1983 Mercedes-Benz W123 240D 4 cylinder diesel from North America

Summary:

Durable and reliable car

Faults:

The cruise control servo has stopped working. The fuel pump had to be replaced around 500,000 miles. Other than that it has only been routine things, like spark plugs, injectors, etc.

General Comments:

The car is on the slow side, but will go forever. extremely reliable, I have never had a single break down - keep in mind this car has nearly 3/4 of a million miles on it. It still runs like it is a new car and I recently had a Mercedes Tech go through the car from bumper to bumper including the engine to see what needed to be done. He told me that if he had not known he would have guessed the car had around 30,000 miles on it. The only thing I strongly encourage is do the maintenance like the service book recommends!!! I have commissioned a full off frame restoration for it this summer. Interior, exterior, and mechanical to turn it into a show car - I feel it has earned it. I guess in the past twenty years this car has become my baby.

P.S. Its replacement as my daily driver was a new Mercedes S-class.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd May, 2003

13th Jul 2003, 15:11

WOW! 723,000 miles with no major work.

22nd Sep 2004, 19:40

Wow! I just bought a 1983 240D W123 and I am looking forward too many years of reliable service. The only question I have is that he mentioned spark plugs. Did he mean glow plugs? As diesels have no ignition system, if someone is charging him for spark plugs, he should ask for a refund.

1983 Mercedes-Benz W123 230E 2.3 litre from Australia and New Zealand

Faults:

Absolutely nothing has gone wrong with this car.

When I purchased this car it had a noisy fuel pump, which I soon replaced and the air-conditioning is not always cold.

This car's diff is a bit noisy and annoying, and it doesn't run turbine smooth, which I'm not sure if it's meant to anyway.

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

Review Date: 19th March, 2003

1983 Mercedes-Benz W123 240D 2.4L diesel from North America

Summary:

Everyone should have one and diesels do not explode on impact!

Faults:

I replaced the exhaust system myself when I bought the car. An easy bolt on job.

I replaced the tires when I bought the car.

I replaced the window channel on the driver's door when I bought the car.

The air conditioner compressor does not turn on - it may be the switch.

First day on the road the new hood emblem was stolen near a 7-11 when I was at a movie. Second replacement is still there.

Sway bar rear link broke due to accident. I replaced it. 17mm wrenches.

Tape deck on the Becker radio does not work, but I never listen to the radio. It is a distraction.

Hood insulation deteriorated with age. Home Depot insulation with spray adhesive worked fine and the car is much more quiet.

General Comments:

I really enjoy my low maintenance inexpensive 1983 240D 4 speed stick Mercedes because it is such a simple car to work on and a pleasurable car to drive. The car fits my 6'3" 230 pound body just right. In fact the front seats will go too far back. There is plenty of headroom even with a sunroof. All the controls are easy to operate and easy to repair except the heater cable. I have not figured how to fix that yet. The mid-sized four door sedan had near perfect unobstructed visibility. Near the armrest a drink holder would be a welcome feature. Wind noise is at a minimum even with the sunroof open.

One feature I do not care for on Mercedes of that vintage is the vacuum door and trunk locks. When they get old they become a big pain. If you lock the trunk with the key using the key does not unlock it completely. Much too involved to explain now. Vacuum lock problems are accentuated in cold weather.

Diesels are not exactly cold weather cars. In the winter or anytime below 35 degrees the oil must be warmed up before starting. The car must be plugged into a 110 house outlet. The block heater plug is located below the right front bumper.

The car with over 200,000 miles accelerates like a snail, but once at cruising speed it can stay there all day. That means 70 mph on an interstate from NY to Maine or places unknown. Locally impatient Moms in SUV are constantly badgering me from behind by tailing my slow vehicle and beeping their horns or passing in an obnoxious fashion, with some sort of belligerent hand gesture, whether it be of trucker, biker or Italian origins. It all means the same. "Get out of the way, you're too slow for me". I still enjoy the smooth farm tractor feel of that little four bagger stick shift diesel.

The turning radius is amazing. It was designed for cab drivers in tight quarters on fifteenth Century European streets.

Everything on the car is so simple to fix. I bought the car with a bad window that would not go up or down. Turns out the window channel was bad. The replacement part was $125.00 but I changed it in less than a half hour. The door panel was so easy to take apart. No rivets, just a bunch of screws and a few simple tricks that were noted in the shop manual.

Unfortunately some cell phone headed kid rammed the near perfect car in the right rear pushing the quarter panel up to the wheel well. Mercedes are designed to crush on the ends under impact to absorb the shock for the rigid passenger compartment. I have a friend with a bulldozer. We easily pulled the crunch out. I picked up a used tail light assembly, a rear bumper at a salvage yard, a gallon of Bondo at the Autobarn store and some Home Depot blue spray paint. OK it is not perfect, but she is still a good driver. I had to iron out a few mechanical defects caused by the accident. In fact I got to the last one, a broken stabilizer link ($16.67 at MB dealer), fixed just this afternoon over a year after the original accident.

My next project is to replace a unit under the dash that is for the hydraulic clutch. The part leaks and I have to keep putting brake fluid in the reservoir (about weekly) so the car will shift gears.

Would I get another one? Why this one still is a great car! I could easily drive it around the world starting tomorrow!

stevenvilardi@aol.com

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th December, 2002

20th Jan 2003, 11:55

The W123 is an extremely safe car for it's age! I've seen many examples of impact, and been in a minor accident with one myself, and I've just have to say that MB:s safety engineering works, even if it is 30 years old... :-)

5th Jan 2004, 19:03

My 1983 mercedes is only twenty years old. If your 1983 mercedes is thirty years old then it must have really been beat upon.