that the upholstery has held up for 40 years....once repaired....it will also hold up another 40...
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:45 PM
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Be great to see some pics of the car - can you post some for us?
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  #6  
Old 05-31-2013, 06:11 PM
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Cooljjay, I will not be holding on to the Venture much longer in any case. But my point is that it is a cheap car to fix and ultra reliable. I wouldn't want to drive across the country in my old Mercedes. I would be worried it would break down, and what garage that the tow truck would take it to could fix it? lol. I'd be so SOL I'd might as well shoot myself.

Vintage European cars are not for somebody of meager financial means, such as myself. Would love to keep it if I was well off.

@MARK, yes I will post some photos. I'll take some this weekend if the thunderstorms hold off. I am just in the process of putting the interior back together, so don't expect a finished product on the inside.
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post

Vintage European cars are not for somebody of meager financial means, such as myself. Would love to keep it if I was well off.
An incredibly lucid thought.

Keep the low cost car and drive it until your financial status will allow you the pleasure of having a "fun" car.

Trying to maintain an older car without proper funds can be an exercise in frustration. If you're handy, it keeps you from doing anything else that might get you into trouble.....

Remember Queen's song; "I'm in love with my car.".
"Told my girlfriend I'd have to forget her, gotta get me a new carburetor.".


Jim
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimFreeh View Post
An incredibly lucid thought.


Trying to maintain an older car without proper funds can be an exercise in frustration.


Jim
That's where I'm at now. I am handy, I've done a lot on the car already, but a lot of the work is still beyond me, and then there's the cost of parts. It's just frustration. I like to excise frustration out of my life. I already got rid of two project cars in the last 12 years, a 1971 Datsun 240Z, and a 1979 Fiat X1/9. Loved both of them, but they went to better homes and I breathed a sigh of relief both times. The only reason I have this car is because my dad wanted me to take it off his hands. He first gave it to my brother, and he didn't want it. I think he tried giving it away to some other relatives, but no luck. So I ended up with it. He actually tried to give it away to a mechanic friend of ours who had his own shop, and he didn't want it, either. To him it was Chinese.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:15 PM
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Cooljjay, I will not be holding on to the Venture much longer in any case. But my point is that it is a cheap car to fix and ultra reliable. I wouldn't want to drive across the country in my old Mercedes.
Boy isn't that the opposite of most people. Just because something is old doesn't make it unreliable. In Africa and others third world countries these cars are still going strong and being driven in conditions you would never want to see a newer car in.

Since I started driving like 10 years ago, all I have driven has been vintage cars....my daily driver use to be a 1971 dodge swinger. I then went to something better with gas mileage...a 1981 Mercedes...now I drive the 1978 everywhere....so far with in the last few months I have put close to 4000 miles on it....ran low on oil twice and my engine is very tired...eventually I plan on driving around the us in it....going to Florida and up to Alaska...

I got sort of a rare disease, lost everything and this Mercedes is all that I have left.....so I plan on both of us staying together till the end. Granted they do need attention, but they are a very well oiled machine once you learn the normal bits to keep an eye on. Granted they are slow and you will get an evil stare from others but that's half the fun!
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:17 PM
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Just because something is old doesn't make it unreliable. In Africa and others third world countries these cars are still going strong and being driven in conditions you would never want to see a newer car in.

I would say with cars, old is much more unreliable than modern, all things being equal. Yes, I know that in places like Egypt old Mercedes are still used, but over there they have so many of them, they can get parts for next to nothing and the guys to fix them also cost nothing. And in those parts of the world, they don't have to worry too much about -20 mornings and snow and salt. lol. There, an old Mercedes is not a luxury. Here it is. Parts starts to become the Achilles heel of any old car, but especially with imports.
Sorry to hear about your health and financial problems.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:51 PM
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Thanks!

Oh yes, I forgot your in Canada and the cold....plus salt....I have a friend in Michigan who wants me to come stay up there and I told him provide me with a heated garage and I will see :-)

Well the plus, is you can use the car as a generator in the winter and then it will be nice and warm....so no worries about cold starting
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:13 PM
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I was just watching a few youtube videos from Kent Bergsma He sells DIY tools and information to fix Mercedes cars. The problem is that even if I went the DIY route, there is still lots of money to be spent just on equipping myself with the all the necessary tools. I know that my injectors are bad because I am getting smoking. So in addition to everything else, it looks like I have to replace those as well. I can see this car needing at least $3500 to get in decent road worthy condition.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 1975300D View Post
Just want to get some feedback to help me decide if I keep my 1975 300D.

