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Hello, I'm new to the forums. First off, let me apologize for my first post. When I get interested in buying an old car, I usually join a forum and get acquainted with it for about 6 months. Last week I got serious about researching and looking for a 123. Unfortunately, I found a 123 very close to me for a good price before I've had time to learn and research them as well as I'd like. Therefore, I'm hoping you guys could help answer to some of my concerns, and will forgive any noob first post and some of the questions I ask. I'd love to be the new owner of a 123! Also, a little background: I’ve recently brought a ’95 e34 touring back from the dead, so I feel I’m a fairly competent DIY’er, just never worked with a diesel or a Benz. I'm ready to learn!
So, without further ado… The car is a 1981 300D, 323kmi black on cream colored interior
-Almost no rust, just a dime size spot under the back window
-Paint is in pretty good shape, a few small dents, seems original
-Interior is in good shape as well, no rips, no cracked dash, glove box stays latched
-Oil pressure stays pegged at 3 almost always
-Cranks almost instantly, not too loud
-Radio and antenna work
-All window and sunroof work
-Has some records, but there is more to this story... (more detail below)
-The car has sat for 4yrs, but each year they took it to see family on the holidays, about 250mi round trip. When not in use, it sat on blocks under a shaded carport
-The guy says to crank it, you have to cycle the key to on, then off, three times before cranking. I noticed that the glow plug light did not light up, and he knew little about the car. Could the glow plug light possibly be out, and he is basically warming them up in his on/off ritual, or is there a bigger problem here?
-The shift from first to second is weird. It starts from first fine, but when going to second, the car seems to rev high and take about 5-10sec to settle in. Acceleration is very slow at this point, but once it settles in, it gets up to 60 at a fairly good pace. It was worse on the initial drive, so we checked the fluid and saw it was low. Topped it off, which smoothed out the shifting some. The odd 1-2 shift is still there, but not quite as pronounced. Is this normal? (UPDATE: After doing some research, I was wondering if this in indicative of a vacuum issue? It may help to know that the car has the automatic climate with the push buttons. I believe vacuum comes into play here as well.)
-It doesn't accelerate much up hills. Not sure if this is normal, a weak engine/tranny problem?
-When at rest and idling, there are wisps of smoke coming from somewhere around the engine. Possibly valve cover gasket?
-AC does not blow cold (more info below)
-Rear drivers door has trouble latching
-The brakes are spongy. They got firmer after some pumping of the pedal. Is this just from sitting and need bleeding, or could it be master/slave cylinder?
The man’s wife showed me a folder of some records. This is where things get a little tough to judge. All of the records are from when her father died in 1998. Her sister bought the car and proceeded to get it up and running again and had a lot of stuff done (see below). The good is, the car has only been driven about 3kmi since this work. The bad is, the work is 13 years old! Here's a list:
-Completely new AC (compressor, receiver, dryer, evaporator, almost $1,400), but it doesn’t blow cold today.
-Various new suspension components (4 new shocks, stabilizer links, and some other stuff in the rear I've forgotten)
-Diff oil replaced
-New vacuum pump
-New window motor
-Fixed a door handle and latch
-New motor mounts
-There were a number of other small things. Basically, it seemed like a thorough reconditioning of the car
All this work seems as if they were getting the car back up to driving condition, which makes me think that if the tranny was bad, it would have been addressed, so maybe the car just needs to be driven to get the cobwebs out? Again, sorry for the long post. I wish I had more time to research all this on my own.
Opinions greatly appreciated, and thanks for taking the time to read all of this!
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