85 Mercedes Diesel


I found a Mercedes Benz diesel. The person wants 3000 for it. I think that is too much as the car has 108,000 original miles, but it sat in a garage for 10 years unused.

The plastic on the interior is cracking, the radiator is starting to go, the locks do not work, and the engine will not shut off when the key is turned off. You have to go under the hood to shut it off.

I am thinking this car is at least 1000 over priced. Am I wrong to think this, and if not, what would a fair price be?


The 1985 Mercedes Diesel was one of the best MB car ever built; I recently rode in one overseas with nearly a million miles of taxi service on it. In this Asian country these cars are fixed up with cheap locally made parts, and will run forever, due to low labor costs. Unfortunately, in North America there are few after market Mercedes parts, especially body parts. So, regardless of what you pay for the car, it may cost you plenty to get it in proper running order and keep it that way. The low mileage is good, but 10 years of poor storage can do a lot of permanent damage. This car is only worth buying as a project car into which you are prepared to put a lot of work yourself. If you want to go ahead, bid $1000 or a little more, find an independent mechanic who used to work for a Mercedes dealer to help you. The Mercedes dealer will quickly bankrupt you! With some luck, you’ll get it going for a reasonable amount, and if you live in a dry part of the country, it will keep going for the next 20 years.


The value really depends on the condition. 108K miles is pretty low mileage (my 300D has a little over 400K miles), but sitting for 10 years is a problem. If it’s only a parts car it’s worth less than $1000, but a friend of mine recently sold a pretty decent 84 300D driver (with about 130K miles) for $12,000.

Rust would be a huge problem, making it a parts car. The plastic stuff can be replaced, both the door locks and failure to shut off are due to a lack of vacuum, usually due to a simple vacuum leak. It is likely to have a bunch of little problems from sitting that long. At a minimum it will need all the fluids/filters replaced, tires. brakes, belts, hoses. A new radiator costs about $250, so that’s not a big deal, I would guess you would have to spend around $1000-1500 to take car of all the nits.

If it doesn’t have any real problems, the price is probably in the right ballpark, maybe you can negotiate the price down by $1000, or so. How is the paint, body, interior, wood trim, etc.? Do you know why it was parked 10 years ago?


I called ack and they said the car has been driven since 2004, but it sat for the 10 years before that.

But I think I am going to look at it and then try to get it for less than 1500 seeing as the seller is being a bit unreasonable.


Sorry, I am not sure to edit this yet, still new.

The car sat for 10 years because the old lady who owned it stopped driving, then died, so it went to this person.

And as far as I am concerned for the body, I am only looking for a car to commute to school as I am in clinicals and heavy coursework this year, so I will be driving quite a bit more. Eventually, I want to convert a diesel to WVO, so I need to start somewhere. The problem is I don’t know how to value these old Mercedes. But I digress…

I am going to go look and I will see what I found.


I would suggest finding a good independent mechanic that really knows these cars and have it checked out before making an offer. You do not want to buy one that has been neglected unless you are looking for a new expensive hobby. These are great cars if they are cared for, but if you buy one with “deferred maintenance,” you can easily spend several $1000 getting it straightened out. Personally, I would not touch WVO unless the car is really a beater, it is a real PITA to process correctly and doing it incorrectly can cause some pretty expensive damage.


Fair price is what your willing to pay and the owners is willing to let it go for. Book price goes out the window on a car this old.

Personally I would not take that car free however there are the veggie oil crazy’s and the like who desire 20 year+ relics.


As Andrew said, if you want it, better buy it now for the asking price because “There is one born every minute” waiting on line to buy cars like this…

Unless you can work on it yourself, repair expense’s will soon exceed purchase price…


Doing the work myself isn’t a problem. I am just not sure of the prices of these old Mercedes.

And as far as I am concerned, as long as it gets me from point A to point B ok, that all I am concerned about. Most of the time for my business I am my truck anyways, it’s just hard to find a space to park a dually in a parking garage for school and stuff.

Thank you guys for all the input. It is really helping to figure how bad this car could be.


It seems like that’s a pretty high price for that car. I was looking at a 300D about that age, but with a little over 200,000 miles, in what looked like perfect condition. It got bought out from under me for $2,800 and this was from a MB dealer.



Condition is everything. It sounds like there are interior parts that need to be replaced. Make a list of everything that is not perfect. Take it to a mechanic for an inspection and find out how much it costs to pass inspection and for anything else he finds. Show him the list and ask how much everything costs. Then figure out how much you want to offer for it. Now you have a list of needed repairs to show the owner. This gives you a basis for negotiations.


Exactly, but don’t expect you corner shop to have any idea how to evaluate it. Do a little research and find a shop who specializes in benz, preferably vintage ones. If you can’t find a good independent shop go to a dealer. Expect to spend a couple of $100 for a good evaluation. Do not be surprised if the list of items required to make the car perfect exceeds the asking price by a significant amount.


You nailed it. I own three W123 300D’s and a 1999 E300. The quality of the W123 is vastly better than my E300. I have yet to meet a Mercedes W123 owner who will not tell you that they are the best built Merc ever made. I like may other models, but the W123 models are easy to get part for and relatively inexpensive to maintain. All three of my 300D’s have over 200K miles and I am not afraid to drive them anywhere at any time.


Cool, I only own two W123s (so far). IMHO, it’s still the best sedan they ever built, although I occasionally get tempted by a 6.3, W109. I’ve decided that I will not own anything newer than about 1985, just too much complexity and too many “safety features.” I drove my 300D (400K miles) from chicago to denver (about 1000 miles) yesterday, and I’m driving it back to chicago next sunday.


If a dealer was selling it for $2800, be glad you didn’t buy it. For that price, it had serious “issues.”


Well, I found out more about the car today.

There must not have been much response to the ad, as I found out today that they only really need 900, and the 3000 was what people were “paying” on eBay.

The car needs a new fuel injector, water pump, possible radiator, and all the say is a new vacuum system.

Funny how they didnt mention that first.


You really need to get this looked at by a good benz shop if you are seriously considering it. This could be a good deal for a “project,” but it could also be an enormous money pit. Be especially careful of any structural rust, if so, it’s a parts car.


I am going to go look at it and really go over the car. Whether I end up with the car or not, I am learning what to watch for in these old diesels.

I eventually want one since the “project” I am going to be taking on is veg. oil fuel for some other engines on our farm, so I figure I may as well find an old car to convert as well.


I eventually want one since the “project” I am going to be taking on is veg. oil fuel for some other engines on our farm, so I figure I may as well find an old car to convert as well.

If that’s the plan, just look for the cheapest beater you can find. I would hate to see you spend a lot of money and destroy a good engine.


That is about the cheapest beater I can find. At least one that does not need a major repair to the trans or engine or something else huge.

And out of curiosity, how would going to WVO destroy an engine? Everything I have seen says as long as the rubber does not come into contact with the oil as it degrades over time when it does, it will run just fine.