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Old 07-30-2000, 08:40 PM
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Well this is my period for having all my cars with medium to serious problems at one time.

Clutch is out on my 240D and I was enjoying driving my 300E so much, that I wasn't in a hurry to put the clutch in, especially since I am in the middle of trying to fix the daughter's 300D.

When coming home Friday I stopped for gas about 35 miles from home. The low coolant light came on when I restarted the car. I thought this was strange, but filled up the system with water. Got down the road about ten miles, the light came on and the temp went up immediately. I put it in neutral and coasted to the side of the road.

Opened the hood and found the heater hose at the rear left split and spewing. I called my wife, she brought a couple gallons of water. By the time she got there, I had removed the clamp, trimmed the hose with my pocket knife and put it back on, ready for water. Felt good about it.

It took a gallon of water, and I cranked it up, let it idle a good bit, it drew a little more water, I capped it and headed for home. I figured that if it did burp out some air and the level went down the low level light would tip me off. Went all the way home with 85 degrees C on the guage, and no low level light. Thought I had a good temporary fix, thinking I'd order all new heater hoses on Monday.

Got it out to drive it this morning and the light was on, and engine was missing. Filled up the radiator drove two miles, it sat an hour then two miles back, the light came on again. Smoke was coming out the tailpipe. I topped it off again with ideas of putting it in the garage and knowing the headgasket was probably blown. When starting it to put it away later it made a terrible noise, afraid I may have bent a rod or something. It was not under load. It just made noise, when I started it, I then pushed it into the garage.

Are these engines proned to cracking cylinder heads under these conditions, or just the head gasket. I wonder if I bent a rod or some such. Any thoughts?

I'm running out of cars to drive and my office is 95 miles away. I wonder what is going to blow up next.

Wish me more luck,

Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles

[This message has been edited by LarryBible (edited 07-30-2000).]
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Old 07-30-2000, 09:49 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: New Bedford, MA USA
Posts: 1,583
Oh No, Larry, not the 300E. Well, my friend, I have been down this road, and here is what I recall from this experience, including perks from Donnie and Steve. It sounds like the head gasket has gone. My understanding is the M103 is prone to this when it gets real hot. Not prone to head cracking (I've been told the head is a relatively soft alloy), but is prone to quick warpage. Can you describe the "terrible noise" and did it start anyway? Anyway, I will pray to the Gods of MBZ in your behalf. What a bummer

Jeff Lawrence
1987 300e
1989 300e
2000 Dodge Grand Caravan SE

[This message has been edited by jeffsr (edited 07-30-2000).]
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Old 07-30-2000, 09:54 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,315
Who said that life was either a thin soup or a lumpy gravy?

It sounds like you have a major mechanical problem secondary to the overheating, but you didn't need me to tell you that.

Surfing e-Bay, I found a place that will sell you a rebuilt 300E head for $795 without a core. This may help you in your repair. Let me know and I will send you the info.

Good luck and keep us posted.


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Old 07-31-2000, 12:35 AM
Harvey Sutlive
Posts: n/a
Larry - so what does he oil in you 300e look like? How much water did you have to put in when you started the car after you got gas when you first got the coolant light?
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Old 07-31-2000, 01:32 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 217
Wow, I dont understand how an entire head gasket can blow due to a low level of coolant--even for a short time. I think i mighta lucked out once when my father was driving my car the inlet neck was broken, and all the coolant ran out, temp rose to 120, but soon took it to a shop--replaced radiator--everything was back to normal.

Im praying for you Larry--lets hope its something smaller.

Keep us posted, and good luck.

1989 300E
Monotoned Smoke Silver
97 Style Replica E420 Rims 205/55/16
Euro Headlights
Clear Corners
20% Tint
12" Sub-enclosure
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Old 07-31-2000, 08:22 AM
Posts: n/a
At this point, if all it takes is a head I will be happy.

The noise was when the engine was starting after the car sitting in the driveway for a few hours after shutting down and having filled the radiator again. My worry is that it had leaked coolant in a cylinder, the engine started with a cylinder or two firing before trying to compress the water.

