OM642 2011 R350 BlueTEC - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy OM642 2011 R350 BlueTEC

Olá!

I have a 2011 R350 BlueTEC. I live in Illinois, but it has always been filled with B5 or less diesel from Sam's Club. I have no idea why, but the wholesale warehouses and a couple of non-franchise gas stations are the only ones that seem to carry B5 or less in my area. I start with that because I have been told by too many people that my engine problems have been caused by the use of B20 diesel. I have NEVER filled this car up with anything but B5 or less. To get to the main point, here is what I am facing: stretched timing chain, leaky oil cooler seals, a sludged engine, suspension leak, and a presumed AdBlue heater failure.

The timing chain is definitely stretched. I know this because the car has a loud rattle at cold starts. The car also has a ticking sound when idling. It rumbles as it is turned off. I've had a dealer and an indie tell me that this would need to be done.

I have oil all over my garage floor. It drips off the car very slowly. The dealer and the indie agree on this as well.

I have not seen this myself. I was told to look into the intake manifold, but I am not handy and don't know how to do this at all. The dealer never mentioned this, but my indie told me it was sludged.

I've been through Airmatic issues. I got this car with the ADS suspension. I have not looked into this yet.

I assume the AdBlue heater has failed because the car seems to guzzle DEF like crazy. I used to be able to get more than 10k miles per tank. I feel like I am filling it up every 3-5k miles now.

I have already had the NOx sensors replaced, as well as the camshaft position sensors, in years past. Using my little AutoLink scanner, I get a host of codes including: P0341 (Camshaft Position Sensor A), P2454 (Diesel Particulate Filter), P244A (Diesel Particulate Filter), P2453 (Diesel Particulate Filter), P2002 (Diesel Particulate Filter), P203D (Reductant Level Sensor), P20BE (Reductant Heater 'B' Control), P20BD (Reductant Heater 'B' Control), and P203D (Reductant Level Sensor).

Everyone—I mean EVERYONE—has told me that I need to get rid of this car. However, I have not been able to find anything that I like as much as this one. Not to mention, I find the idea of purchasing or leasing another $70-80k car after just 7 years and 90k miles unconscionable. All of our other Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs have been solid machines. Yes, they've been expensive to maintain and have had to have some repairs. However, this level of engine work is entirely unexpected.

In the ideal world, I would like to keep this car. I have an emotional attachment to it. However, the timing chain and tensioner and oil cooler seals come out to about $5000 alone. I estimate that keeping this car for three years will cost me at least $30,500 in depreciation, next round of tires, maintenance, and s**tty VSC, and SOS/fuel/etc., without the AdBlue heater and suspension issues (and assuming nothing else goes wrong). If this goes much higher, it will be less expensive for me to lease an $80k LR Discovery, a vehicle that I was unexpectedly impressed with.

What would you do? Where would you start? Do you think I should get a full write up from the dealer to clarify the costs?

-mb-enthusiast
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-21-2018, 12:03 AM
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Unfortunately, it only goes downhill from here. This model (actually most R classes) are severely problematic compared to similar MB of similar year.

The OM642 is infamous for the oil cooler leak, though its surprising that a 2011 needs the oil cooler gasket done, given that MB supposedly installed the revised oil cooler gasket as of 2010 onwards. Make sure the oil leak is not coming from the PCV to the Y shaped intake hose (right before the turbo).

Yes, these cars are very well known for their airmatic issues...these vans are crazy heavy and the struts are a tad bit undersized for the weight.

Adblue is also another well known issue and is hellishly complicated to figure out....most likely you have a adblue injector issue or leaky injector, this needs to be fixed very quickly, otherwise the DPF gets full of crystals and clogged up and then you end up with even bigger bill at the end of the day.

Timing chain stretch....that happens if you or the previous owner obeyed the FSS on the cluster (10-13k per oil change). These engines DO NOT LIKE long oil change interval at all, and if you keep the long oil change interval, you end up stretching the timing chain....have seen this multiple time. I have a 2014 C300 in my shop for a stretched timing chain, and that owner has been religiously following the FSS service on his cluster.

Mercedes sets the FSS to appease the environmentalist/government, not for best engine health.

Fact is, if you're looking at fixing everything listed above at an independent shop....get rid of the car now. It will only bring more issues down the line. Hell, your GL450 will be more reliable and that car has its own share of issues!
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-21-2018, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question

My family and I have had a lot of Mercedes-Benzes over the years. Some of the issues we are used to.

The air suspension is a given. I regard it as a maintenance issue. I would never get rid of a vehicle because of it.

I am not sure how I am supposed to verify where the oil cooler leak is coming from. I am not handy, so I am just taking the dealer and the indie's words for it. Both quoted me for seals. Likewise, I don't know about the sludge. I'm just trusting them.

The car was on a 10k mile interval, but then it was switched to a 5k mile interval after Mercedes-Benz released the brochure for Illinois drivers. I had the oil changed 3k miles ago, but it's already telling me to check the oil level.

Our GL450 has been fine aside from a suspension replacement.

My hunch right now is that the OM642 is just a flawed powertrain, especially in the passenger car application. This hurts, because not only do I love this car, I love Mercedes-Benz and believe that they are the best-engineered cars on the planet.

Would you recommend I get the dealer diagnostic for the exhaust system codes? It's supposed to be $155-310.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-21-2018, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb-enthusiast1 View Post
My family and I have had a lot of Mercedes-Benzes over the years. Some of the issues we are used to.

The air suspension is a given. I regard it as a maintenance issue. I would never get rid of a vehicle because of it.

I am not sure how I am supposed to verify where the oil cooler leak is coming from. I am not handy, so I am just taking the dealer and the indie's words for it. Both quoted me for seals. Likewise, I don't know about the sludge. I'm just trusting them.

