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  #1  
Old 03-25-2002, 10:51 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
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M104 motor seals/guides?

I do know that the early M103 motors were notorious for valve guides and seals needing early replacement. However, I still hear of it needing to be done on late M103 motors also.

This has spurred me to ask about my M104 motor in my 1995 C280. What is the average for guides/or/seals replacement? I now have 122k miles on mine, and I burn, on average, at most a quart of oil in 4-5k oil changes. Though there have been times where I noticed I needed probably 2 quarts between an oil change. Though I do drive hard, and do a lot of freeway driving with high revs, so I know that makes it more likely to burn oil.

My question, what wears the seals/stems faster, TIME or MILEAGE? I drive about 30k a year. Car still runs and performs like a champ... I am VERY good about oil changes, and other maintenance, but I do really drive this baby hard. What would one assume a good time to take off the head and/or do the seals or guides? Think I'd be good for 200k miles with my good maintenance, albeit a lead foot.

Thanks.
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2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

Previous:
1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2002, 04:11 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
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Anyone have an idea?
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2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

Previous:
1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2002, 06:17 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: California
Posts: 324
David,

I remember Benzmac saying that the m104 does not subject the valves to side loads like the m103 and that seal/guide wear is not a problem. I expect that electrical gremlins will appear long before any major mechanical repairs are needed.
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  #4  
Old 03-27-2002, 07:33 PM
edbardzik
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M104 valve guides

David,

Few M104 motors are ever brought into our shop for oil consumption problems. However, we have done head gaskets on a hand full of them with well-over 100,000 miles (all of these jobs were done because of leaking head gaskets). The guides in these engines hold up MUCH better than on M103 motors, but we did put new guides in a couple of these heads. I believe one had 116,000 miles, and the other about 135,000 miles. Any M104 motor with over 100,000 miles on it that comes in to our shop for a head gasket job gets valve guide seals, though.

When was the last time your head gasket was done? It certainly will leak badly again before 200,000 miles. I don't think I've ever seen an M104 head gasket go more than about 90,000 miles whithout pissing badly out the right rear. I would say definitely do the guides the next time the head comes off.

Happy motoring!
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2002, 08:04 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
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My car (1993 300E 3.2, M104 engine) started leaking oil at the right rear at almost precisely 130,000 miles.

It is not a bad leak, buy gets the side of the engine and the plastic cover at the bottom of the engine quite oily. It also leaves a few oil drops on my garage floor. This really offends my meticulous nature as none of my cars have ever leaked oil.

My oil level doesn't change virtually at all between oil changes at 2,500 miles, so I really have no consumption problems.

Edbardzik - What should I expect to pay to get the head gasket and valve guides replaced?

I'm trying to put this off for as long as possible, at least a year or two. How long do you think I can delay this repair?

Are the new gaskets "improved" so that they don't leak again?
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #6  
Old 03-27-2002, 08:18 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
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Paul,
I have heard that the new head gaskets have been updated (a few times actually). However, I still recall them known to leak even after the updated head gasket has been replaced (though an extended interval)... not 100% though.

My first head gasket was replaced at 55k miles. I now have 125k miles and not a drop anywhere!

And Paul, don't forget that you can check the coolant to see if there's oil in it, and check the oil to see if there's coolant in it! Good luck
__________________
2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

Previous:
1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2002, 10:36 PM
edbardzik
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M104 valve guides

Suginami,

If your head gasket started to leak at 130,000 miles, I can be almost certain that it was replaced before. I have NEVER EVER seen a head gasket on an M104 go that far without leaking.

You can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $2000.00 for a head gasket job on an M104 with valve guides and seals. If your engine cable harness has not been replaced already, it will probably get disturbed when it is moved to do the job. Count on another $800.00 or so for that.

I doubt that you will notice oil loss on the dipstick due to leakage of the head gasket--it would have to really leak ALOT of oil to make any noticeable difference on the dipstick. Basically, you can put the job off until it makes enough of a mess that you are bothered by oil on the ground under your car, but you are only postponing the inevitable.

I get varying answers, but the head gaskets supposedly have been improved. I still have seen many leak a second time, albeit after 60,000-90,000 miles, instead of after only 30,000-60,000 miles.

