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I have a question for the group.

'97 E320 114K miles
My 'check engine' light came on recently. My mechanic checked the code and it indicated something with the 02 sensor or the gas cap was not on correctly. Anyway, it was reset. About 2wks later it comes again & this time the car idles rough (acts like it wants to stall when stopped) and it has no power past 40 mph. Mechanic replaced one of the coils, changed the oil and the hestitation is gone, but the rough idling is still there. He noticed the car was drinking coolant when he test drove - he says the head gasket needs replacing (estimate @ $2K) not counting if the head is cracked.

My question is how difficult is replacing the head gasket? Is it worth having it done on a MB with 114K miles? I am contemplating doing the work myself - to say on the labor OR should I bite the bullet and have the mechanic handle the job?
 

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SLK320, MKV Jetta TDI, Mini Cooper S, Lincoln Mark LT
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D'Artagnan_E320 - 5/8/2005 9:47 PM

I have a question for the group.

'97 E320 114K miles
My 'check engine' light came on recently. My mechanic checked the code and it indicated something with the 02 sensor or the gas cap was not on correctly. Anyway, it was reset. About 2wks later it comes again & this time the car idles rough (acts like it wants to stall when stopped) and it has no power past 40 mph. Mechanic replaced one of the coils, changed the oil and the hestitation is gone, but the rough idling is still there. He noticed the car was drinking coolant when he test drove - he says the head gasket needs replacing (estimate @ $2K) not counting if the head is cracked.

My question is how difficult is replacing the head gasket? Is it worth having it done on a MB with 114K miles? I am contemplating doing the work myself - to say on the labor OR should I bite the bullet and have the mechanic handle the job?
The definitive way of verifying a blown head gasket would be a Compression Test. Make sure to do this before you decide to bite the bullet. Also, if you definitely have a blown head gasket make sure that your mechanic resurfaces BOTH the heads regardless whether there is no crack bec. just replacing the gasket without resurfacing the heads is just plain "mickey mouse".
 
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Thanks for the responses...
I will certainly get the compression test done.

Is it worth saving a few bucks and doing the work myself or is the reccommendation to have a mechanic take care of it?
 

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2005 E500 4Matic
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Depends on how confident you are in your skills to do the job and how long you're planning to keep the car. If you've done something similar to this type of car work, and you're good at it, then it might be worth it to you to do it yourself. If not, let an expert do it and save yourself the headache and worry of doing it yourself and wondering if you did it right. If you're planning to keep the car for awhile then the expense/investment might be worth it to you. A 114K miles is not a lot of miles for your car. If taken care of, your car should go to at least 214K and higher.
 

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If you do it yourself remember use an accurate torque wrench and use NEW head bolts. Sounds to me like somewhere along the line this engine overheated,
 

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Unless you are a pretty solid mechanic with Mercedes specific skills under your belt -- I wouldn't even dream of this.

For all their wonderful qualities, these are sensitive, persnickety automobiles that will reward you with a more serious problem for your efforts.

And did I mention that they are overly complex in a teutonic sort of way?

As pointed out, yes the head bolts, and perhaps a few others cannot be reused. The head is aluminum and the block steel. This leaves it quite sensitive to the right gaskets, torque settings, bolts and proper resurfacing. If you overtorque some bolts in the head they will instantly strip out leaving you the choice of hoping for helicoils or replacing the whole head. [xx(]

If you are doing this to save money -- I would recommend rethinking this. If you are excited by the project and have the time, skills and tools -- well then, go for it and we can hope you post your adventure here.[8)]
 

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I bought my first MB (E320) last month. It has less than 40K miles on it but minor head gasket leak. Oil or coolant levels do not drop (at least no noticable drop) and no driping on the guarage floor either. However, engine block is little oily near the leak. So dealer recomends replacing the head gasket.

Do you all think that it's safe to drive for couple of months with this condition. What are the alarming signals that one would want to replace the head gasket promptly.
 

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It will seep like that for several years.

Keep an eye on it, but I wouldn't be in any rush to do the head gasket at this time. IMHO
 
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