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Old 03-13-2001, 09:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Recently purchased a 1989 300SE with 110,000 miles. The car runs excellent, but it is usiing about a quart of oil per 1000 miles. The car does not leak or smoke, and I checked the plugs and they were dry. So I can't figure out where the oil is going. Is this typical for this model?


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Old 03-13-2001, 09:27 PM
ymsin's Avatar
Driver, Mercedes-Benz
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 1,645
Sounds like you might have an experience coming for a top-overhaul ...

ps. so you could either leave it as it is and keep topping up on the oil, or get it done altogether.
... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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Old 03-13-2001, 09:42 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
I believe these cars were known to have weak valve guides. Replacement should solve the problem.

Aside form this, these engine have developed a reputation of being very durable.
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Old 03-13-2001, 10:30 PM
unkl300d's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 2,275

Michael, my '89 300SE uses oil also.
It has about 80K miles ++.
I just check it every fill up and top off
when needed. Normally it uses more oil on long trips.
(8 hour ,500 mile trips) like 1. to 1,5 quarts
then sometimes on the way back it burns no oil!
Do a search on this subject. It is common for these
cars. You can fix it or habitually top off.
1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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Old 03-13-2001, 10:35 PM
ymsin's Avatar
Driver, Mercedes-Benz
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 1,645
I had the same problem last year and decided to fix it. It was intended for a top-overhaul only, but when they removed the pistons, they found that it had to be replaced. So, what was to be a minor overhaul turned major with nearly every moving part in the powerplant replaced.

Funny though, I noticed the oil soaking up mysteriously AFTER it was changed to fully synthetic oil.

After the major overhaul, its filled with semi-synthetic with periodal oil changes at 10,000 km mark, and now the oil hardly evaporates.

No oil additives added.

ps. the only major replacement in future would have to be the a/c compressor. Its starting to sound a little louder than usual.
... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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Old 03-14-2001, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for all of the help and suggestions! I am currently using 5w30 synthetic oil in the 300SE. I have had no problems with my 94 C220 using the same oil, but I think I will try a heavier weight synthetic and see what happens!

Thanks again.
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Old 03-14-2001, 08:27 PM
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I have an '89 300SE and was adding a quart every 1000 miles which is acceptable for the M103 with over 100,000 miles. Found oil leaking from front seal and upper timing chain cover and repairs were made. Also went to 20-50 oil and can now go over 2000 miles before topping off. Valve seals are a common complaint with this engine. Otherwise, bulletproof.
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Old 03-15-2001, 07:16 PM
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I doubt that an upper timing cover leak would have much to do with this oil usage problem. Even if it is leaking, the oil loss is neglibible, it's only a nuisance.

I would not plan on a top end overhaul because of 1 quart/1,000 mile oil usage. As long as there are no other problems, this will not cause any ill effects as long as you keep oil in the engine. This is not enough usage to foul plugs or anything like that.

Just check the oil often, keep it full and enjoy,
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