Just got off the phone with a trusted MB tech out of a dealership in PA (One of my old haunts).
I knew I goofed up when he asked if I renewed the bango fitting bolts and seal rings on the bypass pipe bewteen the waterpump housing and thermostat housing. They will change those (and they are darn cheap) because the seals are designed to be crushable and are not as reusable as the copper seals used elsewhere on the vehicle.
Lesson learned. Still going to change the water pump at 2.5 years old since I can't tell if it's the culprit (and they seem to only last about 5-6 years on average anyway).
S, J.R. Brown
2000 G500 LWB Obsedian Black
2005 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road Sport
1993 Volvo 240 Sedan Anthracite
1980 450SEL Champange (owned it for 15 years. Great car)
1986 280GE LWB Anthracite (Sold it and kinda wish I hadn't)