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Thread: Strange and mild lumpy idle

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    Strange and mild lumpy idle

    All,
    Over the past three days when getting in my car to go to work (garaged) I have noticed it has a slight "misfire" to the engine. I can hear it in the exhaust and it is very subtle (as if only one cylinder or injector is being cranky). The idle itself (RPM wise) is steady, and when I drive it, it behaves nicely. Plenty of power, no surging etc.

    Ideas of where to start?

    It feels almost like injectors? Can I pop them out and clean them? I see no CEL on dash, but maybe I should scan it with the link box anyway.

    Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Dan, I would start by pulling codes from all modules. The CEL only triggers for emissions-related faults so it doesn't surprise me the CEL isn't on. I'm not really expecting any codes from the modules but it would be good to rule things out as a starting point.

    With a digital scanner you could disable one cylinder at a time and see if you can pinpoint which may be causing the possible misfire (hmm, wonder if you could do the same without a scanner, by unplugging one injector at a time?). Live data might show if there was anything weird in the fuel mixture, injector duration, airflow, or ignition voltages.

    Injectors are not a likely culprit IMO, they have an awfully low failure rate. I'd be tempted to try a bottle of Red Line SI-1 first to see if there is any improvement. Pulling injectors is a PITA, you have to unbolt the fuel rail from the manifold and lift the entire rail off the engine. I'd only go there if you were pretty confident it really is injector related.

    Klink? You out there?

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Hold a dollar bill near the exhaust while running and see if it gets sucked inward on a pulse.

    Similar symptoms I had.
    1993 400E on EVO2's

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    What Gixxer said. I have been working on electric injection 104, 119 and 120 engines since they were introduced. In all that time, I have seen one, count them, one (1) injector causing any running or drivability issues. It was causing a warm-up hesitation and an ever so slightly rough idle on a nearly new 104 engine. Obviously, more than two decades have passed, so there are bound to be problems showing up now and then, but whatever the problem is, it is unlikely to be caused by an injector.
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Raffaelli View Post
    Hold a dollar bill near the exhaust while running and see if it gets sucked inward on a pulse.

    Similar symptoms I had.
    Don't be such a cheap ass. It's a Mercedes-Benz. You have to use at least a $20 bill for it to be a good test...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I will check the codes in the morning. What would the (20) dollar bill trick tell me?

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I agree that it is very likely NOT NOT NOT an injector.

    I once had a very similar situation many years ago when I lived in Portland, OR - very slight and occasional hiccup at idle. No effect on power or actual running of the engine. Seemingly random/not repeatable by my own doing.

    It ended up being the caps and rotors. My caps had a very thick and nasty layer of greenish-yellow scrunge coating their insides. I could not imagine, given this crud, how the car even ran!!

    When I replaced both caps and rotors, the very occasional & slight idle hiccup disappeared immediately. Never had a problem since.

    You should pull your caps and rotors and see what they look like inside. And also inspect the moisture shields that sit behind the caps, as these are key. All is well documented here on the forum.

    When you remove/replace rotors, be VERY VERY careful with regard to loosening the rotor Allen bolts, as they are easy to strip out. A high-quality Allen Key and lots of inward pressure when removing will help avoid this.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I was generally leaning in that direction as well... check caps & rotors, and more specifically remove the rotor bracket and inspect the back side of the insulator bowl. If it's not bone dry, that could be related. As an experiment you can try cleaning the brass terminals inside the cap & on the rotor, and see if there is any change in the hiccup. Oh, and also try the Klink trick of opening up plug gap to 1.0mm for grins.

    Another item - that car has a set of aftermarket Bosch wires courtesy of the PO. It wouldn't hurt to measure the resistance of each orange plastic plug connector to see if it's in spec at ~2000 ohms, ±20% or so. Failing ones tend to be like 5000+ ohms, the car can still run very well in this case, but it might cause idle hiccups. It's relatively easy to check, especially if you already have the plugs out to re-gap 'em...

    As Gerry mentioned - don't use a ball-end 3mm Allen wrench on the rotor bolts to break free or torque down. Once they loose you can use the ball-end to spin them in or out, but otherwise it will end up causing problems. (Don't ask how I know.)


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I have found on my M117s that cleaning off/polishing the ignition contacts inside the caps & rotors is only a temporary fix -- best to just R&R all of the gear and not worry about it for a while to come.

    I think you'll find that cleaning / replacing caps & rotors will solve this problem.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Caps and rotors sound like a good place to start. What's the full part number list of all the stuff I should do "while I am in there"?

