Re: '87 300D Question....

Juergen . wrote:


Should I take a chance on this car? I can get it for about $4K. Does anyone have any opinion (good or bad) on the OM603 engine (which I assume is in this car)?
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It's not unusual for a Mercedes owner to upgrade whenever possible. The 1987 300D TURBO was only imported that one year. Mercedes recalled it to replace the trapidizer which could cause damage. When the recall was done, the turbo was often replaced as well as the full exhaust system and the header. If the owner has saved all his records, this is a good car to buy as he was that fastidious about the records. The parts he replaced are not made by MB but companies like Nippondenso (compressor), oil pump (Bosch), etc. This engine, a six, was more powerful than any previously made MB diesel engines. The head gasket often cracked and leaked. While many owners wouldn't bother to pay the cost of removing the head, this owner did. 138k miles is young for this car. Break in mileage is 126K. Many of the 124.133s came with scary color combinations. If this car is in good condition, buy it! They are fairly rare and very much sought out by diesel enthusiasts. The car should go 400,000 miles befor head work. It's built like a tank and is not known for rusting. At this age the car will need rear, upper strut links which have been upgraded by Mercedes to a more heavy duty item. At 200k it will need a vacuum pump. All MB parts can be had for 20% or more off retail from Rusty at 800-741-5252 . Peter K.

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I've owned a '80 300SD since new and find that its routine, by the book, maintenance and needed repairs about equal its fuel cost on a per mile basis. That's about $.045/ mile for fuel plus another $.045/mile for the maintenance needed to keep the car in very good shape.
Be happy you found a car with extensive maintenance records - you now know it's been serviced regularly, if that's in fact what they show. A new transmission is unusual however, ask if a teenager drove the car before it needed the new box.
This straight six is a good engine that will last for many miles. Its aluminum cylinder head and headgasket are its weak point. The cooling system MUST be very well maintained to avoid overheating the engine for overheating can cause the head gasket to blow and or the aluminum cylinderhead to crack. A new head is expensive so do the required cooling system maintenance and don't charge long hills in hot weather with the A/C running full blast.
Also know that some shops, especially dealers, charge very much, IMHO, for simple routine work by claiming the flat rate book calls for X hours of labor when in fact, their mechanic does the job in much less actual time. Maintenance is called a "C" or "E" service and costs several hundred $$ but if you look at the bill and figure how long it would take an experienced mechanic using a lift to DO the work you'll find the labor charge is unconscionable.
This sounds like a reasonable car and is in demand by diesel fans. If you buy it have an independent M-B shop undertake a pre-purchase inspection BEFORE the cash is passed. Then you'll know whether it's a good value or a list of potential problems. The engine's compression is the most telling measure of a diesel's health so be sure its included.
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I own a 1987 300D and like the fact that it can get out of its own way - it has 224,000 miles and has been trouble free. Good high speed tourer. Maintenance is the key. If he has maintained that car as he says, it should be fine.

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ASSUME?

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NEVER overheat it.
Replace the vacuum pump. If/when it fails it takes ou the engine. Other than that they're quite amazing engines that sip fuel and go like hell.
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Richard,
I'm a happy 87 300D owner here with a quick Q...

How does the vac pump take out the engine when it fails? How many miles/years does the OEM part usually go (safely)?
Thanks, Mike
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Mike,
I saw your post and had to respond. I bought an 87 300d form a yard with a blown engine. When I dropped the oil pan to check it out I reached in and pulled out a hand full of ball bearings! They came from the vacuum pump. Later I found out what did the motor in. A chunk of the bering race bounced up/down against the oil pump screen until it broke through. The oil pump jambed up tight, and the engine followed.
Bill
On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 17:01:07 -0700, "Mike \"Rotor\" Nowak"

snipped-for-privacy@gflocfk.net remove all "f"'s from address
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Mike, It's a very good idea to replace the vacuum pump when your car reaches 200k miles. If it goes while you are driving it can cause very costly repairs. To remove it you'll need to remove the fan. P

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