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Old 08-24-2000, 12:58 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 109
At 160K our '89 300TE has been a wonderful car. Owning older German cars as a rule, I was not too concerned with the high maintenance we've had on the car this year as it's 11 years old and things don't last forever. We've spent about $3000 on it so far - major A/C renovation (how about that $700 hose setup!), new exhaust system, a myriad of transmission and power steering hoses, etc.

So now to the point - mechanic says "You've got oil seepage from the back of the head, we'll need to keep an eye on it". I see there has been a lot of activity in the archives about this, but a thing or two remains unanswered. If I may:

(1) is there a reason for this on an otherwise superlatively over-engineered automobile?

(2) oil usage is definitely noticeable with this "seepage", but it only seems to be an issue on trips, e.g. extended periods at highway speeds 8^). Don't seem to notice around town. Car runs/idles perfectly.

(3) will this tend to "seep" a long time, or should I be concerned about catastrophic failure many miles from home ...

(4) the money question: the motor runs soooooo good, with good gas mileage and the plugs a consistently perfect whitish-gray ... I'm contemplating simply yanking the head - leaving everything on it I can according to the shop manuals - and replacing the head gasket. Lift head, remove old gasket, install new head gasket, reinstall head, be done with it. IOW, don't mess with the head even though it's off the car ... am I being shortsighted?

Comments? Thanks for the bandwidth and support.

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Old 08-24-2000, 01:29 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,908
Based on what I have read it is according to how much seepage you can stand. Personally, I would not feel uncomfortable changing the head gasket on my '95 E320. Just follow the manual, go slow, take your time and do the best job you possible can and by all means be safe.

I have been reading the comments concerning the seeping head gasket. I have to agree with an earlier poster - this does not constitute a "blown head gasket". All the blown head gaskets I have experienced have put me by the road.

good luck
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Old 08-24-2000, 09:31 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
On a 103 engine that has some oil consumption, it would be wise to do this job with a valve job. The upgraded guides do not wear as quickly as the old ones.
I have seen this before and it does get worse quickly. I'd do the valve job. I think that the whole thing should be under $2k.

Donnie Drummonds
1991 GMC Syclone
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Old 08-24-2000, 11:05 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
With an '86 300E with 183K, I am waiting for this to happen to me.

Preparing for the inevitable, I did find rebuilt 103 heads on e-Bay for $795 with no core. I kept the email for future reference:

At this price, you may wish to consider a rebuilt head (and new chain) given all the work involved in R/R.

Good luck!

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