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  #1  
Old 11-26-2003, 02:42 PM
sgrist
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300 D 2.5 Turbo: tore off oil pan! Disaster?

It was a dark and stormy morning as I eased my 91, 300D 2.5 Turbo into what I thought was the inside lane on a 3 lane road running under I-75. It wasn't. It was the entrance ramp that curved onto the Interstate (I-75 at Cartersville in Georgia).

The entrance ramp curved gently up to the Interstate; I went in a straight line. I guess I was doing about 25mph (really) since I'd just pulled onto the 2-lane road from McDonalds. I ran over a curb that separated the entrance ramp from the 2-lane highway. Kindof like a triangular conctete slab, the point of the triangle aiming between the front wheels. There was a wrenching, tearing crunch as I ran up onto the curb, and both tires blew out.

With a sinking feeling, I realized what had happened, but as the engine sounded as smooth as ever, and not wanting to stop on the on-ramp, I continued VERY SLOWLY for about 300 feet and pulled in to a gas station. Too dark and raining to see much, but I DID see the last of my oil dripping out where the oil pan had been 2 minutes before... The last shreds of oil adhered to the dipstick. As I pulled into the gas station, the enging shut down and all the idiot lights came on.

Checking things out the next day (after 'Benzi had been put on a towtruck) I realized that the entire oil pan had sheared off about 2 inches above where the gasket used to be. The tube that sticks down into where-the-pan-used-to-be from the engine was a little creased -but still straight. Some kind of sensor hung by a wire.

So, 2-days later, I wait for a diagnosis from my independant mb technician back in Atlanta. I guess I will soon find out whether it is new-engine time (it had 140K of pampered miles and ran as smooth as ever -before monday). So while I wait, I'm curious about what the sequence of events would have been in view of such a catastrophic (and idiot-driver caused) complete loss of oil. Was any left in the engine at all after the 300 feet in less-than-20-seconds as I continued into the gas station? The engine was started (!) by the tow-truck driver, who backed my car onto the tow-truck (first the good news, now the bad) so I know it isn't seized. Should I actually be hope
ing for the engine to be declared "totaled"?

Sorry for the long post, but this is kinof like tracing the events in the final 30 seconds of Challenger.

65 lbs of oil pressure and 8 qts of oil -and a non-existent oil pan for 300 feet at >10 mph, in a warm, but just been parked-for 20-minutes 5-cylinder engine; what do you think?

Thanks, all.

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  #2  
Old 11-26-2003, 04:43 PM
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I think that it is highly unlikely you destroyed the engine. From what you describe, if that were my car, I'd replace the oil pan, fill up with Mobil-1 15W-50 synthetic oil, & drive it. I bet there are no ill effects. Now if you ran out of oil on the freeway, at high RPM for 30+ seconds, yeah that could be bad. But low RPM, low load for 20 seconds really shouldn't have created a paperweight. Keep us posted on what you find out. And remember that a rebuilt OM602 engine will be in the $5-$8k range - plus labor to install!
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2003, 06:13 PM
sgrist
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Thank you for your encouraging words! No news yet -shop closed until after the Thanksgiving Vac. But I'll report on the diagnosis!
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2003, 08:07 PM
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Also check..

your tires and alignment..put it up on a rack and L@@K!!
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2003, 11:03 PM
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I'd have to agree. Put on a new pan, fill'er up and go...
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2003, 11:26 PM
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Note that you may need new engine & tranny mounts, which were most likely severely damaged in the impact. If you're really lucky the metal bracket between the block and mount may have broken too. I still think the engine is probably fine though, I'll be quite surprised to hear otherwise.
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  #7  
Old 11-27-2003, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
The last shreds of oil adhered to the dipstick. As I pulled into the gas station, the enging shut down and all the idiot lights came on.
Did the engine shut itself off? I'm inclined to go with Dave on this, but if the engine shut itself off, then there might be some other issues at play here.

My daughter ran over something large and nasty a while back, and I had to replace the entire sub-frame and steering rack on her '86 Volvo 740. It's conceivable that there is other damage. This is worst case scenario, but I'll bet your low speed encounter with the curb did minimal damage. Good luck!

