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Old 10-12-2003, 08:01 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Dayton, Ohio
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How concerned would you be?

Hi guys...first off...I am a new Mercedes owner...and I am smitten. I bought a 1988 300E and it is pristine. It looks and drives like a new car, only a few things concern me and I am looking to see if I should be worried about it.

1. Leaks a little transmission fluid, about 15 drops or less after driving, However the car shifts like a dream with the only problem being a 2-3 second delay before engaging from park to reverse.
The transmission dip stick shows that it is filled over the full line, could this be the culprit?

2. Leaks a little oil...again, only a handful of drops. Does not smoke or burn oil.

3. Rear end (not mine, the car!) tends to feel a little loose at highway speeds, like its being blown side to side by the wind..not excessively but a little noticeable, I think it is the bushings needing replaced?

I am mechanically retarded hence my posting. Should I lose sleep over these problems? This car is for play, I don't drive it often and I'd love to keep her for years...

Many thanks in advance! You guys ROCK!

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Old 10-12-2003, 11:11 PM
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As for the leaks, I wouldn't worry too much about them. Mercs are notorious weepers. My 560SEL drips a bit of oil from the rear main seal, but I'm not about to spend $700 to pull the motor.

Like tkamiya wrote, keep your eye on fluid levels. I check the oil every time I fill up the tank...

There's a Merc tech on this forum who has a saying about the leaks, forgot his handle (?)

I wouldn't doubt your bushings are worn, pretty common at that age and yes, mine does the exact same thing.
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Old 10-12-2003, 11:21 PM
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People, don't confuse the open discussion for the tech help section

Moving this post to Tech Help....
2003 E55 AMG
2007 FJ Cruiser
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Old 10-12-2003, 11:41 PM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,096

1. Regarding the trans leaks:

It could be the trans pan. The last person to do the trans service might have over-tightened the bolts. They are not to be tightened very much; any over tightening will cause leaks.

The trans should not be overfilled. The proper method of checking its fill level, is to measure after the engine and trans are warmed up (about 20 minutes of driving), in park, engine running on a level surface. A level surface DOES make a difference.

Depending on how over filled it is, could make a difference.

2. Leaks a little oil...again, only a handful of drops. Does not smoke or burn oil.

Where does it leak from? If you car has its engine encapsulation pan underneath, it makes it harder to determine sources. One place to look is the right side of the engine, forward, above the exhaust manifold. See if you have a bit of weeping there. This could be an upper timing chain cover seal, a common leaking area. Not too hard or expensive to repair.

3. Rear end tends to feel a little loose at highway speeds, like its being blown side to side by the wind ..

The rear suspension has five links per side. The upper diagonal link can contribute to the symptoms you described. But other worn parts can also contribute, some more expensive while others not very hard to replace or expensive.

The rear sway bar bushings are cheap and easy to replace as are the vertical links connecting the sway bar to the rear suspension. On a 1988 car you can be sure the bushings are worn and most likely the links as well.

Further, do the front sway bar bushings as well. Again easy and inexpensive and the results are great! (No link on the front) This is something a non-mechanical person could do. I did this on all my cars.

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 10-13-2003, 12:37 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
Ours had a rear-end problem that caused a corkscrew motion over undulations on the freeway. Test was simple - with vehicle on ground, brakes off, grasp each rear wheel and shake vigorously. There should be NO play. In our case problem was a loose strut bushing bolt, easy fix.

'91 MB 190E 2.3
'08 RAV4 Ltd 3.5
'83 Lazy Daze m'home 5.7
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Old 10-22-2003, 11:22 PM
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Location: Dayton, Ohio
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Thank you to all that responded, I am amazed at your kindness. I will check the things all of you have mentioned and will report back what I find ( so if someone else has these problems they can learn from it ) Again...thank you all...Jeff..
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Old 10-22-2003, 11:32 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 387
By the way, Jeff, nice choice on your first MB. Many feel the W124 is the best car MB ever built.
Bill Streep
San Antonio
'57 190SL (toy)
'08 S5500 (mine)
'09 CLK550 (wife's)
'06 SLK350 (daughter's)
'11 GLK350 (daughter's)
'03 CLK310 (spare)
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Old 10-23-2003, 12:34 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 236
There is a product on the market that I have had good luck with. I beleive it's made by Prestone, called Sealer. This is used for external oil or water leaks. It comes in a small spray can and NAPA, Auto Zone usually have it. It works and I use it on my 25 year old Chev Blazer from time to time. What surpises me most is the fact that I read all the problems people have with their MB's, when they are known for requiring little or no maintenace. Thats been my experience with my 200K, 97, C280. Really, I have'nt spend a dime on it other than the usual oil/filter/tires & battery. I consider it basically a low maintenace car that will only suffer if abused, as all cars will. Good luck.
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