Update on A/C & Oil Troubles
Thanks for your reply. Re: the A/C problem I replaced the push button control unit with a reman from Phil ($178) compared with $400 new from MB. That did the trick. The system seems to work fine now (knock on woood), and maintains what ever temperature I set the temp wheel to.
Re: Oil -- my mechanic just replaced the waterpump and overflow hose -- he did not replace the overflow tank but he did clean it out well. He said that he did not find oil in the coolant hoses and that I should bring the car back in two weeks to see how much oil if any leaks into the overflow tank. With the blow by test coming out negative two months ago, I tend to agree with you that the oil may have gotten into the system when the previous owner serviced the car.
If one liter per 2000 miles is not alot then I think valve stem seals. The car does expreience false starts every so often. About 1 false start in 40 starts since the alternator has been rebuilt. Before that it experienced 1 false start in 10 -- mostly when it was cold.
But despite all this the mechanic seems convinced that it is a head gasket problem; so much so that he did not do another blow by test after replacing the water pump. I'll monitor my oil usage to see if it goes down since changing to 15W50Mobile1.
What a heart ache -- this old car has already cost me 50% more than what I estimated the car would cost. Original estimate: $12,000 with purchase and restoration; Current estimate: about $18,000 if I get the head redone; currently, however, I've dropped about $15,000 on the car.
Despite all of this -- the thing is great, a pleasure to drive -- runs perfectly and quitely with the original exhaust -- and I doubt I will ever get rid of it. I will simply buy a new or newer MB and keep the old 300E as a station car, etc. (The interior looks brand new, perfect beige MBTex, and I replaced the consol wood and the astray surround wood (about $150).
Thanks again for your help and any other advice that you think may be useful to me.