mercedes 300D general ?'s

I am interested in an 80's model 300D but would like to know if anyone knows enough to tell me wheather or not this car would be worth having. are they
dependable or durable enough to be a daily driver?. do they have any notorious problems? anything about this model would be helpful, good or bad. thanx.
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IF they've been properly maintained (few are) then they are ideal and thrifty daily drivers. Everything should work, the original paint should be immaculate as shuld the interior. No funny smells, leaks or noises.
Any little problem is gonna cost you time and money, possibly lots of both so adjust the asking price accordginly. Find somebody who KNOWS the cars and have them give theit opinion. Don't be fooled by lots of service records, I can show you an utter POW in my garage with all books and records going back to the original bill of sale, it's still junk.
Look long, look hard they are out there. Don't be seduced by the first few you see. BEcome an expert on them, look at lots and you'll end uo ok. Probably.
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The major areas to look at are the transmission and engine. Has either one had major work or already been replaced/rebuilt? The transmissions start to slip, and the engines start to lose compression and start smoking, eventually getting hard to start in cold weather. If you want a good car, look for one with the least milage and service records. I would not buy one with over 200,000 miles unless you are looking to spend a lot of money on an engine and transmission in the next go round of the odometer.
--Geoff '84 300D
nasmenne wrote:

enough to tell me wheather or not this car would be worth having. are they dependable or durable enough to be a daily driver?. do they have any notorious problems? anything about this model would be helpful, good or bad. thanx.
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I'd debate the 200K-mile point with regard to engine/trans. I recently bought an '82 300TD with 227K miles that has a terrific drivetrain. It isn't cosmetically perfect, but I know the prior owner had the interest and wherewithal to maintain it by the book. The car also got a lot of front-end work, which is certainly going to be a necessity at that mileage.
Yeah, there are a lot of rolling wrecks out there, but 200K is nothing for a meticulously maintained MB diesel. In fact, unnaturally LOW mileage can suggest long periods of inactivity, which can create its own set of problems.
To the OP: These are durable cars, but after 15-20 years they will require repairs. Some DiY skills are a must. And diesels are oily, dirty engines to work on.
My deal-breaker: I wouldn't think of buying a Mercedes diesel from before 1982. Barring any gray-market imports with manual climate controls, the main component of the early automatic climate control is trouble-prone and expensive to replace. There's also the lack of a turbo, which is a nice addition on the later model years.
Richard is too modest to mention it, but he runs a very active and congenial diesel mailing list at his web site, mbz.org. Cars come up for sale on it from time to time, usually with accurate assessments of their condition from diesel enthusiasts. Some correspondents even post "for sale" ads in their sigs. If I were in the market for a diesel I'd look there first.
Russ '82 300td '82 300cd
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I bought mine with 189,000 miles. It needed a transmission, but the engine ran smooth and didn't smoke. As it approached the 250,000 mile mark, it was indeed smoking and getting hard to start. I overhauled it at 264,000 miles. That is why I warn against anything over 200,000 miles-- it is on a shorter life span.
--Geoff '84 300D
Russ Maki wrote:

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Fair enough, Geoff. We're just swapping anecdotes here, really. I buy these cars for highway commuter vehicles; they seem to thrive running an hour or so each day at 3500 rpm. The transmissions don't see much shifting on that kind of regimen either, so I've been pretty lucky with regard to engine/trans life. Not that I've taken one past 300,000 miles yet, but we'll see if the wagon makes it with 68K to go. That's about three years worth of trips to work and back for me!
Russ '82 300td '82 300cd
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These came in two models: the 300D and the larger bodied 300SD. From '82 to '85 both used the same engine and transmission. This is old, mechanical technology that's simple by today's standards, easily understood and easy to maintain as a DIY owner. Due to the relatively low cost of these cars and the high shop labor rates a DIY approach is necessary or there's no sense in buying a 20 year old M-B.
These diesels have mechanical valve adjustment so you need to adjust their ten valves between 15K and 20K miles, a 2 to 3 hour job. The oil and filter should be changed after 5K miles, the transmission oil and its filter after 30K miles, also the engine's air and fuel filters. You begin to see why some owners let maintenance slide as the car ages; you don't want to buy their cars.
I've owned one of these since new and found, after 24 years and 107K miles, that its repair and scheduled maintenance cost is approximately equal to its 24 mpg fuel cost. I do the valve adjustments, the shop the oil & filters etc.
IMHO a reasonably maintained M-B diesel engine has a useful life of about 275K miles, +/- 10%; the transmission is similar.
These are nice drivers but they're also old cars that need repairs. If you enjoy projects buy one and it will be satisfying otherwise don't for every expense will be an annoyance and that's not what you were after when you bought the car.
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A 2 to 3 hour job to adjust the valves? You must be kidding. It's a one hour job if you have the Mercedes valve adjustment wrenches and a remote starter switch to turn over the engine.
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Writes:

hour
starter
It's a one hour job even if you don't.
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My neighbor has a 1983 300D, the last time I drove her car, the odometer read, 389,000 miles. This car has the original engine and transmission. I know that she has had the oil changed every 3,000 miles with mobile 1, and the tranny fluid and filter changed every 15K. And trust me she is very hard on this car.
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are diesels leaky engines or are they just as leak prone as any other engine? would putting new gaskets on frequently leaky seals(oil pan, etc.) be a big job?
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That depends on which Mercedes diesel engine you're referring to. The 3 liter five cylinder engine built to 1985 has a two piece rope rear main seal. You need to pull the engine and remove the crankshaft to replace that seal. The other seals on the engine are not difficult to replace with the engine in the car. The later five and six cylinder Mercedes diesels have a one piece rear main seal which can be replaced with the engine and crankshaft in the car.
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