I've got a chance to buy a '85 Mercedes turbo diesel station wagon, it's in excellent condition with only 130k miles. Only one small dent on the right-rear door. Anybody familiar with these and know of any problems I should look for? Oh yeah, I can pick it up for $800.
I don't know jack shit about those older models. But for eight hundred bucks I don't think you can go wrong. Just be aware that parts are available, but can be quite expensive. One of the nice things about those older models is that many of the little bitty tiny parts are available seperately, so you don't have to buy a whole assembly because one little thing broke.
The down side to that is many times you cannot buy an assembly and have to fix all those teeny tiny things individually. Have fun!
I had an '83 300TD when I re-upped in '01 on ARFcom. I couldn't get my old handle, so I became DzlBenz.
The W123-series wagons are terrific cars. 130K is just getting broken in. Almost every part for them is available from M-B, and there are lots of them still on the road.
There are two weak points on the car: the climate control system and the hydro-pneumatic rear suspension. The climate control, like almost everything else on the car, is controlled by a vacuum computer behind the dash. If the car has been taken care of, it will work like a champ. If not, it won't work at all.
The rear suspension has oil bags that are filled by an oil pump in the engine compartment. The suspension is unique to the car, and there is no possibility to retrofit it with shocks, struts or any other conventional suspension. It's anywhere from $3000-$6000 to replace the system. Mine was dead, and that's why I ultimately got rid of the car.
But, as my good friend saturnstyl points out, for $800, you can't really go wrong, unless the thing's DOA. I'd love to have another W123 wagon. An acquaintance on another forum is restoring his '85 right now, and just got it repainted. It's going to be like a brand-new car when he's done. Of course, I'm talking about a guy who keeps a 1991 Ducati 750 Paso in his living room!
Good luck, and post pictures when you get it and break my heart!
Considering some are going on Ebay for $5-6,000 I'd get it, flip it and move on.
Sure it'll be a car that rides smooth, is unique, but will most likely be expensive to repair, sloppy handling/brakes, slow, etc.
Unless you are craving this car I'd buy it and sell it for a nice little profit.
I'll just support what DzlBenz said. I have looked at my fair share of these when buying various Diesel cars over the years.
Some additional places to look at.
- I can almost guarantee that there is rust in the rear rocker panels and within the rocker panels under the doors. Unless the car was kept in cosmoline in a climate controlled box, it will rust, even if you can't see it yet, it will show up later.
- the climate control system will fail, just be ready to fork over the change for the repair or live without it.
- Get it, but have a diesel mechanic that knows MB's of this era give it a good review. Have him check the timing chain and valve clearances. All Diesels are interference engines. The last thing you want is a piston kissing a valve or worse.
- Check the integrity of the fuel pump. If it goes, you're up shit creek, unless home is downhill.
- have the transmission checked out...while they are very strong, they can fail.
For that price you really can't go wrong, can you?
Before I got married my dad gave me his 83 300D Turbo......
Basically he drove it into the ground before handing it off to me.
A few months after I got it it needed all new front end parts/busings.tie rods etc, Brakes all the way around,SHocks all the way around, the tranny took about 2-3 minutes for reverse to kick in and a muffler.
My Uncle was a MB wrench and he told my dad that it would cost my dad like $5000 to fix everything. I donated it for a tax deduction. Nice riding car very comfy. Hell for $800 I'd jump on it. Put a grand or 2 into regular maintenance and that car will last another 30 years.