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    HOW-TO thread: http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1657

    Tools needed: 3mm and 5mm allen wrenches or sockets.
    Parts needed: two distributor caps (119 158 01 02) and two rotors (119 158 03 31)

    Rotors: http://www.autohausaz.com/search/pro...ibutor%20Rotor

    Caps: http://www.autohausaz.com/search/pro...tributor%20Cap

    Probably a good idea to replace your plugs at the same time. You can use MB factory plugs, or Bosch F8DC4 (non resistor) Standard Copper plugs.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I have found on my M117s that cleaning off/polishing the ignition contacts inside the caps & rotors is only a temporary fix -- best to just R&R all of the gear and not worry about it for a while to come.
    To clarify, my point was to clean the caps/rotors as a diagnostic tool, to see if that makes any difference. I still believe that caps & rotors are over-replaced on the M119 and, as discussed ad nauseam elsewhere on the forum, may also be a temporary fix that lightens your wallet by ±$250 in the process.

    Also as discussed elsewhere, if shelling out for new caps/rotors, also shell out for new insulators behind the rotor bracket since they are original on this car. The insulators are only available in Bosch. I prefer caps/rotors form Bosch or Beru; I'm less thrilled with Bremi, but I know some people really like Bremi stuff. Allegedly Bernard swears that only OE MB caps/rotors are any good but Klink recently reported a defective OE/dealer cap out of the box, so clearly YMMV...


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    OK, caps and rotors in Bosch ordered. I am jammed before Christmas (and don't need to drive this car anyhow), so I'll probably do all of this right after the holidays. I love this board. Dave, I wish you were in to more types of cars, so I could buy more different stuff from you. My wife Daily drives a 2000 BMW M Coupe (the clownshoe) but I have been poking her that maybe she should get a 500e like mine. We could have twins!

    Every time I drive this car I am pleased. It is so well built, and though it isn't really "fast" by modern standards, it is simply a fine automobile.

    -Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    ... My wife Daily drives a 2000 BMW M Coupe (the clownshoe) but I have been poking her that maybe she should get a 500e like mine. We could have twins!
    Dan, LOL... we've been thinking of selling my wife's smoke silver '92. That would be awesome if your wife wanted one too!


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Dan, LOL... we've been thinking of selling my wife's smoke silver '92. That would be awesome if your wife wanted one too!

    This forum has a strict anti-solicitation policy, and violations will be dealt with swiftly and impartially.

    All vehicles for sale should be listed in the "Cars For Sale" sub-forum, including color, location, VIN, asking price, mileage, and at least 10 photos detailing all exterior and interior aspects of the vehicle. Not to mention a description of the vehicle's condition, modifications, emissions and repair history, and so forth.

    Seems you have some work to do ?!?


    Get to it !!!




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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Get to it !!!
    Sir, yes, sir! Thank you sir may I have another?


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Ok. My boxes of parts haven't arrived but I am back from holiday so I figured I'd try to start the car and see if it was still acting up. I fired it up and two things happened:

    First, it didn't start right away. I turned the key (all the lights powered up normally etc) and it went to crank and it felt like it made it "one cylinder" and the. Nothing. Felt like a starter solenoid not clicking but I felt it start to turn. I turned the key off, then turned it again and it did nothing for about three seconds and then fired "normally" (cranking and the. Catching and running).

    Once running it ran HORRIBLY. clearly misfiring somewhere and it smelled terrible. Set off the Carbon Monoxide detector in my garage immediately.

    So then I popped the rotors off and here's what they look like.

    This first picture is of the passenger side bank



    And another of the passenger side bank



    And the last one is of the driver side bank:



    I am going to replace them both (obviously) but do you think this is the culprit?

    Dan
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    So you are saying that it took several seconds for the car to actually start cranking and turning over, or that it cranked and turned over but took several seconds to catch.

    If the former, then it sounds like you have a starter or charging/battery issue.

    Make sure you remove the rotors and check the insulator plates behind the distributors. Not just the caps and rotors.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    Ok. My boxes of parts haven't arrived but I am back from holiday so I figured I'd try to start the car and see if it was still acting up. I fired it up and two things happened:

    First, it didn't start right away. I turned the key (all the lights powered up normally etc) and it went to crank and it felt like it made it "one cylinder" and the. Nothing. Felt like a starter solenoid not clicking but I felt it start to turn. I turned the key off, then turned it again and it did nothing for about three seconds and then fired "normally" (cranking and the. Catching and running).
    That is really odd. I'm thinking it's coincidence, but see if it acts up again in the future. Wouldn't hurt to check battery terminals, battery condition, yadda x3...



    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    Once running it ran HORRIBLY. clearly misfiring somewhere and it smelled terrible. Set off the Carbon Monoxide detector in my garage immediately.

