Looking for a replacement MB Diesel - Suggestions?

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As I posted recently, my diehard $800 1982 200k 240D finally took a dive that I wasn't willing to replace or work on (transmission failure).
I was already actively looking to replace it with a more comfortable
and QUIETER diesel merecedes. I'm hooked the reliability and quality workmanship, fuel mileage that the MB diesels have.
NOTE: I drove a 240D Auto Transmission for 2 years. Acceleration, I could care less about, and the bigger the body the more I like the car. My biggest complaint about the 240D was its noise.
I have a few things I've read and I want to make a good decision on buying a vehicle.
- Are the 80's 300D models as loud as the 240D? - What are the weak points of the W124 chasis 300D? - I've read really good things about the 85 and 87 300Ds, what makes them special? - The S-Class models are more prone to failure and have much less fuel mileage. True? - Stay away from model year 95 - Present, they use a system called EDS (electron diesel injection) and more prone to failure. True? - Where other than cars.com or ebaymotors can I find MB Diesels?
Having bought a 240D with no service records, experiencing problems common to the w123 chasis and working on my 240 I know the basics of what to look for on the basic level. Just looking for some higher education.
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Mitchell Knight wrote:

The W123 diesels were outstanding in terms of reliability and at the same time very long-lasting - these days _are_ over and you have to cut back on these aspects.

I drive W123 diesels back since 1983 - and what they surely _not_ have is any sort of acceleration... (Can you imagine a W123 200D auto with 55 PS and auto trans? o-100km/h//0-62 mph = 33,2 seconds, top speed is 125 km/h//78 mph)

Compared to the Volkswagen TDIs IMHO it is quiet - not to mention the Ford Transit van which wakes up the whole neighbourhood every morning when it is started...
Anyway, _noise_ is highly subjective and you really have to evaluate it yourself, what others say in that regard may be the complete opposite of your personal opinion: Only _your_ ears count!

You mean the W124 300D? Drove one of them for a year or so - yes, it is more silent, noticeably IMHO. But the difference in noise compared to the W123 240Ds is more significant from the outside than inside as the W124 diesels have some sound insulation of the engine whilst the W123 240D even has no sound padding at the underside of the hood.

Well, there is some: At first think of age - as any other old car it rusts, some more, some less. Second the ignition lock wears out easily. Third the over-complicated windshield-wiper system will break, sometimes at only 200.000 km, sometimes after 600.000 km, but some day it _will_ fail: Repair cost can be as high as 800 Euros (at MB here in Germany). Also the one-arm wiper system has other drawbacks like prone to smear, slow maximum speed and very thick wiper arm - no wonder MB slowly comes back to the two-arm wiper systems. Fourth the door straps - which limit the maximum opening angle of the doors - are too small since ages and MB didn't correct that with the W124 series. Fifth at high mileage - say 700.000 km or more - the chassis may break in the region of the rear axle. Sixth the hood opening mechanism is weak, the cable can get off the mechanism or the mechanism can break, but that is not expensive to fix. Seventh the switch of the electric sunroof can fail. Eighth the radiator neck(s) can break as they originally were made of plastic. Nineth brake master cylinders may _suddenly_ stop functioning at old W124s from the 1980s - not very nice... =================:-(((((( Tenth manual trans coupling cylinders are not that longlasting, but as you are from the US I assume you will have auto trans - with those often the required service ( regular change of oil and filter) - is neglected which is not very wise. Eleventh the handbrake mechanism with the auto trans cars is often rusted etc. because seldom used.

In general they are _very_ good compared to the competition - if serviced regulary and not extremely abused they will last long, there is W124s on the roads with more than 1 million kms.
One plus is that they are still relatively uncomplicated compaerd to newer cars (and MBs), means all things not present will never fail, and also there is still relatively few electronics in them.
Also engines - and here especially the diesel engines - are very reliable as are the automatic transmisions.

