How many miles are on your MB diesel? - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 12-24-2004, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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How many miles are on your MB diesel?

I'm thinking about getting back into the diesel game again, after a 10 year break. My last diesel was an 1981 300D. I'm curious to know what are the better Mercedes Benz diesel engines (e.g., 4, 5, or 6 cylinder) and specifically which can handle the highest mileage. Does turbo vs non-turbo make a difference in longevity?

Tell me how many miles you have on your Mercedes Benz's diesel engine. Did you have to rebulid the engine or transmission along the way?

Thanks,

Richard
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post #2 of 29 Old 12-24-2004, 07:26 AM
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First welcome to BenzForum. As you can see in my signature I have two MBZ diesels and together they have over 500,000+ miles. Both have the orginal engine and transmission.
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-24-2004, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ajcrowe
First welcome to BenzForum. As you can see in my signature I have two MBZ diesels and together they have over 500,000+ miles. Both have the orginal engine and transmission.
Ah...so each has the 5 cylinder diesel, like my old 300D had. Nice!

I use to be a member of the MBCoA in the Washington, DC region, but now I'll have to join the San Francisco (Bay area) regional chapter. I would guess that's a good way to find a good, clean used Benz. :.) But there's always Craiglist too
<http://www.craigslist.org/cgi-bin/search?areaID=1&subAreaID=0&query=mercedes+benz+di esel&cat=car&minAsk=min&maxAsk=max>.

Richard
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post #4 of 29 Old 12-25-2004, 08:40 PM
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All MB diesels will outlast the car, heck their gas engines will to.

The 603 3 liter engines used in 86, 87 are great just don't overheat a 14 head.

The 3.5 603's would bend connecting rods stay aways unless the engine has been updated.

The later 606's are great in turbo in n/a form. No problems other than the glowplugs not coming out.

My 1987 300SDL has 243k on it and still going strong. She fires right off in the winter and doesn't seem to use any oil.

1987 300SDL aka \"Money Pit\" 240k miles
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post #5 of 29 Old 01-02-2005, 06:31 PM
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Just check my signature line (low miles in relative terms). Properly maintained, they will last. The '87 did suffer the dreaded **...14 cylinder head problem (costly), and the tranny was rebuilt (not expensive at all) at 180,000. That car did have a VERY hard life early on though, and I know it is an exception to the model line. The '93 has been very reliable and economical. I would not hesitate to recommend the '87 due to its exceptional power.

BTW, the '87 (OM603) 300D is a six cylinder, not a five.

\'87 Mer-B 300D (220,000 miles) (sold)
\'93 Mer-B 300D (173,000 miles) (sold)
\'87 Porsche 928 (101,000 miles)
\'98 Dodge Ram quad-cab (250,000 miles)
\'2001 CLK430 Cabrio (50,000 miles)

Past cars: 1969 mercedes 250, 1981 300D, 1972 220D
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post #6 of 29 Old 01-03-2005, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, the '87 (OM603) 300D is a six cylinder, not a five.
Ah, so MB switched to a six in 1986 with the 603 3.0 liter. What's a 14 head? If they overheat sometimes, isn't that a cooling issue not a head issue?

I'm thinking a '84 or '85 300D (turbo) would make a fine commuter car, since they are the last refinement of the 123 body and pretty basic cars mechanically, but pretty nice comfortwise. Definitely very classic in style too. ;.)

It also seems that with these older MBs, most folks put about $1,000 to $1,500 a year into the car for general maintenance. Any comments on maintenance would be greatly appreciated too.

Thanks!

Richard
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post #7 of 29 Old 01-03-2005, 04:18 PM
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The 14 refers to the last digits of the part number for the cylinder head. The early 603's had a problem with the head cracking when overheated, which was remedied in various iterations and increasing part numbers.

The 5 cylinder turbo OM617 engine is an excellent choice, but the 603 offers some improvements in not needing valve adjustments, being quieter, and offering more power and economy.

Hard to quote maintenance prices as a bad mechanic is more expensive than a good one (having to fix his mistakes), and DIY costs are minimal.

