Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Vintage Cars & Classics in India


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 13th July 2017, 13:50   #1
BHPian
 
bikertillidie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pune
Posts: 305
Thanked: 499 Times
Default Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

I had spent my formative years admiring Mercedes 240D/300Ds, and I never thought I would actually end up owning one. But then, who would have known that this "itch" would return again?

Fast forward to April 2017 - after a gruelling couple of years at work, I finally had some time to spare, and felt the urge to embark on another "mini-project".

I have always had a soft corner for older Mercedes cars (in addition to Fiats), but wanted to approach my next project with greater caution.

The following objectives were to be met -

(a) the vehicle to be restored should not be too old and spares should be "relatively" easy to obtain
(b) the vehicle would be brought up to reasonably good working order. I lacked both energy & inclination to undertake yet another ground up restoration, hunting down elusive spares etc
(c) originality is preferable, but where called for, practicality would be given precedence
(d) aim for cost effective restoration. Tight control over budget would be exercised (as opposed to a no-expenses barred affair)

A 240D having a manual transmission fit the bill as it fulfilled almost all the objectives, but I was willing to settle for 240D auto/or a 300D, in case alternatives remained unavailable.

The rationale was as follows:

• Spares for the OM616 engine are easily available (OEM piston rings, timing chain, gaskets, engine oil filters can be found at most stores dealing in Force Motors/Bajaj Tempo spares )
• The OM616 strikes a reasonable balance between power and fuel economy - it's more powerful than the 200D, more economical than the 300D
• Manual transmission is a lot more hassle free compared to automatic variants. Plus the car feels livelier.

Before I began my search, I had consulted with fellow FCCCI member Mr. Badamikar who shared invaluable inputs.
Numerous threads on W123s (including several on team-bhp) also helped considerably.

I started scanning ads on olx/quikr and discovered that though there were quite a lot of Mercedes cars on sale, W123 listings were almost non-existent.

The ones which were advertised were either badly molested, or had changed hands frequently, else absurd prices were being quoted for poorly maintained specimens.

There were zero matches in Pune, hence I knew I had to start looking outwards.

An olx search threw up a promising example in I C Colony, Mumbai.

Mumbai
A quick trip ensued, but on closer inspection, the car was found to be badly corroded. The bonnet release cable had snapped long ago, and during a test drive, the vehicle refused to shift to top gear. Power windows, central locking, self levelling suspension had stopped working long ago. In fact, the only positive traits about the car appeared to be a sound engine and the MBTex upholstery.

It soon became apparent that the previous owner(s) had probably neglected it for years, and it would require too much effort/expense to bring the car back to the state it was meant to be in.

Hence, I decided to avoid it.

Here are a few pics -

Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170604wa0006.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170604wa0007.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170604wa0008.jpg

Goa
Another prospect in Goa was explored, but the owner provided evasive answers to most queries, didn't respond to emailed queries/text messages. Hence, I decided not to proceed further.

I found a couple of promising examples in Chennai, Coimbatore & Kochi.

Coimbatore
Coimbatore seemed a safe bet as the two cars advertised would not be exposed to saline conditions expected in Chennai & Kochi.

One of the Coimbatore based owners appeared unsure about whether he really wanted to part with the car, and the other car was sold off before I could firm up travel plans. That was the end of it.

Chennai
Chennai offered two pristine examples - one was advertised by a used car dealer for a princely sum and the other was being sold by an individual who seemed to know about cars and was quoting a reasonable amount. I booked airline tickets to Chennai for the following weekend as both leads seemed promising. But fate had different plans in store.
Two days before I could set off, I was informed that the second car had been sold off.

Here are pics of the car being referred to -

Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_4527.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_4533.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_4538.jpg

Since travel plans had already been finalised and work commitments aligned, I wanted to explore the other option in Chennai in order to stick to the plan.

However, further inquiries revealed that the car being sold at the dealership was not street legal and required the certificate of fitness to be renewed, past taxes (plus penalties) since 2012 to be paid.

