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Old 01-17-2002, 11:48 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Rancho PV, CA, USA
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M104 Head Gasket - 2 Questions

I took my '94 E320 in for 82.5K service and they found the head gasket leaking oil, which will be replaced under the Starmark Warranty.
1. Is this now a permanent fix, or will be a repeat in a few years?
2. Does the '97 W210/M104 have the same problem?
Could not find either answer in the search. Thanks for any help. Ed
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Old 01-18-2002, 12:06 AM
94 E320
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 437
I have a 94 E320 and recently got my head gasket changed

from what i've read and conclude....this is an on going in another 80K miles it may happen again...the key word meaning may

i don't think it mattered what chassis it was....i think it was basically the engine type

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Old 01-18-2002, 10:23 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
The primary issue with the head gasket problem has more to do with the different alloys between the head and block, coupled with the large surface areas and expansion rates...a tall order for the head gasket anyway, which is really why failure would eventually occur. This is a known problem with the M103 and M104 engine series

One probable way to increase the life of your head gasket is to let your car warm up for a few minutes before heading off. This would allow the head and block to warm up and expand gradually, putting less stress on the head gasket.

I anticipate having to replace mine soon given the history of what other W124 owners have experienced, but at 113K, I have yet to pull the cylinder head off.

It's not really a bad thing, since valve stem seals will probably need attention anyway, and it will be time to inspect the timing chain as well...
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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Old 01-18-2002, 10:45 AM
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Do others on this site also advocate a slow warm up as a really viable way to slow the wearing of the head gasket?
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Old 01-18-2002, 10:47 AM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
I always allow my car to warm up to at least 60C before I start to slowly drive off anyway.
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 01-18-2002, 11:11 AM
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Excellent question that I've often wondered about too. The head gasket was replaced on my 95 E320 @89K miles, under the starmark warranty, it now has over 141K miles with no problems. I was hoping the material had been changed or the design for longer life but no has been able to tell me.

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Old 01-18-2002, 01:31 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: At Sea
Posts: 1,729
from what i gathered in various threads there are three different kinds of head gaskets out there for the M104. i think MB has an improved design (look for a Steve B thread on this), and then there's Goetze, which i believe is also sold as OEM, and which has had a good write up or two and there's a third kind which i don't recall anything about. use of either of the first two appaears to prevent recurrence in reported cases.
1993 300e-2.8
- gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"
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Old 01-18-2002, 01:42 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Florida / N.H.
Posts: 8,768
The final torque on these head bolts is done by the amount of final turn angle. [ streach bolts].
Once they are used , the pre-load streach has been used.
Using new bolts and using the new style head gasket should take care of the chance of re-occuring problems.
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Old 01-18-2002, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Vienna, WV
Posts: 121
As my Starmark expired on my 95 S320, I asked the local MB service manager for his thoughts on buying an extended warranty for this type of thing. His advice was that he had never seen a car in a second time for the head gasket, vacuum assist, evaporator, etc. He believed that the replacement parts were improved.

Tom Savage
Vienna, WV
1984 300D Euro
1995 S320
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Old 01-18-2002, 09:58 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 326
I don't see where warming up the engine first would extend the life of the head gasket.
Having both M103 & 104 I can say this. The 104 had two head gaskets in about a 2 year span. The second gasket has been fine and the car currently has 106k on the odometer. The 103 has 152k miles and the head gasket has not been replaced since I've owned it. There is some seepage from the right front corner though.
Scott Diener
89 300E
93 300E
92 Volvo 740 Wagon aka "Mutt mover"
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Old 01-18-2002, 11:54 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: ajax, ontario, canada
Posts: 773
the thing about an inline-6 engine is that due to the length of the block, thermal expansion is more pronounced than that of a shorter block, e.g., a V-6.

and differences between thermal expansion characteristics among the head, gasket and block get more pronounced too.
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