W124 are better - at least from my experience. And they consume less fuel - but that should be logical as they are smaller and lighter than the S-classes.

Rule of thumb is that the newer the MB diesel engine generation the more electronics, the more high-tech in general, the more prone to failure and the more sensitive to the quality of the diesel fuel.
But personally I would not over-estimate that, the old W210 diesels were the same as with the W124 series - the newer W210 diesel engines, the CDI engines, may be another thing, although they also are longlasting.

What you choose heavily depends on you budget - a W124 300D IMHO would be no bad choice.
Juergen
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American ingenuity to the rescue:
    http://body.articles.mbz.org/monowiper /
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Mitchell Knight wrote:

The W123 diesels were outstanding in terms of reliability and at the same time very long-lasting - these days _are_ over and you have to cut back on these aspects.

I drive W123 diesels back since 1983 - and what they surely _not_ have is any sort of acceleration... (Can you imagine a W123 200D auto with 55 PS and auto trans? o-100km/h//0-62 mph = 33,2 seconds, top speed is 125 km/h//78 mph)

Compared to the Volkswagen TDIs IMHO it is quiet - not to mention the Ford Transit van which wakes up the whole neighbourhood every morning when it is started...
Anyway, _noise_ is highly subjective and you really have to evaluate it yourself, what others say in that regard may be the complete opposite of your personal opinion: Only _your_ ears count!

You mean the W124 300D? Drove one of them for a year or so - yes, it is more silent, noticeably IMHO. But the difference in noise compared to the W123 240Ds is more significant from the outside than inside as the W124 diesels have some sound insulation of the engine whilst the W123 240D even has no sound padding at the underside of the hood.

Well, there is some: At first think of age - as any other old car it rusts, some more, some less. Second the ignition lock wears out easily. Third the over-complicated windshield-wiper system will break, sometimes at only 200.000 km, sometimes after 600.000 km, but some day it _will_ fail: Repair cost can be as high as 800 Euros (at MB here in Germany). Also the one-arm wiper system has other drawbacks like prone to smear, slow maximum speed and very thick wiper arm - no wonder MB slowly comes back to the two-arm wiper systems. Fourth the door straps - which limit the maximum opening angle of the doors - are too small since ages and MB didn't correct that with the W124 series. Fifth at high mileage - say 700.000 km or more - the chassis may break in the region of the rear axle. Sixth the hood opening mechanism is weak, the cable can get off the mechanism or the mechanism can break, but that is not expensive to fix. Seventh the switch of the electric sunroof can fail. Eighth the radiator neck(s) can break as they originally were made of plastic. Nineth brake master cylinders may _suddenly_ stop functioning at old W124s from the 1980s - not very nice... =================:-(((((( Tenth manual trans clutch cylinders are not that longlasting, but as you are from the US I assume you will have auto trans - with those often the required service ( regular change of oil and filter) - is neglected which is not very wise. Eleventh the handbrake mechanism with the auto trans cars is often rusted etc. because seldom used. Twelfth the rubber bearings of the rear axle can wear out fast - have that checked from the underside before buying.

In general they are _very_ good compared to the competition - if serviced regulary and not extremely abused they will last long, there is W124s on the roads with more than 1 million kms.
One plus is that they are still relatively uncomplicated compaerd to newer cars (and MBs), means all things not present will never fail, and also there is still relatively few electronics in them.
Also engines - and here especially the diesel engines - are very reliable as are the automatic transmisions.

W124 are better - at least from my experience. And they consume less fuel - but that should be logical as they are smaller and lighter than the S-classes.

Rule of thumb is that the newer the MB diesel engine generation the more electronics, the more high-tech in general, the more prone to failure and the more sensitive to the quality of the diesel fuel.
But personally I would not over-estimate that, the old W210 diesels were the same as with the W124 series - the newer W210 diesel engines, the CDI engines, may be another thing, although they also are longlasting.

