1985 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D Turbo 617.952 turbo diesel from North America

Summary:

Strong, stoic, a true warrior

Faults:

Very little has gone wrong with the car.

Welded a hole in the floor pan.

Replaced alternator (open on winding).

Replaced right rear CV shaft.

Replaced old exhaust mid-pipe.

Replaced 24 year old suspension bushings.

Replaced 24 year old guide rod mounts.

Replaced 24 year old shocks and struts.

Replaced front and rear rotors (normal maintenance).

Rebuilt calipers (normal maintenance).

Replaced pads (normal maintenance).

General Comments:

Excellent car. Extremely overbuilt. 3rd owner. Bought from 2 second long term owner for $400 cad. Needed new rotors and pads, a small hole in floor pan welded up and an exhaust mid-pipe. Living a snow belt will do this..

Daily driver for the past two years. Incredibly reliable. Starts with one flash of the glow plugs. Seats are excellent build, one can sit in them for hours on end and NOT feel fatigued. Sturdy MB Tex material looks great even after 24 years of service.

Virtually everything is user serviceable. Lack of electrics is a wonderful thing. Car handles quite well for a car it's size. Its turning radius is amazing to say the least.

Parts are not as expensive as one may be led to believe. Tons of aftermarket support for this car. I haven't stepped into a dealership for years.

It's not as quick as one would expect - 125hp diesel pushing a 3600 lb sedan does not equate extreme "off the line" speed. Once turbo spools up, it moves quite nicely.

It is critical to make sure, if one was to buy one of these fine cars, that they make sure they get some sort of maintenance history on the car. It is very important. A cheap Benz can turn out to be a very expensive Benz if one is not mechanically competent.

As long as the maintenance has been kept up, these cars will run for years..

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2009

1985 Mercedes-Benz W123 300 CD 3.0 turbo diesel from North America

Summary:

Feels like the car was milled from a single billet of steel

Faults:

After purchasing I gave the car a complete service, set the valve clearances, changed the transmission oil and filter, engine oil, replaced all the belts, and filters, replaced the discs and front pads, and greased the front wheel bearings.

Sunroof failed to open or close. Pulled the electrical plug on the sunroof motor and found power. Removed, stripped and cleaned the motor and everything now works fine.

When I first got the car, I was disappointed by both the performance and the harsh shift. I also had no cruise control or tachometer. After looking under the hood, I noticed a bunch of wires attached to a large round spade connector that had fallen down inside the bodywork by the battery. I found that this connector could only reach (and be secured by) the bolt holding the battery earth strap to the chassis... Reattached the spade and suddenly I had a tachometer and my cruise worked. Better yet, suddenly the car went like a missile and shifted oh so smooth... The cheapest car repair I have ever done!

Looking though the receipts, I found that the battery was replaced a couple of years prior to my purchase. I guess the wires were dislodged and not reattached. I can only assume that the car was on some kind of "limp mode"..

This is my third Benz and I don't think that the spares prices are over the top. The quality of the replacement parts is usually outstanding.

General Comments:

Two door coupe, only 8500 made, 1000 in the final year of production (1985). Bought the car in Vancouver, BC. It had been diligently looked after by the elderly second owner for many years and came with a pile of receipts to prove it. Oil was changed every 5000 kms, though I am not sure that the independent dealer was very good at other items. I guess even regular servicing can be of limited value.

Lovely burgundy colour with cream MBTex interior. Unmarked in almost all respects, low mileage, all documented, engine bay spotless. The coupe is pillarless, so with the large sunroof open and all the windows down it's almost like driving a convertible.

Diesel mileage is great, 36 miles per gallon in town and 42 miles per gallon on the highway. I met another '85 300D owner who had exactly the same numbers for fuel consumption, so I guess that this is right for the model.

Just a joy to drive and own. Coupe is slightly lowered compared to the four door so has a nice stance on the road. Doors close like shutting a safe. Handling and brakes are good, turning circle is great. Seats are very comfy and the interior looks brand new. Tons of glass and a cream interior makes the inside very bright and inviting. Cream carpets always clean up like new and look very luxurious. The car always gets comments, and is a restful, relaxing drive.

I can't think of anything I'd want to change about the vehicle, and I wouldn't hesitate to jump in it and drive across Canada.

In my opinion the 123 and 124 body styles were probably the last of the truly great Benz's. A car built by engineers and not the marketing department.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th March, 2009

22nd Aug 2010, 00:24

An update to my original review. The car now has 230,000 km and was driven across Canada (from BC to Ontario and back). Still amazed at the build quality and fit, still returns about 45 mpg on a run. I will have a couple of rust spots dealt with this winter. Both window regulators failed and were repaired. The teeth on the actuating arm stripped. A local mechanic laid in a bead of weld and cut a new tooth profile. Worked like a charm. This is a part shared only with the MB 560, a replacement from Mercedes is nearly $1,000...

With regard to windows; if the rear window on your CD drops half way and then won`t go any further, it's because the stop on the mechanism has shifted, allowing the window to drop too low in the door and turn itself inside out when it goes up again. Once it has done this, it won`t ever go below half way again until you reset it.

It sound a bit confusing, but by dropping the window below the lowest setting again and bringing it back up, then resetting the stop, will fix the issue.

It's much easier to understand if you are dealing with the problem, and have the interior panel off.

Everything seems fixable, and it's definitely a keeper.