1987 Mercedes-Benz W124 300D 3.0 turbo diesel from North America


"This ladys stacked- and that's a fact. Ain't holdin nothing back"- The Commodores


When I bought the car, it needed new pads, rotors, and calipers all around... Cost me a pretty penny, but obviously worth it.

No radio - replaced.

Transmission blew on the test drive at the garage; they replaced it with a brand spanking new one.

Power headrests don't work.

Power seats won't work with doors closed.

The HVAC system - seriously forget about it if it doesn't work. THERE IS NO HOPE. Mine worked fine with no AC. Then it developed a very annoying, peculiar "tweet" squeaking noise. The fan slowly slowed down until I heard a rather loud CLUNK one day and little plastic bits spit out of the passenger side vent, and now no fan operation works at all.

Rear headrests don't work.

General Comments:

Design - The car is designed with the driver in mind with the exception of the fact that there are no cupholders.

The seats are extremely comfortable even on long distance trips.

The gauge cluster is informative, simplistic, and vibrant - but not too vibrant.

The back seats are comfortable and the material used on the seats are impenetrable and stain PROOF, yet soft as leather. It baffles one's mind how they do it...

The doors shut solid, the sunroof is quiet and feels "strong".

All buttons and switches in the car give a nice, strong, reliable feedback. The car is designed outstandingly.

Mechanics - The 3.0 6 cylinder turbo diesel ain't your pappy's cammmed sprayed and blown 454 big block, but it certainly holds its own. It's got more than ample power on the highway and around town. 0-20 is slow, but once the engine RPM raises above 2500, the turbo kicks in and you're pressed back into your seat. It actually takes some time to get comfortable with the odd powerband.

The engine isn't all that easy to work on yourself, but it's absolutely do-able with the right tools and patience. Don't believe what people say about these cars being expensive to keep; parts aren't expensive, BUT THE LABOR IS! So get yourself a manual, a beer, and hunker down and learn something about your car.

The car will cruise on the highway comfortably and quietly, and hug the road at 100mph for hours on end (referring to the autobahn of course.. not our american highway system. anything over 75 is illegal, kids.). The transmission shifts smooth and sure. I wish there was an overdrive feature though, however without one you still return MPG in the 30's on the highway.

Rants - Can't stand the fact that the car uses vacuum controls for everything from the locks, to the climate control, to the gas cap lock, to just about everything else. It will drive you nuts, but when you get everything connected and going right, she's smooth as butter.

Raves - It performs, hugs the road, returns great fuel economy (diesel is pretty expensive right now, but minimal refueling makes up for it), is EXTREMELY comfortable; I've napped many a time in my car. THE CAR IS A TANK.

Final opinion - Buy this car if you are looking for a commuter with a tank-like build, built with Mercedes quality. It will last you and your kids (these cars are known to reach upwards of 400,000 miles with more reported) decades if you treat it right. DO NOT USE GREEN COOLANT, AND DON'T LET IT OVERHEAT. Regular oil changes and maintenance and you will have a stylish companion for life.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2008

16th Sep 2009, 23:30

My 1987 M/BZ TD has 214,000 miles on it and runs like new.

Some maintenance is required, however it's minor compare what you get in return.

27th Jan 2011, 23:13

1987 M/BZ is one of the best purchased I have ever made.

Bought her one year ago with under 200,000 miles. Now she has over 298,000, and I'll never sell her.

She gets 30-32mpg on the highway, very comfy mode.

Uses a qt of oil every 3500 miles or each oil change.

Everything works except the cruise controller. Built like a Sherman Tank with engineering in mind.

The engine bottoms are bullet proof. The head you have to watch not to overheat.

The electronics are trouble free; very, very dependable car.

5th Mar 2011, 10:59

You're driving a car. Why do you want or expect cup holders in an old car? By the way, the 300d is the best old car ever...

1987 Mercedes-Benz W124 300SDL 3.0 turbo diesel from North America


The ONLY car I would buy with 200,000+ miles on it!


Mostly due to neglect, as the car sat undriven in the South Carolina weather for a couple of years:

In preparation for my buying it, my stepfather had a mechanic check it over. Upon the mechanic's recommendations, he had the driver's window repaired (it was off track), all of the fuel lines replaced, a new set of tires installed for me, and the worn center armrest recovered.

After battling a dishonest Florida mechanic for six months, and replacing virtually the ENTIRE air conditioning system, it turns out that the a/c compressor was leaking oil onto the eletrical circuit that engages it, causing it to only work for the first 10 miles or so.

The serpentine belt came off about a month ago, slicing the transmission fluid lines. Despite running the transmission dry trying to get it off the interstate, there were have been NO problems since replacing the belt, hoses, and tranny fluid.

The radio was dead when I bought the car. Replaced it with one like it from Ebay, and the original speakers worked - they sound GREAT.

The fuel line that comes off the tank sprung a leak last year and had to be replaced.

The intake manifold leaked oil, and was replaced about a year ago.

The sunroof cable snapped about a month ago. (Luckily, in the CLOSED position!)

The paint job was one of those famous late-80's water-based fiascos that peeled before I bought it - not helped by several South Carolina summers, and soakings with acid rain.

General Comments:

Though I have had numerous problems, most were due to the car being severely neglected for over two years. My parents bought this car almost new, and it was their daily driver for several years.

I saw it sitting out on my stepfather's farm in 2004, and he sold it to me for a VERY fair price.

Now that I have replaced all of the items that one would expect to need replacement in a car with this many miles/years, she is a VERY reliable daily driver for my wife.

This car handles EXTREMELY well, especially for it's size. (This is the LONG wheelbase model!) There's is a SEVERE hairpin turn in the office complex where I work that frightens most people, but my old Merc rips right through it gracefully. I don't know how old the shocks are, but I'm sure they need replacing... yet despite this, she handle curves VERY well.

This car is also built like a bank vault! Even after 20+ years, the doors still shut with that solid thumps sound that tells you she's still VERY solid. My wife had a near-death accident (not her fault) in the rain several years ago, so whenever there is precipitation, she gets VERY skittish driving - yet she says our Mercedes is the ONLY car that makes her feel safe in our frequent Florida downpours.

The car is a little hesitant off the line - it takes a second or two for the turbo to spool up - but once you learn get used to putting your foot into her a little more than you would with a gas engine, she has more than adequate power. at the top end, I have pushed this car to over 120 mph, and it was so quiet and smooth, I didn't even have to turn the radio up. (And she felt like she had PLENTY more speed to go!)

I am excited that she's going in for an all-around paint job in a couple of weeks. The fact that I'm about to spend $1500+ to have her luster restored should be indicative of how confident that this car will continue to run reliably for a long, LONG time. My mechanic says that this was the last great year for the Mercedes diesel... in the years that followed, they bored them out to 3.5 litres, and were plagued with many reliability problems. In fact, I have read SEVERAL stories where the owners of the 3.5 litre models had replaced their blown engines with the 3.0 litre model, because of its legendary endurance.

Also, this car has a HUGE back seat, yet even with my "foot in the carburetor", she gets 22-28 mpg. I've been contemplating the idea of converting her to run on grease/WVO, since these cars are well-suited for it. I look forward to a LONG and happy life with this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th July, 2006

7th Apr 2007, 19:33

The 300SDL was only offered in the W126 body style in 1986 and 1987. Ther is no such animal as a W124 300SDL.

10th Jul 2010, 13:05

I also have a 1987 300TD, and can say that the engine is bulletproof, even at 270k. My mechanic has this same car and has over 400k. Runs great on veg oil, in case you're wondering.