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I just purchased a 89 300E with 130,000 miles. Car has been dealer maintained until very recently. What are the EARLY symptoms of a head gasket going. Car does not burn oil and the coolant is clean. The idea of bent parts scares me.

Anything else that I should be looking for?

Thanks.
 

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Hi Krjt,
Welcome to Benzforum. I'm not sure there are any warning signs that the head gasket is going bad, but there are several way to know if it is bad. The normal signs of a blown head gasket would be either water in the oil, or oil in the water, you may also experience extremely high engine temps, or white smoke from the exhaust pipe.

In regards to other issues that may arise, the valve seals on these cars tend to go bad every 100-125k miles, but if your car is not using any oil this may have already been addressed. If the radiator has not been replaced, you may want to remove the top radiator hose and see if the plastic neck is reinforced with a cooper neck inside of the plastic, I've had two of these break off and they seem to happen, when you least expect it. The cost of a new radiator is slightly over $200, and is money well spent. If the neck on your radiator is not reinforced, this may be something to consider. On occasion you may see a transmission go out, or possibly a A/C evaporator, both are rather expensive to repair. Having mentioned all these issues, I hope this didn't scare you away from Mercedes, as they are wonderful cars. The 300e is one of the most popular cars ever made, and aside from the issues above, are very durable. I certainly wouldn't hessitate from buying another one, but I would keep these issues in mind.

Ken
 

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That was some helpful tips you gave there. I have a 1991 300TE and would like to put it back to good running condition. I just bought it from a relative and was fore warned that it requires 1 quart of oil after 1000miles or so. Also, the there's some oil mixing with radiator water. You mentioned this may be the head gasket. Is this something that I can do myself? Will this require special tools.

Also, I have just sent you a private message before this post reply. I didn't know then how to correspond in this forum.

I'd really like to maintain this 'new' reliable car and do funs things with it with my newborn son--this the reason for getting a wagon. :)
 
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