    So then I popped the rotors off and here's what they look like. ... I am going to replace them both (obviously) but do you think this is the culprit?
    Ewwwww. The passenger cap looks pretty crusty. If you wipe it out and scrape the green boogers off the brass contacts, screw it back on and the engine runs fine... that would confirm it was indeed the cap causing the misfiring. Good thing you have new caps/rotors on hand, the right side is definitely due for replacement. Don't forget to pull the rotor brackets and inspect the back side of the insulators (if you're not replacing the insulators). I use a drop of blue Loc-Tite on the rotor bracket center bolt, and a bit on the rotor bolts too, after I had those come loose one time and destroy everything (pics here).


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    OK, update. I replace both rotors and distributors, and that did nothing to fix the issue. So then I replaced all of the plugs (correct Mercedes Plugs bought from Dave through ebay, and gapped to 1.0mm), and that didn't fix it either.

    Side note 1: The plugs looked worn, but not totally toast, except for cylinder 7 (third one from the front of the car on the drivers side), which had oil on the threads. Maybe a separate issue, but I gotta figure out why there was oil in there in the first place...

    Side note 2: The weird "car doesn't start correctly" seems to be gone (or at least didn't re-appear in the first few test starts.

    I'll start again with a new description of the issue in my next post.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    So here's where I am now. The car starts right up and runs (the idle doesn't change over time as it runs, and the "RPM"s are steady). However, it sounds like a$$. It sounds almost like a bad exhaust leak maybe? Note that the whole exhaust from the downpipes (that weird crossover pipe) back is brand new. So if it is a leak, it is up front somewhere. Exhaust smells bad, and it simply doesn't run correctly.

    Any other guesses?

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Dan, did you pull the rotor bracket to inspect the back of the insulators? If not, don't lose sleep over it, that issue causes misfiring which is pretty severe (possibly even backfiring), and it doesn't sound like that is what you are experiencing.

    I'm kind of at a loss to further diagnose without additional data. Foul-smelling exhaust to me indicates something up with mixture or combustion, assuming the catalysts are recent, since you mentioned it has a new exhaust. Could you get a short video clip of the sound? How long ago was the new exhaust installed? Was ANYTHING changed just prior to this problem first occuring?

    BTW, the oil on the threads of plug #7 may not be of concern unless it was excessive oil. The only ways oil can get there is either leaking from the valve cover gasket, in which case there would be residue visible running down to the plug... or, oil entering from the cylinder. The latter can occur if the plug was not fully tightened. Side question, is oil consumption rate normal, or at least unchanged from what it had been? At the moment I'm thinking this is likely a fluke or coincidence.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    OK, so here's the next stage of the mystery. I was frustrated with the car, so I let it sit for a while, and then once my head was clear, I went back out and fired it up and backed it out of the garage. Ran poorly (same as before) and it smoked. So I thought about it for a while, and then decided to start again and think from scratch. I started it up, and started to take a video of its issues, and as I took the video, the car started to run better. Hmmm.. So I hopped in and thought "Maybe this is left over oil from the 7 cylinder plug replacement?". After a lap on the highway, it seemed to have cleaned up its act. I then used it to run an errand later, and it all seemed fine.

    HOWEVER, then I let it sit again, and it came back. So I decided that I was going to get a second opinion. So I made an appointment to take it to the Local Indy (MB Garage) not too far from me (San Rafael is a pain to get to on a holiday week). The car had sat in the garage all night (was warm when parked), and when I fired it up this morning, it ran terribly again. Big cloud of smoke, and misfiring. Both of those things cleared up a couple minutes in to the 10 minute drive, and it was mostly cooperating (but there was still a few wisps of smoke) by the time I got to the shop.

    I told them the whole story, and took an Uber home.

    They called me back and said that they had popped the cover off the engine (air cleaner) and that with the car idling, the number 7 plug was moving around. They said they took a video (It hasn;t come through in email yet), but they were going to take closer look.

    I hadn't ever changed the plugs since Dave, and I know I didn't cross thread them putting them back. I did finger thread all the way, and then only a ratchet at the end. One dab (TINY) of anti-sieze, and tightened them correctly. I know old damage shows up in Aluminum threads over time, etc, but I am sure hoping this is something other than a heli-coil job.

    Any advice?

    I'll update when I learn more.

    Thanks!!!

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Oh WEIRD! I'm really not sure as to a root cause, but my next step would be a compression test, just to eliminate possible mechanical issues internally. Previous compression test data is in your records Dan, let me know if you have trouble finding them. Everything was in spec when I tested.

    Even assuming the #7 plug got loose, that doesn't entirely explain the smoking; although unburned fuel into the cats could possibly cause the smoke. I never had any issues with plug threading; and I always use a torque wrench on the plugs when installing (28Nm IIRC, for dry threads - less with oil or antiseize).

    Definitely would like to see a video!


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    OK, here it comes.

