Last post on Apr 26, 2003 at 4:58 PM
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Honda Civic, Mercedes-Benz 300-Class, Diesel, Sedan
Feb 25, 2003 (12:36 pm)
Hey I have an old 300d (1979) and after spending 5k on a new engine, it has been a great car. Of course things have gone wrong and I will never be able to bet out of it what I have or will continue to put into it but the car runs daily, starts up, still looks great, will only be hurt by a mack truck or some other enourmous SUV and subsequently the people riding on the inside. I would have the car shecked out by a reputable mechanic and ask for service records. I wish I would have. Safety is A1, always and shoudl really be taken into consideration when purchasing a car. Even if it cost more in the long run and your family lives through being in ann accident it is well worth it. If you need more info on old benz's let me know and I'll fill you in.
Feb 25, 2003 (7:11 pm)
For safety, I'd still take a Volvo any day over a Benz. No offense to owners of Benzes, but Volvos seem to be built more solidly and with safety in mind.
#18 of 25 uh, value shoppers,
Feb 26, 2003 (1:07 am)
you never get your money back out of a car. they are turbosupercharged money pits.
the basic question is, suppose the car croaked and it needs major repairs. which one can you afford to do them on? if either, keep looking for preferences or turn-offs. if you can't afford your local Benz service per-hour rates, but can on the Honda, that is a consideration indeed.
and yes, the extensive training program a dealer certified Mercedes tech has to take is going to make the labor rate double or triple the going rate in town. but they should know enough to line up all the hardware in the jigs as they take things down so they can a) keep it, because there are zillions of sizes and pitches that nobody else has, including Mercedes Parts anymore, and b) get it back where it belongs.
Feb 26, 2003 (10:45 am)
Old Benzes are strong cars. I've been in under and through my 300D and it is surely built as well as any Volvo. It weighs 500 lbs more and originally cost at least double the price of a Volvo in 1980.
Mar 18, 2003 (1:46 pm)
Keep in mind that most of the doomsayers on the 300SD have never owned a Mercedes Diesel. I just bought a 1985 300SD that was well taken care of and garaged, looks more like 5 years old rather than 18 years old. The car is a great alternative. Where else can you get a large, roomy and save car that will run a fun hundred thousand miles. I would much rather drive my family in this than a cookie cutter Japanes economobile. You just have to have a competent and fair foreign car mechanic to care for it. Don't bring it to MerBenz.
#22 of 25 Mercedes or Not to Mercedes?
Apr 14, 2003 (3:36 am)
Retired Cars that I've owned, pm & repaired.
87 Hyundai Excel donated 298,000 miles. Engine still strong but burnt out tranny. Didn't want to put anymore "wear-n-tear" money into.
83 GMC Suburban 1500 2x4 302,000 miles. Finally lost compression, cracked flywheel, worn front suspension & radio wire short somewhere.
STILL DRIVING AND RUNNING STRONG!
83 Mercedes 300SD 289,000 miles and still going strong! Styling still a classic for a 20 year old!
****** The key to success is doing your own pm whenever possible AND finding an old fashion mechanic who knows Mercedes VERY VERY WELL and is fair in $$$$$$.
Otherwise, if you have to take it to the dealer, you'd better be RICH as parts and labor is very expensive.
True that even if you do your own work, parts can still be expensive but once you've repaired it CORRECTLY, you needn't worry about till it wears out accordingly.
***** An other KEY is to know what year, model & trim to STAY AWAY FROM! There are Mercedes that just didn't have it together right. example, an 85 300SD is OK but it's abit weak as it had a smaller tranny.
Take care and good nite!
#23 of 25 what to purchase ? Lexus LS 430 or Merc E320
Apr 25, 2003 (12:17 pm)
After 15 years with couple of Toyota Camrys, we are deciding to to upgrade to a luxury sedan.
We are down to the lexus 430 and the Benz E320 ?
