w108 280se Heat and coolant problem!! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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w108 280se Heat and coolant problem!!

So I've had the car for about 9 months now. (1968 w108 280se Straight 6)

I check the oil every week. Coolant probably once a month.

It was always fine, I topped it up a little bit after I had it for about 6 months.

Car was serviced 3 weeks ago and all new coolant was put in.

Yesterday I noticed on my way home it was getting hot while stopped for about 1 minute at a red light. It never heats up that quickly. Cooled slightly while driving. Got home and thought it was a bit strange

Checked the coolant before I went for a drive today and couldn't see ANY coolant in the radiator!!! (haven't driven it since just took these pics and posted straight away)

Here is a pic from in there... the underside of the radiator cap was clean as a whistle but those small white bits in there scare me...





The car never got to the red on temp gauge but came close.

I have a bottle of coolant in the trunk I can throw in but trying to work out if I should try and drive it 15 miles to the mechanic or have it towed on my AAA card? Definitely don't want to risk anything

Any advise would be appreciated! I'm leaving for australia on thursday so need to resolve this ASAP!

cheers in advance
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 10:49 PM
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Small white bits are normal scaling - I wouldn't worry too much about it. My concern is where the coolant is going. Can you see anywhere where it might have leaked out? Any strange emmissions (white smoke) coming from the tail pipe?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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I did notice more liquid on the ground today under the car than I am used to seeing... couldnt tell much on the engine etc as it is quite dark in my garage. there was some white smoke condensation coming out the exhaust on friday but this was really only for 5 minutes while it warmed up and appeared to be more condensation...but it was accompanied by some water dripping from the exhaust also...and it was cold out. but i did notice it a little more than usual i guess.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 04:37 AM
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It may well be that the shop didn't wait for the thermostat to open and top the circuit up when they replaced the coolant liquid. I would top up the circuit up to the mark you see in the radiator, start the engine, have it run until the thermostat opens (lower hose warm), top up again if necessary. I would then look under the car to see if there is any leak. Then go and drive the car and check the level again.

In the US, or at least on the East Coast, coolant liquid doesn't come ready to pour in the radiator as is the case in Europe and may be in Australia. You have to mix it with water as per the indications at the back of the container.

Also there are a lot of stories about MBs needing specific antifreeze, not the green stuff, otherwise aluminum parts may desintegrate. In doubt, get your antifreeze at a MB dealer or make sure it is MB compatible.

Last edited by GGR; 12-13-2010 at 04:39 AM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 05:12 AM
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ZEREX brand is formulated the same as MERCEDES-BENZ antifreeze coolant if you can't get to your dealer. Is there a chance your heater box in the cab is leaking? There are clips that hold the hoses under the dash that can break and leave the hoses loose at the firewall. The coolant would run down the firewall and under the carpet. This is an easy fix but hard to get to the hoses under the dash.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 08:02 AM
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You can also get the ready mixed 50-50 stuff straight from the parts stores.

Condensation at startup is normal, as is a little water dripping out of the tail pipe. I was more looking for whether there were billowing white clouds coming out of your tail pipe. This would indicate coolant in the oil (very bad).

If your oil isn't emulsified and you have no white billowing smoke, your gaskets and seals are good.

I second GGR's suggestion that everything wasn't topped off properly...
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 12:42 PM
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Air in the waterhoses?

Maybe some air has gotten stuck inside some of the hoses, then you should just open the screws for the thermostat-house little, so that the air-bubbles can escape when you fill up with new water.

W108 280s (1966)
W460 300GD (1986)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGR View Post
Also there are a lot of stories about MBs needing specific antifreeze, not the green stuff, otherwise aluminum parts may desintegrate. In doubt, get your antifreeze at a MB dealer or make sure it is MB compatible.
About that... back in the 70's, antifreeze was ethylene glycol, mixed in your garage or home to some percentage with water. I thought it was only in the late 80's that the specialized stuff came into being.

Going to a Benz dealer for antifreeze would be unusually expensive for a product that didn't exist back then, don't you think?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grubeguy View Post
About that... back in the 70's, antifreeze was ethylene glycol, mixed in your garage or home to some percentage with water. I thought it was only in the late 80's that the specialized stuff came into being.

Going to a Benz dealer for antifreeze would be unusually expensive for a product that didn't exist back then, don't you think?
I don't know. I never found a definite answer on that. I ran my 3.5 with "the green stuff" for a while with no problems. I also had a head eaten by coolant liquid that sat a long time on a BMW. I heared the same story about MBs needing special coolant liquid both in Europe and in the US.

That product may not have existed by then but now that it exists there may be a good version and a bad version of it for MBs. I don't know.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 09:20 AM
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Does the oil look milky or overfull? does your car smell normal when driving? I would fill it with coolant water mix, let it idle up to temp while u inspect engine for leaks. check oil before and after start. Let cool down, then top up with water coolant mix. Then drive.



Also check the hoses that carry coolant to throttle body. (often neglected)

Disclaimer: I am no professional.
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