My head is iron as well.
I pulled off the valve cover last night, removed the fan and shroud, and turned the engine with a ratchet. Sure enough, the camshaft was one tooth retarded.
When I ordered the head gasket set, I ordered a camshaft seal and camshaft cover bottom seal. It turned out that these pieces were in the head set. So my mistake turned out in my favor. I pulled the dist. cap, rotor and the cover. I then removed the tensioner and was able to move the chain one tooth without removing the sprocket from the cam.
I put it all back together using the new seals and didn't start it until this morning. The translucent blue goo that MB sells for this cover seems to take a while to set, so I did not start it last night. BTW, this blue goo works great on this cover. I've had a leak from this cover since I bought the car, and thought that it would be too difficult to reseal. I believe the key to sealing it is this translucent blue goo. It allows you to slide the cover forward on the bottom seal without disrupting it. If you have an M103 engine with a leaking front cover, don't hesitate to tackle the leak, just use this great sealant from MB.
I started it this morning, gave it a quick look and listen, and drove it the 90 miles to the office. IT NOW RUNS LIKE A SCALDED DOG!
So now, not only does it live, but it's the same old long legged animal that I remember.
Thanks for everyone's interest and comments,
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in