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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So. I'm back on the boards again after a long hiatus (due to school and whatnot). Update on my vehicle's status:

-My idiot dad dropped a trolley wheel on the hood of my 1997 C280, made a huge dent in it
-I parked my vehicle in a handicapped spot in front of a Vietnamese supermarket (my dad is disabled), vehicle got keyed on the left side ALL THE WAY to the rear quarter panel
-AC compressor clutch still not activating after all this time (I assumed that was the main reason behind why my AC stopped working, but never bothered to check because I couldn't figure out how to jump it, dad probably attempted to jump it incorrectly, didn't work)
-Just replaced brand new tires on it, standard R15s

And now, another thing to add on the list: leaking oil.

I knew about the leaking oil shortly after I purchased the vehicle. I promptly did an oil change after the purchase with my father. He told me that it was common to find a Benz without an oil pan gasket, and that when a mechanic does an oil change, they usually tighten the bolts for the oil pan to re-seal it or whatnot (COUGHBULLSH*TCOUGH). Now, it has gotten worse. MUCH worse.

All of the oil I poured into the vehicle (I believe it was 7 quarts, I don't remember because I changed the oil about a year ago) has dripped out onto the underguard and overflowed out. It happened slowly, so I didn't find out until I saw the Check Oil light.

My dad suggested that I should continue to drive the vehicle, since I cannot afford to get it fixed (I'm unemployed and a full-time student). Poured spare oil in, continued to drive it. Flash forward a few months later; I went to get new tires, Pep Boys (yeah, never going back there again) told me I was leaking oil heavily.

He poured 5W-30 in, put like two-three bottles of dollar-store-grade sealer, and tried to believe that it fixed the problem. Complete crap.

I pulled off the underguard panel, went to my local self-serve car wash, used the pressure washer to spray off the oil on the oil pan, drove it home. Attached to this thread is a close representation of what I saw, straight down to the oil streak.

Please help me figure out the source of this problem. I do not have car stands or ramps (my dad is against ramps for some goddamn reason; he prefers stands, but doesn't want to buy any), so I cannot get underneath with a light and see where it's leaking oil. I can see that my exhaust manifold has a gasket that has some loop tabs sticking out (looks like a bolt is supposed to go into the loop, get me?), so I don't know what that means. Maybe previous owner made error in replacing gasket?

Around the exhaust header/alternator area, I see a lot of engine grease, so maybe the leak is around there?

I will try to take pictures, if they are needed. I'm somewhat knowledgeable about vehicles, but I'm too scared to touch the damn thing. It's the only "proper" running vehicle I have and I cannot afford to mess anything up.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you experienced owners can help me come up with a cheap fix. :bowdown:
 

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On my 1999 C280 it was the oil level sensor which is on that side of the engine. The O-ring on it started leaking and I was losing a lot of oil. There is a electrical connector at the oil level sensor and that is where you will see the leak I replaced it and the leak went away. To replace it you need to remove the bottom part of the oil pan.

In the attached picture the o-ring is located on the part on the left that has two torx bolts holding the triangular part. You can only replace it from the bottom. The picture was taken with the bottom of the oil pan removed, you can see the alternator on the left.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
On my 1999 C280 it was the oil level sensor which is on that side of the engine. The O-ring on it started leaking and I was losing a lot of oil. There is a electrical connector at the oil level sensor and that is where you will see the leak I replaced it and the leak went away. To replace it you need to remove the bottom part of the oil pan.

In the attached picture the o-ring is located on the part on the left that has two torx bolts holding the triangular part. You can only replace it from the bottom. The picture was taken with the bottom of the oil pan removed, you can see the alternator on the left.

Jim
Thanks for the reply, Jim. Did your C280 throw an error code when you found out? Also, There's this long bar that connects from side-to-side on my vehicle (previous owner probably replaced it because it seems to have some type of cataloging info written on it with yellow marker). Did you have to remove that particular bar in order to remove the oil pan?

Thanks again.

Mike

EDIT: This is where the engine grease is located; under the Leistritz exhaust manifold: http://imageshack.us/f/24/25688210150198035691486.jpg/ That's not my picture. I just wanted to look for one to reassure my suspicions. It really does sound like the sensor's O-ring has leaked, since it's completely dirty under the exhaust manifold...
 

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I did it in January 2008 so I don't remember if I had to remove any bar. I don't think I did. I didn't get an error code. Mine is a V6, the picture in your last post shows a I6. I don't know anything about the inline 6. The pan doesn't use a gasket it uses a special sealant from Mercedes so you will need that before dropping the lower part of the oil pan.

