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Dirtydog GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/22/18 9:11 a.m.

Just as Harley's HD stand for "hundreds of dollars", I guess Mercedes  MB stands for "mega bucks".   So, you owe roughly $8000.  Another $8000 to repair.  You are now at close to value.   Can you find something that you truly like for that kind of dough?  Either way, you might get lucky and break even.  Another curve ball.  If reliability/longevity  will increase, go for it.   If not, fix cheap and dump it.  (Cheap being a relative term)   Also, how long do you plan on keeping it?  I feel for you, been there myself.  Anyway, a very Happy Thanksgiving.

conesare2seconds Dork
11/22/18 10:20 a.m.

Mercedes now builds diesels that die early deaths?  Times have changed. I am very sad this happened to you. If I’m honest, it takes a diesel E back off the table, had thought about a used one in 2020. Guess I’ll stick with gas or another marque. Lexus really IS the new Mercedes, apparently. 

docwyte UltraDork
11/22/18 10:51 a.m.

I really want an E63 AMG wagon as my next car but I'm deathly afraid of owning one out of warranty.  Given the way they depreciate there's no chance of me buying a lightly used one, keeping it for 2.5 years under CPO warranty, then selling it. 

I'd lose tens of thousands of dollars.  So I guess there goes the idea of owning one of the last cool wagons for sale on the market.

OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/22/18 11:04 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Would a Carmax warranty be useful in this case?

eastsideTim UltraDork
11/22/18 11:13 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

As you take it apart, take your time and really look at some of the parts. As complicated and they are, there is some real beauty in the casting and machining on a modern Mercedes engine. Every part has been though of, drawn, rotated in 3D, thought about again, and then cast and machined. Even when the parts are crap, they're remarkable works of modern engineering. 


docwyte UltraDork
11/22/18 2:14 p.m.

In reply to OHSCrifle :

They usually don't have them on their lot.  When they do, the warranty is $$$$$.

underpowered New Reader
11/22/18 4:40 p.m.

No variable valve timing on this motor.  My guess is you are going to find #1 and #4 crank bearings torn up.

Sonic UltraDork
11/22/18 7:29 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

The 63s seem to be pretty solid for the most part.  In 3 years with my CLS63 from 92k-133k I’ve had to replace 2 ignition coils as the only real repair.  The sway bar bushings bind a little but if I live them with oil changes they quiet down.   

wae SuperDork
11/23/18 9:00 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

I guffawed at that.  So far, I haven't seen anything come out of there that was all that unusual compared to other heads I've been in, but perhaps as I get deeper I'll be a witness to some beautiful crap. laugh


In reply to Dirtydog :

I don't have an answer there yet.  I'm actually pretty happy with the Emergency Backup Truck right now, so I could see myself being satisfied with a GMT900 Tahoe or crew-cab, maybe an older Sequoia.  I think that "keep or not" will have a lot to do with what I wind up having to fix.  If what I'm dealing with is a bearing problem and the block is good, then maybe I've got something that will have some longevity to it by doing new rings, main bearings, rod bearings, and wrist pins and sticking to a 3-5k oil change interval.  If the block is trash, though, I'll probably have to put enough cash into it that pulling the rip cord will be the only real option I can take.

In reply to conesare2seconds :

My opinion might be a little bit biased, but I would absolutely recommend exercising extreme caution around modern MB diesels.  Maybe if you had it from new and ran 5k oil change intervals you'd have some better luck, but I'm not convinced that the new super low ash oils combined with the EGR system can withstand the recommended 10k interval.

In reply to docwyte :

I think CarMax fixed that loophole.  I enjoyed the series of articles on Jalopnik about the CarMax warranty on the Land Rover(?), though.

In reply to eastsideTim​​​​​​​ :

I had forgotten about that scene. laugh  That's a very accurate depiction of how I'm feeling about things right now!


I realize that there aren't any actual working updates or anything here yet.  Unfortunately, there won't be any for a little while yet.  When I have the car towed to my shop, I'd rather only have to do that once since it won't fit on the trailer and moving it around is a little spendy.  My landlord is vacationing in Bogata right now (storage lots make money, but I guess moving powder is really where it's at?) so I need to wait for him to get back to see how realistic this December completion date is for the new place.  Until I know where and when I can move the car, there won't be a lick of work done on it.  

