This car is in pretty nice shape with only 137k on it (as slow as it
is, there is little chance to get the miles racked up). The problem is
it handles like three kinds of crap. When i search this group, i see a
lot of stuff for gasoline 240s, but the diesel is ignored. If I were
to guess, I'd say the engine is way too heavy for the chassis. You
have to put future turns in your DayPlanner this thing is so
unresponsive. It travels to the outside of any turn and needs to be
constantly reigned in. Any irregularities in the road during a turn
send it even further to the outside the planned arch. The tires are
good and it rides nicely, which makes me think the shocks are okay.
Since there is no slop in the steering, I'm having trouble thinking
something is worn out. I'm thinking different springs? Torsion bars? A
really big vertical stabilizer? Any input or suggestions would be
The chassis is identical between gasoline and diesel so the handling
upgrades still apply. I suggest putting a set of IPD swaybars on the car as
well as polyeurethane bushings. It will still take you a half hour to get up
to speed on the freeway but it should corner much more nicely.
Could be bad control arm bushings, the top strut bushing also has a
tendency to go, and/or trailing arm bushings. Realize that even with low
miles, 25 years does a number on rubber components.
I'll second the IPD parts suggestions, at least the upgraded sway bar
bushings if not the upgraded bars. Got a spare set of Turbo bars
(23/21mm) in the garage if you'd like something stiffer than the stock
Diesel without being as stiff as the IPD 25/23mm bars.
It's a heavier engine, but please realize you are not driving a new
BMW Z4. You are driving a 25 year old sedan that was designed to move
people comfortably while also getting reasonable mpg from an
underpowered diesel motor. When new it did not have sparkling
acceleration and rail-like cornering. When pushed it handled more
like a high-riding box on narrowly spaced wheels.
The VW diesel motor is not ignored, but certainly not followed much
because many of those powerplants have died by now. They were a poor
choice for USA drivers because the car was seriously underpowered and
drivers pushed the engine a lot to get reasonable acceleration. A lot
of drivers did not keep up on maintenance which is a costly decision
on a diesel motor.
Typical for the 240 series no matter the year. The car was known for
handling like boxy american sedan 20 years its senior.
The car also has a tendency to pitch transversely on uneven roads.
Not to the point it was dangerous, but it is an irritating habit. And
it tends to develop a rear-end squat as bushings wear out.
If you want it to handle as new then I would suggest that you have the
entire suspension system gone through. Bushings and struts/shocks at
a minimum. You may very well have some sagging springs too. It will
take a lot to offset the effects of a quarter century of use.
Over 15 years I owned a 1984 240 D and 1987 240GL. Very nice in
their time but seriously dated designs.
Thanks for all the replies. I didn't quite plan to own such a car, but
it was low miles and the fuel system had already been converted to
SVO, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. It gets over 30mpg on
waste vegetable oil and is as reliable as an anvil. So, i think I'm
going to have it awhile and wanna make it as civilized as i can. I'll
start with the small stuff and work my way up. For years I drove MB
diesels and loved them, so this is new territory for me. I did learn
the first thing you do with a 240 is take a small wire wheel to the
fuse holders, plant new fuses, and dielectric grease is your friend.
More lessons to come, I'm sure. Thanks again.
The conversion was done when i got the car. It was the only reason i
settled for a naturally aspirated small diesel. I just scored a Ford
350 van with a 6.9 (talk about contrasts in pwr!). So, this will be
the proving ground of my skills on doing one from the ground up since
i've been only working on SVO systems and hanging out with the local
people who own the company that does it here:
They do not give the kits away, but they amortize quickly. getting the
oil is stupid-easy. i published a story about SVO and i got gallons
and gallons of it left anonymously on the doorstep of my business by
the local grease heads. Everyone seems to have their own way of pre-
filtering (you want it down to 10 microns before putting it in the car
tank unless you grove on buying the expensive high-flow filters), and
you will learn how different grades of waste oil make your car run and
SMELL. It's not for those who don't like getting their hands dirty. I
have disposable gloves in my car and where i filter the raw grease
since this shit stinks when it seeps into your skin and is hard to get
out. By contrast, however, if you spill it on the driveway, hit it
with Simple Green and have it's gone the next day. My wife will drive
my Veg-vo under protest, but got the hang of when to turn on the
grease after the car was warmed up. After you have driven enough to
pay off the kit, it costs about 3 cents a mile, including the diesel
one needs to get the thing started in the morning. It sure is fun
watching the motorcycles come up behind me and start looking for the
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