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2000 ML320 LHD
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705 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I did my first engine hood cleaning after 5 years of ownership....shame on me lolz

Here's how we look.....
2620879
2620880
 

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w163 02 ML500 W210 97 E50Amg w202 99 C230K w124 - need more space, time to build again
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Your headlight lens need some TLC. :)
 

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1999 ML430
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Usually when you tackle a project like that , you would include before and after pictures. You included two pictures...and I have to assume those two are of BEFORE the underhood cleaning !

So don't leave us in suspense..can you post a couple of AFTER pictures ??

I have to admit, I am totally obsessed with keeping my 99 ML430 in pristine condition. I probably do an engine detail about every month. Doesn't take long and it gives you a chance to check all the fluids and check for any leaking or other potential issues.

My main issue with this ML is the clear coat is disintegrating at a rapid pace. Mostly on the hood and roof, in part to its maximum exposure to the sun. I am considering having those panels repainted the matching POLAR WHITE, but it would set me back about 600.00-800.00 to have it done properly. Don't know how it would look a few years further down the road, so I'm considering options. A wrap might be a better choice, but it also is not cheap.

dramas, fire up that camera and keep us posted...pictures of interior would be nice too !!
 

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1999 ML430
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By the way, plenty of products out there to keep your plastic pieces in decent shape ,but heat can really take its toll on
all the covers, fan shrouds and other parts. 303 aerospace protectorant is the best stuff I (and many others) have found and its great for interior bits and pieces too. If you have access to it, go ahead and get a gallon....much more
cost effective......
 

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05 500
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Good for you. I water clean the motor on my 05 500 on a seasonal basis - I haven't busted anything to date. Springfever (Post #5) a very useful hint, in my opinion. Underhood heat kills rubber and plastic components over time - on all vehicles. If you plan to keep your ML "forever," you may want to follow Springfever's suggestion. For me, what I have learnt over the years is that vacuum hoses are usually the first to get brittle and cause an engineering nightmare to locate and fix. What I do is to just pop up the hood for a good 30 minutes (or more) after a hot drive, just to vent out all that heat more rapidly.
 

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2000 ML320 LHD
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Discussion Starter #7
Your suggestions so far are highly appreciated.
Looks like the windshield washer reservoir takes the most beating from the hood heat. It can crack from just a touch.
 

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1999 ML430
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Absolutely right about the washer fluid reservoir. They get brittle quickly and once ruptured can do serious damage !

What makes it a real PITA is early on MB decided to retool the W163 reservoir so it would hold more fluid. If owner happens to have one of the original tanks, the larger replacement is more difficult to install due to the larger size. Plan on removing the left headlight and much of the left (driver) side of the engine compartment including the fuse box. It
is a TIGHT fit and make sure to lubricate the rubber mounting grommets for the tank to facilitate installation. Dawn dish soap is a good choice.

And it is probably going to be extremely hard to get one of the original reservoirs because MB superseded the old with the new. If you try to obtain a used smaller capacity unit, be careful, it will be old stock and likely to break early on in its life, due to the brittleness....

The larger reservoir is doable....I installed one in my W163 a few years back, but make it easy on yourself and take your time, remove or loosen as much as possible in the area and loosen the left major frame member that runs from the left fender to the radiator..

Thank god the engine coolant reservoir is MUCH denser material and designed to hold a pressurized liquid. Don't hear of many of them rupturing......
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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Good for you. I water clean the motor on my 05 500 on a seasonal basis - I haven't busted anything to date. Springfever (Post #5) a very useful hint, in my opinion. Underhood heat kills rubber and plastic components over time - on all vehicles. If you plan to keep your ML "forever," you may want to follow Springfever's suggestion. For me, what I have learnt over the years is that vacuum hoses are usually the first to get brittle and cause an engineering nightmare to locate and fix. What I do is to just pop up the hood for a good 30 minutes (or more) after a hot drive, just to vent out all that heat more rapidly.
So may I ask when you wash the engine, how are you keeping water from getting trapped behind / underneath coil packs and causing misfires ?

I had this happen on the m112 on the wifes wagon & haven't washed engine since.
Both engines could use it !
Along with new Valve cover gaskets, etc....