Something else that I thought of last night was to inquire with the shop that has the car right now how much of the $20k was the motor and how much was the R&R labor.  Depending on the breakdown, it might be worth considering paying the shop to pull the motor for me, I can get it squared away in some fashion, and then have them put it back in.  They may have no interest in playing that game - I haven't asked yet - but that would take the issue of finding enough square footage to work on it off the table for me.

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/25/18 9:05 a.m.

How many miles are on the engine? And how far did the factory and/or CPO warranty go? 

I applaud your efforts so far and am looking forward to the build once you get your new shop space squared away. I do have to say this scares me in terms of owning a modern vehicle out of warranty, and even makes me consider a buy from new, perform oil changes more frequently than the factory spec strategy.  With the uptick in leasing, manufacturers covering maintenance, and the CPO aftermarket, it seems like manufacturers are content for a vehicle to make it to 100k, but then you're on your own after that.

In general I'm not a big proponent of leasing, but I am starting to see that in certain situations, it can make sense to have a consistent payment that's known up front.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/28/20 4:00 p.m.

Well, hello there!  It's been a little while since I've updated this thread, hasn't it?  Let's see... only a year, five months, and five days!  So..  what have I accomplished in that time, you ask?


Let me explain.  No wait, there is to much.  Let me sum up:  Moved in to new shop in January of 2019.  A few months later, had stupidmobile towed to said shop and pushed it into the corner.  Not so much in to the corner that it's like out of the way or anything, but in the way of only about 25% of the space.  Which is annoying.  Decided that I wasn't even going to bother with it and wanted to turn it into money.  Started selling a few parts off of it and made a couple hundred bucks.  Then I waffled a bit and decided that I wasn't willing to admit defeat just yet so I took all the parts off the market.

In between all of those steps there was a fairly significant amount of time for a couple reasons.  First, I am definitely suffering under the whole sunk-cost fallacy in that knowing how much I've spent on this dumb thing makes it really hard for me to walk away from it.  I realize that isn't rational, but it's there.  I am also intensely stubborn and not very good at the whole "quit while you're ahead" thing.  People keep telling me that when you're in a hole, step one is to start digging but I just keep at it with that shovel.  Finally, I am both intensely intimidated by the thing while also holding the concept in my head that it is just a damned engine and it's not like I've never been inside one of those before.

So here we are.  Since I've got some time on my hands (I really should be fabricating motor mounts and getting hubs made for the Neon), I decided that I was finally going to delve into this and see what I can do.  In the end, I may wind up parting this thing out, but the realization that I came to before was that parting out the vehicle will involve disassembling the engine since there are individual components in there that are worth more than a bad engine is worth as a whole.  Since I'd have to take it apart anyway, why not start with the engine parts?  I can tear into it and see what is wrong, what would need to be done and if it's worth fixing. 

Which brings us to today:

Look, ma!  No turbo.  Or intake manifold.  Or "charge air distribution thing" or whatever the hell the fools in Stuttgart call the thing that the rest of us call an intake manifold.

Just from taking this apart, I can see why so many people want to delete their EGR systems.  The air goes into the turbo, through the intercooler, into the (whatever-the-convoluted-term-they-use-for)  throttle body and then the EGR output joins in before it hits the intake manifold.  These are the ports where the sooty air hits the intake manifold:

They're just caked in soot and oil and stuff.  It's awful.  The nastiness goes on downstream, too.  It's a little hard to see, but the intake ports on the heads are all clogged up as well:

I was also able to see why replacing the swirl motor didn't fix the limp mode / MIL problem:

The intake manifold is basically two individual manifolds that have a crossover tube connecting them.  In the left-most ports in this picture, you can see that each cylinder has a little flap and that flap is connected to the linkage on the outside of the manifold.  That linkage then connects to the M55 swirl motor.  In Theory, with the motor removed, which it is here, those arms should move freely back and forth, opening and closing those flaps.  In Reality, however, all that soot and gunk has the flaps frozen solid.  Here's the best part, though.  And by best part, I mean the worst part.  Those flaps cannot be serviced or replaced!  I'm going to try to clean them up, but if the linkage breaks or something like that, the only solution (other than putting the 4.7k resistor in place and ignoring the MIL) is to replace the freaking intake manifold.  Thanks, guys.

