W124 M111 Head gasket questions

columbiers

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Hi
Using about a litre of water a week and lots of white smoke coming from the exhaust so I've made the decision to change the head gasket.
Done a lot of reading on this and other forums so am more or less ready but have a few questions I hope someone can help with:

1. I have a large slide hammer that I am hoping to use to remove the guide pin- can I remove the radiator and use this rather than the Mercedes tool? Also what is the bolt size for this pin?

2. What size socket is needed for the head bolts? Are they torx, if so what size?

3. Do I need the cam locking pins or can I use drill bits or similar to lock them?

4. Can the head be removed without a crane? I can buy/hire of need be but if it can be manhandled all the better!

Apologies for all the questions but I want to keep the off road time to a minimum so want all the things I need to be in place before I start!! Thanks for any help.
 

Pendragon

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Before you go changing the head gasket I would be inclined to get it tested just to confirm it is the head.

Keith
 
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columbiers

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Hi,
Yes had a leak down test done this morning. Garage are definite that the head gasket is gone at number 4.
 

jaymanek

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1. Not sure of the bolt size but what I always thread a bolt in and use nuts and washers to ease the pin out.

4. Never needed a crane, you can simply pull them off after a few whacks with a rubber mallet.
 

grober

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Do replace the cylinder head bolts as the early ones had a stretch problem.
 
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columbiers

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Thanks for the help.
Bought this Sealey AK219 TRX Star/Spline/Hex Bit & Driver Set 42 Piece 3/8" & 1/2" Square Drive (AK-219)
to undo the head bolts.
Will manhandle the head off, was just worried it would be heavy but should be fine. I'll use the bolt and washers method if my slide hammer doesn't fit. Found out I can do without cam locking tool, will use drill bits.

Mercedes dealers has quoted me £6 per head bolt, making it £60. Just for bolts. Which is more than the head kit. Is there a cheaper source? Don't want to reuse old bolts but £60 for 10 bolts seems ridiculous.
 

Dieselman

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Any decent engine machine works or motor factors will be able to supply a head bolt set.
 

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Only use genuine head gasket and genuine bolts.
 
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columbiers

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Yeah was just concerned as someone earlier in the thread mentioned some bolts had a stretch issue- so I was keen to get bolts from dealer-don't want to do the job twice! But at £60 I'll risk a generic set.
 

Dieselman

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Only use genuine head gasket and genuine bolts.
Any reason for that given that Mercedes don't make their own parts. I would be happy to trust brands such as Payen.
 
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columbiers

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sagesingh

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It is best to lift the head with somebody else, getting it out should be ok, but putting it in can be a bit of a task alone.
 

merc tec

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Hi maybe a good idear to have a head check or even a head skim as years ago in the dealers we just put a new headgasket on with new bolts if needed as with the bolts on the EPC there is a length tolerance to check the bolts to see if you need to change them or not .But now we find with the age of the cars its better to have a head strip and check .As you maybe ok just with the gasket but if the head needs work and you are using a lot of water you may find you have to do the job twice if you dont have the head checked . Sorry to say
 

kth286

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Any reason for that given that Mercedes don't make their own parts. I would be happy to trust brands such as Payen.
They may not make the parts but they do go to a supplier and ask them to make bolts for them to their own (mercedes) spec, taking into account
the various engine parameters involved in their own (mercedes) engines.
 

grober

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When making decisions on parts quality I always think its a good idea to take into account the labour involved and the service they are to be put to. While appreciating that money can tight nowadays it sometimes pays to buy the best. I would always specify MB gasket and head bolts for a cylinder head gasket replacement because its not a situation where you change your mind after a couple of months and say maybe I'll go with the better head gasket after all unlike say a set of rear shocks or front discs! columbiers will save himself £30!! on a repair that may have to last the remaining life of the car- false economy to save money here I would venture. The ECP bolts may well be perfectly fine I personally wouldn't risk it. The advice about a close examination of the head for localised corrosion/porosity/cracks is sound advice. My M111 cylinder head required some minor welding and machining/plane-ing when my CHG went 4 years ago.
 

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Dieselman said:
Any reason for that given that Mercedes don't make their own parts. I would be happy to trust brands such as Payen.
Because I have to make sure every job is 100%. I know that the gen items will fit and be perfect every time.
 

mbcoupe

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as a mercedes tech (master certified) who has been fixing cars for 40 yrs id like to say this about the ANY apparant head gasket problems on ANY car..When u get to be my age ive always tended to try usuual procedures over the years just to get a feeling for things that really work and things that dont..Ive honestly CURED MANY head gasket problems simply by retightening the head.. especially when i first started replacing head gaskets and noticing that the gasket really wasnt BAD (actuall sections missing from the material) almost all looked as though the combustion and or coolant was leaking OVER or under the gasket itself.. i also noticed that in almost EVERY repair the headbolts themselves seemed way too loose.. so as a true mechanic and not justa parts changer one time i tried tightening the bolts making sure i loosed each up up at least one turn before cinching it back down.. to this day i do NOT use a tourque wrench.. prefering to use common sense and i 3/4 inch breaker bar with an adapter down to half in.. let me say that out of several hundred... honestly at least 200 retourques the only mishap i had was once recently a bolt snapped onna 98 5cyl volvo . i was able to use a left hand drill bit to remove the bolt.. now im sure most of you will say im crazy and risking whatever damage or just plain stupid.,. but im just sharing with the forum what ive learned over the years.. i was the salary troubleshooter for 8 yrs at a MB DEALER here in Arkansas so ive discovered some programming tricks on later model benz's that WILL be of use to ANY owner of a MB from 92 and later.. i left the dealer in 07 so anything newer than that id not ne of much help.. but otherwise id be glad to offer my opinion of any dillemma presented to me..
 
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columbiers

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Well, it's off! Thanks for all the help getting to this stage. Took about 4 hours to the point of having head off, so not too bad a job at all (so far).

But now, seeing condition of pistons and the gasket I have additional Q's!

There were painted timing marks already on the sprockets and chain so clearly had had been off before, recently. Car has done 157000m.

This is the gasket.



Head itself looks to be OK:



These are the pistons- complete with dents from valves!



This is a major worry- would this be caused by a one off hit via timing chain failure? Car has been running fine, apart from loss of coolant. I am planning to set the timing as it was- between 20 and 30 ATDC on the crank and using holes on the sprockets. Are the pistons OK to just use- a rebuild is simply not an option given the value of the car.
 

Scott_F

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I would think that the pistons will be OK. The damage would have been to the valves. At least some of them would have had their stems bent and these will have been replaced.

I'd recommend taking the head to an engineer to have it tested and, if necessary, skimmed. Distortion in the head may well have caused the latest head gasket failure.
 

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