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  #1  
Old 09-01-2001, 10:42 PM
JimF's Avatar
'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . head gasket or radiator for W140

Need some help diagnosing problem with S500, 98K miles.

Found yesterday, some small (very small) oil 'drops' floating in the coolant expansion tank. They look 'BROWN'!

The oil (dipstick) is perfectly transparent light brown and the ATF is red and clear. Neither are milky. There's no leaks anyplace exterior on the engine. The coolant level is stable and I do not burn any oil. The engine temp is ok.

Can't figure out whether it's a head gasket or leaking transmission portion of the radiator? The latter is really bad news since it will ruin the tranny. Agreed?

Any ideas?

AlLso if it's a head gasket, should I do the value seals, timing chain, tensioners?

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Last edited by JimF; 09-02-2001 at 11:02 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2001, 09:51 PM
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I have only done headgaskets on a few 119 engines.

I have never seen the tranny cooler leak. I have heard of it though. IF the tranny fluid gets into the coolant, you will see a distinct pink tint.

Monitor it!
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2001, 10:09 PM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
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. . more info. . .

Stevebfl replied to my email and he said:
I suspect engine oil. I suspect that as the clean oil migrates between the head and gasket it is discolored. I have seen this on a 600SEL and never saw the final answer as the car was traded.
I think this is a very small leak. I would dab out the tank and watch it. BTW, oil or tranny fluid getting into the cooling system is better than the other way around. If you had any volume at all there would be a milkshake mess, either chocolate or strawberry (bg).
No laughing matter, but I think you have time to plan. I would not do the valves unless you have over 150k. There is no problem with oil consumption on these motors (that I know of). I would redo all the chain and rails accessible from the top.

Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
He confirmed what I later measured; little 'brown' oil droplets in the coolant expansion tank. The size, about 0.03", very small indeed but still there! I could see no evidence of coolant in the oil (chocolate or strawberry milkshakes!). For that, I'm very happy!

Donnie, I will monitor it closely. Doesn't appear to be ATF but thanks for your reply.

This next part may be considered as "science fiction", so bare with me!

As I was searching the Internet, found a product by K&W called "BLOCK SEAL". Purported to seal aluminum blocks, radiators, and fix head gaskets! Talk about the perfect snake oil! Well, couldn't pass it up. Got a can for $6.99 at PEP Boys and followed the instructions exactly. Here's the link: http://www.kandw.com/kwproducts.html

The catch is that this stuff does not work with anti-freeze, only water! Therefore, used some cooling system flush and had the whole system 'power' flushed until the system contained just clear water. Cost $45!!

Then added Block Seal as directed and drove/idled for about 45mins. Then 'power' flushed it all out again and is currently 'drying' overnight with the system open (radiator cap off, thermostat out and bottom radiator hose off. No coolant or water in the system. Will let it set for 12 hours or so.

Tomorrow night is the last part of this story, good or bad!
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2001, 11:40 PM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
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. . final chapter

Final chapter on my 'science fiction' story! But first, Stevebfl sent me another email which was very appropriate! He said:

There are a number of stop leaks that use technology that won't clog radiators or reduce their thermal conductivity. The BAR's stuff is supposed to be that way. I personally wouldn't use it in anything I had long term plans for, though.

AND BESIDES, think about it. You do not have a cooling system leak, you have an oil system leak! The best of the stop leaks only seal as they pass to air (oxygen). That surely isn't happening here and if you wanted to try the other concept of filling the hole with fibers then they would have to be introduced through the oil.

Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This morning, sealed up the system and put in AF/water mixture to 40/60%. Yes, and one can of Water Wetter. Optimistic wasn't I?

It didn't work! You didn't think it would, did you? Still have the same oil droplets in the coolant! Would have been nice, but what do you expect from snake oil?

Next step is not 'science fiction' but good old fashioned hard labor; new head gaskets!
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  #5  
Old 09-04-2001, 01:12 AM
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That is not a nice thing to hear jim, the 500 needs to have its gaskets done.

OUCH

Alon
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  #6  
Old 09-06-2001, 02:07 AM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . more data

Checked out a few MB indys today re a head gasket job. Both places said "have never done one (500 engine)"! How about that!

So my question is how many of you have done the head gaskets on a S500, E500, S420 or E420. In other words a V8 engine???

BTW, both said that that I should 'watch' it but do nothing now. That makes you worry about the inevitable, and when it might occur?? Both quoted about $1500 for the gasket work only. Sound reasonable???
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2001, 03:01 AM
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Jim, Is this not somethign you could tackle yourself or is this not something you would want to?

It sounds to me like its a good deal, but I ahve no basis for that. It must be a lot of work.. What kind of hours did they give you?

