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  #1  
Old 03-27-2003, 11:42 AM
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Question Transmission longevity/timing chain

Hello everyone, we just bought a 1981 300TD wagon (named Belinda :-)) with 275,000 miles. We had a very thorough mechanical inspection prior to buying, which turned up a few things but nothing horrific. But, the mechanic wondered if the timing chain (or is it a belt? I forget) had ever been replaced. We don't have that history. What do you think? Should we just get it done?

Also, I know the motors in these cars can go forever if properly cared for, but what kind of lifespan does the transmission typically have?

The most expensive repair the mechanic found was a leak in the self leveling strut on the passenger side. The mechanic didn't think it 'had' to be repaired, we just need to keep an eye on it. Is this a repair a DIY could carry out?

MY biggest complaint with the car is that it reeks of cigarette smoke. BLECK! We shampooed the carpet, and we are getting it ozonated tonight. I hope that works!

Here's a pic of Belinda.... :p
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Transmission longevity/timing chain-belinda.jpg  
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Old 03-27-2003, 12:33 PM
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Change the chain and tensioner, adjust the valves and replace the leaking strut and change the hydraulic system fluid and filter. Use the correct fluid for this application. If your tranny is shifting properly then just change the fluid/filter and don't worry about "when" it will go out. 275k is usually getting towards the end of it's useful life. Are there any tranny fluid leaks?

These are all diy'er functions. Do a search on here.
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Old 03-27-2003, 12:43 PM
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My deepest sympathies on the smoke situation... I am allergic to it myself....and had an idiot mechanic smoke with the windows up and the heater on just four months ago in my pickup truck (computer problem) .... he had a heart attack shortly after that.... HA ! Take that you idiot !... The first thing the Doc told him is that his smoking was OVER... why could that have not happened before he abused my pickup ?
My pickup has carpet, cloth seats, cloth headliner... the works for keeping the smell after the incident...

If you have access to Febrez.... I suggest you turn on the heater and air conditioner at different times.. with the blower on high.. and spray it into the intake ( probably near your feet at the tunnel )... you may also try Lysol spray ( which is good for taking care of mold and mildew which may live due to the condensation present in hvac systems ).
Also ,of course , you will want to wash the insides of the windows... you may be surprised how much better you can see afterwards....
On the suspension leak,,, suggest you take it to qualified service person for an estimate.... they will tell you the correct names of what is leaking.... then check back here with what you find out to get advise about possibility of DIY....
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Old 03-27-2003, 12:46 PM
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Jim is correct of course and it is probably a good idea to flush the brake system with correct fluid also... seems that is seldom done according to the recommended time frames.... Maybe you could tell the smoking hit a hot button ....
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Old 03-27-2003, 05:44 PM
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Thanks for the advice. No, there are no transmission leaks, and it seems to shift okay. When you say, 'use the correct fluid', are you referring to the owner's manual's recommendation?

Febreeze... I've heard some bad things about Febreeze being bad for your health. Probably vicious rumours started by the competition. :p I'll let you know if the ozone treatment works, but it looks like the treatment is going to need to be delayed....

In the meantime, I have another far more immediate problem. When I went to get in the car this morning (after letting it idle for a few minutes), there was an ENORMOUS puddle of oil coming from underneath the car. I was able to find a broken line, which I 'think' is the oil pressure line. It runs from beneath the oil filter housing, and the other half leads in to the firewall. I think it must be the oil pressure line. We'll have to go buy another one when my husband gets home from work. The good news is it happened in my driveway, so I didn't get stranded in the rain or need to get it towed. The bad news is, it happened in my driveway! What a MESS! Looks like all 8litres poured out. Any suggestions on cleaning it up??
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Old 03-27-2003, 09:25 PM
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Talk about lucky! If you dumped all that oil out on the highway, it might be engine time!

Cleanup will be ugly, the oil is full of carbon black (soot). Get a bag of OilDry (or any cheap, non-scented cat litter) and cover the spill with it. Scrape it all up after the oil soaks up and apply more, then "scrub" it lightly with a cheap broom -- if you get much oil on the broom, you may want to toss it out rather than clean it.

You will eventually remove all the oil this way -- probably a good idea to let the cat litter sit overnight a couple times. You don't need a huge pile, but you should completely cover the spill.

If you still have a carbon stain, further work depends on the porosity of the concrete (assuming you have a concrete driveway). If it really sinks in, you are going to have a stain no matter what, but you can try some trisodim phosphate (TSP -- but be aware theere is a cleaner called "TSP" that doesn't contain TSP...) to get it loose, followed by more cat litter. If you have a relatively smooth, non-porous finish on the concrete, most of the black will come up with the cat litter.

