Just bought a 1984 300SD MB with 120,000 miles, all records down to
purchase day, even original invoice for $41,000, private party, old man
drove it and maintained it, no rust, everything works, guy sold it
needed money asap. Test drove it - drives like a dream, woderful car.
Bought it for under $5,000.
Besides your usual valve adjustment, oil and lube, etc., what else
would you do RIGHT NOW on this car to make sure it lasts?
Congratulations on your purchase and for waiting to find the "right car."
Review the complete records and make a log thereof on a spreadsheet so
YOU have a one or two page summary of the car's maintenance and repair
Then YOU will KNOW what prospective maintenance is due and when.
Something that's often overlooked is the small paper filter element in
the power steering fluid reservoir - costs about $2 but is often
forgotten. And see when the coolant and brake fluid was last changed.
Ideally two years brake fluid and I believe four years for the coolant.
These all iron fives are tough, durable engines that are easily
maintained by an interested owner.
Good luck with it and post your questions here when they arise.
Thank you so much for your advice. I did wait for about 8 months to
find this car.
I recently called the dealer just for the hell of it, and asked for a
price of scheduled maintenance. It was around $650+tax to do oil and
lube, inspection, trannsmission flush, etc. "Insanity", I thought, and
started looking for a good manual on DIY maintenance. Any ideas, T.G.?
Also, maybe sometime down the road, I was thinking of updating the
headlights to Euro. I found some for $180, some for $290. What's the
deal? Is Hella better than Depo?
AFAIK the real euro lights are Bosch, and AFAIK capitolwest.com sells
them. Also, call an independant Benz shop and I bet that $650 drops to
$#00, but the Benz manual is great to have for DIY maintenance (Benz
makes a service manual and IMHO it's the best).
I think there is a Haynes manual for that model, just to get you
started. Also get a parts catalog from Performance products featuring
a blowup of all systems, parts and prices......good luck......Rick
I think the biggest problem with the photos is that the whole cd is
scans from the books, and they aren't the best scans in the world
either. If you start looking at them at about 300% things start to
clear up though.
You're absolutely right Marlinspike. I talked to the people At M-B of North
America in New Jersey this a.m. and that's what I was told......they just
scanned the old, reliable, service manuals and put them all on CD. The 240D,
300D, etc., sells for $99 for the whole set which is, I believe, 5 printed
manuals. I have all but the electrical manual and would sure like to have
The problem with scanning halftone pictures is that you are scanning photos
printed, at best, on a 133-line-screen basis. What this means if you count
the number of dots per inch you will come up with 133 of 'em, both
vertically and horizontally . In order to achieve a picture resolution you
either increase or decrease the size of the dots. Smaller dots, lighter
areas. Larger dots, darker areas. When you try to scan a halftone print with
a scanner, even at very high resolution, you get pretty crappy results. I've
even tried scanning at 6,000 dpi and I still get scans with heavy lines
running through them. Don't know if there is a simple way to correct this
but I've tried just about everything I know (which isn't always enough) and
still make it work right. Anyone know the answer?
The best way is to rescan the original photos of course... Programs
like Photoshop also have a "descreen" option that attempt to help this.
Unfortunately the people that made the MB manuals on CD did neither,
so all photos look really sucky (technical term).
Well, even in the books, the pictures tend to be underexposed, or
perhaps just printed that way, and I think they should have done, not
in ever instance but in some, what BMW did and draw some of the
"pictures" because sometimes it's much easier to show something in a
drawing (like when showing something that is behind something, the MB
photographs make you lose perspective while the BMW drawing allow you
to see through the object in front, while still providing an outline
I have only dealt with one BMW manual and one Benz manual, so be warned
about my generalizations :~)
The BMW manual was incredible. I would pay $250 in a heart beat for a
comparable manual for my 190e... Too bad there isn't one.
Hehe, I'm going to guess you weren't useing the BMW service manual
stuff that pertains to the E39 5 series? I find the BMW stuff for the
E39 to take much more user knowledge for granted. They put all the
stuff on the sam CD set now btw, and interestingly while the real deal
CD set costs about $700 the bootlegs cost no more than the MB bootlegs.
You see why there are many independent M-B repair shops. Once a car's
warranty expires one must shift to an independent.
If you want to DIY most of the work on your car I'd suggest you buy a
M-B manual for it. There's a $100 CD-ROM which is not indexed and
appears to be a scan of the paper manual. The paper manuals are no
longer published so one needs to buy used ones, probably on ebay.com.
The maintenance on these old diesels is quite simple, as follows:
Lube oil and engine oil filter every 5K miles - use diesel grade (CF to
CI-4) oil, 10-30, 20-40, 20-50 in the summer.
Adjust the engine's valves every 15K miles, particularly if that
interval occurs in the fall. I can send some instructions if you're
interested in doing this.
Change the transmission oil and filter every 30K or 35K miles, check
your Owner's Manual for which it should be, then also replace the
engine's air and both fuel filters.
Change the brake fluid every two or three years, engine coolant every
That's about all the scheduled maintenance that's needed, the fabric
covered fuel injector bleed off hoses fail after some years, leak fuel
and need to be replaced. Buy about 3.5' of hose and, using a utility
knife, cut the old hose off the injectors - one piece at a time so you
can cut the new hose to the proper length - and push the replacement(s)
onto the barbed fittings with a plier. Don't overlook #5's stub which is
terminated with a small metal plug that you should insert into the stub
BEFORE attaching that stub onto #5 injector.
When something bad happens always look at the simple possibilities
first. These diesels are tough and durable so assume the major
components are OK and check the small components like the fuel filter etc.
You are very knowledgeable. I appreciate your input.
How would you go about repainting a classic Benz such as my 300SD? I
love the way it looks, but the paint is a bit dull and is of unusual
brown color. Any thoughts on new paint vs. original, good new paint
vs. bad new paint, etc.?
Thank you in advance.
Know very little about paint, suggest you talk to a few well regarded
A caution, however; as much as you like your new car don't over invest
in it for an insurance company won't readily share your enthusiasm in
the event of a claim.
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