Any drivers out there who have had both and can comment
#24 of 25 Mercedes 300 SD
Apr 25, 2003 (4:35 pm)
I bought an 83 Mercedes 300 SD with about 100K original miles on it. The car still has the original good paint, mechanically it is excellent and also has great looking interior. This is one well built car! One disadvantage is that you have to find somebody who knows these cars. It is sad that many of these cars have been totally screwed up by parts changers who do not know first thing about a diesel engine and how to set it up. This is not the car you take to your street corner garage for service.
Auto transmissions on these cars are controlled by vacuum. If the adjustment is incorrect, transmission will either shift roughly and slam into gears or slip, giving erroneous indication of a bad transmission. Also, bad engine or air cleaner mounts will cause very unpleasant vibration. I have seen these cars with almost 400K miles on them still running strong on the original engine.
There are some negatives to consider. 1. Replacement of the A/C evaporator on these cars is a nightmare as it requires complete dash disassembly. Average estimate for labor alone is about 23 hours, which means about $ 1500 plus the cost of evaporator.
2. Replacing CV boots on the rear axles requires special tools and a lot of labor so you are better off replacing axles with rebuilt ones at about $ 500 per set plus $ 200 in labor.
3. The dash wood trim often delaminates with age and nobody makes aftermarket replacement trim for these cars. If you buy the dash trim kit from the MB dealer (the only place where it is available) they will sell you three pieces of matching trim for a mere $ 900.
4. The original Becker radio tape player never works in these cars. If you want to preserve the original radio, you can have it rebuilt for about $ 200 through your MB dealer.
5. Some parts that often need replacement on these cars due to age are power antenna at $ 150, vacuum pump for the door lock system (about $ 160 from aftermarket supplier), plastic valves that control vacuum to the EGR valve and transmission modulator (about $ 170), transmission modulator (about $ 35), EGR valve ($ 120), fan clutch ($ 150), climate control unit ($ 300), A/C compressor and hoses and receiver dryer($ 500), rusted battery tray ($ 25), engine shut off valve (about $ 120 including installation labor), tachometer amplifier (about $ 60). The outside mirrors have a spring attached to a weak aluminum housing anchor, which often breaks and cannot be repaired and makes the mirror move freely. A new outside mirror will cost you about $ 260. Even a good used mirror is about $ 100. If you want to replace the original electric clock which will usually be useless after 20 years, it is sold as a tachometer/clock combined unit and it will cost you about $ 400.
If you get a neglected car, it can turn into a money pit really fast. Many people give up on these cars just for that reason.
Another annoying problem with these cars are power windows. Plastic regulator sliding jaws wear out and break, effectively preventing window from moving up and down. You can buy the plastic jaws separately, but to install them, the regulator must be removed from the door, the old part drilled out, and the new jaw shaft peened on, which is the dumbest thing I have seen in a long time. An alternative is buying a $ 100 window regulator. Almost without exceptions, the rear window lower corners get permanently stained by water that weeps between the laminated glass halves and causes an unsightly stain. The interior center door pillar vinyl covers come apart from heat after so many years and they cost about $ 120 a piece to replace.
On the plus side, this is one safe car. I know one person who walked away from a head on collision in this car, which totalled his 83 Mercedes Benz. And his car did not even have an air bag.
Also, you can buy literally every nut, bolt and screw for this car, from a Mercedes dealer. I have never seen any car company keep such a complete stock of parts for cars as old as this. Many parts are available through aftermarket suppliers (e.g. www.thebenzbin.com) at reasonable prices.
Apr 26, 2003 (4:58 pm)
I know, I just went to the dealer and bought the little sockets for the bulbs in the dashboard, and the tiny snap-clip that holds the rod to push up the door lock on the vacuum motor.
Also there are plenty of junkyard Benz parts around, since Benz is a fairly high volume manufacturer and has been for a long time. Luckily there is a lot of consistency of parts from year to year in the same chassis. I can get used parts UPS'ed to my house in a couple days. An A/C compresssor cost me $75, and $100 worth of R12 and a belt and I was good to go for last summer.