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Discussion Starter #1
Date: May 27, 2009
Order No.: S-B-01.30/23b
Supersedes: S-B-01.30/23a dated May 7, 2009

Group: 01

SUBJECT:
All Passenger and Light Truck Models, Equipped with Engine M272 / 273
Up to approx. June 2008 Production
Oil Seepage from Back of Cylinder Head

If you receive customer reports in the above model vehicles of oil seeping from the engine, the cause could be the round plastic expansion plugs on the back of the cylinder heads.

To resolve, perform the following.
  1. Remove air filter housing. For Models 164 and 251, refer to WIS document AR09.10-P-1150GZA.
  2. Remove the existing plugs, clean the opening and install new plugs.
Note:
The plug opening should free of grease or oil. No sealer should be used in the installation of the new plugs. There are two different size plugs as listed below.
- A000 998 55 90 - 2 small expansion plugs
- A000 998 56 90 - 1 large expansion plug (engines without vacuum pump)



Picture source
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just went to my local benz dealership today and got the replacement plugs.

Each small plug was $7.96 CAN and the large plug was $13.26 CAN, $30 in total once you factor in tax.

If your car has not had this done or you are not sure I would recommend doing this. Very cost effective and an easy DIY. Could even do the air filters while you have the air box off.
 

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Thanks v much for this useful thread!

I believe my slk is leaking as well and I sure hope it is the same issue as is identified here with this simple fix.

I noticed in another thread a user suggested to put some oil around the seal before inserting the replacement gasket... and in this thread it was mentioned the following:

Note:
The plug opening should free of grease or oil. No sealer should be used in the installation of the new plugs


Should I use some oil to help it seal better or just plug it in? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks!
Sushi
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks v much for this useful thread!

I believe my slk is leaking as well and I sure hope it is the same issue as is identified here with this simple fix.

I noticed in another thread a user suggested to put some oil around the seal before inserting the replacement gasket... and in this thread it was mentioned the following:

Note:
The plug opening should free of grease or oil. No sealer should be used in the installation of the new plugs


Should I use some oil to help it seal better or just plug it in? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks!
Sushi
The MB tech said not to grease them along with the service bulletin. So I would opt with "no".

I replaced mine without using a sealer/lubricant before I drove 2200 miles to California and I have no leaks.
 

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Great thanks! That's what I did too - didn't seal just replaced it directly.

Comparing the old and the new expansion plugs - of course it looks identical - but I don't feel/see any difference between them. I would've thought the old one is much harder therefore causing the leak due to low flexibility (if that makes sense). With the plastic toughening up it doesn't seal as good and therefore causing the leaks - is this the reason why it was leaking in the first place generally?

To me - they both seem to be the same level of hardness. Can't see any diff.

Right after replacing it - I was still seeing the white smoke and can smell burning oil. Could've been the old oil - so I washed it down. Afterwards, I don't notice any more burning oil thus far (knock on wood).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great thanks! That's what I did too - didn't seal just replaced it directly.

Comparing the old and the new expansion plugs - of course it looks identical - but I don't feel/see any difference between them. I would've thought the old one is much harder therefore causing the leak due to low flexibility (if that makes sense). With the plastic toughening up it doesn't seal as good and therefore causing the leaks - is this the reason why it was leaking in the first place generally?

To me - they both seem to be the same level of hardness. Can't see any diff.

Right after replacing it - I was still seeing the white smoke and can smell burning oil. Could've been the old oil - so I washed it down. Afterwards, I don't notice any more burning oil thus far (knock on wood).
The replacement seals are a bit "taller" than the old ones and seem to have a gap in between the block and the end cap of the rubber insert. This probably was redesigned to prevent heat distortion from the engine block.
 

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My Experience

I just replace my expansion plugs today and thought that I'd share some pictures and lessons learned. Quick and simple job that anyone can do themselves.

Materials Needed:
- New Plugs. Note, the parts counter argued with me about the need for all three plugs, but I already taken a look and saw that all I required were the 2 smaller plugs, as the TSB stated, not all require the large plug. Had to make him read that :).
- Shop Rags
- Your favorite cleaner/de-greaser. I like brake cleaner.
- Standard Screwdriver
- Mirror (Borrowed from the wife, don't tell her :))
- Tweezers (Borrowed from the wife, don't tell her :))
- Q-Tips
- Razor Blade

Remove the air breather assy.
The following pertains to either side.
- Spray some cleaner on a rag and clean the area around the plug. Do this to avoid getting grit inside of the opening when removing the old plug.
- Position the tip of the screwdriver against the old plug, and give the butt end a little bump, the old plug will come right out. (First Pic)
- The next two pic's are to show the difference between the old plug (P/N A000 997 76 20) and the new plug (P/N A000 998 55 50). As you can see, there is a significant difference in the sealing area.
- The plugs area is between two matting surfaces, the head and the head cover. I'm going to surmize that during assembly, the plug was installed prior to torquing the head cover as I found that there was sealing material that oozed out and hardened, this would interfear with a flush fit when installing the new plug. I took a razor blade and scraped the surface clean (Fourth Pic). In doing so, some material fell into the opening. This problem was quickly resolved with tweezers and q-Tips.
- To install the plug, just insert and firmly push in.
 

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@rreilly , yes it does .. remember where there is smoke there is FIRE , so get it fixed asap ,does not take long to do the repair
Mine is the SLK55 AMG - I can't find expansion plugs but it looks like the valve cover gasket is leaking and oil is dripping off the cover right above the back of the exhaust manifold where it turns down on the passenger side.
 

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If not a recall, then only under warranty
 

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Founding Member #2 2008 SLK55 AMG
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Mine is the SLK55 AMG - I can't find expansion plugs but it looks like the valve cover gasket is leaking and oil is dripping off the cover right above the back of the exhaust manifold where it turns down on the passenger side.
Does not apply to the M113 engine of the R171 SLK55.
 

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I own a 2006 SLK 280 that leaks engine oil if its been sitting too long (over a week) without being driven. I noticed this problem primarily in the cold winter months when I don't operate the vehicle very often. Could this problem be related to the contraction of these plugs?
 

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adgvpm,

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I own a 2006 SLK 280 that leaks engine oil if its been sitting too long (over a week) without being driven. I noticed this problem primarily in the cold winter months when I don't operate the vehicle very often. Could this problem be related to the contraction of these plugs?
Doubt it's weather related. Take a flashlight and rub your finger around the bottom of the plugs ... if there's a leak there should be some residual oil on your finger.
That's how I noticed the leak on my 2005 350.

Cheers
 
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