Owning a w123

Hello,

Was looking into acquiring a w123 wagon. I have experience with German classics such as the vw beetle but we're wondering what your guy's opinions were on owning a w123.

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  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Never had a W123, but I'd imagine that it has the same problem as W124 and W201, which is rust.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      That's a concern I have. Luckily, I reside in California so it shouldn't be as bad an issue. Definitely looking for a car that has lived it's life in Cali.

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I hope you enjoy learning how literally everything runs off vacuum lines.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      It's not that bad. Ever seen a Honda vacuum-controlled carb? That's bad.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Even if the succ system was completely kaput, the car will still run and be drivable.
      That being said, rust, brittle plastics, rust, leaky everything, rust, rear wheel bearings, rust, rear halfshafts and rust are the biggest issues in these.
      The rear wheel bearings are a bit of a b***h as you need some special tools to change them and if you install them wrong or over torque them, you'll damage them and have to get a whole new bearing pack. They're not cheap either.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        That driver's seat is sagging towards the transmission tunnel. Is your floor rotting out?

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Yes and no, the seat itself is broken, but the floor was rotten too.
          Now welded, but no new seat as I sold the car

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I had heard of the vacuum system is shit, it can interfere or prevent shifting into reverse?

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          iirc mine had one where a vacuum tube had rotted out which prevented the car from turning off when you removed the key so you had to open the hood and press the STOP lever kek

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Didn't have the w123 but had a w114 and w116. When the w114 was working well it was so damn nice to be in, its kind of a small car but the proportions inside are just so perfect that it was just so pleasant with everything being exactly the distance that is the most comfortable to reach. These got a stigma in the 80's from people driving mid size fords saying, heh, I don't see whats so special, me ford is just as good but no, they aren't. For the size its really heavy so feels way more solid than other 70's and 80's cars.

        concerns

        rust, water gets in through worn rubber seals, just something you have to deal with. 80's and newer cars have good rustproofing but 70's don't really.

        Loose steering box, kinda annoying to repair and deal with. Its not a parts cannon car like newer cars are, you do actually have to learn how to take things apart. If its in ok condition there is a bolt you can adjust which might fix it and often worn ball joints etc make it seem way worse. Ford etc went to rack and pinion, its an area where Mercedes was behind.

        Door handles, there are ways to fix them pretty cheap though, its just that the metal wears

        Injection, you can buy the rubber kits, watch a video on rebuilding it and see if its too much for you

        Transmission, I personally had issues with the 4 speed auto but others say its good. The 3 speed I had was rock solid.

        Seems expensive having to buy that rubber coupling for the tailshaft since other brands used metal ones but new cars have the rubber ones so they must be good for something.

        Overall you can get them super cheap, the payback is you have to spend a lot of physical time on them wrenching, you do since no mechanical will touch it.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >Overall you can get them super cheap, the payback is you have to spend a lot of physical time on them wrenching, you do since no mechanical will touch it.
          Sorting a W123 out takes tons of wrench time and I feel like putting that much effort into a car that is one Low Trust moment away from destruction is rarely worth it anymore. Unless you want to build wrenching skills I guess
          The cars get a lot of attention which I'm honestly indifferent about

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      And the fact that every year the vacuum line change and there is not great literature out there to keep track of it. Gotta pray on that one a little bit and mine has a slight leak around the brake pedal which makes it so I have to press the brake hard in order for the car to shut off.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Wdym by the vacuum lines change every year?

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I may be exaggerating but every 2 years or so they kept on running the lines to different things in different ways. So it’s not like you can just get a w123 chassis book and expect all of them to be the same. Or the book has specific years for the chassis.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            That's so odd that they did it that way. That's good to know, I wasn't aware of that. How difficult/expensive is it to sort out vacuum issues?

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            You can diagnose everything with basic tools, golf tees, and a $30 harbor freight handheld vacuum pump gauge. Nerds at ifixit have put together a detailed photo guide.
            https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mercedes+W123+Vacuum+Lock+System+Diagnosis+Technique/20201

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >European wagon in New England forest
    That's a beautiful aesthetic.

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    If rust is of no concern to you these things are bulletproof.

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    H O O D H I N G E P O C K E T S
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    H
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    P
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    C
    K
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    T
    S

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I have a 124. Deal is it needs to be walnut cleaned every 80k miles or so. For some reason it gets super dirty despite being port injected. Also don't use after market high flow filters under the saucer airbox. It did get rust on dings, but only dings. Also replace the yellowed light fixtures, because they look like shit when peroxide buffed.

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I had a 280E for a week. It was outrageous. So cool to cruise around in. But it was terrifically slow.
    The balljoints flog out quick and the steering becomes shit in them. They're too small for the size of the car. So budget on that.

    But, brilliant car for a booze and cruise.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      That's definitely what I plan to use it for. Don't need to go anywhere fast in it, I have other cars if that's what I need.

      How would you say the driving experience was in it? I hear online and on YT how great of an experience driving one is. Would you say that's the case?

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    As a W124 owner, get the diesels. They're slow as hell but can last you over a million miles with basic maintenance. Preferrably manual 4/5 speed too. The automatics are kinda wonky, I have the 4 speed auto, and it's been serviced regularly but the vacuum system is a pain in the ass to deal with.

    Like other anons have said the worst issue with these are rust. Mine has retired as a winter beater and is now only a summer car because of this, but if you live in an area where this isn't a concern then I definitely recommend getting one.

  9. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Got this pimp wagon a while ago. Should I swap out its engine for an om606, or keep its original om617 and mod it? I’ve heard about the longevity of the om617, but I want the performance on the 606

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Nice looking wagon. How have you liked it so far?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      you should move to a state where you can afford to live in a house with a garage

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