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majorrich's avatar

Is a $500 Mercedes 240D a worthwhile winter project?

Asked by majorrich (12331 points ) July 22nd, 2012

For the past couple of years I’ve been driving by this older 240D sitting in an older couples driveway and I finally stopped and asked about it. It was last registered in 2009 and has been sitting since. 200k miles and it started instantly after the glow plug lights went out. He said I could have it for 500 with all the spare parts he’s got. I realize they are incredibly slow and there will be a zillion little glitches that creep in after a car is parked. Worth it?

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9 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

What’s your interest in this as a learning experience or a hobby? Call an auto mechanic buddy…the guy who services your car, perhaps?

majorrich's avatar

My intent is to give it to my son for a car to take to college. It should be bulletproof. I have a good deal of experience working with mechanical stuff but this would be my first diesel aside from farm machinery. I’m sure the 240 would be hard pressed to get speeding tickets with, but I am hesitant to let him have a car sophomore year lest he become beer run boy or taxi boy, so I’ll work on it over the winter. Cunning plan eh?

gailcalled's avatar

Great plan. How about having your help you with the project…during the rest of the summer and vacations over the school year? HIs contribution will be some sweat equity.

He will be so enamored of every nut, bolt, rivet, and doodad that he will treat that car like a treasure.

susanc's avatar

Those are wonderful cars. Maybe you can convert it to run on fryer oil. That’ll keep him busy….

gailcalled's avatar

edit. ”...having your son help you with the project…”

What does a car that runs on fryer oil smell like? Can you make the pommes frîtes first and then reuse the dirty oil?

Adagio's avatar

I really like older Mercedes models, go for it… Although I might add, does your son appreciate older cars?

ETpro's avatar

It will make a great beater. Depending on how much rust, body damage and missing parts there are, the cost of total restoration might range anywhere from a few thousand to the sky’s the limit. 240Ds with nice body styles and fully restored can bring between $12K and $20K depending on what year they are and how many of that model (2 door, 4 door, wagon, convertible, stretch limo) and year were originally built and remain on the road today. Let the payout for full restoration versus the cost of doing it determine whether you just drive it into the ground and sell it for scrap, or restore it. If the current owner has spare parts, that’s a possible sign he knew how to maintain the car and kept it in pretty good repair while he was driving it. The 74 HP diesel is pretty lackluster by today’s standards. You could drop in a modern engine that would run circles around it in pep and fuel efficiency.

blueiiznh's avatar

Your plan is good as long as your son is ok with it as a car.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gailcalled Cars running on fryer oil smell like french fries. I kid you not. One of my ex clients converted his car. It wouldn’t run on the oil if it was really cold, but that was the only time it acted up.

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