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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok starting off going home from work last night the low coolant light tripped on my dashboard before I left the company parking lot so I stopped and checked the jug and it was in fact low, but not totally empty. The car stayed cool all the while so I drove gently down the block to the gas station and filled it with water to the cool level mark in the reservoir, water so as not to upset the MB coolant I flushed and filled with a few months ago too much. 'Blackie' drove home ok but to play it safe I have not driven it since until I can look into it better.
The mystery part comes from the fact is that it has no apparent leaks, its not my head gasket and all the while the car has stayed completely within normal temps (just a hair above 80 deg. C) . I plan to buy a jug of Xerex G-05 tomorrow to have on reserve but what could this be really caused by. It does not leak or drip and its not mixing in with the oil so where'd it go?
 

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'87--190E 2.3-16v(being rebuilt), '99--C230 Kompressor
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it's going somewhere.....plug your overflow line on the side of your tank and run the car up hot...you'll see where it's leaking, hairline crack, bad hose..somewhere..if you don't then it's probably going into places it shouldn't be in the engine
 

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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #3
Probably not the engine

it's going somewhere.....plug your overflow line on the side of your tank and run the car up hot...you'll see where it's leaking, hairline crack, bad hose..somewhere..if you don't then it's probably going into places it shouldn't be in the engine
I have heard its a sign of the head gasket wearing out, in that coolant mixes with the oil, but my dipstick always comes out clean and merely oil covered, not frothy and filmy like there is some coolant in with it too. My car had a valve job and a fresh head gasket installed while the last owner had it a few months before he sold it so the only other likely suspect is this very brief section of hose on the top of the engine coming off the radiator. Is that what you are referring to?
 

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'87--190E 2.3-16v(being rebuilt), '99--C230 Kompressor
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upper and lower hoses...they tend to wear out over the years...especially at the joint on the top hose, the bottom tends to wear more on the inside where the flange is compressed against the hose on the bottom side
 

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2000 :W220 - 1986 W201: 16v Nam,16v Euro- 2002:SL500 Silver Arrow.2002:Avalanche-
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Mystery ? absolutely is not , mechanical is like human body functional.Your engine is approaching to first stage of head gasket simple as is (cancer) and it will be good for few more thousand of miles before its slowly either your engine oil turns milky , before your temp gauge hit the rocket high over 100 plus or become coolant drinker.....
You may jack car up , open your bottom plastic engine cover off and check your garage floor over nite 2 see any sign of leaks.My 1993-2.3 did that on me before when it hit 142K ..
 

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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #7
So far, so good

Anyway today I drove up to my family's apt. about 15 miles away from where I live, no warning light, car stayed WNL on temperature. For good measure I did get a gallon jug of Zerex G-05 just in case. I haven't checked the level but if it is under the mark I am going to bring it up with this vs. the water of earlier. Water was all that was available at 2AM on a Wednesday night. They don't sell G-05 coolant just anywhere, sadly...
 

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1989 190E 2.6 auto
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250 Posts
Mystery ? absolutely is not , mechanical is like human body functional.Your engine is approaching to first stage of head gasket simple as is (cancer) and it will be good for few more thousand of miles before its slowly either your engine oil turns milky , before your temp gauge hit the rocket high over 100 plus or become coolant drinker.....
You may jack car up , open your bottom plastic engine cover off and check your garage floor over nite 2 see any sign of leaks.My 1993-2.3 did that on me before when it hit 142K ..
So, typically you got a few thousand miles before your forced to deal with it?

What's the typical interval that a head gasket replacements is needed? In my records, 2 POs ago replaced the head gasket in 2000 at 98k miles. I have about 167k miles on the clock now...
 

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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #9
It cannot be the head gasket

Mystery ? absolutely is not , mechanical is like human body functional.Your engine is approaching to first stage of head gasket simple as is (cancer) ..
Its a likely suspect but not in this case, the guy I bought the car from had it done months before he put it up for sale as he was moving out of the region, and this was confirmed by my mechanic when he looked over the car, he was actually stunned somebody had the valve job and new head gasket done, that was where he said most people bag on the maintenance when the miles get high, my car I bought at 200,125 miles and as of today I have 203,400 miles on it. I doubt a guy who stakes his whole livelihood on how well he can work on Benzes would lie on me when he confirmed its had a recent valve job and fresh head gasket.
 

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1989 190E 2.6 auto
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250 Posts
I don't want to speak for silarrow, but I think his point was for you not to rule out a bad head gasket just because it was done recently. You can find other posts where people have had to redo their head gasket because it wasn't done properly the first time (e.g., warped head, dirty or nicked surfaces).
 

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You need to drive it few hundred miles to make sure there are no leaks from hoses, aux pump and cabin heat exchanger

If you still can not find leaks, then you are burning it, a common W201 problem

A note on new head gasket: if the head was not re-surfaced (when it needed to be), had micro cracks or torqued incorrectly, water leaks into cylinder will happen !
 

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2000 :W220 - 1986 W201: 16v Nam,16v Euro- 2002:SL500 Silver Arrow.2002:Avalanche-
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So, typically you got a few thousand miles before your forced to deal with it?

