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Old 04-17-2002, 01:06 PM
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Unhappy 190 E oil cunsumption


My girlfriend has an 88 190 E 2.3 , over 100K miles, and it is going through a quart of oil almost every 2 - 2.5 weeks! There aren't any obvious oil leaks; no spots on the garage floor etc. Its also not smoking noticeably either. Any thoughts? I'm afraid that an internal engine job would cost more than the car is worth, although I really don't know what costs would be like. Any input would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

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Old 04-17-2002, 01:10 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saugus, CA USA
Posts: 2,007
How many miles per quart is the number you want. I think MB specs it at about a qt every 500 miles. Personally I'd be real curious where it's it all going at 1000 miles a qt.
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Old 04-17-2002, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for the info. I agree that 1 qt. over 1000 miles seems like alot to go through. I think she would be looking at 300 miles a week tops; so 1 qt. every 600 miles or so. I'll try to confirm that MB specs it at 1 qt. every 500 miles too.
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Old 04-17-2002, 01:34 PM
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I called a local MB dealer and was told that the official spec is 1 qt. every 800-1000 miles, depending on how its driven. They suggested that it would be the valve giudes/seals, and said the repair would cost around $550.

Has anyone out there had this done before? Is $550 reasonable?


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Old 04-17-2002, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

190E's of that time frame, as well as most other MB of the period, were susceptible to valve seal wear. The seals are rubber (a Viton type rubber) elements at the top of the valve guides that are in rubbing contact with the valve stem, so they will always be an eventual repair item, it is just that they failed on these cars a little early, and the failures were very consistent.

Anyway, when the seals get old and stiff, they cannot effectively seal the engine oil away from the intake valve area, which is under vacuum. Consequently you suck oil into the engine. Usually valve seal failure in these cars appears as a sudden increase in oil consumption.

The good news is the job is not too expensive and there are many mechanics familiar with how to do it now (you do not need to take the head off to do this, which makes it a shift instead of a few days) and the seals are dirt cheap.

I had it done to my 190E 2.3-16 when the consumption suddenly went to about a quart every 700 miles. I also noticed some smoke coming out the tailpipe. On my car the job is substantially more complex than most 190's as the camshafts have to come out to gain access to the valves. I paid about $700 to get the problem fixed at 70,000 miles, and ran for another 135,000 without any further problems. Yours should be quite a bit less costly if the problem is valve seals.

From what you describe, I would do some additional investigations and make sure I had the problem identified, like a compression check, pull the plugs and look for evidence of oil, and so on. My guess is valve seals though.

Hope this helps, Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 04-17-2002, 02:48 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 571
You might get the dealer to do the seals for $550; no way they'll also do the guides for that much as the cyl. head requires removal for guide work. Head can be left on for seal replacement.

Alot has been said on this subject, especially at this site.

It's my understanding that the 2.3 motor is an M102 - 4 cyl. If so, that makes it 2/3s of an M103 motor - same basic engine design.

Randy Durrance, a veteran MB mechanic who used to participate here once said that M103 motors guise oil consumption - you won't necessarily see oil-fouled plugs unless the consumption is enormous.

In a previous post, Benzmac said you would not see oil on the plugs if the leakage was thru the exhaust valve guides.

Bottom line - you gotta tear it down and have it analyzed to know for sure. If the MB dealers 800 miles per qt. thing is right and your plugs are dry, exhaust is not smoking and car runs good, you may just decide to live with it.
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