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1994 E320 Wagon and 1995 E320 Wagon (W124)
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70 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

Well, probably not the smartest thing to do, but I've added a second W124 wagon to the family. It's a '94 E320 w/111k miles. In very good condition, but of course, has all the traditional issues. Just put new wiring harness in, and while in there, mechanic indicates the new oil leak is head gasket.

I know I'm going to have to get the head gasket repaired, but my question to you all is "when"? Right now, ONLY symptoms are external oil leak, which is really only an issue for my garage floor. The oil level in the engine doesn't seem to be practically impacted by this leak. There is NO mixing of coolant or oil going on, and the car operates completely normally. No overheating, etc.

So, given it's just the external oil leak, I'm assuming it's ok to keep driving until something "more" happens? I assume it's not practically any more expensive to fix it once it lets go more, right? I also assume it's possible it might stay at this stage for some time, or is it likely to let go further soon?

Thanks for any tips.
 

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Premium Member
Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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1,719 Posts
Based on suggestion from another poster...I ran a 103 for almost 2 years, about 7500 miles with a weepy headgasket leak. I saw no downside to that delay in spending.

And congrats, I have come very close to adding a second wagon a few times (since selling my 4matic)
 

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2008 E350 4M, 2016 Audi Allroad, 2019 Audi Q5
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5,447 Posts
Before ruling head gasket, make sure it is not the valve cover gasket, or even a cracked valve cover.

Glad to see more wagon lovers :) low mile w124's are getting more difficult to find! Snap em up :D
 

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2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
i have the same issue and i'll be damned if i repair the head gasket again. i'm driving it until it really needs the repair and then i will likely sell it for a song or junk it.
 

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Mercedes 300te
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1,970 Posts
Congratulations on the new wagon.. Any photos?

RHW add another wagon to your stable.. :)
 

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2005 E320 CDI, 1992 300TE, 1999 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
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368 Posts
My head gasket started leaking about 150,000 miles ago (at 170,000 miles) and it took most of a weekend. I have stopped looking for the signs of an oil leak because the head gasket job was such hard work (and the M103 engine has a much smaller head than your twin cam).

The W124's all have head gasket issues but my experience is that none are usually catastrophic. If you did do the job though, I might roll in a new timing chain if I were you. I don't know how long the chain lasts but I've replaced mine every 150,000 miles as a reasonable maintenance thing and they aren't too expensive.

Good Luck,
Peter
 

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Mercedes 300E 2.8 160K miles
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15 Posts
Good luck & happy motoring with your new 124 Wagon. I see that the M103 gasket was noted as a pain to do. Is the 93-95 M104 engine an easier repair? I see a lot of 124's on craigslist that need head gasket repair & a lot of these cars appear to be otherwise great condition, well maintained cars. How difficult is the M104 Head gasket repair for a DIY guy as these cars with this problem can be purchased for a song (I'm thinking $300-$500, just above scrap) & would make great parts cars anyway. Also a 3.2 M104 has more hp & torque than M103 & if Head Gasket repair is doable without too much trouble I'm thinking a project buy may make a lot of sense on a 93-95 I6 3.2 24V 124.:rocketwhore:
 

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Premium Member
Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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1,719 Posts
I'd wager that a leaky headgasket is a factor in the "decision to sell" 45% of the time that an S124 Estate Wagon goes up for sale. :) Probably honestly disclosed around half of those examples...

As a buyer, if I am looking, I consider the cost of headgasket + timing chain update + machine heads as needed but also the value of driving my car with that repair recently done. It is a nice period in the cycle of 124-life. I generally don't do a headgasket without the other items, since you are wide open this is the time.
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD/'90 300D/'94 Quattro/'89 Vanagon TDI/'01 EV Weekender VR6
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52,233 Posts
Why is it so difficult to do a headgasket on an M103/104? I only own diesel 124s, but I've picked up a lot of info from this site about the gasser engines, and can't think of any obvious reasons why this would be a tough task.
 

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Premium Member
Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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1,719 Posts
Euroamg wrote:

RHW add another wagon to your stable.. :)
-------------------------------------------------------

Why, is your 5 speed available? :) Wow, incredible feature for a TE, do you have interior pics of that car?

What a great stable. Do all 3 wagons have regular driving duties...ie are different family members enjoying your obsession? Or is that stable your own private candy store?
 

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1994 E320 Wagon and 1995 E320 Wagon (W124)
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70 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the input, guys. I think I'll keep driving her and keep an eye on the gasket - as soon as the leak goes "internal", I deal with it...

My '95 has 257k on her and going strong (well, except for newly failing AC compressor - will sort in the spring I guess), and has been "retired" to our country place in Michigan where she sees light duty use (1-3k miles a year now). I hope the silver 94 has a similar stellar life, and when it's finally time to retire the white 95 wagon, the 94 can take over duty as "country car".

Take care guys.

Gavin
 

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Mercedes 300te
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1,970 Posts
Euroamg wrote:

RHW add another wagon to your stable.. :)
-------------------------------------------------------

Why, is your 5 speed available? :) Wow, incredible feature for a TE, do you have interior pics of that car?

What a great stable. Do all 3 wagons have regular driving duties...ie are different family members enjoying your obsession? Or is that stable your own private candy store?
I'm fixing up the 5 speed at the moment.. Have to wait for the weather to get milder a bit too cold right now.. :) 3 wagons don't have regular duties. Only one of them. They can drive the wagons but they don't..? :) So i just switch cars once in a while..
Interior is the older version. Should i upgrade it?
 
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