The car was on a 10k mile interval, but then it was switched to a 5k mile interval after Mercedes-Benz released the brochure for Illinois drivers. I had the oil changed 3k miles ago, but it's already telling me to check the oil level.

Our GL450 has been fine aside from a suspension replacement.

My hunch right now is that the OM642 is just a flawed powertrain, especially in the passenger car application. This hurts, because not only do I love this car, I love Mercedes-Benz and believe that they are the best-engineered cars on the planet.

Would you recommend I get the dealer diagnostic for the exhaust system codes? It's supposed to be $155-310.
If you like the car, get the WIS and EPC for $15 on Ebay, buy some tools and a service jack, jack stands or maybe if you have $2000-3500 you can buy a two post lift and learn how to become handy.

Last edited by ot1; 10-21-2018 at 10:23 PM.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-21-2018, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ot1 View Post
If you like the car, get the WIS and EPC for $15 on Ebay, buy some tools and a service jack, jack stands or maybe if you have $2000-3500 you can buy a two post lift and learn how to become handy.
I have never even changed oil or mounted a tire. It's a miracle I have a scanner at all. I wish I could become handy, but I don't think I can be self-taught on a Mercedes-Benz.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 12:02 AM
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Mercedes-Benz & Sprinter OM642 BlueTec Diesel Issues/Problems | Stephens Service Center - Sacramento's Best Mercedes-Benz Service & Repairs

Read this to learn a little bit more about OM642, this is another reason why I'm advocating early oil change. 5-7k OCI isn't bad at all....its when you get into 10k+ consistently, that's when you get into issues.

You may not know much about how to address the oil leak, but you will need to learn how to ask the right questions so you don't get taken for a ride. Ask them how did they verify that the oil cooler is leaking? Did they look with a borescope to verify the oil leak? (you can't see the oil cooler with the intake manifold on...only way to see it is with a borescope) Is the PCV valve failing? Is it puking oil into the turbo?

Point is, these dealers and independent shops know that OM642 is a cash cow, and they all know the common issues with these engines.....but the oil cooler gasket is the one job that bills the most and costs the most, meaning more $$$ for them.

Incidentally, how did they know the engine was sludged up? Normally to find out engine sludge, you need to take off a valve cover...which is already a big job since it calls for intake manifold removal (sounds familiar?) which in turn calls for removal of the turbo, etc.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mb-enthusiast1 View Post
I have never even changed oil or mounted a tire. It's a miracle I have a scanner at all. I wish I could become handy, but I don't think I can be self-taught on a Mercedes-Benz.
Of course you can be self taught, changing oil is simple, can you budget yourself for tools? Probably if you can throw money at a shop. For starters at least get the EPC and WIS on DVD from ebay and load it on your laptop. Get oil from Baines Farm and Fleet for Mobil 1 European blend for oil or Costco, cheapest around. Tools from Harbor Freight, good enough for a home mechanic. You have forums to ask questions. Parts from the internet, FCPEuro and others. The biggest issue is that you need something to drive once you start working on your own vehicle and you take longer than a day to repair something.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Mercedes-Benz & Sprinter OM642 BlueTec Diesel Issues/Problems | Stephens Service Center - Sacramento's Best Mercedes-Benz Service & Repairs

Read this to learn a little bit more about OM642, this is another reason why I'm advocating early oil change. 5-7k OCI isn't bad at all....its when you get into 10k+ consistently, that's when you get into issues.

You may not know much about how to address the oil leak, but you will need to learn how to ask the right questions so you don't get taken for a ride. Ask them how did they verify that the oil cooler is leaking? Did they look with a borescope to verify the oil leak? (you can't see the oil cooler with the intake manifold on...only way to see it is with a borescope) Is the PCV valve failing? Is it puking oil into the turbo?

Point is, these dealers and independent shops know that OM642 is a cash cow, and they all know the common issues with these engines.....but the oil cooler gasket is the one job that bills the most and costs the most, meaning more $$$ for them.

Incidentally, how did they know the engine was sludged up? Normally to find out engine sludge, you need to take off a valve cover...which is already a big job since it calls for intake manifold removal (sounds familiar?) which in turn calls for removal of the turbo, etc.
I've read that article before, some years ago.

The car leaks oil all over the ground.

I do trust my mechanic (factory-trained by Mercedes-Benz), because he actually does not want to work on the car. They think I should sell or trade the car.

As I said, I haven't seen them take the intake manifold cover off. A service consultant told me to have that done.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 09:43 AM
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>What would you do?<

I was faced with a similar choice on a VW Passat I bought new.

The engine was showing occasional low oil pressure warnings and it was time for the timing belt to be replaced.

Since the car was not that old (but out of warranty), I decided to go for it.

Typical for these kind of repairs, I had other work done at the same time (things like new water pump).

It was a waste of money.

If it were me, I would take my lumps now and dump the car. Mercedes produced a lot of garbage from 2006 onward. I think you got one of them.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 03:27 PM
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>What would you do?<

I was faced with a similar choice on a VW Passat I bought new.

The engine was showing occasional low oil pressure warnings and it was time for the timing belt to be replaced.

Since the car was not that old (but out of warranty), I decided to go for it.

Typical for these kind of repairs, I had other work done at the same time (things like new water pump).

It was a waste of money.

If it were me, I would take my lumps now and dump the car. Mercedes produced a lot of garbage from 2006 onward. I think you got one of them.
This car was a $50,000 if purchased new, and this makes it more difficult to decide to dump it. If there is rust, or body damage then the dumping it is easier. But if its only the engine with oil leaks or a streched timing chain, these are low cost repairs if you can do the work yourself and have a place to work.
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