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94 E320 Oil Leak---Help

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Former Member
WhyNot's picture
Paramus, NJ
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I'm original owner of a 94 E320, 112K miles, dealer maintained and in pristine condition. Here's my dilemma. I now see an oil leak on garage floor. It's coming from the plastic plug at bottom of the Engine/Trans bellhousing. I called the dealer(bringing it in tomorrow)about this. They said the plug I describe is actually an inspection port, not a drain plug. Possibily the engine rear main seal or a front pump in the transmission. Both sound ominous in cost...anyone have any thoughts.

The vehicle is pristine, I'm just at a point whether to call it quits on this. My concern is will this be a money pit. Just had water pump replaced two weeks ago. Car runs and looks like new except for clearcoat breaking down due to deffective MB paint. Dealer and dealer techs say "keep this car, its a gem and they don't make them like this now". I'm in a quandry to tell you the truth.

Forgive my lamenting, I know many a sad tale is spun in this forum but I would appreciate guidance...thanks...Bob.

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lee polowczuk's picture
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Re: 94 E320 Oil Leak---Help

listen to what they have to say.....

you were unable to do the water pump yourself?

you could be entering dangerous territory if you can't do a lot of DIY at this stage...

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WhyNot's picture
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Re: 94 E320 Oil Leak---Help

lee polowczuk;125746 wrote:
listen to what they have to say.....

you were unable to do the water pump yourself?

you could be entering dangerous territory if you can't do a lot of DIY at this stage...

Yes, I will listen tomorrow. I do many DIY's)(ie. ..replaced the engine harness)
but just decided to have dealer do the w/pump($800). We'll see what this episode reveals....I'll post an update.

Thanks for the commets Lee.

...Bob

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lkchris's picture
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Re: 94 E320 Oil Leak---Help

Easy to tell whether engine or transmission oil, as latter is red.

I've repaired two leaking W124 transmissions, albiet '88s, and think it's a standard "feature" of this car. Your '94 has same transmission. About $2K each time.

Just keep in mind that your car is now 13 years old.

Understand the "lifecycle" of a car--the first few years you make payments, the next years you spend money on maintenance. That is, there is "always" cost of ownership and money is money. In any event, you'll find $2k/year in maintenance costs (not an unreasonable figure for a Mercedes) still cheaper than new car payments.

Car payments are a "money pit," too. Only difference is that they're regularly scheduled and never a surprise. People buy insurance to deal with unpredictable "surprises," and you can start a "fund" for car maintenance, too.

Of course the depreciation you suffered in the first years of the car's life is the biggest "money pit" of all, and you can be pretty certain you'll never spend $30K on maintenance.

As for "defective paint:" it's a 13-year-old car. Probably any car that led the same life yours has will be in similar condition. Certainly any car painted in Germany to meet local environmental regulations. Of course, the variety of 1994 cars still around is getting smaller, and the Mercedes in that group will probably be around the longest. Some cars, the paint outlasts the rest of the car--less so with Mercedes.

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Re: 94 E320 Oil Leak---Help

Bob, replacing the water pump on your 1994 E320 is a relatively easy DIY job compared to the same job on our daughter's 1991 300CE with the older vintage 104 engine. On the 1994 E320 the four bolts attaching the water pump to the block are readily accessible ... hardly the case with the 1991 300CE. Plus the updated drive belt tensioner makes removal of the drive belt far simpler. You could have saved yourself over $600.

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Fred Hoelzle

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WhyNot's picture
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Re: 94 E320 Oil Leak---Help

lkchris;125750 wrote:
Easy to tell whether engine or transmission oil, as latter is red.

I've repaired two leaking W124 transmissions, albiet '88s, and think it's a standard "feature" of this car. Your '94 has same transmission. About $2K each time.

Just keep in mind that your car is now 13 years old.

Understand the "lifecycle" of a car--the first few years you make payments, the next years you spend money on maintenance. That is, there is "always" cost of ownership and money is money. In any event, you'll find $2k/year in maintenance costs (not an unreasonable figure for a Mercedes) still cheaper than new car payments.

Car payments are a "money pit," too. Only difference is that they're regularly scheduled and never a surprise. People buy insurance to deal with unpredictable "surprises," and you can start a "fund" for car maintenance, too.

Of course the depreciation you suffered in the first years of the car's life is the biggest "money pit" of all, and you can be pretty certain you'll never spend $30K on maintenance.

As for "defective paint:" it's a 13-year-old car. Probably any car that led the same life yours has will be in similar condition. Certainly any car painted in Germany to meet local environmental regulations. Of course, the variety of 1994 cars still around is getting smaller, and the Mercedes in that group will probably be around the longest. Some cars, the paint outlasts the rest of the car--less so with Mercedes.

...sorry for the redundent posting...did want to give an update and my thanks...

Good morning all. So here's the update. Visited the MB dealer this morning, have good news, yet embarrassing news. Good news is it's only the valve cover gasket. Very difficult spot to see, rear left corner, sandwiched by the firewall, near the trans dipstick tube. The embarrassing news is "I" put this gasket in when I repleced the engine harness, plugs and primary wire set. I'm not as flexible as I once was so I can't kick myself in the *#*#*# but I'd like to. Anyway, very minor considering what we were discussing as possibilties. My appologies, I know you folks suggested the valve over gasket from the outset, I dismssed that seing as I said I had recently replaced it. Soirry! The MB tech said it's an easy spot for the gasket to foul since its so difficult to see. He said they use a drop of crazy glue in that spot to tack the gasket when installing. Live and learn...that's why I'm and amateur.

Kent, one clarification regarding the paint. Yes its a 13 year old car however its been garaged since new yet the paint began to fail when it was still under warranty, less than 3 years old. Have to say MB Regional rep at that time showed stupidity and arrogance...said it was because I didn't know how to wash a car...can you imagine? I told my dealer don't ever bring that guy in my presence again! Only reasons I didn't press the issue then was (1.) I though the problem was limited to small area and (2.) I didn't want to get involved with a repainting. Well I was wrong on point 1. It's continued and has gotten much worse...deterioration happens on its own even with car in the garage. I use it very little over past four years, less than 4K miles...still spreading. So as you can see this was NOT a matter of the vehicle being old...MB screwed up and didn't want to stand up to the flaw. Shame on them!

Appreciate the interest and help eveyone has offered, wonderful group of people...partly why I continue to own a MB and likely buy another.

Thanks...Bob

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