Mechanic incorrectly installed valve cover gasket in my Benz. Lost 4+ quarts of oil. - Page 2 - Survivalist Forum
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:48 AM
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sarge912 sarge912 is online now
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Originally Posted by subvetssn View Post
I adjusted valves and retimed the injection pump on my diesel Benz. Both were unnecessary as everything was in spec.

Upon start up, I had a miss. After double checking everything and not finding the source of my problems, I drove it 90 minutes away to an independent Euro mechanic with a solid reputation. He's done good work for me in the past and I respect his abilities. He's also the only independent Benz mechanic in the state. So it's not like I have many options.

They find that one cylinder has 100 psi compression less than the other three. (350/350/350/250 wet). New is 400 psi. Not too bad for a 43 year old car.

We both acknowledge that it needed a rebuild, but probably not right now.

I picked it up and drove it home, with my wife following.

As soon as I pulled out, there was a copious amount of smoke coming out the back. Since I knew they had the valve cover off double checking valve clearance, I wrote it off as oil spilled on the exhaust manifold.

10 minutes later, I started noticing a drop in oil pressure. I wrote this off as oil getting up to temp and thinning out.

After another ten minutes, it had dropped from 40 psi to 30 psi. Since warm idle is about 30 psi, I still wasn't alarmed.

However, it quickly dropped to 20 psi at which time I pulled off the road and immediately shut it off.

When I popped the hood, oil was everywhere. A quick check revealed a dog earred valve cover gasket on the rear passenger side of the engine.

All I needed was a 14mm socket and some oil to rectify the problem and get back on the road. Fortunately, I carry a gallon or Rotella as a "just in case" measure. It took every drop to get back to full, which leads me to think that I only had 1 quart or less circulating in the engine.

I called the next day and we discussed what happened. He accepted my story and offered an apology. However, since the oil pressure light didn't come on and there were no unusual sounds (at least unusual for a 40+ year old diesel), he didn't think there was any damage.

I didn't press the issue because I mostly concurred. Any parts that could have been damaged would have to be replaced (cam and crank bearings, resurfacing the crank, etc.), anyway.

Fast forward to this week. I've finally set aside the money for an engine overhaul and made plans to get the car back to him next week. He mentioned that he doesn't have any help and that it might take a while. I submit this because he was implying that the assistant who botched the valve cover gasket is no longer there.

So, here's my problem. The engine needed rebuilt. Additional engine damage could have occurred due to their negligence. Even though the most likely failed components would have been replaced during a rebuild, I still feel as though I should be made whole. Any suggestions for how to deal with this?

I don't mean a complete rebuild at his expense, mind you. But something would help make it fair, to my mind. Also, keep in mind that I don't want to burn any bridges.

Too bad I'm too attentive to the instrument cluster when I drive. Otherwise I could have kept on going until the motor seized. The matter of who pays would have taken care of itself.
Your biggest mistake, in my opinion, was to not stop immediately upon seeing the smoke. At minimum you should have had them clean it off before making a 90 minute drive. The fellow that does our work always test drives the vehicle and would never allow it out of the shop like that. If one of his guys had done something like this, he would have also, at minimum inspected the vehicle, free of charge, and refunded what had been paid for the previous work and probably thrown in a free oil change. I'd start looking for a new mechanic.
Old 01-06-2017, 09:50 AM
subvetssn subvetssn is offline
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Originally Posted by Goodwrench708 View Post
So OP....are you getting your engine rebuilt?
Yes. Hope to get started within a few weeks.
Old 01-06-2017, 10:18 AM
dyingslower dyingslower is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subvetssn View Post

10 minutes later, I started noticing a drop in oil pressure. I wrote this off as oil getting up to temp and thinning out.

After another ten minutes, it had dropped from 40 psi to 30 psi. Since warm idle is about 30 psi, I still wasn't alarmed.

However, it quickly dropped to 20 psi at which time I pulled off the road and immediately shut it off.
This is where you made you might have made a mistake. Possibly.

In an early eighties diesel Benz (I have 4) the oil pressure gauge does not work like most sane people would think. No, this being German, and they being particularly good with mechanical but not especially good with electrical, installed what is more or less an idiot light with a needle.

While it was nice of you to convert the Bar gauge to psi, in the Benz, the Bar gauge is only approximate at best, anyway.

Practice has shown that while the engine is running above idle, the gauge should be pegged (on 3). All revs between about 1000 and 4300 should show full pressure. So the instant it showed anything less should have set off all the alarms. Yes, who tells a guy this, right? But that's an old Benz thing.

At idle the needle can be about anywhere. Usually 1.5 at the lowest. This is sometimes used as an indicator of how worn the oil pump is.

I'll be among the many interested in hearing your rebuild story. It's not like a gasser where you might just hone some cylinders and install new rings, bearings, and seals. A rebuild of a MB diesel is much more involved. That's why, up to now, most guys have just been able to freshen up a salvage engine with fewer miles on it. But I suppose we're entering the time when rebuilds will become more common. I have one on a stand right now awaiting such attention. Maybe when the weather gets warm.

