W164 - Major Oil Leak. Next Steps +/- Local specialist (Devon)?

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Crawford

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Feb 8, 2008
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22
Evening!

After a Range Rover proved every bit as unreliable as their reputation suggested I thought I’d try a W164. It has an oil leak. I know that many do but - as the vicar said to the actress - this is a big one: about a litre every 1,000 miles. It smells like the 1930s. (I imagine.)

My usual garage, a non-specialist, has given up trying to identify the source of the fault – they spent many hours trying without success to fix another one last year. I will keep reading here and elsewhere to get ideas, but thought I’d see if anyone here has an immediate answer……

The clues are:

1. There is oil at the top end, around the turbo and in the left-hand air filter.​
2. Probably unrelated, the fuel filter is leaking and the pipes which have to be removed for its access have perished. Unrelated, unless they could have had oil in?​
3. The oil runs down around the bell-housing. The garage don’t think it is coming from there, and my reading suggests that problems with the crankshaft or main bearing seals are less common.​
4. There doesn’t appear to be oil around the cooler. This surprised me – I assumed that was going to be the issue.​

So, any suggestions about where to start?

My favourite option would be an affordable garage that knows these cars somewhere in the South West. Any suggestions? I am in Exeter, have had bad experiences with MBS, but would be willing to travel some oily miles for somewhere decent…..
 
Evening!

After a Range Rover proved every bit as unreliable as their reputation suggested I thought I’d try a W164. It has an oil leak. I know that many do but - as the vicar said to the actress - this is a big one: about a litre every 1,000 miles. It smells like the 1930s. (I imagine.)

My usual garage, a non-specialist, has given up trying to identify the source of the fault – they spent many hours trying without success to fix another one last year. I will keep reading here and elsewhere to get ideas, but thought I’d see if anyone here has an immediate answer……

The clues are:

1. There is oil at the top end, around the turbo and in the left-hand air filter.​
2. Probably unrelated, the fuel filter is leaking and the pipes which have to be removed for its access have perished. Unrelated, unless they could have had oil in?​
3. The oil runs down around the bell-housing. The garage don’t think it is coming from there, and my reading suggests that problems with the crankshaft or main bearing seals are less common.​
4. There doesn’t appear to be oil around the cooler. This surprised me – I assumed that was going to be the issue.​

So, any suggestions about where to start?

My favourite option would be an affordable garage that knows these cars somewhere in the South West. Any suggestions? I am in Exeter, have had bad experiences with MBS, but would be willing to travel some oily miles for somewhere decent…..
It'll more than likely be oil cooler seals leaking, there are various drain holes at the back of the oil cooler one of which goes through bell housing and one goes behind starter motor, I've done loads of oil cooler and seals and it's the usual culprit. Many so called "specialists" diagnose it as upper sump or rear main seal leaking but I'm still yet to see those.... PM me if you have anymore questions
 
you haven't said which engine this has.
 
Avantgarde are one of the people i contacted, but they are pretty busy and needed me to leave the car with them indefinitely. Perfectly pleasant on the phone, but i live too far away for this to be done easily.

Therefore planning on taking the car to another specialist near Bristol on Friday for a diagnosis, but they are already quoting "£1800 for the seals, and another £1K if the turbo needs work too". No suggestion of the core-replacement approach.

I understand this the seals are a big job, and that everyone needs to cover their bills, but that is pretty much the value of the car. Hard to justify as the car is new to me: don't feel confident that the rest of it is up to that sort of standard: gearbox? fuel leak?

And yet cannot bear the idea that this is all it takes for a car to be written off these days.

Uhhhhh.

@Oleks1992 - Would love to follow up by PM, but i'm too new to be allowed.
 
Avantgarde are one of the people i contacted, but they are pretty busy and needed me to leave the car with them indefinitely. Perfectly pleasant on the phone, but i live too far away for this to be done easily.

Therefore planning on taking the car to another specialist near Bristol on Friday for a diagnosis, but they are already quoting "£1800 for the seals, and another £1K if the turbo needs work too". No suggestion of the core-replacement approach.

I understand this the seals are a big job, and that everyone needs to cover their bills, but that is pretty much the value of the car. Hard to justify as the car is new to me: don't feel confident that the rest of it is up to that sort of standard: gearbox? fuel leak?

And yet cannot bear the idea that this is all it takes for a car to be written off these days.

Uhhhhh.

@Oleks1992 - Would love to follow up by PM, but i'm too new to be allowed.
All depends what the car is worth to you buddy, but realistically speaking 1k for oil cooler is the going rate
 
I was hoping for/prepared for 1K, and read of ~£800 on here - but so-far it is double that. And an extra £1K for a new turbo.

Will hit the phones tomorrow and see if i can find a better price.....

:-|
 
I was hoping for/prepared for 1K, and read of ~£800 on here - but so-far it is double that. And an extra £1K for a new turbo.

Will hit the phones tomorrow and see if i can find a better price.....

:-|
Hopefully you can get it sorted, if you're good with tools it's not hard to do at all. Just very time consuming
 
It sounds like there are other problems with the car other than just the oil cooler. The oil in the left hand air filter and the diesel leaks are obviously nothing to do with the oil cooler seals. As oleks has said none of these jobs are super difficult but they are very time consuming - both in the actual dismantling and rebuilding to get to the oil coolers but also because other work will be needed along the way to do the job properly eg cleaning out the manifolds properly. If you took the car to a main dealer they would recommend replacing the manifolds. My guess is that the previous owner knew that there were problems and now they are your problems. If you start with fixing the oil cooler leak then you are going to be committed to the other repairs and before you know where you are you have spent £2-3k on it.
My advice would be to either get your spanners out or cut your losses and list the car on ebay as spares / repair.
 
My thinking is that the air filter suggests the seal on the turbo has gone. Is this likely to have taken the turbo with it? If so, any thoughts on putting in a new core rather than a whole turbo?

Reading suggests the PCV is also involved - but only just learning what one of them is!

Don't think doing it myself is an option: nowhere to work indoors, and partner wouldn't welcome 4 days of being left holding the baby.

Agree that the previous owner must have known. Never understand how people sleep at night doing that. Have always been the worst critic of any car i sell.
 
Once someone starts the dismantling there is always more found that needs attention. So the bill goes up. Fixing the oil cooler seals is going to end up being £1,000 in reality, most of which is labour. It makes sense if you do it yourself on a £2-3k car but not if you have to pay someone else and you know that there are other problems lurking.
Time to cut your losses and find something else imo.
Did you buy your car privately?
 
Yup, bought it privately. Never really trusted in the after-sales of small garages for cheap cars - lots of illusionary warranties - and always baulked at their mark-up of stuff they are simply flipping from BCA.

Had positive conversations with PCS and MB Automotive, whose prices are better than the place closer to me. For that money, there is no way it is worth the time - and family stresses - that would come with me struggling to do it myself. Save my own work for the old cars which i can actually understand - though i appreciate that this is already old to many people!

Consensus seems to be that the turbo is probably OK - just swap some seals - and the PCV which is filling the filter isn't a big deal to replace in the scheme of things.....
 

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