Bleach or Oxyclean, etc won't do a thing to the carbon, neither will muratic acid or anything like that, but it will damage the concrete!

Peter
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1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
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Old 03-27-2003, 11:08 PM
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Thanks Peter. Cleanup was actually easier than I expected. I bought 50lb of Sop Up (like kitty litter) but that was overkill :p I covered the whole area really well, let it sit for a bit, then came back and shovelled/swept it up. Then I poured on something called Simple Green, which is supposed to be able to clean up oil. I let that sit a minute, then I washed it all away with the garden hose and HOT water. It came out MUCH cleaner than I expected!

Unfortunately, when my husband went to pick up another oil hose from someone parting out his car(s), the line broke! Oh well, better to have broke in his car than ours! I don't want to do this again any time soon. I think we'll buy a new one.

Thanks for you help!
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Old 03-28-2003, 08:41 AM
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jassz is the oil line itself broken or is it leaking at the fitting? If you purchase the complete line you will find that it includes the grommet where it goes through the firewall. I suspect this grommet/line is a pia to replace because you have to deal with all the vacuum lines. You can probably deal with it with just the inst cluster out and not have to pull the dash. I put a 6mm tubing union in my oil line on the 300D to put it back together just to keep from having to replace the line through the grommet. The fitting is an "EO" type Parker fitting p/n G08LA3C and can be found at the Parker Fitting website

http://www.parker.com/tfd/cat/pdffiles/H-eo.pdf

Putting a tubing fitting in this line is probably not for the feint of heart though. We use them all the time around the plant where I work and they are reliable and work well if properly installed.
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Old 03-28-2003, 05:12 PM
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Engatwork, exactly what is the line to the oil pressure guage supposed to look like? With ours, the end coming out of the oil filter housing is flexible rubber and the end going in to the dash is hard plastic. We contacted the guy we have purchased other parts from, and he thought that was odd, that it should all have been one piece. When you look at the rubber piece you can see that it was sleeved over the hard plastic, about 1/3 of an inch. There didn’t seem any way to make the hard plastic fit in to the coupling at the oil filter housing, it has to be flexible. We actually put it back the way it was, but scuffed up the hard plastic end (to make it grip better) and wrapped some tie wraps tightly around it. But it makes me nervous. It does look like a pia to change at the dash end. If we just sheathed a much longer piece of rubber over the hard plastic (so it overlapped several inches instead of just 1/3 of an inch, would that be what you are talking about? Is that how they are ‘supposed’ to be anyway?
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Old 03-28-2003, 05:38 PM
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Here is a pic of what the oil line looks like WITH the Parker fitting. New it is one piece from end to end and it is the black plastic tubing. I have not quite pictured what you are describing but it sounds like someone put rubber tubing to make up the difference between a missing section. I question the integrity of the seal with the hard plastic/rubber tubing. Not sure if you can achieve a "dry" seal.
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Old 03-28-2003, 06:23 PM
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I just replaced the oil pressure line in my '84 300Dturbo. The new one I bought is hard plastic with a brass fitting on each end. About half of the line had a hard rubber tube over it - maybe to protect it. The line also had a big rubber boot for the firewall opening, with lots of holes for the vacuum lines. I pulled the boot off and forced the gauge end of the line through the old boot (didn't want to mess with the vacuum lines).

After removing the panel under the steering column I was able to remove the old line/attach the new one to the oil pressure gauge without pulling the instrument cluster.

Think I'd change the whole line if I were you. If you think the oil's a mess in your driveway, wait until it pumps onto your carpet!

fmb
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Old 03-28-2003, 11:18 PM
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The timing chain may need replacement with 275k on it. However if it is not stretched more than ~3 degrees, no you don't HAVE to change it. It's not like a belt you replace every XX thousand miles, you only replace a chain when it's worn (stretched).

As to fluids, some may disagree but I recommend synthetic ATF and engine oil (preferably Mobil products, not Castrol or any "semi-syn" junk.) Definitely do the brake fluid flush every 2 years and use DOT4 fluid (I like Valvoline Syn-Power, it has VERY high ratings and isn't expensive). Finally make sure you don't have the Green Death in the cooling system, if so, flush it out and put in genuine Mercedes anti-freeze - it really is different than anything else on teh market, and at ~$11/gallon it's not an outrageous expense every 2-3 years.

