Author Topic: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used  (Read 173 times)

carzilike

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280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« on: 04 June 2021, 08:50 PM »
Hello 116 world,

Today i found out that my 280SE has the wrong engine oil in it and I also noticed that the oil level on the dipstick was non existent..
The previous owner told me today that 5w40 was used and it shouldn't have been but he wasn't driving it much so he decided to leave it be.
I've driven the car maybe 100KM since buying it with the oil in it - probably should've changed the oil - I know!

Today I decided to check the engine oil and there literally was none showing on the dipstick.
All I could see is a 1mm dot at the very edge of the dipstick which has got me worried.
The engine was cold and the car hasn't been driven since yesterday.
I am assuming that is not the right way to check oil level? Should the engine be up to temp and then shut off before I check oil level?

Anyways, I did some research and found that 20w40 / 20w50 are the recommended oils as per Mercedes.
I have a 87 420sel and a 87 560sec and both have 5w40 full synthetic. They don't get driven in winter (Toronto, Canada).
Should I switch them to a heavier oil as well?

What oil should I use for the 280SE? Its a German import (not sure if that matters). I am going off what I find on google and just want to be sure before I change the oil / filter.

PS I am in Canada and the parts store here don't carry 15W40 / 15W50 so I am going with 20W unless you guys think I shouldn't.
I also checked what FCP Euro recommends and its not the same as what I see in the manual...

Are either of these good for this engine?
https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/LIQUI-MOLY-TOURING-HIGH-TECH-SAE-20W-50-5-L/PRD3VMFXBV2Z9AC
https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/castrol-gtx-20w50-conventional-motor-oil-5-l-0289207p.html#srp

The oil in there now is dark and I'm assuming has burned due to being the wrong kind? The inside of the engine bay is very clean and I'd like to keep it that way.

Thank you all for your help!

daantjie

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #1 on: 04 June 2021, 10:17 PM »
Welcome to the best 116 resource on the planet  8)
I would say an engine flush is in order then of course new filter and oil.  You can use Marvel Mystery Oil to flush, get it at Walmart.  Dump in the whole bottle into the oil filler hole and run it for a tank or so of fuel.  This will loosen up some crud if present.
Then drain it off, change filter and add new oil of course.
Don't use synthetic,  a conventional oil like Castrol GTX is good, 20W-50 is a good choice.  Yes 15W-40 diesel engine oil will also work like Shell Rotella or Chevron Delo.
Use good brand filter like Mahle, Mann or Hengst.
Daniel
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber

ptashek

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #2 on: 05 June 2021, 12:26 AM »
Welcome!

The only wrong oil in those engines is no oil ;)
And modern synthetics, perhaps.

5W-40 is perfectly fine, especially in moderately cold climates like Canada!

Personally, I'd stay far far away from anything above 15W-40, unless in a hot climate country, which Canada isn't, just like Ireland :)

I use 10W-40 since I've had my 450SE in Ireland, with brief stints with 15W-40 and 20W-50. The only time she ever burned oil was on 20W-50.

Mineral, or mineral-base semi-synthetic works best.

Level should be no higher than the max mark on a hot engine, but with the engine turned off and allowed to sit for a few minutes. Closer to mid-way on a cold engine. Only the automatic transmission fluid level is checked with the engine on.
1993 "Pearl Blue" W124 280TE
1988 "Arctic White" W124 200T
1979 "Icon Gold" W116 450SE (history, resto)

karmann_20v

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #3 on: 05 June 2021, 07:09 AM »
Here is what I use in my 450SEL and 560SEC, I have zero oil burning and both engines seem to run happy(TO based supplier link below):
https://germanparts.ca/parts/lm2043-10w40-liqui-moly-mos2-anti-friction-10w40-5l/



There are a couple videos that "Uncle" Kent from Mercedessource posted on Youtube regarding this particular oil.

ptashek

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #4 on: 05 June 2021, 08:58 AM »
That's the exact oil I use in all my benzes. Never a bother with it.
1993 "Pearl Blue" W124 280TE
1988 "Arctic White" W124 200T
1979 "Icon Gold" W116 450SE (history, resto)

carzilike

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #5 on: 05 June 2021, 11:35 AM »
Thank you all for the replies. I shall be going wit the Liqui Molly then. Can I use 10W40 in near 0 temps? I may still be driving it if there's no snow :)
One thing I forgot to add is that my exhaust blows small amounts of white smoke on cold starts and smells horrible.
It goes away once car is warm - would the type of oil affect this or is my issue greater? I guess we'll see when I change the oil.

Should I do an engine/fuel/injector flush given the wrong oil was used as some are recommending? If so, what should I use that is safe for these engines / systems?

ptashek

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #6 on: 06 June 2021, 12:54 AM »
Thank you all for the replies. I shall be going wit the Liqui Molly then. Can I use 10W40 in near 0 temps?

As per the manual, 10W-40 should be good to -20°C/-4°F in regular, year-round use.

The other question... There's better qualified people here to answer that :)
1993 "Pearl Blue" W124 280TE
1988 "Arctic White" W124 200T
1979 "Icon Gold" W116 450SE (history, resto)

rumb

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #7 on: 06 June 2021, 08:48 AM »
"exhaust blows small amounts of white smoke on cold starts and smells horrible. "

Is is a sweet smell?  That would be coolant and not good news. A pressure test on the radiator could confirm that. Does the coolant level drop over time?

"Should I do an engine/fuel/injector flush given the wrong oil was used as some are recommending?"
A good injector cleaner is a good idea, but not related to the oil used.  BG44K is also good.

Sounds like all fluids in the car need to be changed.  diff, trans, PS fluid, brake, oil coolant...Also all rubber fuel hoses, brake hoses.
'68 250S, '77 6.9 euro, '91 300SE, '98 SL500 '14 CLS550

popfischer

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Re: 280SE 1978 - Wrong Engine Oil Used
« Reply #8 on: 10 June 2021, 10:24 AM »
Mobil 1 10w-40 High Mileage claims to remove almost all sludge in one normal oil change cycle...  $22 and change for a gallon at Wal Mart.  I run it both in my 560SL and 1987 Dodge D150 with the Slant Six.