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Old 10-28-2001, 10:43 AM
94 E320
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 437
Question Current Head Gasket replacement cost for w124?


I know this subject is dealt with a long time ago but I was curious what the current rate to place the dreaded Head Gasket for a w124 (94 E320) goes for these days? I haven't had the need to get anything done on my car except an oil/filter change so I'm not real cool with the local repair shops. So if anyone could give me a ballpark figures that would be ideal.

I'm @ 70K and too much oil on the driveway. I can't believe the dreaded day has arrived.

I'm also going to get a valve job since I remember the Benzmac recommeding it when you get the headgasket replaced. Who am I to argue with a Benzmac advice?

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Old 10-28-2001, 11:22 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Since labor rates varies, it would be better to know the flat rate hours to do the R&R.

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Old 10-28-2001, 11:30 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 2,053
Have you rounded up the "usual suspects" on your oil leak first? (Valve cover gasket, oil pan, oil cooler lines etc.) Oil on the driveway isn't usually head gasket unless you've got some other serious symptoms you're not mentioning. Compression drop between two adjacent cylinders, the ever popular oil in coolant, CO2 test failure for coolant, water or oil in cylinder(s)/plugs, etc. are more common signs/symptoms. It would take a fairly decent head gasket peripheral blowout to put oil out in that quantity at 70K miles.
The Golden Rule

1984 300SD (bought new, sold it in 1988, bought it back 13 yrs. later)
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Old 10-28-2001, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
To each his own. I find it illogical to double the cost of a head gasket job to avoid the possiblity of having problems in an area that never has problems. The chance of the new head gasket leaking within the next hundred k is about 100 times greater than the valves needing work in that time.

You can replace a head gasket a hundred times. You can not keep grinding valves and driving guides.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 10-28-2001, 03:58 PM
94 E320
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 437

Well the reason I'm saying its the Head Gasket is from the following:

-Looking in the engine bay I can visibly see lots of oil thats been dripping from the side of the engine. The starting point is where the exhaust pipes meets the engine.

-When I got my oil & filter changed about 2 weeks ago there was lots of oil on the plastic cover under the the whole front end.

-I've driven it about 300 miles last week and noticed that I had lots more oil on the driveway than the usual 1 or 2 small drops.

-Checked the oil level and it was @ minimum.

-Before driving it today I had laid out newspaper on the floor of my garage and went for a 30 mile sprint....when I came back in I parked in the garage. After like an hour I backed up to see the what was dripping. I found 4 large drops of oil..about 2" in diameter. Before I had to really hunt for the 1-2 specs of oil.

-Also I had noticed that I had oil on the Intake Manifold boot and it was kind of greasy on the side closest to the right front tire.

-I didn't have oil in the coolant though.

I had a dealer look @ it last spring and here is the report they said: Appears to be from Head Gasket, Chain Tensioner, Front Timing Cover Seal, and Oil Pan Gasket.

Any ideas to where to look and how much these things would cost? Just a ballpark figure is fine.

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Old 10-28-2001, 05:19 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Before you start paying by the hour to find the leak why don't you clean and degrease the engine. Nothing high pressure, but several easy cleanings should help you find the leak yourself. Once you have the engine clean you can watch for the oil seepage and have a better idea of where it's coming from. Prime example, I was sure my tensioner was leaking as I could watch steady drips from the tensioner while the engine was running. A good cleaning showed me the valve cover seals were leaking something fierce. Changed the valve cover seals, and now the tensioner is bone dry. Hmmm...go figure, somehow changing the valve cover seals fixed the leaking tensioner too
Mike Tangas
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Old 10-28-2001, 06:12 PM
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Location: Santa Monica, CA
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After oil and filter change an increase in leakage (enough to lose it down to minimum) probably has something to do with said oil/filter change. Check valve cover gasket, filter gasket, oil pan plug and gasket (even if suction system was used to change oil).
Who changed the oil/filter? Have them check their work first. All these things are relatively cheap/easy to check before assuming the dreaded head gasket scenario. Head gasket should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. "If the head gasket fits, you must aquit".. " If it seals, there's no appeal"...sorry, don't know what came over'll never happen again.
The Golden Rule

1984 300SD (bought new, sold it in 1988, bought it back 13 yrs. later)
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Old 10-28-2001, 09:07 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
I have not EVER recommended a valve job on a 104 engine with head gasket replacement. I have on the 103, same chasis, different engine. I have done over 100 of these head gaskets and the only valve job was done to a car that was overheated.

With that out of the way, I think the job can be done for $800-$1,000.

Good luck.
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 10-28-2001, 10:02 PM
94 E320
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 437
First off....Benzmac sorry on the misquote

I think I'll do the recommended things degrease to get a better idea of where the leak is coming from.

I love the Johnny Cockran quote...brilliant!

As far as the oil/filter change....even before the changed anything when I helped them (personal mechanics...known since 88) to remove the plastic cover @ the bottom....there was a big puddle of oil at the bottom of it. Usually there is a sort of dried greasy residue at the bottom. Last time it was much more fluid like.

Also when I did the usual oil/filter change the underneath section of the car was always very oily and I'd spray a de-greasing solution everytime.

Well let me re-investigate and keep you all posted. Hopefully it will be easy and cheap to fix. Until then my Benz awaits me on the driveway....its gonna be so weird to drive a normal car (Nissan Maxima) to work and back.

Thank you for all the input,
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