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The Official Cars Discount / Thrift & DIY Questions and Bragging Thread.

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Thrift Vader, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. Nobleprofessor

    Nobleprofessor Distinguished Member

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    This is just my own personal opinion. But, most of the ones you listed are cars that someone else has beat to hell or they are HIGH dollar. Also, (and this is just me) I don't like any of them other than the S30 (by which I assume you mean the old 240Z). The 300ZX was/is an incredible car, but those are also potential money pits or excellent examples have big price tags.

    Here's what I think. You are a homeowner now. Buy a grown up car. Get the LS400 OR an Old Mercedes. I can write you pages and pages of advice about which specific Mercedes models you want and which ones to avoid. But, with Mercedes, there is one question that makes the decision much easier. Gas or Diesel?

    Since you said you don't really like BMW, then don't buy a 3 series. A 5 series or a 7 is whole other world and they are great cars.
     


  2. Thrift Vader

    Thrift Vader Forum Mechanic

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    ^^^

    if you want a "Big boy's" car. Grab an Ls400, drop in a Manual transmission from a Supra. and Turbo it, [​IMG] - then do your Diff and Suspension.

    but if you have the need/want for a project car. to learn skills,keep yourself busy, or escape the wife. ?
    one thing to bear in mind is that aftermarket parts are going to cost roughly the same, whatever you buy. Coilovers, Intercoolers,LSD's,etc.

    so it really comes down to which car calls your name on the day.

    The most potential of all the cars on your list belongs to the Z31. with parts compatibility across the Nissan range. and a very good setup handling wise.

    MR2 Gen2? next. the guy who last owned my car now rocks one. and it is a great car for the money put in.

    @Cj52racers - Nankang snow tires, Thoughts?? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015


  3. Nobleprofessor

    Nobleprofessor Distinguished Member

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    You did ask me, but I'll tell you my experience with them. I had a RWD Long Wheelbase Mercedes and it was practically undriveable in the snow without snow tires. I got some Blizzaks and they were great. It was a totally different car. Another car I bought came with a dedicated set of snow tires and wheels and they were Dunlop SP Winter Sport. They were performance snow tires. They were even better than the Blizzaks, but they wore REALLY fast. Of course, all winter tires will wear quicker than regular tires. They were the best snow tires I have ever had, but after 3 winters they were pretty worn. They might have been good for only 1 more winter. And I'm talking about Mid to late November through the end of February. So, they weren't on the car for that long.
     


  4. Cj52racers

    Cj52racers Distinguished Member

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    I haven't used the dunlops or Nankang, but I've used Blizzaks and Michelin Pilot Alpins and the Alpins were better I thought. I don't know a ton about the Nankang winters :( I'm not sure I know anyone that's used em.
     


  5. fox15

    fox15 Well-Known Member

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    It's times like these that I rejoice that I live in the south. We will get snow exactly twice, for about three days per event. :)
     


  6. Thrift Vader

    Thrift Vader Forum Mechanic

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    Mrs Vader's Wagon has Dunlops for winter. they work really well.

    I was running the Michelin X-Ice on my last car. they were sweet. but Nankangs are so cheap that i am interested. because we get ridonkulous snow from late November until March. $250 for a set of tires new is a steal.
    jelly. but at least we get to wear baller Jackets. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015


  7. Nobleprofessor

    Nobleprofessor Distinguished Member

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    I decided to go ahead and provide some of my thoughts on older Mercedes in case anyone is interested in getting an one.

    There is an old adage that there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes. This is very accurate. I'm sure it applies equally to BMW and Jaguar, too.

    Mercedes people are divided up into two camps. Diesel and Gas

    Most people don't go between the two camps. I was an exception. I loved my old Diesels AND my gas Mercedes.

    My knowledge is limited to older cars although I know a little about the newer models.

    Starting with Diesel.

    The 123 Chassis ran from 1976 to 1985 and included Gas and Diesel. 123 Diesels (240D, 300D, 300D (turbo), and 300TD (wagon)) have fanatical followings. The 240D is simple, reliable, low optioned, and SLOW. I mean SLOW. They are great cars if you are not in a hurry. Many of them had manual transmissions and this makes a significant difference. The 240D can also seem to the uninitiated with crank windows, crank sunroof, and am radios.

    The 300D made from 1982-1985 is a true engineering marvel. It is a 5 cylinder workhorse with a turbo. These are the cars that set mileage records in terms of longevity. I had a 82 with 375,000, an 83 with 360,000 and an 84 with 475,000 miles. I sold it to a friend who clicked over 525,000 miles before it was crushed by his neighbor's RV. The things to look for RUST and whether it starts right up in the cold. The cold start is an excellent indicator of good maintenance. If the previous owner has taken care of it and adjusted the valves and ran good diesel and changed the oil regularly, it will start up no problem. If the valves haven't been adjusted or the oil not changed regularly, it will be very hard to start and this is usually related valves OR timing chain stretch. There are lots of little details I can tell you about to look for, but I'll save that for someone who is serious about getting one of these.

