CurryHurry New Reader
Sept. 15, 2014 8:31 p.m.

Hey y’all! Due to these rough SE MI roads and even rougher winters, I’ve been looking for a winter car / project car / daily beater. I found a 1987 300TD on Craigslist and jumped on it. I purchased this car, despite RWD and snow, due to the fact that I’ve always admired the Mercedes Benz of this era. Bulletproof straight six – check. Seven seater wagon – check. Diesel, rolling coal goodness – check. Boost – eh, it's a bit weak. 5 speed – no… for now.

I need to fix the brakes, fuel leak, winterize car, and give the car a general tune up before the snow starts falling. This work is a good mix of mechanical and body work, providing a lot of interesting topics for me to learn. In the future, I plan to do a 5 speed swap and, perhaps, setup the car for light autocross duty . I’ve been a long time GRM fan and I’d like to use this forum to document my diesel escapades. Feel free to post up your thoughts as well.

On to the pics!

Wagon Wagon Diesel Powered

This is the rear drivers side brake rotor... I've been driving for 4 days now Brake Rust

bgkast SuperDork
Sept. 15, 2014 10:45 p.m.

Nice!

tjbell Reader
Sept. 16, 2014 10:33 a.m.

I cant wait to see where this goes. I have always wanted one of them theres

Dusterbd13 SuperDork
Sept. 16, 2014 11:03 a.m.

This is gonna be fun to watch. How long till 20lbs of boost?

ebonyandivory SuperDork
Sept. 16, 2014 11:28 a.m.
tjbell wrote: I cant wait to see where this goes. I have always wanted one of them theres

X a lot!!!

conesare2seconds HalfDork
Sept. 16, 2014 12:20 p.m.

Cool ride. If it's an option for you, you can get back some of its oomph by going back to a stock tire size on the rears. The taller sidewall it looks like you have now effectively lowers the gearing. If all you have is a wider cross-section back there, uh, nevermind.

ebonyandivory SuperDork
Sept. 16, 2014 12:39 p.m.

What's the likelihood of (or secret to) these being a good daily driver?

ccrelan Reader
Sept. 16, 2014 8:04 p.m.

Do some reading over here for fun:

http://www.superturbodiesel.com/std/index.php

CurryHurry New Reader
Sept. 16, 2014 9:30 p.m.
conesare2seconds wrote: Cool ride. If it's an option for you, you can get back some of its oomph by going back to a stock tire size on the rears. The taller sidewall it looks like you have now effectively lowers the gearing. If all you have is a wider cross-section back there, uh, nevermind.

You are correct. The rear tires are much larger in cross section and sidewall. It raises the rear and gives the car a noticeable rake. In addition, the previous owner had the Self Leveling Suspension (more info here) in the stiffest (highest) position. I think I moved it to a lower setting, but there is no noticeable decrease in rear ride height.

Update on the brakes - in the picture above, you can see the rear brakes have a layer of rust on the surface of the rotor, even after driving the car for a few days. This, plus an extremely soft pedal led me to believe that the brakes needed to be bled.

My buddy and I started to bleed the brakes. After a few minutes of unsuccessful bleeding we noticed a small puddle of brake fluid below the car . It turned out the hardline between the rear T-Fitting and the RR caliper had ruptured. The fittings for the line were so corroded together, we ended up cutting the line in order to get a socket wrench on them. I found a replacement line at O'Reilly's but have yet to install it.

ccrelan Reader
Sept. 19, 2014 7:29 a.m.

The self leveling doesn't really control the rear ride height. The springs and springs pads are mostly responsible for the ride height. OEM 500e springs are the best option for a stiffer ride and slight lowering. The H&R's are softer and give too much of a drop in the front.

Sept. 26, 2014 12:49 a.m.

Ooo, this is gonna be cool! I don't have the guts to own one of these, so I'll just live vicariously through you.

Woody MegaDork
Sept. 26, 2014 7:02 a.m.

This is cool. I've always liked those cars. How many miles are on it?

CurryHurry New Reader
Oct. 6, 2014 10:24 p.m.

I installed the new hard line and got the car ready for bleeding.

However, my friend and I were having a terribly hard time getting consistent pedal feel; we spent about an hour bleeding the brakes while the pedal fluctuated from hard to soft. There were no visual indication of leaks, bubbles, or debris in the brake lines. In addition, I could still turn the rear rotors, but not the fronts, by hand.

A friend suggested replacing the master cylinder. We think the rear circuit within the MC had an internal leak. I ordered, bench bled, and installed a new master cylinder.

New Master Cylinder

Voila! The pedal feels much better and the stopping distance has decreased significantly. In addition, the rear rotors have been scrubbed free of rust.

Next up: adjusting/diagnosing the automatic transmission. The car holds the gears way too long and shifts extremely hard (it feels like I'm getting rear ended every time it shifts).

ccrelan Reader
Oct. 26, 2014 6:38 p.m.

