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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #1
Bought the 98 S320 65k miles back in 07/2010. It had exisitng slight leak from timing cover and got that fixed. Later on, i discover there is still slight leaks (size of dime every night), the ind. mechanic says it's from head gasket. He said I can drive like that and take care of the problem later if it gets worse. So, I did that for the last 3 months and about 2500 miles.

The oil leak has got worse for the last couple weeks and 2 days ago noticed the temp would go over usual 90 degree over to 110 briefly before coming back down gain. I was just thinking aboutaking the car to my mechanics yesterday on the way to work, and then I notice smoke coming from the rea of the car on the highway. The temp slowly creeping past 90 again, so I slow down to 60 mph and watching it closely hoping I can make it to my mechanics about 5 miles away. Oil pressure is still normal at 3 at that time. Unfortunatel white smoke coming from the front too just when I was exiting the highway, oil level suddenly drop down to 0 too. So I pull the car to the gas station at the exit and called my mechanics. He's like 2 miles away from where I was and he said I can go get some oil and filled the coolant after let it cool down and drive to his place.

Idid all that and the car drove normally (no seize), unfortunately right before I got to the garage, the coolant warning light and smoke all came up again.

He told me this morning that blown gasket caused engine over heat, coolant and oil leak extensively. The coolant leak so fast because the connection was bown off due to the high pressure from broiling coolant.....

So, he is now in the process of taking the head off, and depends on the condition of the head, best case is he can resurface the head and replace the head gasket, worst case is that the head is beyond repair, then I would have to find a used or rebuilt engine to put in. He quoted me $800 to $3000 depends on which case after he take the head out.

Thanks for reading through this long description. I would appreciate any advice as far as what to watch out for. (whatelse should I make sure he check and replace at the same time? Should the ead is no good and I have to get a motor, what would you advise me to do)

Thanks.
 

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Oil level went to zero, or oil pressure went to zero? That was a dare devil mechanic who told you to finish driving it into the shop. Let's hope it wasn't self interest talking.
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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hopefully all you need is a new headgasket and machining the head. $800 is good price. no need to do anything else, he will probably change the spark plugs and 3 connectors when putting things back together.
 

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08 ml320 cdi,slk 230,01 boxster S,04 carrera911, 99 S320,67 GT350mustang,02G500L,96 s600 w140
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head gasket only if no warp on the head.
 

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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply. Will the overheat condition ruin other gasket in the engine? Or lead to later failure?
 

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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. The oil PRESSURE drop to zero right before I pull it to stop.

Tirona: can you tell me what 3 connectors you think shoould be replaced?
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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Thanks for the reply. Will the overheat condition ruin other gasket in the engine? Or lead to later failure?
no, the rest should be ok. the mechanic will probably just check if the head is warped, if so it will need to get machined, and also he will probably check if the head is cracked, hopefully that's not the case. all you need for the job is new updated headgasket, new bolts, timing cover u-shaped gasket, coolant, and probably new plugs. considering the age you might want to check how the serpentine belt looks. the belt is fairly cheap anyways but no need to change it if old one looks good, belts nowdays are pretty tough.
 

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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, thanks for the detailed explanation. And the good news is, my mechanics called today and said the head is still good, just need to be machined. He did mentioned put in new timing cover gasket since it's taken apart along the process of removing the head. Now I would make sure he use new bolts and check the surpentine belt and coil to plug connectors.

Thanks so much!!!
 

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'84 300DT, '97 S320
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New bolts are crucial. They are made to stretch when tightening them, and therefore not supposed to reuse them. BTW, I had my 6-cyl redone a couple of months after buying it (knew it was already leaking, and that they are prone to this). It was starting to leak a little more oil than I liked, and it was dripping onto the exhaust pipe and smelled bad.

I had 8/1000ths shaved off, new valve seals, bolts, valves cleaned, etc, new PI-shaped heater pipe, thermostat, etc again. $2600, maybe a bit pricey, but I bought the car for $5800 @ 204k miles...and I believe it's a very knowledgeable independent shop. Was at 208k mi, and they said it didn't look like the first time having this done.