    The 1985 is the hardest to find and many of them have California emissions and a different transmission and torque converter.

    The Holy grail of these cars is the 1985 300CD (a two door) that is in my opinion a BEAUTIFUL WORK OF ART.

    The 1980 116 Diesel 300SD was the S Class Diesel that woke up the North American market to Mercedes diesels. The 116 Chassis included some amazing cars including the 450SEL with the 6.9 engine. One of the most collectible of all Mercedes.

    The 116 diesel is very hard to find, but it was a spectacular car.

    The S class wasn't offered as a diesel again in the US until the 126 Chassis which came out in 1986 and 1987. This was the 300SDL. It was a long wheel base version of the 126 Chassis. These cars are HIGHLY sought after but they had serious problems with the initial head. If you find one, buy it only if the PO has records showing it has the #22 head or if you can actually read the casting number.

    In 1990, Mercedes brought back the S class diesel with the 1990-91 350SDL. It was still a 126 Chassis, but it had a 3.5L diesel engine. It was a great engine, but the initial rods that were installed were not strong enough. ALL of these cars will bend the rods and then the head will start to go oval and it will burn lots of oil and eventually you will need a new engine. HOWEVER, if the PO can prove that a new block was installed (many were under warranty) and it has the new stronger rods, they are wonderful cars. Occasionally a low mileage example of these will show up and the owner will claim it has no problems. DON"T BE MISLED, all of them will need new rods it is just a matter of time.

    The 140 Chassis (the S Class that replaced the 126) also had a 300SD/350D that had the same problematic engine.


    124 Chassis was probably one of the most successful Mercedes. The 300E (gas) was wildly popular from 1986 through 1995. More on these later. The diesels in the 124 Chassis were good cars with the absolute best being the 1990-1993 300D 2.5. They were amazing cars. I had one and sold it to a friend with over 300,000 miles. His son ended up wrecking it with over 350,000. It had quite a bit of power, lots of low end torque and got 34 MPG. For a while a several years ago when diesel was over $5 a gallon, I actually found a source for straight soybean oil in 5 gallon containers. These cars would run on 100% soy oil (in the summer). I usually mixed 1 gallon of diesel with 5 gallons of Soybean oil and it ran perfectly! PLUS, there was much less smoke. This is the one car I wish I had back.

    The 1987 300TD (wagon) is the car that fans of these cars will go crazy for. Complete turds can go for serious money, and excellent examples are priced through the roof. If you ever see one of these cheap, let me know!


    The 210 Chassis replaced the 124 and the 1996-1999 E300 Diesel (300D) were again fantastic cars. The last two years were turbo diesel and routinely got 37-39 mpg. The only issue with the 210 chassis for Diesels is that the shock-towers/Spring perches rusted badly. There were a few years where Mercedes had a problem with the solution they dipped the cars into for anti-corrosion. So, if you are interested in a 210 Chassis gas or diesel, the first thing to look at is RUST. If it has rust, run away. What you don't see if MUCH worse.

    After the 210 Chassis, my experience starts to drop off. The easiest rule to live by is the middle range Mercedes (of the modern 2000 and later) is the best one. The cheapest models are the cheapest for a reason. The S class is a gorgeous car that is one of the best driving cars in the world. AND they are amazing cars until they run out of warranty.

    This has already been too long. So, I will save the discussion about the the Gas models for later.
     


  8. Sleeves345

    Sleeves345 Senior Member

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    That's fantastic. I love learning about old cars, Do you know much about the older ones, like the W114? I can't get over the awesome vertical headlights on those.

    As far as maintenance goes, I assume parts are the thing that makes these cars expensive to own? That's one of the main things that's scaring me away from older luxury cars for the immediate future. I'm not afraid to wrench, just afraid of paying for the rare/expensive parts.
     


  9. Thrift Vader

    Thrift Vader Forum Mechanic

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    An old Benz would make the Baddest Rat Rod...... [​IMG]

    It's an itch to scratch another day.


    i can see it now.... a 1970's 300E , running a 1JZ Big turbo, airbagged on BBS LM's.............. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015


  10. Close Horse

    Close Horse Well-Known Member

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    Great, informative post, @Nobleprofessor .
     


