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Thread: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

  1. #301
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    thanks, well then their gasket goes back...btw fantastic how-to...joined site after stumbling on it...

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    One item, that I want to underscore for all future readers (and potential users) of this thread. This is a VERY important step that should ALWAYS be followed.

    When re-installing the timing chain tensioner, per the factory procedure, one MUST take the step of disassembling the tensioner to "reset" it before bolting it back on to the engine.

    One individual who used this HOW-TO to guide their engine re-assembly did not take this step, and ended up snapping the sprocket off of one of their cams due to directly re-installing the timing chain tensioner.

    The tensioner's design is such that it "sets" itself at a certain point via an irreversible, internal self-ratcheting mechanism. This ratchet must be "reset" through disassembly of the tensioner (a 5-minute job) before re-installing the tensioner onto the engine.

    If one buys a new tensioner, then one should make sure it's set correctly (i.e. not ratcheted) before installing it.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Gerry, Thank you for taking the time to document this rebuild, It was very helpful. I just fired up mine last night. I was half shocked that the car didn't ex/im plode

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by PDXTyler View Post
    Gerry, Thank you for taking the time to document this rebuild, It was very helpful. I just fired up mine last night. I was half shocked that the car didn't ex/im plode
    Great - and glad the documentation was helpful. As long as the engine turns without interference, and you disassemble & then re-assemble (or better yet, REPLACE with a factory piece) the timing chain tensioner, you should be good to go.

    Check for oil leaks at the valve cover and adjust bolt tension on the cover bolts as needed.

    It always thrills me when folks are successful with jobs based on the HOW-TO articles on this site.

    It's amazing that this HOW-TO has received more than 28,000 views, to date. There must be a huge interest/demand for M104 top-end work.

    Congratulations !!!

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    You should be in a perpetual state of "thrilled" Honch, I get PM from noobs from several sites who have read these How To threads of yours and others and just get it so much clearer than the manuals. So while not always known to you, others have thrown out their Kent subscriptions and Chilton's manuals in favor of the HHT (Honch How To) series! I for one have retained separate PDF of every one posted.
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    It's amazing that this HOW-TO has received more than 28,000 views, to date.
    That must be the highest-viewed thread on the forum. What are #'s 2, 3, etc?


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    That must be the highest-viewed thread on the forum. What are #'s 2, 3, etc?

    I think 400Eric's drag-racing thread is also up there, as well. Haven't looked lately at the view-total for it, though.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I think 400Eric's drag-racing thread is also up there, as well. Haven't looked lately at the view-total for it, though.
    Indeed, it has over 42000 views!
    A quick perusal shows the M119 vs M113 thread and Russian EPC thread both at 26xxx.
    '94 E500 (744) | '94 E500 (199)         Misc. snapshots

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    I am sure that the vast majority of those 42K views are Eric checking the thread constantly to see whether someone has replied to it



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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen View Post
    Indeed, it has over 42000 views!
    A quick perusal shows the M119 vs M113 thread and Russian EPC thread both at 26xxx.
    Is there a link which shows the top viewed threads, or do you have to poke around and look for high numbers?


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Is there a link which shows the top viewed threads, or do you have to poke around and look for high numbers?

    If there's an easy way I don't know about it. I just went thru the forums and ordered the view list.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Hello,

    In addition to re-setting the timing chain tensioner before installation, ( which is actually a well understood fact, & why one should pay for the expertise of a qualified mechanic ), if there is any doubt as to its operation, eg, sticking or binding, it should be replaced with a brand new OEM tensioner, no questions asked, & no chances taken. You also rotate the engine over by hand to re-insect timing mark alignment, & check that the ratchet-mechanism of the tensioner is working. You can check this to by rotating the engine the opposite way, as this reveals the actual amount of slack in the chain. Any doubts, reveals possible problems.

    It seems Mercedes Benz Spare parts will also be happy with this thread !

