READER AD: 1980 Mercedes Benz 240D


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Reader Aribert N needs help finding a good home for this Mercedes 240D. It was his late father’s car and was still being driven until 2014. The starter currently isn’t working, but it runs if you bump start it. Aribert currently lives in Michigan and the car is in Houston, Texas, but is in town for the next few days so if you have any questions or need additional photos, be sure to contact him ASAP! With an asking price of just $1,750, it would be worth buying to fix up or even just as a parts car.

Asking Price: $1,750
Location: Houston, Texas
Mileage: 91,810
Title Status: Clean
VIN: 123 123 10 158693

Seller’s Description: My late father’s car. My parents had a ’75 240D as the family car from the ’81 into the early 2000s. A parishioner at church saw them in their 240D one Sunday and asked if they wanted another one (that needed some work). The head was in the trunk of the car when my father bought it. The story is that the car was originally a Hertz rental car – I have a hard time thinking that Hertz would have a manual trans vehicle for rent in 1980. This car became my father’s car (his primary vehicle was an F100). By 2009 my father was having issues driving a stick and he bought his first ever new car (and first car with an automatic). My mother continued to drive this car, enough to keep the battery charged, until early 2014. I do not understand the mileage – I would have expected at least 100K more miles than what it’s showing.

Body Condition: Unfortunately, it’s a Harvey FLOOD car. Repainted in original color (pale yellow). Rust bubbles behind both rear wheel wells. Very poor paint touch up in several areas. Dash top has numerous cracks. Sun fade on carpet floor mats and parcel shelf. Driver carpet oil stained. Armrest broken/loose on RR door. Balance of interior good. Not musty smelling. Car was dried out quickly after flood.

Mechanical Condition: Starter solenoid non-functional (was working last Dec, when I started the car for the first time in 3 years). The car was tow started to start the engine in Nov of 2018. Yard driveable.

The engine is in very good condition (rebuilt). Tire are dry-rotted. After (over) inflating tires, 2 tires delaminated. Brakes work OK but should be gone thru – car out of service since Feb 2014. Clunk in one of the drive axles when making tight RH turn.

Video links in Craigslist add of the engine idling, exterior and interior and car being driven at low speed.

It’s a bummer about the flood damage, but the engine likely has a lot of life left in it. As long as there isn’t any structural rust damage, you could just drive it as is for the time being while you hunt for a rust free body. So, do you think this Benz is worth fixing back up or is it a parts donor?

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  1. Suttree

    Great cars with legendary MPG. Unfortunately the legend of 40+ MPG is just that. The actual MPG is closer to 20-25. Not bad but with diesel being close to a dollar more per gallon it’s not an economy car.
    That being said this car is probably a good buy. 91,000 miles means it’s barely broken in. Add the Barn Finds preferred manual trans and I’ll call this a solid investment to drive for years.

    Like 5
    • Gay Car Nut

      I agree. Still, I’d buy a W123 Mercedes-Benz Diesel if I didn’t already own a car. The longevity of these Mercedes Diesels is more than mere legend. With careful maintenance, and careful driving, these Mercedes-Benz Diesels can, and do last indefinitely.

      Like 0
  2. geomechs geomechsMember

    A 240 was a rugged car. Definitely not a powerhouse but will last a long time. It will cost as much to keep on the road as a 300. Starter might not be as much of a problem to fix as some think. Had some come in with brush holders rusted into place. A good cleaning fixed them. Of course if this was a flood victim I would really want to see it up close and personal. The fuel system could really have some problems…

    Like 2
    • aribert

      Its definitely the solenoid, I jumpered directly to the starter motor and it spins freely under power. Maybe I’ll get around to pulling the 240’s starter asm late this week to clean up the solenoid. I had no issues cranking and starting the car 4 months after the flood. I dismantle and was able to free up the starter on my father’s F100. Unfortunately the F100 carb is gummed up and I was only able to get the F100 motor to run on starting fluid.

      Like 1
  3. hugh crawford

    This is the identical twin to a car that my mom bought new to replace a 1969 240D that had a tree fall on it after 400,000 miles. “It got hit by a tree”
    I eventually got the car and drove it in Brooklyn when I had a kid and my 1963 Galaxy 500 seemed like a bad idea.

    The only way to keep up with traffic was to drive it as fast as it would go, and the trick on on-ramps (NYC puts a stop sign at the end of them!) was to rev the engine as fast as it would go and drop the clutch and the big flywheel would spin the tires for a brief moment. Other than that it was a wonderful car until the Manhattan Mercedes dealer changed the oil, messed up the filter and the car pumped all the oil out and seized the engine.