For brake bleeding/flushing, a pressure bleeder is the only way to go (those who claim otherwise have usually never used a pressure bleeder!) You can build your own (search Google) or get this nifty kit for $39:
http://www.falcotools.com/html/euro_kit.html


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1997 E420 - 155kmi (Bugeyes)
1994 E420 - 145kmi (Blondie)
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1992 400E - 189kmi (Stinky Dirty)
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Old 03-29-2003, 11:38 AM
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Thank you gentlemen! This information is SO useful! MUUUAH to you all! (is kissing allowed on this board? )

Engatwork, that picture explains a lot. I think we are missing something. With ours, all there is is this nipple thing that the rubber fits over, then the screw down part fits over that. The hard plastic doesn't work because you'd break it trying to tighten it. It looks like there should be another component that grips the plastic. Not sure what we will do, but the info is very useful.

gsxr, I think we are going to get the valves set by our mechanic-- she should be able to test the timing chain at that point, right? (yes, our mechanic is a woman!). Also, there sure seems to be some differences of opinion on the oil. Someone told us do NOT use synthetic oils or you will develop leaks. No, we don't have the green antifreeze. Can you only get the MB stuff at the dealer? Still not sure what type of hydraulic fluid to use. I noticed last night we need to add some.

Last night I was getting out of my car at the mall and this guy walks by and says, "Don't ever sell that car." I said, "Excuse me?" He answered, "Those are great cars, and it's hard to still find them in good shape. That one is gorgeous. Don't ever sell it." They ARE really hard to find here, I've been searching for months! Then, a short while later I was filling up, and another guy started asking me about my car, and commenting on how nice was (it WAS kinda dark ). So funny.... all these people around in their expensive NEW cars, and it's my 22yr old car that gets noticed. I'm so proud!!
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Old 03-29-2003, 12:28 PM
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Hiya Natalie,

Yes, having the valves set by a pro is a good idea unless you're very handy with a wrench. But you'll need to specifically ask her to check chain stretch, as most don't do this. It takes an extra 10 minutes, tops. If the chain is stretched 4 or more degrees, it should be replaced. Some say it's OK up to 5 but I'm more picky.

The MB a/f is available at the dealer, or some Internet parts places like *************** or possibly FastLane & PartsShop. When ordering filters & other goodies it doesn't hurt to add a couple gallons to your order, as the local dealer's price MAY be exorbitant (check first). I have never owned an MB with self-leveling so I'm not sure what hydraulic fluid is used, or if you must use MB fluid.

As to synthetics, like I said, there's some raging debate on the subject. Rather than get into an oil war here, try searching this site, there have been a few recent (and LONG) threads on the subject. Bottom line is synthetics don't create leaks, but they may make them more visible if you have a bad seal etc. In some cases, they can actually stop leaks, as at least the Mobil-1 products have some seal-swelling agents. It can take thousands of miles with synthetic to get the full benefit, and a lot of folks chicken out too soon. Another benefit (IMO) (besides the cold starting improvement & turbo protection, to name a couple) is the ability to use extended drain intervals. I'm doing 10-15kmi on Delvac-1, backed up with oil analysis. Most folks aren't so anal and just go 7.5-10k without analysis. If you use dino oil, make SURE you use a top-rated diesel oil, the best are Chevron Delo-400 and Mobil Delvac-1300, both are 15W-40. If it's not 15W-40 oil, it's not heavy-duty diesel (dino) oil!

Oh, on the tranny, it depends on the car's life. A car that has mostly highway miles can have the tranny last a LONG time, 300k+ isn't unheard of. One that's all city driven can die in less than 200k easily. If yours shifts OK, don't worry about it, but normally 250-300k is the upper limit on longevity. Maybe you got a good one! I agree with your neighbors, these are getting VERY hard to find *in good condition*. Definitely keep yours and take good care of it! (And I think kissing is allowed on the board, at least on the cheeks... just don't tell the moderators!)

Regards,
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Boise, ID

1997 E420 - 155kmi (Bugeyes)
1994 E420 - 145kmi (Blondie)
1993 500E - 193kmi (Lollipop)
1992 400E - 189kmi (Stinky Dirty)
Check out my website photos, documents, and movies!
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  #15  
Old 03-29-2003, 06:07 PM
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Jassz,

Most important fact about automobile longevity is to not drive it on salt covered roads. Mechanical parts can be replaced but when the body rusts away, there is no cure.

Get a junk car for the winter and put the good one away for the duration. Every spring you will get a virtually new car for no cost. No way would my 300SEL6.3, 300SD or 300 SDL ever go out of the garage in the winter.

P E H
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