Oct 8, 2013 update to the Mercedes-Benz 300SD project car

Transmission Time

Surprisingly, our land barge still fits on the average lift.
We didn't pull the transmission ourselves, but that didn't stop us from coming by to take a look.
Oooh, shiny–we like shops that clean as they work.
Our post-transmission rebuild wallet.

Now that our 1984 Mercedes 300SD was running and driving, we knew what the next step had to be: addressing the shifting problems. The transmission was missing first gear, and flaring most shifts spectacularly. In order to drive the Benz, we had to completely let off the throttle for 10-15 seconds during each gear change.

Unfortunately, we aren’t automatic transmission experts, nor do we have the time to learn now. We drove the Mercedes over to The Autoclinic, a great local shop that specializes in old Mercedes-Benzes. They quickly diagnosed the problem: the transmission needed to be rebuilt, and the vacuum assembly on top of the engine needed to be replaced.

We sheepishly asked how much all that would cost, and the answer was $1800.

Wow. That’s, um, a lot for a $300 car.

We drove down to the shop and looked the car over while it was up on the lift. It had never been hit, it had all-new bushings and joints in the front end, the engine was healthy, the interior was pretty good, and overall it was a very savable car. Then, we went home. Parked in the driveway was a 350Z that was about to be dismantled and an Isuzu Trooper that needed its engine replaced. Between home and school is 45 minutes of flat, straight, boring road–an expanse that needs to be reliably crossed 4 times a week. We needed a running car, and we needed one quickly.

We asked the shop’s owner (who has always given us honest advice) one question: Would he save the Benz? He said yes, so we bit the bullet, wrote the check, and waved goodbye to our land-barge. Hopefully it will sail again soon, as we now have $2250 invested.

This project is being funded entirely by a college student who works one part-time job. Any deviations from this funding scheme will be noted in the updates.

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