I'm looking for experience regarding this situation. Is it likely that I bent a rod or did other bottom end damage? Will I be wasting my time doing the head, or should I go straight to a longblock.

This car is my baby. If it takes a longblock, it gets a longblock.

Right now I'm having to resist looking for another car. All my cars are broken or limping. Very depressing. It could always be worse, the family's healthy, so I'm keeping it all in perspective.

Thanks for the replies and any additional experience regarding the lower end,

Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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Old 07-31-2000, 08:49 AM
Michael's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
Just wanted to wish you luck!

The bottom end noise sounds strange...can you describe it further? I'd find it somewhat surprising if you've done damage to the bottom of the motor...the M103 short block's supposed to be indestructible.

Best wishes for quick and (relatively) painless recoveries!!

Best regards, Michael
'92 500E
'88 300TE
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Old 07-31-2000, 11:28 AM
Posts: n/a
The bottom end noise was a one time loud knock. I pushed the car in the garage after that. My fear is that there was liguid in a cylinder and a rod was bent or something.

Thanks and keep the thoughts coming,
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Old 07-31-2000, 01:09 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Hicksville, NY
Posts: 63
Well I can definately understand your concern. Last thursday my mothers car had the head gasket fail (not a MB, but a 94 Ford Thunderbird). I started early sat morning and 11 hours later I was done replacing both head gaskets.

The car runs like a champ (just like when she was new just that it has 64,000 miles on it now). Its amazing on how fast it went. The only thing that led up to failure was that the car had a stumble every so often when idling on sunday, and then on thursday the gasket failed causing plumes of white smoke out the muffle. The car was never abused and we owned it from day one. Ford has extended to warranty on 94's and 95's V^ engines so this repair would have been covered, but I just don't trust anyone these days.

Hope all is well with you 300E....I'm going to be doing my 300CE next month to cure a slight oil leak from the front of the block.


1990 300CE-24
1995 Jeep Wrangler
1995 Ford Thunderbird
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Old 07-31-2000, 05:44 PM
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Diesel Fanatic
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 551
Bummer. Since I'm not in the habit of praying, I wish you the best of luck. Sad when the fleet of cars you so revere is beset by so many injuries...

Grey/black '84 300D, 194K
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Old 07-31-2000, 07:55 PM
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Moof !
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Seattle WA USA
Posts: 469
Larry, sorry to hear your troubles. How does your oil look; any water? How about removing the spark plugs and inspecting for water in cylinders. Your worry of water incompressability is valid if enough water got in there. And it can be fatal. Good luck.

1979 240D
1990 300E
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Old 07-31-2000, 08:20 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Toronto,On,Canada
Posts: 280
Larry,wish you better luck tomorrow.

Tom 1992 300E 2.6
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Old 07-31-2000, 09:06 PM
Posts: n/a
When I worked at a service station as a teenager, the mechanics there told me to never - never pour water into the radiator of an overheated engine unless the engine was running. Why? Because it would likely blow the head gasket. I don't know how.
Your description said that you poured water into the radiator then cranked it up. I wonder were those mechanics right?
Sorry about your problems Larry and my story doesn't help you but maybe it will help someone else.
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Old 07-31-2000, 09:18 PM
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I don't believe that puring the water in did the damage. The car had about a half hour to cool by the time my wife got there with the water.

I haven't bothered to pull the dipstick because the head gasket is definitely blown, that's the best case. The question is whether or not there was lower end damage.

Thanks a million for all thoughts and reponses.

Wish me luck,
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Old 08-01-2000, 01:49 PM
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Pull the spark plugs and turn it over. If a cylinder was full of water, it will spew out the plug hole. If this is the case, I imagine you will have to disassemble the engine to determine whether any bearings were mashed or rods bent. It might be cheaper to buy a good, low mileage used engine than to disassemble yours and rebuild it. A new longblock for a Benz must be breathtakingly expensive.
Good Luck!
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