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89 190E 2.6 x2
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So last spring the head gasket on one of my W201s blew. Unfortunately, the car overheated because I was stuck in traffic on the freeway and couldn't get off quick enough. Overheating was caused by general neglect of the cooling system.
I've done a couple other W201 head gaskets before, but this was the first time I was able to get it done quicker. In total, I spent about 20 hrs of labor.

I was also fortunate enough to obtain a freshly refurbished cylinder head from the local Mercedes machine shop which minimized downtime.
While your head if off, make sure to have it completely redone. (Skimmed, valve guides, stems and seals)
Here are some helpful tips
1.) Leave the intake on. The factory manual and Pelican parts pictorial tell you to pull it, but it's just so much simpler to leave it in place
2.) You can leave the camshaft sprocket on. I put 4 zip ties on it and put reference marks all over it.
3.) Remove the radiator-It takes 10 minutes and will give you so much more room to work.
4.) Guide pin removal-I bought a guide pin extractor screwed it in and then just wiggled it back and forth until the pin came out. With the radiator out there's plenty of room to pull it.
5.) Exhaust manifolds can stay in the car. Just undo all the exhaust bolt stands and take one bolt off each downpipe. You'll have enough room to swing them out of your way.
6.) Prepping the engine block is crucial. I soaked the cylinder heads in Marvel mystery oil which helped loosen up the carbon, then used a drill polishing pad to clean everything. Amazon sells huge packs of drill pads that appear to be copies of the 3M Rolec ones.
7.) Put oil on the camshafts and rockers with the valve cover off and then crank the engine over by hand. This will allow the oil to coat everything, plus you'll be able to make sure your timing is correct.

The following tools will speed things up a lot.
1.) Impact wrench (air or electric) used it to knock off and install the downpipe bolts which can get stuck.
2.) Air or electric rachet-makes front end teardown quick. Also used to remove/install intake bolts.
3.) Long extensions (6 in, 10 in, 18 in) Perfect for the downpipe bolts and intake support bolts.
4.) U joint, wobble extensions and swivel sockets-great for intake bolts, those pesky bolts under the intake, and other low clearance areas.
5.) Gearwrench racheting box wrench-for a couple intake bolts and the last exhaust stud by the firewall.

Also, since I had the car torn down, I wound up re-doing most of the cooling system. (new overflow tank, radiator and all hoses)

You'll notice I didn't paint the old flaking valve cover or re-paint the headers. I'm going to wait for the weather to get warmer before tackling those jobs. The goal was to get the car up and running nicely, then worry about aesthetics later.
 

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Registered
89 190E 2.6 x2
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1,453 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Some pics
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You'll see coolant intrusion in the cylinders caused by a warped head. The head gasket was replaced in 1998 w/ the updated design and did not fail.

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Cleaning block and pistons

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2621970

I will repaint the valve cover and wrap the headers when spring rolls around. The goal for now was to get the car back on the road running well.
 

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