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380SL Timing Chain R&R

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monarchd's picture
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Hi All,
I just got my Mercedes a few months ago what a pleasure to drive :cool: . I picked it up at an action after the auctioneer waved it through because of black smoke pouring out (running too rich). It has 12900 mi. and and very clean but needs a timing chain (clatters when started).
1: How tough of a job is it? (I have replaced timing chains in domestics before)
2: Is there "GOT-YA" that I should beware or special tools for the 380SL?
3: Do the gears normally need to be changed? It seems that the timing chain is always mentioned but not the gears or the guides.
4: What of the Tensioner, is there a way to check to see if it needs replacing or is it SOP (standard operating procedure) to replace it?

Thanks for any input
Randy Ulsh
ToolingDesignCo.com

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wbain's picture
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TDC wrote:
Hi All,
I just got my Mercedes a few months ago what a pleasure to drive :cool: . I picked it up at an action after the auctioneer waved it through because of black smoke pouring out (running too rich). It has 12900 mi. and and very clean but needs a timing chain (clatters when started).
1: How tough of a job is it? (I have replaced timing chains in domestics before)
2: Is there "GOT-YA" that I should beware or special tools for the 380SL?
3: Do the gears normally need to be changed? It seems that the timing chain is always mentioned but not the gears or the guides.
4: What of the Tensioner, is there a way to check to see if it needs replacing or is it SOP (standard operating procedure) to replace it?

Thanks for any input
Randy Ulsh
ToolingDesignCo.com

I'd like to suggest that you susbcribe to this site, 30 bux a year. He gives detailed procedures for such thinhs as timing chain and guide replacements.

http://www.pindelski.com/Index.htm

1. It's not tough, but it is time consuming.
2. No need for any special tools but you will have to improvise to remove the guide pins, detailed on the web site.
3. The gears, sprockets actually, are usually fine, just the chain and the guides.
4. Tensioners are fairly cheap. Replace it. You have to remove it anyway.

One possible gotcha, it may have the single row chain and this would need to be changed to a double row, including all the sprockets.

There are several internet part sites.

http://catalog.mercedesshop.com/

http://www.performanceproducts.com/default.aspx

http://www.discountmbparts.com/

http://parts.mbz.org/

Disclaimer: All the usual disclaimers apply.

__________________

1965 220S, 1999 Volvo V70, 2002 FORD Crown Vic, 1972 350SL Euro 4 speed.

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Ferdman's picture
Chester Springs, PA
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1991 300CE

Randy, are you certain that it's not a bad timing chain tensioner that's causing the noise? I take it that you didn't get service records with this 380SL.

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Fred Hoelzle

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chain

Hi What year is the veh the early ones had a single row chain and gears.also as prior post stated is it the tensioner making all the noise,how much play in the chain it self and how much of a lag on the pass side cam mark.joeym

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Jim Hansz's picture
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1990 420SEL

With only 12,900 miles on it I doubt your chain, even a single row style is totally worn out, but by all means check it closely. If the rattle is only on start up then I would quickly inspect the tensioner. It probably needs replacing. A good tensioner should charge up with oil as the engine spins while starting up. If it rattles after starting then probably there is excessive leak-down.

The cautionary advice on 380 chains is related to the use of single-row chains on 81 through 83 cars. They tend to wear quickly. Chains were upgraded to double-row in 1984. If your car is one of the single-row models, replace the chain and tensioner ASAP. I understand it to cost $2000-$3000 to change over from single to double row chains. This may or may not be economical for you depending on what you paid for the car and how long your plan to keep it.

Use good oil and change it often to keep the chain and the rest of the engine in good condition. Marshall Booth on the diesel forum has documented some impressive results on reduced chain wear from using synthetic oils.

JCH

Anonymous
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Oops I didn't proof read very well, it's '85 380sl with 129,000 mi.
1: From all I've read the '85 came stock with the double row chain.
2: I took the car in to have the injection adjusted and he said it was the chain.
Thanks for the input
Randy

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