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  #1  
Old 03-15-2012, 03:56 AM
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W115.117 240D insights

Hi
I've owned some W123s but the W115.117 240D is an entirely new thing to me
I was wondering if any owners could chime in with their experience/opinions both good and bad
I'd like to be able to do some towing with it about 1400lbs and not great distances
Are they reliable if maintained etc?
I don't care about speed..in fact I prefer not to get speeding tickets!

Also what are common problems/areas of neglect?

Thanks a lot
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2012, 01:35 PM
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I will chime in. I owned a 75 240D with a manual tranny. I got it with about 100,000 miles and sold it with 360,000. It still ran great when I sold it. I never did much other than oil changes and 2 clutches. The main problem is rust. Trunk, firewall, floorboards, quarter panels etc. It was slow as hell, but I towed a small sailboat all over the country with it. The boat, trailer and gear weighed about 1000 pounds (snipe, lido 14, or a laser). It towed the boats just fine and got great gas mileage (~30MPG). The AC/defroster fans tend to go bad and are difficult/expensive to replace. Mine had manual windows/locks and a manual sunroof. I gather the electric windows tend to give people problems. The manual sunroof would slam shut when I braked hard (keep your hands out of the sunroof). They are suprisingly fun cars to drive. Slow yes, but they handle well. The seat construction (springs) are better than the 123's, but the padding becomes dry, leaves piles of dust under the seats and gradually becomes uncomfortable. The suspension springs seam to last forever, but the various bushings need to be replaced every 15 years or so. My rear defogger quit working, I never looked into why.
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2012, 05:35 PM
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Thanks,that's helpful stuff
Neat to know you did a lot of towing with it
Was it front floorboards that went or the rear ones like the W123s
Or both
If manuals are slow as hell I imagine autos are than slower than hell!
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2012, 05:57 PM
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On that car my front floorboards rusted first and almost completely. The rear floorboards started to rust from the inside out where the rear bench seat support is attached to the floorboard. The car was originally sold in the northeast and was a complete rust bucket.

It was a great car, but ultimately the rust did it in.
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2012, 08:34 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: southern CA
Posts: 367
I have a 115.117 which is slowly being brought back to daily driver status. Like you I have owned several 123's but this is my first 115. Here are some things I have noticed:
  • Not many examples at the pick n pull yards.
  • People who know the 115 are scarce compared to 123 knowledge base, but this sub forum has been really rich with 115 info.
  • Parts in general are more expensive than the 123 and on at least one instance so far been hard to source.
  • As mentioned, the car rides great!

I love the car and hope it will serve me for a few years as a daily until I get the bug for something else. I hope you get a 115, the more of us there are the better. Plus they just look great!
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  #6  
Old 03-15-2012, 10:37 PM
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I agree there's less interest in the /8 but I think it is a somewhat forgotten but unique car that makes it early enough to have chrome rings around everything but still have that understated German look. Ergonomically I like it more than the W123. It has much more visibility all the way around. The chassis is not as stiff but if it's not rusty in the pans, trunk and frame, it is a solid car all around. Cost is probably going to be slightly more since parts are still readily available but as aforementioned just more scarce at the junkyards. I can't imagine towing anything behind a car that already takes 25 seconds to hit 60mph but if you're in a more rural area where people aren't trying to run you down then that application would be just fine.
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2012, 11:22 PM
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My W115 is my first Mercedes. I hadn't done much research prior to buying it and was anxious to have any old diesel Merc.

There aren't too many classic diesel Benzes here in WV, or the mid-Atlantic for that matter. So I pretty much jumped on it when it came up for sale because it happened to be the only locally available diesel Benz in good condition.

Having said that, I wish that I could have have held out for a W123.

It's not that I hate the car. As a matter of fact, I've grown to love it. It's not even a bad car once you get used to the quirks (ie. aforementioned slowness). However, sourcing parts and, more importantly, knowledge, has been problematic. The only resources have been this board and, thankfully, a set of MB shop manuals that came with the car. I don't even have the benefit of local expertise. The relatively local MB indy (relative = 100 miles away) hasn't worked on many W115s in recent decades. As a matter of fact, he loaded me up with a box of old parts saying that I was the only one he knew with one still on the road and that I'd need them more than he.

I've also had to throw quite a bit of money at it to get it back into semi-respectable shape ($4000 in body work alone). That's more than the car's worth. New tires, shocks, brakes, stereo, injection pump, valve seals, and timing chain put my "investment" over $10k. I've seen mint W124s and some Pontons go for less.

So, from several angles I would have been much better off going with a newer car. Perhaps if I lived in MB owner and salvage yard dense areas such as So Cal or Florida I'd have a different opinion.

Again, it's not a horrible choice for a car. You *can* live with it...love it even, especially given your previous ownership experience. You already know what you're in for. But if you were a first time buyer and didn't have a bead on a mint condition example, I'd submit that you look elsewhere.
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2012, 01:08 AM
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Well
I generally do my own work (except for exhaust or other large unruly things like alignment, tire changing)
So I'd mostly be throwing parts money at it.
It definitely needs some power steering pump work as it leaks quite a bit.
The body seems sound except for underneath the passenger side headlight/turn signal where it's rotted (still there but poke through it rotted) The floorboards are okay ( I had a 82 300D turbo where I had to build a new drivers side floorboard and seat mount out of 1950s organ chassiss and pop rivets so I know what to look for) also it leaks into the trunk a lot and there's some evidence of surface rust and a little soft spot on one side.

