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Old 05-31-2002, 04:20 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 12,943
I wonder how you could drive it back and it needs a lot put into it before you can put it on the road?

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Old 05-31-2002, 05:16 PM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a
Seems I may have bought a lemon from a poster here...

Flew from Washington DC to Dallas to buy a 300CD which I drove back home over Memorial Day weekend. The car is very presentable, but my mechanics say it will need almost as much put into it as I paid for it ($5,500) before I can put it on the road, including extensive engine work TOTALLY unexpected. Brakes and other systems presented as in fine fettle also will need attention. I expected the car to need a few hundred dollars invested to take care of odds and ends, but NOTHING what I'm looking at.

I'm REALLY sick over this...awaiting details in writing from my garage.

What would you guys do?
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Old 05-31-2002, 05:37 PM
Jim B+
Posts: n/a
Here are the problems...

- #4 cylinder has very low compression (evident at idle); possible burnt valve, estimate $2,200 (car runs fine at speed, hence no hiway problems on trip back).

- upper control arms ($477); rear shocks ($276); front brake pads ($135); rear pads ($110); rear stabilizer link ($93); valve adjustment ($115).

Car was represented as a two-owner creampuff with under 150k on the odometer. NONE of this work was indicated as needing to be done, although I would expect to have to invest a few hundred no matter what the condition to correct small problems and pass inspections. Nor did I haggle over the price, which would have been fair had the car been as represented.

So, the "creampuff" has $2200 worth of engine work, plus another $1200+ miscelaneous mechanical before I can get it on the road. And this is from independent Benz mechanics who have worked for eight years on my cars and who cut me every possible bit of slack.

So, Brothers, how would you proceed?
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Old 05-31-2002, 05:57 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 12,943
I tend to feel the same way. I purchased a 300D with pretty much all the issues that you seem to have. I don't want to offend but I saw and knew the problems with mine prior to handing the guy the $$. Had to use the emergency brake to slow down and stop on the first trip home (about 5 miles).
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Old 05-31-2002, 06:19 PM
cth350's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 4,011
Yes, the prices quoted are on the high side, especially if you are handy and can do the work yourself. But if you can't, well, then that's what they are.

But, as you say, the car was represented as a cream puff and it sure isn't. I don't see any posts about how old the car is. If it's a late 80s model and the body is REALLY nice, then most likely the price is about right for a creampuff. If it's 70s or early 80s model, it would have to be pristine to be in that price range.

Having said that, you have to decide if you still want the car, or just want to negotiate the price to where it should have been. Contact the seller, if you haven't done so already and report that there are some issues to resolve. No need to be emotional about it (don't vent), just discuss the facts. If he tells you "too bad; you loose", then you have a problem which gets a different kind of solution than this.

If the seller is willing to listen and work with you, then get the valve adjustment done (like Bill said, someplace else so that you simply have a second, unbiased opinion). If there is an engine problem, then there is good reason to return the car or drastically reduce the price. If there isn't a real engine problem, then worry about the brakes and the suspension work. It might be advisable to split the cost with the seller on these.

Having said all that, brakes do wear out and valve adjustments must be done a regular basis. Did you get any maintenance records from the PO ? Did you get a mechanic to inspect the car before the sale ? Both are essential. It takes two people to make a deal. You didn't do the due diligence required on your end.

And finally, if the second opinion on the motor differs greatly from the first, then you should consider the value of the relationship you have with the first mechanic. At the very least, find out if that suspension work pricetag is based on dealer list price parts or more reasonable suppliers like the parts shop. He's not doing you any favors if he's going by the dealer list price.

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Old 05-31-2002, 09:21 PM
Registered Diesel Burner
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
Don't feel like we're trying to gang up against you or anything - I think people are posting in good will that things might not be as bad as you have been told by your mechanics.

I can tell you for sure that if you took the car to any Mercedes dealership in the DC Metro area, their quote by default will be "worst case". I have a 1987 300D that was diagnosed by an unmentionable DC area dealer for "possible cracked head" because it ran rough at startup idle and smoked a little during warmup. It was a bad glow plug. $10 to fix.

For one example, I put new rear stabilizer links on my '82 300D for under $10. EBay. They just bolt on, and the old ones were really worn out and making a terrible CLUNK when running over any kind of bump. I wish I could get work replacing those for $93 a set!

