Buying and repairing older diesel Mercedes

I would like to know your two cents worth as to the best year/version diesel Mercedes under $5,000. 4 doors and easiest to work on at home. Thanks!
Jeff
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The 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbo Diesel! I have one, for $6000 US.

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Any diesels are easy to work on at home. I bought my 95 E300D for $6000. You should be able to find one for that price range of yours too... The newer the better. Don't get caught up on those high priced old old old diesel. Buy one with reasonable price and condition.
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The absolute simplest one is the 240D 4 speed manual - if one can be found. These were sold until '82 or '83.
Then I'd look at a 300D Turbodiesel; these came in three body varieties 300D sedan, 300CD two door coupe (less head room, much less read seat leg room) and 300SD - larger body, same power train as the others, more comfortable car. Suggest you look for a 300XX '83 - '85 vintage.
These old 5 cylinder diesels are all cast iron and just as durable as can be BUT the have mechanically adjusted valves (adjust every 15K miles with engine cold) and ought to have their oil & filter changed every 5K miles (simple job). I've driven one of these 617.xx motors for 27 years and can tell you that it's a very reliable motor.
These engines, like all engines, have a finite life and that lifespan depends very much on how well the prior owner(s) maintained the motor. An over maintained engine is probably good for as much as 400K miles but a poorly maintained one is probably shot at 200K miles. So don't hesitate to pay for quality and by all means avoid neglected cars; they are no bargain.
Finally, there are some good information sources on the web, including the people here, so we can help you when you find a candidate and have specific questions.
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You forgot the 4th body :) The 300TDT. Turbodiesel wagon.
-->> T.G. Lambach <<--" <"T.G. Lambach at NoHamorSpamcomcast.net"> wrote in message

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Of course, you're right Karl. The 300TD wagon has 4 doors too.
It also has a complicated (hydro pneumatic) rear suspension and an engine driven hydraulic pump to support that suspension. Something to avoid unless one needs a wagon, IMHO.
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On May 27, 4:23 pm, "-->> T.G. Lambach <<--" <"T.G. Lambach at NoHamorSpamcomcast.net"> wrote:

Are these suspension on all the 300 series or just the wagon?
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jefftino wrote:

Standard on the wagons, rare option on the others....
Ximinez
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Only on the 300TD wagon - in the USA.
Also on the top of the S Class models; i.e. 560SEL sedan 560SEC coupe as example(s).
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I bought my 1982 300 TDT in 1993 with 144,000 miles (231,000 k) on it. It ran pretty good, but had a little blow by. Blow by is an indication of how well an engine has been maintained. It happens when the valve guides or rings or both are worn.
You can easily check for excessive blow by. With the motor not running, loosen the oil filler cap on the valve cover. Then, either start the engine yourself or have someone else do it. If the valve cover opening starts to look like a wildcat gusher in the movie "Giant" you know the engine has problems.
I have the wagon with the hydraulic load levelers in the back. As long as you change the fluid and filter in the system annually they seem to last forever. Shortly after I got my wagon I drove it through the very rugged and remote Saline Valley in Death Valley National Park. Midway through on a day when it was 125 degrees F I realized that all the fluid had leaked out of the system. I should have just filled it with motor oil, but, stupidly, I filled it with brake fluid (I happened to have extra of both with me). The seals and gaskets in the system are not impervious to brake fluid, I learned to my great regret (ruined $1200 worth of parts). Then for a time, before I figured out the seals problem, after I drained the system I refilled it with the very thin hydraulic fluid Mercedes sells for $20 a liter. The system takes 4 liters or so. The fluid level kept going down in the hydraulic system and the oil level in my engine kept going up. Eventually I figured out that the hydraulic fluid in the load leveler was leaking past a seal in the pump into the engine oil.
So I was running my engine with very thin oil that was partly hydraulic fluid. So I started using engine oil in the hydraulic system, figuring that at least that way I was just leaking engine oil into the engine. I ran that way for several years. Eventually I replaced the pump on the load leveler. But I didn't go back to running the Mercedes hydraulic fluid. I run regular petroleum based Automatic Transmission fluid and it works great. I am not sure how it would do in -25 weather, but here in the Eastern Sierra where 0 F is about as cold as we get it works fine. If it's that cold my old engine would not start anyway.
But my main point is this; my engine, which was probably not terribly well maintained for its first 231,000 kilometers and ran for several thousand miles on thinned out oil in the hot desert, just finally went to the remanufacturer, about 12 years after the first leaking into the engine from the pump.
I got 396,500 miles (638,000 kilometers) out of it. I will get more out of the remanufactured engine if I live that long because I will change the oil every 2000 miles (3200 K) from day one. And this is going to be like a brand new engine because I am having them sleeve the block and put in standard pistons.
If you can find a wagon, go for it. They are great and I can stretch out in the back to sleep and I am 6' 2" tall. I have the 7 passenger model and with the hydraulic load leveler the car rides level and true if you have one person and the same with 7 in the car. But save some money and use automatic transmission fluid in the load leveler!
On May 27, 4:44 pm, "-->> T.G. Lambach <<--" <"T.G. Lambach at NoHamorSpamcomcast.net"> wrote:

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So excessive blow by is a good thing to check for. I see a few MBs running around with a lot of smoke under acceleration. Is there any other things to look for with the 240/300 Ds?
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I had to have an 84 240D tested in Europe last year and the requirements for the exhaust were very stringent. They revved and revved mine and it kept blowing out black stuff. Eventually, when all the soot was out of the exhaust system, the exhaust was clean enough to pass that test. I'm glad they knew how to handle the situation. I would not have thought of it.
RF

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says...
(Snip)
. So don't

Amen! Amen! Amen!
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The non-turbo 115 chassis 300D. Very few left that haven't rusted out though. But you really can't go wrong with any 123 or 126 chassis 5 cylinder diesel.
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I had a '79 300D, an 85' 190D and a '95 E300D. The '95 was by far the most reliable and easiest to work on. I would get the newest model you can buy and don't worry too much about the miles. I ran all three of mine well over 200M.
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jefftino wrote:

I've usually had very good luck buying cars on Ebay but my most recent, a '92 300D 2.5 Turbodiesel, has been a disappointment. $4900 got me a car advertised as being in "excellent mechanical condition" that needs a a new drive shaft assembly and it's injector pump needs to be overhauled. The clear coat is badly crazed as well which didn't show on the pictures. Kelly Blue Book puts this car as worth around $5200 in "excellent" condition which were it the case with mine I'd have been perfectly happy.
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