    Regards,

    Sellc

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Sellc View Post
    You can check this to by rotating the engine the opposite way, as this reveals the actual amount of slack in the chain.
    It is my understanding that the engine should NEVER be rotated in the opposite direction from which it rotates while in operation.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Hello,

    There's nothing wrong with rotating the engine by hand the opposite direction at the crankshaft a few degrees to see whether the tensioner ratchet mechanism has released / extended itself, or whether it's remained stuck from the re-setting. Ideally, & afterwards, with the timing marks found to be satisfactory, & the chain has most of its slack taken-out, you then with the spark-plugs removed crank the engine until you have oil-pressure reading on the gauge, & then visually note its flow on the over-head gear. This will also allow you to confirm that the chain is at the correct tension, & that the tensioner is working as it should be, since the oil pressure will have activated the internal components of the tensioner & applied hydraulic oil-pressure via the plunger onto the chain. You can then with a long screw-driver confirm the plunger is locating, as it may move back a little, before locating itself on its ratchet. Cranking also lubes all of those dry bearing shells inside the motor that have not seen any oil in a long while. This assures longevity of your motor, & assures no rattles on first start-up.

    Regards,

    Sellc
    Last edited by Sellc; 12-21-2015 at 05:19 AM.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    The wagon comes home to Oregon.
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    So THAT'S who got in line before me. Excellent. Good for you, Ken!
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Seen a couple of those here in Carmel. No C126 just a bunch of W126 and e420.
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    hi all, i have a m104.992 in a e320 coupe and i am trying to locate the MAP switch in engine bay. any help would be apreciated. thanks

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Not sure what you mean by "MAP switch"? What does it control?

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    I'm guessing "manifold air/atmospheric pressure"...?

    On the M119 LH cars this function is performed by the EZL, on M119 ME cars there is a separate sensor above the water pump. I'm not sure how the M104 HFM works.


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Not sure what you mean by "MAP switch"? What does it control?
    I mean manifold absolute pressure sensor, i called it switch because you do so in your 2nd post, pic 23.

    Im in hunt of dtc error, i get 23 blinks on pin 8. and i am very confused now, what exactly is this error :

    "23 Intake manifold pressure (in base module pressure sensor-) with engine running too high/low"
    (i think this is for california version, with integrated diagnostic module)

    or

    "23 Ignition output 2 or ignition coil for cylinder 3 and 4 (Engine 111, cylinder 2 and 3)"

    This is e320 '94 coupe euro, m104.992, coils and Ht leads have 10k km, both beru.

    is it the coil error or manifold pressure?



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  30. #322
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    i've swapped 1&6 cyl coil with 3&4 cyl coil, still same error 23, harness date is 2001


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Can the "smear" that is used to adhere the ETA-to-manifold gasket to the ETA be purchased at a local parts store?

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevester 500E View Post
    Can the "smear" that is used to adhere the ETA-to-manifold gasket to the ETA be purchased at a local parts store?
    Yep. Plain blue Hylomar HPF, nothing fancy... might need to Google and find out what the name of the stuff is at the local McParts, as it may or may not say "Hylomar" on it. Try NAPA...


  33. #325

    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Ok. I was wondering if the maple syrup colored goo I normally see on the bottoms of ETA's was something special...
    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Yep. Plain blue Hylomar HPF, nothing fancy... might need to Google and find out what the name of the stuff is at the local McParts, as it may or may not say "Hylomar" on it. Try NAPA...


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Factory goo may have been different, or a previous mechanic may have used something different. A thin coat of blue Hylomar works well, all it does is hold the gasket in place during installation.


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    This discussion was intriguing me, as I didn't remember when I did the M104 top-end refirb, that any "goo" was required for the gasket between the bottom of the ETA and the manifold.

    It's a gravity fit, and the ETA fits straight downward onto the top of the manifold. So why would "goo" be required to hold it in place?

    I also don't recall that any "goo" was specified in the factory service procedure for R&R of the ETA from the manifold. There's four bolts that hold the ETA (through the holes in the square gasket) to the top-facing mounting surface of the intake manifold.

    Same thing for the small gasket that is between the intake manifold and the end of the EGR tube where it bolts on .... no "goo" required.

    Removal:


    Installation:


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    It's more of an M119 thang. I agree, Gerry, with the manifold off it should be goo-free on the M104.


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    It's more of an M119 thang. I agree, Gerry, with the manifold off it should be goo-free on the M104.
    Even with the intake manifold ON the head it's a goo-free thing with the M104. The ETA is pretty easy to access on the 104, a fair bit easier than on the 119, where its location is about deep as the Marianas Trench.

