1/26/2006

Oil Change on a Mercedes 300SD

Performing an oil change on a 81-85 Mercedes-Benz 300SD is probably the easiest maintenance job you'll ever do on your Benz. I've done oil changes under extreme conditions, like at Wal-Mart parking lot while my wife is getting her hair done. You must do this job every 5,000 miles, some suggest every 3,000, and some nutjobs change oil every 1,500-2,000, which would be every month the way I drive. I do my oil changes every couple-three months, or 4,000 miles. It's a beautiful day, as you can see, so I'm going to crank one out. Some general observations before I begin:
  • You must perform oil changes regularly;
  • I'd recommend using oil with soot suspension, like Shell Rotella;
  • Diesel oil will get very black almost immediately after you change it;
  • I use 15W-40 year round and I am very happy with it.
Here's my standard list of items I use during every oil change:
  • Absorbent shop towels;
  • A 13 mm socket;
  • The fuel filter, the rubber ring, and the copper gasket;
  • Two gallons of Shell Rotella 15W-40;
  • Oil pan for collection of waste oil;
  • Gloves.
First I let the car run until the temp sensor is at 80. Then I pop the hood and raise it to the 90 angle. People freak out when they see that. Position your Wal-Mart-bought oil pan under the car. Here's what it looks like. Locate the oil drain plug. Take it out with a 13 mm wrench. Be careful - you might strip the plug if it's been screwed in too tight. I've done that before. I had to remedy that by going to a nearest tire shop, elevating the car, and paying the guy to take it out. The plug feels like it's not a 13, but a 12.8 - the wrench is a little loose on it. Let the oil drip out. This is when I go have a sandwich. After the oil is done dripping, focus your attention and your 13 mm socket on the oil filter housing located by the firewall on the driver's side. Unscrew the two nuts on the sides. I can't help but notice that crafty Germans etched the filter part number and the outline of the filter on the lid. Wow. Pull out the lid. Peek inside the housing. Remove the old filter. Sit it on the oil collection pan to drain. Insert the new filter into the housing. I've used both Mann (OEM) and Champion (non-OEM, bought at AdvanceParts) filters and they both seem to work just fine. This time I've stocked up on Mann's. Dive under the car again and screw in the oil plug. Don't forget the copper gasket. Don't overtighten. My mechanic says that nothing of this car has to be tightened with both hands. Insert the funnel into the oil hole in the valve cover: Time to give the 617 its honey. Pour about a gallon and a quarter. Use the dipstick to gauge how much oil you are adding. When I poured used oil into empty Rotella canisters, I got about 1.3 gallons. Clean up and you're done!
1/19/2006

Hood Star Corrosion on a 300SD

Ever since I bought my Benz, I've been itching to buy a shiny new hood star. I'm not allowing myself to do that, though. Reason one - price. Those hood ornaments are useless and rediculously expensive. Reason two - uselessness. A Mercedes-Benz hood star serves no purpose. Besides, I can have oil changes and fuel filter changes covered for like eight months for the price of one OEM ornament. However, if you zoom in on this sweet cake, you'll see how corroded it is. And yet I'm content with it. You know why? Because
your Mercedes-Benz hood star will get stolen!
That's my reason three. It's only a matter of time before some asshole jacks your hood star. He's not going to be ginger about it, either. He'll tear into it, attempting to snap the spring. If that doesn't work, he'll jab it with a scredriver, which will slip a few times, destroying your hood paint and grille chrome. The solution? Find a grille plug. I know it's thirty bucks, but I think it's worth it. That way the next time the goddamn walmartians see your 300sd Benz, they'll just sigh and keep on going, instead of making an attempt to mutilate it.
1/16/2006

Winterizing a Mercedes-Benz 300SD

If you're like me and you live in a state with cold winters, your Mercedes-Benz 300SD might get a bit cranky. To remedy that, I've made sure that:
  • The tires are in decent shape and properly inflated;
  • The block heater works;
  • Levels of all liquids are OK;
  • The valves are adjusted (important!);
  • Anti-gellant & cetane booster solution is in the trunk;
  • A blanket, gloves, and a flashlight (LED floodlight) are in the trunk;
  • Engine oil is changed (not crucial, stick to the schedule).
Another thing I do is wash my 300SD every Saturday, including in the winter and weather permitting. During winter months, I try to wash the salt off. Hand-washing your 300SD enables you to not only keep your car clean, but also check for dings and dents and attend to them immediately with touch-up enamel. It also enables you to feel good about your spending time outside as your fat-ass neighbors go and load up on Chinese. My mechanic told me a few horror stories about stalling right after ignition due to diesel fuel gelling up. To prevent that, I've plugged my block heater into the grid overnight. Worried by energy cost, I found a timer and set it to turn on overnight. After that, I took the block heater plug and pulled it up front from behind the grill so that it's permanently facing the wind. Not very aesthetically pleasing, but functional. When this goddamn weather warms up, the plug will be hidden again. I used sandpaper to clean the plug until it's nice and shiny. Because it's now outside, the corrosion rate will increase. I clean the plug about every couple of weeks or as needed. To increase conductivity and prevent corrosion, I used some dielectric: I scored some from my mechanic, don't know where he bought it, but I imagine it can't be that hard to find. I rubbed the compound on the metal part of the plug. That's it! When nasty-ass winter morning arrives, the block heater will kick in, warm things up, facilitate the ignition, and make your morning commute to work that much more pleasant. By the way, here's another reason why Mercedes-Benz 300SD is a great model. I got an instant headache after reading what those poor bastards have to go through to install a block heater. By the way, those of you who don't care about saving $10-20 on electricity, don't use the timer. The one I used is not suitable for outdoors anyway. Oh, someone asked about engine oil I use on my 300SD. It's Shell Rotella, can be bought at Wal-Mart ar $8 a gallon. Buy 2 at a time.
1/06/2006

300SD.com - my new domain name

As a hardcore 300SD enthusiast, I wanted a better domain for my hardcore blog. Well, I found it. I couldn't believe it was still available! Next time you want to read this blog, punch in 300sd.com. By the way, those of you wishing to contribute to this blog, leave a comment. The only requirement for any repair contribution is that you have pictures. I'm sick of newsgroups trying to explain something instead of just showing it. I would be neat to turn this site into a resource for 300sd owners despite the fact that the newsgroups are already jam-packed with useful info. Non-300SD enthusiasts (I was one a while ago) can enjoy this resource, too. Believe it or not, folks in southern states are still putting these cars on the market. Personally, as an owner of a 22-year-old 300SD daily driver, I am wondering when people will stop selling those cars to each other... I guess when there's no 300SD's left ... which is in like 30 years? :)