1891 Mercedes 300SD turbo diesel

1981 Mercedes-Benz 300-Series SD for sale in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Condition: Used
Item location: West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: 300-Series
SubModel: W126
Type: Sedan
Trim: SD
Year: 1981
Mileage: 161030
VIN: WDBCB20A9BB002511
Color: Sunrise Gold
Engine size: 3.0L In-Line 5 cyl
Number of cylinders: 5
Power options: Air Conditioning, Cruise Control, Power Locks, Power Windows, Power Seats
Fuel: Diesel
Transmission: Automatic
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Tan
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clear
Want to buy? Contact seller!

Description for Mercedes-Benz 300-Series 1981

Walk-Around Video Link: [TO BE MADE}

Hi! For sale is my 1981 Mercedes 300SD. This was my first car I purchased back when i was 16 and has been my daily driver for almost 8 years. It is very easily the best vehicle I have ever owned. However since needing a truck for work and using my motorcycle for getting around, she has been sitting more often than she has been used, and it is time she found a new home. Below are all of the details I can think to include, but please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and especially if you’d be interested in coming by to see it and test drive it.


The Good:

  • 2 owner car. The original owner had bought the vehicle out of a lease, and rarely drove it later in his life (was located in Ohio).

  • Low mileage: 161,0XX miles

  • Non smoker vehicle

The Unique:

  • It has the original 4 spd automatic transmission that was geared for the US back when the energy bill was in effect. If you look on the speedometer, you’ll see that 55 mph is highlighted, which is the most efficient speed for the motor and transmission combined (runs at about 2400 rpm @ 55 mph). In the summer doing 55 I would average a solid 30 mpg (23-26 average while driving normally)

  • I installed a 1200 Watt Krueger Inverter on the floor of the passengers foot well and created a center console panel that replaced the existing cigarette lighter and ashtray bay (see pics). I have kept all of the original hardware and did not make any permanent changes to the housings, opening, or wires, so it can be reverted to original if so desired.

  • I also installed a new Bluetooth stereo and new rear speakers. This involved bypassing the fader switch that is built into the center shifting console, but I tapped all of the new wires instead of cutting them, so this switch (along with the original radio) could also be reinstalled if so desired.

Completed Projects and Approximate Dates (things beyond normal maintenance):

  • 2019

    • Replaced a broken Odometer/Trip Meter gear (see extra pics).

    • Replaced FR, or front passengers side window regulator (see video). I also took this time to remove all of the door panels and regrease the window slides.

  • 2018

    • Installed new FL, FR, and RL brake calipers and all new pads. This included flushing the brake system entirely and properly with a bleeder tank.

  • 2017

    • New water pump

    • I did a patch job to seal some of the areas where the paint was scratched in order to reduce and/or prevent the formation of rust. I had always intended to sand down those areas and possibly repaint the car, but never got to it. It’s still has its original coat atm.

    • New stereo

    • New rear speakers

    • New voltage regulator on the alternator (fun story to this if you’re interested)

  • 2016

    • Installed Inverter (there are pre existing, insulated holes in the rear firewall, so no drilling was involved)

  • 2015

    • Made a valve adjustment

    • Replaced Glow Plugs

    • Replaced Injectors

    • Replaced all soft fuel lines

  • 2014

    • New Tires

  • 2013

    • I had a machine shop reweld a portion of the rear exhaust. It had been punctured and started to rust and split before the muffler.

Projects That (imo) Need to Be Done Soon:

  • She needs new tires. The tread is ok and they’ve been rotated more than once, they are just getting on in age.

  • The FR shock mount and ball joint are starting to become loose. If i was intending to keep the car or was going to be driving it consistently, this is something i would have taken care of already.

  • The coolant needs to be changed and radiator flushed. I have the proper coolant, a new thermostat, and a flush kit, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’ll try to update this post if I get it done before she sells.

The Bad:

  • Lots of small areas of body rust, specifically by the wheel wells and around ¾ of the lift/jack points (see pics). She had an undercarriage coat at some point prior to my ownership, so the primary part of the undercarriage is still in great shape. To be honest, this is why I’m low on the price of this car. She isn’t one of those rarely driven, collector-owned, Florida cars, and it shows.

  • The glow plug relay doesn’t shut off. This means that I have to simply plug and unplug it whenever i start the car. I’ll be looking to replace this soon, and if i do before she sells, I'll update this listing.

  • The RR, or back passengers inner door sound dampening seal is starting to come untucked and fall (see pics). The same seal on the drivers door is starting to become untucked as well.

  • As mentioned above, the FR suspension needs to be looked at. Operationally it’s fine, but you can hear it creak when turning at sharp angles and when encountering rough roads. I’m confident a replaced shock mount and ball joint is all that’s necessary (and i’m pretty excessive about that), but if money is less of an issue then it could probably do with an entire rehaul.

  • The rear magazine baskets are either broken (RL) or roughly bolted to the seat (RR).

  • The RL window does not work on purpose. When i had inspected all of the window regulators I had noticed that the back drivers side one was starting to bend excessively. It had still worked at the time, but when you would roll it down too far, it would make a shifting noise (the arm was actually hitting on the inner part of the door due to the bend) and I would have to physically pull the window up if I rolled it all the way down (the lower part of the gears on the arm were starting to wear away). As a result, I just disconnected the motor from the regulator with the intent of finding a new one and fixing it later, but I never did. Right now the motor spins freely when you try to use the window, and the old regulator is installed so it keeps the window pushed up (the spring was still fine).

  • The antenna doesn’t move. I think it’s simply the motor having gone bad, but I haven’t really looked at it so I’m not sure.

  • The AC hasn’t been charged or used since 2013. Otherwise, the fans, all of the climate control buttons, and heat work just fine.

  • Parts of the front lower window seal are starting to rot. There’s a portion between the windshield wipers that is split. The seal remains fine as it’s just the outer portion that is becoming brittle, but I’m sure that will be needing to be replaced in the upcoming years

  • The fuel tank gauge only works between 20% and 75%. I’m guessing that the float is corroded or jammed up, but I never bothered to pull the tank out and inspect it. It’s a pretty common issue and one that was (for me) never worth the hassle of fixing.

  • The door latch pulley mechanism (that is bolted to the left wall by the drivers foot) broke a while ago. I have a new one sitting on the floor but i lost the screws, so I haven’t put it on yet. The latch opens fine, you just have to pull the whole cable and lever straight back.

  • There’s a small dent on the chrome trim around the rear window.

  • I’m missing a passengers windshield wiper. It requires a special European clip and the 1 Advanced Auto parts i went to about 4 months ago didn’t have it so...I was just lazy and tapped a skid pad to it. *EDIT* I actually have the old wiper still. I put it on and the rubber is so old it squeaks super loud and skips so i took it off again.


If I didn’t mention anything, then it’s safe to assume it’s fully functional and working. For instance the vacuum system is still functional (for locking and unlocking the doors and for the cruise control), the transmission shifts just fine, door lights work, power seats work in all directions, the electric control for the passengers side view mirror works, etcetc. As I said above though, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, small or otherwise. I’ll be checking my messages on a daily basis. Thanks for reading, and I hope that this car might be just what you’re looking for!


~Donovan

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