The next step in the process is to remove the high pressure fuel pump which is driven by the left side intake cam.  The bolts are M50 Torx heads (I think?  M45?  M55?  one of those three) and my socket in that size is a little bit broken, so I need to get a replacement.  Once I have that, though, I will continue the tear down.  I'm actually pretty close to being able to pull the heads off so that I can get a little bit better view of what's going on.  Getting the heads off is not likely to be the final step, but I'll be able to determine if there is any damage to the heads or valves and I'll be able to get a look at at least most of all the cylinder walls to see if there's any damage there.  Last time I checked, the only way to get a new block was to get a whole re-man engine that that was about $10k, so that won't be happening.  If, however, the block is good then it might still be worth trying to put it back together.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/28/20 4:20 p.m.

So... (and I know this might be drastic, but hear me out)... what about:

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/28/20 5:22 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Don't think for a minute that type of thinking hasn't crossed my mind!  I have no idea how I'd get it to play with the rest of the truck.  The computer keeps track of the temperature of the steering wheel for crying out loud.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
4/28/20 5:25 p.m.

Yea, so, that whole "non serviceable" nonsense is nonsense. If a man put it together a man can take it apart. The intake manifold on the R63 was many fancy castings held together with torx bolts and RTV and had similar flappy things inside. It had to come apart to be welded, so it did, and it went back together just fine. I think you can do it. 

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/28/20 6:16 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

Yea, so, that whole "non serviceable" nonsense is nonsense. If a man put it together a man can take it apart. The intake manifold on the R63 was many fancy castings held together with torx bolts and RTV and had similar flappy things inside. It had to come apart to be welded, so it did, and it went back together just fine. I think you can do it. 

I haven't really looked at the manifolds too closely yet but I agree: somebody put them things in there, I can certainly get 'em out!  I guess I should have said that as far as Mercedes is concerned, it's not serviceable.  But let's remember that these are the same people that consider the engine itself to be a sealed unit with no serviceable parts inside, amiright?  I think I've bought half a case of Mopar Combustion Chamber Cleaner but it's on the other side of the river from me.  Once I can get that I'll try to clean up the intake and see if I can free the flaps up.  The linkage is all plastic and pretty un-complex so if I manage to break any of it, I'm pretty sure I can make replacements out of aluminum bar stock.

That whole swirl flap thing is an exercise in arranging deck chairs at this point in time, so they're going to have to wait until I dig deeper. 

02Pilot UltraDork
4/28/20 7:15 p.m.

If you can't chemically remove that gunk, what about something like walnut shell blasting? Seems to be all the rage for removing intake deposits in BMWs.

TGMF HalfDork
4/28/20 7:44 p.m.

Can you reach the valves and cut them out? Obviously not needed since it hasn't worked in a while......anyway....keep tearing it apart and admiring the needlessly complex ,german engineering. 

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/28/20 8:12 p.m.

The swirl valve system is kind of stupidly needless complex.  The computer watches the resistance coming from the motor to determine if it's working or if it's jammed up.  A lot of the OM642 motors do that so the solution has been to put in a 4.7k resistor in place of the swirl motor.  That fools the computer into thinking that it's working and everything is copacetic.  Yeah, the flaps don't..  uh, flap? but general consensus is that it doesn't do all that much anyway.  So if you've got a Sprinter or CRD Jeep or Chrysler 300 or something, no big deal.  On this one, though, they decided that the whole resistance check wasn't enough.  Each side of the manifold has a little sensor on it that the computer uses to determine if the linkage is actually moving.  And it also checks the resistance.  So in my case, the original motor basically burned up because the exhaust pipe wasn't connected to the back side of the turbo.  When the motor stopped giving the right voltage, the thing went into limp mode and lit the MIL.  I swapped the motor and really thought that I checked the linkage and was able to move it freely. 

The swirl motor that I got had a part number that is just barely different than the right one.  All of the interchange stuff is so weird with these.  I'm used to every 2.4 motor built by Mopar in 2005 having the exact same coil pack, same sensors, same everything save the oil pan, some bracing, and the mounts themselves.  But not so with Mercedes.  Apparently the M55 motor for the Sprinter has a different part number than the one for the same year GL350.  But not every single interchange catalog is aware of that, so I wound up with this one.  After swapping it out, I still was in limp mode with the motor connected.