In all fairness, I must add that the dealer was extremely responsive & courteous, and I received prompt replies to text messages/email inquiries/he always returned calls. He seemed "trustworthy" and I was on the verge of going ahead with the deal.

The only dampener was, the possibility of driving the car down to Pune was completely ruled out as I didn't wish to bend any laws. So the car had be transported from Chennai to Pune using other means, which means added expenses, plus leave plans had to be reworked :(

Incidentally, both these cars had KL registration plates and I was beginning to wonder whether I was searching in the right place to begin with !

This is when I seriously started exploring options in Kochi. Expenses incurred as part of the "planned" Chennai trip was considered a write-off as the tickets were non-refundable.

Kochi
One option was an immaculately maintained blue left hand drive 240D automatic. However, the price quoted was way higher than my budget.

Another option was a 240D in signal red (or is it fire engine red?), having a five speed manual transmission, ABS brakes and a manually operated sun roof. The price quoted was reasonable and the vehicle was owned by a young enthusiastic owner.

Pics follow -

Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_2280.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_2281.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_2285.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_2286.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_2272.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img_2287.jpg

Even though I wasn't too keen on it, a left hand drive 200D with a manual transmission located in Kayamkulam (about 130 km from Kochi), was considered as a fallback option.

In keeping with the originally planned dates, tickets to Kochi were booked/accommodation/rental car arranged and we found ourselves in Kochi (instead of Chennai) early morning on 17-Jun.

Things started off on a sour note - the rental car didn't show up at the airport and numerous calls to the driver's cellphone went unanswered. Finally booked a pre-paid cab at the airport and found our way to Ernakulam at 5 AM.

It was too early for a check-in and besides, the hotel was fully booked on account of the Kochi Metro railway inauguration (resulting in too many government officials/journalists/politicians of various hues being around) planned the same day. We dropped our luggage at the reception, parked ourselves on a couple of sofas in the lobby and slept.

We were allowed into our room only around 10 AM and after a quick change of clothing, we secured an auto rickshaw to reach the Hill Palace in Tripunithura (on the outskirts of Kochi). It took us quite a while owing to congested roads, but we finally reached the workshop where the car was parked.

The owner of the car had taken great pains to make the car presentable, but that was the least of our concerns. We were looking for a car that could be driven back to Pune and hence it needed to be mechanically sound, and could serve our requirement of cost effective restoration.

A closer inspection of the car revealed a lot of issues -

• There was a considerable amount of blow-by indicating that piston rings were worn out
• Most of the plumbing for vacuum actuators was missing/or had been plugged off with screws. In fact the engine continued to run even after turning off the ignition. One had to shut off fuel supply using a lever located on the fuel injection pump or engage gear and stall the engine
• All tyres were worn out
• Rubber beadings on all four doors, seals on the sun roof was worn out and allowed water to leak inside the passenger compartment
• There was a lot of corrosion/perforation below the wheel wells, below the floor pan, running boards, trunk, door sills, fenders - all the usual suspects
• Relays/wiring had been shoddily repaired/poorly spliced
• Becker-Europa head unit had been replaced with a Pioneer CD player/tuner
• Central locking did not work, and while attempting to lock the car using the key, it simply would not turn
• Brakes were spongy which implied that either the circuits needed to be bled, or there could be a problem with the master cylinder/booster

Now for the positives -

• The owner seemed to be very open, and had done his best to fix all issues within the means available
• Tie-rod ends, brake pads, brake hoses, suspension & engine mounts, entire set of bushes, flex pads, diesel pre-filter/screw on filter appeared to be new
• Originality had been retained to the extent possible
• Power steering worked well
• Air conditioning & power windows worked
• The pricing seemed sensible
• The dashboard wasn't cracked (yet)

After some negotiation, the deal was closed. Funds were soon transferred to the seller's bank account and I requested his assistance to address some of the critical issues.

