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Old 08-15-2000, 12:01 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: ajax, ontario, canada
Posts: 773
i know that benzes are built for the autobahn and driving pedal-to-the-metal the whole day.

though i run my 190e2.6 at superlegal speeds whenever i get the chance (and the guts), i do it on my overdrive 5th gear. I've never redlined the engine and tested the rev limiter. Nor have i kept the engine past 5000rpm for a prolonged period of time.

i just want to have an idea of the margins of overdesign the M103 engine has. Which parts am i wearing out quickly at these elevated engine speeds? Or is the engine just happy to oblige? Of course this assumes my oil pressure and water temp are at normal levels ...

any info is appreciated ...

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Old 08-15-2000, 08:37 AM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: SW Colorado USA
Posts: 296
What year is your car? I think the only flaw in the M103 is that pre '89 engines are subject to worn valve guides. The more high speed use the quicker you will require a valve job. Mine is a '90 and needed the valve stem seals replaced. Easy job, I did it myself in a couple of hours. That cured my oil consumption issue. Otherwise the M103 is bulletproof, definately one of MBs best. My Gwagen wieghs in at over 5200 lbs and is geared rather short. I have taken it on a few long distance highway trips and it has been flawless. This summer we drove from MN to CO across Nebraska. It was 105F and very humid, the G ran 80+ mph with the AC blasting for 6 hrs. At those speeds the M103 was turning in the area of 4000-4500 rpm. I have also driven it across the So. Cal. desert at similar speeds with a rooftop cargo box and had no trouble. It has always run cool and smooth. I suspect the Gwagen is about the most strenuous application of this engine and I have been very impressed with it. In a 190 I would not hesitate to run it flat out, it is a very tough engine. Over the years I unlike you have always run my cars at thier limits. I remember my mothers '85 Accord, doing backwards donuts in the rain and accidentally seeing the tach swing to 8000 rpm. The car had 10k on it at the time and I sold it in great running condition with 165k on the clock and no engine work. I also run my Porsche very hard, it sees 120mph plus every day I drive it, it also visits the track 3-4 times a year. It goes through brake pads and tires but the engine is very strong still with over 70k fast miles. IMHO you have nothing to fear, your car will run as fast as you dare for a long long time if properly cared for. Take it out and run it, thats why I buy german cars, they seem to revel in it.

90 300GE 5sp
95 740iL
86 944 Turbo
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Old 08-15-2000, 09:04 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: ajax, ontario, canada
Posts: 773

mine is an 89 190e2.6. Thanks for the reassurance. Although i don't drive at the limit, i just want to know "it's there", to dip into when "needed". Like when a souped-up honda squirts by and you are in the mood ...

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Old 08-15-2000, 03:17 PM
Posts: n/a
Drive it hard. It will love you. I drive my 93 190 2.6 pretty hard every day - not abusive, mind you - I let it warm up and rarely pound the throttle to the floor (I'll ease it down there instead). But I see no point in lagging down the freeway at 2700rpm in "D" when I can be having fun at 3800rpm in 3rd. Plus, when I want power I've got it on tap and it runs all the way up the redline (my auto shifts and I don't know what a manual would do BTW). It won't touch redline flat-out in D - I tried going through Oregon and had it stalled out just shy, flat out, but that took almost 13 miles to get it that far. Altitude, maybe.

These cars are indestructible, as long as you maintenance (sooner than spec if driving it hard a lot) and let it warm up (tranny too). I supose high revs wear an engine quicker, but...
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Old 08-15-2000, 05:56 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
I've pounded the M103 in my 300TE relentlessly, and at 169k miles it still only goes thru a quart of Mobil1 15W50 every 3,500 miles or so. I add 1 quart between changes; when it asks for the second I change it out.

I beat my '88 Accord LXi senselessly for 275k miles; at 260 or so the oil pan rusted out. Upon replacement I was STUNNED at the cleanliness inside that motor. A compression test by a Honda guru revealed a motor that was virtually new. Don't try that at home, kids.

