1983 Mercedes-Benz W123 diesel from North America


Simple, Sturdy, well engineered car


Glow plugs at 150,000.

General Comments:

This car is amazing. Over 20 years old and Everything still works perfect except for the AC.

Very well built, solid construction. Very easy to perform routine maintenance. Oil filter is easily accessible from the top. Surprisingly I have found replacement and maintenance parts readily available and affordable.

This car starts very easily, even after sitting un-driven for a period of time. I once left the headlights on and killed the battery. The engine still push started easily - with no power for the glow plugs!.

The only downside is the low power. You won't be racing one of these! But I suppose its enough. The durability than makes up for it.

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

Review Date: 1st September, 2006

1983 Mercedes-Benz W123 Sedan nonturbo I5 non turbo diesel from North America


Slow, heavy, mediocre reliability, but interesting


Injector leak from return lines.

Radio and dome lights do not work.

Instrument cluster lights do not work.

Fog lights do not work on one side.

Lazy shifting automatic transmission.

General Comments:

It is average in durability, despite people's many optimistic praises. Germans definitely do not have their electronics correct. There are many electrical gremlins. A Toyota of similar vintage is much more reliable in the electronics area.

To start off, power door locks are air, so that is prone to problems when a leak occurs.

The dash lights are very dim, and sometimes do not work at all, despite replacing the potentiometer on the gauge cluster.

Clock sometimes works and sometimes not.

Dome light and radio cuts out from time to time.

Mechanically it is decent, but rust develops in the wheel wells.

The injector return lines (3.2mm ones) are prone to leaks. These lines are secured by barbs (no clamps) at the injector. They are also tiny and braided, and available only from Mercedes dealers. Leaks here can be a fire hazard. It would have been better if they used hard metal lines instead of flexible rubber return lines.

Performance wise, it is very slow, barely getting up a steep hill. Mileage is also not so great (24mpg) probably because of large weight. Its only redeeming quality is that it is immune from emissions requirements (even though it probably pollutes more than a regular gasoline). That opens up the possibility of an engine upgrade without government intervention.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th July, 2006

5th Dec 2006, 07:39

If the barbed lines leak, why don't you just put hose clamps on?

1st Jun 2007, 19:13

The fuel return hose is cheap and easy to replace. Try to light diesel fuel with a match, then explain how it's a fire hazard!

15th Jun 2007, 15:35

You cannot put hose clamps on the return line hoses. There is not enough room at the injectors. Besides the leak occurs at the hose itself due to old dry-rot age not where it meets the barbs. Although it can also leak at the barbs also if you try to reuse old lines. The factory Mercedes braided return lines are not cheap at all $12 (US) per foot. Diesel may not be a fire hazard for the previous reader, but the inspection authorities will think otherwise. Also who wants to smell diesel coming out of the engine compartment not to mention get even worse gas mileage?

1983 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D Turbo Diesel 3.0 ltr. 5 cylinder. from North America


Anyone who knows cars, knows that W123s Mercedes are the best!


Heat A/C controller wasn't working at purchase, but was an easy Do It Yourself fix.

Alternator was replaced after 6 months of purchase, then changed again six months later due to broken belt.

Wiper blades act up sometimes after repeated use.

General Comments:

I love the ease of maintenance that diesels provide, but needed more room than my Jetta had. I searched for a year before I lucked into a lovely W123 turbo diesel. It's a grey metallic with sienna interior. Rare and beautiful, with good power, comfort and fuel economy. The seats are MB Tex and were a bit dirty, but had no rips and were restored to new condition by magic eraser. The car rides smooth and after long hours on the road leaves me feeling fine.

The quality of these vehicles is clearly evident when you are up close to it. Washing it and such lets you see and feel the craftmanship that went into it. It drives great in all weather and has conservative good looks with chrome detail that makes newer cars look cheap in comparison.

The passing power can shock other drivers too. The turbo engine and tranny are gems and the gearing is great for highway cruising or bruising.

Considering these cars had sold well all over the world, parts are easily available and fairly priced.

W123s have a first rate reputation and remain few in number today, so my car makes for a great usable daily driven collectible.

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

Review Date: 4th January, 2006

5th Jan 2006, 12:51

I must correct the ranking for operating costs as a 7 rather than a 3. Only because genuine MB parts like any OEM parts, are priced at a premium. Aside from the durability, there is one particular aspect of owning these old cars that is very appealing. That is the steering feel. The big steering wheel and recirculating ball set-up make for a car that is very nimble and tactile. This is the greatest enjoyment of these cars, the driving experience.