    So the next question would be that if this was an M119-related question, why is it in an M104-specific thread on the forum?




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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    It may have been an M104 question... can't keep up with Stevester's fleet!!


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    It may have been an M104 question... can't keep up with Stevester's fleet!!

    I guess only The Stevester can answer that question. Sounds like he's a 104 guy now....

  40. #332

    Re: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Gerry, great write up.
    I read the section where you took inventory of the vacuum lines.
    I did not see which lines connect to the circled in red nipple on the lower intake.
    I am having idle issues on my M104. In search of the culprit, I saw that there was not a vacuum line connected to the nipple circled in red. The only thin on the nipple was a mushy deteriorated rubber line.
    Which vacuum line connects to that nipple?
    Thanks in advanced.

    Correction: I have inserted the correct photo.
    I think I know what my answer is. My 1993 M104 might have a 1992 lower intake, straight from the factory. And perhaps that 1992 lower intake had a use for the nipple. But I think on 1993's the nipple is just capped with a rubbed cap.
    The area in question is now correctly in red. And on Gerry's the nipple is not there. I checked my 95' e320 and it looks just like this pic, it's also void of a nipple. You can see were the casting has been modified to eliminate this nipple.
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    Last edited by Stevester 500E; 06-02-2017 at 12:37 AM.

  41. #333
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Gerry - I was told the valve-cover is magnesium (at least for the C36) and that it must be Dow 7 or Dow 9 primed PRIOR to painting or powder-coating otherwise it will out-gas and start bubbling/showing.

    Regardless, I will call Precision Powder coating in Spring. TX.

    Thanks,
    neil
    Last edited by M104-AMG; 07-24-2017 at 09:52 AM.

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    HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    The covers on the 104s are definitely magnesium - that was confirmed by the powder coaters. Two cars I know of have covers painted by the shop in Spring -- 281lxm's spruce mafia E500 and maui's option-loaded E320 white wagon.

    Cheers from Victoria Pub, across from Hyde Park, central London

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    I have nothing in the area of changes visible in surface or color on my covers.
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    I have two sets of M119 covers I need to get coated.


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    That must be the highest-viewed thread on the forum. What are #'s 2, 3, etc?

    I think this thread has now received more than 58,000 reads to date.... likely one of the highest-read threads on this forum.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    This thread is gonna pay dividends when I have to re-do the top-end of my M104 in my G-wagen......I'll get to relive the adventure all over again. The G-wagen just turned 120K miles.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Started my own head gasket replacement project two days ago. I read this How-To by Gerry back and forth, I felt like I have done the job. Of course, there are always some complications beyond what have been covered by these excellent records. I also consulted the post from Pelican parts and videos from youtube to answer a few questions I had. The procedues outlined by Pelican parts are very systematic and easy to follow if you only do head gasket. Gerry's is for the complete top-end rebuild.

    My approach is a zone like approach. In Day 1, I removed everything on the top and the front, including the harness, hoses, spark plug cover, cross-over tube, etc. Then, I started to address the drive and passenger side of the engine.

    I bought a set of 12 food containers and labelled them. All bolts, nuts, and little items get inside these containers and then sealed.

    Day 2, I spent 1.5 hours and started working on the exhaust. I think, based Gerry's post, that the four bolts connecting manifolds to the exhaust tubes must be removed from the bottom. After that, I see clear path to the rest of the job until head bolts and the head lifting without a hoist.

    Day 3, ....

    Other than clear pictures and detailed descriptions, the part list provided by Gerry is invaluable. I don't go out and replace them all, but with all the part numbers, I sure can order correct parts.

    Thank you again for such excellent post.

    jftu105
    Last edited by jftu105; 01-14-2018 at 06:01 AM.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Day 3, made some good progress to remove the fuel rail, intake manifolds, and one of the exhaust manifolds. The exhaust manifolds nuts and studs were coming out as one piece, except two of them. One of them is the front lower one which prevents the manifolds to be slided out easily. I had to really pry it hard to get it out. Stopped half way through the 2nd exhaust mainfolds. Need to work from under to release the three lower nuts/studs with a 12 mm box end wrench and a PVC pipe for extension. I also removed the air pump entirely to get more room. I am getting closer to the head gasket. Will explore some DIY methods to measurement the flatness of both the head and the block. Both can warp and machining only the head does not make sense to me.

    jftu105

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    I think it would be highly unusual if the block were to be warped. Even the head to be warped -- the engine would have had to be overheated in the past. If not overheated, then it should not require correction.