Last edited by Zeitgeist; 11-27-2003 at 12:54 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-27-2003, 12:20 AM
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That is terrible! Hopefully no damage severe damage has been done I will be pass that darn curb tomorrow morning when I go see my mother in Cartersville. They have done alot of work in that area this year and the roads and curbing are changing quickly!

later
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  #9  
Old 11-27-2003, 03:02 AM
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My 300D 2.5T ran out of oil after dropping it's oil cooler on the freeway (I'm sure it wasn't attached properly after a repaint). Saw the oil light. Pulled over three lanes as engine lost power. Kaput in No. 4 lane, drifted to roadside.

Bottom line: $2k for an 11-year-old shelved engine to salvage a pristine crank. Another $4K to painstakingly rebuild my original 602 engine. Now runs like a watch at 229K.

Good luck, hope all's well...
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2003, 10:32 AM
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I'll also take the contrarian view and suggest that you've done some damage. I base that mostly on the instance of the engine shutting down on you as you pulled into the service station. I think that happened because the bearings got hot and were starved for lubrication.

I'm also upset that a tow truck driver would start the engine on a car that's had the oil pan severely damaged. He's just concerned with making an easy tow and NOT concerned about your vehicle.

So, having no way to really know - I wish you good luck on the diagnosis.

If it is runnable, perhaps you should consider trading it in for a nice 1995 300D?

Ken300D
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  #11  
Old 11-27-2003, 10:44 AM
sgrist
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Thanks, everyone, for your assistance.

1. Since both tires blew out as I ran over the 10" curb, I'm sure alignment --at the very least-- will be essential.

2. I was, indeed, concerned about the attachment of the tranny ("tranny mounts"), and when 'Benzi is up on the rack, all will be revealed. Fortunately, the techs are good (Austrian Motors on 14th st in Atlanta), and will know to check for these things.

3. Yes, the engine did shut off after I'd gone 300 feet --and I didn't try to restart. Meanwhile, I rented a car to go to work (it was monday), having arranged to have the car towed. When I went to see the damage at the towing shop the next day, the guy who picked the car up said that he'd started my car up and backed up onto the flatbed with no problem (that is, no problem for him!). I don't want to think about what might have happened during this maneuver, but I guess at least I know that 'Benzi still starts, and will go backwards! I'd rathere drive 'Benzi backwards than continue driving the Cavalier rental...

I do have comprehensive/collision insurance with a $500 deductible, so I guess the adjuster will let me know my options. Pity about the 10 years accident-free reduction...

Part of the plastic shrouding under the engine bay was intact, so perhaps the curb was at critical clearence height to shear the pan, but missed other things. The curb was a triangle, so perhaps the point of the triangle hit the pan at the same time the wheels hit the two sides and climbed up-and-over.

And yes, that Cartersville exit has been extensively rebuilt. No doubt you'll see the remains of the aluminum pan and a large pool of oil as you pass by.

Happy thanksgiving, all. And thanks for your encouragement!

--Simon G
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  #12  
Old 11-27-2003, 12:25 PM
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I would be really upset with that tow truck driver if it was me, he should know better than to start a car with no oil and run it up on a flatbed. It's one thing to just start it but totally different to put any kind of load on a dry engine.
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  #13  
Old 11-27-2003, 01:20 PM
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Well, I am assuming you didn't have to sign some sort of voucher or release before he drove the truck. I have never had to have a vehicle towed that was drivable so I don't know the procedure. However, I am not sue happy, but could they possibly account any damage to him starting it up to put it on the truck?
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  #14  
Old 11-27-2003, 02:24 PM
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I agee the tow truck driver was an idiot. At a minimum I would file a written complaint with the towing company. At the maximum I'd be looking for them to kick in for damages. There was still some oil in it when you drove those few hundred yards. It was dry when he started it up. If there is damage to the engine, it was more likely to have occurred when he drove it than when you drove it. If there is damage to the engine, you should hope it is seized. That will be conclusive evidence they caused the damage since it started for them.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2003, 10:08 PM
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I'll add to my previous reply.

Since you have insurance, this may all be covered. Since the tow company drove it after all the oil completely drained from sitting some number of hours, I'd have your insurance company talk to thiers. They may have caused bearing and crank damage, not you. They should rebuild your engine.

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'89 190D - 120,000 miles (sold)
'85 300SD - 317,000 miles (sold)
'98 ML320 - 270,000 miles (sold)
'75 300D - 170,000 miles (sold)
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