I've been lurking on this group for some time and have finally bought
a 1983 300D Turbo. After spending years on the alt.harley newsgroups
it has been refreshing to wander around here and experience the degree
of civility and tolerance you seem to afford each other. There is
quite a tale about how I came to my MB, which will follow, but I
wanted to get the questions up front so if you chose to skip the
travelogue you might be willing to answer some questions anyway.
-High speed (at 80-100 mph) rhythmic vibration. If I were to draw it,
it would be like a sine wave. Will get the tires balanced. Any other
-Is it just me, or does eBay seem about the best place to get parts
-There is a strange vacuum sound after the engine turns over. At first
I thought it was starter run-on. Anyone deal with this?
-Are parts really that different between certain chassis? For
instance, the front turn signal lens for the 126 looks just like the
one for my 123.
-I bought the Haynes manual for this beast (they were great for my
Brit Motorcycle period) but there's nothing in there in the way of a
vacuum schematic. Is there one available on line or otherwise without
buying the MB manual?
I've been doing my own car work since I was a kid and have Harleys I
tinker with. Figured it'd be great to get a MB diesel as a "rolling
project" since they seem to be a very DIY type car and I can fit in
em comfortably (6'4", 230lbs.). Now, in the great PNW the bio-diesel
folks have put a rather large demand on anything diesel and car-ish
which has driven up their price. So, I contacted my dad in Tucson, AZ
and asked if he'd look there. He called with a 1983 300D Turbo for
$1500. I asked him to have a look and take it to a shop if it was at
all promising. A few hours later he calls, "I bought it."
"Did you take it to the shop?"
"I got it for $1,100."
So, I now own a car 1500 miles away that could be total junk. We find
a shop in Tucson that other locals praised: Craig's Auto Repair. So, I
have him bring it to them and I call em and say, "You have $1000 to
get me back to Oregon."
So, I synced up my having to deliver a '91 Toyota Cressida to San
Luis Obisbo with picking up my new/old MB in AZ. Not to be obnoxious,
but I dislike a lot of Japanese engineering. This car was designed for
people my wife's size: 5'2" and 100 lbs. Also, what genius decided to
have the controls on BOTH sides of the steering wheel? Even my old
Dodge van has the cruise, wipers, and high beams on the turn signal
stock damned handy when eating while driving. I got about two hours
into the drive before I had to remove my wallet from my back pocket.
The seats, quite frankly, suck.
So, I drop this Toyota in CA and hop a plane for Tucson. The next day
I see my new car. We go into a shop with no less than 7 golden
retrievers in various states of excitability running around and
there's my car up on the lift. The first thing I see when I look up at
it is a wheel well vividly infected with rust. The front and rear
passenger tails lights are toast due to the rather painful dents next
to them and the paint matching from the last dent-fest looked like it
was done by a four year-old. When it came off the lift I could see the
sunroof had an acne of rust and the interior was missing more than a
The good news is that only had 144k on it and mechanically, it wasn't
too bad. The shop replaced all the glow plugs, fuel filters, primer
pump, did an oil change, air filter, upper and lower control arm
bushings, radiator cap, and stabilizer bar link, and a million little
things all for about $1100.
I hit I-10 at 5 a.m. toward Phoenix. She was surging like crazy.
She'd sputter, catch, run up to 80 mph, them cut out and stumble back
down. Now, they told me the injector pump was fine so I made my way
into the left lane and ran it up to 90 mph (with the rest of the rush
hour traffic) she sputtered for about 10 miles then cleared up, never
to do that again.
The Mojave was a merciful 75 degrees, but I was dealing with a 30-40
mph cross/headwind. The cruise lever had been broken off (already won
one on eBay for $10) so I took the monopod from my camera and used it
as a hand-throttle to rest my leg. Crossed what was perhaps the most
boring drive of my life between 80-100 mph. No sputtering, but an
intermittent vibration (that wasn't bad enough to slow me down).
Seemed to get about 22 mpg crossing the desert. Slowed way down for
the rest of the drive into Sacramento. Mileage went up to almost 30
mpg when keeping it between 65-80 mph. 950 miles that day. I tell you,
those MB seats are the bee's knees especially after dealing with
tiny Japanese seats. Almost 1000 MB miles and I never had to take my
wallet out of my back pocket except to buy fuel and coffee.
In Sacramento I borrowed my sister-in-law's garage to jack it up and
spin the wheels and check for bent rims or loose bearings. Negative on
both. Did use a pint of oil and I think most of that came from the
leaky main seal.
The next 550 miles home was through the mountain passes. It did
really well holding it's speed up the hills, but really had a struggle
if I had to clamp on the binders when some bozo decided to block the
left lane going up hill. Trying to gain speed going uphill was a
chore. Never got to try her out on the snow and am not sorry.
She did great the whole trip. Think I'll keep her. So, now begins the
search for parts. Thanks for getting this far in the tale. My
initiation to MB ownership was a trial by fire. The car passed and we
have bonded. I'll be posting with questions from time to time and hope
someday to be answering a few. Craig's Auto Repair in Tucson, AZ gets
big points for doing what needed to be done and telling me honestly
what could wait until I got to my own garage.