2002 SLK 320 oil in coolant, trans & driveline issues 2nd try - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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2002 SLK 320 oil in coolant, trans & driveline issues 2nd try

Hello again. My first post was shunted off to the new member area. 11 friendly people said Hi!, but no input to questions. Have several decades of experience w/ MB diesels and other various autos to trade for help.

Let's try again



Just acquired a pristine 2002 SLK at a nice price (320 6-cyl E32 engine, 5-speed auto trans, 113K miles) & have a few things to sort out. Car runs great other than these items. Have put 500 miles on it. Your expertise would be welcomed:

1) There are drops of engine oil in the coolant res. Obvious expensive possibilities are a head gasket or cracked head. No oil cooler on front of engine. Are there typical or oft-reported failure points for head or gasket? Have read there is no oil/coolant leak possibility in intake manifold gasket area. Do the all-aluminum head & block have any problem history? Occasionally miss under light load. Haven't gotten code reader in play yet.

2) Auto trans has an occasional jerky 1-2 shift. Just acquired shop dipstick & fluid level seems ok, but color is a yellowish-white and is not as slippery as expected. Now shifting through PRNDL seems jerkier when cold. Any typical issues reported that would cause the strange color fluid? Going to change to Royal Purple Max, but obviously need a thorough flush. Have filter kit on the way, but haven't drained & dropped the pan yet.

3) Feel a driveshaft thump-thump when slow that grows to a vibration. Got under and the flex disks look OK with no visible cracks & driveshaft doesn't have any unexpected play. The differential halfshaft boots are intact & show no leakage. Ideas? Have a new center bearing & support coming.


Thanks in advance for any help. Yeah, know I should have checked it out more thoroughly, but it was a sexy little SiLKy thing at a seemingly great price and what man hasn't fallen for the oldest trick in the book at least once......
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#2 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Yellowish-white? Just a wild guess: any chance the oil in the expansion reservoir is transmission fluid?
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Hi and welcome


Propshaft centre bearing - you may well see torn rubber in the bearing mount and experience movement by hand, maybe also hear a grating when prop is under load

Trans mount and engine mounts are also prone to failure

Expect all those three on a 120k miler so 113k is probs about right
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#5 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Water contamination is an obvious possibility. I think the trans cooler is incorporated into the radiator.....Need to get the service manual, but haven't been able to locate one through the site threads.



Forgot to mention that I did drain a pint of engine oil out. After it cooled and settled I saw a few tiny white oil/water emulsion beads at the bottom of the jar, so an engine oil to coolant leak is in play.



The res oil film definitely has an engine oil smell vs. a trans smell according to Olfactory Detector Mark 1 Mod 1.
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for oil in coolant. it is most likely head gasket related. (specially since you have a miss) There is no passage through the intake manifold or in your case the oil cooler. there has, however, been cases where the timing cover leaks coolant into the oil.. I'm not sure if it's the other way around though.

The original trans fluid will be a brown color, so it's likely yours has the original fluid, and it WILL be more jerky. period. no matter what the "lifetime fluid" guys tell you. I would recommend doing a filter/fluid change. BUT DO NOT FLUSH!
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There is an oil cooler next to the filter housing, failure of its seals is most common cause of oil contamination.

It does sound like you need new fluid, 5 speed fluid is short interval.
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The engine does not have a cooler beside the oil filter housing (unless it is disguised as a power steering pump reservoir).


VIN ends in 255415 if that further identifies the configuration. Mfg Date 11/01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyBen View Post
The engine does not have a cooler beside the oil filter housing (unless it is disguised as a power steering pump reservoir).


VIN ends in 255415 if that further identifies the configuration. Mfg Date 11/01
See the attached oil filter and cooler (item 11).

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lk3...ew?usp=sharing
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Ups forgot about that, yes some variants did not have an oil cooler.
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Provide your full VIN and I will see what the parts catalog shows for your car.
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#13 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Doesn't have the side cooler. A couple of coolant hoses go off to the right front corner below the headlight, but haven't traced that out yet. My 1986 300SDL has an air-to-oil cooler there.

Is there a reliable web link to a paper or disk or on-line copy of the service manual? Will pay $$ for one.

VIN WDBKK65G62F255415
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyBen View Post
Doesn't have the side cooler. A couple of coolant hoses go off to the right front corner below the headlight, but haven't traced that out yet. My 1986 300SDL has an air-to-oil cooler there.

Is there a reliable web link to a paper or disk or on-line copy of the service manual? Will pay $$ for one.

VIN WDBKK65G62F255415
My copy of MB EPC (parts catalog) doesn't like that VIN. Are you sure it is correct here?
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#15 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Correction WDBKK65F62F255415
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyBen View Post
Correction WDBKK65F62F255415
This confirms your investigation - the oil cooler is not included on your engine. One less thing to worry about.
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Originally Posted by Turdo2 View Post
for oil in coolant. it is most likely head gasket related. (specially since you have a miss) There is no passage through the intake manifold or in your case the oil cooler. there has, however, been cases where the timing cover leaks coolant into the oil.. I'm not sure if it's the other way around though.

The original trans fluid will be a brown color, so it's likely yours has the original fluid, and it WILL be more jerky. period. no matter what the "lifetime fluid" guys tell you. I would recommend doing a filter/fluid change. BUT DO NOT FLUSH!

I am with you. This reminds me of my son in law who insisted that a bit of oil in the coolant was ok right up until the Forerunner had a colossal display of steam and other goodies under the hood with a boat on a trailer on the hitch, a canoe on the roof and the family aboard. It was not a great weekend.
Some pressure testing leak down etc, might be informative.
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Thanks for the help so far... needing more....update on subject issues last to first:


3) Driveline thump: got new propeller shaft center bearing & rubber holder mount. Ran out of time to do it myself so had indy shop do the replacement work (gotta get a lift someday). $269 in labor to prove that I have poor troubleshooting skillz since the bearing and holder mount and flex disks were fine. Still have the speed-related thump.....need to elevate rear wheels, put it in gear, & look & listen without doing a Ferris Buhler stunt. Later


2) Did the first xmission fluid change with 4 quarts Royal Purple Max fluid. Original fluid was a light tan. 3/8 inches of milkshake thick sludge in pan. Only light dusting of metal on the magnet. Shifting immediately better, but still have an over-revving 1-2 shift & bumpy 2-3 shift. Will do another fluid/filter change after solving:


1) Determined likely head / gasket leak. Changed engine oil (needed it) and 1000 miles in the oil still looks clean & no noticeable increase in coolant oil contamination (only visible in res, of course). Engine miss has greatly increased under heavy throttle and cylinder pressures to the point where 80 mph is all she will go. Action time.


Planning on getting a lower mileage used engine and swapping out. On-line shows $500 to $750 range with $200 shipping. Researching to see if that is for the long block only or the entire pulled unit. Feel this is the best path considering the cost and trouble of removing & milling heads. If a head is bad I see $1500 as the parts cost for that alone. Less messy to pull the whole engine/trans than tear down the top. Can then investigate the old one at leisure...



M112 E32 applications listed are:
Do the engines in all these uses have the same brackets, headers, sensor connections, ECUs, oil pans? Is there a cross-reference anywhere? Has anyone else taken this route (other than to pop in a V8)? And WHERE can I buy a workshop manual or CD.


Thanks in advance.
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