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Old 05-16-2009, 06:23 PM
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gsxr gsxr is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: USA
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Oooops. Apparently,I forgot to update this thread after getting the car back on the road. Here's a VERY late epilogue:

This job is much easier (like, 100 times easier, lol) with the engine out of the car. Yes, I know it's more work, but it also allows you to fix many other things at the same time with minimal effort. With the timing cover removed, you should replace ALL the chain rails, and replace the timing chain as well if it is anywhere near the stretch limit (mine was almost new, so I left it alone).

You MUST remove the cylinder head to replace the long "banana" chain rail. While pulling the head adds some time to the job, it only adds about ~$100 in parts for the head gasket kit, and besides it's not an option to leave the head on if you're going to replace the "banana" rail, which you are (right?). I also pulled the oil pan & replaced that gasket as well. The nice thing is, when you're all done, you should have a 99% dry engine (assuming you re-seal the injection pump (~$25 in seals) while things are apart). Since I was in there, and it was cheap, I also replaced the oil pump drive chain.

While the tranny was out along with the engine, I had the dealer re-seal it, and after re-seating one cover where the snap ring tried to escape, it has been leak-free. Total cost for the new timing cover, chain rails, gaskets, all new tensioner components, gaskets & seals, sealants, fluids, etc was right around $800, plus a couple of tools, engine hoist rental, etc.

In the end, my engine & tranny are 99% leak-free... I still have a tiny amount of oil weeping from the rear main seal, but I didn't have the special tools to do that at the time, and it isn't dripping yet, so I left it alone. 40kmi later it's still no worse, and I use Delvac-1 synthetic oil.


One tip: The 1000-lb engine stand from Harbor Freight is inadequate for an OM603 engine... it sags forward alarmingly. I added supports underneath to reduce the load on the stand (you can see this in the photos on my website). Get the 2000-lb rated stand instead. The 1000-lb unit may be ok for shorter engines (OM601/602, or even a V8) but the long inline-6 is just a bit too much.


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Dave M.
Boise, ID

1997 E420 - 155kmi (Bugeyes)
1994 E420 - 145kmi (Blondie)
1993 500E - 193kmi (Lollipop)
1992 400E - 189kmi (Stinky Dirty)
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