    The shop called back, and spent a bunch of time talking through things with me. Good guys (at least on the phone), and all they work on is old Mercedes stuff. I talked directly to the tech, and he said that they found that plug 7 just wasn't all the way tight and that yeah, maybe there's a little valve cover leak, but that's not the issue. He said that there is coolant getting in to the engine, and the smoke is that smoking, not oil. It does look white, so I'll buy that.

    I have had what I thought was a minor air bubble (I was slightly low on coolant, and I thought that was weird, but the car never ran hot, and I figured it was an unrelated issue. I couldn't see where the car was dripping any, but I had made a mental note to go dig in to the fender and see if the second catch tank was the culprit... or that crusty hose, etc.

    However, the shop said that when they pressurized the coolant system, the level dropped, but none came out of that car, so it was going in to the cylinder(s) somehow.

    They said there was two possibilities.

    First (and VERY unlikely they said.. he sad he had never seen this be an issue, but it was theoretically possible) is that there's some issue with the intake. He said that it was possible the engine could suck in some coolant there. That was a 5.x hour labor charge, and frankly not that big a deal. But they stressed that none of them thought this was the issue.

    Second. There's a crack in the head some place. They didn't suspect the gasket, because they said that normally if that is the issue, it is a two way leak (you get a milkshake in the coolant, like usual), but that my coolant is crystal clear, so that isn't a likely candidate. They said they had no idea where or what sort of head issue might exist, but the labor charge to remove and replace the heads (gotta do both) is.... wait for it... 35 hours. That includes the intake manifold labor (the first 5.x hours), but does not include whatever the machine shop might find or charge.

    I gave them the green light to work up a "worst case" scenario price for me, but I figured I'd throw it out there to the group.

    The R&R isn't rocket science (it is just a zillion hours), but what say folks about the machine shop work? It is pretty inconvenient for me to take it to San Rafael (Fenton), but if he does cylinder head work, I could have them ship him the heads?

    Thoughts?

    Obviously I am going to fix the car, and I want it fixed correctly. But is there a better option? Full Engine replace? Dave, should I buy your 6.0L and have it fixed to not drink oil (that is a joke!)?

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Fenton doesn't do machine shop work himself. He farms it out.

    He has a couple of used M119s. If you are talking big bills for repair, may make more sense to get and install a used motor. Robert can do that easily.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    There's a fair amount of other stuff that would make sense to do if the heads are off, I suppose, right?

    Dave, Motor mounts? Power steering? Valve job? Etc etc. I am sure there's a list some place. Do I really gain a lot by using a replacement motor? I am buying time in that case, and someone else's history, right? I'll call Fenton tomorrow and see what he says.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I would pull the plugs after letting it idle for a while and look for the one that's clean and or wet. I do think you have mechanical damage to a head or the short block, but this kind of car with these types of owners (you) have to be certain what's wrong.

    Scroggins machine gave me the hookup and charged me ~$650 to go over both my m119 heads. Being a mechanic, I wouldn't do a head gasket job for much less than 4k.

    So have a beer or two. Bad news a comin'
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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Oh I know it is gonna be brutal. It isn't the end of the world. I just want to make the choice that is the best for the car. Not really my wallet. It is a 35 hour job (which I believe). So that's 5k labor easily. Before machine work and parts. Good thing I love this car.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I think I paid Scroggins about $600-650 to thoroughly go over both of my M117 heads, including installing new valve guides and seals & decking the heads slightly.

    With the M119 being a bit more complicated I could see a competent machine shop charging $750-800 to clean and tweak a pair of M119 heads.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    remember twice the valves and valve guides over a M117....

    I though there was a chemical test for combustion gases in the coolant....?

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Due to the improved cam/valvetrain geometry and materials of the M119, it's not typical/normal to press in new valve guides and seals on that engine, whereas it is definitely normal on M117 engines with more than 150,000 miles on the heads.

    I also removed the camshafts and followers (though not the springs) from my M117 heads before bringing them in. Scroggins did also test the valve springs, which were all fine.

    For my M104 engine, I left the cams in the head and let them handle everything, which they did. There were no replacement parts required on the M104, even with well over 200K on that head. The main thing was a thorough testing, cleaning and de-coking of the intake and exhaust passages.

    For the M119 heads, that is also the key thing in this case -- thorough testing for any cracks or weak spots, and cleaning/de-coking.

    The intake manifold halves should also be brought in to be leak-tested and cleaned at the same time.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Dan,

    First, I'm very sorry you are experiencing this kind of problem - I don't recall anything similar being reported on the forum in the past 10+ years. I agree that the intake manifold is an unlikely culprit; especially since I don't think there are any coolant passages near the #7 intake runners. But, the intake is one of the first things to come off if the heads are removed, so that could be checked before digging deeper. Coolant could be entering the intake and causing the smoking in general, but probably not just on cyl #7.

