2001 Mercedes G500 Oil Pan Gasket Leak
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, sixteen time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing today Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about G wagons, my favourite, everybody should have a G wagon, 2001 with an oil pan gasket leak, what was going on with this massive vehicle?
Bernie: So this massive vehicle, I don’t know if everyone should have a G wagon, but they’re an interesting vehicle for sure and very popular around these parts. I don’t know why because they never go off road, although they could actually be the ideal off road vehicle, they’re pretty incredibly built. Anyways, this G wagon is for sale from a dealership that we deal with and they were just preparing it for sale and it had a couple of oil leaks. One from the valve cover gasket and the other from coming out of the bottom rear of the engine, so it did turn out to be the oil pan gasket but initially we weren’t a 100% certain. We needed to do a bit of diagnosis on it first of all, but yeah that’s what we replaced was the oil pan gasket eventually.
Mark: So what’s involved with changing the oil pan gasket? That’s got to be a pretty big service?
Bernie: It is a pretty big job on this vehicle, actually finding the leak was interesting. So I’ll just share a couple pictures here. So this is our beautiful G wagon, it’s a 2001 in beautiful shape, only 50,000 kms and still selling for $50,000 believe it or not. These vehicles, just blows me away how much value they hold, I mean they are very well built but for a 15 year old vehicle it’s a chunk of change and this one with 50,000kms is practically brand new. This is a view of the bottom of the vehicle, we’re looking at the transmission bell housing right there, sorry the bottom of the engine oil pan towards the transmission. The red arrow points to where you can see some oil seeping out of the engine, not a huge leak at this point but it’s definitely a leak and after removing the transmission, we found the leak clearly coming from this area right here. That arrow points right to the joint where the valve covers joins up to the engine block and with the transmission out we can get a very clear view of the rear main crank shaft seal which is another possible leak source and there was absolutely not leakage from there whatsoever. So we were extremely confident that we had our leak nailed down.
Mark: So you pulled the transmission off in order to completely diagnosis where this leak was coming from?
Bernie: We did. I mean, it’s a bit of a gamble to do that because you can change the oil pan gasket without taking the transmission out, but it’s really impossible to find where the oil is leaking without removing the transmission, in this case because the way the bell housing is designed and the way the engine is built there’s absolutely no way to see where the oil’s leaking short of removing the transmission. The good thing with this vehicle is that the oil leak was, I don’t know if just started but it was pretty minimal so we were actually able to get a good idea once we removed the transmission exactly where it was coming from. If you leave a leak until it gets bad, the oil sprays around everywhere and it becomes a lot more difficult to find the cause of the leak.
Mark: Yeah, with spinning parts and stuff I guess it gets spread all over and you don’t know where the heck it’s coming from.
Bernie: Exactly, now we have some pretty good techniques at our shop that we use, and a lot of other shops use them as well to find oil leaks. One of them, one is cleaning the leaked area and driving it to find where the oil is coming from, the other is we can add an ultraviolet dye to the engine oil while we run it for a little while and then we can look with special glasses and a special UV light and we can see where the fresh oil is coming from. But again, in the case of this vehicle, there was no way that any of these techniques are going to make any difference because all it’s going to tell us is that the oil is leaking from the back of the engine.
Mark: So how was the pan gasket replacement?
Bernie: Well once with the transmission out, the pan gasket replacement was quite simple. With the transmission out of the way it actually made the pan removal easy, with the transmission in it would be a lot more complicated to get the oil pan out. So it benefited having it out. The gasket is actually a silicone type forming gasket material, so we basically cleaned everything up, put the new gasket material in, bolted it all together and road tested it and verified it was all good.
Mark: So this vehicle now has probably zero chance of any kind of oil leak in that area for many years to come?
Bernie: Absolutely. Should be good for a long time, 15 years old it took to get to leak to this point, should be another 15 before it leaks again.
Mark: So if you want your vehicles to last, that’s one of the specialities of Pawlik Automotive, these are the guys to call. Check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or call to book, 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you again soon.