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  #1  
Old 11-29-2004, 01:34 PM
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E300TD glow plug stuck/broken

It was about a month ago that my glow plug saga started and now that it is nearing an end, I wanted to update you, especially those with a 210 chassis diesel.

My glow plug light and check engine lights came on on my instrument cluster. Had the code read and it indicated a bad glow plug(s). Turned out that #2 plug was bad. In order to replace any plug but possibly #1, the manifold has to come off. The general feeling is that while the manifold is off, you may as well replace them all to avoid having to go through the repair again anytime soon. So that was my plan.

Many thanks to Lightman and Rick from MercedesShop.com who did a great write up about glow plug replacement. See it at http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/diesel-discussion/88574-finally-step-step-glowplug-change-98-99-e300-post580948.html The removal of the manifold is not that big of a deal, so I wouldn't hesitate to tackle that again.

Plugs 2 - 6 came out with no major headaches. #1 would not budge. Looking closely at #1, I noticed that there were a lot more threads showing sticking out of the head than the others. It turns out that #1 plug was replaced by the dealer about 18 months ago. It was done without removing the head. It is my theory that it was a little hard to reach and see and it wasn't screwed in all the way and thus did not seal, allowing carbon to enter and seal that sucker up solidly in the prechamber.

So I had to either leave it alone or get it out. I chose to try to remove it since at sometime someone, most likely me would have to do it anyway. How hard could it be I figured? It was in so tightly that my socket eventually rounded off the hex head. So then I went to a Snap-on socket that grabs the flats instead of the corners. Same thing - it wouldn't grab it either and just clicked around the glow plug. Next came a twist socket that grabs the hex head and digs into it while applying force. It did its job so well that it tore off the tip of the glow plug just above the threads. So now where do I go? After reading many posts on many different lists, I found out that this was not a terribly unusual occurrence and that everyone, but one person had to have the head removed to the tune of about $2600 to get this thing fixed. That one person was Alan McReynolds who was able to get his broken off plug out by drilling and tapping and pulling. BTW Mercedes has come up with a new procedure, P-B-8.20/134, and a tool, p/n 611 589 00 99 00, for dealing with this situation. I thought that maybe I'd go that route and save the expense of having to remove the head. Well, it turns out that the tool/kit lists for $1300 at Mercedes to do this job. I'm not sure exactly what the procedure is, but it wouldn't be all that much cheaper than removing the head once all is said and done.

So with Alan's guidance, I tired to do it myself. Actually, not all of it myself. After fooling with it for almost a month,my son came to visit over Thanksgiving and took it as a personal challenge to fix this. Did all of the following - drilled out the center heating element as deep as I could without drilling all the way through the end of the plug - used a drill bit a few 64ths smaller than what was required for the M8 tap. Drilled out the glow plug's threads in an attempt to free them up from the head - the shaft of the glow plug measures about 0.41 inches and a 25/64ths is just a hair under that. Tapped the inside of the glow plug shaft with first an M8 and then a 3/8th's tap. Tried threading a bolt into the glow plug's fresh threads and pulling it out. Took a blue wrench and freeze spray to the head and the glow plug. Nothing would budge it. We were at the point where we were about ready to give up and go the head removal route. My son said that as a last resort, let's try to drill the glow plug shaft out a little bigger in steps and see if that does anything. He took the first drill bit to it and in about five seconds he had the remnants of the glow plug in his hand. You cannot imagine how happy I was to see that. The next hurdle was to see if there were any threads left on the head to allow the new glow plug to screw in. We had done some serious drilling in the area of those plugs and had come very close, too close we suspected, to damaging them. Well, we tapped the hole (it's an M12 x 1.25)in the head, screwed the glow plug in and it torqued down just fine. BTW, I bought a reamer from Baum Tools, www.baumtools.com, for this job and used it to ream out the glow plug holes. #1 definitely had more carbon built up in it that any of the others.

So everything is back together now and the car runs fine and the warning lights are out. I'm not completely done with the job, however. I had to remove the fuel preheater that is immersed in coolant and am waiting for a new gasket for that. When that comes in, I'll remove the manifold again , check for fuel leaks and make sure everything looks okay before installing the new manifold gasket and buttoning it all up and not have to touch it for a long time I hope.

BTW, total cost of the job was probably not much more than $300. That includes six glow plugs at $20 each and the reamer for $54. The rest of the costs were for various taps that weren't in my set and other miscellaneous bits and pieces.

If it happens again, I think I would proceed a lot more quickly to the drilling it out stage,

I can't thank Alan and my son enough for their guidance and help. Same goes to Lightman and Rick. It is really great when fellow Mercedes owners share their wealth of knowledge and their experiences and insight.