I'll bet a ton of people that have owned the old MB diesels never read their owner's manuals and never had any idea that the valves had to be manually adjusted. In fact I know one person who had never had their valves adjusted or glow plugs replaced. Getting that done was like getting a new car.

So, take your mechanic's evaluation with a grain of salt - they're in the business to find anything possible to repair on your car. And let me tell you, those bad $10 links in the back sound like about $500 of repairs easily.

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Old 06-01-2002, 09:12 AM
Posts: n/a
Take a car, especially an older Mercedes to a mechanic to check it out and most certainly you can be assured that he will find $2000 worth of repairs even before he has looked at it! This is most evident in the area of oil leaks. Even later model Mercedes cars have some normal leakage but take a 15 or 20 year old model and the mechanic just sees chaaa chinnng!!! I remember selling a real clean Ď78 240D I had (was asking $1500, cheap at the time) and taking it to this guys mechanic to check it out. He makes out a list of over $3000 of parts and labor it needs including a head gasket. I ask him, head gasket??? did he do a compression test? he said no, we always replace the head gasket for that oil leak. So the buyer calls me that night with the usual: itís gonna need this, itís gonna need that, will you take $200 for it? Now I really want to mess with this jerk so I tell him, the car needs a lot of work and I wouldnít feel right selling it to him for $200 the way it is and to let me at least get the brake pads replaced before letting him have it for $200. I can almost see the drool running down his chin. He keeps calling back every other day asking if the car is ready, I keep blowing him off (all the while having sold it the next day for the full asking price to a guy who had it checked out by a mechanic familiar with older Mercedes) for 2 weeks and eventually tell him I couldnít live with myself selling him such a ďproblemĒ car and that I donated it to get the full value tax deduction. I guess mechanics canít see adding an extra quart of oil every month as an alternative to spending $1500 on replacing a few gaskets and learning to live with a few drips of oil on the driveway. If your car made it from Dallas to DC, you DID buy a sound car. If you didnít notice any suspension problems on the way back, then donít worry about it now, just live with it. Itís a USED car and enjoy the $40,000 you saved from not buying a new one. Go ahead and do the valve adjustment and brake pads (but not at those prices). I paid $18 for ATE rear pads for my Ď85 300TD. I could have taken them to a corner gas station to have them installed for a half hour labor.
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Old 06-01-2002, 10:16 AM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 12,943
I have been thinking about this some more. A few months ago I took a look at a 300CD that a guy was asking more than $5500 for. It was not in condition to warrent the high asking price. I don't know if he ever sold it nor what he got for it if he did. When purchasing a car that is no less than 15 years old the secret is to look at as many of them as you can prior to purchasing. I looked for about 10 months prior to purchasing the 300D and rode by the 240D (parked under a shed) that I had to rebuild the engine in for no less than 8 months prior to purchasing it.
I would drive the car, find another technician or learn to do the repairs myself, chalk it up to experience to be used the next time I purchase a car and if it does not have any rust be thankful for that.
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Old 06-01-2002, 11:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Lakewood NY
Posts: 85
'let the buyer beware"

If you bought the car from someone who is NOT a dealer, then you bought the car AS IS ...NO WARRANTIES , implied or expressed including warranties of merchantability and fittness for purpose. End of story refunds , no repairs ,no splitting repair costs, no good will, no nothing. YOU OWN IT!
If you had bought from a dealer , in most states you would have at least some recourse. For example , here in NY State a dealer can not sell any car AS IS to the general public. We are required by law to provide a NY STATE inspection and at least an IMPLIED warranty of fittness for purpose. If the car has less than 100.000 miles on the odometer we must warrent the vehicle for at least 30 to 90 days.
J. William Tarbrake
NY State Dealer 7014303DLU
Registered repair shop R7014303
82 300SD modified for waste vegatable oil
92 300SE 270K miles perfect
79 450SEL (2 tone custom paint for special occations) SOLD
80 450SL
79 450SL 69K Miles FOR SALE
86 Carver 28 Voyager twin 270 Crusaders (SOLD)
94 CARVER 32 Voyager(SOLD)
67 Chris Craft 40' Aft Cabin(twin ford 427 side oilers)
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Old 06-03-2002, 12:28 AM
Mr. BILL's Avatar
Ghoulardi Rules!
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 576
I agree with TX-Bill, atikovi and riskie,

Any tech will find things wrong with a three year old car. If it made it from Dallas to DC, it can't be too bad. Adjust the valves, drive it and enjoy it.

