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Old 12-31-2001, 04:26 PM
Michael's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
How does your oil look?

For all you manic oil-changers and extend-the-interval types, as well as Dino vs. Synthetic fanatics alike: how does your oil look after you change it? Just how clean does it look on the dipstick after you've run it up after a change? What change method do you use?

Now, my '88 TE has 175k miles. It's been on a strict diet of Mobil 1 15W50 since 67k, and the head was done 10k ago (head gasket, valve seals & guides, etc) at which point it was determined to look "spotless" inside by my tech. I use a Topsider, and have for a year or so.

I changed the oil 3k miles ago-it still is quite clear, and just now is beginning to discolor. Had to add 1/2 qt. since the change. This amazes me.

My 500E is much the same, although the oil gets darker a bit quicker, say by 2k miles (it has 92k on it now, and I put it on Mobil 1 at 43k).

The Diesel's Black by 100 miles, perhaps sooner. I prefer to leave Diesels out of this discussion (no offense fellow diesel-dogs )

Any/all relevant opinions appreciated.
"If everything seems under control, you're simply not going fast enough" --Mario Andretti

1995 E500 street car
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo S track car
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Old 12-31-2001, 05:39 PM
Posts: n/a
It's funny Michael that I'm about to ask
the same question.When I got my car the dealer
has just performed the 90k inspection,and at 93k+
I ask my mechanic to change the oil.He said that its a waste of money because the oil is too clean.
The oil,actually looks like its only been in the
engine for a month.I had him change the oil
anyway.Its too cold for me to do it this
time of the year.
Another thing,Do you have any carbon in your
exhaust tip? Mine don't have any.Should I be
happy? There must be a reason.
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Old 12-31-2001, 06:30 PM
Posts: n/a

The oil may look crystal clear on the dipstick at 3,000 miles, but most likely it will look dirty when you drain it. You are looking through only .020" of oil on the dipstick, so it will look much clearer than it will while draining out or in the drain pan.

You may have a great tech, but don't listen to him discourage frequent oil changes. He certainly doesn't abide by the old saying that "the customer is always right". Ask him how long his car lasts since he doesn't change his oil very often.

Additionally, oil can look very clean, but there are other things that may require the oil to be drained. For instance, there are additives in the oil to deal with moisture that may condense into the oil, especially in the winter. These additives will eventually deplete themselves, especially in a car that is driven short hops(less than about 15 miles).

The oil in all my gas cars gets to a very light brown before my 3,000 mile oil changes. The one exception is my C240 in which I run Mobil One and change it between the dealer changes, which means about 5,000 miles. This oil is pretty clear when it comes out.

Have a great day,
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Old 12-31-2001, 06:45 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
The oil in my gas cars is also clean at oil change time.

Now the diesel dog (a flying one, BTW, see my signiture) gets dirty oil soon after a short drive with a fresh oil change.

Last edited by loubapache; 12-31-2001 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 12-31-2001, 07:34 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Western Mass.
Posts: 324
It brings to mind a term "A WELL OILED MACHINE" nuff said

03 C240 4matic wagon
95 300E 234,000
7 prior 240;s 5 still going
81 300sd gone
65 230sl gone
49 Studebaker Champion
90BMW convert.167,000
60 Dodge D-100
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Old 12-31-2001, 07:45 PM
Posts: n/a
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Old 12-31-2001, 08:41 PM
Ashman's Avatar
Service Advisor
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,748
Mine is uaully pretty clean too. I prefer to change it regardless of color at 3k no matter what.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - C7 Wheels
2015 ML350 - P1, Pano, Ash poplar wood, Sport Dinamica interior, Running Boards Keyless go.
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Old 12-31-2001, 08:48 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
Just changed the oil on the E500 (37.5k)...the oil and 1250mi 95% freeway use- on it. Oil from the dip stick looked clean- just slightly dirty brownish...however when drained- the oil looked black as the 'Ace Of Spades'

fyi- I use 15W-40 Pennzoil dino and Mann filter (from Mercedesshop)

Also just changed the oil on the E320 Coupe (97k) and it had 3200mi 90% freeway use-on it. Oil from the dip stick looked much dirtier (vs. the E500) and looked jet black when drained (smelled worse too).

fyi- I use 20W-50 Castrol dino and Hengst filter (from Mercedesshop).

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Old 12-31-2001, 10:29 PM
Michael's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
Good point, Bible, on the film thickness-gotta love that Texan, eh folks?
Happy New Year All!!
"If everything seems under control, you're simply not going fast enough" --Mario Andretti

1995 E500 street car
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo S track car
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Old 12-31-2001, 10:55 PM
CJ CJ is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Earth
Posts: 1,318
Mine is jet black like printers ink, but then again if it wasn't jet black, I would think something was wrong!!
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Old 01-01-2002, 12:25 AM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
Mine is somewhat dirty at changes, it is not pitch black, but it is noticeably darker.

I use Mobil 1 15-50 and change every 3750 miles.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 01-01-2002, 04:05 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
I use Mobil 1 in the C230, and change it every 3000-4500 miles depending on FSS.

Most of the time, it had barely discoloured. On my last oil change, it was "kinda" brown.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 01-02-2002, 11:49 AM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
If I were a woman, I would probably say on all my cars, the oil looks "butterscotch"...

...although I don't use that as an indication of anything except that it looks "butterscotch".

Awww what the hey! It's light brown!

As an aside...why do women hate that men use primary and secondary colors to describe everything? My wife and I get into arguments about "green" versus "teal", etc...
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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