Again, reiterating these past two "brilliant" comments, I am a hormonal, 16 year-old, male 1985 Mercedes 300D Turbo-Diesel owner, who loves the look, feel and drive of my baby. I relish the times where I can truly feel the 18 year-old car handle anything I ask of it, whether it be steep terrain, quick manueuverability or a pleasant ride. I, too, at the onset of my time with it, thought it slow and boat-like, but this notion was quickly dispelled when I realized what it actually was: a smooth ride with excellent value close to two decades after it rolled off the assembly line. This "slow" characteristic is lost in a few weeks to a steady driver of the vehicle; you feel the car's patterns of shifting and accelerating, and can quickly tame it into something more than merely slow. Lastly, and most fatherly, the sheer beauty of this car shows the craftsmanship that went into its design and still impresses me. I paid $3500, and wouldn't sell it for anything on the market today.
If only they still made them today or if only they had improved the rust proofing!
I have an `85 300 TD claiming 175,000 miles, but more likely Lunar mileage. Sadly it's now retired through rust, but I honestly feel if you can find a good one of these and rustproof it then you 18 year olds may never need another car!
I just bought an 85 300D turbo diesel with 200k miles at an auction for $1500 US. No rust, straight panels, hardly a dent anywhere, but a bit of oxidation on the paint. To my satisfaction I found that everything is functional (don't know about the sunroof as I haven't tried it yet). It is missing the sound system as it was a police impound vehicle. I was really pleased when I drove it away and discovered the power this thing has - it will definitely handle any traffic situations it encounters with ease. It drives as an MB should - straight and true and solid as a tank. This 21 year old (the car) rides better than some brand new cars today. It's like a well crafted sewing machine; effortless operation that will last forever. It vibrates noisily at idle, but at speed is very smooth and responsive.
I was looking for a cheap, reliable diesel to convert to veg oil fuel, but was looking at newer (90s) MBs and late 90s VWs when I found this steal. I'll spend about $800 for a vegoil kit, maybe $1k on serious audio, and a few hundred on a cruise control (only option it doesn't have) and new struts and then I'll ride in style for FREE. The more I drive this car the more I love it. If you see a good example - get it. You won't regret it.
Mercedes diesel part 2…
My first venture into the diesel market ended in a sad tragedy with a maiden voyage explosion that send something through the block of a 240D that I had bought off eBay. I never did find out exactly what happened, but the choice came down to placing a new/used engine into the 240 with all its manual attributes or looking for something a little more luxurious. Quite a toss up – fuel economy, wife in as co-pilot… I now have the 85 300D.
Initial observations on the car are a little rust and acceleration. The rust is something that will be addressed in due time. I think unless you were a completely fanatical original owner or happen to get it from one, you were probably going to encounter some rust. Really quite a shame when you consider just how well the car is put together overall.
The power and acceleration were a little less than I would have expected for a turbo so I did a diesel purge and ran a bottle of injector cleaner (all Lubri-moly) through and it made a marked improvement.
I was fortunate that all the windows, sunroof worked – seems also to have that as a problem. Door window switches will need to be reviewed as well as the power antenna which runs, but the mast cable may be broken.
Overall after 2 weeks of driving, I’m very happy and comfortable in the Benz.
July 1, 2006...
I recently bought a 1985 300D with 178,000 miles on it. It is in excellent condition, original paint, and no rust. I am disappointed with the acceleration. Once you get past that, it is an excellent car. Especially considering it is over 20 years old. I plan on converting it to Waste Vegetable Oil fuel. I paid $5,200 in Asheville, NC. Maybe high, but the car is a cherry. Yes, it does feel really great once it gets up to speed.
I purchased a 1985 300D at an auction 2 years ago. It has been virtually trouble free, except for the air conditioning compressor, which cost $700 to repair. It had 191k on it when I purchased it. It now has 291k.
I don't care what anyone says, the car is anemic when it comes to acceleration. That is to be expected though, it wasn't a surprise to me. The motor is built for efficiency, and historically, longevity. It does cruise very well at 80MPH. I was concerned about it starting in very cold weather when I bought it, but I've never even had to plug in the block heater. I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep the car. I think it's safe to say that I will have it until the motor goes.
The only real drawback to the car is that it is terrible in snow or on ice, I don't care what anybody else says about traction, it's actually dangerous in snow.
The turbos were never made because the turbo ducting was gold lined. At the time this could be long blower pressure.
I recently purchased an '85 300D Turbo with 305K miles on it for $750. It needs work but the body and paint are in good shape, no rust, and the interior is excellent. I have had to replace one drive axle, and it needs other minor repairs, but it runs like a Swiss watch.
I have a '77 240D, which is one of the most reliable cars I have owned. If you think a 300D is slow, try a 240D. To me, this is a hotrod. If you take care of these old MB 4 & 5 cylinder engines they will run easily 500K+ trouble free.
I am a bit older than most of you guys (retired) and have had lots of cars. These old Mercedes are the most reliable and, overall, most economical cars I have owned.
I'm 17 and I just got a 1980 300SD. It's easily the best car I've ever driven, and the best 1600 bucks I've ever spent. It seems fast to me, but that's probably because my last car was a 1991 Escort with about everything wrong with it.
The only problems with the car are a drivers seat with a collapsed left side, terrible brakes, and Minnesota rust. It only has 190,000 miles and from what I've heard that makes it a baby.