Used 1991 Mercedes-Benz 350-Class Consumer Reviews
Having owned & driven several Mercedes (mainly Diesel), I must say that this one (1991 350SDL) is among the greatest, if not the best version, in my opinion. One thing I must state first off, is that I am a retired Long Haul Trucker, and have been most of my life. Having said that, it should be obvious that I would tend to gravitate to a QUALITY Diesel equipped vehicle, as the engine itself is one that is, by it's nature & design requirements, built to extreme durability standards. Other manufacturers have attempted to "go diesel" and have failed miserably. Mercedes has been in the diesel engine building program for themselves almost since the diesel engine was invented. Because a quality built diesel engine is built so strong, they typically run 500,000 miles, or more, before needing any great investment in a re-build, etc. Even then, most Truckers will do what is known as a "top end kit" to refresh the cylinder liners & pistons at 500k miles & "Keep on Truckin'. There have been statements presented (here & on other "info sources") that THIS engine is "prone to connecting rod and/or cylinder head issues/failures". THIS IS AN INCORRECT STATEMENT FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS - At the same time that the 350 diesel engine was introduced (to replace/upgrade from the 300 diesel engine), the U.S. changed their diesel fuel "structure" so that it produced a vastly different fuel than had been historically been available. This was done to appease the EPA & the environmental community. This change was NOT publicly "advertised", so no one knew what changes it would make to ANY diesel engine. This resulted in damaging MANY diesel engines across the board here in the U.S., and subsequently the EPA had to actually formulate the "fuel chemistry" so that it would no longer be harmful. Of course, this "news" was not available until way after the fact so that EPA would not be sued for the damage done due to their lack of proper formulation within the realm of the power characteristics within a diesel powerplant. Thus the birth of the theory of blaming the engine manufacturer, instead of the True Culprit - EPA. It truly bothers me everytime I read statements blaming engine manufacturers for something they had no knowledge of or power over, here in the U.S. Currently my 350 SDL has 174,000 miles on it, has been maintained according to the factory guidelines, and at a recent "physical" I had conducted for my own "peace of mind" - my mechanic states that it is running SUPERB. The shop I use is one that highly esteemed both here and throughout the Mercedes Community nationwide. Matter of fact, the Mercedes Club of America is where I found out about them in the first place when I moved here. NOTE: PLEASE don't think that I'm some sort of "hi-roller" because I seek advice & mechanical advice from such a notable organization - quite the contrary, I assure you. However, I DO believe in seeking advice from the best possible sources - it just makes common sense to me, as I want my dollars to stretch as far as possible, while enjoying an extremely well built car as Mercedes! My main point is this - that the Mercedes 350 Diesel engine is EXTREMELY RELIABLE. It's 26 years old and it runs as good or better than new cars that I have driven. DO YOUR RESEARCH ON THE VEHICLE AND IT'S MAINTENANCE HISTORY - LOOK OVER THE VEHICLE IN DETAIL, AND MOVE FORWARD ON THE PURCHASE OF IT, IF IT "SPESAKS WELL OF ITSELF" TO YOU!
Only had the the car for a year but virtually no problems mechanically speaking. Gets amazing mileage for a brick on wheels (low to mid 30's normally), driving in snow and ice with so much torque in the rear end takes some getting used to but its for your own good. Honestly when they say they don't build them like they used to this is the perfect example.
My 350SD has been a daily driver for me for 9 years. This is one of the best driving sedans mercedes ever built. The car really handles a curve and is a great touring sedan on the hwy. I like the diesel, it's no dog with the the turbo and I just typically drive a little slower (no tickets). Now this is very inportant if you own this car; The turbo charger on this engine gets its lubrication from the engine oil, the turbo charger operates at such an high RPM that within a very short time "60K to 80K miles of engine operation" the seals in the turbo can go and will start blowing engine oil into the manifold. This will lead to engine loss. If you're losing eng oil replace the turbo immediately.
My father-in-law bought the car new and treated it like his baby. He became ill and gave me the car a few years ago. After 6 months of getting the car acclimated to the road again, I have had zero problems. It starts easily in all weather and is an absolute pleasure to drive. On the highway, it cruises effortlessly. I concur with the cup holder comment. The headlights could also be brighter. However, that being said, I love the car and expect it to last for many, many years.
I bought one of these in the spring with a rebuilt head and rebuilt transmission. I really liked the car and own a 300sd, but I could not get it to run as well as I would have liked and I've read a lot about them and took as good a car of it as I could but it threw a rod I think, going highway speed it made a huge smoke cloud I pulled over and tried to stop it but it kept running and revving and then stopped. Basically totaled. Take my warning, I had read bad reviews of the engine but didn't pay attention.