First the pros:

The car has no rust. The paint is almost perfect. The engine and tranny are good as far as I know. I like the old diesel sound.

Now the cons:

The door locks leak and that means a big vacuum job. I certainly will not be ripping apart the doors to fix the problem. The AC compressor does not work. Don't know why. It needs a new AC switch vacuum valve at the very least. It needs about $1200 in upholstery stuffing. The washer nozzles are plugged. The fuel sender is shot. It is missing the wood veneer that goes on the dash and the insert on the top of the dash vent.

I like this car as far as cars go. But I don't care to work on cars in my spare time. Nor do I want to spend money on old cars that can never be recouped.

So the question is, are these old cars places where money goes to die? Is a 40 year-old Mercedes a car for a guy with significant disposable income to throw at it? Is it just a hobby?

If I fix what it needs, is it likely to need other expensive repairs down the road?

As a point of comparison, (not that I intend to use an old Mercedes as a daily driver) I bought a used 2003 Chevy Venture four years ago for work with 65,000 kms on it. I have driven it for another 100,000 kms in the last four years and have put $0 in it. 100,000 kms for Zero dollars. Gas, oil, wiper blades and some bulbs.

Frankly, that's the kind of car I like the most. Compared to that, where does a 1975 300D fall on the kilometer per dollar continuum?

I like my dad's old Mercedes. But I don't like it enough to put up with problems, especially problems that cost money. That being the case, should it stay or should it go?

Thanks
So far, most of your gripes don't sound like major issues. Does the Mercedes start, run & drive reliably? Any hassles from your local safety or smog police?

Otherwise, try to clean those washer-nozzles.
Then, if you can't afford re-stuffing, maybe a couple used front seats from a later model W123 would work.
Or just add padding under (or over) your currrent upholstery.
Hide it all under some sheepskin seat-covers.

If the vacuum-locks are dead, is this an urgent crisis? I've had many old cars that didn't even have power-locks. Live without them.
Same with the AC. It's not like you're in Florida or Texas.

If you already have a modern, hopefully airconditioned, 'appliance' to drive when the roads are salty, or when there's an oppressive heat-wave, save the Mercedes as your 'nice-weather' second car, or occasional backup if your Chevy gets out of order.

So far as the Mercedes needing expensive repairs down the road - maybe not much more likely than a 2003 Chevy Venture, which I don't consider a paragon of reliability.

Now if your 'appliance' was a Toyota, and it simply costs too much to hang on to a spare car, that puts a different spin on this situation.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Last edited by Mark DiSilvestro; 06-01-2013 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:10 PM
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NO, my gripes are not major. But it all adds up to a lot of frustration. right now the car is not running. It hasn't been on the road in many years. So all of this is hoping that the car runs okay. And I know it won't because it most likely needs new injectors.

To add to my list, I just discovered that there is major rust perforation on the rear left floor pan and a small spot on the front right pan. My dad undercoated the car really well, but the rust attacked the floor pan from the top. Moisture got in under the rubberized coating and did its thing.

As far as my chevy, I have owned three large chevy vehicles in my life, and they were all virtually bullet proof. I beat on them, and beat on them, put no money into them, no maintenance, and they kept on going and going and going. I had one Chevy Astro van with almost 500,000 kms before I sold it. lol.

The Germans make advanced cars, but not cars that you can beat on. Kind of like the Tiger tank. Meanest tank of the war, except for when it was constantly breaking down in the field. My philosophy with cars is that if it ain't broken, don't bother with it. Which means I never bother with "scheduled maintenance". Expensive European cars don't tolerate that.

Anyway, thanks for the input so far, guys.
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:41 PM
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After reading and getting to know your mantra on maintenance, I would say that a sophisticated car like a Mercedes diesel (tongue and cheek) is not a good fit for you. Might want to avoid the headache and sell to a fanatic who appreciates German engineering and the importance of proper maintenance.
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