    I don't want to tell your shop how to do their job, but IMO before tearing into a 35 hour project, I'd at LEAST start with the following:

    1. Compression test on hot engine (1 hour labor tops)
    2. Leakdown test on cyl #7, and any other cylinder out of spec
    3. Pressurize cooling system and use borescope to look in cyl #7 to absolutely confirm liquid is entering


    Assuming worst-case scenario, coolant is getting into #7, you have a few possible options. It boils down to either:

    Option 1: Pulling the heads, and hope the problem is confined to the heads, not the block. If so, it would make sense to at least have the heads disassembled and checked out - mostly confirming the valve guides are OK. Do both sides - labor/cost is incremental to pull the other side once the first head is off. Cams/lifters/springs should be fine. At least replace the valve stem seals if the rest is good. The next problem is, if one head is cracked (causing the coolant entry), you probably need to replace it, unless a REALLY good shop is confident they can weld it. Besides labor and machine shop work, parts will get expensive for this - especially if paying full retail, or if the shop marks up above retail. Total cost, um, I'm trying not to do the math.

    Option 2: Replace the engine. Good used M119's are available very cheap, some patient shopping should find you a nice low-mile motor. I'd estimate $2k or less including freight for a really nice donor .972/.974 from a 500E or SL500, under 100kmi, verified clean inside, compression tested, etc. The used motor will need some TLC prior to install - all upper chain rails, maybe a chain, new VC gaskets, front crank seal, maybe rear crank seal, etc. You could swap some of the existing recent components over from the old motor (i.e., PCV hoses) if desired; the new caps/rotors, also swap the ETA since it's known-good. Labor to R&R the motor should be in the 12-hour ballpark, on top of labor to freshen up the used motor. You could then put the old motor on an engine stand and tear into it when you have spare time, as a science experiment. In THEORY, the cost should be similar or less, due to fewer labor hours. Even lower if you do the work on the donor engine yourself (it's easy on the engine stand). And you get to keep the original motor. In late summer 2015, someone else in the Bay area did this, there is a long thread (click here) with details on what was recommended for the donor motor... although I suspect the engine pretty much got dropped in as delivered from the dismantler. (?)

    If it were me... I would choose option #2, but I understand if timing issues may not allow that. The risk with #1 is that you could be out 15-20 hours labor before they discover the engine isn't fixable, or not worth fixing (very, very unlikely - but possible); and then you move into option #2 anyway.

    About the incremental work - since the car had an awful lot of items replaced when the engine/trans was removed last time, there shouldn't be much needed. Wouldn't hurt to eyeball the engine mounts, new Lemforders are <$100 each. All the hoses and general engine bay stuff should be ok. I'd see what the shop recommends and compare their recommendations against the prior records to see if/when something was last changed.

    A third option would be to consider going nuts and buying/building a 6L motor. Jono had worked up an estimate for someone recently to build a fresh one (not cheap), or you could look for a used one overseas to import (may take a while). A variation of option #2 would be a rebuilt long block from Metric Motors (click here) but at $10k for a stock 5L - ouch, ouch, ouch. I haven't checked prices but I assume a dealer rebuilt long block would be even worse. IMO, the ROI is not good on a rebuilt 5L... if spending that much I'd go for a 6L.


    I'm still hoping the shop finds something simpler if they stick a camera into cyl #7 and/or prove the coolant isn't going in there from a cracked head or failed head gasket...

    Dave M.
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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Let's assume the cylinder head (one of em?) is indeed cracked. Where would I go about getting another one to build/machine? That is a piece of info I am missing.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Also, in thinking through the 6.0L option... am I crazy to consider that? would that pass CA smog? Would my only option be to import one? I don't want to drive my spare cars for months, so maybe this is a non-starter.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    Let's assume the cylinder head (one of em?) is indeed cracked. Where would I go about getting another one to build/machine? That is a piece of info I am missing.
    Salvage yard / dismantler. Probably quite a few around the Bay area / Sacramento / Stockton. Ideally you want a donor which looks better than this.

    The trick would be finding a 1992 5.0L head, as there were minor changes on the 1993-1995 heads, and I'm not sure if there would be complications using a 93-95 donor (Jono?). The 93-95 5.0L head may work with all the parts swapped over but I'm not 100% sure about that.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    Also, in thinking through the 6.0L option... am I crazy to consider that? would that pass CA smog? Would my only option be to import one? I don't want to drive my spare cars for months, so maybe this is a non-starter.
    Crazy, yes, but you'd probably have a hard time wiping the grin off your face. Shouldn't be any problem passing smog. You can have one built from scratch but the cost is likely somewhere in the upper teens (ROUGH ballpark) for something ready to drop in the car. But, it would be a basically new motor. Ping Jono for details if you're interested, I don't know if anyone else is building them nowadays. Importing would be the easier option (and cheaper) but would require scouring European classifieds for a while.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    So if I were to source a whole motor, I need to get one out of what... an s500? an SL500? What years? Can I just go buy a full s500 running car and rip out the parts I want? For example, can I buy a 2001 Silver Arrow convertible and take its heart? Can I buy a 1999 s500 sedan?

