1998 E320 Oil question - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 11:34 AM
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1998 E320 Oil question

Hello everyone,

It's been awhile since I posted because I usually find eveything I need on the forum, but have a lot of confusion going on with what oil to use for my oil change. I have a 1998 E320 with 90K miles and have owned it for two years with no issues whatsoever. I bought it with 74k miles on it. For the past two years, I have used 5w30 (non-synthetic) as my benz mechanic recommended in Arizona, but recently I moved to Buffalo, NY and putting my feelers out for a good benz mechanic. In the meantime, I came here and looked through just about every oil thread including the Oil change sticky and specs, but they all suggest Mobil1 0W40 per the spec, but then there is a lot of feedback on 10w40, 5w30 synthetic, and etc...so, my question is, per the OEM recommendation, what oil should I be using? Since I've had no issues with 5W30, should I continue using it? or since I have 90K should I consider a synthetic oil? I currently have no leaks anywhere and all has been good.

Please let me know...

Thank You,

-Dean
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 11:45 AM
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Hi, Dean.

Well, you've been running non-spec oil for two years, hopefully you dramatically shortened the oil change intervals.

There are two, and only two, Mobil1 oils that meet the Mercedes spec for your engine, 0W40 and 5W40.

There are NO non-synthetic oils that meet the spec for your engine.

Any synthetic oil that meets the spec for your engine will say so on the label (meets MB 229.3, 229.5, 229.51, etc.)

0W40 Mobil1 meets the spec whether you live in the hot desert of Arizona or the chilly reaches of Siberia. Why in a blazing hot climate a mechanic would recommend a thinner oil I can't begin to comprehend. And why an alleged Benz mechanic would recommend a NON SPEC oil for your car is even more of a puzzler.

So here's the straight dope:

Use ONLY an oil that meets MB 229.3 spec, minimum.

Use ONLY the fleece oil filter.

Follow the FSS for oil change intervals.

If you for some reason do not want to use Mobil1 there is a list of approved oils in the DIY/Help stickies at the top of this forum.

You'll save money and probably some more lousy advice if you buy a topsider and change your own oil. Plus you have the convenience of doing it when you want without driving anywhere.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

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#3 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 11:53 AM
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Hi Greg,

Thanks for getting back to me and giving me a straight up answer. I changed the oil every 3 thousand without fail. I did see the sticky about the topsider and am looking into now, I would love to be able to do my own, but getting on a cold garage floor/cart without a lift is not appealing, hence why the topsider looks interesting.

Thanks again...

-Dean
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 12:09 PM
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If you're going to run spec synthetic oil and fleece filters, then follow the FSS intervals. Changing oil too frequently can also damage the engine.

MB designed the engine to be drained for oil changes using a vacuum device. I'm old school and drain it (in part because I don't have anyplace to store things like topsiders) but I don't mandate that. Those who use topsiders never bend down and say in the time it takes to change the filter and o-rings (also done from above) the topsider is done with it's job. Then it's just add oil, install the filter assembly and you're through.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

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#5 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 07:50 PM
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Liquivac works well. If you are going to shift from non-syn to full syn oil I caution you agains hitting the ground running with the full FSS 10K mile interval. You want to flush out the old non-syn oil first. If you were doing 3K intervals, and you want to switch to syn... do so but only go 5K on the first oil/filter change. After that, stretch it out to 7500 miles, then you can slide into a 10K interval if you wish. I still get nervous at anything above about 8K. It's cheap to change the oil compared to the damage that sludge etc.. can cause. Best of luck to you. Liquivac makes a bigger model that works great. Save $$$$$ DIY!!

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#6 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 08:11 PM
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Before you pull the 5w30 you might look at putting in a bottle of Auto-RX to clear any sludge buildup over the next 1000 miles. Auto-RX is effective, but best used with the dino/non-synthetic you have now.

In addition to viscosity, the MBUSA recommendation for Mobil One "European Formula" is that it is one of the only oils in the US that has been allowed to have higher phosphorus/anti-sludge concentration over other sythetic oils.

No harm/no foul - it is the case the MB engines have some narrow/narrow oil galleys, and with the incorrect oil (especially non-sythetic/"dino") some have had the tendency to "sludge up" on the top end over time.

Some shops choose not to recommend the correct oil, due to the cost of the oil itself - and choose to recommend to their customers more frequent oil changes, but not telling them it's a cheaper oil.

With filter change, should be right about 8.5qts on the button - and even at Walmart, the correct oil is pricey on it's own.
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#7 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 11:12 PM
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When Mercedes changed the policy and switched the oil from dino to synthetic in our 1999 ML320 model they didn't do any flush and didn't require shorter interval than the 13,000 we did on dino oil. We all like to baby our cars, but if you follow all forum recommendations for maintenance will will end up with no time to drive it.
If you did 3000 miles interval with dino oil -your engine is badly overdone already. Just change to synthetic and use FSS for the service. The best oil available is Mobil 1 ESP Formula M, but Mobil 1 0w-40 is good for your model.
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#8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 08:41 AM
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Stupid Question

I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I have always been curious about something:

Why do they SHOW other viscosities of oils in the Owners Manual if their Specified Oil is
0W-40???

Personally, I have always run 15W-50 Mobil1 (due to our year round "warm" weather) on the advice from a friend of mine who is the Lead Tech at one of the largest Benz Dealers in the US.
I've had ZERO engine problems, and haven't burned a DROP of oil in any of my 3 FSS cars in between 5,000 mile changes. 2 of the three have more than 130,000 miles on them!
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#9 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-AMG View Post
I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I have always been curious about something:

Why do they SHOW other viscosities of oils in the Owners Manual if their Specified Oil is
0W-40???
At the time when the model went into the production the 0-40 oil didn't exist and the cars have been originally design to run on dino oils, since synthetic at the time were considered more as racing oils.
I would prize MB for carrying about their product even past the warranty and updating the manuals to available technology.
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#10 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 04:57 PM
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G-AMG - are you refering to the viscosity ranges recommended based on expected High/Low ambient air temperatures or the specific list of oils meeting MB 229.x approval.

If you are talking about specific oil/brand approvals, keep in mind that is a very dynamic playing field. Oil manufactures consistantly update their product mix and the associated manufacturer approvals. For example, just because Mobile1 EF 0w40 is 229.3 and 229.5 approved today, is no guarantee that it will be tomorrow.

My advice, read the oil container label for MB Spec approvals, read the MB manual for viscosity requirements. Follow your heart on oil brands.
Mobil1 has market share and are in bed with MB, but I don't know if it's any better than the appropriate Castrol Syntec for your car.

One thing I ding Mercedes on is their numbering system. 229.31 not down compatable with 229.3, and 229.51 not downward compatable with 229.5? Confusing at best.
Begs the question...... is 229.5 or 229.3 downward compatable with 229.1? It's not documented anywhere that I can find. Whereas, 229.5 and 229.3 down compatability is.
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