Thanks - David
 

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1999 ML430
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David, as most know, I bought my 1999 ML430 back in late 1998. I started the underhood cleaning regimen probably about a year after that and have never had an issue with the ML failing to start or misfiring. Dead battery or swapped plug wires yes, but not due to cleaning !! I usually start with removing the plastic engine cover and setting it aside for a good cleaning after the engine itself.
If you warm-up the engine before starting you will get better results, the heat will soften the crud and allow it to be brushed away fairly easily. I then use an aerosol can of a good engine degreaser....my personal preference is a WD40 product....item number 30007 Barcode 079567300076. Cost is about $4.00 for an 18 oz can....which is an amazing product at an even more amazing price ! I buy it by the case (6 cans) and it has a very thin high-pressure stream that can get into smaller places. Hit those hard to reach areas first with the higher pressure and then finish off the can with the other areas that have easier access. If you have some areas that are really stubborn a few old toothbrushes come in handy to remove crud. So let this product sit for a while...10-15 minutes, then you gently wash the residue off with a garden hose. You want to AVOID using high pressure here, you are merely rinsing off the cleaner. This is not the place to use a pressure washer. Set the hose bib pressure to what you would use to get a sip of water from the hose....

Oh, and by the way, you will get much better results if you put your hood in the full up position and make sure it is secure and there is NO chance of it falling !! When you are finished, slowly release the hood down..it is HEAVY !

You can use a leaf blower or reverse a vacuum cleaner to dry the engine, but I usually just move to cleaning the wheel wells, tires and wheels themselves. Warm engine will dry pretty quickly.

OK,,your job is only half over....Now you tackle all the plastic and rubber bits under the hood...Old t-shirts, old towels, old sponges are perfect for keeping these bit clean. 303 is the best out there and its not expensive if you buy it by the gallon. Great stuff and will go a long way preserving pieces that get hard and brittle over time.

So while you are doing your detailing, don't take the easy way out...do some stuff that will help your ML run better and smoother. Start with changing your air filter....easy to get to, just be careful with those springy clips...those babies can bite ! Sometimes tough to release, if it won't budge us a little mechanical advantage with a screwdriver under the lip of the clip. Make sure to notice how the filter is oriented in the housing before removing and replacing with a quality filter.
Don't stop there....take out the whole air filter assembly. Its easy (it rests in the same type rubber mounts as your coolant reservoir. It SHOULD lift up fairly easily, particularly if you do this ,say, every six months or so. There are some snap on pieces that get the air from the front hood area and the wheel well, so remove these first by just wiggling them free.
Now you can pull the whole assembly out, which gives you great access to the battery and alternator areas and you can clean up these areas too. Once you have done these tasks once, next time it will be a lot easier.

OK, I'm finished !!

Let me just say, this is one of the main reasons that I love the W163's ! Even though I am not a mechanic, there is plenty to be done here to keep these babies in top form and running great ! Once you get the bug..its hard to stop !!
 

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05 500
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So may I ask when you wash the engine, how are you keeping water from getting trapped behind / underneath coil packs and causing misfires ?

I had this happen on the m112 on the wifes wagon & haven't washed engine since.
Both engines could use it !
Along with new Valve cover gaskets, etc....

Thanks - David
I think that Springfever (Post #11) pretty much sums it up. I really have never taken any special caution for the coil packs (they are probably the least dirty in the engine bay) except just avoid getting them wet (they are easy to wipe down) and using just tap pressure to rinse.
 

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2000 ML320 LHD
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Discussion Starter #13
When I replaced the windshield washer reservoir it took me less than 30mins because I had read the procedure here & practised it.
I happen to have found the old type washer reservoir in prestine condition but rejected it due to its lower capacity(volume) but I actually do regret that decision because the new one already feels fragile from the hood heat.
 

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2000 ML320 LHD
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Discussion Starter #14
Headlights done!

Remove headlights, connectors, harness then some water & detergent in it, rinse off, dry out & reinstall.

More pictures of the interior coming.....
2621491
 

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1999 ML430
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Dramos, sounds like you cleaned your headlights from the inside out !!

Most of the haziness on the headlights is due to abrasion from sand, wind, etc and of course UV exposure. You can get AMAzing results by sanding with very, very fine sandpaper and then applying a coating of UV inhibitor evenly over the surface. They will truly look brand new and your night time visibility will increase dramatically.

If you give me your address I can send you a few small packets of the 3M product that will make then like new !!
 

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05 500
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Headlights done!

Remove headlights, connectors, harness then some water & detergent in it, rinse off, dry out & reinstall.

More pictures of the interior coming..... View attachment 2621491
Cleaning looks very well done, but headlights are definitely not done. They still look hazy.
 
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