    This would be tempting if it were closer.
    Really liked that car.

    Like 2
  4. normadesmond

    Wouldn’t, “Unfortunately, it’s a Harvey FLOOD car,” kind of be a deal breaker?

    Like 5
  5. That Guy

    Re Hertz and manual transmissions: I don’t know about Hertz specifically, but I rented a Ford Escort wagon with a manual from Dollar around 1980 or 1981. So it’s not inconceivable that Hertz might have rented manual cars at that time also. But a diesel Mercedes seems like a stretch.

    Like 0
  6. Chinga-Trailer

    A car only for the unwary, and then they shall quickly learn of their folly.

    Like 2
  7. motoring mo

    Flood car?
    Why waste time parting it out?
    Just scrap it already

    Like 0
    • hugh crawford

      I don’t know, the big thing on flood cars is that the electrics are wrecked, but this is from back when Mercedes Benz seemingly did not believe in electricity. The only electrics on this are the lights, the radio, wipers, the starter,the fan for hvac, and the glow plugs. The windows crank by hand the way god intended. There is an insane number of rods and levers with heim joints and an even worse system of stuff operated by vacuum, like the engine shutoff, and door locks.

      You could remove every inch of wire and I don’t think that it would prevent you from driving this.

      We had a 190d and a 240d on our farm that got flooded a few times up to the hubs. The 190d on occasion was up to its hubs in cow manure which I do not recommend as it causes the roof to rust from the inside by trapping nitric acid condensation.

      Like 1
      • aribert

        …The only electrics on this are the lights, the radio, wipers, the starter,the fan for hvac, and the glow plugs…

        Of the list above the only non functional items are the radio and the starter solenoid – both were below the flood line. That said, even the 4-way flasher works and the switch and flasher unit were flooded. I can’t seem to figure out how to turn on the yellow fog lights – there is no setting for fog lights on the main headlight switch and I see no separate switch for them. If anyone knows how to turn on the fog lights, please post. I intend to make a short video showing all the electrical systems functioning for my Craigslist add and the fogs are the only thing I can’t figure out.

        Like 0
  8. Jack Quantrill

    These flooders can be revived. Just look at all of them sent West with fake VIN’s. This is a good deal, and honestly presented. Good for another 300,000 miles.

    Like 2
  9. Cobra Steve

    Perfect first car for your teenager, although understand the 0-60 time (doesn’t matter, kph or mph) is measured in minutes, not seconds. Many of these met their doom by being rear-ended…from either being too slow or having excellent 4-wheel disc brakes.

    Having owned several 123 MB’s, this Benz is from the time period when Mercedes engineers ruled the roost and not the marketing dept. New MB’s have been ruined by having too many gimmicks WHICH WILL FAIL eventually. The manual transmission on this car is indeed desirable as it is an anti-theft device for two reasons–most folks today have no idea how to drive a standard transmission, and it is very difficult to steer with one hand and shift with the other while performing the all-too-important texting operation on cell phones.

    Like 5
  10. Tom Justice

    Honest seller. These can be great high way cruisers Worked and maintained a few of these back in the day. Just don’t try and pass a car and have the AC kick in or you will have a heart attack. I can’t imagine driving it around Houston but even one of these probably puts out less polluted air than it takes in for that city
    (I live in Texas). For the price, the right person with the right skills should have a deal.

    Like 1
  11. AF

    Get rid of flood cars on this site please! Even worse than some of the other junk found here..which we like more

    Like 1
  12. Andre

    Man is it conceivable that there be a post on here someone doesn’t bellyache about?

    Like if you don’t like it, don’t click.

    Save the moaning for your spouse (or more likely, your cat).

    Like 7
  13. Cobra Steve

    To turn on the front fog lights, pull out the light switch one click toward you and rotate clockwise to either the parking light or headlight position to hold it into that position. If you pull out the switch to the second position, that would turn on both the front fog lights as well as the left rear fog light.

    Like 1
    • aribert

      Thanks for the info on the fog light switch setting. Worked like a charm.

      Like 0
  14. hugh crawford

    A shot of WD40 just might make the solonoid work. Reversing the effects of water on electrical components is its actuall intended use, and I have resurrected dead British car electrical bits with it along with many a waterlogged tractor distributor.

    Like 0
    • Tom Justice

      It does stand for “Water Dry 40”

      Like 0

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