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  #1  
Old 05-08-2002, 06:00 PM
Clemson91
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Exclamation Do I have to use a Topsider to perform oil change?

It seems the words "oil change" is synonomis with "topsider" in here. Just got my 1st MB, and am willing and able to change the oil myself between FSS intervals if it can be done the "old fashioned" way by crawling under and just popping off the drain plug. Is this not recommended? Is the only benefit of the Topsider a quick and clean job? Just curious, don't want to get in over my head, as the first payment hasn't even been sent out.

Any MB Techs care to weigh in??? 2002 W203.....
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2002, 06:12 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Exclamation NOT another oil change question

Do a search! You will find this is a very HOT topic at MercedesShop. All I can say is, do whatever YOU think is more convinient for you. Just change it as often as you can...
Wait and see...
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  #3  
Old 05-08-2002, 06:12 PM
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You don't have to use a Topsider.

A Topsider makes sense with some newer cars in which a belly pan covers the sump drain bolt. It's not a big deal to remove the belly pan and many use the opportunity to inspect for leaks and other things that collect in the belly pan and don't make it to the ground.

I use a Topsider because my oil filters are accessible from the top and I don't need another reason to go under the car.

Sixto
91 300SE
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2002, 06:26 PM
Live to Learn
 
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I've worked for a dealer for the past 7 years.
Never have used a topsider.
It can be changed from under the car.
Brian
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2002, 06:31 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Does the 2002MY M112 V-6 have an oil level dipstick? For some reason I don't think so. I'm not sure how I'd go about refilling the oil without a manual dipstick, but the new FSS computer must give some method.

I talked to an MB engineer that mentioned that the next generation of MB engines might not have drain plugs, as the suction method was so popular now.

You don't have to use a topsider on your car, as it still has a drain plug. I like my LiquiVac, as I don't have to drop the encapsulation pan or get under the car for a routine lubrication service.

The first time I used it, I dropped the pan and plug, to see how much would come out. Barely a few drops.

Either way is acceptable, but as Larry Bible says, "Change it hot, change it often."
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  #6  
Old 05-08-2002, 06:37 PM
Live to Learn
 
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Some have dipsticks,some dont.
Depends on the car.
Oil level is checked via the instrument cluster.
Drain it completely.......put 8.5 qts back in and its normally perfect.
Brian
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2002, 02:31 AM
Gilly's Avatar
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At this time, to the best of my knowledge, the only MB's without an engine oil dipstick is the C class (C240, C320, C32AMG) and the new S class (R230 aka 2003 SL500/SL55 AMG). No big deal to do the change from below as far as I know, never done one from below (on a 203 chassis C class). I am recommending 8 quarts on the 203 chassis, we get them back once in awhile with an "oil level too high" warning in the cluster, which is usually true, we end up removing at least a pint to get it where it belongs. This I feel is aggrevated my expansion of the oil when hot. There is no filling procedure in regards to not having a dipstick, just put in the proper amount.
Blackmercedes, depends on the model, for example a ML, E class, CLK, SLK will have the dipstick, C class doesn't. If you have a 2002 SL (ie Silver Arrow) it does, the 2003 (R230) doesn't. I will venture to guess the new 2003 E class (211 chassis) and CLK (209 chassis) won't have the dipstick.
Clemson, I have to really recommend if you do oil changes yourself that you use the recommended Mobil1 synthetic oil (not to start an oil thread ((please!)). Also bear in ind that by doing this, the oil quality sensor will calculate the next FSS service taking into account the fresh oil, so you will end up getting less free services over the life of the warranty. You may want to consider going by "the book" until you are out of warranty IMO. Maybe doing the first oil change yourself (early) may be a good idea. DON'T reset the FSS indictaor when doing this, you will extend the free FSS service even longer!
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2002, 03:46 AM
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Well, as IBM is fond of saying "it depends..."

On the ML you can drain the oil but you have to remove a cover and the oil drains onto a cross member, very messy!

I love my Wolf marine oil extractor, pulls the ML's oil out in less than ten minutes and handles the warm(hot) oil better than other units. As Larry and John have pointed out, the hotter the better!

Good Luck!
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85 300D Turbo "The Diesel"

Past wives...
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"One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2002, 07:42 AM
LarryBible
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You got some good responses and you are on the right track to begin with.

I drain the oil in my 203 car between the FSS intervals and use Mobil One and a new filter. After draining the oil from below and replacing the filter, I pour in eight quarts. You can get a special socket for the oil filter at your dealership for about $10.

Not having a dipstick drove me crazy at first, but it really is no problem. I'm sure you've figured out how to check the oil on a flat surface without the engine running. The dipstick can be purchased for service use, but it costs about $60. The computer gets the job done without having to open the hood or find a clean rag.

Hint: There are two belly pans under the engine. You only need to remove the rear one to access the drain plug.

Hint: I bought a magnetic drain plug and replaced the original with the magnetic plug the first time I drained the oil. That oil change was BEFORE I took it back to the dealer for the regularly scheduled FSS service.

I hope you enjoy your 203 as much as I'm enjoying mine. Did you get a manual transmission? I'm a manual lover, and the six speed is fabulous!

