Got a new car! Gotta maintain it! ('85 300D)

Actually, got a pair of cars, the aforementioned '85 300D Turbo just a coupla days ago for the 'old lady' to drive and I just got me a '79 300TD (not-turbo) today.
So now I've got two diesel cars to maintain. Never had a diesel before, and never had a Mercedes. Both of them charge right along on the freeway, and there's some tuning that needs to take place on both of 'em, but overall they seem solid and most everything works.
So the first bits of maintenance that I'm curious about are the oil changes. I figured I'd swap out the fuel and air filters while I'm at it, but I went by Kragen today and they've got Fram replacements for these things but Fram is pretty much bottom-of-the-barrel quality, sooo... What do people use? Also on oil, it seems like 15w40 or 15w50 are recommended above freezing, and being in San Diego that's pretty much the case. What kind of oil do you all like? I ran Mobil 1 synthetic in my last car on Mobil 1 filters. Is synthetic oil interesting or useful or maybe even should I avoid it altogether?
The thoughts today are that I should go 15w40 over the winter (ambient temperatures 60+ degrees F) and can go 15w50 in the summer.
The bits of immediate work that are necessary are that on the '85 the turn signals stopped working tonight and the washer pump doesn't work at all. Any useful tips beyond "check the clearly-marked fuses" would be appreciated. ;) Kragen had a Chiltons manual for "Mercedes coupes, sedans, wagons, 1974-1984", but the '85 300D should be pretty much identical to the '84, no? Any guidance for "legitimate" shop manuals for these cars? (Going to hit the manual right after I help the neighbor set up a new PC, oh to be the neighborhood tech.)
Not that anyone really cares, but I'll be putting webpages up to brag to friends and family soon with pics of the new rides. The sedan is the common beige color with an immaculate tan interior, and the wagon is baby blue with dark blue interior. I've been getting sicker and sicker of the creaks and groans in my '98 Pontiac Grand Prix, and my wife's '92 Corolla is old and undesirable. ;) It's a big step for me, going from a supercharged V6 to the normally-aspirated diesel I5, but I've found myself driving more and more "Sunday driver" as I get older anyway. Hell, the more I rush on the road, the quicker I get to work, and I'd just as soon enjoy the sun! heh.
thanks for the help thus far, -tom!
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Tom Plunket wrote:

I saw TG recommends AutoHauzAZ just yesterday. Excellent site, thanks!
-tom!
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You certainly plunged!
Welcome.
Lube oil. The SAE that you cite is fine, the oil should be DIESEL grade CI-4 Plus. Chevron Delo 400 15 - 40 is what I buy at Kragen in 4 qt containers. (2 for an oil change of 7.5L, including the filter. And they accept the old oil.
Yes I buy the filters from Autohausaz.com.
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Manuals. There are paper M-B maintenance manuals and repair manuals. Then there's the M-B CD-ROM. And there's Chilton.
The best depends on what YOU want to accomplish. Light maintenance and repairs don't require manuals but the more YOU get into it the more information is needed. Parts are plentiful so you could overhaul the engine if that's what you want to undertake .... or not.
I've owned a 123 280E and still have a 116 300SD that I bought new in '80. Most of my work has been maintenance, repairs are confined to climate control, water pumps, air cleaner brackets. Maintenance is mostly valve adjustments, filter changes, and now I do the diesel oil changes. Generally, I find it doesn't pay to "save" on cheap parts as the cheap stuff usually doesn't last and time is wasted by doing the job twice. It's also a good policy to leave alone things that work well.
Back to manuals. M-B paper manuals are no longer published but can be bought used on ebay. The M-B CD-ROM is an unindexed scan of paper manuals and the lack of an index is frustrating to some. Chilton tries to cover too many models and engines, IMHO, and DIY owners sometimes get stuck half way in a project when the "next step" isn't in their Chilton.
I have the 116 Chassis manual - 2 vols. great detail of things that I will never do. I have the Turbodiesel supplement (only) to the non-turbo diesel manual(s) which I don't own. But the supplement has given me the information that I needed to maintain the turbo engine. So don't feel that an encyclopedia is necessary. There are a number of good, beautifully illustrated, websites for DIY information. www.performanceproducts4benz.com publishes an excellent paper parts catalog (free) that's helpful in identifying the pieces and their locations.
Buy some Craftsman metric tools: 9 mm to 19 mm, a torque wrench and have at it!
And after everything is oiled and polished drive up to Irvine and visit Mercedes-Benz Classic which just opened to restore collectors cars.
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T.G. Lambach wrote:

Sure, I guess that figures. I've always had the "official" shop manuals for my cars and it's been very helpful; this'll be the first car that I've tried just the Chilton's manual.
So on ebay there's this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/MOST-COMPLETE-MERCEDES-W123-SERIES-REPAIR-MANUAL_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ34227QQihZ020QQitemZ300043557152QQrdZ1
It says Mercedes W123 on the cover, but then has the pictures of six badges, 200, 230, 230E, 250, 280, 280E. That leads me to believe that it's only for the smaller engines, no diesels, and no five cylinders. ...or is that just how it comes? Can anyone speak to that? $45 is a bit steep (although I suppose it's less than half of what I paid for the manuals for my previous car, heh), but it'll cover both of these cars if indeed they've got coverage for the 300D and 300TD.

Great, thanks. I'm bookmarking all of the links that come up here; there's some good stuff out there.

Yeah good tools are a good thing. I've already got quite a pile of tools including a (metal) mityvac, so I think (hope, heh) I'm set on that front.

Ah cool, that'd be fun.
-tom!
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That manual isn't worth buying, IMHO. It tries to cover too many models and engines.
M-B manuals are specific to type. A 123 chassis manual covers that chassis, not the motor or transmission installed therein. Those are covered in specific manuals for the engine type i.e. 617.95X diesel etc.
See: http://www.tmcpubl.com//mercedes.html
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On the turn signals: forcefully turn on and off the hazard flashers a few times [the red button between the window switches in the center console wood]. The turn signals should now magically work....

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Karl wrote:

Wow, I hope all of the car's issues are that easy to fix!
thx, -tom!
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Use German oil filters... Mann, Mahle, Knetch, Kengst... they are all available at AutohausAZ for very very reasonable prices. Stock up on them and free shipping over $50.
As for the oil, I would go to WalMart and buy the Shell Rotella 15W40... you can use this all year round. I use synthetic in my diesel so I intend to use the Shell Rotella Synthetic 5W40.
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Welcome to the world of klatta klatta klatta klatta klatta klatta.
Change the filters for good German ones. Mobil 1 is a very popular choice.
Run two cans of Lubro Moly Diesel Purge (or equiv - anything that's ocyl nitrate) through the engines directly - not by adding it to the fuel tank. It'll make a world of difference.
Clean the banjo fitting on the turbodiesel.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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http://www.dieselbenz.info /
You may enjoy my site.
Darrell
Tom Plunket wrote:

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