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wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/2/20 11:43 a.m.

Mercedes special tool 116-589-20-33-00 aka the impact extractor.  List price $91.20.
Bill's stubby slide hammer.  Under $2 from the hardware store:

All three pins have been extracted.   Next stop: slacken cylinder head bolts in stages and remove.


wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/2/20 12:37 p.m.

The head bolts are really tight!  It looks like the torque spec calls for 60nm then a total of 270 degrees of extra rotation!  In order to put this back together I will need a 1/2 drive E18. 

So here's the view of the block:

And the head:

Piston number 5 seems a bit... Wobbly.  It's also free of carbon, relatively speaking, and it kind of looks like the valves have been striking the piston.

I know I've said this before but....  Could this be it?  Bad bearing/wrist pin on #5?   I can't get to the crank without pulling the engine out.  And I've got a paying job coming in next week, so I don't have the space right now to have this engine sitting around. 

My original plan was to pull the left head next but if it's just the one piston, I could save around $200 in gaskets by not taking the other head off.  And I could reuse the timing chain and guides.

Or I could go all out and do a new chain, guides, and all new bearings.

neverdone New Reader
5/2/20 7:17 p.m.

In reply to wae " stupidly needless complex".... isn't that everything Mercedes?

NorseDave Reader
5/2/20 8:23 p.m.
wae (Forum Supporter) said:

Well, hello 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. 

I'd just like to point out that either your friends are not in fact friends at all, or you're not understanding what they're saying - the saying is "when you're in a hole, step one is to STOP digging."  That's a pretty important distinction to recognize laugh   

Otherwise, carry on.  Amazing to me that these "disposable" engines are $21k.  Apparently their definition of disposable and mine are very different.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/2/20 8:44 p.m.
NorseDave said:
wae (Forum Supporter) said:

Well, hello 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. 

I'd just like to point out that either your friends are not in fact friends at all, or you're not understanding what they're saying - the saying is "when you're in a hole, step one is to STOP digging."  That's a pretty important distinction to recognize laugh   

Otherwise, carry on.  Amazing to me that these "disposable" engines are $21k.  Apparently their definition of disposable and mine are very different.

No wonder they're always laughing when they say that to me!  I swear that I normally proofread my posts, but somehow that one slipped by!

To be fair, the motor was 10k and the labor was 11k at the dealer and 10k at the indy shop.  I know that there's some need for STAR to recalibrate things like injectors and stuff when you put in a new motor, but that seems like an awfully excessive amount of labor for a professional shop.  It's amazing to think that the motor is that expensive and yet that prone to failure.

pjbgravely HalfDork
5/3/20 12:56 a.m.

I hope you keep digging. I am interested to know if my diagnoses was correct.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/4/20 8:46 p.m.

And now the other head is off.  I figured that it's worth another gasket and 8 bolts at this point.

A little closer look at the left side:

Everything looks good there.  After cleaning the heads a little:

All looking okay here, too.

Moving the crank around a bit, let's look at the middle pot on the right side:

You can see a light line there and there's a corresponding one about 180 degrees around the wall.  I'm not sure if it's enough to worry about though.  It doesn't catch a nail at all.  I think a hone will get it squared away.  Figuratively speaking, of course.

Looking at the heads, that same cylinder has a mark on the head that is identical to the pattern on the top of the piston.  Next up will be to pull the block out of the wagon and flip it over to look at the rod bearings.

Not gonna lie...  I'm getting fairly excited with the thought of having found the source of the noise.  At the same time I'm kind of pissed off at myself that it's only taken me a week to get to this point after having sat on this thing for over a year.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/4/20 8:48 p.m.

Oh, one other thing that is still a mystery: The Stupidmobile has had an oil leak forever.  I assumed it was the oil cooler seals, but there wasn't really much oil hanging out there.  I'm still not sure where that oil is coming from.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/6/20 8:01 a.m.

No work done yesterday, but I saw this news article this morning.  Apparently, I'm going about this all wrong!  I should use it as a greenhouse and start growing tasty vegetables!





Dirtydog (Forum Supporter)
Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/6/20 8:31 a.m.

That greenhouse picture made me laugh.  I've been using the back of my Jeep Xj for that, already.  In for a penny, in for a pound with that Merc, ain't ya.  Interesting read, carry on.

