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1992 300TE 4Matic
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
...sorry guys, I guess that I posted this in the wrong forum first.
Ok there's one born every minute.
The neighbor had a beautiful '92 300TE 4Matic that I always coveted, and when he stopped driving it I asked why? Turned out that he needed front axles. I helped him put in one and told him that if he ever wanted to sell, to let me know. The short story is that I finally bought the car with 170K on the clock. There was an intermittent shake in the front end that was terrifying but once I replaced the other axle it went away. By the way the people at CVJ Axles were very reasonable and great to work with.
The first time that I drove it I noticed that it did a little hop when backing up like my truck does when the 4WD is engaged. I rationalized that as being related to the remaining trashed axle. Apparently not, as it still does the hop and skip and jump in reverse and sometime in drive. Today the 4Matic trouble light came on too for the first time.
Today is also the first time that I read this forum and realize that this car has a legacy of 4Matic issues. The car is in otherwise great condition and if it was only 2 wheel drive I would still have been as attracted. The price was right in my book - $1650 with a second set of wheels, 18" AMG alloys that will be beautiful in the summer.
I learned that the 4Matic uses the same oil as the suspension and I think that I have a suspension leak somewhere in the back of the car - there's drips out back.
Where do I begin? Is the smart answer just to find and fix the leak, switch to 2WD until it snows and then go back to 4 wheel?
I bought the Owner's Workshop Manual for Mercedes 124 published by Brookland's books and there is no mention of 4Matic in it. Obviously I bought the wrong manual. I'm entertaining suggestions for the "best" shop manual too.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.
 

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1991 300TE 4matic
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59 Posts
I have a 91 300TE 4matic, and definitely know the state of mind your in.

Park on level ground and see how much hydraulic fluid is in the reservoir. This is very important, and things can fall to shit very quickly if let too low. Although there are brand new axels on all 4 corners of my car (previous owner) there is very slow leakage at the rear seals. My mechanic said this would happen with the 4matics, and is usually the culprit for lost hydro fluid. Also, the sound you describe from the front might be a bad bearing, I had to replace two bearings both on the left side.

So, were the rear axels replaced as well? How much hydraulic fluid is in the reservoir? If its the 4matic light thats on (not the ! light) it also indicates low fluid levels.
 

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'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,463 Posts
Could be a lot of things unfortunately....the 4matic system is pretty complex. Get the back of the car up in the air....take the plastic shroud off that protects the area where the fuel filter and actual 4matic valve resides. Check for leaks on the valve....mine was leaking at the pressure transducer, but not where it screws into the valve; where it converts to electrical impulses. No fix there, just hand the dealer a jar of Vaseline and fork over $330....if he can find you one, because I supposedly got the last one out West.

If that's not it, start hunting for leaks in the hydraulic system...start in the back and work forward. After reading dozen upon dozen of 'tales' about 4matic cars, I've come to the conclusion that there are very few commonalities. You can bet the system will give you grief at some point in its life and it will be expensive. Other than that it would 'seem' that 4matic cars that live a rural existence fare better than their stop 'n go city cousins.

You could also have a leak in the SLS and that 's draining your hydraulic fluid....maybe in both parts of the system. Put the car in 4matic 'TEST' mode until you find the leak. After you fix the leak, find the tutorial on bleeding the system. And if you're going to this much trouble, make sure the accumulators in the SLS are OK and the valve is actually working that adjusts the ride height.

You could also have a bad slip sensor that's causing the the pressure transducer to believe it should send signals to the 4matic computer. It would help all of the 4matic owners if there was an actual shop service book available on the system; how to troubleshoot, maintain and repair. But then MB has never been about helping the DIYer.

Kevin
 

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1992 300TE 4Matic
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I checked and it looks like the hydraulic fluid level is low, but there's no point in putting in more of that precious liquid until I figure out the leaks. The car seems to behave itself much better when I put it into "test" mode. Is the MB hydraulic fluid the ONLY acceptable juice to use, or is there something less expensive that will fill the bill? Who is your favorite vendor for MB Hydraulic fluid (or whatever else will work)?
Thanks again!
 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,463 Posts
No, there is no substitute for the MB hydraulic oil. I supposed if you went spec for spec with some bulk plant 'expert', you might find a substitute. But AFAIK, stay with the MB product.....do shop around though like:
Auto Parts at AutohausAZ - OEM Auto Parts - Discount Replacement Parts, Resources and Car Care Tips
and
OEM BMW parts, Mercedes Benz parts, Porsche parts, Volvo parts, Audi parts, Volkswagen parts, Saab parts, MINI Cooper parts and accessories - German Parts Online
and
http://www.allmercedes.com/

There may be even cheaper sources....

Kevin
 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,463 Posts
I'm new to the world of Benz, so where do i check the hydraulic fluid in my 300E 4Matic?
If you're standing in front of the car, looking at the windshield....there is a large plastic reservoir with two lines going into the top...right up against the wheel well. You can't really miss it, as it holds a fair amount of fluid.

I think what the poster meant by "....things can fall to shit very quickly if let too low....." was the very real possibility of getting air into the system. Kind of a funky procedure to bleed everything again, but it's been written up in the forums. Plus, you can kick out the 4matic function until you get to it.

Kevin
 

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1991 300TE 4matic
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59 Posts
Yes, air in the system is exactly what I meant by "things fall to sh!t quickly". Even if you have a leak, you should NEVER let the resevoir go empty. Shelling out a few dollars for a couple quarts of hydro fluid is definitely better than going about bleeding the system.

I am glad to hear the car is better with the 4matic turned off, that narrows down the area of the problem. Leave the 4matic turned off for a few weeks (or at least until you get it looked at). If the hydro fluid is still leaking when the 4matic is not in use, than you have a general leak in the system at the reservoir or initial lines. If it doesn't leak anymore with the 4matic turned off, then the leak is caused by the pressure in the system when it is in use, most likely at the wheel seals. Top off the hydro fluid asap, and if you have it parked in a garage duct tape some newspaper to the floor so you can see whats leaking where.

In response to your question, you can pick them up at all Benz dealships (at the service counter) or on eBay. They're less than $20 a quart.

This is what ur looking for:

Mercedes Central Hydraulics Fluid Oil 1 Liter Quart New: eBay Motors (item 290468076626 end time Nov-23-10 09:24:55 PST)
 

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Premium Member
'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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10,463 Posts
Yeah, but the pump runs both the SLS and the 4matic system. A leak downstream of the pump (other then its initial lines and connections) could indicate a leak towards the back in the SLS system. And as I said, he could have a leak in both systems.

Worst case scenario; your TC seal is compromised and hydraulic oil is being pumped /mixed into your TC. I hoped not, because that's the end of the line for your 4matic system unless you replace the aluminum piston in the TC and start all over. Unlikely you'll find a dealer anymore to do it...a new TC is over 3K and if you go the pick 'n pull route, you better be sure the TC has been rebuilt with a proper sticker on it that says so...or you're no better off.

The way to check that of course, is to pull the plug on the TC and examine the oil....obvious to the viewer if it's purely ATF.

Kevin
 
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