\'87 Mer-B 300D (220,000 miles) (sold)
\'93 Mer-B 300D (173,000 miles) (sold)
\'87 Porsche 928 (101,000 miles)
\'98 Dodge Ram quad-cab (250,000 miles)
\'2001 CLK430 Cabrio (50,000 miles)

Past cars: 1969 mercedes 250, 1981 300D, 1972 220D
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post #8 of 29 Old 01-04-2005, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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The 5 cylinder turbo OM617 engine is an excellent choice, but the 603 offers some improvements in not needing valve adjustments, being quieter, and offering more power and economy.
What year 300s is the 603 used? I think it was introduced in 1986. Wouldn't it be best to stay away from the first year or so of that production run? Are the 603 still very simple engines, meaning no computer controls? More power and better fuel economy would be welcomed...Are we talking mileage in the 30s? I think the OM617s only get about 25-28 MPG. I am already getting 23 MPG with my Volvo V70R and would like better milelage for this next car, which I'll use for my daily commuter (100 miles round trip) to keep the miles off the Volvo.

Thanks.

Richard
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post #9 of 29 Old 01-04-2005, 05:28 PM
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They were introduced in the 126 chassis in 1986, but only available in the 124's in '87 for the US market. With a 603 motor, it is best to make sure that the head is not an issue and that the trap oxidizer recall has been taken care of (this affected some 617s also). I am not sure when the 603 was killed, as it was used in the s-class. I think they died out around '94. The diesel did continue in the 124 from 90(?) thru 93 and again in '95. Those diesels were the 602 motor, which is a 603 with a cylinder lopped off for a displacement of 2.5 liters. The computers on the 602's were a PITA due to their control of the turbos. As for power, the '87 is ALOT quicker than my '93, and about on par for economy.

Results vary on mileage of course, but with a 617 it is fair to expect 25 mpg, while my wife's 603 is typically around 30. There are some computer controls on the 603, though I have not had any problems with mine.

\'87 Mer-B 300D (220,000 miles) (sold)
\'93 Mer-B 300D (173,000 miles) (sold)
\'87 Porsche 928 (101,000 miles)
\'98 Dodge Ram quad-cab (250,000 miles)
\'2001 CLK430 Cabrio (50,000 miles)

Past cars: 1969 mercedes 250, 1981 300D, 1972 220D
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post #10 of 29 Old 01-04-2005, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by maclarensf
Quote:
Originally Posted by cracker928
The 5 cylinder turbo OM617 engine is an excellent choice, but the 603 offers some improvements in not needing valve adjustments, being quieter, and offering more power and economy.
What year 300s is the 603 used? I think it was introduced in 1986. Wouldn't it be best to stay away from the first year or so of that production run? Are the 603 still very simple engines, meaning no computer controls? More power and better fuel economy would be welcomed...Are we talking mileage in the 30s? I think the OM617s only get about 25-28 MPG. I am already getting 23 MPG with my Volvo V70R and would like better milelage for this next car, which I'll use for my daily commuter (100 miles round trip) to keep the miles off the Volvo.

Thanks.

Richard
Nothing that will get you stuck. The worst thing that could happen noticeably due to the MAF malfunctioning, is drop the idle to lower than normal.

Otherwise, you can still run them without any battery or electric charge whatsoever. So, no, they will be just as reliable as any diesel ever made.

My 350, OM603 which is the 3.5 liter may have kicked the bucket a couple of nights ago(however it hasn't died yet). Most likely a bent rod in cylinder #1. But, I will tear into that later. Anyways, those are the type of 603's to stay away from.
'86 - '87 are the best years to buy the 6-cylinder diesel. Probably the best diesel engine MB ever built(if it weren't for the aluminum head-cracking).

I've never seen a well maintained OM603 3.0 liter go down from natural causes, even today. I don't know how many miles they will go, but I'm hoping to make up for the dissapointment with my 350 by doubling the mileage in my 300SDL and claiming the 1 million km badge. Then, I'll have the engine rebuilt or do it myself (provided I am educated well enough to do so).

\"Consistently Variable....\"
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