Head gaskets made by Goetze supposedly last longer. I have been unable to find a dealer or parts supplier that sells that brand. All dealers in my area sell Ehlring head gaskets for this motor.

Anyone know where to get a Goetze head gasket for an M104?


Ed
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  #8  
Old 03-27-2002, 10:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
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Thanks for the reply.

I may be wrong, but I really believe this is the original head gasket. The car was sold new by the MB dealer in Long Beach, CA. Traded in by the original owner in 1996. The dealer Starmarked it and sold it to the second owner. I bought it last year from the second owner. Both owners performed every maintenance interval, oil change, tire replacement, brake job, warrranty repair, etc. at the same dealer. I was given every receipt in a file folder to back this up. Everything is there.

Under both warranties (original and Starmark), many items were replaced: water pump and radiator neck, power steering pump (leaking), engine wiring harness, feed line for the heater replaced (leaking), timing chain cover gasket (leaking), coolant expansion tank (leaking). I've scanned every receipt, and no mention of the head gasket.

I replaced a whole **** load of items at the 120,000 mile service at the dealer - too much to list - over $2,000 bill including the 120,000 mile service, and I replaced the valve cover gasket at this time.

Believe me, the head gasket wasn't leaking.

I'm so proud. This car might be a record setter.

My only complaint is that right now, the car is at the mechanic for a new water pump, thermostat, coolant temperature sensor, and mass air sensor.

Believe me, if there were more smilies, I'd use them.
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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".

Last edited by suginami; 03-27-2002 at 11:56 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-27-2002, 11:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Baton Rouge
Posts: 485
I have heard everyone on here talking about the head gaskets leaking oil . Most of the vehicles that I see 103 or 104 end up having more oil leaking from the upper and lower timing covers than the head area. We have done tons of head gaskets and timing cover reseals on these motors and most important is to replace all head bolts with new and reseal the timing cover with the proper sealant that wont let it leak again . I have one car that I did the head gasket and timing cover on and that was 130k miles ago and it has not leaked a drop yet. Several of our customers that come in for routine service that we have done this job on are still high and dry. I think the secret behind getting the gaskets and timing covers not to leak is a well cleaned surface before re-assembly and the proper sealant on the timing cover. I did my 103 motor 3 years ago and it is dry as a bone to this date ( 115k miles)
As for seals and guides well I have only had 1 104 motor with that problem and it was due to the vehicle had been overheated before and the pistons were egg shaped. But like time all things go bad ( seals).
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  #10  
Old 03-27-2002, 11:16 PM
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Location: Florida / N.H.
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On the subject of oil leaks on 104 engines, it may be of interest to everyone that Benz put out a few [ 3 that I know of] TSB's
on up-dating owners manuals in regards to engine oil capacity.
The main point was to tell owneres to change the capacity specs on that page from 7.5L to 7L.
They also said this would be taken care of at the Dealers on an on-going basis until a manual supplement came out.
Another TSB followed that saying dipstick readings on these engines should be checked at 80C and that ideal level was at Mid-Point on the dip. Engine operation and damage could result if not followed.
Does this have anything to do with the common 104 oil leaks ???
Don't know, but sounds like they had something coming back at them....
Does the 104 high engine running temps that Benzs says
" Normal-have No Fear " have anything to do with head gasket failure ???? Would not surprise me....

SB has mentioned a better gasket [ can't remember of hand].
but I think if one does have to do a gasket, check into both the gasket brand and NEW BOLTS.
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  #11  
Old 02-17-2003, 05:20 PM
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Posts: 54
Head Gasket Problem

HELP HELP HELP!!


I just purchased a 1993 300E w/ M104 Engine, I took the car to the dealer because of a little of overheating, they call me back, the headgasket is bad. How much does this repair cost? and is it possible the head is cracked?

Thanks,
Eddie
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2003, 05:39 PM
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For an M104 engine, an independent would charge about $1,200-$1,400 for just the head gasket.

If you decide to have the head resurfaced and to replace the valve guide and valve seals, then you'll need to add an additional $300-$400.

I'm sure the dealer's price would be higher than this.

FWIW, the new head gaskets have steel inserts that prevent them from leaking again.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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