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.

2 Comments:

Blogger reckless rogue said...

Shell Rotella is the lifeblood of the Diesel world. Best oil out there for the money.

As for the block heater, kudos on your plug work. It can be difficult getting to it in its usual location. As for me, I have been very lucky this winter and have not needed it. It has been very mild here in Maryland so far. Average AM start temp (garaged) is around 35-40 degrees. No problem cold starting with a little push of the accelerator before turning the key and for about 15 seconds after to get the "rumble" out.

1/17/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous How To Be Poor said...

Thanks.

I too push the accelerator and wait 15-20 seconds to get the ruble out. You can hear the rumble if you browse through the sounds I posted (cold start 28F).

My mechanic suggested trying synthetic oil. He likes Rotella, but he told me to try 'slicker oil'.

Max

1/17/2006 11:12:00 AM  

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