    My E320 wagon that I did this job on, had never been overheated. The machine shop measured things at the head, and saw no warping whatsoever. They did "skim" the sealing surface of the head, but that is a standard surface preparation process and takes off only a very very small amount of aluminum to promote an absolutely flat surface for optimal head gasket sealing. Most shops will do this "skimming" on heads. They also did it for my M117 cylinder heads when I did the top end of that engine.

    BTW, the M104 is an iron block, with an aluminum cylinder head mounted on top. I think it's very very difficult to warp an iron block casting. Just saying.

    Lastly, the cylinder head for the M104, though heavy, is not something that requires a lift/crane to remove. I am not a physically large guy (5'11", ~200 lbs) and of average build and physical strength. I had no problem removing the head from the vehicle myself. What I did was to place several thicknesses of moving blanket on the side of the engine compartment, where the air filter assembly is located. When I lifted the head off of the block, standing above the engine, I moved the head onto the moving blankets. Then I got down from my standing position in the engine compartment, and lifted the head onto a waiting pad on the garage floor. I'd say it weighs (with cams and everything) about 125+ pounds. For two people, it would be a breeze.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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  56. #342
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    It would be great that the block is not warped and cast iron does have better dimensional stability than aluminum. However, I am going to check both. Just purchased a straight edge with 0.001" straightness error. Talked to a guy who used to run a race car engine shop on benzworld. He stated that the block does warp but he was dealing with race cars.

    Have not worked on the project for three days.

    Thanks again for the nice How-To. Also read your caution regarding the belt tensioner. Will be very careful when re-attaching it back.

    jftu105

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    We had another forum member a few years ago, who followed this HOW-TO in redoing his E320 top end, and he removed/re-used, but didn't reset the timing chain tensioner and actually ended up snapping off the cam sprocket, I believe. This is a very very imperative step and it only takes a couple of minutes. If not done, results can be catastrophic.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Gerry,

    Made some progress today. Got all the manifolds off. The nut basically fused to the stud and the lower three inside were a pain to remove. Also opened up the valve cover and practiced on the timing setting. I found that for my engine, to get those two 4 mm pin to set exactly, the timing marking is not right at the line between T and 0, but on the 0 exactly. I also read about some people got it at the line between 0 and 0. We are talking about 1 degree difference on the crankshaft, but is it correct with the camshaft. I am going to mark it before I loosen the timing chain. Next, get the timing chain cover off.

    Thanks for the reminder on the chain tensioner. I will make sure that I follow your instruction closely.

    jftu105
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    It looks to me like that is closer to 3-4 degrees off, not just 1 degree. This is about the same as I had at same point in disassembly.

    The critical thing is in the re-assembly, not the dis-assembly. In the disassembly, it really doesn't matter as you're taking things apart. Mainly, it's just an indicator of chain stretch. Depending on the mileage on the engine, that is also a direct indicator of the frequency and quality of oil changes. Your engine does look pretty clean on the inside, so that's a big visual positive.

    The timing chain tensioner install/reset procedure is detailed in the factory service manual, page attached to this post. For my top-end rebuild, I installed a new tensioner, as shown in the photos.

    Re-using old or installing new tensioner, you still MUST install it per factory procedure.

    Cheers,
    Gerry
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Gerry,

    Thanks a lot for the tensioner document. I did some study on it to learn about the "reset". Basically, the thrust pin with the retaining ring (a small wire ring) can only go one way, forward. The "reset" means that the thrust pin will start from beginning and when it is push in, against the chain, it will push the chain at a pressure set by the spring and the slackness of the chain and hold its position through the "rachet" action achieved by the groove and the retaining ring. Once set, it will not go back. If the chain becomes more loose, the spring will push it forward to maintain the tension. Without this "reset", thus removing the whole tensioner unit and then install it again without disassembly, the thrust pin could be in a position too much forward. Because it cannot go backward, the tension could be too high that chocks the chain and the sprocket to cause failure, in particular if a shorter chain is installed.

