1989 Mercedes 300GD Turbo Diesel for $8,000

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Spotted for sale in Austin is a 1989 Mercedes 300GD Turbo Diesel for $8,000

For sale: 1989 Mercedes 300GD Turbo Diesel — 38k miles on rebuilt OM617A
$8k OBO


  • Powertrain is best feature (see below writeup)
  • Needs suspension weld repair on each side (see pics). Is drivable otherwise (though bouncy)

5 speed manual transmission (rare) plus inline additional 4:1 reduction gear (rare), optional 4×4 engagement, and front and rear differential lockout. Basically, this vehicle will never get stuck and there’s been events when this guy has been tearing through the mud and terrain while the 3/4+ ton boats were just spinning wheels and digging in. Also included (if interested) is a 2x2x2′ propane-powered cooler that fits neatly inside the cabin.

The OM617A engine re-build was performed by Arthur’s Mercedes-Benz Service in 2012 and he is a Mercedes-Benz authorized engine rebuilder. A rebuild like this means the core components will last decades if the proper maintenance is done. This truck was born as a 5-cylinder 300GD but now has a 5 cylinder turbo diesel engine out of a 1985 W123 car. Last year of production of this wonderful 617A and was completely rebuilt and ceramic coated for even better longevity and reliability. Proper mounting and alignment is something that Arthur’s specializes in (call them for more info). If it’s your thing, this is basically an EMP-proof get-away vehicle.


Since the rebuild, the vehicle has only been used for occasional camping trips, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take this guy cross country. I purchased this vehicle for $30k in 2012 and have put about $15k into since on upgrades and improvements. Mostly lately, a new 24 gallon poly diesel tank (lighter, larger) and an all-new starter plus electrical. I have all the paperwork for the work I’ve done here at Ben’s Workshop on South Congress, and they’re basically this vehicle’s second dad (and can vouch for its mechanical status and reliability). Happy to provide VIN a more detailed conversation on the phone or in person with serious buyers. Title is clean and in my possession.

I’m sad to be selling this vehicle but am doing so to raise money to support a non-profit that I co-lead. We make software for communities to self-organize and operate and I need to support that more than have an off-road vehicle that can survive an EM burst/shockwave and can run on cooking oil. More info at plan-systems.org if you’re interested.

2012 Rebuild details:

  • New Mercedes parts: Mahle pistons standard size, sleeves, main and rod bearings, timing chain, oilpump chain, timing chain guides, timing chain tensioner, oilpump, oilpump chainrail, vacuum pump (updated version), intake valves, exhaust valves, intake and exhaust valve guides, valve stem seals, injectors, glowplugs, headbolts, connecting rod bolts, crank bolts, seals and gaskets.
  • The pistons were ceramic coated to prevent heat transfer to the bottom of the engine, rod and main bearings were coated with a material that attracts oil, less friction on the crankshaft with a much longer life. Work performed by Polymer Dynamics Inc out of Houston. Intake and exhaust manifolds were ported and ceramic coated and because the ceramic coatings deflect combustion heat straight into the turbo, this makes it spool up faster. The turbo kicks in at 1200 rpm, and both turbo and snorkel have a nice whine to them.
  • 5-speed Getrag manual gearbox, 5-speed high (overdrive) and low (crawler), 4X4 transfer box, diff. locks front and rear axle
  • new clutch disk, pressure plate and throw-out bearing
  • stow compartment under both front seats, heated front seats
  • Mercedes G outside sunvisor, 2 foglights front, 1 foglight rear, headlamp guards,
  • rear 2-speed wiper, rear washer, front head light washers, heated rear window
  • rear tow hitch (EU size)
  • Intake manifold powder coated on the outside in silver.
  • Mercedes liftkit, 4 new 4″ higher heavy duty springs, 4 new Bilstein shocks
  • 4 mm. German alloy diamond plate on both front fenders and hood, hood is now walkable for access to potential roof rack
  • new exhaust system
  • white painted roof for sunlight reflection, front skid plate powder coated in matte black
  • Mercedes snorkel mounted on right side, also functions as intercooler, vents in both front fenders.
  • Goodyear 265-5-16 off-road tires, 16″ stock alloy rims powder coated in matte black

You may notice this vehicle’s aftermarket AC. It works but the compressor is currently not belted. When it was, the regular water pump belt had to be a reduced width which meant it would break when conditions got tough. So Ben’s Workshop thought it would be best to double up on the water pump belt (losing the AC belt), so currently no AC, though the cabin is designed for full airflow at ~10+ mph.

TODO areas:

  • reground electrical cluster for more stable gauge readings
  • rust spots around the body could be sanded and primed to better arrest corrosion
  • fuel tank reading bounces around (electrical noise)

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