Good choice, though. I heartily agree with it


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Old 01-06-2017, 10:35 AM
subvetssn subvetssn is offline
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Originally Posted by dyingslower View Post
This is where you made you might have made a mistake. Possibly.

In an early eighties diesel Benz (I have 4) the oil pressure gauge does not work like most sane people would think. No, this being German, and they being particularly good with mechanical but not especially good with electrical, installed what is more or less an idiot light with a needle.

While it was nice of you to convert the Bar gauge to psi, in the Benz, the Bar gauge is only approximate at best, anyway.

Practice has shown that while the engine is running above idle, the gauge should be pegged (on 3). All revs between about 1000 and 4300 should show full pressure. So the instant it showed anything less should have set off all the alarms. Yes, who tells a guy this, right? But that's an old Benz thing.

At idle the needle can be about anywhere. Usually 1.5 at the lowest. This is sometimes used as an indicator of how worn the oil pump is.

I'll be among the many interested in hearing your rebuild story. It's not like a gasser where you might just hone some cylinders and install new rings, bearings, and seals. A rebuild of a MB diesel is much more involved. That's why, up to now, most guys have just been able to freshen up a salvage engine with fewer miles on it. But I suppose we're entering the time when rebuilds will become more common. I have one on a stand right now awaiting such attention. Maybe when the weather gets warm.

Good choice, though. I heartily agree with it


DS

Thanks. These cars get in your blood after a while.


This is a W115. The oil pressure gauge has a direct oil fed line from the engine and is not electrical. 40 psi is pegged high. It drops to 30 at low idle when warmed up. High idle bumps it back up to 40.

I'm hoping that the pistons and valves are salvageable. Maybe the sleeves save for #4 where I expect some scouring, which may explain the disparity in compression numbers. The timing chain has also been replaced and the cam looked good when I had the valve cover off.

Fortunately, I also have original copies of the W115 chassis and, more pertinent, the engine manual. No need to a competent mechanic to scour the interwebs looking for procedures and specs.

I've had it painted and had a Bosch shop rebuild the injection pump.

So, I've got way, way, way more money tied up in this car than what it's worth. But I like it too much to give up on it. Besides, it has a history. I have receipts going back to the original owner. We've actually driven it on a 1,000 mile round trip for her to be reunited with it. The second owners, being snow birds, want to pass through this way come spring to also see it once again.
Old 01-06-2017, 11:04 AM
dyingslower dyingslower is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subvetssn View Post
This is a W115. The oil pressure gauge has a direct oil fed line from the engine and is not electrical.
You're absolutely right. I did say electrical, didn't I? My mistake. I've had to undo that many times, and spill a drop or two each time. You'd think I would be more conscious of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subvetssn View Post
I'm hoping that the pistons and valves are salvageable. Maybe the sleeves save for #4 where I expect some scouring, which may explain the disparity in compression numbers. The timing chain has also been replaced and the cam looked good when I had the valve cover off.
Mine are all W123 and whatever the wagon is called. Still has the OM817 series motor, I guess.

I was not aware these engines were sleeved. I've been told that even though the pistons might be salvageable, they're not usable in a rebuild - which explains some of the expense. But again, I've no experience in the matter and you'll definitely be the go-to guy on this subject in a few weeks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by subvetssn View Post
So, I've got way, way, way more money tied up in this car than what it's worth.
Well, you say that now. Wait until the lights go out. Then it becomes, oh.. what's that word? Oh, yes... priceless.


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Old 01-06-2017, 11:26 AM
Helion Helion is offline
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If you are having the motor rebuilt, just ask for a new gasket and oil fill up for free.

**** happens, if the guy owned up to it the first time I would imagine he would be willing to work with you to rectify this.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:25 PM
RFI-EMI-GUY RFI-EMI-GUY is online now
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I had my wifes car into the dealer for some out of warranty work on the airbag system. The passenger air bag occupancy light was intermittent causing a certain code and warning light, that would come and go. The dealer required $120 diagnostic fee . The service advisor called a few hours later to say a fuse was bad. I quizzed him why a fuse would cause an intermittent problem. He said the mechanic found chafed wires under the seat. The next day my wife reports the warning light is on, the following day, the light is out, we embark on a three day trip. 40 miles from town the light is on again. When I get home I look at the fuses for the airbag system and they all have the patina of all the others in the fuse block. They were never changed. I look at all the wiring and no indication if repair. So over the next 24 hours I tear into the system and find a loose plug behind the dash. Problem solved. I went to the dealer with the "new" fuses in hand. I requested and received a return of the repair expenses. No doubt the mechanic got heat over this. I forgot to mentioned the last time I had this in for repair they simply reset the code even though the code recorded indicated a oriblem located at the very connector I reseated.
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