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Old 03-01-2002, 04:28 PM
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Unhappy oil everywhere

i am about to replace the head gasket on '84 190E. have the gasket have read the manual several times and am just waiting for the weather to be agreeable for this work. just step back inside from trying to find the 750 ohm resistor that controls the retard. the manual indicated it was beneath the air cleaner. wasn't but that is another post, unless there is a wiz who could point me to it.

anyway when i removed the air cleaner i noticed that it has several teaspoons of oil in it. the element was replace the 1st of feb so i know it wasn't there then. this car has been inspected by a mercedes dealer, new buyer inspection. that is why i am replacing the valve cover gasket and head gasket. they indicated a leak in the cover and head.

there is oil all over everything and in the air cleaner. what could be causeing that? there is always an oil spot on the ground when i park the car. i also need to add oil every 500 miles or so. i believe this is the valve cover and head leak. but what about the oil on the upper surfaces and in the air cleaner.

is there anyone out ther who might be able to indicate why this is happening?

thank you very much

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Old 03-01-2002, 04:38 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: South Eastern, MA
Posts: 1,743
I used to own an 84 190E that did the same thing. I never did determine the cause of it but on some cases it was bad enough that it soaked the air cleaner. I believe attached to your air cleaner is a type of pressure relief which may allow the oil in.

A tech would know best but its could be a possible cause.

I would be curious what caused it to if it wasnt that relief opening.

02 C32 AMG

92 500E
84 190E 2.3 5 Spd
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Old 03-02-2002, 05:51 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Goldsboro, NC
Posts: 31
Have an 84 190e 175,000 miles with a similiar oil leak problem. I have not looked in the air cleaner lately but it is losing oil from the valve cover gasket(I think) and possibly from the head gasket. I replaced the valve cover and gasket and still have drops of oil under the engine. I believe it is coming from above the exhaust manifold. I have the valve cover torqued at 25lbs currently. The manual call for 17lbs. Tightening the valve cover bolts on the exhaust side first reduced the amount of oil loss and changed the pattern of the drops under the engine. My next step is to go to 30 lbs torque and make sure the gasket is seated properly.

Appears the oil in the air cleaner may originate from the PCV.
'00 Mazda MPV Family's car
'83 300D 235,000
'84 109E 175,000
'74 280C 125,000 in garage; needs rehab or sell for parts???
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Old 03-02-2002, 06:16 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 2,053
Over torqueing fasteners above gaskets actually causes them to leak MORE in some instances by distorting the metal slightly. Check flatness of the valve cover first, then torque to spec.
The Golden Rule

1984 300SD (bought new, sold it in 1988, bought it back 13 yrs. later)
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Old 04-26-2002, 12:18 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NW suburb of Chicago
Posts: 104
I had the same exact problem with my 84 190e (94404 miles) prior to my owning it it was my grandmothers and i would do basic mintainance chorec on it you know;plugs, oil,airfilter. The first time I chaned the airfilter was before I took up the basic maintainance work on the car. I had been looking under the hood and happened to open the air cleaner housing to check the filter and found that it was nearly 75%oil soaked I knew this couldnt be good so I showed my grandmother the filter and explained that te filter needed replacement, she agreed and I replaced the filter with one I had to order at Murray's discount autoparts (my local general parts store) while I was in the store ordering the new filter I was thinking about the oil in the filter and how i could stpo it from getting there again. Anyways I saw a breather filter hanging on the rack and thought to myself that the flossy filter material would act as an oil catch and yet still allow the valve cover vent to do its job. I bought a breather filter (like 5 bucks) and took it home. I had to cut the filter material to the cottect size to fit the small breather hole compatment inside the air cleaner housing. Since I put the breather filter in the air filter hasnt gotten a bit of oil on it and this was almost 2 years and a few airfilters ago. Since becoming the owner of the car Ive switched to a K&N filter, no its not for a preformance gain just economy since the fram filter was only like 10 dollars cheaper than he K&N, I still have the breather filter element in the air cleaner housing and the oil stays in that filter instead of my airfilter
190e 2.3L
107000 miles
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Old 04-26-2002, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: At Sea
Posts: 1,729
about over torquing the valve cover bolts - once a rubber type valve cover gasket gets squished out of shape, it will probably cause more leaking, so over torquing is not always good - maybe for cork gaskets. some mechanics i know swear by using permatex "right stuff" gasket maker in place of a gasket ("guaranteed not to leak"). MB also sells a black sealer but i am not sure if it is used in place of a gasket...
1993 300e-2.8
- gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"
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Old 10-21-2003, 04:45 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Richmond, BC
Posts: 374
I have same problem in my 87 190E 2.3 8V. Do you think too much oil in the air filter housing, which will cause stall at the traffic light or breaking after engine warmed up???
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