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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm an automotive student who commutes approx 100 miles/day in my 9-5. I also carry 100lbs of tools with me every day, no exceptions. Gas mileage in the 9-5 is excellent at an average of 26mpg every tank, but unfortunately the commute and tool carrying is taking a toll on my car. it was mint until i started going to school and now it's just getting "Beat" so that's why i'm looking for a commuter/beater car. Two cars i'm looking at are a 1982 Merc 300TD wagon and a 1989 Merc 300E sedan. I'd like some input on both.

1982 300TD:
Good:
-Mint body/paint/interior/wood/wheels
-Newish tires brakes
-Lots of room for tools or anything for that fact
-Approx 200k on motor - purrs like a kitten
-avg 25mpg everywhere
-Perfect candidate for a Grease car
Bad:
-Burned out dash lights
-Small exhaust leak
-Needs rear shocks
-Occasionally hesitates shifting.
-Will need to be plugged in during the winter months, unfortunately i'm in an apartment complex so that will be an issue.
-I don't think it's a turbo, just a "touring diesel" Ill check next time I see it.
-It's a big ol wagon that will take a little $$ to make bad ass.

1989 300E:
Good:
-Straight 6 gas motor, Approx 160k
-real classy interior, but a little bit less "classic" than the wagon if you know what I mean.
-A little more my style than the wagon
-More HP for highway cruising
Bad:
-Body and interior a little rough around the edges
-Lower gas mileage
-A little scarier investment compared to the diesel
-Idles rough on cold starts but levels out when warm. guy mentioned plugs or injectors

soooo.... opinions or advice?? And no, a saab is not on my list haha so don't mention it. I'd consider other Mercedes models but there aren't many for sale around me.
for the record, the TD is $1200 and the E is $1500. These are not exact pics, just some for reference.
 

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1982 Merc 300TD wagon - better car IMHO

Shifting usually is VAC related (lines off or rotted) and they shift firm anyways. There are other repairs for this however too which are not costly.

Diesel = slow

Gasser = VERY quick off the line

Diesel looks classic.

If it's a TD then it's a Turbo Diesel... if it's a 300D it's just a Diesel and if it's a 300TE it could be a I6 Gasser.
 

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Wagonwagonwagonwagonwagonwagon

W123 wagon, so cool. I love old Merc iron, they were such classy cars 25+ years ago. If the body is in good condition and the motor's running well, I'd jump all over that. Parts can get pricey, but there's enough of a following for these old cars that you shouldn't have trouble finding a resource for how-to's and cheap-ish parts.

Chris
 

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Wagonwagonwagonwagonwagonwagon

W123 wagon, so cool. I love old Merc iron, they were such classy cars 25+ years ago. If the body is in good condition and the motor's running well, I'd jump all over that. Parts can get pricey, but there's enough of a following for these old cars that you shouldn't have trouble finding a resource for how-to's and cheap-ish parts.

Chris
This.
 

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FYI 1982 300TD should be the turbo diesel, 120hp/170lbft.

Do a little research on auto trans issues from that gen. My guess is Burns had it right, worst case maybe the valve body needs some work. Never know, I've seen trans that were barely getting out of gear act like new after a filter/fluid change.

Simsbury eh? I'll keep an eye out for a black 9-5 and HOPEfully a slick W123 :)

Chris
 

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Yes, the w123 is the way to go. The 300E is gonna be faster, but the 300TD is gonna be more reliable, ridiculously so. Just keep the valves adjusted, and oil changed and it'll run forever. 82 was the first year for the turbodiesel in the wagon, they all got it, and thats a good thing, cause it makes them reasonable to drive among normal modern traffic. One other awesome thing about the wagons is they all have self leveling suspension in the rear, so you can pull crap like this:






Thats two c900 motor/trans combos and a bunch of other stuff, still at normal ride height in the rear, with little affect on handling.

One thing though, skip the greasecar thing, its a waste of money and time, and realistically isnt very good for the engine in the long run. For $1200 you should run and get that 300TD right now, thats a great price, even if you need to replace the trans, likely you wont though.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The problem with the wagon is that it needs rear shocks. I can do the work myself, I'll just have to see how much that would run me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yea, even brand new the shocks aren't expensive at all. I'm still leaning more towards the 300TD. It seems like the better choice and the best part is that it's pure white with black tints haha. I'll throw some 16inch craigslist wheels on it and cruise around all winter. Should I be worried to cold start it in my apartment complex? I have no access to an outlet. There may be a few 0* days this winter and my saab will spend most of his time at my parents house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I can get my hands on both for very cheap. Anything else I should know about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Simsbury eh? I'll keep an eye out for a black 9-5 and HOPEfully a slick W123 :)

Chris
I've most likely seen you before. I'm driving on rt 20 every morning around 7am. Do you live on that long street that's near the planet fitness?
 

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I've most likely seen you before. I'm driving on rt 20 every morning around 7am. Do you live on that long street that's near the planet fitness?
Nope, I'm right near the Wells Rd Elementary school in Granby, but I also commute down rt 20 every morning around 7 in either my Viggen, or, if we're on the same schedule, my wifes black aero s/c (both work in Hartford). More of us around than I thought - I'll keep an eye out for ya.

Chris
 

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Yeah, beware going greasecar on diesels, if its not done exactly right, its a good way to fubar an engine. You think some Saabs had sludge issues, you havent seen anything until youve looked inside a greasecar that has polymerized its oil... Im not sure how the old mercs ran the glow plug controls, but Im sure you could start a bit easier on uber cold days with a few key cycles. It helps out on older trucks, and even newer diesels like my 04 Jetta. But I got a frost heater kit in there now and it starts like summer all year round lol.
 

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Yea, even brand new the shocks aren't expensive at all. I'm still leaning more towards the 300TD. It seems like the better choice and the best part is that it's pure white with black tints haha. I'll throw some 16inch craigslist wheels on it and cruise around all winter. Should I be worried to cold start it in my apartment complex? I have no access to an outlet. There may be a few 0* days this winter and my saab will spend most of his time at my parents house.
Umm, watch out, if you are pricing those from some generic parts place they wont be right. You need the ones that are really expensive, though likely you dont need the "shocks" unless they are leaking. If its bouncy you need new accumulators for the rear suspension, theyre pretty cheap, i think you can get em for like $100 each or so. Read up on the SLS system a bit, there are some good guides on how they work, theyre pretty simple once you figure out how theyre supposed to function.

Paul
 
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