I got the timing right and still have low compression, since the timing was retarded I don't know how it could have bent valves, but the compression has gone somewhere.
I decided to pull the head to see what's up because I have a head with fresh valve job that I bought for a good price some months back. I thought that before I pull the head, I should check the one I got, as I had yet to unpackage it. The problem is that there are no precombustion chambers, no problem, I can put them in. But the head is for the early model with loop type glow plugs. If I put in new chambers and find some bushings for the pin type plugs, which prechambers will I need, early or late.
With the cam timing right, the compression must be lost by the head somehow. I am going to pull the head and take both of them to the machine shop. I will see if he can sort out the prechamber/glow plug problem, or just do the old head. If the valves are bent, it will probably be better to put prechambers in the fresh head and go on about putting it back together. This engine needs at least a valve job, and maybe a short block. I just can't imagine the compression loss being anywhere but the valves, how could rings/pistons cause this much compression loss in all cylinders. I mean, going from 300 across, to 100 to 200 in a few thousand miles?
I suppose I have been using some incorrect terminology. The part of the "harmonic balancer" that bolts with the big bolt to the crankshaft is where I believe that people have been having trouble. I did not know that the balancer is actually in two pieces. I thought I was going to have to pull the big bolt and that part to get to the crankshaft sprocket to check for a sheared key.
BTW, I have good oil pressure. It came up quickly when turning it over to check compression.
Thanks for everyones help and interest,
'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