Len

'99 E300TD 71,500 miles
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2004, 03:45 PM
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Congratulations, you've earned the DIY Persistence Pays Off award.

I got lucky on my SDL OM603, plug #4 and #6 came right out, no teasing. I ran the reamer and found almost no carbon build up. A little anti-sieze and the new plug is in.

It's great to read about DIY success here, I'm hoping that's what M-B wants for their autombiles.

Make me want to keep wrenching on my SDL a bit longer. Now, where did I put that list...

Best Regards,
Jim
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2004, 04:25 PM
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Thanks Jim. You just cannot believe how good I felt when that thing finally came out.

I don't think any diesels besides the 606 engine have this type of a glow plug problem. Never had a problem on my 240D. Actually this car has turned out to be much easier for DIY work than I ever anticipated.

See below for what the glow plug looked like when it came out.

Len
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E300TD glow plug stuck/broken-glowplug2.jpg  
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  #4  
Old 12-23-2004, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokoloff
BTW Mercedes has come up with a new procedure, P-B-8.20/134, and a tool, p/n 611 589 00 99 00, for dealing with this situation.
I checked with the local MB shop and they have not come up with the procedure or the tool based on those numbers. Can anyone verify it? TIA
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Old 12-23-2004, 01:08 PM
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I found it.

BTW Mercedes has come up with a new procedure, P-B-58.20/134, and a tool, p/n 611 589 00 99 00, for dealing with this situation
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:59 PM
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So are you going to have to buy the tool? Or is it available to borrow or rent?
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2004, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Miley
So are you going to have to buy the tool? Or is it available to borrow or rent?
The shop doesn't have the tool or the need for it. In the last 15 years, they have only had 1 or 2 other cases like mine and the usual cure for it is to R&R the head. I will have someone from that shop take a look and see if they can fix it without doing an R&R.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:36 PM
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Question about the tap. I see that the GP fits into a bolt that is M12 X 1.25 and so I got that tap. Now I tried seeing if it would fit into another GP hole but it seems too big and I didn't want to force it. Shouldn't it have slipped right in? I was going to use it to clean the threads of the other holes but don't want to make them bigger than I have to,.
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Old 12-27-2004, 03:11 PM
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M12 x 1.25 is correct. It should go in all the holes. Might need to give it some help if there is a little corrosion or maybe a nicked thread. MIght want to add a dab of tapping oil to it first. Make sure you are starting it straight.

Len
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2004, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokoloff
Looking closely at #1, I noticed that there were a lot more threads showing sticking out of the head than the others. It turns out that #1 plug was replaced by the dealer about 18 months ago. It was done without removing the head. It is my theory that it was a little hard to reach and see and it wasn't screwed in all the way and thus did not seal, allowing carbon to enter and seal that sucker up solidly in the prechamber.
If a dealer did this, wouldn't one theoretically be able to take the car back there and demand satisfaction?
BTW, congrats on your success, and thanks for posting all the info.
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Old 12-27-2004, 05:44 PM
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Dealer guarantee is for one year parts and labor. In my case it was about 20 months and I didn't think it was worth pushing the issue.

Len
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Old 12-27-2004, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokoloff
Dealer guarantee is for one year parts and labor. In my case it was about 20 months and I didn't think it was worth pushing the issue.

Len
I would think that if THEY screwed up 20 months ago by not going deep enough into the hole, they should pay for the fix. After all, do I have to inspect every inch of what you do for me?
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Old 12-27-2004, 08:14 PM
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I would say that, yes, I do have to inspect every little thing that they do. That's why I try to do everything myself. It's a hassle to take it to the dealer because it ties the car up for two days usually and when it comes back, there is either something else wrong or it has to go back again because something isn'tright. And once the glow plug broke off, it was too late to raise hell with them. Even before it broke off, I think they would have had too much wiggle/weasel room. Just wasn't worth it, but I didn't think ti would take me as long to fix it either. It was a cheap fix though. They might even have tried to nick me for the $2600 head removal job. All in all, I'm glad I did it the way I did. No one to blame but me the next time either.

Len
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  #14  
Old 12-27-2004, 08:32 PM
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So Aklim, have you made any progress on your broken off glow plug?

Len
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2004, 08:41 PM
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That does make good sense. How could you know what you were getting into till it was too late.

That stuff about the dealer bothers me, though.
I would expect them to do top-notch work for the prices they charge. If they repeatedly screwed up, seems it would be time to write a letter to the BAR.
Of course, who the heck am I to talk. I never let them work on my car. Can't afford it, just a fantasy. One which is less attractive reading about hassles with them...
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