Please help: '95 E320 wagon

My mother (in California) owns this wagon (63k mi.) and is having two problems which she wants me (in New York) to help her out with, to wit:
1) oil leak coming from the passenger side of the engine, "up front,
under a heavy plastic cover on the underside of the engine." She's been told it is a "gasket." I assume the head gasket, and I'm guessing that makes sense from the age/mileage of the car and other posts I have read about this model. Assuming this is so, how much should this repair cost? Is this a defect that I can tell her to take back to the dealer and insist on a comp fix? (Dubious proposition after 9 years, but...) Is it necessary to get this done at a Mercedes dealer?
2) strange noise from the AC. It's steady, regardless of speed, temp, belts, etc. So far, no effect on cooling. I'm thinking this is just a failing compressor. Is there anything to be aware of here as far as repair/replacement goes? Cost?
I have no idea if she's had any work done on the wiring harness, which I understand is a problem for this year and model.
Lastly, if there is a good shop to recommend on the peninsula (south of San Francisco), I'd appreciate the referral.
Many thanks for any comments or suggestions. Not what I like to get involved with long distance.
-Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
By your description, it would almost assuredly be a bad head gasket. This is a known defect in this engine. Once replaced with the improved gasket material it should go many miles before additional work is required. I would estimate it would run $1500-1800 to replace the head gasket. I'd seriously consider replacing the wiring harness at the same time because this is the other well-known defect in that model.
No idea on the A/C problem.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the feedback on the oil leak. From other posts, it seems that there might be an outside chance the MB can be "coaxed" into covering some of the expense for the fix. Disappointing for a car worth $10-$11k to need around $3k in service.
jav wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This engine's "front cover" and valve cover are known to leak lube oil, my car did and it was repaired (at 18K miles) under warranty. Have no idea of the cost, probably in the hundreds. Forget about a warranty claim on a 9 year old car.
A failing A/C compressor would demonstrate variable sounds with engine speed. This "sound" could be from a leaking duct door (vacuum) motor.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the feedback.
"T.G. Lambach" wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.