just to close this thread. this has got to be the cheapest and easiest fix i've done so far. took maybe all of 15 minutes because it's kinda tight around that area. $0.49 o-ring from NAPA did the trick (i got 12 mm size). thanks to Arthur for the tips...
1993 300e-2.8 - gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"