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Old 05-08-2000, 07:48 PM
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Just got back from my mechanic some hard hitting news.

He looked over my 4 cyl 230 (1976) and told me that there is a problem with cylinders 2+3. (I know something's wrong because I did the pulling of the ignition wires test and found no major response when pulling their plugs)

I don't seem to be leaking coolant and I am leaking oil from below but not burning it. (plugs not wet)

I have been having a lot of problems getting it to idle smoothly and after properly tuning the mixture it still idles fairly rough (hot+cold)

Coupled with a jumping temperature gauge (already replaced the sensor) he thinks it's a head gasket problem. (leaking coolant or something)

He said upon removing the two cylinders' plugs, he saw smoke.

Any second (or third)opinions?

I don't think I can afford this job right now, so I'm hoping there is another option first.

Thanks guys (and gals)


1976 230.4
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Old 05-08-2000, 08:16 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: New Bedford, MA USA
Posts: 1,583
How's about a compression test? Any oil in the coolant? Has the coolant level been dropping?

Jeff L
1987 300e
1989 300e
1987 BMW 325
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Old 05-08-2000, 08:22 PM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Posts: 359
Do you have problems starting in the morning?, if the head gasket leaks you will get coolant in the engine resulting in problems starting the engine. Water does not compress and the engine will have trouble turning after standing for a couple of hours. Also water in the sump (raised oil level and lower coolant level).
The first thing to check are ignition, take all plugs out - connect them to the wires - make sure they have ground - let someone turn the key and check the sparks. The next thing is to check the compression, at a shop or with a cheap gauge (accurate enough to see if the compression is the same for all cylinders).
If you are uncertain about doing this yourself get a second opinion (from a better mechanic), some mechanics just don't like older cars.
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Old 05-08-2000, 08:56 PM
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Thanks guys, actually, I have been having problems starting when cold in the morning. I have to rev the engine fairly high for it to turn over properly. I thought this might have to do with the points. I replaced them recently and didn't get the dwell angle correct so I asked the mechanic to set them for me.

As for leaking coolant, my level seems to be remaining constant, my oil level is going down but like I said, I am dripping slightly from the filter and drain plug. I'll ask the mechanic if he had a compression test done, but I think he has already done that.

He is a Mercedes repair shop thats been in service since 1961, so I don't think that fixing older cars is a concern to him. He has cars form the fifties and sixties in his shop.

I will be meeting with him tomorow morning to discuss my options.

Thanks again,


1976 230.4
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Old 05-08-2000, 09:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
Removal of cylinder head isn't that major of problem. Sounds like head gasket is leaking or blown.
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Old 05-08-2000, 10:44 PM
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Any ideas on how long this job should take ?


1976 230.4
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