Have a great day,
Change oil hot and change oil often
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2002, 11:05 AM
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Gilly,

Call me "old world" but there is something to seeing the oil laying on the dipstick!

Using the electronic method would take a little getting used to (read: trusting) but I'm sure I'd appreciate it quickly.
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  #11  
Old 05-09-2002, 11:24 AM
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Larry:
His profile says he has a C320, so he's got the automatic, FYI.
John, I'm as old world as the next guy (really!) so I know what you mean about no dipstick in that engine. Just really baffling, especially since the tube is there for the oil sucker, why NOT put in a stick?
ML Dude, yeah, the ML is really bad for pulling the plug to change oir, there's actually some rubber mounts it can splash on. On the older ML's, I want to say 98 to 2001(?) there usually is no pan or panel that needs to be removed, maybe depends on a V6 or V8. I know what you mean though, there are some that have a black plastic splash shield under that area.
I really like the oil sucker,it really does a good job, the newer the engine the better, except on the 111 engine, ie C230, C230 Kompressor, SLK230, C230 sportcoupe et al.
Gilly
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  #12  
Old 05-09-2002, 11:55 AM
Clemson91
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Thanks for all the responses. Kinda bummed that by changing the oil myself I screw myself out of the free change at the scheduled intervals per FSS, but, I reckon that is by design. As far as stick or auto, I live in MD and have to brave the capitol beltway every day, so unfortunately, I had to abandon the stick with the exodus of my 1995 M3. IMO, the Benz is a much better car, and I don't have to buy that stupid reset tool from $50 out of the back of Motor Trend.....

Gil, how accurate is the computer that calculates oil quality/life left???
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  #13  
Old 05-09-2002, 01:13 PM
Gilly's Avatar
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Clem:
It's pretty darn accurate, IMHO. Many will argue the only true indication for a change is the mileage on the oil. What this sensor does is measure the capacitance of the oil. The oil capacitance is a known value when new, and the sensor can also detect a good quality oil from a poor quality oil, and takes this into account as well. As the oil ages, it becomes contaminated over time, mostly by-products of combustion, but also moisture (condensation), and fine metal particles (think of more like a slurry than actual chips or shavings, just product of normal wear). This changes the capacitance of the oil, and the oil quality sensor monitors this.
The actual FSS system, which is a component of the instrument cluster, also observes the actual time the oil is in there (as reset with the FSS) and mileage. It takes all this into account, as well as the start/stop cycles, speed, idling time, etc to calculate this out. The system does calculate very accurately when the change should be done. I don't believe they are pushing the change out to any great extreme, I believe they are actually giving a pretty safe margin.
One thing to also keep in mind when analyzing this is that the engine is holding a LOT more oil than what the "3000 mile club" is normally remebering from their 3000 mile youth: This is 8 quarts compared to the 5 quarts the "3000 mile club" grew up with. Also keep in mind this is (supposed to be) synthetic oil. A higher grade of oil (such as Mobil1) should be able to do a good job of lubricating the engine for more miles than a conventional (AKA Dino) oil.
But yes, if you change the oil yourself at a mid-point in the oil life, the oil quality sensor will sense the fresh oil and do a recalculation on the oil change. The system can even recognize if oil was added between changes, just by level monitoring, and also quality monitoring, ie the change will be delayed even by adding 1 quart(not that you shouldn't add a quart if it needs it). Hard to get anything "past" the FSS system.
If you really dislike this system, I would still encourage you to go with what is called for by the FSS during warranty, then change to however YOU want to do it afterwards.
What is really the likelyhood that you will really be driving this car in 15 or 20 years at 500,000 miles? Not too likely. You are better off (IMHO only!) to go by the book, keep good records, and when you are ready to sell the car, you have the records to show the prospective new owner and tell them it was kept up strictly to MB requirements.
(Please, I don't intend to start yet another oil war!)
Gilly
PS You won't really be actually "missing" a free FSS service per se, but the mileage will be higher than it normally would be at the next FSS service than it would have been if you left it alone.
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  #14  
Old 05-09-2002, 01:46 PM
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Gilly,

My ML is at 7000mi and on it's fourth oil tranfusion, yeah I know, 3000mi club plus insanity. But I was raised (automotively) by a great old English Gentleman auto tech who preached clean oil to me back in the day when engines weren't broken in at the factory.
Hence, I change my new cars at 750, then 1500 and then 3000. I left that load of Syntec in for almost 4k mi and just changed to Mobil 1 15-50 thanks to a great thread on oil formulations.

Anyway, I tell you all this to say that from day one the FSS was calculating 10k miles for the next service. Changed at 7k miles, the FSS is reading 4K miles until my next service. So, all in all it is not really extending my A service by much. What gives?
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Ed "Don't Benz's just feel better..."

Current wives...
2000 ML430 Skyview "The Mel"
2000 CLK430 Cab "The Cab"
85 300D Turbo "The Diesel"

Past wives...
92 300E
85 190E

"One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to
avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond
this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to
interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
Bertrand Russell
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  #15  
Old 05-09-2002, 01:59 PM
LarryBible
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Clemson,

Doing the oil change yourself does not cheat you out of any free service at the dealer. You can still get the oil change you normally get, plus you are changing it in between their oil changes. It has been working for me.

Have a great day,
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