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Old 06-25-2002, 05:29 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 376
320e Meltdown.

Wife"s friend just drove her 95 320e out of coolant on the freeway. Motor seized? Dealer wants $7,500 for a new motor (4 year warranty) and $2,400 labor to swap.

Does this sound like the best course of action?

I thought running out of coolant would only destroy the top end? Maybe a warped block?

Thanks for the input.

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Old 06-25-2002, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saugus, CA USA
Posts: 1,974
Overheating will un-spring the springyness of the piston rings, that means no compression and burning oil. Seizing means the pistons have swelled into the cylenders and done a lot of scrapeing.
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Old 06-25-2002, 06:20 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
Running a car out of coolant will destroy the entire engine, top and bottom. A cheaper alternative would be to try and find a used or rebuilt engine.
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 06-25-2002, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,503
Not knowing anything about the condition of your car or where you live, I checked the Kelley Blue Book value of your car using my zip code, mileage at 100,000 miles, and the condition as good. Using this, the private party retail value is $13,850. I've found that Kelley Blue Book is usually high compared to actual market value, so maybe it's worth $12,000.

Given its value, it's worth very little with a blown motor in it.

You certainly have enough value in the car to drop in a new engine, rebuild your existing engine, or buy a reman engine, and still come out on top.

Whatever you do, it's a no-brainer that the car is worth getting the engine taken care of.
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".
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Old 06-26-2002, 04:05 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
Years ago a friend towed my 77 810 Datsun wagon from Michigan to florida behind his motorhome in mid winter.He hooked up tow bar in a snow storm but did not hook up any running lights instead turn the parking lights on on the towed vehicle. when the battery started getting low he would start engine and and let it idle as he drove to keep battery charged. he said the engine would get hot and stop running he would then run for a while with engine off as it cooled then restart it(it was seizing as I had drained the cooling system when I parked it.but he did not know that. When I picked the car up in Fla he had by then figured out that it had no collant and was very sorry for his mistake beliving he had ruined the engine. I put the drain plug in (that was in the ash tray all the time) changed the oil and filled it with collant. It started right up not a kock a squeak or a rattle it burned a touch more oil than before but I drove for three years after that......
William Rogers.....
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Old 06-26-2002, 08:17 AM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,232
Not long ago Donnie had a E320 engine listed for sale for around $3500 I think. You may want to email him (Benzmac).
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Old 06-26-2002, 11:31 AM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Jax, FL
Posts: 1,785
Whatever you do...

don't go to a dealer, go to an independent. You will save big $$$$$
'86 300E
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Old 06-27-2002, 02:02 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
Recently I asked price for a reman engine on here, got a web link from sugami, and they were about $3800 for a rebuilt engine.

Also, a few months ago, continueing my research on purchasing a 300E-320E, I called the local Benz dealer (Bill Ussery) and was quoted about $4K for a factory rebuilt engine with 12 mths /12K miles warranty. So you don't need a new engine.

$2K+ for the engine swap? Can a Mercedes expert tell me why sooo much? Disconnect hoses/wires, take radiator & accesories out, disconnect tranny & motor mounts, pull engine, install new one, and reconnect......that isn't a $2K job I think. Could an independent charge him less? Probably, no?
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Old 06-27-2002, 06:48 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
I have pulled and replaced engines for &200 dollars, with a steam cleaned engine and a cherry picker and good air tools it really not hard.I find MB's so much easier to work on than Japanese cars that it's a pleasure if you are not in a hurry or need the car the next day......
William Rogers......
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Old 06-27-2002, 10:18 PM
CJ CJ is offline
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Location: Earth
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Contact Potomac Pat from this forum, he runs
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Old 06-28-2002, 12:43 AM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Cremona, Alta, Canada
Posts: 263
William Rogers

The Datsun you are referring to had chrome cylinders and had a reputation for being hard to kill. The fact that it was at idle probably helped to keep from killing it completely. An engine running under power at highway speeds will not survive an overheat to the point of seizing. By the way those Datsun engine were know to out live the car by a long way
82 300SD 110k
91 Caprice SS
92 Jetta TD
97 Cadillac Concours(300hp)
84 Celebrity 4.3L diesel
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Old 06-28-2002, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
I had a 1967 250S with 187,000 miles suffer a series of severe overheating episodes, none resulting in siezing the engine, but it did cause the head gasket to give up abruptly one day. I pulled the head, had it rebuilt and reinstalled it. Got the car running good, and lent it to a family member. The person driving was under the impression a stream steam from under the hood was the result of running through puddles and water filled potholes, and never stopped to look to see a heater hose had ruptured and all the coolant was being blown out. He only saw the end of the event when he slowed down and then the engine siezed. He rolled into a gas station and called me with the news.

I showed up about a week later, ready to tow the car to my in-laws place, but decided to give it a jump start attempt. Fixed the hose, put some anti-freeze and water in it, checked the oil, added a quart or two, and hooked it up with jumper cables. It turned over to my surprise, and without really straining the battery in my 1975 240D, it fired up. I drove it to my in-laws, changed oil, let it idle.

Seemed to be able to hold temperature and pressure, no oil smoking, so I drove it from Albany, NY to the Long Island shore in CT. No problems. I drove it for another year or so, but my wife decided it was too big. It had a 4 speed manual on the floor, and no power steering, just a huge steering wheel, kind of unique but got traded for a BMW 2002tii. Which lasted about three days. Another story.

Anyway, I think these cars are pretty robust, or at least some are. The in-line 6 with an iron block and aluminum head on that car was extremely robust, and the more current models can trace much of the engineering back to those machines.

Rebuilding or replacing is up to the owner, but I would be inclined to want to look inside before springing for a new or factory rebuilt engine. Good Luck, 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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