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Old 04-14-2003, 01:15 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Phoenix Arizona. Ex Durban R.S.A.
Posts: 5,481
Advice on an old Diesel Purchase

Greetings folks. My name is Peter Collingwood. Emigrated to the USA from South Africa in 2000.

I owned three Mercedes in succession back in SA. You can see pics of them on my site.

Since emigrating to the USA fate has intervened in all my attempts to acquire another and I'm starting to get desperate now that I've been cold Turkey for nearly four years.

My financial situation is such that I have to consider an older car and because of their longevity (and emissions issues with older gasoline cars in Phoenix generally) I'm considering a diesel. My previous Mercedes were all gas cars but while I'm aware diesel's are sluggish in comparison I think I can live with that.

I hope I can tap into the collective wisdom of owners of old diesels on this list. Though I like the Fintails I have my doubts about a 190D or 200D being viable daily drivers in todays traffic so I'm considering the 220D and 240D 114 series.

While I know these cars will all be relatively slow what I'd like to know is wether they are suitable for commuting in modern traffic or wether I should not consider anything earlier than a 123 240 or 300D?

I've seen a few 220D auto's for sale here in Phoenix but never a 220D manual. Did such a car exist? I suspect it would be slightly peppier in town than the auto version.

Any thougths or ideas would be much appreciated.

- Peter

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Old 04-14-2003, 01:45 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: TN
Posts: 303
I used to drive a 1972 220D manual and I've driven in the Phoenix/Tempe area with a different car than previously mentioned. The 220 was a great car, (I wish I had another one !) but I don't think it would be the best for that area. They are slow even with a manual tranny. I would suggest a 300D or SD. Wish you the best with your search.
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Old 04-14-2003, 10:42 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: RI
Posts: 1,040
Hi, my 2 cents, I'm driving an 83 123 300D turbo. It's been fine on the highway and in Boston traffic. I forget I'm even driving a diesel now. Plenty quick enough and cheap to drive and keep in decent repair.
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Old 04-14-2003, 11:38 AM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a
...and another W123 suggestion...

an '80-'83 240D. Parts abound, somewhat plentiful, and still a practical daily driver (and likely what you would find in SA or much of the rest of the world).

Think these cars have another 10 years before a lot of age "issues" catch up with you.

The Star, magazine of the Mercedes Benz Club of America has a good classified section...I'd join and start checking there for a candidate.

Best of luck
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Old 04-14-2003, 12:23 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Posts: 180
I live down in Tucson with similar crazy traffic--a turbo W123 will be the most power/reliability for the money. You are kind not to mention that I also drive a 60 BHP W115--even this old one passes AZ emissions. BTW, it was my grandfather's car--he hailed from Potchefstroom. Good luck in your search, Andrew Seidel.
86 560SEC
85 500SEC Lorinser
83 300D Turbo
75 240D
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Old 04-14-2003, 06:14 PM
Mark Tamburrino
Posts: n/a
A nice collection of cars you had. The first I've heard
of a manual trans breaking. 'The grass is always
greener on the neighbors lawn' comes to mind.
I regret buying my 82' 300sd because the auto
trans is governed by vacuum and it is difficult
(for me) to troubleshoot. I wish I would have
held out for the many manual trans models
I have seen since on ebay and local paper.
I would stick to a manual trans, but don't
pass a great deal on the automatic if you
are fortunate to be first in line when
somebody offers one for cheap.
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Old 04-14-2003, 06:58 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Eastern TN
Posts: 20,819
Seems to me that 123 turbodiesels and 126 Diesels can be had for as little as 110 and 115 Diesels in the same condition. You'll have your hands full with weekend projects to get the interior and AC in shape but rust shouldn't be a problem in AZ.

If you want/have to shift, the 123 240D is the most common MT MB available.

You'll have too much competition from forum members when those elusive Euro or converted 300Dts and 300SDs with MT hit the market. None were offered by MB USA.

That said, maybe there's an age limit on the cars that are emissions tested so an older Diesel might be the way to go. Or move to California where Diesels aren't tested.

91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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Old 04-14-2003, 07:42 PM
Holson Adi's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,561
After driving my car for a long time and having driven many many many other cars, I really think the 300D Turbos have enough power both outside of the city (mixed/highway) and in the city (stop and go with lots and lots of VERY aggressive drivers)

More powerful cars usually mean that I am less cautious when attempting certain maneuvers.
2008 BMW 335i Coupe
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Old 04-14-2003, 08:19 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Eastern TN
Posts: 20,819

This car might still be available

I logged some time behind the wheel of a 78 200 MT (M115). A 300Dt AT will enjoy the tail lights of the 200 up to freeway speeds then the 200 will enjoy the extra chrome on the 300D tail lights beyond freeway speeds. A 300Dt MT is a different story.

91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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Old 04-14-2003, 10:54 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Wakefield, RI
Posts: 2,145
I vote for a 82-85 300D. Enough power, comfortable, fairly easy to fix and still fairly plentiful. Expect to spend $500-$1000 for a fixer-upper/beater or $2-$3000+ for a nice on with a few small issues. All the advice you need to keep it running is right here.... RT

ps. A good friend of mine hails from Durban.

When all else fails, vote from the rooftops!
84' Mercedes Benz 300D Anthracite/black, 171K
03' Volkswagen Jetta TDI blue/black, 93K
93' Chevrolet C2500HD ExCab 6.5TD, Two-tone blue, 252K
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