    After removing the trust pin off the tensioner housing, the little retaining ring could be enlarged. As a result, the trust pin will not move forward, blocked by the ring. When this happens, one can remove the ring and clamp it tighter and put it back. Then try to put the thrust pin in and push it forward. Once it moves forward and clicks into a position, one can try to push it backward. It should hold its position without moving back. In fact, I hammered it a little and it won't go back at all. One can push it forward again to remove it for the actual installation.

    This is such a clever design, but also risky unless the extreme caution is rendered to the installer. You did a great job to emphasize it. I could have overlooked it.

    Thanks again.

    Jay

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    The stahlwille xzn M12 socket I bought off eBay is too short to reach the head bolt. A perfect waste of $20. I had to order a longer stahlwille tool off Amazon for $42 today. It would be here next Tuesday. I guess that I have to wait until then to remove head bolts.

    Stahlwille 2054X-M12 Steel Special Length XZN Screwdriver Socket, 1/2" Drive, M12 XZN Screwdriver Size, 110mm Length, 22.7mm Width

    I don't want to buy a cheap tool locally, such as from autozone, for the fear that I might ruin the heat bolt. I got new ones but I am afraid to round one of them and then I would be in deep trouble.

    Jay

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Finally received the right xzn M12 tool to loosen the head bolts. They were very tight. I took many steps, following the reverse order, to loosen them. Here are the pictures. I think I know why oil got into coolant very clearly now. Also how coolant got into the combustion chamber.

    Now, the hard job of cleaning and measuring will start.

    jftu105
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  64. #349
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    By examing more closely the head gasket and the cylinder head, now I have a full picture what happened to my sorry engine, which has suffered an oil in coolant problem for nearly five years. Last year, the coolant was drawn into the combustion chamber and exhaust was pressured into the coolant to have all kinds of complications. I used a bottle of Preston head gasket repair to temporily extened its life until now. The repair of this gasket stuff was almost instant and lasted for a few thousand miles, but the exhaust still gets into the coolant, to give the reservoir a high pressure even days after driving. Here are the pictures to explain the whole story. In picture 3, the gasket metal shield at cylinder #6 swelled. This was the reason for the oil in coolant in the beginning. In picture #2, the edge between the water pocket and the cylinder wall at cylinder #2 corroded and the coolant was drawn into the combustion chamber. The valves in this cylinder is a lot dirtier than the rest. In picture #1, you see how the kevlar fiber (the yellow stuff) was pushed into the corroded spot to block the passage. This happened only in less than one minute. As soon as I pore the stuff in, the shuddering of the engine stopped when this passage was blocked. Of course, this was only a temporary fix but it bought me some time. Even though the coolant won't be drawn into due to the kevlar fiber, the combustion gas pressure is a lot higher; therefore, the exhaust gas still got into the coolant to cause all kinds of leaks.

    I guess that I need to go to our local yard to pull the cylinder head off a 1995 E320. Need to gather all the tools for this job when the weather gets better.
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Take your cylinder head into a machine shop that knows MBs, and have them look at it. They can give you an honest assessment as to whether the head is salvageable or not. Often times they can be repaired/welded with good success, depending on the nature of the damage.

    A failed head gasket doesn't automatically mean that the cylinder head is bad. Get a knowledgeable professional to look at it, and then make decisions from there.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

    P.S. Please update your profile so we know generally where you are at. That will help in pinpointing resources in your area that can help you. A good machine shop should be able to tell you pretty quickly whether your cylinder head is a keeper or not. Unless it's been dramatically abused, it should be fine to re-use.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Take your cylinder head into a machine shop that knows MBs, and have them look at it. They can give you an honest assessment as to whether the head is salvageable or not. Often times they can be repaired/welded with good success, depending on the nature of the damage.

    A failed head gasket doesn't automatically mean that the cylinder head is bad. Get a knowledgeable professional to look at it, and then make decisions from there.


    Any used head you pull from a junkyard engine has an equal chance of requiring all the same work your existing head probably needs. Unless your head is warped or otherwise damaged beyond repair, pulling a used head may just cost you more time & money with minimal benefit.


