Hi folks I've been perusing this sight for a while now, and your
enthusiasm and passion for these cars is contagious.
I just bought a 1980 300D. I am going back and forth from being exited
to a feeling of dread that I made a mistake.
I bought the vehicle sight unseen on ebay ( a little crazy I know) but
I have been looking locally as well as online for about a year and have
watched the prices of the 1980 to 85 diesels go up pretty dramatically.
And I have bought a couple of other cars on e-bay (none this old) and
have had good luck so far.I'm pretty sure if all is as stated by the
owner that I got a good enough deal to take a chance.
this is the link to the vehicle
problems besides a non working A/C and a non operational passenger
window. I am thinking about flying out to California from Chicago and
driving the car back.
What questions should I ask now of the owner, and what should I have
checked out specifically when I get there as far as mechanicals to
ascertain whether or not the car can make such a long cross country
Does anyone know of an honest MB mechanic in Sacramento California I
can take it to?
I am new to diesel Mercedes cars but I am a fairly adequate diy kind of
guy. Anything in particular to look for in the non turbo 1980 300D,
besides sluggish acceleration :)
Wow... a thousand buck. That is a bargain for rust free car. I would let a
MB diesel mechanic check it out before your ride back to Chicago. I'd buy
some fuel filters, jumper cable, essential tools to carry with me on the
road. AAA would be great too... don't forget that MB road service is free
for minor things... but repair on the road cost money.
You may find that having it shipped to you is cheaper (and safer) than
you traveling to Sacramento and driving it back to Chicago. About $1,000
You know squat about this car and it's a long drive. One break down and
the $1,000 truck shipping looks pretty good.
Trucking is by vehicle size and whether the car will be inside or
outside. Prices can be a bit, not a lot, "flexible" so don't take the
first number thrown out.
Good point...but at about 1000.00 shipping which is what I paid for
the car, vs. 125.00 for the one way ticket to Sacramento plus travel
expenses. I'm thinking if a mechanic gives the O.K. it may be worth the
risk. I would love to know if anyone knows a good independent MB
mechanic around Sacramento, Or should I just have a dealer look it
over? If someone in the know looks at it and tells me its risky I can
still have it shipped,and fly back.
Congratulations! Relax and enjoy the car. As somebody else said,
for a thousand bucks, you can't go wrong.
Why don't people fix stuff like that when it breaks? I've never
understood why some owners surrender to entropy and let malfunctions
accumulate on their cars like that.
I'd seriously recommend that if you do decide to drive the car home
rather than having it shipped, you bite the bullet and have the air
conditioning fixed first -- especially at this time of the year.
Even if it weren't summertime, A/C would keep the noise level down
inside the car, reducing fatigue, and prevent your being beaten half
to death by the wind. W123 aerodynamics are such that the cars aren't
terribly comfortable with the windows open at freeway speeds.
This would be a logical opportunity to have the air conditioning system
converted to R134A refrigerant.
I'd also check the cruise control and fix it if necessary, since it'd
be really nice to have on a long trip. That's particularly true in
the case of a nonturbo car, in order to maintain freeway speeds more
Cruise control is a weak point with these cars. The culprit is the
amplifier, a silver metal box inside the dash just ahead of the
driver's left knee. (Replacements cost $200-300 but are plug-and-
"Like swallows heading for Capistrano, liberals are drawn toward
those institutions where they have the power to impose their
The cruise control is the last thing I'd be worried about. Hard suspension
parts, hoses, belts, fluids, brakes, that's what I'd be more concerned
about. Inspect and replace as required.
The CC amp, when it fails, is 99% of the time a broken solder joint and the
usual repair is pull the unit, resolder EVERYTHING then stuff it back
in. That usually fixes it.
I've never bothered to fix mine. I like cramped foot syndrome :-)
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
Thanks for all the great advice EVERYONE. Its going to make owning one
of these cars that much more satisfying knowing there is such a
passionate and knowledgeable owners group out there.
I think I'm leaning somewhere in the middle as far as pre-road trip
maintenance. I can deal without air conditioner cruise control etc, I'm
hard like that :) Not that I wouldn't like to have it. But I'd rather
Have the time to work it out myself, or have my mechanic here work on
it after I know a little more, at Midwest labor prices as opposed to
California ones ( Big difference) I'm a bit leery of just handing my
car over to a mechanic I don't know in a strange town and just have him
fix everything that could possibly be wrong. I'm more worried about the
Major break me down in the middle of nowhere stuff.. Belts, Hoses,
I'm thinking I'll have the fluids changed, compression test done, valve
adjustment, hoses belts replaced as needed and hope for the best. Any
advice on an honest mechanic in the Sacramento area???
Thanks again everyone.
I would take to MB dealer in the area...saying that you plan to purchase the
car and want it inspected. Make appointment before you go... or see if they
can squeeze you in.
Change oil would be the first thing to do... top off all the other fluids...
you can top the fluids yourself or let a lube shop do it for you...
Inspect the hoses for any soft spots... if yes, buy the hose at local
autozone or something.
Check the belt see if they are worn... like belt is below the rim of the
pulley... or ripped or cracked badly... if not, I think you will be fine,
pick up spares at autozone too.
You definitely need AAA Deluxe.
Bring some motor oil, some anitifreeze, water, and spare tool kit... buy
locally at autozone...
Other than that, I wouldn't worry unless the dealer tell you so....
No need for compression test done at Sacramento.
AC... you can try to charge it up yourself with a kit if you want to...
MB service manual ia the best... but in short time, maybe your local library
has Haynes manual for you to borrow... W123 manual.
Basic tools... socket set, screwdriver, pliers, etc. Paper towels, hand
I've used Haynes manuals for years, for several different cars.
They're my favorite among those from the common publishers
(Chilton, Clymer, etc.).
Maynes manuals are sold in the parts department of my local M-B
dealership. Don't know whether that's usually the case or not.
If not, the nearest Borders & Noble ought to have a decent sel-
ection of them.
I have the manual for the W123 diesels, which I no longer own
one of. Sadly, there doesn't seem to have been a Haynes manual
written for the *W124* diesels. Sigh.)
"The interesting thing about Santa Cruz is that it provides enduring
evidence that people who are as dumb as a bowl of mice can make a
My w124 manual has diesels in it. The 200, 250 (2.5 l) and 300 (3.0 l).
I think it's based on models that were sold in Britain. (It's talking
about C to K registrations, nothing bigger that a 320, though)
Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...
and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
be forwarned though, there are errors. I did look at a Haynes just
recently when removing my rotor.... they had the procedure correct, but in
a mixed up order...... would have confused a novice for sure
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