Buying a w124 300D

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smoothcoupe

Active Member
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May 9, 2005
Messages
415
Location
WEST YORKSHIRE.
Car
MERCEDES E55K-2001 AUDI S8-MERCEDES 300CE 24V SPORTLINE
Hi all. Was thinking of buying a 1992k prefacelift w124 300D I’ve been told of. Said to be an ex guernsey car and have a genuine 90,000 miles. Only be using it as a 3rd car. Anyone had one? What are they like long term. I appreciate it’s definitely not gonna set the road on fire but are they generally a good smooth drive. Any tips/pointers be appreciated . Thanks.
 
These pre turboed Mercs are noticeably sluggish to drive in comparison to the later turbo'ed models. They do seem to last forever but so do the journeys in them! Drive before you buy would be my advice!
 
They run on used or new vegetable oil, and of course biodiesel if you are looking for a new hobby.
 
These pre turboed Mercs are noticeably sluggish to drive in comparison to the later turbo'ed models. They do seem to last forever but so do the journeys in them! Drive before you buy would be my advice!
😂 is this the bullet proof reliable diesel engine that you hear of running into 500,000 miles plus?
 
Increasingly difficult to find people who really know how to repair/setup these mechanical diesel fuel injection systems properly now should they go wrong
 
Hi all. Was thinking of buying a 1992k prefacelift w124 300D I’ve been told of. Said to be an ex guernsey car and have a genuine 90,000 miles. Only be using it as a 3rd car. Anyone had one? What are they like long term. I appreciate it’s definitely not gonna set the road on fire but are they generally a good smooth drive. Any tips/pointers be appreciated . Thanks.
Great cars. A pre facelift w124 300d will have the straight six om603 diesel engine. Duplex timing chain. Bosch inline pump. Should be smooth as silk. The whispering diesel. Change the oil every 3,000 miles and mechanically they will last indefinitely.

I have had my om602 engined 190d, the 5 cylinder relative of the 300d's om603, for over a decade and had zero issues mechanically and the engine has done over 300,000 miles. Still has perfect oil pressure at hot idle. They are slow off the mark but are fine once up to speed or on a motorway keeping up with moderns. Decent torque for an old car. You may also find the quality of finish on these old cars surprisingly high compared to modern Mercedes.

Rust is the issue to be concerned about with these cars. Check the area around the jacking points, the rear subframe & arb mounts and look under the parcel shelf area with the boot open. Worth also checking the propshaft donuts & centre bearing/mount for play as this can be a source of vibration if worn. Best of luck in your OM engined w124 search.
 
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Guernsey = salt spray ?
 
Would the OM603 non turbo have the same head issues and revisions as the OM603 turbo? We only got the turbo version in 1987 for that year. Lots of people like to use the later head from the 3.5 that came in the W126 350SDL
 
Would the OM603 non turbo have the same head issues and revisions as the OM603 turbo? We only got the turbo version in 1987 for that year. Lots of people like to use the later head from the 3.5 that came in the W126 350SDL
No head issues for n/a OM603's as far as i am aware. The UK market never got turbocharged OM602/603 models due to w124/ w201 RHD steering boxes being positioned where a turbo would need to be. We did however get turbocharged OM602 engined RHD T1N Sprinter 312d/ 412d vans in 2.9 form.
 
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No head issues for n/a OM603's as far as i am aware. The UK market never got turbocharged OM602/603 models due to w124/ w201 RHD steering boxes being positioned where a turbo would need to be. We did however get turbocharged OM602 engined RHD T1N Sprinter 312d/ 412d vans in 2.9 form.

In that case, maybe a later car with the OM606 would be a good buy. A friend ones one and while it's a NA car, it's still pretty lively for what it is and is an unusually high revving diesel.
 
Drive it first to see if you can live with it's pedestrian performance.
Even the OM606 wasn't a great performer - you have to overtake by stealthily convincing the engine.
Except when you re-engage cruise control at the traffic lights when the engine goes mental trying to get back up to 60mph.
A steady 55mph on long trips can see 45mpg (London to Brecon in Wales)
Having said that, I took mine from 170k miles to 254k miles over 13 years. A properly maintained engine will last and last.
I had an OM606 E300D estate for which I still have the registration MBE300D on retention.
Get it inspected for any lurking rust monsters.
 
31 years living in a maritime climate; as chipchop says rust is the enemy so check everything. 124s at this age will be hiding it potentially even under the underseal. Jacking points, sills, suspension mounts WILL all be suspect if not addressed already so look carefully. Can you get the car on a ramp to examine properly?

Suspension rubber will probably be perishing due to age; the plastic joints in the vacuum system will also be hardening and cracking and the tubing will be going the same way. That could be affecting the gearbox changes.

The S124 OM606 24v I had was slow to go but alright once wound up. I seemed to average 34mpg everywhere. I've no idea how much slower the earlier 603 is and if it's any more economical.

After only 90k the interior should still be in good condition unless it's been left in the sun all day, every day but at that mileage it seems unlikely. Despite it being of a build quality you just don't get these days things may still need replacing so just buy replacement bits off the internet.

Sedate, wafty driving is the order of the day. The rubber for 15" tyres is cheap and will absorb some of the bumps of modern roads better than the skinny tyres of today.

At this age you have to be prepared to spend money on the vehicle unless you are handy with the spanners and have the time/inclination. That said a well maintained 124 is a thing of beauty so good luck!
 
😂 is this the bullet proof reliable diesel engine that you hear of running into 500,000 miles plus?
yes and the later om606 with 24 valves.
non turbo in right hand drive form; hardly anything to go wrong on them.
I sold my 95 s124 300d with about 320k miles on it; I would probably have just kept it if it were not for the rust problems. It drove almost like the day I bought it with 30k miles on it.
 
If you don't mind sitting on the right side of the car which is on the left side of the car, find an W124 300TD with the OM603 Turbo here in Texas. There will be no rust on it, not even the exhaust clamps, or the brake hardware which will look brand spanking new.

The kid that does side work for me has a W124 300TD with a tweaked injection pump and a 722.6 conversion. It's a quick car, I remember once when he got on it once left me behind on the on ramp. I really struggled to close the gap (in my 928S4).
 

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