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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Next car



One of the best cars I've owned is a 1982 Mercedes 240D. It had about a 100,000 miles on it when I bought it. My lovely wife was working 50 miles away on the other side of the White Mountains. We also used this car on our extended months long winter trips. During the years we owned it we put on an additional 400,000 miles. That's a lot of hard driving.

It was the test vehicle for my vegetable oil conversion experiments. With a 19 gallon veggie tank in the trunk and 28mpg, the car had good range. One year I had a small utility trailer with jugs of veggie in it. The car went 3000 miles without a single gas station stop. My lovely wife fell in love with that car. They built them solid. It wasn't fast, accelerated like a fat man jogging, but ran and ran and ran.

In the end road salt took its toll on the body. The doors and floors were rusting out, all the brakes and rotors were due for replacement, and the exhaust system was also going. That's a lot of money to invest in a car with a half million miles on it. I just could not justify the expense.

Currently my lovely wife is driving an old Cavalier that we inherited from one of my daughters. My mechanic has already informed me that it won't pass the June safety inspection. Rust takes its toll. So next summer we'll be looking for a replacement.

After careful consideration I think we'll try to find another old diesel Benz from the 80s. There are still quite a few of them around and some are still in good shape. Even if I've got to put some money in one it will be worth it.

In this case, they just don't make them like they used to.

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. Road salt and parking them on dirt takes it's toll. Plus they don't build 'em like they used to.

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    1. Road salt has killed most of my cars.

      The old Benz diesel was bullet proof. I hooked up the feed and return lines backwards -still worked. Rebuild part of the injectors upside down -yet still ran, not well, but ran. It was a steep learning curve for me. :)

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  2. My neighbor had an old diesel benz, he died in his sleep at a religious retreat, his new bride sold it to a Russian immigrant family they visit a lot, I still see it going like a trooper, you are not a kidding they work and work, he uses diesel but if he could he would convert to vegetable oil..He is an engineer the fellow who owns it and if he had anytime to do so he would..No cars work like a benz from the 70 or 80's!

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    1. I bet the Russian family knows the value of what they've got.

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  3. Sixbear if it was me looking for an old benz I would do it down south.Maybe not in Florida but in the southeast. No road salt issues, around here there are a few old 300,s from the 70s and 80s that are daily drives because of mileage.

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    1. I'll keep my eyes open for a good one in my travels -assuming I've the money saved up by then.

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  4. Today's cars and trucks are far to complicated and expensive. It would be nice if some manufacturer would make a diesel sedan and a diesel half ton truck without all the yuppie junk on them and with an old style diesel (without all the electronics) that the average handyman could actually work on, maintain and run a million miles.
    Florida is a great place to find one of these older gem Mercedes and if you like I'll keep my eyes open and let you know if I stumble onto one that just sits in grandpa's garage?

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    1. Legally they can't make a simple diesel like that for the US market.

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    2. can you import a simple diesel if its over a certain age as an antique to register?

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  5. Sad, but true; they really DON'T make 'em like that anymore.

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    1. I got a surprise when I tried to use self tapping screws while installing the veggie system. The steel was too thick and hard. Pilot holes had to be drilled first. Never had that issue on an American car.

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    2. When I was 23, I passed up a chance to buy a '41 Buick two-door with a straight eight, that was built like a tank. I STILL kick myself.

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  6. they build them just to last the warrenty then quickly fall apart; that way you need to buy one to replace it

    and if they could, make it fall apart faster before you even finish paying for one

    just like polictical promises; no garrentees anymore

    Wildflower

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    1. Funny to think that I could buy a car that's 30+ years old and probably get more miles out of it than a brand new car.

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  7. Hey Six look what I just found on CraigsList:
    http://jacksonville.craigslist.org/cto/4803563447.html

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    1. Dang, that is a beauty. My only issue is that it has the automatic. The 240D really needs the manual transmission here in the mountains. The 5 cylinders are strong enough for the automatic. Still, it's a great car.

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  8. Wow, I remember my days driving the salt/slush roads up north. I had a couple of great cars but the bottom rusted out. Of course on the bright side, I could sit in the driver's seat and push the car if it stalled. . . yes, that is how big one of the holes in the floor was. I laid a steel plate over it.

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    1. I had a 2 foot by 2 foot piece of stainless steel plate keeping the driver's seat from falling out of one of my cars.

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