91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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Old 06-12-2002, 05:00 AM
Posts: n/a
Sorry if this may sound harsh,

But how could you not notice a cyl with low compression at idle? The idle would be uneven, and it would run like ****. Rear shocks? You didn't notice this? Front end problems, not noticed?

Most of the work you quoted seems pretty over priced.

Sorry for your troubles, but before shelling $5500 out for an old diesel you should

A) Know the car, know what things do/sound like when they are bad, what to look for.

B) Take it for a PPI.

I've bought my fair share of diesels and have never gotten stuck with a lemon, you just have to go over the car with a fine-tooth comb before you hand over the dough. If things arent right (front end, climate control, etc etc) these are all bargaining points.

Finally, I would take it to another shop for an estimate of the damages.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:04 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 44
Great advice all.....!

I also purchased an old MBZ diesel without a PPI. It was an '85CD teal green and looked awfully cute sitting along side the road with the For Sale sign in the window. I drove it and new it would need some work (I am not a mechanic), but was shocked when I found out the price the dealer wanted for what was needed.

Luckily after driving the car I only offered the owner $2500 for it... as it turned out, that was to much! After putting in another $2500 the car was road-worthy, but still needed help (as I think all '85 do anyway). I gave it to my son to drive as he was just trying to get started in the Real Estate business as the car gave him at least the appearance of success. A few months later he was cut off on the freeway and forced into a roadside barrier. Thankfully he was by himself at the time as the entire right side of the car was crushed... the state troopers at the scene told him he should be grateful he was driving a Benz, because he would not have walked away in a lesser car. The car was a total loss, but the insurance company offered me $9,000 to settle the claim. I think I signed the check so fast the ink was smoking!

My long-winded story means this.... If you do not take the time to educate yourself before the purchase, you must trust in angels and good fortune. Since then I have gleaned information from the very knowledgeable folks on this forum, prior to commiting my dollars. Every time I make a purchase based on emotional appeal (or the color) I generally regret it. I thank the folks here for preventing me from buying a 350SDL, which I was shopping for very diligently, until I learned here about the short life expectancy of that particular vehicle.

These types of forums are what I like most about the internet. It allows the sharing of knowledge and information all over the country and beyond. Which information can enrich our lives and lighten the burden of those like me who are mechanically challenged.

Just my .02


caveat emptor
Steve A

'87 300SDL 97K Mi
'87 300TD 115k Mi
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Old 06-20-2002, 07:30 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Culver City, CA, USA
Posts: 62
Angry A bit off topic...

Funny, I post the true shape of the car here and nobody even thinks to inquire about it.
Yet someone posts "CreamPuff" and gets a buyer to fly in, even though the car sounds a bit better then mine.

Go figure...
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Old 06-21-2002, 03:53 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Eastern TN
Posts: 20,811
We're on the wrong coast.

91 300SE
87 300SDL
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Old 06-27-2002, 04:18 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
And now... A Word From the Seller

It broke my heart to see the "repair estimates" on my old car. But like most car stories, the onion has many layers...

This car was driven over 1,200 miles before I ever heard of any problems. The last tank of fuel it ran gave me over 25 mpg in around town driving - and that's a 1983 5 cylinder!

Here's a hint regarding the fox-in-the-henhouse "repairs" mentioned: This included $45 for an oil change. New shocks? No leaks and perfect damping. (Upgraded by P.O.) Brakes? Not even close to the indicators and rotors as smooth as glass. The other estimates, while from a private garage, looked like a dealer's assault on a wealthy 75 year-old widow.

As far as checking out the car, I thought it was great. Drove it 5 days a week for 3 years and took very good care of it. The buyer, on the other hand, would not even look at the transmission fluid or oil dipstick when I suggested it. Instead the choice was made to just drive it across country.

Now I've got a '92 W124 diesel that came with several unreported issues to cope with. However, now that I own it, I also own the problems. The previous owner will never get smacked around here or anywhere else.

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