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Old 05-14-2002, 03:28 PM
Posts: n/a
Question What is leaking from my car?

I have noticed that my 500E is losing a dark fluid which I can't identify. After being parked for two days, my car will leave a stain about the size of a quarter. It looks like oil except that it doesn't feel greasy at all. It doesn't smell either. Could motor oil dry so quickly? I can't recall ever finding a "fresh" stain.

I have to drive my car sometimes, and so I always religiously check oil and ATF levels, all fine everytime.
P/S pump has just been resealed, P/S fluid level fine.
Coolant level is ok, my car runs like it always has (between 80 to 90 all of the time, except the 100+ in stop and go)
Brake fluid level ok. Ac is working.

I have booked an appointment at M/B for next week, but was wondering if it is safe to drive the car at all with all aformentioned levels checked.

So, to my question, what am I leaking? Is it diff oil? SLS oil? Is there a way for me to tell for sure? I don't have tools nor skills, so DIM is out of the question.

Thank you in advance

1991 500E (ill, not diagnosed yet)
1963 impala SS (ill as well, bad month for me..
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Old 05-14-2002, 04:38 PM
Swedish Diesler
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Sweden
Posts: 106
Well, I wouldn't worry to much about that small a leak.

If you can't locate a moist area on the underside of car you can put some newspaper or cardboard under the car the next time you park it and before you move it note where the spot of fluid appears and thus get a exact location for the leak, (right above the moist spot).

It can also be your friendly neighbor walking his dog to do it's duties under the protection of your car

MB E300TDT -98
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Old 05-14-2002, 09:40 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
Can you locate where the oil is leaking from, or tell us where on the car that the leak is underneath? If all levels are normal, and the leak is that small, it should be safe to drive.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 05-15-2002, 04:35 PM
Posts: n/a
Per, Ali,

Thank you for your responses.

Got some paper under the car. The stains were in the area below where the gear shifter sits. I can't be more specific, I don't have jacks, just my old maglite.

The stuff didn't completely dry out on the paper. It doesn't fell greasy, it's black, and it smells a bit like gasoline.

I don't think it is engine oil or Atf , as both look clear on the dipsticks. Could it be P/S fluid?
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Old 05-15-2002, 05:20 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
1. Remove any encapsulation pans on the car. Important.

2. Park it on a level surface.

3. Put cardboard under the car, TAPING it to the floor.

Now, here's the tough part. If you fit under the car, slide under with flashlight and see if you can locate the leak. If not, you can jack the car up, and USE STANDS (Never get under a jacked car) and use a light. Look for a trail, not just a drip spot.

Now I know you said you don't have jack stands, but maybe borrow them?

As to ATF running clear, if often picks up dirt as it leaks down, so don't be fooled by a little colour change.

Gear shifter-area leak could be tranny fluid, and your small leak would be difficult to detect on the dipstick. But, if your pan is in place, it might be engine oil that has rolled back along the pan and leaked out at the back. Depends on how far the pan goes back. (I don't know on that car...)

I had a friend that kept misdiagnosing hios front main seal leak thanks to MB's belly pan.

When the dealer diagnoses it, ask them to show you.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 05-17-2002, 12:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up

Hey everyone,

I was able to get to car looked at today already instead of next tuesday, it wasn't anything.
The stuff leaking was P/S fluid, it was leaking from what the mech described as a very small hose which was not replaced during the P/S pump reseal, even though it only costs about 40 Chf. The dealer I went to before is never getting any of my money again. Oh well, the good news is, I now found a REAL tech, and I got, for a small price in comparison of what I mentally prepared for, a complete check of the chain as well as the rest of the car. Everything's fine and dandy....

I just wanted to say Thank You for your replies, it feels good to know that there is somebody 5000 miles away who will take the time to sit and write to help out someone they don't even know.

I am now going to enjoy a sunny Friday night with my 500E....

And tomorrow, country driving in my 63 Impala....

Cheers everyone

1991 500e
1963 Impala SS
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Old 05-17-2002, 04:47 PM
Posts: n/a
I just found this thread or I would have chimed in earlier. The leak you describe is very common on the V8 W124's.

My 500E did the same thing and so do most, eventually. It's a small rubber hose that runs from the bottom of the P/S reservior to the top of the actual P/S pump, it's only about 3 in. long but difficult to remove without the pump out of the car.

Glad you fixed your leak!
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