My point is that I maintain my cars fastidiously, and believe quality motors will withstand a thrashing if given the proper care. Fluids (brake, coolant, diff) & lubrication services, valve adjustments when applicable, hose replacement before the first one goes (I do them when they're 10 yrs old), etc. Beats a breakdown every time.

So go on; have some fun!

Best regards, Michael
'92 500E
'88 300TE
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Old 08-15-2000, 07:53 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Near Williamsburg, Virginia
Posts: 358
Be aware that engine wear increases exponentially as the rpms increase. I have a 1960 190 SL with a THREE main bearing crankshaft. I routinely cruise the vehicle at 4750 rpm. On the raceway there are times that I've seen the tach at 7,000 rpms. The car has no rev-limiter. This is a 40-yr-old 3-bearing engine with a 6,000 rpm redline and the engine has over 300,000 miles on it. The metal and engineering in the newer cars are better by many orders of magnitude.

Robby Ackerman
Candidate Mid-Atlantic Regional Director
Past President
Virginia Section MBCA
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Old 08-15-2000, 08:00 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,243
I believe in babying mine. It is my understanding that it is not how fast you have driven but how many times the engine has turned over. Take a police car for example, they leave them running outside the donut shop even. The car may not have but 100,000 miles on it but the engine is worn out because of the amount of times the engine has turned over. I never let mine get above 2,000 rpm when it is cold and only rarely floor it. It does feel good when it comes on the cam though doesn't it.
There is nothing in the world like strong inline six.
'95 E320
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Old 08-17-2000, 06:52 PM
Posts: n/a
Engat - forgive me but I can't quite agree with your logic. The wear on an engine that idles for ten minutes outside a donut shop is FAR less than the wear incurred in stopping and re-starting the motor. I've always been told that engines wear very very little once lubricated and that 90% of wear occurs in that short time that oil is absent. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I tend to think of abuse like this: it's not abuse until items are burning, blistering hot, grinding away or flexing hard. MB would not put out any vehicle (these days) that could easily be destroyed without trying hard. From the amount of gas allowed to the cylinders to the amount of rev allowed on the system, there's not a damn thing you can do to really hurt the car AS LONG AS it's warmed up, maintenanced and again, not abused.
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Old 08-17-2000, 07:33 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,243
Maka you are absolutely correct in terms of when the most wear occurs - during start up/cold starts and high rpm prior to warming the engine up.
I meant to say that the police car may only be showing 100,000 miles on the odometer but the engine may have the equivalent of 300,000 miles on it (for example) because of all the idling. I don't think they ever shut them off once their shift starts.
The best thing to do, like everybody mentions on here all the time is change the oil often and change it hot.
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Old 08-17-2000, 08:29 PM
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Moof !
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Seattle WA USA
Posts: 469
One thing to remember about this idling issue just mentioned: some engines are designed such that the cam shaft lobes are lubricated by oil that is slung from the crankshaft. This is true in the Chevy Small Block, as well as other similar OHV configured engines. What this means is that a Small Block idling at under 2000 RPMs is NOT lubing the cam lobes very well, so should never be run this way for any length of time. On the other hand, I'm not sure how the MB overhead cam lobes are lubed, but I suspect this isn't an issue.

1979 240D
1990 300E
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Old 08-18-2000, 02:17 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,935


Oil delivery pipe(s) above the cam which snap into the cam towers. Be careful though, on the V8s they can break easily!

Aaron Greenberg
MB technician
Precision Motorcars, Cincinnati, Ohio
'67 250SE Cabriolet
'77 450SL
'80 300SD
'85 380SE
'86 420SEL
'89 420SEL
'93 300E 2.8
'74 Jensen Interceptor Mk.III
'81 DeLorean DMC12
'84 BMW 745i Turbo
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