Greg Smith (Forum Supporter)
Greg Smith (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/7/20 3:52 p.m.

Following. I commend your persistence!

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/7/20 9:45 p.m.

Didn't get much done on the Merc tonight.  I've got an explorer coming in tomorrow for some interior work and a new thermostat housing so I needed to move the neon around a little.  Plus, I needed to free up the engine stand so that I've got a place to put the block once I pull it out.  So mostly cleanup work.  But I did get all six torque converter bolts out, so that's something.

That's the PT Cruiser 2.4 that was occupying the stand.  Hopefully the next update will have a picture of an empty engine compartment in the Stupidmobile.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/17/20 9:52 p.m.

Shop time got spent doing a couple small paying jobs but I got back to it tonight.  The most annoying part about this is that I apparently lost some of the less-common E-Torx sockets so every once in a while I run in to one of those odd-duck sizes and it takes me 20 minutes to get a single bolt out.

Tonight, I was able to drain the oil and coolant, pull the A/C compressor off to the side, put the power steering pump next to it, disconnected all the plumbing and electrical, and got the core support and fan removed.

Pardon the sawdust that got kicked up.  I figured that everything is going to get cleaned up so it's not a big deal right now.  But now I should be able to protect the radiator with some coroplast, unbolt the transmission, unbolt the motor mounts, and then life the block forward and up.  The Book says that the transmission is supposed to be removed first, but I'm going to see if I can cheat.

7/29/20 5:01 a.m.

I really like your story and your writing style. Keen to know if and how your project continues.

I'm thinking of replacing the timing chain on my OM642, and this somehow makes it seem less daunting then I imagined.

wae UltraDork
7/29/20 6:42 a.m.

This project does continue, but I've been totally slammed with other things since my last update.  I am looking forward to having the block out so I can see how bad the bearings look.

By all accounts, the timing chain isn't too bad to do without tearing the front off the motor.  Of course it requires a special chain link tool, but it looks like once you have that, the process of getting it swapped out isn't awful.

8/6/20 6:36 a.m.

In reply to wae :

I have the same problem on my Jan2010 E350 CDI Bluetec.

I have the car on a friend's workshop where i can work on it and have his help. Therefore new engine is not an option even if we have to lift the engine and rebuild it.

We haven's started to work on it because of some payed jobs he has but his hunch is connecting rod bronzes. Have you tried that yet?

wae UltraDork
8/20/20 11:17 p.m.

In reply to FKUA :

Rod bearing or wrist pin is the leading guess right now.  Something was allowing the piston to contact the exhaust valves in one cylinder.


Meanwhile, this happened tonight:

wae UltraDork
8/22/20 10:15 a.m.

This morning I woke up for an unknown reason at about 0500 so I decided to head over to Toiletbird Industries and make a little more progress.

Much like everything else, the oil pan is needlessly complex.  It's a two part affair that is also part of what bolts to the bellhousing.  That becomes important later.  First off, here it is on the stand, ready for me to invade:

I put down a couple garbage bags and a whole pile of sawdust to catch the oil and coolant that I knew would drain from the block as I rotated it and started unbolting things.  Good thing, too, because there was a ton of oil left in there!  Step one was to rotate it over and take off the lower portion of the oilpan:

The oil level sensor had to be removed as did the pickup tube.  Inside the pickup tube, I found this:


Not a good sign.  Once those were removed the upper part of the pan needed to come off but to do that, the flexplate had to be removed along with the rear main.  So, back off the engine stand and flexplate off:

Given the amount of oil that der Scheißewagen leaked constantly,  I assumed that the rear main would make the Valdez look like a little drip, but oddly enough it wasn't that bad.  So, I'm still baffled as to where all the damned oil was coming from.  The rear main is part and parcel of that whole cover you see around the crank and it is not a re-usable part.  I pulled that off and then found some new boltholes to use to attach the block back to the stand.


There are approximately 3,287 bolts used to connect the oil pan to the block and they come in 5 different sizes.  This is also where WIS starts telling lies and half-truths.  The good news is that WIS shows you where each of the 5 types of bolts go.  Great.  Except they show the oil pan diagram from the top, so you have to sort of flip it over in your head.  Which is pretty stupid since if you're putting bolts in or taking bolts out you pretty much have to be facing the oil pan from the bottom.  Whatever.  The other problem is that there are more bolts than WIS shows.  Hopefully I get those right later.  If there is a later....

