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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so driving to work yesterday my 98 SLK230 was overheating while on the highway, but if I pulled over and stopped it would quickly go down in temperature. It was my first time taking the car on the highway and has never overheated on me before. At lunch I let the car run at idle for half an hour and it didn't overheat at all. The usual 20 minute drive home took me an hour last night because the car kept overheating, and eventually oil was spewed from the passenger side of the engine and the whole underside is soaked. It did get into the red a handful of times, but I would shut it off immediately. So I'm hoping it isn't a head gasket because if so the car will quickly become a parts car and I will be selling parts haha, but are there any other causes of the leak on that side?
 

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Any red, except for color, is bad! Hope it is something rather simple. Odd that it wouldn't heat idling, but just at speed!
 

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One way to rule out head gasket at this point is a compression test, I'd start there myself. Also check the oil/coolant for a milkshake consistency. I'm leaning more towards a weak/bad water pump IMHO, based on it not overheating at idle, and the (assumed) lack of big clouds of smoke from the exhaust. The oil leak was most likely caused by the overheating, any number of gaskets could have blown because of the added stress/expansion they were under, only way to know which one is to thoroughly clean the engine and see what leaks from there.
 

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I've boiled the overheating down to two things. The first being a thermostat stuck closed, did the old microwave and water trick, and the fact that my car has no hood or bumper. So nothing to really draw the air to the engine. My oil is completely fine, but someone on a Facebook group told me they had a head gasket problem and their oil and coolant were fine. I have no smoke from the exhaust, except the normal start up smoke due to it being cold where I live. I know the valve cover gasket needs replaced but that isn't what gave out. What gaskets could be on the passenger side of the engine under the exhaust manifold? All I can imagine is the head gasket.
 

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I've boiled the overheating down to two things. The first being a thermostat stuck closed, did the old microwave and water trick, and the fact that my car has no hood or bumper. So nothing to really draw the air to the engine. My oil is completely fine, but someone on a Facebook group told me they had a head gasket problem and their oil and coolant were fine. I have no smoke from the exhaust, except the normal start up smoke due to it being cold where I live. I know the valve cover gasket needs replaced but that isn't what gave out. What gaskets could be on the passenger side of the engine under the exhaust manifold? All I can imagine is the head gasket.
I had a rear passenger oil leak coming from between head and block, so head gasket. My 98 was also a project lol. I had no symptoms of compression loss or overheating, just the leak. Head gasket replacement is not as bad as it seems. I bought a victor reinz gasket bundle on eBay for $89. Came in from the UK. Also bought some new head bolts (since they are torque to yield and stretch). If you do the work yourself, it's cheap. The only special tools needed are the 12point key ($10 at napa auto) and a bolt/deep socket macgyver method to remove a pin holding a chain guide. I even found a guy to mill my head and grind valves/seats for $75 for good measure. And the gasket kit came with valve cover gasket, supercharger gasket, intake manifold, thermostat, etc... lots of stuff for a proper "going through". Worst case, if you can't do it yourself, at least buy the gasket kit and you'll only need to pay for the labor. The head gasket kit (and same one) was almost $400 at my auto zone.
 

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I had a rear passenger oil leak coming from between head and block, so head gasket. My 98 was also a project lol. I had no symptoms of compression loss or overheating, just the leak. Head gasket replacement is not as bad as it seems. I bought a victor reinz gasket bundle on eBay for $89. Came in from the UK. Also bought some new head bolts (since they are torque to yield and stretch). If you do the work yourself, it's cheap. The only special tools needed are the 12point key ($10 at napa auto) and a bolt/deep socket macgyver method to remove a pin holding a chain guide. I even found a guy to mill my head and grind valves/seats for $75 for good measure. And the gasket kit came with valve cover gasket, supercharger gasket, intake manifold, thermostat, etc... lots of stuff for a proper "going through". Worst case, if you can't do it yourself, at least buy the gasket kit and you'll only need to pay for the labor. The head gasket kit (and same one) was almost $400 at my auto zone.
I've spent the last half hour or so reading through Ben Kokes' write up on his replacement and it seems to be pretty straight forward and something I may try to go through with. My only issue is I live in an apartment and they don't like me working on cars in the lot for whatever reason, so I gotta find a way to find a location to do it. I wish it were as easy as going to a friend's house but I moved to a new city so no friends. Probably rent a storage unit for a month or something. I am in a Facebook group and one of the members posted about that socket diy tool to pull out that pin. In the write up the author mentioned taking a picture of the camshafts to help with realignment, was it hard to realign them and get the chain back on? He mentioned it's recommend to zip-tie the chain to the gear, but didn't picture it because he wanted to replace the chain. Did you do that too?
 

