1983 Mercedes Diesel Wagon 5 Speed...overheating! Fix or sell?

My car karma and trust in mechanics could use recalibrating. I purchased a 1983 Mercedes diesel wagon; a rare 5 speed, in ME. I had a local ME mechanic fix the brakes and clutch and asked for it to be MA inspection ready. Unfortunately, the car overheated en route to MA (it seems like it was not test driven!) and had to be towed from Freeport, ME to MA. Adding fluid to the radiator did not help and it overheated after 10 minutes of driving. Would a bad head gasket cause this? Where can I get a repair manual for this rarity? The garage where the car is stored says it will be $400 to fix until barely drivable and my folks say it is a lousy investment although it’s the car with all the features I have been longing for all my driving life. Shall I sink more money into it or sell it off and cut my losses? Also, where and how do I get a trustworthy mechanic to help me?

well most parts stores sell Haynes manuals for almost all cars. about 30 bucks. there is a Mercedes expert around here somewhere, I ll send out the bat signal

@db4690 ?

Don’t assume the worst just yet. Seeing as how it overheats quickly maybe it will be nothing more serious than a sticking thermostat.

So what are they wanting to do for 400 bucks?

Another situation I thought called for a look at “Mechanic’s Files” in the banner above, and getting another opinion. When I tried it myself, it was a complete bust. Is it still operating?

Look at the radiator hoses. Are any of them collapsed? In addition to a faulty thermostat, there could be a blockage somewhere. It is 31 years old.

It turns over but overheats within a few minutes with resultant radiator overflow and stalling. Not sure if engine needs replacement. I love the car and want to keep it until I can repair it until funcationality! Thank you for your replies!

Whoa, it might just be a cooling system problem which a good mechanic can easily diagnose. Thermostat, hose, pump, plugged radiator, lots of possibilities.

An engine that overheats within minutes of a cold start usually means a bad thermostat.

AutoZone shows one at a bit over 40 bucks. That’s a bit pricy for a T-stat so the Benz nameplate must have something to do with it.

It looks like the 10 dollar T-stat for a Chevy and in my world the Benz would probably go through an evolution to a Chevy T-stat… :slight_smile:

This is not a Benz specific problem

Like the others said, I’d replace the thermostat and pressure cap

That would be my starting point

If that does not resolve the issue, I’d have a coolant pressure test perfomed

Is the electric auxiliary fan even coming on? Should be in front of the radiator

How about the fan clutch? Is it even engaging?

I recommend you get a factory service manual for the OM617 engine on ebay

What condition is the radiator in? I believe the pressure cap is on the radiator on this application, so you should be able to take a quick peek inside

I hope it doesn’t look like frappuccino in there

I can’t seem to get the mechanic to give me a list of what needs to be fixed. Thanks for the advice and interest! I will check on these and get the service manual which I will either keep or surrender in the sale of the car. Good points for troubleshooting these issues!

If he doesn’t have a list, how can he price parts and labor?