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Old 01-15-2002, 09:01 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 6
Angry Oil oozing from instrument cluster!

Hi Folks,

I have a super-clean '84 300D Turbo that, as of today, began seeping a black oil from the instrument cluster. One by one, the lights below the tach/speedo/ etc began getting covered by this oil. Eventually, it seeped out onto the steering column. Does anyone have an idea what this could be? I thought that water had leaked from the windshield, but when it began to visibly leak, I touched it and discovered oil...

Any assistance would be appreciated!!


Stuart Harris

1984 300D
1980 280GE
Stuart Harris
Memphis, TN
1980 280GE Gelaendewagen (sold)
1984 300D Turbo (sold)
1986 280GE Gelaendewagen (sold)
1995 E420 (sold)
1995 E320 Wagon
1998 E320 Wagon
2006 E350 Wagon
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Old 01-15-2002, 09:22 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Newton, MS
Posts: 123
I would suspect a direct feed oil gauge tube/connection. Do you know if that's the type gauge you have?

86 300 SDL
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Old 01-15-2002, 09:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Maryland. USA
Posts: 180
Although I own a 116 chassis, I'm fairly certain that your model also has a mechanical Oil Prssure gauge. There is a black very rigid plastic line that runs through the fire wall to the back of the oil pressure gauge at the back of the instrument cluster. Either the plumbing has developed a leak or the receiver for the gauge has.

If that is the problem, you may be able to find another cluster at a salvage yard like Potomac German Auto. You should then be able to transplant the odometer assembly (this all presumes that it wasn't contaminated either).
S, J.R. Brown
2000 G500 LWB Obsedian Black
2005 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road Sport
1993 Volvo 240 Sedan Anthracite
1980 450SEL Champange (owned it for 15 years. Great car)
1986 280GE LWB Anthracite (Sold it and kinda wish I hadn't)
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Old 01-15-2002, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 52
This may not be related to MB cars at all, but it made for a weird repair. I once repaired a woman's Geo that was leaking transaxle fluid/gear oil out of the speedometer cable. A small carbon seal had ruptured in the transaxle allowing the cable attachment to be filled with oil. The spiral spring cable acted like an axial flow pump and pumped it up to the back of the cluster. It dripped out all over her legs and the drivers side. What a mess that made. The dealership wouldn't touch it.

If it is black oil more than likely it's the pressure gauge. If it's red, it may be another freak cable leak out of the trans. Belive it or Not!
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Old 01-15-2002, 11:05 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
I agree that either the feed line for the mechanical pressure gauge, or the gauge itself has failed causing the leak. It is possible it could simply be the fitting needs to be tightened as well.

If you remove the cluster to find the source of the leak, be careful not to pull out too far before disconnecting the oil line. Also, when loosening or tightening the fitting, be sure to use two 10mm wrenches, one to loosen the fitting and the other as a counter on the gauge body. If you don't do that, and there was nothing wrong with the gauge, there will be afterwards.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 01-15-2002, 11:40 PM
Posts: n/a
i know that the oil pressure guage on some models have an actual oil line leading up to the back of the instrument cluster. if this is worn or the connector is leaking it will make a real mess.
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Old 11-25-2002, 08:28 PM
Posts: n/a
I guess this is a common problem, since I installed a CD player in my 80 300sd (sorry for you guys that like originals, I had to take out the Becker Mexico tape player), I have noticed oil dripping all over the top of the CD Player and into my passenger floor. It's not a big problem, but annoying.
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