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  #1  
Old 07-30-2001, 09:16 AM
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Location: So. Burlington, VT
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Topsiders

I have been reading this forum and occasionally contributing for a long time. I know that most of you guys with newer Benzs' are using topsiders to suck the yucks out of the crankcase but I don't know why??
I have an '89 300E and the oilpan is very accessible so I just pull the plug.
My Dad just bought a '97 C230 and I'm wondering if he needs a topsider. He seems to think so and I agree but we haven't crawled under it yet so I don't know if it is necessary, easier, does it work better....what's the deal??
Also...while we are at it, the local MB dealer uses Castrol syntetic oil. Is it OK to switch brands?? Mobil 1 seems to be preferrd by most of you so I'm thinking my Dad might switch to Mobil instead of the Castrol that the car has used since new. It has about 45K miles on it.
Thanks for the help.....
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2001, 10:09 AM
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Location: Jax, FL
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I use the topsider and I find it a lot easier and faster suck the oil from the top, instead of crawling around under the car. Specially since MB is using the same method in the dealerships (with a much more expensive machine).
As far as oil, it is your preference.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2001, 12:58 PM
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Something unmentioned is that the topsider is much cleaner to use. I used to go through several paper towels and a couple of rags doing my oil changes and with the extraction method, no mess and little fuss...

That said, the topsider from parts shop is plastic and it will deform from the vacuum and hot oil. Since hot oil carries the most dirt along with it, it becomes as most things in life a timing issue and one that's hard to get right. Waiting for 20-30 mins after running at normal temp to begin extracting oil will work most times unless the car got extremely hot, in which case a meltdown will occur. (speaking from experience)
The plastic model also has some funky hose connections which seem prone to wear. When mine has served it useful life, I'm going to replace it with a metal topsider(the original, in a can).

As far as oil, well, that's like picking a religion. I'm Christ... I'm a Castrol guy, I'm going to say go with that!
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Ed "Don't Benz's just feel better..."

Current wives...
2000 ML430 Skyview "The Mel"
2000 CLK430 Cab "The Cab"
85 300D Turbo "The Diesel"

Past wives...
92 300E
85 190E

"One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to
avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond
this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to
interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
Bertrand Russell
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2001, 01:11 PM
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I like using a topsider as it makes the oil changing process cleaner, easier, and faster. The only reason I can see to remove the drain plug is in the event it’s magnetic, to see if there are any metal shavings attached. And, of course, to softly weep when you find a large collection of filings… Of course you probably won’t find this unless you don’t change yer oil often.

I would also wonder if anyone knows the rate at which engine contaminants settle out of oil? This would decide the % of contaminants that would likely be stuck to the insides of the engine, and bottom of the oil pan.

But then, it wouldn’t really matter whether the oil was suctioned out or let gravity remove it. As you’d have the same amount stuck to the inside of the engine in either event. As the oil level in the oil pan goes down, the same amount of contaminants will be removed, or not, in either event, except perhaps for that last tablespoon or 3 at the bottom of the pan. Still worried about getting the last nth of dirty oil out? Try putting another pint or 2 into the engine and then remove that in the same manner. Either way, what ever is left over will be diluted by 6-12 quarts of new oil.

The entire debate of using a Topsider or similar device as opposed to using the drain plug is about the same debate as using an abacus or a slide rule versus a calculator. In the end, the only thing lost by using a calculator, or a topsider are the time consuming and overly work intensive rituals required by the previous, antiquated process.
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2001, 01:55 PM
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Where can one purchase one of these Topsiders?

I heard you can purchase them from a local boat dealer but all the ones I've contacted only have some sort of pump that attaches to a drill, and you gotta provide your own tank.

Thanks!

Paul

Last edited by pmizell; 07-30-2001 at 02:41 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2001, 06:56 PM
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You boys...

I stay away for a while and the first topic I join becomes a joust...

In my post when I referred to religiosity, I was referring to Syntec vs. Mobil1 not the topsider vs. oil pan....

I'm not feeling the love brothers, let's let bygones be bygones.

OkieDokie?
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Ed "Don't Benz's just feel better..."

