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My 1979 300SD; Liesel the Diesel

Started by amilio, 08 June 2022, 09:19 PM


Hey all, glad to finally be able to introduce you to my W116 300SD, Liesel.

Link to Pictures: Liesel the Diesel

I first started looking for a diesel as I got close to graduating college last year and looking back, it's hilarious how uninformed I was. The first example I looked at was a 240D that shook worse than San Francisco in 1906, was covered in dust, and every piece of vinyl in the interior had shrunken. Of course, the seller had stated on Craigslist that it was "mint".

However, I was far from dissuaded and spent an entire weekend researching the ins and outs of diesels before deciding that I wanted a 300SD. I found one close to where I attended school in San Diego for a reasonable price. Of course, the pictures were decent, as was the price. As I looked around California though, I came across a car that looked different than anything else I'd ever seen. It was yellow with a brown interior, had headlights like a jalopy, and was way out of my price range. And I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I saw the 300SD in San Diego, which was another exercise in giving up hope. The interior had been stripped of all wood and it had a substantial oil leak, even for a diesel. It's safe to say that I felt fairly downtrodden after that. On a whim though, I reached out to the seller of the yellow car. It was located in an area that I would be moving to shortly, and they were willing to hold on to it. Needless to say, that car I saw and hoped to have eventually became mine, and I could not be happier.

A little backstory on the car; she was ordered in April and delivered in June from a dealership in DC (unsure as to why), to the first owner in the Napa area. He kept decent, though not obsessive, records, but needless to say was able to keep the car on the road for 42 years and over 250k miles. From what I can tell that gentleman passed away in 2020 and his family put the car up for sale about a year after.

When I purchased the car after getting a substantial discount because of the pre-purchase inspection results, I knew I was in for a journey. Here are some of the things I have done in the year since:

-Motor Mounts
-New Shocks all around (one was original to the car)
-New tires
-New Monark Injectors (3/5 of the old ones had difficulty moving freely)
-Replaced all filters with quality German ones (also performed Diesel Purges and recently an engine
-NOS Headlight Bezels
-Electronic ACC system from Hamilton (works all right; still haven't been able to get air out of the
 center vents when cooling despite the vacuum system and pod being functional)
-Electronic Tach Amp (Thanks 123Wrench on this forum; it's awesome)
-New Door seals from Miller (better sound dampening, but messed with the ease of closing
 the doors)
-Brake Pads and Rotors all around (Brake fluid was old when purchased, also replaced the master
 cylinder seals/O-rings)
- Had radiator rodded out/repainted (sort of an accidental improvement... I broke off the drain bolt
 while trying to do a coolant flush. Not fun)
- New coolant tank (old one was cracking around the pressure cap and had lots of cracks on the bottom)
- New hood pad (Got Teroson glue but it went bad on me. Hoping the 3M adhesive holds up for now)
- New Reproduction Wipers (honestly the hardest damn thing to get right.)

Some stuff on the to-do list:

- Turbo Rebuild (I have the kit, just seems to run into time or improper tools when I try to
 attempt. Would love any advice on this job!)
- Get repainted/clear coated Bundt wheels (as you can see, mine are pretty faded
- Improved Speakers (I'd like to keep the Becker Stereo if possible, but may go with a RetroSound
- Get the back seat restuffed (original pad disintegrated when I took the seat apart to replace the

Anyways, exceptionally long story short, I am supremely happy with Liesel. Every drive is an experience and I feel incredibly lucky to drive such an amazing piece of engineering. I don't plan on ever selling her so here's to 730,000 more miles!

I'm happy to answer any questions or post any specific pictures. Thanks to all those I've learned from on this forum!
1979 300 SD "Liesel", 282k Miles


Welcome 8)   there are quite a few SD drivers here so you are at the right place ;)
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber


Heartening to see the younger generation - who will hopefully keep examples of the fine W116
extant when we oldies are long gone - joining the community.  Looking forward to much infotainment. Welcome indeed.
1973 350SE


Figured I'd add a few pics here directly:
PCH Trip (Pic taken in Big Sur):

Engine Bay when I got the car:

Engine Bay Now:
1979 300 SD "Liesel", 282k Miles


Quote from: amilio on 12 June 2022, 05:59 PMFigured I'd add a few pics here directly:
PCH Trip (Pic taken in Big Sur):

Engine Bay when I got the car:

Engine Bay Now:

Looks so nice!!


Now:  1976 6.9 Euro, 2015 GL550
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0


Maple Yellow Code 606 paint-can be difficult sometimes to gauge due to colour distortion on screen. Could also be 623 Light Ivory.  Any interior pictures.  Mine was originally this colour with code 963 Mahogany Velour -unfortunately someone changed all the interior to a base cream half vinyl/half cloth at some stage.
1973 350SE


She is indeed Maple Yellow (606)! I am looking forward to getting her out to where I am now in DC for a good detail so the paint can really shine! The interior color is Bamboo. Here are some pictures (I removed the rear window screens since they made a lot of noise):

1979 300 SD "Liesel", 282k Miles


'68 250S
'77 6.9 Euro
'91 300SE,
'98 SL500
'14 CLS550,
'21 E450 Cabrio


Thank you! She looks pretty good for having driven to the moon (mileage wise).
1979 300 SD "Liesel", 282k Miles


Notwithstanding the current Maybach thread - the interior atmosphere of a W116 is imo unbetterable.  Yours is in excellent pristine condition.  A brometer I sometimes use is the condition of the nets on the seat backs.  Hope you have many more miles of enjoying the ownership experience.
1973 350SE