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  #1  
Old 07-10-2001, 02:13 PM
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Thought I'd share a recent experience:

Back in November, I bought a new air filter for my 89 260E and when I tried to replace it I discovered that one of the air filter housing nuts had seized and I could not unscrew it. So I left it alone and decided to take care of it "later."

Months when by and "later" never came, and during that time I noticed the following:

* My engine temperature was always well below 80

* I would spew a bit of black smoke on hard acceleration

* I would occasionally notice a rotten egg smell when lifting my foot slightly off the accelerator

* I was constantly buying gas -- mileage had dropped to about 12 mpg -- and spending an extra $20 per week on fill-ups.

* The car had a general feeling of sluggishnessness, and the engine would rev and strain a bit too much, and too
loudly, on standing starts.

I did not consider the air filter connection until this past weekend when after the fuel needle indicated "empty" for the second time in about four days I decided enough is enough and pried the offending nut loose.

The filter was incredibly dirty, and I cleaned out the metal housing (sand had accumulated in some areas) and intakes, replaced the filter and noticed the following:

* My engine temperature was back to just above 80 -- where it belongs.

* I do not see any more black smoke.

* I smell no more rotten eggs.

* My mileage is back up to 28-30 mpg (highway) and my wallet is very happy!

* Driving is once again spirited and energetic, with no strain on standing starts. The car can breathe again.

Evidently, my car was suffocating and these were all side effects -- the worst being the approx $700 wasted on unnecessary fuel because I did not take care of that seized bolt right away.

It's amazing how something as seemingly trivial as air filters can have such profound effects, and I recommend keeping yours as clean as possible. ($40 every couple of months is a lot cheaper than $700!)

Eric Silver

[Edited by EricSilver on 07-10-2001 at 01:19 PM]
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Old 07-10-2001, 02:57 PM
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Eric:

If you haven't already done so, it might be a good time to do an oil change. The rich condition you just fixed didn't do much for the cleanliness of engine internals.

Hopefully emissions parts..ie...O2 sensor/catalytic converter are ok.

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Old 07-10-2001, 03:05 PM
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When I read the title of this post, I thought the end of the story would be how you had to spend $700 replacing some other component (like a catalytic converter, or a used head) as a result of the clogged air filter...thank God it was just wasted fuel.

Based on our gas reciepts, it takes our household about three months to consume $700 of fuel! That's with my wife and I switching back and forth driving ALL THREE of our MBs!

So either you are in a country where gas is super expensive, or you lived with this problem for a loonnnnng time...
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Old 07-10-2001, 03:12 PM
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the scoop -- I'l definitely make the oil change a priority -- probably tomnorrow, in fact. So far, all seems normal, but I'll be at my mechanic's tomorrow and ask him to have a look.

Eric
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Old 07-10-2001, 03:31 PM
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Hi G-Benz,

It has been going on since last November -- eight months.

I drive about 2,500 miles/month and gas prices here in northern Virginia are now about $1.80 - $1.90 for premium.

I'm very intuitive when it comes to car problems, which is why I bought the air filter on a whim in November, but somehow neglected it until this past weekend when my "sixth sense" shouted at me to take action. I wonder what would have happened if I had not done so?

I should add that the 260E/300E 2.6 is a tough little car, and has faithfully kept going despite occasional neglect or minor system failures.

Eric
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Old 07-12-2001, 01:03 AM
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So have you replaced your spark plugs too? You should probably do that because of the rich running condition. If they are not already fouled, there is a real good chance they are, then they are really close to being fouled. Increase your fuel efficiency more...

Steve
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Old 07-12-2001, 01:54 AM
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Funny that you told this story, because this same exact situation happened to me (minus the seized bolt). My mom just handed down to me her '90 300E with 195,000 miles, and I would venture to guess that in those 11 years, the air filter *might* have been changed once.

I unscrewed the housing and found a mountain of sand in the back left corner. The filter, when I threw it to the ground a few times, shook out a LOT of dust.

My mom simply neglected the car, and luckily no major damage occurred to the engine.

I did not notice however, any major decrease in MPG that you did. I will report back though after a couple of tanks of fuel

I generally got about 300miles on a full tank, both city and hwy driving.

~~Paul
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Old 07-12-2001, 11:16 AM
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Hi Steve,

That's my project for this weekend. My plugs are normally very clean and dry, and hopefully will be in the same condition now, but I doubt it. All the excess fuel must have left some form of carbon build-up.

So far the car feels normal, but I'll know for sure when I see the plugs.

Eric
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Old 07-12-2001, 11:28 AM
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Paul,

Interesting you should mention the sand. I found a small amount in the upper left corner as well. The filter didn't look that dirty, but was quite clogged with dust.

My normal fuel efficiency is about 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg city. Replacing the filter restored it to those levels. However, 300 miles/tank seems a little low -- but then you have a slightly larger engine than I do.

Also, I had been a consistent Z-Max user through last winter, and that has made a difference. Although the stuff does what is promised, there were recently some negative comments around it (probably started by jealous rivals), and I believe there is a thread here describing it. I plan to keep using it anyway, because it works for me.

Eric
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Old 07-14-2001, 10:25 PM
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UPDATE:

I checked my plugs and they are clean, and dry as dust (good!) but the gaps were at about .55, so I narrowed them to about .33 until I replace them entirely.

I still get an occasional rumbling sort of shudder at idle, which i am told is because the engine is misfiring. I will clean the contacts on both ends of the ignition wires, since I am assuming the problem is electrical in nature, but is there anything else I should be looking at?

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  #11  
Old 07-15-2001, 01:16 PM
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Consider the condition of the dist. cap and the rotor. There are a ton of things that could cause what you describe. The two I just mentioned are easiest/cheapest.
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  #12  
Old 07-15-2001, 04:34 PM
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Mike,

Will hold off on dist/rotor until next weekend -- cleaned it once two years ago and am probably due to replace it now.

I discovered that one of my spark plugs was apparently defective, and eventually failed, as the car really started to rumble a lose power after a while. I pulled each ignition wire to identify the non-working piston, and found it was number 5. To be sure, I swapped plugs with number 4, and when 4 would not fire, I knew the plug was bad.

The only replacement I could find at the time was an Autolite Platinum (copper core, platinum button tip) which should suffice until I visit my mechanic on Wednesday. So far there is no more significant shudder.

Now I am tackling the thermostat issue. I was able to find the housing and remove the hose -- shearing off the top of the lower left bolt in the process, but it can be salvaged. There is no obvious way to remove the thermostat, other than prying it out. Is that the way?

Eric
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