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Old 10-24-2002, 01:36 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 197
Oil Consumption & Ticking Noise

I have an 89 300 se with 172k miles. The car is almost mint condition, but I have a slight problem. First thing in the morning when you start it up, there is a ticking noise that lasts for about 5-7 seconds and then goes away. I suspect lifters. Also, the car will consume about 1/2 to 3/4 of a quart of oil every 3-5 weeks. I notice it more when I take it on a long trip. I just traveled about 350 miles last weekend (1 way) and it took about a quart. I stayed the weekend and started back on Sunday and of course, topped the oil off before starting. It did not use hardly any on the way back(another 350 miles). It is not consistant. I have records where the previous owner had the valve gaskets and cam seals replace only about 10k miles ago. I am using Castol GTX High Mileage oil. I went from 10w40 to 20w50.

1) do you know what could be going on?
2) going with a thicker oil, will this help in the consumption

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Old 10-24-2002, 08:22 PM
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Ticking noise... I hear it on my engine too. I believe it's the lifters/vaulves, which are hydrolically adjusted. I was very concerned when I first heard the noise so I did a search here on the site... i forget exactlly what I read but it was convincing enough for me not to worry about it any longer.

Your oil is going somewhere, either into your coolant, out your exshaust or leaking out of the engine. First thing to look at is your coolant resivior. If there is oil mixed with your coolant then start thinking about a new head gasket. Second thing you can do is pull your spark plugs (the eyes of your engine) and have a close look at 'em. Oil on the plug(s) means valve guide seals. And the last item to check is the engine itself. Oil leaking from a damaged/old gasket will leave streaks.

I had the same problem with oil consumption a year ago. I ended up doing a search in the tech forum and found a wealth of troubleshooting info, but be forewarned, you need to set aside a couple of hours to get throught all the info in the posts. Hope this gives you abit of an idea on where to start. Keep us informed on what you find.

Cheers for now
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Old 10-24-2002, 08:44 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
Posts: 1,512

I have a 1990 300E with the same problem it is fairly common on a higher mileage M103 Motor. Valves guides and seals are in order. But you can go for quite a while with the ticking your experiencing. I recommend going back to the factory spc. 10W 40
The thinner oil gets into tighter spaces to get everything lubed well, in fact this could be your problem have you recently converted to 20W 50? If you go back you may notice the lifter noise disappear!

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Old 10-29-2002, 04:13 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 197

Thanks for all the info. I did change the oil just before going on a weekend trip to Chattanooga, TN. I switched to 20w50 and the ticking is still there like it was with the 10w30 & 40. It is no better and no worse. But, the oil consumption is much better so far. The trip was about 400 miles and the light flickered one time when we were almost home. I let the car sit overnight and checked the oil level the next morning and it was still up to almost the max level. Normally, I would have had to add about 1/2 to a quart on this long of a trip. I have checked the valve cover gaskets and they have been replace not too long ago and still look pliable and good. The car seems to run as good if not better than it did with the thinner oil. It does concern me that there might be more wear on the thicker oil because the oil can not get in all the spots it normally would with the thinner. Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2002, 08:30 AM
it leaks, its german
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
Posts: 1,111
Consider doing the top end and fixing the problem once and for all. The 103's have these cute little lash caps on top on the valves that will get tossed off in valve float. (at least thats the only way I can figure they come off) I've seen a few of these missing here and there accompanyed with a pretty good tick. While I'm sure it happens I've not replaced any 103 lifters so far.

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Old 05-02-2003, 10:23 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 197
oil consumption

I have just had a valve job done where all the seals were replaced. I get the car back and take a trip and now the consumption has tripled. I take it back to the MB shop and they check all the seals again. #2,3,4 plugs are getting excessive oil on them. He replaced a seal again(not sure if one was bad) and changed the plugs. A day later the car is missing and one episode of smoke came out the back exhaust. I pulled those same plugs and #2 is charred on the end and it along with the others listed above had oil signs. I am wondering if my problem might be piston rings? Does anyone know?
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