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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    gsxr and Gerry,

    Thank you for the advice. In fact, I talked to a machine shop locally and they quoted a very affordable price to repair the head. I will bring the head in this Friday to get a more accurate estimate and proceed from there. Pulling a head with all my tools at hands is already a tough job. Doing it at a junkyard is even tougher, plus the coldness, the snow, and the mud. Yes, I will go with the repair route first. Thanks again. jftu105

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  72. #353
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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Had the cylinder head machined in a local machine shop for $50 plus tax. Before maching, the head was warped with the middle 0.007" lower. They took off about 0.010". The machined head is now flat. My straight edge (within 0.001") and thickness gage (0.0015" thinest) cannot detect any flatness error. Also measured the engine block. It is also flat within 0.0015". Before machining, I had to remove both camshafts. The machine shop told me that I must bleed the hydraulic lifter, which I did. Bleeding the hydraulic lifter allows the valve gap to be re-adjusted for an optimal value. After machining, the corrosion spot is now behind the metal ring of the gasket. Will start the assembly in a few days. Hopefully, things can go smoothly.

    jftu105

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Sounds like taking the head to the machine shop was the right thing to do. Hopefully they looked over everything else and took care of it all. Did they check the valve guides and the sealing at the valve seats?

    Good luck in your reassembly. It's the most satisfying part. Take extra care on the procedure to torque the head bolts. You arms will be quite fatigued once that process is done !!

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Had a second thought on installing the old head after it was machined. The corrosion spot, although behind the metal seal of the head gasket, is still a concern. Did not want to invest further into this head. Went to the local yard and pulled another head, which is much cleaner, with only 0.002" flatness error and zero signs of corrosion. Took this "new" head to the machine shop for machining and a valve job. The work will be performed by a fellow from South Africa originally, with very high level skills in rebuilding and machining engines. The cost is $12 per valve. Will also install new seals. The total cost is $12x24 + $50 (machining) + $10 (cleaning) + tax (6%) for $367. The old head will be a spare, for study, or returned to the yard for $15 credit while keeping the hydraulic lifters and camshafts. The "new" head should be back in a week. With this much effort into this project, it does not make sense to save $367 for a potential problems in near future.

    jftu105

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Corroded spots can often be welded by a machine shop, as long as they aren't too far along, or in a critical area. I hope your gamble with the wrecking yard cylinder head works out!

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    In order to weld, all the valves have to come out because of the heat from welding. It is a $400 job, not just $100 (welding and machining). With my old engine head being over-heated and corroded badly, the bet with a head from junk yard is not that much a gamble because it is straight,and free of corrosion. I would not have bought this head from junk yard if it is not in such good condition. I am willing to invest $360 to machine it and do the valve job. I did not want to weld and do the valve job for the old head because the corrosion was pretty bad, not just one spot in particular. Almost 0.010" was taken off to make it flat. It was badly over-heated once (I did that when coolant was lost through the heater hose but the reservoir was full due to blackage). Yes, it costs more but not that much more.

    jftu105

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    The engine head is still in the machine shop. Went there and spent two hours watching the master machinist at work, who was fixing a Porsche head, four-cylinder with 8 valves. Saw my own engine head all cleaned up with valves all removed. They scheduled the repair to my engine head next Monday, hopefully finishing it by Tuesday.

    This master machinist learned the trade from his father in South Africa and is so skillful. He explained the work he was doing to me. I know the theories but to see how the theories are implemented practically is quite an experience. He already ground the valves. The intake valves were provided by the custemer, made by AE, while the exhaust valves are Porsche original. They make a differnece. He explained to me the roundness of the AE valves is not as true, resulting the sealing problem with the valve seat.

    I then watched him rim the valve guide and then hone them for proper fit and surface finish. I got to feel the clearance of a valve and its guide. He explained that he typically goes for 0.001". There will be thermal expansions of the valve, so it cannot be too tight.

    After that, using a mandrel as guide, he machined the valve seats. Then he tested the sealing with vacuum. The exhaust side is perfect, but the intake is quite there. As he turns the valve, the vacuum reading changes, indicating not round or straight fitting. He then lapped the valve and seat individually for each intake valve, spinning a spindle by hand with some lapping compound. After a few tries, all valves seal properly.

    He also showed me a VW head with 20 valves (5 valves per cylinder). Next, after he installed the valve springs, he would machine the valve end so that they would be at the same height because the valve seats are not necessarily the same when he machined them. He explained that he could only take out a little bit each time or it might chatter, ruining surface finish. I asked him what if he cuts too deep, he then showed me the valve seat inserts which can be inserted with shrink fit.

