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  #1  
Old 05-17-2012, 11:12 AM
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1993 300CE (w124) - questions

Hi there,

I'm hoping to get some suggestions about what repairs to make and what a reasonable charge to do it would be.

I went to an MB shop to get a check done of my vehicle, and here are some of their recommendations:

MB recommended fixes:
- Water pump leaking (but fluid levels look fine): 3 hrs labour + water pump (and how do I know exactly which water pump to buy from the parts store? I have the MB part #)
- Left lower control arm ball joint shows some play: 3 hrs labour + control arm (mine is a single piece apparently)
- Rear differential vent cap is seized
- 4% water content in brake fluid, so brake fluid flush -> but what would be causing this?
- Valve cover appears to be leaking ($600 parts + labour) -> is this worth fixing, another MB shop says it's 'sweating a little' and not worth fixing.

Other issues I've noted:
1) Engine runs warms (around 100 to 105) in stop and go traffic, in warm weather. It runs normal (85) when there is better airflow to the engine (e.g. going 50+ km/h). The thermostat, fan clutch and radiator have been replaced within the last year (thermostat for this same issue, fan clutch because the old one was a bit worn and the radiator for a different issue). The aux cooling fans come on as they're supposed to (around 107 I think).

2) There is some play in the steering when driving straight on the highway. The car will sometimes sway left or right very slightly even if there's no apparent changes in the road surface (a couple newer cars I have track straight on the same roads)

3) Fuel consumption from cold starts in winter seems to be very high. In winter, I could do about 300 to 350 miles per tank, while in summer I normally get 400 miles.

4) Cold starts in winter weather are weak

5) Engine sort of sounds like a diesel when I am idling in drive gear (sound goes away when I'm in park, or as soon as I engage the throttle). When I say this, I mean there's a rattling sound from the engine bay (sounds like somewhere up front). Idle is smooth otherwise.

6) Coolant light "glows" in warm weather when engine is running warm. That is, the light is not on, it just glows very faintly... I can only usually see it glowing at night time, not during the day. However, the light bulb itself works correctly (e.g. when I turn on the ignition, it will light up correctly)

7) If there is a passenger sitting in the back left (or any other load), then I hear a noise from the wheel well every time I go over a fairly large bump in the road. Doesn't look like there's any rubbing, and mechanics couldn't replicate the issue enough to be able to find the problem. It sounds like a low-pitched squeak.

I'm probably making the car sound like it runs terribly, but it generally runs very well overall! I'd like to ensure it's always in great shape and appreciate all the help I've gotten from this forum!

Thanks!

1993 300CE (w124)

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Old 05-17-2012, 02:34 PM
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MB recommended fixes:
- Water pump leaking (but fluid levels look fine): 3 hrs labour + water pump (and how do I know exactly which water pump to buy from the parts store? I have the MB part #)


If you are going to DIY, this is a pretty involved job but doable.


- 4% water content in brake fluid, so brake fluid flush -> but what would be causing this?


Do this yourself and save the money.


Other issues I've noted:
1) Engine runs warms (around 100 to 105) in stop and go traffic, in warm weather. It runs normal (85) when there is better airflow to the engine (e.g. going 50+ km/h). The thermostat, fan clutch and radiator have been replaced within the last year (thermostat for this same issue, fan clutch because the old one was a bit worn and the radiator for a different issue). The aux cooling fans come on as they're supposed to (around 107 I think).


My 1991 was pretty much the same after I changed the radiator. I used a cheaper brand instead of the better quality Behr. Temps fine at highway speeds, but in warm weather combined with hills, the temp would be over 100 and then the aux fans would kick in and bring it down.

3) Fuel consumption from cold starts in winter seems to be very high. In winter, I could do about 300 to 350 miles per tank, while in summer I normally get 400 miles.

This is about what I got.



5) Engine sort of sounds like a diesel when I am idling in drive gear (sound goes away when I'm in park, or as soon as I engage the throttle). When I say this, I mean there's a rattling sound from the engine bay (sounds like somewhere up front). Idle is smooth otherwise.

This sounds like engine mounts but I would think the mechanics would have seen it. Easier to do than a water pump.