Current wives...
2000 ML430 Skyview "The Mel"
2000 CLK430 Cab "The Cab"
85 300D Turbo "The Diesel"

Past wives...
92 300E
85 190E

"One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to
avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond
this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to
interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
Bertrand Russell
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2001, 08:48 PM
longston's Avatar
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The Topsider Chronicles...

First, let's address some misconceptions:
  • The Topsider is a metal cannister vacuum pump that is being discontinued by the manufacturer, who has introduced the Liquivac to take it's place.
  • The Topsider, or more correctly, the BigBoy-Topsider MVP (for multi-purpose vacuum pump), is still available at some on-line marine supply websites like West Marine. They generally sell for $46.99. As you can see, it's simply a mating of an old-stle gas can and a bicycle pump. Very crude.


  • The new Liquivac, shown here in the Marina Pro packaging that will be sold in boatshops, is easier to store, more compact, more elegant of a design, and less prone to damage. The pump is in the "handle, and you unscrew the ball-end to begin using the pump. It retails for about $38.00. The Liquivac literature does suggest that you not drain your oil when it's extra hot, and mentions warping the container, and melting the hose. They suggest warming the oil for a few minutes, and then draining. This is the exact same method employed by boat dealers when their service departments are doing oil changes for their customers.


  • The real pros use a system similar to this. It's the Shurflo Waterwolf Oil Changer, Model 3000-400. It runs off of your car or boat battery, has a high speed impeller pump, a 3.5 gallon bucket, and with a three position switch (on, off, reverse) can both provide suction and pump oil back into your engine. It retails for $149.99, but is on special at Boat U.S. for $99.00


  • However, Don Swinford has created a car battery powered oil change rig from a simple J.C Whitney electric oil change pump, and a Gott gas can. I think the cost is about $20.00. He changes his oil hot out of the dipstick tube into this container that is made of essentially the same material as the Liquivac, but is of much thinner walled construction, and not at all designed to be used to hold hot motor oil.


  • If it works for him, I think it would also work just as well using the Liquivac, so I am assuming that the warning from the Liquivac people is just a disclaimer, unless someone here has actually melted one while changing their oil.

Now, a litte comment on the raging "debate". I respect Larry Bible a great deal, and look to him as a truly senior member here who has paid his dues and contributed enormously to these forums. I don't want to have anyone view my following comments as an endorsement of what I see as an unwarranted attack on Larry that grew out of what was intended to be debate. Please Tracy, "Sarcasm is the shelter of the stupid and arrogant"? Go back and read your previous comments again, and see if that wasn't a hypocritical statement. Now, don't you owe someone an apology...? Larry has the remarkable distinction of having logged over three quarters of a million miles in Mercedes vehicles. Personally, that holds a lot of weight where I come from.

But Larry, I do have a question about the wisdom of changing oil the way you do. Your engine is at operating temperature when you are ready to change the oil, you place a pan under the drain plug, you open the filler cap, and finally open the drain plug to allow the oil to drain out overnight.

When you open up the engine like this, after the majority of the oil has drained, the hot engine will cause the cooler outside air to be pulled into the engine through the drain plug, as heat rises. When this happens, whatever moisture (water vapor) is still in the engine will combine with any moisture in the air being pulled inside, and start to form condensation in the engine. Will it not?

So if this is true, then isn't it better to use a suction oil changer that pulls the oil out of the dipstick and does not create this thermal updraft and condensation? The acids are formed as a result of the additional water vapor being present, so the question is just how much of a trade off is best? Condensation, or whatever minute particulate is present in a 3000 mile oil change interval.

I kind of favor the Waterwolf myself...

Just some liquid oxygen to add to the fire...
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  #8  
Old 07-30-2001, 10:41 PM
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Location: Carol Stream, Il, USA
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I have always changed oil by pulling the plug mainly because it give me the oportunity to get underneath the car and take a good look around for potential problems (fluid leaks, split boots, worn suspension, etc.) It is alot cheaper to fix a potential problem.

My method of oil changes is very similar to Larry Bible's with the only difference is that I change my oil very warm - not hot. After experiencing hot oil on your hand that proceeds down you arm made me think twice about changing hot oil.

