Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
10/2/15 1:20 p.m.
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Having déjà vu? Sorry about that–you're probably thinking of the last time we bought an aging German land barge to commute in. It doesn't seem that we've learned our lesson, because we just picked up a very similar car: this 1987 Mercedes 300SDL. It's just like our 300SD, with an extra cylinder (bringing it to a total of six), four extra inches of rear legroom (because big cars are cool), and a simpler vacuum system (because we still have night terrors from our last car's system).

For once, we actually took our own advice and bought the nicest example we could find. In exchange for $3100, we got a car with shiny paint, no rust, ice cold A/C, and no issues. Seriously–even the sunroof works. We couldn't have fixed half of our last car's problems for that amount of money. Plus, second-generation diesel W126-chassis Mercedes, like this 300SDL, are much more refined cars than first-gen models like our 300SD. This thing cruises down the road just like a new car.

What's next on the car's agenda? Long, boring miles. We'll be chronicling its journey here, including the inevitable wallet-crunching repairs it will need. Wish us luck!

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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/2/15 1:33 p.m.

My semi-experience with these is when it needs something - fix it. Now. Then the repairs will just be painful and not wallet-crushing. Waiting will create wall-crushing bills.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UberDork
10/2/15 9:54 p.m.

wow that's big

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
10/2/15 10:42 p.m.

You've got a Benz thing going on. I like it!

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi UltraDork
10/3/15 7:44 a.m.

Does it have the power rear seat? Both my 560sels had that and it is pretty dang cool!

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/3/15 9:44 a.m.

I'm guessing/hoping that the RPMs at 70mph shown in the picture are not in overdrive?

Harvey
Harvey Dork
10/3/15 10:11 a.m.

I've always like giant German sedans, I think I would go for a long wheelbase 7 series though.

Lugnut
Lugnut Dork
10/3/15 10:55 a.m.

I loved loved loved my W126. My daughter used to tell me she felt like a princess when she rode in the back, with the heated and reclining rear seat. And it had dark, dark tints when I bought it. I had the 560SEL, never did the diesel, but I desperately miss that car. It takes something special to make me want to do a repeat of a car I already had, but I really loved it.

I can't wait to read about what you'll do to this one!

Esoteric Nixon
Esoteric Nixon UltraDork
10/3/15 11:23 a.m.

In reply to Swank Force One:

Diesel gearing.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
10/3/15 1:18 p.m.

Yep, final drive is 1:1. For power, y0!

Though this one does have a taller rear end than my last car. That thing rattled and vibrated like a tractor at 70mph. This one is perfectly happy at 80.

neon4891
neon4891 MegaDork
10/3/15 6:25 p.m.

So, this is #3 then?

carzan
carzan Dork
10/3/15 10:20 p.m.

Sooo, things to look out for with the '87 version of the OM603 engine...

Is the vacuum pump the newer revised version? Or, is it the original? When well worn, the original style will dump its bearings into the timing cover and destroy the engine via the timing chain. Replace ASAP, if still the original style.

The original #14 head castings were prone to cracking. It's not a deal breaker as mine has ~300K miles on it and is still fine. But, don't let it overheat!!

Changing glow plugs are a supreme PITA compared to the OM617 in your previous car.

Im sure I'll think of other stuff...

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
10/4/15 9:13 a.m.

From whom did you inherit this fetish for land yachts?

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/4/15 9:23 a.m.

In reply to Jerry From LA:

Remember, children often want different than what their parents have.
When you grow up on a steady diet of RoSpits, etc, it seems that you gravitate toward 4x4 and big sedans.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
10/5/15 7:11 a.m.
carzan wrote: Sooo, things to look out for with the '87 version of the OM603 engine... Is the vacuum pump the newer revised version? Or, is it the original? When well worn, the original style will dump its bearings into the timing cover and destroy the engine via the timing chain. Replace ASAP, if still the original style. The original #14 head castings were prone to cracking. It's not a deal breaker as mine has ~300K miles on it and is still fine. But, don't let it overheat!! Changing glow plugs are a supreme PITA compared to the OM617 in your previous car. Im sure I'll think of other stuff...

Thanks for the advice–well aware of the differences here. Somehow, that didn't scare me away.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
10/5/15 7:12 a.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote: In reply to Jerry From LA: Remember, children often want different than what their parents have. When you grow up on a steady diet of RoSpits, etc, it seems that you gravitate toward 4x4 and big sedans.

Eh, I like it all. Remember, I've also got an E36 M3 awaiting an LS1, a Triumph Spitfire, and a SVT Focus.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr SuperDork
10/5/15 9:07 a.m.
Tom Suddard wrote:
JohnRW1621 wrote: In reply to Jerry From LA: Remember, children often want different than what their parents have. When you grow up on a steady diet of RoSpits, etc, it seems that you gravitate toward 4x4 and big sedans.

Eh, I like it all. Remember, I've also got an E36 M3 awaiting an LS1, a Triumph Spitfire, and a SVT Focus.

People putting LS1s in everything now. I guess it was a matter of time before somebody dropped one in a piece of poop.

At least that is how I read E36 M3.

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