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Old 04-05-2013, 06:26   #1
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Mercedes diesels

Anybody know what the old mercedes 120 diesels from the late 70s are like....reliability, problems, parts?
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:33   #2
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Re: Mercedes diesels

Judging from the number of cars from that vintage I have seen on the side of the road in CA.... Not a great feeling.... But no actual experience.... One would think that the ancillaries are the problem though.... actual iron parts are probably bullet proof...
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:52   #3
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Re: Mercedes diesels

I can tell you that Mercedes use to cheat with their motors. I went to have a crank shaft reground for a rebuild (6 cyl. gas) and the machine shop told me the original grind was out of stroke/time by .032" IAW's, in order not to scrap a casting they ground it at the factory out of stoke a little. The machine shop found me a another crank that was in stoke. This was in the early 80's.

Mercedas is a name like Harley Davidson. The cars don't last or run better then any other car of their period.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:14   #4
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Re: Mercedes diesels


Comparing a MB to a Harley?

Wonder how many million mile Harley's there are?

I have owned 2 Mercedes diesels in the quarter million mile club, and one that was nearly at 500,000 miles when I sold it for what I paid.

The normally aspirated 5 cyl deisel motors by MB are some of the most proven designs gong.

...The Guinness World Record for the most miles on any car is Greek taxi driver Gregorios Sachinidis, for putting more than 2.8 million miles on his Mercedes 240D....
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:46   #5
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Re: Mercedes diesels

I had a converted Mercedes auto diesel in my steel boat. It was a 190D engine. I have no idea who manufactured the marinizing parts, but the engine was perfectly reliable. The only problem I had with it was (owner induced) that the Velvet drive transmission would rattle when in gear at an idle. After changing the damper plate and still having the same noise, an old salt told me to turn the idle up a little. Smooth as glass after that. Most parts are available from after market suppliers, so overhaul will be similar , or less than marine engines. Mercedes also made actual marine/industrial engine which were push rod engines rather than overhead cam engines. There are millions of them in reefer trailers all over the world. If you are starting from scratch at a conversion, it may be difficult to find the marine parts, but I would not at all be afraid to buy a boat with an already converted Mercedes in it. Of course the maintainence history of any engine is actually the most important thing in reliability._____Good Luck,_____Grant.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:52   #6
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Re: Mercedes diesels

I have had two Mercedes 300D's that went over 250k Miles. Great engines. Also had a 240D that died at 170k miles due to owner not keeping up with the oil.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:13   #7
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Re: Mercedes diesels

Not sure if the 70's diesels are like the 80's 240D type. But the latter are amazing. Some go 500k miles. I had a Nanni/mercedes in my '85 boat based on that engine. Great engine, 85 hp. I had the feeling that engine would outlast me. I bought spares and parts were cheap from the Mercedes dealer. That engine just purred at cruising rpm, but it had a definite vibration at about 1200 rpm that was obnoxious when moving around in a marina or when slowing down to anchor.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:46   #8
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Re: Mercedes diesels

I've used one based on the 1950s 180d for years. (Well, I haven't had it in the water for some time) OM636. Bullet proof. The heat exchanger is BOMAR and still made for the engine. Check this link. All parts are still available. Old ThermoKing engines are still around in some of their bone yards if you need some parts for the OM636.

OM636 Diesel Engine Spares
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:00   #9
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Re: Mercedes diesels

If I remember right, my ThermoKing reefer used a de-rated 190D (de-rated from automotive use of around 70 hp or so, to 36 hp) and I know I sold it with over 10,000 trouble free hours on the Hobbs.
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:08   #10
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Re: Mercedes diesels

One of the nice things about my Mercedes (190D) was that the injection system was very forgiving. I had a small fuel tank on my boat, without a gauge and ran it out of fuel a few times. It would start changing RPM and sputtering, but if I stopped it soon enough, I could put fuel into the tank and it would start up, run a little rough for a minute and then smooth out and be good to go. That is very different than my Perkins, which if it got one little bubble in the system would stop dead, and I would have to go through the whole bleeding procedure to get it going. They are a very good engine.____Grant.
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:30   #11
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Re: Mercedes diesels

From the 70's Than it's probably a om621 4 cilinder.
Very reliable and basic engine.
In whole Europe and north Africa en middle east are used spare parts easy to buy. In Europe also new parts from after market or original .
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:38   #12
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Re: Mercedes diesels

friends with mercedes in boats hate em and have get me home motors they have to use on their way back into harbor , as their engines were overheated before they could return. one was in lost angeles, one is in san diego.
when in cars, they were either great or they sukked.

my friend in san diego with the mercedes in his trimaran has yanmar envy ....

i knew others in lost angeles with mercedes who were happy with em----
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Old 04-05-2013, 22:21   #13
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Re: Mercedes diesels

Zeehag, The motors you mentioned were badly set up/maintained, we humans have a tendency to screw things up and blame the manufacturer ! I've used Mercedes trucks for years and 500k miles is normal. I'm driving a Merc 250d with the 5 cylinder diesel and it's been running for years on a 70% cooking oil/paraffin mix. The OM 636 was used in Thermo King reefers and Claas combine harvesters. Marinising parts are by Bowman and spares are still available.
If you need any help with spares let me know.
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Old 04-05-2013, 23:43   #14
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Re: Mercedes diesels

Mercedes trucks were legendary in Australasia and in the third world, for running for millions of miles. Particularly the "L" series, which came out before 1960 and were still made into the 90s.

<<... the L-series, together with the Kenworth 953 became the two trucks which were synonymous with the oil exploration boom in Arabia throughout the 1960s. Many roads throughout Arabia were not surfaced until the early Eighties and there were no weight or length limitations on road haulage. This meant that the trucks carried heavier loads than for which they were designed, in some instances three times the maximum designed loaded weight, and in carrying these loads, the L-series gained a reputation for toughness and reliability. Nearly all L-series shipped to Arabia were orange in color, while all L-series shipped to North Africa were green in color>>

Many of those greenies, often L1418, are STILL running in roadless parts of Africa today, like the early Toyota Landcruisers, they're as hard to kill as zombats.
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Old 05-05-2013, 13:48   #15
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Re: Mercedes diesels

I agree Andrew, unfortunately the UK Transport Ministry men would frown (and put me where the sun doesn't shine) if we tested them to those limits. I use the 1428, 2028, 2032's as well as an old Scania 141, million miles and still going strong, just a turbo, alternator and starter, an Iveco Eurostar 420 (old Unic engine) has also performed way way above expectations and is close to the million miles, sadly they don't make that engine any more. We don't use the bonneted types because we have to use ferry's everyday and the extra length is costly. I know they were built that way to be practical, if you need to change an engine sling a rope and pulley over a tree branch and Bobs your mothers brother !
If I were building a boat today I would fit the V8 Scania, the epitome of mechanical excellence, second choice would be Mercedes without a doubt, having said all that I have a Perkins that has taken me around Northern Europe without missing a beat. Personally I put it down to regular and meticulous servicing.
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