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  #1  
Old 12-11-2004, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 22
Brake fluid leak??

Got home this afternoon to find (what I think is) brake fluid appearing under the left [rear] side of my '94 E320 Cabriolet. Specifically, the accumulation of maybe an ounce of [red] fluid is on the bottom moulding in front of the driver's side rear wheel well, just behind the jack insert cover. And, there's a splatter pattern underneath--some on the muffler, some forward of the wheel on the undercarrage.

'Sides goin' to my mechanic 1st thing Monday AM, any chance there's anything I can do about it any sooner?

Advice, warnings etc will all be appreciated!

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  #2  
Old 12-11-2004, 06:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
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Red indicates transmission fluid. Test for solubility. If it's not soluble in water, it's petroleum based, not glycol-based brake fluid, which is water soluble.

Duke
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  #3  
Old 12-11-2004, 08:11 PM
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Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
Check tranny fluid, too -- running it too low can damage the tranny.

If it's red, it's tranny juice, not brake fluid.

Peter
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  #4  
Old 12-12-2004, 12:41 PM
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Brake Fluid leak??

After a bit of closer examination in the daylight, it looks like the source might be one of the convertible top components. After looking underneath the car, and reading your responses, I don't think it's brakes related. There "appears to be" no brake component or hose or fitting that is leaking. The liquid may be coming from inside the body panels. There is also no indication that the fluid could be from the transmission. None that I can see anyway.

Checked the color of the brake fluid in the resevoir; it's definately a paler color than the fluid thats leaking. The leak is more of an amber color while the brake fluid is [almost] clear.

Still, I feel the need to go to my service center tomorrow morning. Hope they're not too busy to at least look at it and give me an estimate of what's wrong. Any ideas of how complicated, involved, time-consuming or costly this could be?
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  #5  
Old 12-13-2004, 11:01 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 22
Convertible top fluid leak?

So, as it turns out, the leaking fluid is from the left side, convertible top ram. That's (I suppose) good news that it's not the trans or brakes. The bad news is that the part alone was quoted at ~$350 plus at least 2 hours labor!

Can't seem to find the part listed on any of the MB parts companies online. My [independent] service center says the part is only at MB directly.

Whadda ya think?
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  #6  
Old 12-13-2004, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
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It's a Benz only part, for sure, and I don't see how you can drive the car without it (unless you NEVER want to put the top up!), so you really don't have much choice.

Most likely it is a leaking seal on the ram, and there is no real way to fix it, replacement will be the only option. Could be a leaking hose, but the mechanic would likely have told you that and ordered the part.

You can get another opinion if you like, but I'm not sure it will be any different.

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2004, 11:37 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 22
Convertible top fluid leak?

You know, here in south Florida, the ragtop stays down for weeks at a time. But, this time of year, when we get lil' cold snaps, the top stays up! The raising & lowering is "still" working; don't know for how much longer... but today it's still works.

I am thinking I'll get a 2nd opinion on this from another shop I know. And, nope, I can't say that I "trust" my mechanic all that much. Let's see what #2 says.
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2005, 02:07 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Land O Lakes, Florida
Posts: 4
Exclamation Same Problem

I have the exact same problem with my 95 E320 Cabriolet. There is a ram on each side that raises and lowers the top. When they begin to leak, the fuild runs down the inside of the body panels and into the rocker panel. One cause is using the improper fluid to refill the fluid tank in the trunk. I had been told that any hydraulic fluid (power steering fluid, etc.) could be added. Make sure to use the Mercedes Benz fluid. Its pricey ( about $30 a quart) but should be used. If you have used other fluids it is unclear if permanent damage occurs.

To change out the ram, you must remove the fiber panel that you can see when the top is raised or lowered. I have not found an easy access to the rams. Please let me know if you discover one.

J C Johnson
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2005, 01:50 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 22
Conv RAM fluid leak

Have decided to put off replacing the RAM until I "have-to" do it. The top still goes up & down without any sign of delay and as fast as ever before. In fact, the leaking has stopped... interesting eh?

Sooner or later, I'll have to replace it as it'll probably stop working with the top down at the begining of a tropical thunderstorm...

Sod's Law of Convertibles!

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