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Old 08-28-2001, 06:34 PM
Zoonhollis's Avatar
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Front Crank Seal Leak?

In an effort to get the various oil leaks under control on my '84 300D, I pressure-washed the engine and then took it in to an indy mechanic so he could raise the car up and pinpoint the leaks. He verified that the slightly crushed lower pan leaked, as well as the oil filter housing. He also advised that I replace the motor mounts, the tie rod assembly, and the driveshaft support bearing. I undertook replacing the beat up oil pan and the motor mounts with little incident. However, I had a hard time getting the oil pan to stop leaking around the gasket. So I took it back in to the shop to have the remaining items done (support bearing and tie rod), but the mechanic said "I didn't see this before, but it looks like your front seal is leaking." Aghast, I responded "no, I think that's from the main belt pulley slinging oil up from the leaking oil pan and gasket..." He disagreed and stuck with his front seal diagnosis.

Heavy with disappointment, I went home and pondered the implications of such a grim announcement. Then I had an idea. I resolved to tighten the oil pan bolts (which clearly indicated leaking, since oil was pooling inside the hexagonal holes of the bolt heads), then take it to the car wash and clean it up real good. I did this, and now it looks like the leak has stopped, with no indication of oil weeping down the front of the engine, which it would do if the front seal were blown. I have not concluded without a doubt that the seal is NOT leaking, but I think the mechanic may have been hasty in his diagnosis.

This is a long way to ask: how likely is it that the front seal would leak? The mechanic also warned me against putting 7.9 quarts of oil in the crankcase with each change, and suggested 7 quarts instead. He seemed to hint that the overfilling may have something to do with a blown seal (which is now a dubious claim, given my little "experiment").

Any ideas?
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Old 08-28-2001, 07:21 PM
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I would be surprised if it is the front crank seal. The reason is because on my 1985 300D I had alot of leaks where the oil returned to the oil pan from the turbo and the air cleaner in addition to the pan. I resolved those and now do not have any oil leaks. This is with 223k miles showing.
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Old 08-28-2001, 09:22 PM
LarryBible
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I too will be surprised if it's the front seal, but it's not out of the question. If this is the problem, approach the repair with care. It is difficult to get the harmonic balancer back on properly after replacing the seal. If it is not done correctly you can ruin the crankshaft and/or have the harmonic balancer come off at speed. There are two pins rather than a key, it must be done carefully.

Also I am surprised to hear the 7.9 quart thing. I thought they took 7. Have you checked the dipstick level after putting in 7.9? Too much oil can indeed blow seals.

Best of luck and Go Gophers!
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Old 08-28-2001, 09:36 PM
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Larry - it takes two gallon jugs of that good ol Delo 400 to top my 300D off after an oil/filter change. The E320 says in the book 7.9 but you better stop and check it after about 6.5. You do not want to overfill it unless you want to go through the exercise of changing a rear main seal which is pretty labor intensive.
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Old 08-28-2001, 09:53 PM
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Update

I am disappointed to report that the front seal is indeed leaking. I wonder if it is due to the many successive oil changes where I refilled the engine with almost 8 quarts each time...?

Larry, I'm not going to attempt this repair, so I hope that the independent mechanic is aware of the caveats you mentioned concerning the harmonic balancer. When I first met him, I asked if he was ASE or Bosch certified, and he looked at me as if I'd insulted him and his entire family. He said no he was NOT certified, but he's "got about 25 years MB experience," which is apparently better than any damned certificate. Who am I to argue?

Anyway, I think I will go ahead and do some of the work myself, such as the oil filter housing gasket replacement, flex pipe replacement, and possibly the center bearing replacement. Any helpful suggestions on this last item? It looks daunting...
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Old 08-29-2001, 08:32 AM
LarryBible
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Matt,

If he has MB experience, the balancer is probably not a problem, but it is IMPORTANT to NOT just stick in these pins and draw the balancer in place with the bolt. If it doesn't line up perfectly, and it probably won't, you will "bugger up" the crank and balancer.

It takes several tries to get the balancer in place so that you can THEN insert the pins. I put the balancer on and drew it off about a half dozen times before getting it lined up so the pins would go in.

I'm not near as worried about ASE or Bosch certification in a tech as I am experience AND a careful attitude. There are techs who are not aware of this balancer installation situation who would put the pins in place, draw it as tight as it would go with an impact wrench and consider it installed. An ASE or Bosch certification would not change that person's attitude.

If our business gets much worse, I may be on the street trying to make money however I can. In that case I could do it for you at my Dad's place in Grand Prairie.

Good luck,

Last edited by LarryBible; 08-29-2001 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 08-29-2001, 03:10 PM
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I may very well take you up on that! You could show me the easiest way to do a valve adjustment while we were at it...
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