Just to reassure you, it is absolutely OK to go for the area between the marks, or even a bit lower. MB put out a technical service bulletin (TSB) on this very topic a couple years back because even the dealers noticed this phenomenon. These engines, for some reason, seem to "like" to have their oil levels not too high, and when filled to the max mark tend to consume oil until they're at their happy level.
Here's a quote from the TSB:
Dealers are reminded to fill the engine with the exact amount of engine oil specified for that engine (e.g. if specified quantity is 8.5 quarts, do not fill with 9.0 quarts or 9.0 liters of engine oil). The MAX mark on the oil dipstick must not be exceeded (upper arrow, Figure 1).
Also, please remind your customers of the proper procedure for checking/correcting the engine oil level. Emphasizing that the engine should be at normal operating temperature (80°C) and that the vehicle is parked on a level surface The engine must not have run for approx. 2 minutes, to allow the engine oil to drain into the oil pan.
Then after removing and wiping off and reinserting the oil dipstick, allow the oil dipstick to remain fully Inserted in the oil dipstick tube for a minimum of 3 seconds before rechecking the oil level again
Ideally, the engine oil level should be around halfway between the MAX and MIN marks on the oil dipstick.
Also, the customer should refrain from frequently "topping off" the engine oil level.
Never add engine oil above the MAX mark on the oil dipstick (upper arrow, Figure 1).
For approved engine oil classifications and correct viscosity grades, refer to the latest edition of the Factory Approved Service Products sheet.
Do let the list know whether this works (or not) ...
Last edited by 400E; 11-29-2002 at 06:42 PM.