    Trying to price out ideas and options.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    So if I were to source a whole motor, I need to get one out of what... an s500? an SL500? What years? Can I just go buy a full s500 running car and rip out the parts I want? For example, can I buy a 2001 Silver Arrow convertible and take its heart? Can I buy a 1999 s500 sedan?

    Trying to price out ideas and options.
    100% plug+play donors are:

    Any year 500E/E500 (124.036)
    1993 USA model year 500SL/SL500 (129.067) - VIN format WDBFA67ExPFxxxxxx
    1994 USA model year 500SL/SL500 (129.067) - VIN format WDBFA67ExRFxxxxxx
    1995 USA model year 500SL/SL500 (129.067) - VIN format WDBFA67ExSFxxxxxx

    The model year is critical on the SL500. It cannot be any USA model year besides 93-95.

    The W140 (1992-1995 only), 500SEL / S500 has different exhaust manifolds and main/upper oil pan. If you use a W140 donor, it will require part swapping. The oil pan is a bit of a nuisance to swap as both motors need to be upside down. If you don't get the gasket/sealing juuuust right and it leaks, it's a nightmare to re-do the gasket with the engine in the car. Bottom line, unless you find a NOS W140 motor awfully cheap, or cannot find a suitable R129/W124 donor engine, I wouldn't fiddle with 140 donors.

    For any potential donors, get the VIN of the chassis to run AutoCheck / CarFax - you'd be surprised how often engines "lose" miles once recyclers get them out of the car. And get a photo of the engine serial number, to compare against the datacard, to make sure the AutoCheck / CarFax report matches the engine. Ideally get a look through the oil fill cap too, avoid engines with obvious sludge.

    If for any reason you prefer a closed-deck engine, the search will get more difficult as you'll need to get engine serial numbers (and/or casting numbers from the block) to verify, and these were only used in 92, 93, and early 94 production. There's no significant advantage I'm aware of besides allowing conversion to 6L.

    1996-up M119's are very different and require swapping a LOT of parts, including all four cam sprockets, front head covers, valve covers, entire intake manifold, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting. And if it's a 96-99 W140, add the oil pan/etc as noted previously. 96-99 donors are even less desirable due to the increase labor cost.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I believe Robert Fenton has one or two "used" M119 motors that are specific to the E500E (removed from wrecked cars).

    He also has one brand-new, never-used E500E-specific M119 engine that is factory fresh. This is a closed-deck short-block, manufactured in 1992 for those model year cars. Of course that would be significantly more (because it's new/unused) than a used engine.

    Robert will play straight with you regarding the mileage of any used engine he has in his parts stock.

    If you have a cracked head, one other option would be to have a competent machine shop repair the head by welding it. An experienced shop can tell you if a crack is fixable/weldable or not, depending on where/how extensive it is. This is a route worth considering, if it is a fixable situation.

    A 6.0 liter would cost exponential dollars. And I wouldn't just have any old machine shop create said 6.0. There are only a few builders that I'd trust to do a job like this.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    ^^^

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Yeah. Tough call. If I was 100% sure the block was gonna be fine, and the heads are fixable, I would go the remove, fix and replace route.

    But if the heads aren't fixable, I'd be into the shop for big bucks and then be looking for a donor motor anyways.

    Also sucks to dump money just to get back to "zero". Whereas a 6.0l would at least be a good time.

    Time for an e-rod LS3 and manual tranny swap.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I'm confused.

    Would it not be better to confirm a bad head and find a used donnor? Last year I got a pair for 300ish shipped on ebay.

    I would think you want 93 is heads w the later eliptical springs.

    M

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    If a head indeed checked out bad, the cheapest, most logical and most expeditious route would just be to source a used motor specific to the 500E, preferably with 100K or less miles, and install it. Then sell the broken motor as a parts motor to the 500Eboard vultures.

    Seriously, all this talk about 6.0s and such has proven over the years, and has been borne out by a distinct lack of people doing it, to be nice but entirely wishful thinking.

    Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is going to dump almost the same amount of money that their car is worth, into building a fancy new motor. It's literally and honestly never been done at least that I can remember in the past 10+ years, by anyone. Honestly, one can buy one hell of a custom-built, small-block GM or Ford motor (actually, several of them) for $15K.

