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Old 11-22-2002, 11:45 AM
jcantor jcantor is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 248
Question 560 Distributor Timing Q's

Okay, I'm stumped. Well more likely very frustrated and therefore missing the obvious.

Background: I just completed timing chain and guide replacement along with cam oilers and valve stem seals on my '87 560SEL. On reassembly I double checked the cam timing several times, even removing the valve covers again to be sure while installing the distributor.

Everything went according to plan until I tried to restart the car. I've managed to get it to start a couple of times by moving the plug wires around on the distributor and have pulled and reinstalled the distributor several times in attempts to get it to start and run well. The best I've been able to get is a hard start, minimal ability to idle (usually at around 400 rpm), very little power, and a lot of overheating (I've driven the car about 5 miles).

According to what a couple of local indy techs have told me, the distributor can actually be installed one or two teeth off in either direction as the car has a means of auto correcting the timing. This makes at least a little sence to me as I've noticed that turning the distributor across the range allowed with the bolt makes little if any difference in the timing as observed with a light. As I mentioned above, I pulled the valve covers again just to make sure that I hadn't inadvertantly retarded one of the cams when replacing the chain (I hadn't) and reinstalled the distributor yet again.

Are there any tricks to distributor installation under these circumstances or some other thing I'm overlooking?

One suggestion that has been made is a vacuum leak, particularly at the brake booster. I've checked this line and it appears intact (brake performance was also normal during the brief drives I've been able to make thus far).

I'd really appreciate any advice or suggestions as the local techs are booked solid through early December and I really wanted to use the 560 for our pending trip with my folks to Boston for Thanksgiving.

Thanks to all in advance.

'87 560SEL 267K (177K on motor) Blue/Blue
'98 Buick LeSebre 60K (wife's car)
'56 Imperial Sedan 124K
Past Cars:
'67 Dodge Monaco 130K (Sold)
'87 Chrysler 5th Ave 245K and going strong (sold)
'73 Plymouth Satillite 175K (sold)
'96 Chrysler LHS 80K (totaled)
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