1981 300SD Restoration Practical?

Aloha:
My family has an '81 300SD that I've recently started to drive, unfortunately, for the last 10 years it was my father's car and he had limited interest in the care and upkeep of the car.
I do feel a certain attachment to the car...since we've had it since I was born and the engine is in good condition, but that's the _only_ thing in good condition. Looking at used car ads, I feel that it would be more practical to simply go and buy another 300SD and send this one off to a junkyard...
Listed below are a few of the multiple problems of the car:
* Right rear door is bent-in _hard_ (My dad backed into a tree). * Wood paneling is utterly destroyed. * Dashboard is badly cracked from sun exposure. * Turn signal switch will not bounce back on left turn. * Rear window and hood seals are in desperate need of replacement. * Left rear door will no longer stay in a locked position when open (Not sure of then name of this universal car part...but the metal has been broken in half). * Rear window switches do not work (Well, one does...sometimes). * Plastic trim on body is damaged. * Some of the courtesy lights don't work, and the rear one...the light assembly does not fit the electrical connector... * And so on...
A few other things I would like to know out of curiosity:
* I've been told that later 300SDs use aluminum for the block...is this true? * My RPM has no red zone...what is the general safe maximum RPM one can push on the engine?
Many, many thanks in advance.
-Punani
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Your poor car has the 617.XX engine; all these 5 cylinder diesels have cast iron blocks and cast iron cylinder heads - that's one reason they are so durable. The '86 and '87 300D and 300SDL have six cylinder iron block aluminum head engines.
Your engine is governed to about 4,600 rpm.
You mention a lot of damage but don't comment on the car's major $ areas: paint and seats. If these are in poor condition it's another negative, otherwise, the car may be worth at least minimal restoration so you can drive it for a couple of years. Remember, at least you know the history and the good and bad of this car, another car is a discovery process.
Have a mechanic check the front suspension and steering linkage for looseness before investing any time or $ in the car.
Rear window switches on console are dirty, right side window track and motor may be busted from the door being dented.
Right rear door - get a junk yard replacement door use your car's glass, track and motor if its not busted, also your interior panel.
Window and hood seals ought to be replaced only by a competent auto glass company. Get their price, including an agreement as to what happens if the glass breaks during their work (a possibility, especially the rear glass).
Lights - check the bulbs and fuses.
Turn signal - live with it.
So for not a lot of $ you can make this car go for a while but don't get carried away, it's still an old car with a limited market value; a major engine or transmission failure will consign it to the scrap yard.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

(Snip)
I have an '81 300SD (Der Klunker, ex-Pimpmobile). I paid $1,500 for it four years ago. I now have over $25,000 in it. Nothing except the shell has more than 30,000 miles on it. But it's still a 1981 model. DON'T GET CARRIED AWAY BY SENTIMENT! Drive it until it dies and then leave it. Otherwsie you staert putting money into it, a bit here, a bit there and soon you have a real investment that you just can't bring yourself to abandon. Don't go that route. Heed Mr. Lambach.
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