What you choose heavily depends on you budget - a W124 300D IMHO would be no bad choice.
Juergen
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One should add that the W124 features a quite low drag coefficient, which makes it quite a fast car, even with an older Diesel engine.
Frank
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Frank Kemper wrote:

Yes, from naught to sixty (kilometers per hour) a 72 hp W123 diesel is faster than a 72 PS W124 - but then the W124 catches up and later overtakes. One can really feel the lower drag coefficient above 100 km/h or so when the acceleration of the W123 is zero and the needle of the W124 still moves - not fast of course, but it still moves.
Top speed difference is noticeable, 138 km/h//86 mph for the W123 and 155 km/h//96 mph for the W124 (both auto trans).
Juergen
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Yeah that's true and a W124 does have a more modern and many would say better suspension, but at the end of the day given a choice I'd take a 126 if I did a lot of highway driving. As nice as the 124 is, you can't beat a W126 on the freeway.
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Richard Sexton wrote:

That's sure - a surprise (at least for me) was when I some day compared the interiour dimensions of W123 and W126:
Millimetres W123(240D) W126(300SD) Head Room Front 973 979 Leg Room Front 1064 1064 Hip Room Front 1476 1432 Shoulder Room Front 1422 1428 Head Room Rear 948 943 Leg Room Rear 850 873 Hip Room Rear 1480 1468 Shoulder Room Rear 1416 1416 Source: MB Advertising & Sales Promotion Department MB USA, 1982
Juergen
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(Not sure what the interior has to do with it. Is the 126 wider? it seems bigger somehow)
It's a better car on the highway because it's bigger and has a longer wheeelbase and is heavier.
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Richard Sexton wrote:

The interior has the same size - surprising as the exteriour of the W126 is a bit bigger.

That's over-simplified: Then the biggest truck would be the best vehicle for highways.
Juergen
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IIRC that was one of the few negative remarks the W126 got when it was new: Too little space inside when you compare it with its overall size. IMHO this lead Mercedes to the decision to make the W140 way bigger - inside and outsides.
Frank
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Frank Kemper wrote:

It is some 15 years ago or so I last had a W126 (280SE then) as a company car and I always _felt_ it was a bit bigger inside than the W123. That the room efficiency was not so good was always clear to me, outside it was _clearly_ bigger than a W123, but when I saw the official Mercedes figures I was surprised it is not bigger inside than a W123.
Juergen - most liked the W126 SECs in the old days
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Juergen . wrote:

The C126 was one of the best Mercedes ever produced, imo.
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CND wrote:

And it IMHO had a great design: A perfect balance between elegance and sportiness!
Juergen
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Not.
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That may be what the numbers say, but it isn't how it feels. I mean, 3 people fit in the back of a 126 much better than a 124...I've been involved in such a situation. It's just like how the...er W202 (?)...the E class before the current one had more rear room by the numbers than n E39 5er, but the design of it made it feel like less. Richard

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Rear seat may be a different thing, if the W126 is a SEL body.
Frank
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marlinspike wrote:

Yes, true, but the W124 is smaller inside than the W123.
Juergen
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Drive some cars to determine which model is most appealing to you. Then go find the best value of that type.
I'd suggest you start with a 300SD - the S body is about 10% heavier than the 123 model so the economy will suffer a bit but not much and the S is the more comfortable car but not as much fun to drive as the smaller 123. Same drivetrain in each so the body is the decision.
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No. Nothing is.

Head gaskets seem to he the worst. The rest is "regular Mercedes".

Last production years. Less bugs.

Not as much as you'd make it sound.

Stay away from 6 cyl 3 litre and 3.5 litre diesels period.

recycler.com, autotrader.com, craigslist.org
I try to keeps links up to date to places that sell cars here:
    http://www.mbz.org/commerce/forsale/websites /
but the websites keep changing their address or focus (anybody rememebr classifieds2000.com?) But, it's worth a try to look.
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