  11. Medwed

    Medwed Distinguished Member

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    Consider Lexus IS 200 for awesome 2liter straight 6 cylinder engine with plenty of torque and rear wheel drive of course. For more outrageous version Lexus IS 300 (Supra engine inside tiny sedan). You can use Toyota parts for these cars to save money and Yea, these are reliable cars.
    I drove one just recently with Auto transmission and 2L 155 HP, it was a lot of fun. Great little car that really moves.
    You can get one from 2001 and newer with 70-100K miles for around 6K.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015


  12. Nobleprofessor

    Nobleprofessor Distinguished Member

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    The 114/115 were very popular cars. I had a 1971 250. I loved that car and it was my first Mercedes. The picture below is not mine, but is just like it. A friend of mine bought it from a family that had it parked in a barn. BUT, it had been pretty badly neglected. He didn't pay much for it, but quickly realized how expensive these cars could be. He wasn't trying to make it a daily driver, he was trying to make it perfect. As much as I loved that car, it was not a good choice to try to restore to perfect condition. There isn't much a collector market for it. The 280SL or even the 250C would have made more sense. He spent about $7000 (this was 20 years ago) and I bought it when he had to get out of it. I paid $3000. It had the most gorgeous paint. My friend had hired a guy he knew to paint it. But, he was did the work at his house. So, after the first paint job it had lots of orange peel and little imperfections (probably from dust). This went on a few times. Long story short, the car ended up with 7 coats of hand rubbed and wet sanded lacquer. It was amazing paint. It was so deep it looked like you could fall into it.

    The parts are getting a little more difficult to find. But, with all the online resources these days, it is MUCH easier to find them. In Europe MANY of these cars are still on the road.

    If you are interested in one of these, the 114 chassis is a 6 cylinder and the 115 is a four cylinder. As with most old Mercedes, look for rust. Then, look at the drivers seat. The seats in these cars is stuffed with horsehair and they break down after years of use. If you suspect the car has more miles than claimed, the seat is a good place to start. If the seat seems too perfect, it has either had a new Horsehair pad (which is still available today for about $120 a pad) or someone has rebuilt it using modern foam or egg crate foam.

    The M130 (2.8 6 Cylinder) is the engine of choice in the 114 and its a great engine. BUT, make sure you know someone who can still work on a carburetor. They have twin carbs and when they are tuned perfectly, it is miraculous. When they are out of tune, the gas mileage can be HORRIBLE. Also, if its old enough, it was originally designed for LEADED gas. Some of you young guys don't remember gas stations offering leaded and unleaded gas. But, these cars were engineered with the lead in the gas. So, you need to add the lead substitute additive to the tank when you get gas. It is just a few tablespoons every time you fill up.

    One unusual thing is how much the Becker radios are worth in these cars. If you find one with the original radio that's a good sign. A lot of owners wanted to upgrade or just make a little money at the expense of their cars and they took the Becker's out.

    Finally, 114/115 were amazingly engineered cars. But, they were made at a time when things were maintained and rebuilt. For example, they have lots of grease fittings for the suspension. Most cars now are all sealed. But, with grease fittings the suspension parts can be lubed and maintained and don't break as often as modern cars. A lot of other parts on these cars can be rebuilt rather than replaced. That is a great thing if you some minor mechanical skill and time. The rebuild kits are usually so much cheaper than a replacement part.

    In terms of replacement parts they really aren't that hard to find. The things I found hard to find were the soft parts. Rubber window strips, seals, things like that. But, because there are still so many of these on the road, the parts aren't that bad. Adsit will become your new best friend for parts.

    [​IMG]

    I don't know much about the 115 (4 cylinders) except that they seemed to run forever, they are not very powerful, and they aren't worth much unless they are perfect.
     


  13. Nobleprofessor

    Nobleprofessor Distinguished Member

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    My brother is considering going to Raleigh North Carolina for a Car Auction in December and has invited me to go (his treat! So, that's a thrifty trip!).

    Is anybody in Raleigh? I'll probably be at the Auction most of the day, but it could be fun to a mini thirfters meet. The Auction is december 4, 5.

    If you are interested, here is the slate of cars to be Auctioned:

    http://www.raleighclassic.com/
     


  14. Thrift Vader

    Thrift Vader Forum Mechanic

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    Holy shit! Is than Mr Miyagi's car???!!!!! (Ford Convertible)

    And i need a 114 Benz in my life. thank you very much, now i have car cravings i can't afford right now... [​IMG]

    The 450 SEL 6.9, is that what he is shopping for?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015


  15. Nobleprofessor

    Nobleprofessor Distinguished Member

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    I love that 6.9. Incredible car! Actually my brother is in interested in a Cadilac and two of the Olds.

    I actually really like the giant 76 Buick Park Avenue.
     


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