    IF THE MOTOR CHECKS OUT BAD, DON'T BOTHER TRYING TO FIX IT, REMOVE HEADS, REPLACE HEAD GASKETS, ETC. Far too expensive at $5-6K for the job's labour, plus parts and underhood soft parts.

    My advice: Get a used but good 500E motor for $1-1.5K, and spend a grand or two removing the old motor, and installing the new one. Then sell individual parts to members here to offset the cost.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Gerry,
    I have tried repeatedly to call Robert Fenton at European Car Services, but there is no answer and there's no machine. Also, when I look it up on line, some places say "permanently closed". The number I was trying ended in 5151. Any idea how I could get ahold of Mr. Fenton?

    Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    OK, going through pricing for things now.

    I called Metric motors, and they will sell me a completely rebuild (new everything) long block (Valve cover to oil pan, everything done) for 10,425.00. Delivery is 200 bucks to me in NorCal, and they said I might actually have to send in my engine to them, as they might not have a core.

    They don't do exchange on the M119 heads, he said that rebuilding those (pressure test and the works) is 690.00 per head. He said if they needed more stuff (valves, or whatever), that could go up to 1200 per head, and if one of them was bad, the replacement head (meaning it wasn't repairable) would be another 500.00

    So somewhere between (best case) 1380.00 and 2900.00 to have the heads fixed. Which isn't horrible except for the labor to remove and replace.

    -Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Thanks for the info, Dan! I was curious what Metric would charge to refurb heads, no we know.

    Have you asked the shop what the labor would be for an engine swap, to compare against labor to R&R the heads? I'd also ask them if they will stick to their quoted hours even if it goes over (i.e., still only charge you for 35, even if it takes them 40+); or if you will get billed for full hours. I'm not really sure what standard procedure is. In the meantime it may not hurt to check with Gerry's brother Robert and see what he wants for the spare 500E motors he has laying around his warehouse...


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Update: Just talked to Jono (SUPER friendly and smart on the phone! thank you!!) and he's gonna see what a 6.0L would cost to build (machining down a 560 crank, as opposed to a custom billet one) and he recommended a few things to try:

    1.) Try Bars Leak (or one of those things). If it is that small a leak, it might just work!
    2.) Back off the radiator cap a little, to keep it from pressurizing as much, and watch and drive it and see.

    -Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Another update.

    Talked to the shop and they said that they didn't want to charge me for a compression test, because they said that it wasn't likely to tell us anything. He said that the leak has to be on the exhaust side, not the compression side, so that isn't likely to be super revealing. They also said that they could scope it, but they again weren't sure that would be conclusive enough. I genuinely think they are trying to save me money. They were in the process of working through the quote, and it was roughly 6500.00 (including parts, but not machine shop work) to remove the heads and put them back on.

    I told them about the Bars Leak idea, and they said they'd think about that (I talked to the owner, not the tech) and see if that was a good idea or not. They are gonna call me back.

    -Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Figured I'd explain my thought process on these... in case anyone was wondering.

    Compression test: This is primarily to make sure nothing else weird is going on. Ideally all cylinders would be in spec. However, if cyl 7 is low, that would help pinpoint an issue with #7 specifically. Additionally, if cyl 7+8 or 6+7 were both low, that would indicate a possible head gasket failure.

    Bore scope / camera: Specifically because the shop said when pressurizing the cooling system, coolant was being lost when pressurized... I would want to positively identify where it's going. Pump the cooling system to 20psi and watch the coolant level drop, and stick the scope into the suspect #7, and look for liquid. This would at least confirm that is where the coolant is going. If coolant is lost and #7 is dry, it's time for more detective work.

    My guess is, they are confident enough that coolant is entering #7 they are willing to take a $7k gamble on it. If it were me, I'd like at least a LITTLE more proof before condemning the head or motor!

    BTW - I also would consider something similar to Bars Leak, if coolant is actually entering the cylinder. There are some pretty high-tech head sealant products on the market now which might possibly be effective in a case like this. They generally require flushing the system and filling with plain water (no antifreeze), removing the plug from the bum cylinder to eliminate cylinder pressure going into the cooling system, running the engine with the special sealant, then draining & letting the system dry while empty for X hours. Long complicated process, these products typically are marketed to repair failing head gaskets, but may work on heads also. IMO sealants of any kind would be a "last gasp" effort, or a short-term Band-Aid, while pursuing a more permanent fix (i.e., to avoid driving the spare cars for months).


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Did you do my dollar bill test? Any exhaust valve problem will show up with it...

    and if you care to share, what's Jono charge for a 560 crank that's been machined. I've been toying with the idea of getting one and offset grinding one
    1993 400E on EVO2's

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Raffaelli View Post
    Did you do my dollar bill test? Any exhaust valve problem will show up with it...
    Not yet. Car is still at the shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raffaelli View Post
    and if you care to share, what's Jono charge for a 560 crank that's been machined. I've been toying with the idea of getting one and offset grinding one
    He hasn't sent me a quote yet.

