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Premium Member
Started with a 97 E420. Got hooked. 98 S420, 06 S500, 11 S550, 15 ML350.
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272 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought an ML500 for my son and his wife that is has nice cosmetics inside and out, but a few mechanical problems. On the way home, about 1000 miles, I started to notice a hot oil smell when stopping abruptly, or stopping on a hill at light. I was thinking leaking valve cover gaskets. But when I got home and started taking the plastic off the top of the car to see, I noticed what maybe oil all over the front of the engine. I say maybe oil as it it appears to be more black than oil colored. Also, it looks more viscous, almost like grease to my eye. I taken some pictures. Please see below and attachments. Anyone recognize this leak, problem?



Looking down:



And here are a few attachment pictures:
 

Attachments

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Dallas, Texas
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7,719 Posts
Why does first picture have red cap over dipstick tube and rest of them gray dipstick?

Possible leak from oil filter housing to front timing cover. You will loose drive belt shortly.

#35 in parts diagram

 

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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,150 Posts
It could be coming from one of several places, I have a big leak on mine which might be the intercooler gasket. We can't be certain, I had the engine cleaned but I can't see unless we get the car up on a lift, and I can't get to my mechie and he's not working every day now due to the curfew.

Can you get the engine properly cleaned, with a degreaser like Gunk?

That will give you an indication of where it's coming from. Keep a daily eye on your oil level in the meantime.

Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, some people don't like that.
 

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Premium Member
Started with a 97 E420. Got hooked. 98 S420, 06 S500, 11 S550, 15 ML350.
Joined
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272 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for responding. I will check that out. When I bought it, the car had the red cover for the dipstick. Although you can read the oil level from the dash, I didn't like no dipstick so I bought one ASAP.

Why does first picture have red cap over dipstick tube and rest of them gray dipstick?

Possible leak from oil filter housing to front timing cover. You will loose drive belt shortly.

#35 in parts diagram

 

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2007 ML500
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12 Posts
Wow that is one messy engine bay. Its difficult to pinpoint where the oil is seeping from but it looks like some oil has been flung around. For the ML500 there are a few common areas where leaks occur:

1. Oil cooler seals
2. Valve cover gaskets & rebreather covers

However, given that there is oil being flung all over the place it is possible leak could be coming from the crankshaft seal. Clean the engine with degreaser, power wash it and observe where the leaks are coming from
 

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Premium Member
Started with a 97 E420. Got hooked. 98 S420, 06 S500, 11 S550, 15 ML350.
Joined
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272 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
For anyone interested, I think I figure out where most of the oil is leaking from. It is certainly true that I've got leaking valve cover gaskets - a little, leaking crankcase ventilation, again a little, on top of the valve covers, and the hoses to the breathers don't look so good either. Thanks, @stev261.

I also think I may have leaks associated with the oil cooler, the two gaskets to the cooler and the one at the base of the housing as suggested above, thank you, @stev261 & @Witek_M. But, I think the likely culprit for the vast majority of the oil on the front of the engine is the seal in the timing case cover. I took the plastic baffle off the bottom of the car and had a look on the lower driver's side as I have oil on the garage floor too.

In researching on YouTube, I found a couple of videos that were quite helpful once I remembered that I should stop searching for videos related to the ML500 and instead search for engine, the M113.

Here is a great video from a guy who shows how to fix everything leaking on a M113 engine for $150:

Fixing all the oil leaks on an E55(M113) for $150

Also, I found someone with a great video related to the ML430:

Timing Cover Seal Leak (M113)

I've printed all the instructions from WIS, and I am now working on ordering all the parts. I'll try to take some photos when I tackle the project to make a tutorial in case anyone is interested.
 

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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,150 Posts
If it's a serious leak like a crankshaft bearing seal front or back, a good and easy solution is an oil stop-leak additive which works by swelling the seals.

I had that problem on my E320 CDi and the additive worked within a week, no more drips even after I changed the oil several times, until I sold the car over 5 years later.

I can't remember which brand I used but Wynne's, STP and others have them. I got mine off the shelf from my local Eurocarparts then, in the UK.

Here's the Wynne's Engine Oil Stop Leak:

And I just found this review site which recommends the Lucas one:

Sorry, I still can't remember which I used. :(
 

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2007 ML500
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12 Posts
Glad to know you've found the culprit. For the valve cover gaskets just make sure to order OEM Mercedes ones. Often times the aftermarket ones don't really seal well causing leaks. I'm currently dealing with that right now. Very annoying. As for doing the work yourself its pretty simple. Just take your time with it. Removing the valve cover on the driver side can be a pain as there is a fuel line in the way. I got by without disconnecting it. Takes a bit of wiggling
 
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