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  #1  
Old 02-20-2003, 08:55 PM
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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M102 opinions please

I am deciding what I should do regarding a couple of issues with my recently purchased 1990 190E 2.3 Sportline 5-speed manual (mainly why I bought it). Prior to purchase I inspected the car and came to the conclusion that for its 211,000km it presented well. Body and interior (leather) perfect. Receipts for recent work including engine mounts, brakes, alternator and new battery and tyres. Sevice history a bit patchy but those that have been stamped have been either MB dealer or good independant shop. Engine oil clean and engine clean when looking in through oil filler. Oil pressure hot looks good at around 2 bar at idle. Price was good, especially for a model that is very rare in Australia.

Now for the questionable bits. There was a hint of oil in the coolant. Not much, but a hint. Previous owner claims head gasket was done some time back but no evidence to prove. If this were the case the coolant resevoir could have had some oil remaining from a previous head gasket failure. Coolant did not look very fresh so I flushed cooling system including heater and reservoir. Keeping an eye on it but no more oil in coolant since.

At cold startup lifters and timing chain are quiet. During warm up however, there is an intermittently noisy lifter that is fine once the engine is at normal temperature.

Engine starts and runs perfectly and pulls well from idle right up to redline. Not a trace of smoke and uses no oil or coolant. Fuel consumption is normal.

Should I:
1. Not worry about anything other than keeping an eye on it and continue to drive it and enjoy it (Which I am!).
2. Try a different oil in the hope it will silence the noisy lifter. Still has the oil that I purchased it with since it is not yet due for a change.
3. Replace the noisy lifter.
4. Re-torque the head bolts.
5. Pull the head off and get a full head job done.
6. Replace the timing chain and rails etc. It has a double row chain and no chain rattle on start up. I have no evidence that the chain has ever been done.

I would be comfortable doing any of this myself but obviously would prefer not to if it is unecessary. A few years back I did the head on our 300TE (M103 engine) when it started pumping oil into the coolant due to a corroded head gasket. The M102 is a similar four cylinder version of the M103 six. Many years ago I did the heads, chain and guides on the M116 in my 350SLC.

Opinions of those with experience with the M102 2.3 would be appreciated.

Thanks
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107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2003, 11:05 AM
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A few notes. Oil causes deterioration of the rubber hoses quickly, if you see them 'sweating', replace them all. Oil also probably speeded up failure of the water pump seal in ours.

There are other noises that can fool you by sounding like noisy lifters, such as a rattling belt idler damper shock. However, the lifters are hydraulic, so they can jam.

Buy a replacement belt idler tensioner unit and keep it handy, if you don't know it was already recently replaced. These work by applying a torsion to a rubber bushing, and WILL deteriorate and fail at an inconvenient moment - usually at the last step of some flawless engine repair project. That leaves the car undriveable until replaced.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2003, 01:32 PM
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I personally wouldn't worry, 102s are tough as old boots, but you may wish to change the chain for peace of mind at that mileage, but they very very rarely go in them.

How do you get on with the car otherwise? How's the sportline suspension compared to a normal 190Es? Any pics?


later

Russ
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190E's:
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http://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall.jpghttp://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall2.jpg
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2003, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pentoman
I personally wouldn't worry, 102s are tough as old boots
Funny that you say that. The M102 in North America is not highly regarded, and many people feel the M103 six to be much stronger and longer lived.

I have driven two M102 2.3L 8-V engines to over 300,000 kilometers, and the next owners took them to over 400K, and one had it's top end done last year at 515K.

"Tough as old boots." Excellent way of putting it.
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2003, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.

Firstly, Steve. I hear what you are saying about the effect of oil on the hoses. That's why I flushed the cooling system and am keeping an eye on it, in addition to monitoring a possible head gasket problem. Further to this, on the weekend I had a long hard look at the motor and as best I can tell it looks like it may even be a newish head gasket. Possibly it had failed and been replaced without all the oil being flushed from the cooling system. The top of the head under the valve (rocker) cover also looks very clean. Regarding the noise of a belt idler damper, I know that one, did one not long ago on my M103 together with the tensioner. Receipts with this car show the belt tensioner to have been done not long ago. The noise in the M102 definitely sounds like the regular tick-tick of a lifter to me. Its repetition rate is directly proportional engine speed. Only comes and goes during warm-up. Once hot it never appears. Should I worry or not? How would I determine which rocker is the noisy one anyway? Also, should I worry about timing chain and/or guide rails etc. at 212,000km? There seems to be different thoughts on the M102 with double row chain (and on the chain in my M103 with 175,000km for that matter).

Russ and John. I too was of the impression the M102 (like the M103) was pretty tough. My wife's parents have a 1983 W123 230E with the M102. At around 250,000km it has needed nothing other than a timing chain and a water pump. Not even valve stem seals or a head gasket. Theirs has a single row chain whereas mine is double row. Owning both an M102 and M103 which are virtually 4 and 6 cylinder versions of the same motor, it is interesting to compare them especially when you realise both cars (190E & 300TE) have similar power to weight ratios. If the 102 was a 2.0 rather than the 2.3 it would share the bore and stroke of the 103 (mine only share stroke). They do differ somewhat in characteristic. The 4 is very torquey and is happy to lug at low revs and makes good use or the tall 5-speed gearbox. In the middle to upper rev range it is a little coarse. Only approaching redline does it become smooth again. The 6 on the other hand is turbine smooth. Not much down low but strong and willing to rev smoothly into the red if you let it. This is reflected on paper too with the 103 producing its peak torque and power at higher revs than the 102.

Russ. Regarding the 190E in the Sportline, I love it. I can only compare it to a 1992 180E (190E 1.8) manual 5-speed I owned 5 years ago. The 2.3 seems to have a nicer gear change than the 1.8 and is much more flexible with the bigger engine. Both have overly long cluth pedal travel. The ride is not as bad as I would have expected reading the comments of others, only getting choppy on badly broken surfaces. Cornering is very flat and adhesion limits high on the 205/55s on the 7" rims. The 2.3 is also quieter than the 1.8 which lacked some of the sound insulation of the 2.3.

Thanks again for the replies and I am still open to suggestions from anyone else. In the meantime I will monitor the situation and continue enjoying the 5-speed Sportline.

Greg
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107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2003, 08:00 PM
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I would do the timing chain for peace of mind. I would usually do mine between 200,000 kilometers and 250,000. It's pretty easy on the M102, and don't forget the tensioner. Chain rails are a non-issue on the M102, so just swap the chain and the tensioner.

One of my 2.3L engines had a lifter going south, and it lasted YEARS before something was finally done about it.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2003, 12:17 PM
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"The noise in the M102 definitely sounds like the regular tick-tick of a lifter to me. Its repetition rate is directly proportional engine speed. Only comes and goes during warm-up. Once hot it never appears. Should I worry or not? How would I determine which rocker is the noisy one anyway?"

The thing about a noisy 'rocker arm' is that it is not the only thing that can stick. If the valve is sticking, you will get exactly the same noise. Since it happens consistently when the engine is cold, perhaps a compression check will differentiate, and also narrow it down to one of two valves, if that is the cause. If a rocker arm, I would think you could tell by feeling the action and clearances with the valve cover off.

Steve
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