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Synthetic vs Regular Oil


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1984 Mercedes Benz 380SE
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am new to this site, and to all things Benz. My mechanic recommended for the oil to be changed. The car was previously owned by a collector so it was just parked in his garage, and it is not until now that it's being used again on a daily basis. My main question is: What oil should I be using for this German classic? filter? and most importantly, is it crazy if I try to do it myself? I've been hearing contradictory thoughts when it comes to using synthetic vs. non-synthetic oil... in conclusion... WHAT SHOULD I DO??

Thank you very much for all the insights I could get!
 

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9,145 Posts
The zddp content is more important then regular v synthetic . Lack of zddp will ruin the cam
 

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300 CE 24V Sportline
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968 Posts
I know nothing about zddp but my 1991 M104 engine has been fed with 5W/40 synthetic for 300k km and seems happy enough. Yours is 7 years older but I can't see that making much difference.

When my head gasket was done at 417k km, they told me that the bores still had the original machining visible and the cams were like new.

So, 5W/40 synthetic, sometimes the Diesel variant, will be its diet into the future. Or the 5W/30 MB spec oil as we have about 100 litres in stock and it costs 3€ a litre.

Good luck.

RayH
 

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1981 300SD, 1976 300D
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949 Posts
For an M116 engine like yours or an M117 like mine (similar design, just 3.8 vs 5.0 litres) I would suggest Shell Rotella 15w40.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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4,603 Posts
I am new to this site, and to all things Benz. My mechanic recommended for the oil to be changed. The car was previously owned by a collector so it was just parked in his garage, and it is not until now that it's being used again on a daily basis. My main question is: What oil should I be using for this German classic? filter? and most importantly, is it crazy if I try to do it myself? I've been hearing contradictory thoughts when it comes to using synthetic vs. non-synthetic oil... in conclusion... WHAT SHOULD I DO??

Thank you very much for all the insights I could get!
I like the MB filters. I believe they're made by GUD. Not much more than other filters. I also like Mann or Knecht.

Definitely do this yourself. It's simple and you'll know it's done right.
 

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SuperModerator
1986/1990 W126
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14,482 Posts
Fully synthetic can cause leaks. Semi synthetic is often best. But, oil questions are a can of worms. At the ed of the day, any good quality oil should do but personal preferences vary.

ZDDP is a very good idea, but too much of that can be counter productive too apparently. I use an oil by a small company called Millers. Trident is the name I think. It has ZDDP formulation suitable for this era of car.

MB recommended oils often don't contain much ZDDP I don't think. This is because they have tested the oils for suitability, but the cars with a catalytic converter need to be careful of ZDDP.
 

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90 420SEL, 00 BMW X5, 00 Lexus RX300, 01 Chrysler Town and Country
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377 Posts
Shell Rotella T6 with either a Mann or Knecht filter and you are good to go. Do it yourself. Do not read too much into various oils etc...that is a Ph.D. in itself.
 

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90 420SEL, 00 BMW X5, 00 Lexus RX300, 01 Chrysler Town and Country
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377 Posts
If the car has always been run using regular non-synthetic oil, and you suddenly change to synthetic, which has way better detergent qualities, there is a risk that existing slidge may be dislodged by the synthetic and clog oil passages. But since the car was owned by a collector, chances are he/she used synthetic.
 

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1990 420 SEC
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405 Posts
Did 84 year have cats? If not then oil with ZDDP. I do not remember brands but there are oils for older cars with plenty of that. ZDDP is good for cams but bad for cats.
 

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It’s much cheaper to replace a cat then a cam, and original cats are no good anyway compared to modern ones
 

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90 420SEL, 00 BMW X5, 00 Lexus RX300, 01 Chrysler Town and Country
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377 Posts
Dont know whether it is good or bad, but I have a small bottle of zddp additive that I add on each oil change in the Mercedes. THis is in addition to using Shell Rotella T6 Diesel oil in my 420SEL and BMW X5. My Lexus RX300 and Chrysler Minivan get Mobil 1.
 

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SuperModerator
1986/1990 W126
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14,482 Posts
Shell Rotella T6 with either a Mann or Knecht filter and you are good to go. Do it yourself. Do not read too much into various oils etc...that is a Ph.D. in itself.
So true, good advice there 😂
 

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1986/1990 W126
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Although I only use MB filters
 

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1985 500sel and 500sec 2012 E63 1989 Porsche 911
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brad penn 20/50
liqui moly classic maybe
 

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1984 500SEL
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129 Posts
Just got some Liqui-Moly 10W-40 semi synthetic and a filter from MercedesSourse for my 84. As a side note, don't forget to check the oiler tubes on top of the cams and replace the plastic fittings if you think it's been a few years since they were done. I had a bad one I didn't notice, and as a result I am waiting for a new cam which is, of course, back ordered.
 

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2008 E350 110k, 2000 E320 143k, 1983 380SEC 240k
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965 Posts
I switched my M116 from conventional to Mobil 1 10W-40 High Mileage and all is good - no leaks. The Mobil oil is stupid cheap at Walmart with the rebate, about $12 for a jug. I change the oil annually, which is about 5,000 miles. Mann filter.

Nevertheless, choice of oil (within reason) is not very important IMHO. Any that meets MB specs should be ok.
 

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1977 W116 450SEL and 1988 W126 560SEC
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475 Posts
Just got some Liqui-Moly 10W-40 semi synthetic and a filter from MercedesSourse for my 84. As a side note, don't forget to check the oiler tubes on top of the cams and replace the plastic fittings if you think it's been a few years since they were done. I had a bad one I didn't notice, and as a result I am waiting for a new cam which is, of course, back ordered.
That is what I'm using these days as well:
Liqui Moly 10W40 MOS2 Oil
 

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2004 C240
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6 Posts
I am new to this site, and to all things Benz. My mechanic recommended for the oil to be changed. The car was previously owned by a collector so it was just parked in his garage, and it is not until now that it's being used again on a daily basis. My main question is: What oil should I be using for this German classic? filter? and most importantly, is it crazy if I try to do it myself? I've been hearing contradictory thoughts when it comes to using synthetic vs. non-synthetic oil... in conclusion... WHAT SHOULD I DO??

Thank you very much for all the insights I could get!
I have a 2004 mercedes C240 and use 0W-40 Mobil 1 European Car Formula. I purchase at Walmart in gallon jugs for about $25 ea. I use a Mercedes filter.
 
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