6) Coolant light "glows" in warm weather when engine is running warm. That is, the light is not on, it just glows very faintly... I can only usually see it glowing at night time, not during the day. However, the light bulb itself works correctly (e.g. when I turn on the ignition, it will light up correctly)

I found this to be either weak battery or weak charging system. Check the voltage regulator (attached to alternator) and replace if well worn.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:30 PM
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Thanks for the reply!

1) Temperature range... is it normal to get over a 100 on a hot day in stop / go traffic? Other than the rad, thermostat and fan clutch, what else should I be looking at?

5) Engine sound... I took a listen today, and the noise is coming from right around the front left side of the engine bay (right around the thermostat). Any ideas on what could be making the noise? Again.. sounds like a rattling sound. Engine mounts were replaced a couple years back.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:58 PM
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The water pump.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optimizer View Post
Thanks for the reply!

1) Temperature range... is it normal to get over a 100 on a hot day in stop / go traffic? Other than the rad, thermostat and fan clutch, what else should I be looking at?

5) Engine sound... I took a listen today, and the noise is coming from right around the front left side of the engine bay (right around the thermostat). Any ideas on what could be making the noise? Again.. sounds like a rattling sound. Engine mounts were replaced a couple years back.
I had a 1991 300CE for about 10 years. Early on it ran unusually cool, most of the time in the lo 80's. With the benefit of hindsight, this was probably because of a faulty thermostat staying open most of the time. Towards the end of my ownership, after a new radiator, the temps were usually in the high 80's and on hot days and stop and go traffic it would hang around 100.

If the engine mounts were cheap ones, you could need them again. IIRC the distance from the bottom of the flange of the mount to the frame s/b about 13mm.

A rattle around the thermostat could be the belt tensioner shock (your engine may not have one, check VIN). It should be pretty obvious when you press with a big screwdriver with the engine running. Be careful doing this and stay away from moving parts! The bushings at either end of the shock get old and shrink.

Last edited by glenmore; 05-18-2012 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:31 PM
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I have a '93 320CE (correct designation) that has 205K miles. It is so quiet at idle I have glance at the tach to make sure it is running. Yes, 100-105 in hot weather is normal. You can get a resistor from J Forgione's website to bring down the temp (turn on the fans earlier) You mentioned a noise from the thermostat side. The AC compressor is in that area also. One of the things I always do on my cars is to have the AC compressor pulled and checked for the correct amount of oil. So far, I have never lost a compressor.
The biggest problem I've had is a strange limp home that only happens once in the morning and never again until the next day.
Anziani
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'95 E420 125K
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:51 PM
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I took it into a fairly respected independent shop today (better known for bmw's than benz's), and they took a listen for the rattling, they felt it is coming from the inside of the engine somewhere. Said it could possibly be related to the timing chain, or something they called a "vanos" - related to cam timing. They said it wouldn't be worth getting in there to investigate since it would take a lot of labour.

I'll take a look at the resistor mod as well to lower the trigger temp for the aux fans. At the shop today we also some small signs of coolant residue around a couple of hoses where they meet the radiator. Again, radiator was replaced, but it seems like there might be an issue with coolant flow somewhere..

Shop also pointed me to some signs of oil seepage from the valve cover and suggested I get the seal replaced. I could also see evidence of the oil on a couple of parts nearby, not too bad, but I will get it done.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:57 PM
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Sorry man but that sounds like a load of nonsense.

Watch your fluid levels. If your pump is leaking you will be adding water regularly. Like to the tune of weekly if it's an issue along with dangerously high temps all the time.

VC gasket if it's just sweating (just a slight haze of oil and dirt around the edges), leave it. Also $600 to replace the VC gasket? **** THAT! That number had really better be yen or Pesos to make sense.

Brake fluid 4% moisture? LOL How the hell did they figure that one out?

Lastly, "Differential vent cap seized" Huh? Does he mean the filler plug is tight?

WTF?

Sorry. just drive the car, it's fine for now. Find a new wrench when it finally does run out of water / start overheating.