I didn't say anything earlier, 'cause your main question was what to do if the head was no good. Depends on how much money you have, or how good of shape the car is in, and vehicle replacement cost.

I have had two cars that I did replace the engines, because in both cases it was cheaper than replacing the vehicle. '73 220D MB reman engine, $2400. '95 Mercury Villager Jasper engine, $4000.
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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yes, new bolts are very important. but a professional mechanic should know that. MB220D300D, i'm sorry to tell you this but the price you paid for a headgasket is very high, especially for an independent shop. in my area indipendent shops charge anywhere from $900-2000 for a headgasket job, and the mb dealer charges around $1700 and these prices include parts+labor. there is a few crooks out there, no indie should charge more than the dealer. i know this because i asked around when my e320 started to leak more than usual, but i ended up resealing the timing cover myself and that took car of the leak. please don't take it the wrong way, i'm just telling you this so you can find a more economical indie shop.
 

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'84 300DT, '97 S320
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I think I will ask the dealer just what they would have fixed, and what they would have charged, and then, because it might be different, ask what they would have charged when matching what the shop actually did.
 

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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #13
Just put a ending to the story; I got my car back from the indy this afternoon. $850 hit on the wallet. I have him replaced the supentine belt. He did not see needs to replace the spark plugs (since there were about 2 months new) nor the connectors from coil springs to spark plug. I have noticed small amount of oil leak after I parked the car for a while, 2 very small drops. The mechanics think it's probably from the oil leaked during head gasket failure..... now I have to deal with cleaning up, the car smells burned oil after driving...
 

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93 SL500, 95 SL320, 96 S320, 98 S500, 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon & A little 91 5.0 FORD Mustang
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Where in palm springs did you take your car for this service?
 

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93 SL500, 95 SL320, 96 S320, 98 S500, 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon & A little 91 5.0 FORD Mustang
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Thank you for posting that.

Martin
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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I got my car back from the indy this afternoon. $850 hit on the wallet.
that is a very good price, seems you have found a good and honest mechanic.


I have noticed small amount of oil leak after I parked the car for a while, 2 very small drops. The mechanics think it's probably from the oil leaked during head gasket failure..... now I have to deal with cleaning up, the car smells burned oil after driving...
you need to remove the black plastic belly pan and clean it good since it is all coated with old oil. also the oil pan is most likely wet with old oil. get a spray can of brake cleaner, lift the car, remove the black plastic belly pan, clean good under the car with the brake cleaner, clean the belly pan with brake cleaner, than put the belly pan back on. good thing with brake cleaner is that dries off pretty quick and will clean all the old oil. do it on your neighbor;s driveway:D or if you are close to getting an oil change make sure you tell your mechanic to clean underneath the engine and the belly pan good with some brake cleaner when he has the car up on the lift.
 

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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #18
He was referred by a co-worker. I have been using him since I got the car in July. The price and service has always been good. However, I have replaced the flex discs (he found crack on them), replace timing cover gasket, replace front/back shocks (slight leak), fix minor transmission and coolant leak, and now the head gasket. It's kind of frustrating that I can't seem to get a break. The car is 12 yrs old, but only have 64k miles when I got it... I still found very small amount of leak today under the car after the head gasket replacement, however, I can't tell it's still leaking or it's from the left over oil spills during head gasket failure a few days ago? I cleaned the engine using gunks degreaser as much as I can today, and I am thinking taking the car back in to have him look at any signs of leak...... Now I really know what you guys said about maintaining W140 is hard and costly. I drove Lexus and Toyota mostly in the past, and they are quite reliable, however, they were no MB. I love the solid feel of MB and the ride is superb, but I am still frustrated..............
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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you just got the car and right now you are getting all the bugs fixed, but should be smooth sailing from now on:D hopefully.
 

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1998 W140 S320LWB 65k miles
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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the encouraging words. I sure hope so...........good night!
 
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