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Old 02-08-2003, 02:01 PM
Rato73 Rato73 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: St. George, UT
Posts: 11
W126 Seized Camshaft

I have been lurking on this board for awhile now learning about the 1984 380SE (132K miles) I acquired a month ago, but now I have a real problem and need advice.

Last week, while waiting at a stoplight, the engine quit with no unusual noises. When attempting a restart, the starter would engage but not turn the engine over. Car towed home. I assumed the worst and removed the valve covers expecting the dreaded broken chain guide scenario. Guide rails dark brown but intact and no evidence of chain skipping, so OK there. Then I looked at the camshafts and noticed the one on the passenger side had discolored bearing towers. The front three were blackened and dry compared to the rear two which were a normal brown color. Upon further inspection, the oil supply pipe looked like it had "slipped" forward about 1/2" as it had shiny areas just forward of the plastic fittings (which were partially melted on the forward black towers). Cam lobes adjascent to the blackened towers showed evidence of galling. I took off the oil supply pipe and it had slipped enough so that it's hole no longer matched the hole in the plastic fitting, so the oil supply was effectively cut off to the cam lobes. I tried to turn the camshaft with a wrench on the sprocket bolt, it wouldn't budge.

So there's the problem, I now know that I will need to get a new camshaft, bearing towers, oil pipe and rocker arms. Typical $10 part failure causing $100's damage. I intend on doing the work myself (along with new chain and plastic guides) so here are the questions:
1. The MB CD says to remove rocker arms before removing the camshaft. Is this necessary? I cannot turn the camshaft to unload some of them. Can I just unbolt the bearing towers and remove the assy. with rockers in place? Or, is it possible to remove the arms w/o rotating the camshaft?

2. What precautions should I take when removing the bearing tower bolts so as not to strip the threads in the block?

3. Are there any pitfalls that I should be aware of in attempting to do this myself other than the obvious valve timing, etc.

I got the car for a ridiculously low price and I figured I can spend up to $2000 before I am "upside down" on it. Everything else is in great shape on the car, not even door dings. I would like to keep it for awhile and would hate to shoot the horse just because of a broken leg.

P.S. I plan to epoxy the new oil supply pipe in place to keep this from happening again!
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