You want to check the bowden cable and vacuum adjustment on the tranny. It shouldn't be too tough to get it dialed in. If you google the adjustment of these on a 722.3 transmission you will be on your way.

CurryHurry New Reader
Nov. 4, 2014 10:09 p.m.
ccrelan wrote: You want to check the bowden cable and vacuum adjustment on the tranny. It shouldn't be too tough to get it dialed in. If you google the adjustment of these on a 722.3 transmission you will be on your way.

You are correct. Some of the vacuum lines near the driver's side were unplugged. It shifts really smooth now.

In addition, I've been digging around for more information about LSD's for w124s. From what I've read, all the w124 differentials are swapable and the 4Matics have a LSD with a 100% hydraulic locking feature. Only down side, is that the 4Matic had a diff ratio of 3.29 vs. my 2.65. At a cruising speed, that will increase the engine speed by about 500 RPM. 500 RPM can be the difference from OK to annoying on long road trips. There are other option available but none at my local junk yard

Nov. 4, 2014 11:16 p.m.

This thing is sweet - enjoyed getting a ride in it a few weeks ago. It totally reminded me of how much I want a TD merc wagon.

Definitely go for the LSD. Gotta enjoy all that ice/snow!

ccrelan Reader
Nov. 7, 2014 11:35 a.m.

You might find a ASD diff in a junkyard, but not a LSD. The ASD uses a hydraulic pump in the engine bay. Not even a 500e came with LSD. The 16v 190 cossie is the only merc of the era to come with a real LSD from the factory.

dculberson UberDork
Nov. 7, 2014 12:39 p.m.

Awesome wagon.

LSD does help you go in snow but can get you in trouble. Instead of one wheel peel on turns you get long lurid tail out slides. Which is fun, but can be troublesome if you aren't paying attention.

Still, I would choose LSD over non-LSD for my ride.

CurryHurry New Reader
Nov. 7, 2014 5:23 p.m.

Correct me if I'm wrong: The ASD system featured a regular LSD (30% lock up) with a hydraulic (additional 70% lock up) feature.

I was able to find a ASD from a 4Matic but I'm not fond of the higher gear ratio (3.29 to my 2.65). Is there another source for a LSD that will swap in? I'm open to ideas.

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
Nov. 7, 2014 6:43 p.m.

I've owned a bunch of W124s, including at least one Diesel (getting old, memory is hazy...). I would recommend you drive one with a manual first before you splurge on the slush->manual conversion. The manuals aren't particularly nice IMHO (and I'm not alone with that opinion).

Mind you, the last diesel I had was a manual 250D non-turbo. I assume a slushbox would have made that one even more of a rolling chicane...

CurryHurry New Reader
Dec. 2, 2014 5:29 p.m.

Oh boy, have I messed up... the car wont start now . Any ideas?

More info here: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/uh-oh-w124-diesel-help-fuel-problem/96345/page1/#post1683685

CurryHurry New Reader
Dec. 23, 2014 12:15 p.m.

Its working gif

I'm happy to be driving it again

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

We're Back In Monterey for Car Week

23 hours ago in News

And so it begins, another trip to Monterey Car Week.

Deal of the Month: Free Trackside Companion!

1 day ago in News

Ever wished you had a handy guide on how to dial in your alignment or adjust your dampers?

This Tuesday: Join Us at Track Night in America

1 day ago in News

This Tuesday we'll be running at Palm Beach International Raceway

Experience Monterey With Us

1 day ago in News

We're on our way out to Monterey, California, for car week.

Concours d’Lemons to Ruin Monterey Car Week Yet Again

2 days ago in News

What started as the anti-concours has transformed into a major event on the Monterey Car Week schedule.

Tomorrow, August 15: Join our Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In

2 days ago in News

Our Monterey welcome party is taking over all of downtown Pacific Grove.

Vintage Views: Classic Mini

4 days ago in Articles

Turn heads, have jolly good fun.

You Need This: Toyota With Rally Pedigree

4 days ago in News

Who can say no to a turbocharger and all-wheel drive?

Join Our Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In at Pacific Grove on Tuesday, August 15

5 days ago in News

Our Monterey welcome party is taking over all of downtown Pacific Grove.

You Need This: J. Geils's Maserati Sebring, Some Assembly Required

5 days ago in News

A rock star project will be auctioned off in Monterey next week.

Who Wants a Skip Barber Car?

5 days ago in News

Skip Barber Racing School is selling off Miatas, Mustangs, Porsches and much more.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe

5 days ago in New Car Reviews

A Mercedes-Benz is an animal with few equals. I don’t mean that no one else makes a car that’s as ...

OUR SPONSORS

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
eG4LYWgywo9TABJGIeT3120uhPhltLKr