(a) we needed new tyres before starting off for Pune the next morning
(b) an oil change/coolant replacement was needed
(c) there was no wheel spanner, jack available. This could pose an issue if we encountered a puncture
(d) needed wiper blades to be replaced, as we expected rain on the way back
(e) needed a power bank for my cellphone as the cigarette lighter didn't work, and I had no way to keep the cellphone going (needed access to google maps)
(f) the engine was running erratically, possibly due to dirt in the fuel tank. Hence, the tank had to be drained completely and filled with fresh diesel

I remain indebted to Ameen (the previous owner of the car) for helping fix all these issues the same evening, even though it was well past midnight when we finished.

Thanks a ton to fellow bhpian ]aruncheloor for all his inputs & Bulldogji for his assistance in locating W123s !

We started our journey back to Pune the next morning, and made it back without any issues the following evening with an overnight halt at Bangalore

I'll let the pictures do the talking from here on.
Progress on the restoration will follow shortly.

Last edited by bikertillidie : 13th July 2017 at 13:53. Reason: Adding URLs
bikertillidie is offline   (50) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2017, 14:27   #2
BHPian
 
bikertillidie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pune
Posts: 305
Thanked: 499 Times
Default re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Random shots near Hill Palace
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170617150024.jpg

Sunroof in operation
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170617124600.jpg

Tyres being replaced at a tyre shop open 24 x 7 (adjacent to Chillax, Vytilla).

Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170617233942.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170617233915.jpg

Enroute Pune with clouds and light showers for company.

Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618100656.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618100906.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618152100.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618152153.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618152430.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618173122.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170618183429.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170619072309.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170619075602.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170619075606.jpg
Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family-img20170619120621.jpg

.
bikertillidie is offline   (44) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2017, 16:12   #3
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: India
Posts: 27
Thanked: 13 Times
Infractions: 0/2 (10)
Default re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Let me congratulate you first for buying this lovely looking W123. The car looks immaculate from outside as well as inside.
How were you able to drive this car with that erratic engine & the spongy brakes? The travel from Cochin to Pune is long & the car needs to be in good condition for such a long drive.
Was surprised to see that the car was worked upon till midnight for you to start the next day.
Looking forward for the restoration of this beauty & bringing it back to its glory.
Regards
visky
visky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2017, 20:41   #4
BHPian
 
bikertillidie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pune
Posts: 305
Thanked: 499 Times
Default re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Quote:
Originally Posted by visky View Post
Let me congratulate you first for buying this lovely looking W123. The car looks immaculate from outside as well as inside.
How were you able to drive this car with that erratic engine & the spongy brakes? The travel from Cochin to Pune is long & the car needs to be in good condition for such a long drive.
Was surprised to see that the car was worked upon till midnight for you to start the next day.
Looking forward for the restoration of this beauty & bringing it back to its glory.
Regards
visky
Thanks !

The issue of erratic idling was fixed the same evening. On a W123, there are two small tubes which connect the fuel tank to metal fuel lines below the floor pan. These were removed and the tank was fully drained out.

The diesel pre-filter & the secondary screw on filter were also cleaned.

What passed off as diesel in the fuel tank was a dark liquid, I am not too sure whether it would actually qualify as diesel.

After tanking up with fresh diesel and priming the fuel circuits, the erratic idling stopped.

As for the brakes, the brakes felt spongy and required to be pumped to achieve a quick stop. If one pressed the brake pedal forcefully, it gradually sank to the floor.

But, I wouldn't go as far as to say, that we had zero braking ability. Quick stops were indeed possible.

We were carrying enough tools and were prepared to bleed the brakes enroute if required.

On highway runs, one doesn't need to use brakes much.

Maintaining steady speeds, anticipating where braking would be required, downshifting helped.

Best Regards !
bikertillidie is offline   (21) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 11:19   #5
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 46,227
Thanked: 78,469 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard. What a stunning car - my heartiest congratulations to you . Loved reading about your buying experience. This thread is going straight to our homepage.

