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Discussion Starter #1
Today I thought I would use the day to replace some fluids in my 2003 E320 4Matic wagon. I only succeeded in the rear differential oil, engine coolant, and brake fluid. I just want to share my experience and welcome any comments from those who have performed these tasks.

The front differential is kind of semi-sealed. I found only one plug on the passenger side and there was no drain plug. From the look of it, it seems like one has to remove the bottom plate to drain the oil. There seems to be a gasket between the bottom plate and the case. I did not change the oil.

The transfer case seems to be completely sealed. It was a little wet under the case and I think there is a tiny leak there. The oil seems to be like clear oil, not the red transmission fluid.

I found some surface rust on the cross members and the related hardware so I coated them with POR-15. I hope they will stay this way for a long time.
 

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I worked on front differential when I had noise up front (turned out bad CV joint).
After pulling the side plug, you can push small vacuum tube to the bottom of the differential and suck the fluid out.
My 4-Matic is just reaching 100k mark, so I am not going to worry about it. .. if ever.
Transmissions with wearing out parts suppose to have lifetime fluid, so what makes you think the differential oil might go bad?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Kajtek1 said:
I worked on front differential when I had noise up front (turned out bad CV joint).
After pulling the side plug, you can push small vacuum tube to the bottom of the differential and suck the fluid out.
My 4-Matic is just reaching 100k mark, so I am not going to worry about it. .. if ever.
Transmissions with wearing out parts suppose to have lifetime fluid, so what makes you think the differential oil might go bad?
Haha, that is a nice tip. Thanks.

Well, I thought if it is an easy change, I would just renew the fluid like the rear end. Some other MB 4matics do have fill and drain plugs on the froint differential.

The front fluid is life-time. MB made that clear, althought it did not say anything about the rear fluid.

That fill plug is not easy to reach without removing some other stuffs. What tools did you use to get it off? I cannot see the plug head-on but it felt like an Allen plug.
 

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It is Allen plug. I was able to reach it with grinded down L-wrench, but later made long extension with ratchet.
Have fun. I own to many vehicles to worry about replacing perfectly good fluids ;)
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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Fluids - to change or not

loubapache said:
The front fluid is life-time. MB made that clear, althought it did not say anything about the rear fluid.
I don't think we can believe everything they tell us about fluids.

Less than 6 months ago, I emailed MBUSA about our W210 transmission fluid. Their reply was something like "no MB made between 1998 and 2005 requires a transmission service". I started a thread and after considerable debate, most of us decided to ignore what they told me and have the tranny serviced anyway. I had an ATF sample analyzed by Blackstone and they agreed that mine was past due.

I was told by ny dealer that they replace the rear differential fluid (at least in RWD) routinely as part of the ~80,000 service.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I thought what we got is time. If I can SAFELY (without damaging anything) change whatever fluid in the car, I would do it. Otherwise (like the transfer case fluid) I would leave them alone.
 

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id be worried about the leaking t-case. It only holds 1.1 quarts, so even a small leak can empty that sucker pretty quickly. Mine has a few drops of fluid on the lower bolts, but it never drips. Im contemplating a reseal soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OliverK said:
id be worried about the leaking t-case. It only holds 1.1 quarts, so even a small leak can empty that sucker pretty quickly. Mine has a few drops of fluid on the lower bolts, but it never drips. Im contemplating a reseal soon.
Mine is the same. There is a bit of a drop on the lower left bolt but no drips. I tried to tighten that bolt but it was already tight. I ended up spraying some brake cleaner followed by a gasket spray. This should be a low pressure sleak so I hope it seals it.

The Germans still do not know how to keep oil in the place it belongs. This is a no service case (no fill and drain plugs) so you thought they would seal it better.
 

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loubapache, have you changed the differential fluid on the older ones? i thought that the ones that have synthetic oil can go up to 20 years, and the non-synthetic ones every 10 years/100k miles or so, but i;m thinking about changing it on my 97e320 pretty soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
tirona said:
loubapache, have you changed the differential fluid on the older ones? i thought that the ones that have synthetic oil can go up to 20 years, and the non-synthetic ones every 10 years/100k miles or so, but i;m thinking about changing it on my 97e320 pretty soon.
Yes, I have done on 300E's and my 1997 E320. I changed the fluid to Redline synthetic 75W-90 on the 97 when it had 60k miles. It has 82k now so no need to change again until 100k miles.
 

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how did the fluid look on the 97e320 when you changed it? mine is +135k miles on factory fluid, i hope i haven't waited too long.:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
tirona said:
how did the fluid look on the 97e320 when you changed it? mine is +135k miles on factory fluid, i hope i haven't waited too long.:rolleyes:
The color of the fluid was very dark, although color does not mean a whole lot.

The fluid I drained yesterday from the 67k miles 2003 wagon was also very dark. I used Vavoline semi-synthetic 80W-90 on that on and the new fluid was clear in color. I bet it will turn dark pretty quickly.
 

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loubapache said:
Mine is the same. There is a bit of a drop on the lower left bolt but no drips. I tried to tighten that bolt but it was already tight. I ended up spraying some brake cleaner followed by a gasket spray. This should be a low pressure sleak so I hope it seals it.

The Germans still do not know how to keep oil in the place it belongs. This is a no service case (no fill and drain plugs) so you thought they would seal it better.
what was this gasket spray that you used? I may give that a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OliverK said:
what was this gasket spray that you used? I may give that a try.
It is called copper gasket spray. I got it from Advanced Auto Parts. I used it to seal the M103/104 front upper timing cover leaks. It is rated for high temperature. About $5 per can. The stuff can be quickly cleaned up with brake cleaner.
 

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loubapache, speaking about sealing the leaks, i used your copper spray on the timing cover about 12 days ago, and no leaks on the floor yet (hopefully it will stay like this for a long time)
 

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loubapache said:
It is called copper gasket spray. I got it from Advanced Auto Parts. I used it to seal the M103/104 front upper timing cover leaks. It is rated for high temperature. About $5 per can. The stuff can be quickly cleaned up with brake cleaner.
ok, so this might seem dumb, but did you just spray it all over the bottom of the t-case? Did you take the bolts out and spray them?

If you would, describe what procedure you used.

thanks a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OliverK said:
ok, so this might seem dumb, but did you just spray it all over the bottom of the t-case? Did you take the bolts out and spray them?

If you would, describe what procedure you used.

thanks a lot.
It is very difficult to see where the seep comes from. So what I did was brake clean the area including the lowest bolts and the seams on the sides and bottom. (I did not take out the bolts.) Then I applied the spray. It could very well be higher than the bolts but I cannot see anything without removing anything. I just keep my gingers crossed that this seep is low so the spray can cover it.
 

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well I took your advice and did the same thing. I dropped the exhaust hanger and cleaned it well with a toothbrush and some brake cleaner. I also snugged up the bolts with a 3/8ths ratchet. A tiny bit of movement but not much. Then I hit it with the spray.

I then went for a two hour drive or so, with many different speeds, lots of turns, etc. Checked it the next day, and the leak is greatly reduced. There was one frop of fluid left, so I cleaned that up, and resprayed that area. Im hoping I got that as well.

Im sure I will be chided for it from the shop that is looking at my front suspension, but if it works, its a hell of a lot cheaper than $700 for the t-case reseal.

Thanks for the tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
OliverK:

Mine has been dry so far after the spray.

Do let the spray dry before driving it.

What jack/ramp system do you use?
 

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nice, im glad it worked for you.

I let the spray dry for a few hours before driving, but I did multiple coats of the spray.

I use a set of rhino ramps. Its pretty snug under there, but im a skinny guy.
 
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