Join Date: Oct 2004
Vehicle: '87 300TD 24v & '90 300D 2.5t
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I also have an '87 300TD. These are great cars, and the engines can provide many years/miles of service with few major issues. You'll want to ensure that the cooling system is in tip-top condition if you're gonna be placing extra stress on it by doing such things as towing. These early OM603 engines were prone to developing head cracks when stressed beyond their limits. Also, the automatic transmissions have a lifespan of somewhere between 130k and 180k, so factor that in, as well.
As for power, well these things can seriously produce if you're willing to spend some time/$ at it. With the stock injection pump, you can bump the full load screw to increase power from the stock output of 148hp to somewhere around 180hp. I did this on my original OM603 and then further bumped things to somewhere around 200hp with the addition of propane injection. Of course, I also added a pyrometer and an intercooler, just to be on the safe side. With diesels, an intercooler just adds a safety factor, and no direct power benefit whatsoever. The tuners in Finland have produced power outputs in the 400hp to 450hp levels with the stock OM603 longblock. They increase the size of the plunger/barrels inside the injection pumps, add a large turbo and then an even larger intercooler for that kind of boost.
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