MB 190D 2.5, 1986 (?)

'86 190D

I need to be stopped. Yesterday, I noticed in my 'secret' copy of Wheel Deals that one of the local lowball car dealers was having an auction of some 300 POS's (presumably). (This place has ads that will say things like "Guaranteed to get off the lot" and "Bring rope.") Housecleaning, I guess.

Anyway, I thought I'd drop by with my son (2.5yr) for amusement, since they had advertised a "88 380D, turbo, blue" in the sheet and I was taking my son out to give my wife a bit of a break. Who knows what this actually would have been (there's no such thing as a 380D), but I was kind of hoping it was an '87 300D.

Anyway, I finally end up in the right place, and on the drive-through block at the moment I walked in was a gold MB of some sort, starting at $100 when I heard it. From where I stood, well to its rear, I could see shine on the paint and a "2.5" on the trunk (no model badge), and somehow I decided that this was the car they'd been advertising. I obviously knew nothing more about the car, except that I believed it to be a diesel because I had thought I'd heard a clatter, and there are "2.5" diesels, and I'd forgotten the "blue" in the ad. I also managed to convinced myself that they were unlikely to have more than one newer MB in their auction. In a moment of madness, I asked the runner whether I could bid without a number yet. Some yelling back and forth, and I was in!

There was a blur of activity, and almost before I knew what was happening I got it for $350. ($472 after all fees, etc.) Got what, I wondered, having never been close enough to it to even hit it with a rock. It took me some time to get the paperwork straightened out, and to find the key booth. And the car, since nobody knew where it would be except "out there".

So my boy and I had a nice walk, and found it in about the last place it could be. Of note is that I didn't see any other MB at any time, blue or otherwise. [I later found out that there were three that day, and this one I bought is not the one I went there to see.] Also, this car had the same chunk out of the fog light that the photo ad had, though the resolution was too poor to make out the license plate.

So what my key fit was a gold 190D 2.5 (?), my first 201. Black interior in decent condition, though a spring later poked my wife in the ass. Smoker's car, so it'll need a good cleaning. Numerous small cigarette burns in the upholstery, but nothing too bad. Not ever going to be a show car! Paint decent overall, but with two rust patches on the hood, a small crease in the grille and no grille chrome strips. Mashed condenser, looks like the grille insert is new but they forgot to order the strip kit as well. The rear took a small hit, it's pushed in slightly and one lens is cracked. Bumper scuffed. The car might have gotten sandwiched in a minor accident. Some rust getting started on one rear wheel well lip, but sills and such all looked good. Glass was good.

The windows all worked, as did the central locking, and it started right up. One glow plug was out, and it could use new motor mounts. Windshield wiper (mono) worked. Radio did not, which is because it was a Becker Europa just sitting in the hole. Unconnected and with a toe tag on it, and the car has heavy wiring from a big stereo here and there, but no big stereo. Needed a door check strap and a bit of trim on the trunk.

Sunroof switch was submerged in the dash, and some bozo had screwed a wind deflector up top. To the sunroof itself, it looks like! So it probably couldn't open or anything. There were a couple of holes in the headliner, but the carpets were in good shape, and the interior was until recently very clean. (Mud and gravel on top.) Fan switch was all buggered, but I could get the fan to squeak and run some.

So I put it in gear to see what's up. Nothing. Then I noticed that on one of the windows I rolled up was "Bad Tranny". Nice, but obviously it had driven through the auction. Later a guy told me it would move when cold, and "probably needs a new filter". Yeah, that sounds likely. The car wouldn't move forwards or back. So my wife and I dragged it home on a rope, since a friend had borrowed my car trailer and then went out of town. That went well, the car idled the whole time so she had power steering and brakes. Oil pressure and temperature were normal. Turn signals were out, but that was because she messed with the flasher switch. Many cyclings later brought the lights back to life.

My wife chose to christen our new vehicle at this time, by dumping a pop over the console. I hate that she's always got a can grafted to her hand!

At home, I had her try "D", and it engaged normally and she was able to drive it a few feet into place. I tried it, and it would grab in both "R" and "D". But the next morning, for example, nothing. The tranny fluid level looked decent (I always have trouble determining this) and the color and smell were good. B2 piston failures leave you with reverse, right? What is likely the matter, could it be something simple like a clogged filter or valve body? I'm unfamiliar with failure modes that are intermittent in nature.

Log of activity:

A log of its life with us.


A list of its repairs and upgrades:

Engine compartment:



Still broken:

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