1985 Mercedes-Benz W123 Reviews from North America

1985 Mercedes-Benz W123 300TD 3.0 litre 5 cylinder turbo

Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership1995
Most recent year of ownership2014
Engine and transmission 3.0 litre 5 cylinder turbo Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 miles
Most recent distance340000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz W116

Summary:

Legendary engineering

Faults:

Both rear window regulators needed to be replaced.

Nothing else other than normal maintenance.

General Comments:

Well, fantastic!

The W123 is an incredible car. I started out with a W116 300SD, but eventually needed a wagon and found this car still with its original owner. I'm fortunate in that we have a local Mercedes-only service shop run by a German ex-MB factory employee, so needless to say, he knows these cars inside and out and seems to always have a three week backlog for work.

In any case, we had these cars in my family back in the 1970s and 1980s, and I still remember how they felt when they were brand new.

It was made very clear to me that these cars require regular maintenance, which must be adhered to strictly, so my car is in every 3K miles for oil changes, every 15K for valve adjustments and fuel filters, 30K for air filter and trans fluid and filter, annually for brake fluid flush, and every second year for coolant flush, and it has been dead reliable in the near 20 years I've owned it.

You'll run into wear items needing replaced at certain mileage intervals, so don't be surprised when it needs ball joints and control arms at 150K, or brake hoses at 25 years old, or A/C work, etc... it's a machine and machines - even great ones - still wear out, but compared to many other cars, including my wife's brand new C-Class, the W123 is in a league of its own in comfort, safety, simplicity and reliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th July, 2014

1985 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D turbo diesel

Model year1985
Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission turbo diesel Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired139480 miles
Most recent distance140314 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

When I drive it, I'm like a kid at Christmas

Faults:

Bought the car in Florida three weeks ago, and had an independent, import repair shop check it out before starting 1,200 miles back to Texas. The only issue was a leaking primer pump, which I had replaced for $170.00, all inclusive.

Complete maintenance records show that control arms, tie rods, all bushings and shocks have been replaced, as well as the radiator and fan. Two months ago, the car ran hot (due to fan failure?), and the head warped and cracked. Repair invoice notes describe $2,400 for various related and precautionary repairs.

The rheostat on the instrument lights does not work, so their constant dim glow is only visible if there is zero ambient light. Does anyone know a source for that part, or the MB part number, for search purposes?

Also, the console switch for the emergency flashers is inoperable. Anyone know a source for that, or the MB part number?

Central locking from the driver's door is fine, but not from the passenger's side. May be a vacuum leak on that side.

General Comments:

I bought from the original owners, a couple in their mid to late 80s. The factory paint, light gray with original pin striping is superb, as are the carpets, MB Tex dark blue upholstery and carpets, which show no discernible wear. The car has clearly been pampered all its life, and I expect it to be my last car purchase, for daily use.

Maintenance records show oil and filter changes at least every six months, even if driven only 1,000 miles.

In the early 1960s, in Germany, I owned a 1958 MB 219, which I totalled and replaced with a 1957 MB 220S. I had never driven such fine cars, and have never forgotten what it was like. This W123 has the same feeling of quality and precision road feel of those earlier cars. I am now 73 years old, but can still feel thrilled over driving a fine car. This one gives me that thrill.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th November, 2012

17th Mar 2014, 22:45

Simply remove the rheostat and solder a wire across the 2 connections at the back.

Average review marks: 8.6 / 10, based on 14 reviews