Monday, January 14, 2008

January 15th: New car is home.

New car! Well, its 9 years old but it's new to us. It's a 99 Benz e300td

Over the upcoming weeks, I'll be documenting the conversion of this car to run filtered used vegetable oil. I'll be posting pictures and diagrams, and describing the process step-by-step. I'll also post videos when it's appropriate. I'll update every Monday. Should be a good read, so check in weekly. I'll be ordering all my components this week, so I'll start next week by describing what's on the way.

Our Jetta was just getting too old for daily-driver use, and I was losing too much time maintaining it. There are only two choices for diesel cars: VW and Mercedes. We didn't have great luck with the last Jetta, and I've heard mixed reports about the newer stuff. Some people have great luck, but then again I've also heard absolute horror stories about the 99+ Jettas & Golfs. A 2-3 year old Mercedes is 35-40k, so that was obviously out of the question.

However, these 96-99 e300d's caught my eye. I love the "210" series bodystyle, and have read glowing reports about their safety and comfort. They had some teething issues the first year or two, so I looked for a 98 or 99. This one was in Montreal. It has 260k, a bit high, but it had all the recommended updates and all service records going back to 99. It also included a full set of spare rims, and a roof rack.

Had the car checked out by a Mercedes specialist in Montreal (Joe Bassili, 514 344-5183) and he found the sunroof didn't work, the windshield was a bit pitted and the transmission had a leak. The seller had the leak fixed on the spot, and I wasn't too concerned about the sunroof or windshield. A deal was struck, and for the price of a Kia with 4 bald tires and a night of hard drinking, we had a 99 e300d.

Drove up to Montreal after work on Thursday. Picked up the new car on Friday, sold the Jetta on Saturday. Spent a couple days tooling around Montreal, then drove home yesterday... about 600 miles. What a great car... really a joy to drive.

I've become so accustomed to diesels being utilitarian and somewhat crude, even in nicer cars like my dad's 83 300sd. A tractor engine in nice pants.

Not this thing. It not only pulls like a train, it actually makes nice sounds. It's snowing very hard tonight, and I only have all season (read: no season) tires on. Had to play around a bit to get in the garage... eventually switched off the traction control to let it "dig" a bit. Holy smokes, it really has a growl. Just love it.

The om606 engine is pretty amazing. Straight six, dual overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder and a crossflow head. Oh, and turbocharged. This is not a tractor engine.

And of course, balance has to be maintained in the universe. Having an awesome newish (for us, that means under 10 years old) car demanded a vehicular penance of some sort. Enter Kate, stage left.

While I was away, Kate filled Sammy the Samurai with gasoline and it died about 10 minutes later on the highway. That was fun for her, and even more fun for me to deal with tonight out in the driveway, in the middle of that weather. Diesel down my arms and snow down my back.


allen in PA said...

hey jake

nice benz, can't wait to see your veggie conversion. my 240D is still working great after 2+ years, thanks for your help getting me started. I switched to a holley blue pump and it made a big difference.

still not sure that the polak valve isn't leaking veg when i'm on dsl.

Anonymous said...

Have e-classes been converted before? I always see older mercedes on vegetable oil but not the newer ones.

zu! said...

Nice blog Jake. I'll be following your progress with great interest! Too bad about the Samurai...geez, that's rough and one reason why I never let anyone fill up except me ;-)

jake said...

Actually we got lucky and Sammy the Samurai was just fine once I purged the lines & filter, and drained the tank.

I have to get the filler neck finished for its veggie tank, now that i think of it

Anonymous said...

what about mercedesshop forum people who said you shoudl only run SVO in an e300d... not WVO?

Anonymous said...

Looks like a beauty, I look forward
to seeing the progress. I'm still
having growing pains with my mix
due to the cold weather.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jake Comparing the 85 300sd to
the 99 300d how is the leg room?
Have you drove 96-97 300d how is
the power compared to the 85 300sd?
Thanks Greg

Anonymous said...


The job you're doing here is fantastic (I mean the reporting on your project).

I have done a complete WVO conversion on my 1992 300D 2,5 Turbo last summer. I ended up with only 4 pictures of the job! So thanks for taking this time to report!

And since then, I have purchased a 1998 e300td, so I am following your progress with much interest.

Good luck and I'll follow up with your good work once in a while.



B-Ben on the Infopop forum.