What's the typical interval that a head gasket replacements is needed? In my records, 2 POs ago replaced the head gasket in 2000 at 98k miles. I have about 167k miles on the clock now...
Yes ..If U r lucky, normally U could stay alive up to 10K with proper good quality coolant ,most 102. engines common problem are head & head gasket combo with timing chain at the same time is little over 100K plus (mine was busted @ 145) after replacement you can notice your temp drop down magnificent to 80 or lower @ normal driving condition. PS:Your engine is good to go for a long time to come yet..:D

2.6_Steve : MB head is sensitive(Alu) when rebuild and install but with the right spec job it will be like new, like NMBMBZ addressed is correct even cyl head bolts must be measured individually before reuse or new bolts applied (These bolts are stressable)
Bottom line is : Take care your engine coolant system and flush engine old coolant one a year that will also make your water pump happy too...:thumbsup:
 

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1993 190e-2.3
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Yeah, just top it off and keep an eye on it. Sometimes small coolant leaks can be hard to find. I know the top gooseneck on my radiator had the smallest crack that only seemed to leak when the car was fully hot. Radiator leaks at this spot means a new radiator ASAP.
I recently had tiny hose leaks at the AUX water pump and I ended up replacing all of my Original hoses.
If your adding coolant every couple of weeks and you cannot find any leaks, then I would send an oil sample to a lab for analysis.
I was burning a little antifreeze in my Ford Escort (I could smell it upon startup). My oil analysis showed antifreeze in the oil, but not to the point where it was damaging the engine. I thought cracked head or head gasket, but mine turned out to be a bad intake gasket that was alowing coolant to slip by and drip into #3 combustion chamber.
Get a trend going on how much antifreeze you are using, and keep an eye on the looks of the oil, and make sure the coolant does not start looking oily. Pop the hood a lot, and even look for stains running down the radiator hose fittings. Tiny leaks add up.
 

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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #14
I am not ruling out anything, but I am not seeing any telltable signs of bad head gasket eg frothy oil, major coolant consumption and elevated running temps.
 

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1989 190E 2.6 auto
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PS:Your engine is good to go for a long time to come yet..:D
The PO did the chain and chain tensioner at the same time, so I hope I'm good for a while.

Even with my aux pump leak, this week was the first time I added coolant in a year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
 

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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #16
I hear you but its not that drastic.

Yeah, just top it off and keep an eye on it.

If your adding coolant every couple of weeks and you cannot find any leaks, then I would send an oil sample to a lab for analysis.

Get a trend going on how much antifreeze you are using, and keep an eye on the looks of the oil, and make sure the coolant does not start looking oily. Pop the hood a lot, and even look for stains running down the radiator hose fittings. Tiny leaks add up.
Oh no its never been that bad, every time I have checked the level of coolant its been right on save for three instances, once as I bought the car at the end of summer time, 2nd time I noticed it seeped out at the sensor (which I replaced with a new sensor plug) and 3 1/2 weeks ago I noticed it slightly down from the mark at cool. This last time was the curveball, I check my oil religiously oftentimes before I even drive the car and usually each time I get gas (2-3 times a week, I got a 50 mile commute round-trip daily, 99% freeway driving :cool:) and I have yet to see any thin/frothy oil/coolant mix on the dipstick. I don't know if this gives anybody a better idea but its what I am seeing.
 

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1992 Mercedes 190E 2.6
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Make sure that you also have the right pressure cap on the reservoir tank. Having a low pressure cap will dump coolant at a lower temperature.

Speaking of losing coolant, I too have a coolant loss problem, but I do see drips. After driving the car, drips end up hanging in my anti-roll bar and the underside of the oil pan. Tried to follow the stream of the drips up the engine, but cant go far because the pulleys and other components are in the way. Also my coolant pump pulley is at times squeaking and wobbling, in other words, it doesnt always squeak and wobble. Could it be coming from the coolant pump weep hole (if it has one) or maybe the pulley shaft? Help would be appreciated. :)
 

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1994 C280
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Discussion Starter #18
Cap is a 20 psi Simplex

Make sure that you also have the right pressure cap on the reservoir tank. Having a low pressure cap will dump coolant at a lower temperature.
As stated in the header my cap is a 20 psi Simplex, it looks OEM and that's what came with it. Fits on nice and snug and the marks on it line up with the orientation of the hose so I think all is in order there.
 

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1989 190E 2.6
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So there's no leaks under the car? I had a small coolant leak where I might see one green drop dangling from the bottom of the tranny every once in awhile. Turned out it was the heater control valve under the leaf tray. It was leaking and staying in running out of the drain occasionally. That drain comes right down almost on top of the tranny. I finally crawled under the car and looked up in there and saw it. The heater control valves tend to crack where the little actuator arm goes in and it leaks out of that. It's a cheap part. http://www.germanautoparts.com/Mercedes/1989/201.029/H2/7572/20833296
 

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I am not ruling out anything, but I am not seeing any telltable signs of bad head gasket eg frothy oil, major coolant consumption and elevated running temps.
With aluminum head MB engines (both gas and diesel) you CAN have oil in the coolant, but not the other way around (water in oil), it points to head gasket

if it is not severe, you can drive it indefinitely by just topping off coolant when necessary, I wouldn't get too worried about it until you see coolant in the oil, which may NEVER happen.
 
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