1987 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300SDL 3.0 I6 turbo diesel from North America


A/C Compressor re-build, R134 conversion at 146000

New tie-rods, center link, serpentine belt at 144000

New fuel supply return lines at 148200

Trap oxidizer removed at 148200 (manufacturer recall)

General Comments:

Extremely well-built vehicle - quality, durability and longevity that is unmatched.

Turbo charger is a must on M-B diesels and eliminates any disadvantage of owning a diesel.

Proper maintenance by a knowledgeable and competent Benz mechanic will ensure years of reliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th September, 2004

27th Sep 2004, 10:32

This is a follow-up to my review. This car has been in my family since my grandfather purchased it new in 1987. It was given to me earlier this year. The car has been meticulously maintained and virtually ALL of the miles driven on it have been highway miles. However, it has probably only been driven about 5,000 miles in the last eight years. When I got the car earlier this year, I had about $2000 worth of normal maintenance performed (including an A/C rebuild) as you can read about.

One very interesting note on this car is that until recently, the turbo charger never really seemed to work well, if at all. There was no real turbo boost at low speeds (when it is needed). I did some research and found that there was a recall on the trap oxidizer back in 1997 that had never been performed on this car. The recall was basically to remove the trap oxidizer and replace it with a bypass valve. I called the local dealer and found that the recall was still valid and they did it free of charge. After this was done, the increase in the turbo boost was unbelievable. The car has so much more power in first and second gear. What I am assuming happened was that the trap oxidizer was clogged and never allowed air into the turbo.

These are truly amazing cars. The mechanic at the local Benz referred to these cars as the 'Last of the Good Ones.' The handling on these cars is unmatched on anything I have ever driven, especially for such a large and heavy vehicle. I have been told that I could drive in excess of 300,000 miles on this car with only routine maintenance.

One thing I will note with diesel is to be careful where you buy it. Poor quality diesel that has been sitting in a tank for a long time can cause problems in the fuel system and clog up your fuel filters. The best place to buy diesel (not necessarily the cheapest) will be a truck stops since the diesel fuel is replenished often.

If you have a problem where the vehicle cannot hold high speeds on the highway, you may have a bad tank of fuel. Another problem may be the fuel filter that is in the tank itself. There are 3 fuel filters on the car and this is the one that is often overlooked when a fuel problem occurs.

I love this car and will keep it in my family forever.

1987 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300 SDL 3.0 turbo diesel from North America


Solid as a brick outhouse


Nothing, yet. Bought this car yesterday.

General Comments:

I purchased this renowned car, even though the miles are so high, because they are known for longevity.

I read everywhere that the timing chain tensioners and chain should be inspected/adjusted/replaced as necessary. How much should this cost? I purchased the car yesterday and my research indicates that this is one thing that I should abosolutely have checked, ASAP.

Drove it home last night hitting just under 100 mph numerous times. This car scoffs at bumps!

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

Review Date: 9th September, 2004

1987 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300 SDL 3.0 turbo diesel from North America


The best daily drivers car ever made


Drivers seat a little compressed. $?

Front and rear suspension completely shot. $1500 alone.

Poor circulation of coolant through chambered reservoir $?

Timing chain and belts replaced with Tune up $300+

Numerous oil and tranny leaks from seals and gaskets. Specialized bolts required replacement. $?

Valve adjustment from timing and continuing clatter although there is no performance loss. (with tune up)

Oil burn from valve blow-by (with tune-up)

All four tires cupped due too bad suspension. replace cost $500 for Sumitomos all around.

Rear differential bone dry from leaks (very dangerous) $?

Flex disk on drive shaft cracked $?

Underbody panels caked with oil, fluid and accumulated dirt and gravel. $?

Chrome and paint showing severe wear.

($5000 for a good repair.)

Emergency Brake pedal worn and kept light on $?

Accelerator pedal rusted and stiff $102.00.

Alloy wheels look like salvage scrap. replaced for $1800.

General Comments:

This car is one of the finest ever produced.

Repair/replacement makes the item fixed like brand new unlike other cars that will never be the same again. It takes repair very well because of the overbuilt German engineering.

Expensive to fix, but after about $7000 spent on repairs this car is as good as the day it came out of the showroom mechanically.

The paint and chrome are still rough, but I can live with that.

It will cruise at 90 mph all day without a hiccup. I've got the tickets to prove it.

After 17 years the sunroof still doesn't leak.

All the electricals work fine and quickly no sluggishness at all.

The power is band is flat at the beginning, but soars after 25 mph as the turbo spools up. You can feel the turbo wind up!

You will be gently pushed back into your seat when passing at high speeds and can be doing 90+ without even noticing the transition from 60 mph.

A classic look in a beautiful package I expect to drive this car for the rest of my young life.

Consistently yields 35 mpg on highway, amazing for a car this size.

Can seat six adults in great comfort.

Eurotech Wheel package makes the car a headturner even without new paint.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd March, 2004

28th Aug 2007, 19:13

With 225K on my 300SDL and having spoken with many other 300SDL owners I have yet to find anyone with long term records to prove greater than 25 mpg with this car. I am at a life time mileage of between 22 and 23 mpg.

If you keep up with the maintenance the Total Cost of Ownership is only about $0.35/mile. One year I spend $4000 (new AC) and another year $200 (a couple of oil changes with synthetic) so it all balances out.