You have gotten yourself an icon, man. The highway pics with the bonnet + three pointed star are beautiful - can only imagine what it must feel like to cruise that way. These classic Mercedes were so mechanically sorted & simple that you can easily rebuild them to prime time glory. Can't say the same thing about today's electronic-laden Mercedes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
I had spent my formative years admiring Mercedes 240D/300Ds, and I never thought I would actually end up owning one. But then, who would have known that this "itch" would return again?
You live once . Live it to the fullest.

Quote:
A closer inspection of the car revealed a lot of issues
No deal breakers at all. It's expected for a car of this age. Must appreciate the owner's candid nature too.

Quote:
Progress on the restoration will follow shortly.
Very eagerly looking forward to it. Please get the right hands + parts. Once you rebuild these cars, they last forever. I've been very particular about the workshop & parts that go into my 21 year old Jeep. Trust me when I say this, she drives just like she did in 1997.
GTO is offline   (12) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 11:48   #6
Newbie
 
pranavGTI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: MH12/TN28/TN88
Posts: 7
Thanked: 19 Times
Talking Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
I had spent my formative years admiring Mercedes 240D/300Ds, and I never thought I would actually end up owning one. But then, who would have known that this "itch" would return again?

I have always had a soft corner for older Mercedes cars (in addition to Fiats), but wanted to approach my next project with greater caution.
You've had an excellent buying experience of this Merc . For me this reminds the car a typical Zamindar in down south would own. I believe your red Merc is already at your garage in Pune.

Waiting to read your restoration experience. When we meet up I could also see your privileged possession .
pranavGTI is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 13:23   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 124
Thanked: 30 Times
Smile Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Great acquisition buddy! Must be a great feeling cruising on the open roads in an icon you dreamed of as a child. Wish you many happy miles in your new baby.
Arun Venugopal is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 13:48   #8
BHPian
 
sub.g84's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: ML05/KA03
Posts: 32
Thanked: 41 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Congratulations on the purchase. The W123 has been the dream of many a folks, and only the lucky get to own one today. I was seeing the pics and gosh the three spokes on the bonnet just made me imagine sitting on the front seat and admiring the feel of esteem. Everytime you look out of the windshield, the 3 spokes hit you by the feeling that you have been born privileged, you are a class apart. Wish you many lovely miles with the beauty.
sub.g84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 14:03   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gandhinagar
Posts: 134
Thanked: 322 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Congratulations on your purchase. Stunning indeed. It makes me glad whenever I see a Old Mercedes find a good home, and W123s in particular. There is something about these robust, honest and faithful cars that you will grow to love.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
(a) the vehicle to be restored should not be too old and spares should be "relatively" easy to obtain
I'm not too sure if the W123 spares are still easy to obtain. But 'relatively' yes, maybe they (still) are.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
• Spares for the OM616 engine are easily available (OEM piston rings, timing chain, gaskets, engine oil filters can be found at most stores dealing in Force Motors/Bajaj Tempo spares )
Of the listed spared I would definitely not use the piston rings in MB engine. It is not just the design/dimensions but the metallurgy which is also quite of significance. And OEM MB piston rings from Kolbenschmidt/Gotze/Mahle made for MB engines are still not that expensive.

I would also be wary of gasket, timing chain and sproket.

But to each his own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
• Manual transmission is a lot more hassle free compared to automatic variants. Plus the car feels livelier.
I think yours is the 5 speed. You might want to take good care of that as it is known to be a bit more troublesome than the 4 speed transmission that came with a vast majority of these cars. Having said that I always felt the 240D transmission ratios were a bit on the shorter side and they could have defiantly given slightly taller 4th gear.

But then these cars were designed more than 45 years back. Cars back then were not expected to reach the speeds they do now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
Chennai
Chennai offered two pristine examples - one was advertised by a used car dealer for a princely sum
Maybe this is the same as the one I came across when I was searching for a car. It was supposed to belong to a deceased doctor and from the pictures the car appeared well maintained. This was at least 4 years back but I am not surprised it is still unsold.