I don't know if the problem was that it was the wrong motor, if there's something else burned up in the wiring harness that's causing the problem, or if I was wrong about having tested the flaps when the motor was out.  I kind of suspect that the problem was that the motor was just wrong enough to flip out the stupid computer and since I drove for a bunch of miles without actuating the flaps, they got stuck.

All that to say that if the engine (and thus the truck) is worth saving, when I put it back together if I can't free up the flaps, one option would be to make sure I get the right swirl motor installed and then disconnect the flaps from the linkage so that the linkage moves, triggers the sensors, and allows the truck to motorvate without limp mode and without the MIL. 

The easiest way to clean those out would be to remove all the plastic, find something that's fairly agressive but not towards aluminum, and give it a really good soak.  Rather than try to figure out how to remove those I'll first see if I can clean it up with some solvent, rags, and a set of picks and bamboo skewers.

But that's only if the damned block isn't trashed.

4/28/20 10:17 p.m.

Pine Sol, or concrete degreaser is what I've used to clean up many a coked up TDI intake. Let it soak, rinse it off a day or 4 later. Won't hurt the aluminium, at least it never did for me.

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) New Reader
4/29/20 2:16 a.m.

Saw this post on Revlimiter's blog (Miata guy) about Mopar combustion chamber cleaner, seems pretty effective but do check on aluminum compatibility:



Summit Racing and other places sell it: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mop-04318001ae?seid=srese1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwy6T1BRDXARIsAIqCTXpqfxvftDAkzapF9bZIUvixdUHB2qYLEfuapRV2krD2NwV1uKaYh9YaAuP4EALw_wcB 

eastsideTim PowerDork
4/29/20 11:57 a.m.

If you fix it, can we just Mad Max the thing, and have exhaust stacks out of the hood, and a big rusty push bar on the front?

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/29/20 2:11 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

Hmm.  Well you might be able to convince me on the push bar.  As entertaining as the concept of a rolling coal Mercedes SUV is, I'm not sure that I really support the actual execution of such a plan!

If I am able to fix it, I actually don't know what I'd even do with it.  I really like my Excursion and I don't know if I'd ever be able to really trust it again.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/29/20 2:11 p.m.

In reply to newold_m (Forum Supporter) :

I think that I bought a half a case of that stuff.  It's on the other side of the river from me right now, though.

eastsideTim PowerDork
4/29/20 2:31 p.m.
wae (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to eastsideTim :

Hmm.  Well you might be able to convince me on the push bar.  As entertaining as the concept of a rolling coal Mercedes SUV is, I'm not sure that I really support the actual execution of such a plan!

If I am able to fix it, I actually don't know what I'd even do with it.  I really like my Excursion and I don't know if I'd ever be able to really trust it again.

The Mercedes is kind of redundant as long as you own the B.U.T.T., isn’t it?

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/30/20 4:12 p.m.

Yeah, I definitely don't need the B.U.T.T. and the Stupidmobile in my stable.  (Unless you're calling from the future where I have fixed this thing and am selling it in which case I didn't say Stupidmobile, I said "most awesomest car evar!").  But I'm not really thinking about that too much right now.  I would like to retire the note that I've got on this thing this year, so that means selling parts, selling it, or selling the B.U.T.T.  We shall see how it all turns out.

I did get my nice new T50 socket as well as a second whole set of Torx sockets that my dad wanted to get rid of.  So, armed with TWO T50s where before I only had none, I discovered that I was looking at the wrong three bolts and what I actually needed was the E10 that I used on 90% of the bolts on this thing.  Derpadoo!  So I put a couple hours into it and am now here:

High pressure pump is off, heat shields are removed, and the cams are out.  But the whole thing came to a sudden stop because of these:

Hard to see but there are a number of little brown threaded pins that hold the chain guides in place.  Those have to be removed with an "impact extractor" which is snob-talk for slide hammer.  But the problem is this:

My slide hammer does not fit in the space between the head and the core support and associated things.  So I need to build a new slide hammer and that will involve a trip to ye olde hardware store.  And the local place I like to support is only open until 5. 

I'm not discouraged by the roadblock, though.  It's fairly minor and frankly I've been sitting around with my opposible digit secured within my rectum for so long, what's another couple days?

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