PS do check your alternator output, faint glowing on dash could mean low overall charge output or just a bad ground somewhere.

rjp
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:01 PM
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PS if you live near a tourist area you can buy me a plane ticket (RT of course) I'll do your VC gasket for ya. I'll even supply the gasket
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:57 PM
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PS- "VANOS" is BMW's variable cam timing system- uses pressurized oil to control camshafts. It is known to rattle from time to time, and when it breaks it's hideously expensive.

Problem is, it's exclusive to BMW. These cars have no such system.

rjp
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:51 PM
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Fix for #5 (rattling noise coming from the engine bay right around the thermostat) was replacing a worn o-ring at the top mount of the tension shock. Thanks to glenmore and Arthur Dalton for helping with that.
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Last edited by optimizer; 05-19-2012 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:20 PM
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So with the overheating issue... I did some tests this afternoon..

Before turning on the car, I checked the fan:
- Turning it by hand, it would turn max 1/4 before coming to a stop. According to other posts, this seems to be functioning normally

I ran the car in idle for a few minutes to check some basics:
- Fan was turning (counter-clock-wise if looking head on at the car, which seems like it's in the right direction). However, from the front of the radiator, the intake airflow felt minimal - I held up a piece of paper and it didn't seem to stick to the grill of the aux fans. From the rear, the airflow felt like it was going outward radially, not outward to the rear. Since the fan was rotating in the correct direction given the way the blades were oriented, I assume this is normal.
- Pipe from the engine to thermostat and from thermostat to top of radiator both got warm at relatively the same rate
- Pipe from thermostat to bottom of radiator stayed cool

At normal operating temperature (about 85C), engine stayed at that temp for a while, at least about 10 minutes. Here's what happened:
- Pipe from thermostat to bottom of radiator warmed up, but not sure if that was because of the ambient engine bay temperature rising


I turned on the A/C to high, here's what happened:
- Neither of the aux fans turned on, I believe one is supposed to?
- Engine got up to about 95C and stayed there for a while
- With the A/C on, I revved the engine a bit and the engine temp started rising to 100C... then 105C, then slightly above 105C, the aux fans kicked in and the engine temp went down within a minute to about 85C again
- Airflow through the radiator with the aux fans on was very strong, way stronger than with just the main fan

I also didn't notice any change in the coolant level in the reservoir tank throughout everything, and I would have expected to see a dip... is that the correct functionality?
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optimizer View Post
6) Coolant light "glows" in warm weather when engine is running warm. That is, the light is not on, it just glows very faintly... I can only usually see it glowing at night time, not during the day. However, the light bulb itself works correctly (e.g. when I turn on the ignition, it will light up correctly)
This is a common issue - just change the coolant level sensor in the expansion tank. I had exactly the same problem recently in my 124. The sensor is cheap.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:21 AM
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“I ran the car in idle for a few minutes to check some basics:
- Fan was turning (counter-clock-wise if looking head on at the car, which seems like it's in the right direction). However, from the front of the radiator, the intake airflow felt minimal - I held up a piece of paper and it didn't seem to stick to the grill of the aux fans. From the rear, the airflow felt like it was going outward radially, not outward to the rear.”

SUGGESTION:
Its possible that someone incorrectly installed the fan blade.
To check, remove the fan shroud, then proceed to remove the plastic fan blade(not the visco clutch), its held in place by three allen bolts. When you have it off , take a look at both sides , one of the sides should be labeled “FRONT.” Then reinstall the fan blade with the “FRONT” side facing the radiator.



“I turned on the A/C to high, here's what happened:
- Neither of the aux fans turned on, I believe one is supposed to?”

Both auxiliary fans should always run at the same time. The aux. fans are run on two separate circuits: one for A/C(low speed) the other for supplemental cooling(high speed). With ac on, the refrigerant pressure will increase and eventually should trigger the auxiliary fans at low speed . When engine temps get a little above 105c the auxiliary fans should come on at high speed.

Its possible that you have a fault with your low speed/ac aux. fan circuit. You might want to do some research. Unfortunately I recently lost all of my bookmarks, but do a search for auxiliary fans and Arthur Dalton, you will find a ton of info on how to test the circuit.


good luck
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:30 AM
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I'm pretty sure the aux fans are supposed to turn clockwise. At least they did on early 124s.

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