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  #1  
Old 12-06-2008, 04:09 PM
Werner W's Avatar
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Going over a 300e potential buy

Today I stopped at a used MB dealer and took a 87 300e for a test drive. Ran and rode nice. Body and interior in near mint condition. 98K miles. They are asking $3,900 but I think I can get it for 3K or close to it. I do have concerns about the engine though. There was some oil leaking on the front of the engine. Not the length of the block just at the front so I don't think it is a head gasket. The dealer said it is the "front cover" in the front of the engine which is gasket less. He said oil leaking slightly is inherent in the engine there. The oil looked clean and the tranny fluid didn't smell. However when I took off the oil filler cap, on the underside of the cap there was a creamy colored frothy gew. Is this a sign of water in the oil?

Werner


Last edited by Werner W; 12-06-2008 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:07 PM
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Front seal is easy, just need to clean it all at least twice, including the use of q-tips before reassembly

A much larger concern is the water in the oil. Could be serious condensation from it being started and run only for a short time or never heated up fully during numerous test drives, but I think you may be looking at a head gasket. Not difficult but if you need to pay someone to do it the cost of the car needs to be much less. Here paying a disinterested third party for a PPI will be money well spent.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:20 PM
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"oil filler cap, on the underside of the cap there was a creamy colored frothy gew"

YES!!! Classic "tell tale" of coolant is getting into oil!!!
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for the input and the confirmation on what I suspected to be a coolant leak.

Werner
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:47 PM
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Coolant in the oil will likely leave this foam on the cap, yes. But if there's coolant in the oil, you will also see it on the dipstick. You said that it looked clean.

The car has been test driven a few times lately and not brought up to temperature.
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Old 12-07-2008, 09:19 AM
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Hmmmm. The dipstick oil looked brand new. If it sits there a while (in today's market I think it will), I'll take another look.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:44 PM
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Various engines exhibit the goop on the bottom of the oil filler cap simply due to humidity condensation, i.e. it's not a headgasket leak.

There's about zero humidity where I live so not the best example, but can report never saw this on two different previously-owned M103 engines (what this thread is about) and did see it on an M112 V6.

Wouldn't hurt to peek into the rad overflow to see condition of the antifreeze. It shouldn't be green, BTW.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:48 PM
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Werner, I take it you saw this 1987 300E at a Used Car Lot, not at a MB dealer. It's money well spent to have a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) performed by a MB-trained tech who knows the inherent problems of that vintage MB automobile. Repair of the timing chain cover leak may cost more than you anticipate, especially if the lower cover is leaking. Have the tech advise you of all required maintenance items and the associated cost so you can negotiate with the seller. You want to avoid paying $3,000 for that car then having to spend another $3,000 to get it in good working order. A neglected MB automobile can turn into a money pit.

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