Anyway, after the bolts come off, a couple whacks with a rubber mallet persuaded the Loctite sealant to let go and I had the pan off.

The pan was pretty sludgey and I got a few more metal shards out of there as well.  Fun times.  Next, the oil pump cover came out, followed by the oil pump.  Watch out for the little bolt in the back.  WIS tells you that it's there, but if you were just marching forward without guidance, it would be easy to miss.  Once the oil pump was out of the way, it was time to knock out piston #2.  I also took the one next to it on the crank, #5, so I'd have something to compare against.  I will take all of them out, of course, but I neglected to resupply the coffee at TBI, so getting home was becoming a priority. 

So this is the part we've all been waiting for.  The unveiling of the answer to "what is causing that ticking sound".  All the bets should be on the table at this point.  I present to you, after nearly 2 years of procrastination, The Problem:

Top picture is the rod bearing for #2.  Bottom picture is the crankshaft with #5 on the left and #2 on the right.  That ain't good.  By way of comparision, here are the #2 bearings next to the ones from #5:

I think Adam Savage said it best when he said, "Well, there's your problem!"

Obviously the bearing is absolutely trashed.  The crank isn't looking so great either.  There are two things that I don't know about that damage:  First, is if there is enough crank left to have it turned down and run an oversize bearing.  Or undersized?  Whatever.  Second, what is the cost of that work, if it can be done, what is the cost of a replacement crank, and are either of those costs worth it?  Fine, that's more like four questions, but you get the idea.  Let's call it two questions where one of them is a question in three parts.  Either way, I don't think that's one of those situations where the words "emery cloth" would be appropriate!

For now, I've put the engine to bed so I could come home and have some coffee and do some recreational plumbing, but my next steps will be to remove the rest of the pistons and then get the crank removed.  In the meantime, I'm going to look up my options for a replacement crankshaft.

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
8/22/20 11:04 a.m.

In reply to wae :



You've labeled the bag correctly though.  Das tut mir leid.

Holy crap! That crank costs more than the long block I just ordered for my boat.

I hope it's repairable.


SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/22/20 8:58 p.m.

Is that LS swap looking good yet, or what?

wae UltraDork
8/23/20 6:49 a.m.

Tim and I were talking about it yesterday and this engine was in a Jeep which used a 5 speed MB transmission.  That same transmission was used in the Magnum SRT8.  So would that mean that the Hellcrate engine would bolt up to the 7G-tronic?  It could become der Höllewagen!

So far, I've found the brand new crank for just over $2k.  That ain't happening.  It will be interesting to see if this is the only journal that's bad - I'm assuming that it is based on the noise.  My guess is that there's some sludge in there blocking an oil passage.  I can get .50 oversize rod bearings so it's probably worth taking over to the machine shop to have them give me a final assessment once I have it out.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/23/20 7:54 a.m.

Yikes, hope the machine shop can give you good news.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/23/20 7:59 a.m.

I'd say a turn and clean up you should be back in business. 

wae UltraDork
8/23/20 9:24 a.m.

Before I take it over there, I need to decide - and put in writing for myself! - what my upper dollar limit is on this.  Just putting the thing back together so I can drop it back in to place looks like:

  • Swirl valve - $160
  • Head bolts - $145
  • Head gasket set - $425
  • New timing chain and guides - $175
  • Bearings/cap bolts/front and rear main seals - $650
  • New motor mounts - $325 for both if I get OEM.  Nobody else seems to make a left motor mount, but I can get a right for Rein for $65
  • EGR valve - $350 (unless I can find used or repair the one I cracked the housing on)

So that's what?  $2,300 before I actually fix anything?  And there's a few things that are "while you're in there" things to distract me.  New oil pump for $240...  Do I still trust the exhaust valves that were getting tapped by the piston?  And if I replace those exhaust valves, do I do a full head job?  A new thermostat is about $60 and it seems crazy to do all that work and not replace that while I'm at it.  It'll need a fill of coolant which is only available from MB and makes Chanel No 5 look cheap on a per-ounce basis. 

At least it's not a question of "if I can fix it", though.  It's just a question of how much money am I willing to throw at it to prove that I can.

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