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    415-999-0083 cellular number.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    OK, another update. Talked with Robert Fenton (VERY nice man. He says Hi Gerry!) and he has two engines from 500e's right now. One with 60K and one with 90K. The 60K mile one has had the heads off and been redone (head gaskets and the like), and that is roughly $10,000. The 90K mile one is closer to 7500. He was ballparking, so that might be a little off, as I wasn't given a full quote. But the replacement engine route seems more expensive than some folks had thought.

    Given a completely rebuilt engine is 10,425 from Metric Motors (and yes, there's labor to put all the stuff back on, etc), this is not an obvious choice.

    Still noodling.

    -Dan

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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Some great advice here so far. I would second Daves recommendation to have the shop investigate the issue further before looking for a replacement motor. I would at least reallly want to know where the coolant is going to. If it is 'washing' through a cylinder pulling all of the spark plugs might tell you initially if one is cleaner than the rest. With the use of a pressure tester the coolant will show up in the offending cylinder if left long enough. All of Dave's suggestions are spot on.

    Further questions to ask yourself is what warranty does the replacement motor come with? Are you better off replacing a cracked head on your old motor (for talks sake) which is a known unit. Aka- there is a risk a replacement motor will also have its own issues / troubles to attend to after you fork out the labour for R&R. And finally will swapping out the original motor de-value your 500E in the long run?

    My 2 cents are I would repair my original motor if at all possible / economically viable. As a DIY'er I would do the work myself but not everyone can. Once the leak is detected you have nothing to lose trying a leak sealer product before tearing the motor down. But I feel knowing the severity & nature of the current leak is also of importance before using a leak sealer.

    Also- I am not casting doubt on the shop or the diagnosis BUT I would have them carry out the coolant pressure test again & see the coolant level drop for myself. I know- Call me a sceptical git but all the same- I'd like to see it for myself before agreeing to $$$$ in labour.
    Last edited by JC220; 01-04-2017 at 01:34 PM.
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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbreid View Post
    OK, another update. Talked with Robert Fenton (VERY nice man. He says Hi Gerry!) and he has two engines from 500e's right now. One with 60K and one with 90K. The 60K mile one has had the heads off and been redone (head gaskets and the like), and that is roughly $10,000. The 90K mile one is closer to 7500. He was ballparking, so that might be a little off, as I wasn't given a full quote. But the replacement engine route seems more expensive than some folks had thought.
    Holy CRAP. Those prices are, IMO, "I don't want to sell my engines but if you pay this much, I'll grudgingly let one go." He'll be sitting on those a very, very long time at those prices. I honestly thought he'd be literally 1/3 those numbers.

    On the opposite end of the price spectrum, Jeff Wong has a 500E engine+transmission for $600 plus freight from SoCal. It has 200kmi but if compression is within spec and it looks clean under the valve covers, I'd personally have no issues popping new chain guides on it, re-sealing, and dropping that in. (And you get a spare tranny to play with, too.) Click here for Jeff's listing, from the one photo it looks like there is a bit of brown varnish (not bad), I'd ask to see a photo with the valve cover completely removed though.

    M119 engine failures like this are crazy rare, I'm still having a hard time accepting that a head may be cracked. Which is why normally I don't much care about miles, as long as it's clean inside.


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I'd be looking for a second opinion...
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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogeyman View Post
    I'd be looking for a second opinion...
    That may not be a bad idea. Unfortunately I do not know another shop to recommend in the Bay area. Maybe Jono could open up Blue Ridge West?


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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    I just went over in person and spent 30 minutes talking with the tech. I feel pretty good about their diagnosis now. I am gonna have them pull the intake manifold and see if that is the issue. I doubt it is, but it should allow them to scope the cylinders much better. And who knows? Maybe I get lucky.

    We discussed the Bars Leak idea a lot. My worry is that it will plug up the heater core and that is a pain in the ass job as well.

  85. The Following User Says Thank You to Dbreid For This Useful Post:

    gsxr (01-04-2017)

  86. #60
    E500E Guru Taxi Driver's Avatar
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    Re: Strange and mild lumpy idle

    Right, good decision, what took you so long? This accounts for many owners here. Stop guessing, it will give an opportunity to, Clean up and renew the TBA/MAF collar and gasket, EGR pipe aswell,
    and perform a Clean up inside the plenum. Also do not forget to renew the water pipe gasket at the right
    side of the motor, coming from the duo or single valve. Offcourse all vacuum hooses should be attended.

    Good luck, maybe a turn for a sweet running idle.
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