    It is all about concentricity.

    I came away with a full confidence that he would me the engine head so good and my engine will be like new again. He actually measure the clearance of my valve guide and valve stem, and noted it is about 0.0015", a bit on the upper side but should be fine. He went to the computer but he could not find the spec for E320, 1994. He found C280 and diesel. The cost to fix the valve guide is another big ticket item. I should not need it.

    Should be able to get the head back next week and then the assembly process will start.

    A final thought is that skillful person like this master machinist is a dying trade. This person is still quite young, probably in his early or mid 40s. He is the only one working on the valve jobs at this machine shop and this machine shop is the only one in the triangle area of North Carolina. He told me that no young people are interested because they go for bigger money, mostly computer and internet related stuff (bitcoin, for example), where the big money is. Sad but true.

    jftu105
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    HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    Yes, having a competent machine shop with specific experience in Benz engines is a “must” when redoing motors. If one doesn’t know where such animal is, ask your local Benz stealer what machine shop they use for any machine work they have to do. They will usually tell you, and it’s a safe bet that shop will know how to work these motors, particularly if they have been around a while.

    It is definitely true that “trades” (any type of work where someone uses their hands to craft/make/repair something in a skilled manner) are nearly a lost art these days. The funny thing is that skilled trades folks can make more money than paper pushers like me.

    I wish I had gotten more deeply involved in Benzes a good 5-10 years earlier than I did, before I got married and had kids. I had one shot in 2006 to take over my former mechanic’s business (in Portland, he was retiring after 40+ years running the shop) but we were about $200,000 apart on the value of the business — mostly the building& land — and the due diligence just didn’t support paying more. The owner really didn’t want to sell the building/land, just the business. About 3 years later he did just that, sold the business to a guy from Florida but kept the building and land.

    It would have been a dream for me to own a well-established Benz repair business, but alas, it was not in the master plans for me.

    Now I just live vicariously by watching GSXR diagnose & fix his cars, try to learn a thing or two, and drool when I visit the shops belonging to Jono in Atlanta and my friend Robert Fenton in California.

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    Re: HOW-TO: M104 / W124 Top-End Rebuild

    OK. Got the new engine head back and the valve job was done so nicely. It was also machined flat. The total cost $370 including tax. Started the assembly process. Have a friend to help to lift the engine head with exhaust manifolds over the engine block and sat it down. Put in all the head bolts and started the tightening process. The head bolts are to be tightened as wet, indicated by the head gasket instruction. First tighten to 56 Nm and then two 90 degrees. I took it slowly. Armed with my digital Saltus torque wrench, I was able to torique it very precisely, from 35 Nm, 45 Nm, then 56 Nm.

    After that, I did the 90 degrees. I only eye-balled them. Based on the torque wrench starting angle and eyeballed a 90 degree location and turned it until I reached the "targeted" location. According to my torque wrench, after the first 90 degree, the torque went up to 95 to 105 Nm. The second 90 degree, the torque went up to 115 to 120 Nm. Once the turning started, it was not too tight to turn until almost the end. The torque reading did not increase linearly. I assume that the gasket was crushed so that the torque did not increase dramatically. Besides, it is wet torque with oil as lubricant, the torque, which is related to friction, will be less but the tensional force acting on the bolt will be quite high.

    I hope the head bolts are all tight enough.

    Next, I tried to set the timing. Did everything I could, but the closest, I can get is 2 degree (or 2.5 degree) after TDC. This is when both the intake and exhaust camshafts are at its correct position, the crankshaft is at 2 degrees after TDC. I took some pictures.

    I assumed that the chain has been stretched a bit. When I took the valve cover off last, the crankshaft was off about 4 degrees. I assume that the engine will still run fine because, it is variabl adjustable. The timing will be advanced and 2 degrees probably not critical. Let me know if I am wrong and I should get a new chain. I really don't want to get a new chain.

    Put in spark plugs and now when I turn it by hand, I can hear some breathing of the engine. The belt tensioner is also in and when I slightly turn it back, I can see the tensioner gets pushed back. I think gsxr said this is the check to make sure the tensioner is doing its job.

    Please advice on the timing issue.

    Thanks.

    jftu105
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