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Old 11-04-2000, 10:29 PM
Nick Jamal
Posts: n/a
Hi all,
Thinking about replacing (gulp) old faithful (86 300E) as a daily driver with another wagon - we also run an 89 300TE. Probably will keep the 86 for backup...
Well, my questions: When did MB update the valve seals? I seem to remember April 1988 on the assembly line (thus affecting some model year '88 cars)? Is this right? And when were the valve guides updated (1990s?). I don't think I want to invest in something newer than an '89 or '90 model...
Finally - don't hate me - but I tested a couple of Volvo 960 wagons recently - they seem to manage themselves quite well on then road! They don't have the cachet of a Benz, certainly - but is it a bad comparison? I've never owned a Volvo, but they seem to have a good reputation. Of course, I'm utterly brainwashed by media influence at this point...
Thanks in advance to all MB lovers in cyberspace!
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Old 11-05-2000, 01:00 AM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 2,359
I've read elsewhere that the valve stem seals/guides were updated in 1990. For what it's worth, I own a '91 300-SEL(M103) and it uses more oil than all of my other cars(3 Japanses) use. The spark plugs are dry, but I have leakage out the front of the engine. In this area, there are 3-4 places where oil can leak. Bottom line....most M103 motors are going to either LEAK or DIGEST oil. My 2 cents.


Mike Murrell
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Old 11-05-2000, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
The M103 after April of 89 should have better camshaft, piston design, rocker arms, & valve guides! Of course the 1990 & later cars have a much nicer level of trim & sound system in the W124 chassis.
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Old 11-05-2000, 10:17 AM
Posts: n/a

I would not let the valve seals alone be the deciding factor in looking for a car. If you find a nice example of the M103 engined cars, the valve seal replacement alone is not a deal killer.

If they have not been replaced, it would be a few hundred dollars to accomplish this. A tech can replace them without removing the head.


If you are leaking oil from the most common place on an M103 engine, which is the upper camshaft cover, this is not a difficult thing to fix if you use the right sealant. MB sells a sealant for this that is translucent blue. If you remove the dist. cap, rotor and rotor piece, you unbolt and remove the upper camshaft cover quite easily. If you THOROUGHLY clean the groove that the lower seal fits into, then goop everything below and above that seal, then slide the cover into place being careful that the new shaft seal goes in place with oil on shaft and seal, you can seal this with no problem. This blue translucent goo allows the cover to slide on the lower seal.

Good luck,

Larry Bible
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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Old 11-06-2000, 09:35 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: SW Colorado USA
Posts: 296
I put the new valve stem seals in myself, it took about three hours, nothing too tough. If you look at Volvos DO NOT look at the newer generation front drive models ie; 850. The new ones are JUNK, the older ones like the 960 are pretty solid cars.

90 M-B 300GE 5sp
98 BMW 750iL
86 Porsche 944 Turbo
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