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  #1  
Old 09-05-2002, 01:09 PM
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Question R/R w124 Head Gasket myself?

I worked in an Alfa shop for a couple of years in college and have always worked on my cars at home.

I recently changed the oil in my 1988 300e (170k). Unfortunatley it was by way of the coolant resivoir. Full of oil and coolant.

How difficult would it be to R/R the head gasket myself? What manuals do you recomend.

Also, the car runs fine, no overheating, no hard starts or any smoke out of the rear. The actual motor oil in the engine is crystal clear and the car has plenty of power. How could the coolant be so contaminated and the engine oil be unaffected. How long can I run the car like this?

Thanks I am a new member and this site has the most useful information I have ever found in one place.
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2002, 02:50 PM
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Do a search!

It has been discussed before. However, it is "doable" by a DIY'er. As a matter of fact, there is a separate post today talking about a head gasket problem. You may want to do a head job while are a it...
In the meantime, check all your rubber hoses going and coming from the the engine. NAPA sells a fluorecent dye that you put in the coolant and then follow it with a light but, if it is internal...you are out of luck!
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2002, 04:13 PM
1992300e
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documentation

Mercedes sells an owners repair manual on CD, I have one and find it helpfull.

More helpfull though by far is doing a search on this site for the topic you need help with. These guys (and gals) have walked through this procedure more than once. Do a search and print out the results, amazing the amount of detail the techs on this site will get into.

Good luck,
Joel
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  #4  
Old 09-05-2002, 04:15 PM
1992300e
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Research

Check out this post.

Tackling M103 head cyl gasket (need expert tips)
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  #5  
Old 09-05-2002, 07:58 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for the help. I went to those links and it looks like a doable job. I ordered the CD-ROM and plan to study it for a while.

Thanks again
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R/R w124 Head Gasket myself?-benz_front%5B1%5D.jpg  
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2002, 08:15 PM
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Just a thought, are you sure it's engine oil contaminating your coolant not transmission oil?
I speak from personal experience!
Adrian
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90 300TE 24v (M104 eng) 207K miles
87 300TE (M103 eng) 269K miles (and never had the head off!)
86 300TE (M103 eng) 230K+ miles (donor car)
95 Toyota Lucida diesel 4wd
86 200T 165K miles (sold)
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2002, 08:40 PM
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That is a great point. I am not sure. Smells like oil but its so tainted with antifreeze who knows. The engine oil is crystal clear and as I said, the car runs great fast smooth and cool. How does the transmission oil get into the coolant?

It looked like I saw transmission lines going into the radiator as if there is core dedicated to the transmission cooler in the radiator as in my GMC Sierra. Please share your story.
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2002, 08:48 PM
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Yes, your radiator has an ATF coolant portion (left hand side -- where you see the 2 ATF lines entering). IF this portion breaks, ATF could mix with the engine coolant portion of the radiator.

How badly is your coolant resevoir contaminated? Do you see droplets or chocolate malt-type gunk in there?
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2002, 09:01 PM
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It was brown sludge and like I said the dipstick and what I could see inside the oil filler area and cap are all crystal clear new oil. Its seems odd.
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2002, 09:02 PM
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Also, no white smoke or any smoke from the tailpipe.
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  #11  
Old 09-05-2002, 09:40 PM
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Sometimes it's tough to tell if what you see inside your expansion tank resevoir is ATF or engine oil -- in fact I don't know how you can really tell, unless you pull your radiator and have the ATF portion leak tested. It doesn't take much oil at all (ATF or otherwise) mixing with your engine coolant to create the sludge you see. Thus it's tough to tell by periodically measuring your oil or ATF levels.

I actually ran my car for a couple thousand miles with the exact same conditions you're experiencing now. As it turns out I had a blown head gasket. My engine oil looked crystal clear like yours --coolant was contaminated, but no coolant entering the engine block, and it was not overheating (at least I didn't think it was). Oil contaminated sensors can give a false reading, as I found out after replacing the temp sensor sender. With oil in coolant I was getting a steady 83c temp reading at all times. After replacing the sensor, I saw the true temp readings as my engine now fluctuates between 80 and 100 depending on ambient, and whether AC is on etc...

It's certainly not good to run your car with oil-contaminated coolant, but as in my case, I got by for a couple thousand miles until I had the time to set aside to R/R the head gasket. I think the only ill-effect was that ALL rubber hoses had to be replaced. I'm not advocating you do the same, just relaying my experience

I've pulled the head twice on my 103 now, the first time being a learning experience -- 2nd time was a breeze.

I'll post a list of steps of what's involved a little bit later, then maybe follow it up with some pictures in the next day or two. This is a very doable DIY job if you're mechanically inclined, have the correct tools, and know what pitfalls to avoid.
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  #12  
Old 09-06-2002, 10:55 AM
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That would be great. I ordered head gasket kit, bolts/washers, timining chain cover and guides. I plan to get into it next weekend after I get the cd and make a check list of all the posts on this site. I look forward to the pictures. Any thoughts on leaving the intake side in place or pulling the entire thing at once.

John
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2002, 11:09 AM
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Definitely leave intake on. Just separate head from intake and save yourself a couple of hours.
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2002, 07:52 PM
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John
Sorry I didn't get back earlier. It should be easy to check for transmission oil contamination by checking that your trans oil on the dipstick is clean. If so, then I suspect it is engine oil. I read in an earlier thread that if the heat exchanger in the radiator leaks then due to differential pressures there is always 2-way contamination i.e. you will get oil in the coolant and coolant in the oil - this appears as emulsification of the trans fluid.
In my case I bought my 300TE-24 and noticed a small amount of brown sludge in the header tank. The car had fairly recently had a new head gasket fitted and I assumed that this was just some residue from that (it showed no other signs of head gasket failure). A few days later I checked the trans oil and found it emulsified. The trans at that time was working fine. I checked the radiator which was fine - new in fact! I later found out it had been replaced the day I collected the car without the PO's knowledge when it had been in for an a/c repair. I changed the trans fluid 3 times and now it is playing up due to damage done by the coolant. I am faced with having it replaced or rebuilt. Lesson learned - always check trans fluid before buying! I should know better at my age!
That's my story. I hope for your sake it's your head gasket - much cheaper than trans!
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90 300TE 24v (M104 eng) 207K miles
87 300TE (M103 eng) 269K miles (and never had the head off!)
86 300TE (M103 eng) 230K+ miles (donor car)
95 Toyota Lucida diesel 4wd
86 200T 165K miles (sold)
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  #15  
Old 09-06-2002, 08:38 PM
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Thanks, with these stories and the other threads out there, I have never hoped for a blown head gasket more in my life. The Trans fluid is clear (redish) and the raidotor was replaced in 1997 and this car has never missed a service interval per its records since 1996. As I mentioned before I am having some of my shop buddies over for a "Hey, lets fix my head gasket it will be fun" party next weekend, hope it works out. I will take pictures of the entire thing and post them for others to see.

John
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