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1991 SL 500,1994 320E,1991 300E(not running)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,
I have read lots on this forum during the past year and really appreciate all the information that is on here. I just took the Benz for a quick 10km(6 mile) run for the first time since last November when I put it away for winter. Check all the fluids prior to going. Everything was fine. When I got back to the house, I noticed some smoke from the engine. I opened the hood and found nothing. I looked under the car there was a fair amount of light coloured oil on the floor and in the bottom of the pan that starts in front of the car, Using a flashlight, it appears that the fluid came from the driver's side of the car as it was wet as opposed to the passenger side which was dry. I live in Alberta Canada where it gets pretty cold during the winter and the garage is not heated. Any ideas what this might be?

thanks
 

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1991 500SL, 2004 E500 4-Matic Estate
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118 Posts
Not too sure, but sounds something like the kind of leak I had which turned out to be both a leaking power steering pump as well as power steering box. I also have a 91 so possibly thats the life expectancy of those parts? I only replaced the pump and not the box as I couldn't afford both and the dealer told me the box leak was minor. I also noticed mine during the coldest months (in Binghamton, NY).
 

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Greek God of the R129
SL500-500SEL-190E
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8,675 Posts
Get the panel off and see.
First possibility is what, sdavis said.
Second, is the transmission cooler lines going to the radiator.
I'll put my money on the first though.
Regards.
aam.
 

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1991 500SL
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140 Posts
Hey Steve 1952, welcome to the Forum. I also have a 1991 and love the car. Unfortunetly, the age wreaks havoc on rubber and gaskets. My vote is also for the power steering, although that pan underneath can somewhat fool you where the leak is exactly coming from. Once you get it off, if it is PS hose, there is an excellent write up in the Blue Stickys if you are a DIY Guy. You can also check from the front of the engine, if yours is the same type pump as mine it is on the drivers's side under the PS reservoir and has a short hose coming from the reservoir to the pump that leaks with age. Check the hose clamps, you may be able to tighten them a bit as a temporary fix. It is a bit tight to see, so a light and a mirror will help. My computer crashed, so I lost a lot of information I had saved on where and how much for parts in Canada, etc, but I did my own for around $45, versus MB who wanted about $450, just to change a hose, and a couple gaskets. Good luck, maybe we will cross paths on the road.
 

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2007 CLS 550, 1998 Harley Road King, 2011 F-150 EcoBoost, '65 Shelby Cobra
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978 Posts
Hey Steve 1952, welcome to the Forum. I also have a 1991 and love the car. Unfortunetly, the age wreaks havoc on rubber and gaskets. My vote is also for the power steering, although that pan underneath can somewhat fool you where the leak is exactly coming from. Once you get it off, if it is PS hose, there is an excellent write up in the Blue Stickys if you are a DIY Guy. You can also check from the front of the engine, if yours is the same type pump as mine it is on the drivers's side under the PS reservoir and has a short hose coming from the reservoir to the pump that leaks with age. Check the hose clamps, you may be able to tighten them a bit as a temporary fix. It is a bit tight to see, so a light and a mirror will help. My computer crashed, so I lost a lot of information I had saved on where and how much for parts in Canada, etc, but I did my own for around $45, versus MB who wanted about $450, just to change a hose, and a couple gaskets. Good luck, maybe we will cross paths on the road.
Steve,
The short hose mentioned above is your likely culprit. I came home from a two week business trip and found the entire contents of the PS reservoir on my garage floor. I had been seeing a drip now and then but could not find where is was coming from. The stealer wanted to sell me a new PS pump and replacement charge around $650.00. My indy replaced the hose for 50 cents. Mind you, it is not easy to get in there. If you are going to try to replace the hose without removing the pump, you will have to pull the reservoir out, then reseal it when you put it back in.

BTW: Have you ever changed your valve cover gaskets? If not, do that too. Its pretty easy.
 

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15 Posts
I had the same exact issue. I just bought this car, wasnt really driven. So all of a sudden there was an oil leak-and a bad one at that!

Long story short, we went through it and noticed the PS hose was "weak" but not leaking, however we did trace it to a sensor on top of the engine (my mechanic replaced it) and turns out he was right. I guess it was an oil pressure switch that would spit out oil upon revving but not idling. It was replace and no longer leaks. My next task is to replace that PS hose before it becomes an issue.
 

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2007 CLS 550, 1998 Harley Road King, 2011 F-150 EcoBoost, '65 Shelby Cobra
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978 Posts
There is another oil leak source, but it is on the right side of the engine. You have an oil pressure sensor, which is relatively easy to change. Then there is the oil level sensor. That is a bad one as you have to drop the pan. I RTV'd mine. It still leaks a little, but I am living with it. There is no pressure so it's more of weap than a leak. I know I should fix it, but...............$$$$$.
 
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