Since you are only in SD, why not give MR MB Motors in Tarzana A Call. I know its a few hours from you, but Enrique is excellent and his prices are usually very good. He really knows his stuff, and I am sure he can help you figure out when you need to do it. He has the cleanest shop I have seen, and always gives me the straigh answers and prices. His diagnostics are almost always right on. as well.

BTW He recommended my brother do the timing chains on his 85 380SL Very soon. Its the Double row chain and the car has 170k on it.. cost at Enrique, $500 to do the chains if he does it now... Cost if my brother waits on it (Which I know my brother will do he never maintains his cars....) probably a bunch more, because if it breaks it will be more.

Tell him Alon Asherson Recommended you

Enrique
(818) 708-8086

Alon
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  #8  
Old 09-06-2001, 08:07 PM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
gave him a call . . .

and had a nice long conversation with Enrique. He is of the opinion that one should do everything while "it's open", and there's a lot of sense to that, albeit expensive. He will get some pricing info together and call me. Thanks for the number, Alon.

I also perusing another avenue: this one, if it works, it the cheapest!!!! Added some No Leak from Gold Eagle (http://www.goldeagle.com/no-leak/drkbrown.htm) to the oil (in line with Steve's suggestion: need to stop the leak from inside out!). Will need to drive it awhile, about 500 miles. So we will see.
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  #9  
Old 09-12-2001, 01:09 AM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . . put on 300 miles

since No Leak was added and it appears to be. . . . . . .

Will wait for another 100 miles before I say what's happening! Mainly because I need to 'clean' the radiator/cooling system of any residual oil that was there initially. But it does look as though it's . . .
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2001, 07:09 AM
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this type of sealant works only on rubber type seals yes? aren't head gaskets a different kind of animal? keep us posted...
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  #11  
Old 09-19-2001, 07:34 PM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . it's still leaking but it's reduced!

That's the best I can offer at this point. Got about 500 miles since the addition of "No Leak".

Visited the local MB dealership today and had the 'head man' look at it. As with others, he was perplexed. He said that it has to be a 'small' leak in the head gasket but he too said ". . just watch it".

He suggested that if (when) it's done, that the chain and tensioners be changed so he basically agreed with Steve. The good news here is that he has at least three (3) techs that have done this detailed work on the 119.970 engine. That's a first!

So that's the status to date. As the man says, I'll continue to watch it!
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Last edited by JimF; 09-20-2001 at 11:25 AM.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2001, 07:59 PM
JimF's Avatar
'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . sit down for this one!

was at the local MB dealer today, and saw an old acquaintance now working as a service writer. Here's the cost breakdown for the head gasket:

Head gasket r&r: 25 hours: $2100 labor, $ 660 parts = $2760
Chain (1.7 hours w/ head removed): $143 labor, $440 parts= $583

Grand total: $3,343 (maybe I should say, "3 Grand Total" )

Working backwards, their hourly labor rate is $84! Anybody got any Vaseline?
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Last edited by JimF; 09-21-2001 at 10:42 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2001, 08:21 PM
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...more palatable knowing that the parts and labor are provided by the experienced pros and guaranteed by factory authorized service?

doesn't sound like this problem is a chronic one infecting a
significant population of 119 V8's

...hopefully the repair will yield another trouble free 100K on the top end

good luck and I feel for ya

-fad

PS original list w/ dest chg on the '94 S500 Coupe, $102,375....that's quite a vehicle you have there Jim
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  #14  
Old 09-21-2001, 10:57 AM
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'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . -fad, too much palatability

and high cost!

To me, that job "looks" like it should be about $1200 labor. For sure, I can save about half on the parts, so I figure it the total cost should be about $1800. So need to canvass more MB indys in San Diego.

How about some feedback from MS shop members. Would appreciate it.
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  #15  
Old 10-01-2001, 12:58 AM
JimF's Avatar
'94 S500: only 793 sold!
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,933
. . more status

As of today, I've added about 100 miles more (to the original 500), so it's about 600 total since adding the No Leak.

In order to check the 'progress' (or lack of it), I do a partial 'dump' of the coolant: that is, I siphon all of the coolant from the expansion tank and replace it with 'fresh' AF/water mixture (40/60). That's about 4.5 quarts. Total capacity is 16.4 qt so I'm cleaning about 25% of the system. Then I swab out the expansion tank as best as I can to get it clean.

Well, the good news is that there is definitely less oil in the expansion tank. In fact, when I look at it right after taking a 'run', it appears as little oil droplets that are as big as this '.' . After the car cools, for 12 hours, the coolant appears to be clear. Very hard to find any oil whatsoever!!!!

So will continue to drive and post. But sure like the progress to date!

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