Date registered: Jul 2009
Vehicle: 1988 Mercedes Benz 560 SEL
Location: Champaign, IL
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Oil Leak 560SEL; DIY seal replacement(s)? How?
Throughout my two years of ownership, I have been aware that my 560 leaks oil. You can tell every space my car has been parked in because of the stains. For every long/highway trip I go on, I notice that the oil level falls incrementally on the dipstick. Moreover, during and after every long trip or hard driving, there is the omnipresent scent of WD-40 sizzling on the exhaust and cats; occasionally, there is even a slight plume of smoke that rises suspiciously from beneath the hood. I have been told that it is a "common problem on older Mercedes", and that "repairing it would cost more than the car is worth". I do not doubt either of these statements, and suppose I could leave it be for another several thousand miles or more (currently have about 138,500 miles) before addressing it. Yet I was recently faced with the grim reality of the situation when I took my 560 in for an oil change, and observed that most of the underside of the car, including the floor pan and exhaust system, was coated in oil from it streaking back from the leak during fast driving. Duh. But this sight and the constant smell of burning oil immensely bothered me, so I began doing some research into a DIY project to replace the two main areas I believe to be the source of my leak(s); the engine rear main seal, and the automatic transmission front seal. I have been told that the leak is at the head gasket (?), but I see no evidence of this as it appears that the leak occurs only where the engine meets the transmission. I would like to know more about how I can go about replacing the seals myself, as I would certainly save a ton of money by doing so, and am absolutely through with dubious Mercedes mechanics. I am somewhat familiar with the procedure to get to both seals, yet I am not entirely clear. If anyone can provide me with technical support or online shop manuals, it would be greatly appreciated. I will try and get some pictures of the leak situation as soon as I can.