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Old 11-18-2003, 10:26 PM
chazola's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Dorset, United Kingdom
Posts: 1,239
W124 Leaky Front Cover- DIY fix?

I just bought a '91 300E with 192k on it and it has the leaky front cover issue. My local Merc specialist (who seems pretty honest) had a look and said not to worry: 'these leak all the time' were his words.
Being the perfectionist I am though, could this be a job I could fix myself? I'm by no means a car expert but have a basic understanding of engineering and am pretty handy fixing stuff (or at least taking it apart and seeing how it goes back together again!)
I did a search for the procedure but couldn't find one that went in to detail. Anyone who's done it themselves care to help out?

Also, on a footnote, tried the trick of removing the retarding resistor and the bloody thing works! car feels much more 'alive'.

Amusing seeing everyone's postings on here; it seems we all love these old cantankerous German tanks, even if they do drain our wallets and 'cause hours of hands stuffed down oily places where the sun don't shine... I guess there's just nothing like seeing that 3-pointed star/gunsight at the end of your hood... I've only owned the thing a couple of weeks and I'm smitten already.
Try explaining it to my wife tho...

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Old 11-18-2003, 10:44 PM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 2,574
Your best bet is to obtain the CD-Rom for your car. The procedure you mention is outlined on the ROM. Not too tough.
Mike Murrell
1991 300-SEL - Model 126
M103 - SOHC
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Old 11-19-2003, 12:32 AM
pmizell's Avatar
Benz Zealot
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 838
This is a pretty basic procedure and very doable DIY job -- even if you haven't done any work underneath your hood yet. The beauty of the 103 engine is how easy it is to work on.

You'll need:

- gasket sealant part #002 989 45 20 10 (about $17 per tube )
- new "U gasket"
- new camshaft radial seal
- new valve cover gasket (might as well, while "you're there")

1. remove valve cover (10mm bolts, 10 or 12 of 'em)

2. remove fan shroud

3. remove the distributor cover, and distributor cap <--- 5mm hex
wrench -- 4 bolts (long wrench here helps on one of the bolts)
followed by the distributor rotor -- 3 small hex bolts hold it on
2mm? I think. Careful not to strip these.

4. remove the distributor driver -- small metal T shaped piece that
is held on by a torx bolt --- forget size... want to say 6

5. unscrew coolant resevoir cap and remove the water return
pipe --- you may want to buy a new rubber o-ring that attaches
on one side (metal into metal side) ... in fact this is a no brainer
since they're only a buck or so.

6. unscrew the 4, 13mm bolts that hold the front cover on and
bang it off carefully with a rubber mallet or something similar

7. remove old U gasket and clean all contact surface of old sealant
with gasoline or other mineral spirit.

8. replace radial seal on cover if it's leaking -- otherwise I'd leave
it. It is pretty easy to press out, and press new one in.

9. place a dab of sealant in very corner where each end of the U
gasket makes contact, and put new U gasket in place

10. coat edges (where front cover makes contact) with sealant --
I use my fingers. You have approx 15 mins before the sealant

11. put front cover back on -- this part is tricky because you don't
want to fold over the U gasket, while getting it in place just
right. The manual says to use an insertion sleeve to help it on
but I've always done OK without it.

12. tighten 2 bottom bolts first -- torque is 21 nm

13. love this phrase -- replacement is the reverse of removal....
replacing the valve cover gasket while you're at it.

I may be missing a step or two, it's been so long since I've done this... but I'm pretty sure this covers it.

As Mike stated --- this is all documented in the 124 series MB repair CD, and if you plan on doing most of the little problems that, if they haven't popped up already from previous owner, will at your mileage -- then investing in this wealth of knowledge may be a good idea.

Good Luck

'01 E430, Sport 72,000 mi
'98 C280, 126,500 mi

Last edited by pmizell; 11-19-2003 at 12:37 AM.
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