Anybody else have experience towing with these cars?
My boat is a a full keel 15' double ender that weighs 950 lbs
I imagine the trailer weighs in a 400-600 lbs as it's pretty sturdy
Here it is being towed by my now junked 1980 300D non turbo
Which towed it no problem
Attached Thumbnails
W115.117 240D insights-mercedes-boat.jpg   W115.117 240D insights-launch.jpg  
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2012, 12:40 PM
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Diesels have a tone of torque, but not as much power. In general terms that means they are not fast but can pull a lot. I don't think the 240 would be that much slower pulling the boat than it is normally. I would not tow with an auto transmission though. The auto tranny will get hot under the extra load. The 114 and 115 came with several different radiators. Some with internal transmission coolers, some with external. I suppose you could retrofit a bigger or better tranny cooler,. Even if you do that I think the already suspect auto tranny will give you trouble.
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  #10  
Old 03-16-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diametricalbenz View Post
The chassis is not as stiff
I am curious why you say that. I don't have any experience with the 123's but I have noticed that when I have my 114 on 4 jack stands on a level floor. If I have one jack stand set one setting below the others the 114 is so stiff that it does not settle or flex and the car will teater on three jack stands. Jack one corner of the car up even the slightest bit and it ballances on the jack and the diagonally opposite jack stand. Almost no flex in the chassis at all.
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  #11  
Old 03-16-2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalbenz View Post
Jack one corner of the car up even the slightest bit and it ballances on the jack and the diagonally opposite jack stand. Almost no flex in the chassis at all.
It is the difference between that "slightest bit of lifting" when comparing MB car eras. My guess is that if one could see the difference in stiffness, you have chassis problems.

I believe he was referring to the "increase" in chassis stiffness (from one era of Benz to another) which is measured in lbft/degree (force needed per degree of twist) and we can't really tell by eye unless comparing really disparate vehicles (say an MG TC and a Benz 124 or Cabriolet/Sedan versions of the same car) since a car twisting an extra degree but requiring another 1000-2000lbft to get that twist wouldn't be evident. When the 123 came out, Benz touted the incredible increase in chassis stiffness, and then when the 124 came out, again, they touted another incredible increase in chassis stiffness. Somewhere, engineers were celebrating unseen degrees of movement (or lack thereof).

Coincidentally, I also have a very unstiff-chassis Mercedes, by design: a 1966 Unimog 411. Its chassis has triangulated mounts and circular floating cross members to allow for torsional twist. When I get back to see it, I will try the jack stand test to see how it does.
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Looking for:

- front right (passenger side) bumper over rider (upper piece) for W108 in exc condition.

- some sanity (preferably in good condition or better)

- info on M130 oil cooler hose end threads (I want to relocate my cooler from side-of-the-rad)
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  #12  
Old 03-16-2012, 01:48 PM
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Got it, thanks for explaining. When I think about it you are correct when I put my car on jack stands there is very little twisting force. It makes sense that the newer design would be stiffer and it makes sense that I would not be able to measure the stiffness of my car with any accuracy.
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  #13  
Old 03-16-2012, 05:07 PM
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I've always found it interesting to observe the door closing characteristics of cars when jacked up...that, you can see.

Some older cars, you can't close their doors if you open them while they are jacked up or on a lift. The openings change shape that much.

My little 72 Fiat 500L is that way. Even though it is a two door sedan (I LOL at the DMV's classification of this car) with a hardtop, it has a canvas folding roof panel that makes it quite twisty. Doors won't close again if I have it with just one wheel is lifted off the ground, so now I do all servicing "in halves" either lifting both side wheels or both on one end. I have even been tempted to roll it over on to a mattress to service the underside.
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WTB:

Looking for:

- front right (passenger side) bumper over rider (upper piece) for W108 in exc condition.

- some sanity (preferably in good condition or better)

- info on M130 oil cooler hose end threads (I want to relocate my cooler from side-of-the-rad)
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  #14  
Old 03-17-2012, 03:28 AM
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Location: brisbane,Qld.Australia
Posts: 1,992
Both W115 and W123 are great cars but I like the W123's front end more,less moving parts ( same steering box) and easier to keep in good condition But other than that they are the same car mechanically.
If you keep the Oil changed ,coolant and gear/diff oil maintained the car will reward you with great service for as long as you want it to. A guy here was telling us recently about his family 240TD (station wagon not turbo) which would be loaded with the family and all the stuff for a vacation including a boat on a trailer behind. On the long uphill stretches of the freeway he would down to 30mph in 2nd and the E/flashers on but it never hurt the car.
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  #15  
Old 03-19-2012, 07:30 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 79
I like the 123s too...in the past 4 months I've had 3!
Only one now..perhaps the wrong one..grrr

Out of curiousity
I have a few questions for you 115.117 owners:

What would make a nasty clunky scrapey sound on the rear passenger side while making a sharpish turn?
The spare seemed bolted down tight though there was a hubcap loose in the trunk.

Also do these cars typically have a exhausty sort of rattle in the front end(underneath ) when moving. It was a higher pitched metallic rattle

And are these usually louder than your 123 type diesels, this one seemed louder...a side effect of too much veggie oil in it's previous diet perhaps?
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:30 AM
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