Larry - what do you do to prevent hot oil burns on your hands? For some reason I cannot get use to wearing gloves while working with tools.

Back to the original post I currently use Mobil 1 15W50 and plan on switching to Castrol 5W50 in the winter months since Mobil 1 0W40 is not available at the local retail stores. Mercedes has tested and approved both brands so I do not see a problem switching oil brands.
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2001, 03:35 PM
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Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
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What's cool about this topic is that much of it is "on the margin." While many things are "true" it may not be relevevant in anything other than a "six nines" circumstance.

Ergo, it becomes fun to talk about, cool even ... but, not really of great signficance.

Me, one of my goals in life is to inject as much discussion about synthetic lubricants as possible - for instance, at parties I am fond of asking the least-likely-to-have -changed-her-own-oil woman, "say, do you use synthetic oil in your car?"

George
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2001, 02:01 AM
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Well this is a nice interesting topic....

Heres my quick view on it.

I used larry's method. I liked it, it worked well.

I have used a topsider. Again I like it and it worked well. And I have used mine hot. I got it from www.boatus.com for like $30 or something.

My car has a belly pan, and has to be removed to change the oil.

To me thats an inconvienience to have to pull the pan and get extra greasy.

The topsider works for me and is more of a convinience for me to use it. otherwise I'd use Larry's Method.

Alon
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  #11  
Old 08-03-2001, 12:10 PM
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To the individual that ask where to find a topsider, here's a promotion I received:


Free shipping details: Get free Ground Shipping on your first order of $85 or more placed online between August 3, 2001 and Midnight August 6, 2001. Enter code UF801 when placing your order online.

Free shipping limited to orders of $85 or more and ship weight of 20lbs or less. Hazardous shipping fees still apply for items classified as hazardous shipments.


Click below for additional product discount specials!

http://www.boatus-store.com/
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  #12  
Old 08-23-2001, 09:31 PM
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Well boys, lo and behold I went to use my Liqivac and found that it had deformed on the last "hot" oil change. Now it would not hold a vacuum even with hose clamps in all the right places.

So, thanks to Scott's fine use of paintshop, I had a decision to make between the spiderman's extractor and the fine looking black number from Boats US. Well, it wasn't quite a toss up and they were kind enough to give me the July online offer price and free shipping to boot!
I'm expecting my new waterwolf bi-directional oil extractor/pump any day now.
No more pumping up for me!
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Ed "Don't Benz's just feel better..."

Current wives...
2000 ML430 Skyview "The Mel"
2000 CLK430 Cab "The Cab"
85 300D Turbo "The Diesel"

Past wives...
92 300E
85 190E

"One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to
avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond
this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to
interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
Bertrand Russell
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  #13  
Old 08-23-2001, 09:57 PM
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The oil extractor works alot better if you do it "the Mercedes way" and don't use an extraction (suction) tube down to the bottom of the oil pan, but use the dipstick tube itself as the suction probe. it really works fast that way! I have checked how completely this method works, it is quite good on any I have tested. However, in reply to the original poster, it for some reason works lousy on the 111 moter, I raise and pull the plug on 111's. It is a God send for ML oil changes, though!
Gilly
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  #14  
Old 08-23-2001, 10:33 PM
HaYN Benz
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I use a topsider as well if not for any other reason than piece of mind.

I have nightmares about having drained the oil under the car and somehow not putting the drain plug back on securely only to have the oil flowing out while I'm on the highway. Yikes!

I know it sounds mindless, I mean how hard could it be to thread a screw......but I think we all have our moments. If there is a way to prevent this from happening, why wouldn't you?
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  #15  
Old 08-23-2001, 10:37 PM
MikeF
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It looks like the Liquivac holds about 2 gallons of juice. No problem for my MB but I'd also like to use it on my Porsche. The oil tank itself holds 7-8 quarts (the block holds another 3.5). . .air cooled cars use lots of oil. . .especially when the oil cooler is in front and the engine is in the rear. Can the Liquivac be stopped, emptied and restarted during an oil change? Will the thing overflow on its own or will it just stop when full?

Looks like a slick system which will save me alot of work.
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