Here are the instructions from AllData:

1 Evacuate engine oil, drain
2 Remove lower part of oil pan (1)
3 Unplug connector (3) at oil level sensor
4 Unscrew bolts of oil level sensor (2)
5 Remove oil level switch (S43)
6 Install in the reverse order.

The picture that goes with the instructions is attached.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Update on this topic: I've taken a photo today. I went to a local mart, purchased Quaker 5W-30 oil to run on temporarily (poured two quarts).

Photo:


BTW, I DON'T KNOW IF THAT IS OIL OR NOT!!! That is a typo. It seems to be lustrous, although it could be just engine grease. I haven't actually attempted to swipe my finger and smell the thing, because I keep forgetting to. I took this shot quickly before I headed out to buy some more reserve oil.

I see that tab sticking out of the exhaust header and it's bugging me. Is that how the gaskets were installed on these vehicles??

Also, I opened my water tank before and I forgot to mention that there is a creme-like substance that is prevalent under the cap, as well as around the opening of the tank. Is oil leaking into the water system or something? Did I blow a gasket? It runs like a champ... It's the leaking oil that is causing my problem.
 

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First, the oil level light comes on when you're two quarts low, and not empty.

Second, a Mercedes is definitely not the car for you.

Third, you need to find someone local to help.

Fourth, it sounds like you have a normal amount of burning/leaking. Even if you use a quart/1000 miles, oil is cheap, and don't randomly dump chemicals into your engine.

Fifth, pray.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First, the oil level light comes on when you're two quarts low, and not empty.

Second, a Mercedes is definitely not the car for you.

Third, you need to find someone local to help.

Fourth, it sounds like you have a normal amount of burning/leaking. Even if you use a quart/1000 miles, oil is cheap, and don't randomly dump chemicals into your engine.

Fifth, pray.
I'll probably seek for an experienced Mercedes mechanic within my area, but most people don't have proper experience with German vehicles for some reason. My neighbor had a VW get it's oil changed and the shop nearby didn't bother to take off the bottom panel to remove the oil filter. They just dumped it out and filled it back up.

Oil isn't cheap for me. I'd rather seal up the engine rather than have it leak everywhere on my driveway. I don't think the amount it's leaking is normal. I also need to do a tranny flush and get some new transmission fluid. It's downshifting hard while going downhill or a slight decline and slowing down/stopping.

The vehicle really isn't for me, but I already have it. I don't really have a choice. The old man bought it for 3.5k and I doubt I can sell it for that much, especially with the engine check light and and the sunroof's visor material falling apart. I could have just bought an early 80's project R107 chassis and done an engine swap via a donor car from an auction or wrecking yard and it would have probably cost less than this car.
 

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First off, I can almost assure you that build up on the engine block is not oil. If that was oil, then you would have a much more serious problem and I dont think your engine would still be running. Its most likely just dirt and crap that has built up over the years, its best that you clean it off with some degreaser though as it will help the engine stay cooler as the build up does not help the engine dissipate heat as well as a clean one.

I havent experienced a problem like this yet in my 280, so I cant exactly say what would be causing this so Im not much help there.

But lastly, about the exhaust manifold gasket. Its fine, my gasket looks the same and it bothered me at first too but I was told by a mechanic that its probably just a universal type gasket that is made to fit other engines. Probably a way for MB to save some pennies as they were doing in the 90s. But I wouldnt worry about it, it hasnt caused any trouble for me.


Easiest way to figure out where it is leaking, is have the engine run and just watch it. Thats what I did with my 91 Towncar. Twice. On my Towncar, the last oil leak resulted from the seal on the oil pan screw broke somehow so it was leaking oil through the screw at a very fast rate. You could actually follow the trail of oil from my house to the shop a few blocks away it was leaking that fast. If it is in fact leaking around the oil pan (most likely) then just take it to a certified Mercedes mechanic and have them reseal it, or just buy a new oil pan. Oil pans shouldnt be that expensive, though I dont know.

However, if by some small chance its leaking around the engine block/cylinder head.......then you might as well junk the car. Unless you feel like taking most of the engine apart to repair it. That would most likely be a bad cylinder head gasket. Which is fairly cheap to buy for most cars, but quite a job to repair by yourself and a shop would probably charge more than the car is worth.
 

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Heres a picture of mine, best I could get. For comparison, youll notice the gasket is the same:



The cylinder head gasket would be right under the exhaust manifold. So if that is the problem, which its possible, you would have to remove the entire top half of the engine to replace it. And that could take alot of hours, maybe a full weekend to do it right. And cylinder heads are very heavy, so you may need an engine hoist to lift it out of the engine bay.
 
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