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1998 E320
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1998 E320 165k mles.....The belt shredded. I checked all the pulleys before replacement, and everything appeared smooth; I found no free play. I cleaned everything and installed new belt. I looked for wobble on pulleys before reinstalling fan and saw none. There was no apprent noise.

New belt lasted about 20 miles. I'll be working on it in morning. Any ideas on cause, because I saw nothing obvious. Water pump replaced 15k miles ago. Could it be something (I really hope not) with the AC compressor?? I am in South Florida and AC was on. When belt was off, Ac pulley felt smooth, but of course clutch was not engaged.

Any ideas would be helpful
 

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL(RIP),1997 Mercedes-Benz E420
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1,936 Posts
My belt was shredding prematurely because a leaky power steering reservoir was leaking fluid onto the belt.
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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31,633 Posts
Please don't take this personally, but unless you are a mechanic, you need to get a second set of eyes on this. As Kajtek1 notes, something has to be horribly wrong, and if you aren't seeing it in person, anything the forum can do is literally more than guess.

If you're qualified, you could call MB roadside assistance and tell them "something's wrong" and you have a battery in the display. Perhaps the tech will be kind enough to take a look.

Good luck.

Good luck.
 

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1998 E320
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
i'm not a mechanic, but am pretty mechanical. I don't have MB Roadside Assistance, and right now I'm stranded. I should be able to detect excess play or a bearing about to seize. I'll go over everything in the morning. Hopefully I'll see something this time around.

The alternator was very smooth, the ps pump appeared fine; what I'm not so sure of is the ac compressor... when the clutch kicks in could there be excess drag (the AC was working until the belt let loose).
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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7,035 Posts
Pull the belt tensioner and check it.. Check idler pulley... check... check
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
Ditto to fabbrisd1. If your 1998 model has the original tensioner it is the old style that is prone to failure. Check the sticky threads and you should find one that shows the 2 types (old vs. new). It's advised to replace the idler pulley at the same time.
 

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1998 E320
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
It was the idler pulley. I saw small cracks - when I got the replacement, I realized outer edge of pulley was gone.

Thank you
 

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1998 E320
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I actually changed tensioner when i changed water pump 15-20k miles ago

In hindsight the idler pulley is only thing I did not change. Penny wise
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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9,927 Posts
Those belts last for 200,000 miles. Something is badly wrong.
I had mine go at about 100k miles. Bad situation on elevated freeway while visiting USA with no place to pull over. Lost PS, PB, CW pump etc.. Turned heater on and opened windows and this stopped temperature from rising. Limped home to condo (about 1Mi) AAA towed to dealer next morning and about $200 later we were back in business. Car already had new style tensioner when MB Canada changed idler under warranty.

Something for W210 owners to check. $80 item that can ruin your car.
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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9,927 Posts
Just checking back here to see when my belt was last changed!

I am about to install a short belt that bypasses the A/C compressor (see my other thread). In looking at car to refresh myself on how to remove the belt (new style tensioner), I noticed the outside of the belt (flat part) has nickel sized darker spots every inch or so and the rubber there is soft.

At one time, there were leaks from the PS reservoir, but that was a while back. I have new reservoir and checked that there is clearance between it and the belt. Doesn't seem to be any leakage now.

Can't think of what else could cause those soft spots?
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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9,927 Posts
Ok, here is a picture. Quick look and I could not find reason for those marks.

 

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1998 E320 base sedan @ 160kmiles
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5,775 Posts
Never seen anything like it. My belt on the car is at 60 + kmiles, and it looks just like new. with Mercedes Benz writings on it. Could be overheating for some reason. Both sides of the belt look chaffed, as if there is a pulley alignment issue. Check the pulleys and the harmonic balancer hub area (rubber) visually.
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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9,927 Posts
Amazon say my new short belt won't be here until Wednesday. I may take the existing belt off tomorrow and see if there is anything on the idler or other pulleys that might provide a clue as to why that wear is there. I do have a spare full length belt. May put that on and see if those marks appear.

Only thing ever touched is the belt tensioner, and that was a very long time ago under original warranty.
I changed the PS reservoir and I recall there being minimal clearance. Some fluid would have got onto belt.
Also leakage of oil from the breather cover on the driver side at one time. Since fixed.
There is always a bit of oil that might find it's way onto belt. But not much.

So we see what we find!
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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35,919 Posts
The marks can be anything that got drop on the belt, but the strings hanging on the side means something is rubbing the belt and it is any time now.
 

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2001 W210 E55
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8 Posts
I had mine go at about 100k miles. Bad situation on elevated freeway while visiting USA with no place to pull over. Lost PS, PB, CW pump etc.. Turned heater on and opened windows and this stopped temperature from rising. Limped home to condo (about 1Mi) AAA towed to dealer next morning and about $200 later we were back in business. Car already had new style tensioner when MB Canada changed idler under warranty.

Something for W210 owners to check. $80 item that can ruin your car.
This happened to me in my 2001 E55. I lost power steering etc, the car temperature hit red, I pulled over and the coolant was spewing out of the coolant reservoir via the cap (not the radiator) and it was mildly steaming. I had the car towed and and they replaced the pulley and belt. The mechanic at the tow place had refilled the reservoir with water, and my car came up with the error message "check coolant level."

I begrudgingly paid $250 to that joint and promptly drove it to a European Car Specialist, where the mechanic mentioned to me that my oil filter housing gasket and my oil cooler gaskets were leaking, my power steering pump was failing (hence the leak onto the belt which caused it to snap), my fan clutch was on its way out, and the fan clutch fan needed replacing due to the belt striking it. He also stated I needed new valve cover gaskets despite them being replaced six or so months earlier. Either the mechanic was fibbing or the overheating caused them to fail.The mechanic also stated that I didn't blow my head gasket, which was a relief, however quoted me AU$2700 to fix those problems.

I have fixed all of the above issues however still have a leak; I suspect it may the oil inspection port, the power steering hose or the power steering fluid reservoir. I have bought all of these parts and am planning on replacing them regardless of whether they need done or not as preventative maintenance. It may sound silly but I don't want to be stranded on a country road again.

What shocked me was that I had had the car looked at by several mechanics prior for things such as a roadworthy inspection, valve cover gasket replacement, brake hose replacement etc, and not one of them noticed it, or if they did, none of them informed me of the impending issues.

- Chris
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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9,927 Posts
Cristoh - Sorry to hear about your problems.
When my belt broke, I was able to limp to a safe location without excessive overheating by putting the heater on full blast with windows open.
As a separate issue, the engine did develop some oil leaks.
  • I traced those down to the breather covers that are on top of the valve covers. Poor design in that other than two locating screws, they are glued on with a silicone adhesive/sealant.
  • I also replaced the oil cooler and oil filter housing seals at that time.
  • I thought the PS might have a leak from seal between the reservoir and the pump. Not sure if there was one but replaced seal and at same time flushed PS and put in a new reservoirs (but only because it contains the filter)
All that cured the oil leaks at that time.

But now looking at my belt, either something is dripping onto it and causing those marks, or perhaps one pulley is bad and causing belt to slip and overheat. It would have to be one that the flat part of belt rides on. The ragged edges are another clue that I need to investigate.

Is it the right belt?
IE V ribbed and not square ribbed.
Not sure who you were asking, but on my car the current belt (and the one that broke some years ago) were both OE and installed by Mercedes.
 
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