Is my dear 1990 300SEL worth repairing?

We have had this beautiful 1990 300SEL for over eight years now and for driving comfort and luxury, we could not ask for more.
So we were driving to the airport to catch an overseas flight and
less than a mile away, I noticed the temperature needle all the way at 120 deg. I wanted to stop right away but decided (bad call!!) to keep going to try to get to the airport. We managed to get to the parking lot and the poor car finally quit dead.
On our return a week later, I filled the radiator with coolant and water and left the radiator cap open, then cranked it. The car started but water was gushing out the top of the tank. White smoke seemed to come out of the exhaust. The car groaned and managed to move for a hundred yards and then quit. Could not restart it, so had it towed home. When I try to start now, the engine cranks, but no start. I now found out that the top radiator hose was cracked at the joint, probably causing all the fluid to escape.
My question is, what does it look like, a cracked head or blown head gasket or worse? The car has over 220K miles. If I try to sell it as is, I am not sure what I would get in its present condition. Other than this, the car is in good shape, some minor issues but no major problems. We live in Tampa, Florida. What am I looking at for repair costs? Any help will be much appreciated.
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At this point, you got blown head gasket... possibly warped head. You need to look at oil... if sign of coolant there, then it is gone.
At this point, you are better off getting a good engine out of a part car, but the catch is this... is the price of the used engine equal to buying a similar car? If yes, then just buy a similar car.
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Remove the spark plugs and crank the motor for 5 seconds. Stand back as coolant may be forcefully expelled. Then you'll know which cylinders are likely involved (also from their wet spark plugs).
A compression test might tell you a bit more but removing the cylinder head is the only definitive way to know gasket vs. head or both.
If the motor ran well and didn't burn oil its worth fixing, otherwise consider a rebuilt engine - not cheap but cheaper than another car.
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Thank you for your replies. I looked at the oil from the dipstick and it seems normal. I also removed the spark plugs, cranked for 5 secs and liquid spurted out. Looked like a mixture of oil and water. BTW, there was no coolant as I had to refill the radiator and I just put in water.
If it is just a blown gasket, should the car at least start? What does water spurting out mean? I have been told it will cost ~$1500. if it is a cracked head, and ~$1000. just for a blown head gasket.
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I don't know if Ivo Kucera is still in business... honest to earth guy who knows MB, BMW, and Porsche
Euto Car Repair. 6201 78th Ave N. Pinella Park, FL. 813-541-7410
I know the area code is wrong... so find the area code of Clearwater/Pinella Park side and you should be able to call.
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1. If it is just a blown gasket, should the car at least start?
2. What does water spurting out mean?
1. The motor should start but will not run long before boiling over from combustion gas entering the cooling system - the head gasket is blown - remember?
2. Water spurting out of the spark plug cavities confirms that coolant has entered those cylinders, either from a blown head gasket and / or cracked cylinder head.
IMHO $1,000 to replace a head gasket is fair if the surfaces are dressed so they are flat (no longer warped) and the shop stands behind the job with a warranty.
Cheaper than buying another car and inheriting a new set of unknown problems.
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If the head's not cracked then it's warped. The head *might* be alright but I'd really doubt it.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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If the interior is grey then the cars a write off and I'll give you $100 for the interior.
Otherwise budget 500 for a head, $500 to take it off and another $500 to put it all back together. $500 ought to be the price of a good used head or having yours rebuilt. There's probably abother several hundred dollars in parts, fiddly bits, lotions and potions.
If it were me I'd find a rusty car with a really good motor and just swap them myself. It's pretty straightforward. You might be able to do it for half the above figure on a good day.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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