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I've spent the last half hour or so reading through Ben Kokes' write up on his replacement and it seems to be pretty straight forward and something I may try to go through with. My only issue is I live in an apartment and they don't like me working on cars in the lot for whatever reason, so I gotta find a way to find a location to do it. I wish it were as easy as going to a friend's house but I moved to a new city so no friends. Probably rent a storage unit for a month or something. I am in a Facebook group and one of the members posted about that socket diy tool to pull out that pin. In the write up the author mentioned taking a picture of the camshafts to help with realignment, was it hard to realign them and get the chain back on? He mentioned it's recommend to zip-tie the chain to the gear, but didn't picture it because he wanted to replace the chain. Did you do that too?
Like in the writeup, ziptie the chain to the guides so that the excess chain doesn't fall down and mess with the alignment to crank. As far as the timing, I took photos and made scratches in the chain and sprockets to that they line up properly (the most important). The sprockets will only fit the cams withing a certain margin (since it uses 3 bolts if i remember), so as long as you eyeball the cam's position (using photos for reference), reattach the sprocket and then fine tune to align the scratches on the chain to the sproket. That's about it for the smaller sprocket. For the larger, you'll have to align to the chain, then slide onto the cam. It's thicker and since there's not too much chain slack if not removing (the chain), you'll have to shimmy one or the other while aligned to the chain. Not hard, just take your time and do it right. And make sure to take it easy on the larger sprocket alignment. There are two halves with a spring loaded pinion that has to align to both halves. Easy, just take time. I has to go in by hand. Don't force it with the centerbolt that holds it together or you'll strip it. Then, reattach guide pins followed by tensioner. I installed supercharger first, then had to remove it because it blocks entry of tensioner. It's not a hard process, but does take time (so much disassembly). Make sure your 12point key fits fully into the head bolt heads, so look into the bolts and make sure they are not filled with gunk. One of mine was and I didn't realize the key didn't seat all the way down so it stripped the head bolt. Had to drill it out. It's not that hard though since the bolt head opening acts as a guide for the drill bit. So the chances of screwing that up are small and its a problem you could handle yourself as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Like in the writeup, ziptie the chain to the guides so that the excess chain doesn't fall down and mess with the alignment to crank. As far as the timing, I took photos and made scratches in the chain and sprockets to that they line up properly (the most important). The sprockets will only fit the cams withing a certain margin (since it uses 3 bolts if i remember), so as long as you eyeball the cam's position (using photos for reference), reattach the sprocket and then fine tune to align the scratches on the chain to the sproket. That's about it for the smaller sprocket. For the larger, you'll have to align to the chain, then slide onto the cam. It's thicker and since there's not too much chain slack if not removing (the chain), you'll have to shimmy one or the other while aligned to the chain. Not hard, just take your time and do it right. And make sure to take it easy on the larger sprocket alignment. There are two halves with a spring loaded pinion that has to align to both halves. Easy, just take time. I has to go in by hand. Don't force it with the centerbolt that holds it together or you'll strip it. Then, reattach guide pins followed by tensioner. I installed supercharger first, then had to remove it because it blocks entry of tensioner. It's not a hard process, but does take time (so much disassembly). Make sure your 12point key fits fully into the head bolt heads, so look into the bolts and make sure they are not filled with gunk. One of mine was and I didn't realize the key didn't seat all the way down so it stripped the head bolt. Had to drill it out. It's not that hard though since the bolt head opening acts as a guide for the drill bit. So the chances of screwing that up are small and its a problem you could handle yourself as well.
I'm gonna try and perform a leak down test just in case by some event it isn't a head gasket. Not too hopeful though. I'll be sure to zip tie and mark everything. I've been reading the horror stories on the deadbolts, where did you order yours from?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How much of a possibility is it that I cracked the block or head? It got into the read a handful of times, but I'd quickly pull over and shut it off. I'd just think if it were that I'd have total oil loss.
 

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How much of a possibility is it that I cracked the block or head? It got into the read a handful of times, but I'd quickly pull over and shut it off. I'd just think if it were that I'd have total oil loss.
It got into the red* wonderful auto correct haha.
 

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You'll know for sure when you open it up lol. And if oil is coming from between it's the gasket.

EDIT: Head bolts were $30 on eBay. Victor GS33513 Head Bolt Set for sale by "ishipautoparts"
 

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You'll know for sure when you open it up lol. And if oil is coming from between it's the gasket.

EDIT: Head bolts were $30 on eBay. Victor GS33513 Head Bolt Set for sale by "ishipautoparts"
Guess it's just down to me finding the space and putting back enough money to do it. The only fear I have is getting the engine at TDC, but I'm sure I'm just over thinking it. I know I can get the engine apart in a maximum of three/four hours. I've been almost as far in my 95 E320's engine trying to fix the timing cover leak.
 

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That sucks to hear, but it can be fixed for under $500 if you perform the job yourself. The head-bolts are very sensitive and can easily snap. Torch the bolts to help free it up before removing it. At a minimum you need to have the head checked for valve leaks. For sure it will need to be resurfaced.

Use Mopar combustion cleaner to clean the chamber. You can look at the book (TDC) setup, but if you mark the cam to the timing chain before removing you should be fine. The job is not complicated, it's the head-bolts that you should worry about.

If you see scoring in the combustion chamber, then you need to remove the block as well. If it's just the head that needs fixing you should be able to do it in 3-4 days. The delay will come from the machine shop. Use a bore gauge to check for consistency on each cylinder. There's a 65% chance that your pistons are fried, I don't know how many times you the RED, but all it takes is one time. If you decide to remove the whole engine(Long Block), buy a rebuild kit and take it to a machine shop. The labor should only be $1500+ parts. Anything is possible with a garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I replaced the thermostat today and drove it around my neighborhood for around ten minutes. It drove hotter than it did post thermostat change between 80-120 and as soon as I parked it dropped to 80 - below. I checked the underside and there wasn't a drop of oil. I will be checking it again before I leave for work, taking a different car don't worry, so maybe that has changed. Is it possible it was just a fluke of something? My E320 wagon leaks right after I drive it no matter how short of a drive so it seems nuts to me that I didn't see oil after driving it immediately.
 
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