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I'm a first time MB and Diesel owner and I just purchased a 73 220D. I have yet to take the car to a shop.
The current owner told me that it has been a project car for some time. He told me that he drove it (for the first time in a while) to its current location and it "smoked a lot". Now, I haven't run the car (I'm planning on having it towed to the garage and tuned up before I run it for any length), but I'm wondering if anyone knows of any common problems for that era of Diesels?
Thanks!
 

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Welcome :)

Congrats on your new ride! I am not familiar with this particular model, so my advise is based upon other Mercedes diesels that hopefully should also apply to your car. Since your car may have been setting up for some time I would immediately change the oil with a good quality diesel rated oil and a new oil filter. Going forward I'd stick with 3,000 mile oil/filter changes...It's a worthwhile investment, and will help ensure the lifespan for your engine.

I would also change the fuel filters often...they're cheap, and it can't hurt...sometimes you'd be surprised at how dirty some of the diesel fuel you'll get is! I change the little clear pre-filter even more often, if it looks black or gunked up in any way.

Also, don't be slack about having the valve adjustments done every 15,000 miles. It will cause hard starting and excess wear if you let it get too far out. Have the timing chain stretch checked at every 2nd or 3rd valve adjustment...MB diesels have very close tolerances, and if the timing chain were to break, valves would hit pistons, and that's not pretty.

You should also check for the following:

1) Rust under doors and in the floor boards (pull up carpet and look underneath car for rusted out panels)

2) Unusual driveline vibrations under acceleration and at speed (should be rock steady and no buzzing, vibrations or unusual noises)

3) Smooth shifting, no flaring or blown shifts

4) No delay shifting into reverse

5) Check for excessive blow-by

Again, since the car may have been sitting up you may want to use LubroMoly Diesel Purge to clean out the injectors and fuel pump. This may help if you are getting some smoke. Obviously, there are many other things that you should take into consideration. What I've listed here is the significant things I could quickly think of. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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What ajcrowe said! That, and a couple of things to add:

The air filter on that car is an oil bath isn't it? Make sure that the filter has been cleaned and oil is in it to the proper level. I hope I am thinking of the right caar (115 chassis?). The common rust areas are the floorboards (as said) and also the inner rear fenderwells. As far as the smoking, it is easy to say "yep, they will do that" as I had a fiend with the same car growing up, and he would leave quite a smokescreen. He still got good mileage, and the car was very reliable, but I now know that it should not have done that. My best guesses would focus on the basics of timing chain, filters and valve adjustments (ok, so now I am repeating ajcrowe...)

Good luck!
 

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Change out or run out all the old fuel too, before replacing the fuel filters. If it has been sitting chances are moisture is in the fuel, leading to an algae bloom.
 

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I don't know if you have changed the oil yet, but these cars have a booger of a filter placement. Not a fun thing to do on these cars like the newer diesels where the filter is up top. They are fantastic cars though. Does your have an automatic and now power steering?

AC compressor barckets like to crack on these cars. Some of the bolts that hold that bracket to the block also secure the water pump.

On the ones that are eqipped with power steering, sometimes the steering box will seperate itself from the frame rail. This happened on my sister's 76 240D. It had to be welded for repair.

Go around on the engine and the other stuff under there and re-torque all of the fasteners to spec. The pulley on the front that drives the AC and the fan and alternator came loose, and the alternator belt came loose about every 3000 miles or so. Even the little scres on the hose connections like to work their way loose with the vibrations of the engine.

Reminds me of one thing that relates to changing the oil. I have worked on a W115 that had such bad motor mounts that I needed to jack up the engine a bit to get the oil filter cover off.

Lots of these cars with original window rubber will leak real bad.

The bellows for the windshield washer is probably shot. Maybe not though.
 

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replace your vaccume pump every 100k miles. on the 220d the pin that holds the roller in place, wear thin, thus breaking, the roller then drops in the engine, knotting up in the timing chain. will then break the chain, completely destroying the engine. this happened to my dads 69 220d. knocked holes in the pistons, broke the camshaft and pedestals.
 

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I'm a first time MB and Diesel owner and I just purchased a 73 220D. I have yet to take the car to a shop.
The current owner told me that it has been a project car for some time. He told me that he drove it (for the first time in a while) to its current location and it "smoked a lot". Now, I haven't run the car (I'm planning on having it towed to the garage and tuned up before I run it for any length), but I'm wondering if anyone knows of any common problems for that era of Diesels?
Thanks!
Prior to 1978, per recollection, MB diesels required a 'Summer' and a separate 'Winter' valve adjustment. Subsequent modifications dispensed with that protocol. While at it, have the Indy clean up entire intake area; develops a creamy mess that interferes with air intake. Diesels LOVE air! Early diesels (yours) had minimal pollution controls. So, some grey/black (NOT blue or white) smoke is normal. Knowledgeable mechies can upgrade your Glow Plug system for quicker pre-heat. Finally, perform an 'Italian Tuneup': floor accel pedal for a while on the road, when you consider it safe. Do change both fuel filters. Drain fuel tank; stale diesel develops bacteria that plugs filters and injectors.
 

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replace your vaccume pump every 100k miles. on the 220d the pin that holds the roller in place, wear thin, thus breaking, the roller then drops in the engine, knotting up in the timing chain. will then break the chain, completely destroying the engine. this happened to my dads 69 220d. knocked holes in the pistons, broke the camshaft and pedestals.
I don't normally reply to posts that are 17y old, but this has me curious - what is this vacuum pump and where is it?
 
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