For me Chennai is a long long way but I could have made the travel. If only the dealer was open to negotiation. But he seemed to be of the type that believes his price is final. I never made the trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
(f) the engine was running erratically, possibly due to dirt in the fuel tank. Hence, the tank had to be drained completely and filled with fresh diesel
So has this issue been solved?
BowMan is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 14:07   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10
Thanked: 24 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Hats off! Many dream of owning such beauties but what matters more than the money is sheer passion and non stop effort to get one. Your willingness to travel to any part of the country, burning your pocket in the process for booking/cancelling tickets and the time you spent on getting to this car proves you really deserve this dream.

"RESPECT" is the one word I have for you. Rest assured we call can be happy that a timeless beauty is in very safe hands now and it'll be alive and kicking for many more years to come
haneeshN is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 14:48   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: bangalore
Posts: 115
Thanked: 87 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Wow hearty congratulations on this cherished acquisiton. Felt so good to read and see the pictures of cars that were looked upon and the narration of the entire buying experience. Now you have kept me waiting to read more of the restoration with pictures.

We had a reverse run of your trip, we flew to Pune to bring a W124 to Bangalore for a friend of mine and what an exhillarating experience that was. I sure can imagine how proud you must have felt driving her on such a long journey and must admire your guts and preparation to take her with not so sound conditions.
majumon is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 16:16   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Delhi
Posts: 2,877
Thanked: 5,653 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Very nice car, thanks for sharing. You did a very thorough due diligence finding this particular car. As you mentioned, the usual rust spots. Typically nothing that cant be fixed.

One other thing, you might be aware. Double check the four water drains for the sun roof. Pour a little water in the four corners and it should run out at four different spots underneath the car. If it doesnt it means the drain is blocked or otherwise. These are just plastic tube attached to the bottom of the sun roof frame. You can actually get at them quite easily by removing the headliner. Front is easy, rear not so eay.

If these drains dont work probably you will get rust in various new places over time, which are not so easy to fix.

I dont know about India, but in Europe just about everything and any part for the W123 is still obtainable. Just via the Mercedes dealers.

Good luck and enjoy the car.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 14th July 2017 at 16:17.
Jeroen is online now   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 17:02   #13
BHPian
 
autocrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 668
Thanked: 535 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Congrats on your latest acquisition! Its my dream car as well

Wish you many years of awesome ownership!
autocrat is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 18:16   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 37
Thanked: 39 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Congrats for the W123! The proportions of this car is just right and it looks stately and gangsta at the same time. Your particular color is more gangsta than stately!
sreeharipv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2017, 21:08   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: trivandrum
Posts: 2,390
Thanked: 908 Times
Default Re: Mercedes W123 240D - Yet another addition to the family

Quote:
Originally Posted by BowMan View Post
Maybe this is the same as the one I came across when I was searching for a car. It was supposed to belong to a deceased doctor and from the pictures the car appeared well maintained. This was at least 4 years back but I am not surprised it is still unsold.

For me Chennai is a long long way but I could have made the travel. If only the dealer was open to negotiation. But he seemed to be of the type that believes his price is final. I never made the trip.
The Kerala white Mercedes which you are referring to is not the white car(Kl-09) but would be the KRU registered one which was advertised about 4 years back and is still in Chennai and for sale with another dealer

Last edited by ajay99 : 14th July 2017 at 21:10.
ajay99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'83 Mercedes 240D - My W123 Restoration Diary BowMan Vintage Cars & Classics in India 126 21st May 2017 13:31
The Film Star: My 1983 Mercedes W123 240D aruncheloor Post-War 21 23rd October 2015 18:23
Me, My buddy and his Mercedes W123 240D -1984 vinayvtec Super-Cars & Imports in India 25 10th January 2014 13:11
Help Needed With W123 240d benzbala Post-War 35 21st March 2013 13:53
A single owner '85 W123 Mercedes 240D Ricky_63 Luxury, Imports & Niche 9 16th November 2010 23:02


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:26.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks