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Old 12-18-2010, 03:08 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 16
190e 2.6 Head Gasket - Second replacement

I have a 190e 2.6 with 165k. I rebuilt the head at around 148k to fix the oil leak that is a known issue with this motor in the rear left corner. I had the head completely re-worked (left the block in the car) and replaced the gasket with a Victor Reinz gasket set.

Now, I'm seeing the same leak again.

Looking for suggestions from those with a similar experience. I've had one mechanic tell me to simply torque the head bolts down another 90 degrees to see if that stops it. They were torqued per the factory manual the first time, but were not re-torqued at any point. Sure don't want to risk snapping a head bolt.

1. What about experience with Felpro gaskets? I've used them on other vehicles in the past with great success - more expensive - but worth it?

2. What about gasket sealing sprays - I've used the Permatex copper gasket coat before - and again - it worked great on a Land Rover with iron block and aluminum heads. I know the gasket makers say no - but I really don't want to do this job again if something like this will help fix the design issue with this motor.

Finally, I'm probably going to replace the water pump while I have the top end off (replaced once at about 80k). Any experience with GMB pumps? Expensive - but may be worth it.

Thanks in advance for the help.

93 190e 2.6 147k
81 240D 265k
89 Range Rover 165k
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:28 PM
Home appliance genius
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: cleveland
Posts: 1,160
why not oem? I replaced my gasket with one from the dealer about 50k ago. Never had a problem. This is the second time I heard about that victor reinz gasket having the same oil leak.

Just think, the original gasket lasted 20 years and 150k.

10 E63 AMG
93 300te 4matic
07 BMW X3
14 Ford F-150 Fx2
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:50 PM
have mercy's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hedgesville WV
Posts: 200
3 word's Clean-clean-clean. Make sure it's clean . Brake clean ,make sure no can tack the gasket if want. how many seting do you go throught try4-5 if there is a problem. Do you have a straight bar ,make sure head is not warped. don't take the shop's word. I was doing a 124/91 /300e freshin it up I would check to see if it needed borded.look at ring grove to{do not let them use WD-40 solfen's metal].and if It done, platic gage the crank/rod's. this happen to me I Checked the
pistion's they where fine after being bored they where with in tolerance. rebuild ,engine smoked bad I thought I broke a ring ,I remove engine, tore apart looked greet, back together, still smoke . Back out take apart, looked everywhere, looked greet, then I noticed I piston had been rubing. check hole with straight rod. When they bored it, it was not at 90 degree's , I donot know how they did that. I have bored block's before I do not know how he did it. after that I check out mach. work regood. Did you have the head checked for straightness did you have is shaved. before you send it out do some measurement's if they remove to much valve's will hit head. Wishing you all the luck.
30 yr's still in love
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:58 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 254
I can't speculate on why the gasket failed as I have no information on how you proceeded with the job and how well you adhered to standard procedures and protocol.
But, I would advise not to torque the bolts another 90. I think that's really bad advise.
The two angle turns after the initial torque are a procedure for specially made "torque-to-yield" bolts (or stretch bolts as they are commonly called). The basic idea is that as the bolts get turned they draw the surfaces tighter and tighter. At a certain torque the bolt are designed to start to stretch, rather than continue to tighten. When all the bolts reach the range of tightness where they are now merely stretching, they have all reached the same level of tightness. This accuracy of even-ness of torque amongst the bolts represents an optimum of stability across the head to block surfaces for this critical job.
Turning them any further will not tighten them, they will merely continue to stretch until they actually begin to weaken their hold and likely break.

These are special bolts in a newer era of technology (though they've been around for a while) and aren't like head bolts from years ago. They have a specification for length after being used (stretched). They can be re-used as long as they haven't exceeded the maximum allowable length. Personally, I would use new stretch bolts every time.
Also note that the older style M103 head bolts used thick washers, the newer replacement (stretch) bolts have an integral collar and do not use washers.
One of the more important things you can do on this job is to make sure the bolt holes are VERY clean using compressed air, q-tips, and even a bottom tap to [carefully] chase the threads clean.

Do the best you can to make sure the leak isn't coming from the rear of the valve cover or somewhere else before you tear the head off again. The valve cover should be retightened, to the specified torque, at some point after the head gasket job to prevent leakage. Over tightening may actually cause leakage. The castings on M103 valve covers are known to sometimes distort among other problems and some people use sealers on the gaskets (I would avoid that if I could, personally).
Last thought would be that even if it was a head gasket, unless the leak was really bad, I probably wouldn't do the job until I started getting oil in my coolant tank. Then I'd do it as soon as possible so it didn't foul the radiator, heater core and the rest of the cooling system.
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:26 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 3,035
Chris, recommend buying a reconditioned water pump from your local MB dealer.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:25 AM
compress ignite's Avatar
Drone aspiring to Serfdom
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: 32(degrees) North by 81(degrees) West
Posts: 5,554
All Good Advice,Above(Except the Idiot who suggested "Re-Torquing")

Two Choices:

Factory Gasket From Mercedes
(Using VHT Copper Gasket Cement on it up to you...)

Custom MLS Steel gasket from "Gaskets to Go" WITH VHT Copper Gasket Cement.
'84 300SD sold
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:48 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Posts: 3,523
Having same issue (I believe) on my a thread on this page

Question: Was your VR kit light like this:

Or like this:

I ordered the same gasket from the site as last time, but I got a darker version now. Maybe the lighter colored one was a previous revision? Just curious if you happened to remember which one you used. I rebuilt my head at ~89k and it started leaking at ~99k

I am pulling my head for the 2nd time myself in a few days. I too am losing oil at the back corner of the head, but I cannot tell if it is the gasket or the gallery plug. Either way it has to come off again to figure it out.

2016 Monsoon Gray Audi Allroad - 21k
2008 Black Mercedes E350 4Matic Sport - 131k
2014 Jeep Wranger Unlimited Sahara - 62k
2003 Gray Mercedes ML350 - 122k
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