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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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Discussion Starter #1
Started my 190E in the cold garage this morning. The temperature on the thermometer showed -28C. The car started instantly and continued to run at a nice high Idle as I backed it out of the garage. There was a high pitched squeel coming from under the dash. It wasn't annoying or loud but I had never heard it before. I shut off the fan and and radio but it was still there as I drove out onto the highway. I noticed also that the oil pressure needle was only sitting between 0 and 2 !. The car warms up very quickly and within a mile or so I was getting some heat from the vent. The noise went away as as I continued on the oil pressure gauge began to move upward to 3.
I suspect that the only item that would cause the noise was either the speedometer or tachometer needle and the oil pressure was fine but maybe the sender or gauge needle was sticking since it was quite cold.This is the first year of winter driving for this car.
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. Unfortunately it still has 10w40 Castrol GTX in it.
 

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89 190E 2.6 x2
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Squeal from the dashboard is most likely the blower motor. As they wear out they will start squealing first only in cold weather.
-28 degrees on the outside temp display is caused by the outside temperature probe going bad. If you take the front license plate holder off you'll see a wire and the sensor is on the end of that. To fix that you can just cut the end off a good sensor and splice it to your existing wiring.
Mine went haywire last year and kept reading 30 degrees higher (in 70 degree weather it would read 100+)
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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Discussion Starter #5
There is nothing wrong with the temperature probe as it was -28C ! Not unusual at all were I live. Does the fan operate even when the climate control and fan switch are off?
 

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'85 300D Turbo, '91 420SEL, '92 190E 2.6, '09 C350, '12 E63 Wagon
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- 28 C is even below 5W spec. Was it not hard to start? Try to have it changed, most likely no need to change the filter.

If that was -28 C inside the garage I suspect even colder outside...
 

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89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
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There is nothing wrong with the temperature probe as it was -28C ! Not unusual at all were I live. Does the fan operate even when the climate control and fan switch are off?
The fan is in minimum setting (not zero) as long as the "O" button is not pushed. I think "O" turns it off.
If the noise comes back again try that, or actually try a higher fan setting to see if the noise changes.
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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Discussion Starter #8
The car started instantly and I mean instantly at -28. ! I know should change the oil to something lighter but the weather seem s to go from above 0 to the minus 25-30 range overnight. It is actually very mild this winter. We used to have weeks of steady minus 20 to minus 40 and below. I did shut the climate control O button and tried moving the fan switch to a higher setting and it worked fine and the noise never changed. Not to worry as all was fine. These are actually excellent winter cars as it seems to warm the interior faster than any car I have ever owned.
 

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'85 300D Turbo, '91 420SEL, '92 190E 2.6, '09 C350, '12 E63 Wagon
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Well, we had 20W-50 in the ‘91 W126 once and it was (not cold for you, but cold for us weather). It was hard to start. That is one of the symptoms if the oil is too thick for the weather. Sounds like the serpentine belt was squealing from the description. I’ll defer to others what may cause that in COLD weather. It does not get that cold here ever. I don’t think you need to rush to change the oil if you aren’t having startup issues. Not sure if that is related to the belt squeal, which is what I have to defer to the wisdom on this board...

The chart I linked shows an actual temperature range. The first number is the weight when the oil is cold, this depends on the weather if you let the car sit overnight for example. The second number is the weight when the oil is warm. So when the engine warms up it does not matter what temperature it is in the air as the engine is definitely hotter. 0W-20 and 0W-30 did not used to be on the chart, I think those are more specifically for the newer cars they build nowadays, but I’ve been using 0W-40 for years since maybe 2009/2010. Works in all weather conditions...
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
jzchen, Thanks for the information. This car has generally been filled with 20/50 as it was strictly a summer car until this year. My husband put much lighter oil in his winter vehicles.
This is a funny winter so choosing the right oil viscosity is a challenge.
We also had engine block heaters and an electric battery blanket installed on other vehicles but not this one. We used a kerosene heater under the engine covers of the DH Beaver and Cessna 185.
I really think the noise was coming from under the dash. It was not loud or annoying and was like a little chirping sound that didn't change but gradually went away as the interior warmed. It is not something that I am worried about , just curious. Same with the oil pressure gauge.
 

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93 190E 2.3, 94 E320 (sold), 01 E320, 99 S320, 18 Durango
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Your symptoms happens on my 190 as well only when it's too cold in NJ. It is definitely coming from the dash from the speedometer area. I believe it is the speedo cable as the noise gets louder with the speed but goes away after few seconds with the car warming up.
I have the correct oil weight and I am 100% sure it's not from the under the hood.
Nothing to worry about, most likely the cable needs to be lubed.
 

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89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
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So this noise comes when the car is moving or standstill. I was assuming it was not moving which would rule out the speedo cable.

BTW, 20W50 is too heavy for where you live and the mileage of your car Laura.
If you want more of an all season oil since you will not be replacing oil every season, go with 10W40 during the next oil service.
It is still heavy for -28C but much better than 20W/50.
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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Discussion Starter #13
The noise started before the car was moving so not the speedometer. Would the tachometer make the noise. I don't have 20/50 in the car now, the last oil change the garage mechanic recommended 10/40 so that's what I had the nice young man put in. I would like to get some way of pre heating the engine when it gets really cold.
 

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89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
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The tachometer does not have any moving parts as far as I know. It has to be something with moving parts. It is not the speedo cable that's true.

How loud was this noise? It is a bit puzzling. There is the vacuum meter that has some sort of movement but I'm not too sure.

Good to hear you are using 10W40 now.
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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Discussion Starter #15
It seemed to be coming from the upper centre of the dash. It was a low volume buzzing noise I shut off the climate control and fan with no change. It went away when the interior temperature rose. Doubt that it was damaging and probably just extreme cold.
 

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89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
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It could be an electrical component like an inductor (most likely) or a relay that did not like that toasty -28C.
I would ignore it for the time being, you are right.

- Cheers!
 

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I would suggest getting an engine block heater since your 190 is now being driven during the winter. -28C is still a very extreme and low temperature. I would also suggest that you check the condition of the serpentine belt, aka poly-v belt. I would use a flashlight to look at it to give additional light to be able to see it with. Make sure it's not cracked or frayed. If that belt was to ever snap, it'll do catastrophic damage to your engine. I just did such a check for my own 190.
 

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1990 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.6
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, I will look into having a block heater installed and also have the mechanic check the belt
 
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