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  #1  
Old 09-03-2010, 09:26 AM
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OIL LEVEL FLUCTUATION

I have a 1987 300TD with the 603.960 engine. I always check the oil level a day or later after I drive the car and find that the level often varies. If it's at the 1/2 mark on the dipstick one day it could be on the 1/4 mark or the 3/4 mark the next time I check it. Recently I changed the oil and overfilled it to the 3/4 mark (I try to hit the 1/2 full mark during oil the changes) and today the oil level is just over the full mark. I will remove the extra oil as I always try to keep it between 1/4 and 3/4.

Could fuel be getting into the oil and then burning off during highway travel? My most recent trip was about 150 miles driving 45 MPH or less.

This fluctuation oil level has occurred since I've owned the car for 20,000 miles. I did have the oil tested last year and it was good with no coolant or fuel in it (possibly it had burned off when I took the sample?).

The car runs great with no problems.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Rick

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  #2  
Old 09-03-2010, 09:45 AM
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are you checking it on a level surface always in the same place? the deep sump on these pans is pretty sensitive to position. if your oil is ACTUALLY fluctuating that much I'd be very surprised. also, are you checking it first thing in the morning before starting the engine? or during the day after driving some?
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:21 AM
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X2 as Vstech posted.

My 1990 Uk non turbo 300d om603 engine is the only car I have ever owned that must be on a flat surface to read the oil.

Other cars I have owned can have the oil level read and it will be angled on the dipstick so you just gauge between the two marks for a true reading,but the Merc will have none of this.

If my car is parked nose up the driveway with the front wheels being around 9 inches higher than the rear wheels due to the slope,then the dipstick will pull out with less than 1/4 inch of oil on it.

Pretty infuriating so it leads to me checking the level in random places such as supermarkets after shopping.
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2010, 11:59 AM
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X3. I went so far as to put a magnetic bubble level on the chassis (over the driver-side headlight) so I could be sure the car was level when I checked the oil.
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2010, 01:19 PM
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Along with the above answers hot Oil takes up more volume than cold Oil does.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2010, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murkybenz View Post
Pretty infuriating so it leads to me checking the level in random places such as supermarkets after shopping.
Glad I'm not the only one who does this then
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2010, 01:31 PM
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OIL LEVEL FLUCTUATION

I should have mentioned that I alway check the oil level when the car is in the garage which is level. Also it's always been at least a day since I last drove the car and often 2 or 3 days.

What's strange is that the oil level may increases or decrease from the previous reading or may stay the same.

The car does not seem to burn oil, the exhaust is clear except when I stomp on the pedal and smoke out tailgaters! Before the recent oil change I drove 5,000 miles on Mobil 1 without the need to add oil.

The reason I had the oil tested last year was that the oil level was gradually increasing so I suspected coolant or diesel fuel was getting into the oil but the tests did not indicate this was happening.

I usually check the oil level every 500-1,000 miles. Just when it seems to be getting low and I may soon need to add oil, I check it a few hundred miles later and the level is at halfway. Conversely, when the level seems to be getting too high, I check it again after a trip or two and the level has gone down. I did notice that the fluctuation seems to be greater when there is more oil. It doesn't seem to fluctuate as much when the oil level is less than 1/2 full.

Rick,

1987 300TD
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2010, 01:43 PM
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There's an AMB (All Mercedes Benz) bulletin

On checking Oil levels.
It says that filling beyond the 1/2 way mark on the dipstick WILL increase oil
consumption.

All Above Replys are pertinent:
1.Uber level to check
2.Check first thing before operating
3.If you've gotta check it when HOT ,you may have to allow as much as 5 Mins
AFTER SHUTDOWN for the oil to settle in the pan from the Valve Chamber.
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2010, 07:24 PM
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I just encountered this for the first time. Checked my 124's oil level after ~200mi 70mph interstate cruise and it was at the halfway point, so I added a quart. Hopefuly didn't overfill it. I'm going to change the oil tonight, so I'm not too worried. Will advise on how much comes out the bottom, just to add to collective knowledge.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:02 PM
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Make sure you take the dip stick out , wipe it clean, replace it slowly, leave it for a count of 10, then remove it & check. If I dont do exactly that the level is unpredictable.
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  #11  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:09 PM
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Hmmm. it's possible you have a pocket in your head that is holding oil. you might wanna get the valve cover off, it's not too difficult, and look inside for a blockage of some type. I'll check my parts car, and see what I see in there that could be holding oil. the increasing part is worrisome, it could indeed be fuel mixing with the oil. but I would not think it would burn off, diesel and motor oil are very similar, and the control rings would act the same with either.
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2010, 05:05 AM
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Another important point to remember not covered above. This quirky dip-stick has an O-ring that seals the tube and acts like a piston as it is pushed in. The clever Germans realized this and drilled a 1mm hole about an inch below the top of the tube to vent air space between oil and O-ring. If this hole is blocked with dirt as it usually is:

1) The oil level is pushed down in the tube as the dip-stick is pushed in giving false low reading.

2) If oil is checked in the morning after a hot engine has stood overnight oil is sucked up in the tube as air cools giving false high reading.

Answer? - Throw away the O-ring!.
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2010, 10:36 AM
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ha! that's a good point! I like the orings, but cleaning out the bleed hole makes a good project yes?
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2010, 11:17 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Without this forum I never could have solved various little quirks with the car. After reading a few of the above good suggestions I thought that maybe my "level" garage may not be level. I then checked it a few times with a bubble level using different methods and discovered my garage was 1/2 a bubble off from level.

Tried parking my car both straight in and backed in and sure enough that consistantly varied the oil level almost 1/2 of the empty/full distance on the dipstick. When I had been checking the oil level sometimes the car was parked straight in, sometimes backed in, it depended if I had to unload the back of the wagon. So when backed in the oil level often was around the 1/2 mark and then next time checking it when head in parked it would be near the full mark. I never noticed a slope in the garage floor so assumed it was level but it was not.

Thanks for the many responses that led me to the solution. This had bugged me for a few years.

Rick
1987 300TD
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  #15  
Old 09-06-2010, 09:58 PM
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glad we could help! it's the simple things that bug the crap out of us!

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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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