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  #1  
Old 10-27-2003, 10:29 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chicago
Posts: 5
1994 E320 Oil Leak -- Help!

OK, I just took my car to the dealer for a 15K checkup -- my car now has 75 K miles on it. They checked it out and said that I have an oil leak in the gront and rear engine gasket, and that they estimate $1800 to fix it. From the other postings on this site, it seems that this is a known problem, so I feel a little better. But how can I tell how serious tnhis is right now? Are they just trying to pull one over on me because I am a female? Do I have to do this now? If not now, how long can I put it off? Is this dangerous? Am I just putting off the inevitable?

Are there any questions I should ask when I go back to the dealer? Should I look for an independent shop to perform the work? Is this cost reasonable? The service consultant said it was high because it is a very manual effort to fix -- they have to take the whole thing apart. If I do this now, will I have to deal with this again? How do I make sure it dosn't hapen again?


Help! Any advice for me and next steps would be helpful.
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2003, 12:10 AM
Bud
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Look in the coolant reservoir for signs of oil. If you have MB coolant you'll be able to tell if there is oil mixed in with the coolant. You can also feel the coolant to see if it appears to have oil in it.

If there is oil in the coolant, it's the classic symptom of the head gasket problem on these cars. You should have the problem repaired because oil in the coolant will damage the hoses in the coolant system.

I recently had a 300E head gasket changed by a Mecedes dealer in Scottsdale, AZ. The charges were:

- $1,140 labor
- $148.52 gasket set
- $17.00 coolant
- $18.70 cleaning compound (to rid system of oil).

The head was checked when it was off and no additional work was required.

While they have the head off they should replace any worn parts such as the serpentine belt. They should also replace any parts that are difficult to replace such as the short hose to the water pump.

I was given a free rental car and a 12 month warranty backed up by the resources of a large dealership.

The cost could be more than what I paid if the head is warped, the timing chain needs replacing or valve work is required. Otherwise, the price I paid should be about what a dealer in a large metro area would charge.

Last edited by Bud; 10-28-2003 at 01:21 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2003, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chicago
Posts: 5
Thanx so much. This was so helpful. I now have questions I can use when I call the dealer, and may, since I the drip was not a constant stream or constant drip, take the extra few days to try and find a qualified mechanic to give me another data point and estimate. I definitely intend to keep the car, and to keep it up mechanically, so I will get the work done.

Any tips in finding a mechanic?

Can I continue to expect things like this due to the age of the car? That is, I do try to take the car in for all its maintenance checks etc. and regularly get the oil changed; it seems to me that every time, I end up paying $1000 or more for some additional work on the car (on top of the service check). Is that typical?
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  #4  
Old 10-28-2003, 03:08 PM
Bud
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I've owned two Mercedes. The first one I had for 18 years and the only time it was ever to a dealer was to have the transmission serviced and to have the fuel injectors replaced. All the other work I did myself including all maintenance work.

My current car is a 1991 300E. I take it to a dealer to have the transmission serviced and I recently had to have the head gasket replaced. Other than that, I've done all the maintenance work.

If something should happen to me, my wife would be in the same situation you are in and would have to rely on someone else to maintain the car for her. I've given this a lot of thought and have told her to go buy a Toyota or Honda because service is close and inexpensive and these are very reliable cars.

I used to own BMW's (love 'em) and had lots of problems with them. Because of that, my wife won't let me buy another one. I told her that the parts didn't cost that much and that I was able to do all the work myself. Her answer was that if I wasn't around, she'd have to pay someone to do that work and wind up spending a fortune.

Mercedes in the past were actually quite easy to maintain if you did it yourself. Parts could be obtained at a discount from a variety of sources and the cars are superbly designed. However, if (like you) I had to take the car to a dealer for all this work I'd have to pay list price for the parts and as much as $90/hour to have the work done.

Having said all that, the major cost of car ownership is the cost of money and depreciation. What this means is that if you have a car that will last a very long time, it's worth spending money for maintenance and repairs because the alternative is to buy a new car and then you are going to get killed on depreciation, sales tax and increased fees.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2003, 08:08 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chicago
Posts: 5
Thanx so much. This was so helpful. I now have questions I can use when I call the dealer, and may, since I the drip was not a constant stream or constant drip, take the extra few days to try and find a qualified mechanic to give me another data point and estimate. I definitely intend to keep the car, and to keep it up mechanically, so I will get the work done.

Any tips in finding a mechanic?

Can I continue to expect things like this due to the age of the car? That is, I do try to take the car in for all its maintenance checks etc. and regularly get the oil changed; it seems to me that every time, I end up paying $1000 or more for some additional work on the car (on top of the service check). Is that typical?
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