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Old 09-08-2003, 09:24 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 28
Lightbulb 1987 560SL Valve Seals and Rocker Arms

To all SL owners - I just replaced my rocker arms and valve seals on my 87 560SL. WOW what a difference in smoothness and the now no oil burning. WWWAAAHHOOO

The job is simple but painstaking if you are a tall individual like me. I used a Napa Tool 3075 valve spring compressor tool to compress the springs and remove the valve cones. That is the most tedious part; removing the valve cones and putting them back. I also used a section off my compression tester to screw into the sparkplug hole and hooked up to my compressor @ approx 60lbs of pressure.

Has anyone else tackled this job? What were your results?

P.S. Make sure the new valve seals are fully and properly seated on the valve guide head.

Russ Madretzke
1987 560SL

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Old 09-08-2003, 10:05 AM
Posts: n/a
Congrats!! On a job well done. Been there and done that and the results were great and its been going well for a year now.
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Old 09-08-2003, 09:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North Central Kentucky
Posts: 1,068
My wife's '88 SL probably needs the same job. Did you have any valve guide wear? My fear is that I'll get in there and have a mile (er kilometer) of slop and have to pull the heads. NOT a job I really want to do. Is the rocker arm replacement a standard procedure? TNX BobK
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Old 09-08-2003, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Liberty, Missouri USA
Posts: 124
I put in new stem seals a year ago - along with a couple rocker arms that were beginning to spall. I noticed one valve guide was getting worn...but with the few miles we put on our SL I am going to let it go for a will certainly lead to premature stem seal failure but the cure ($$$) is worse than the disease at this point. No smoke yet...

Also this summer I spent a load of dough to have the "ball studs" replaced, along with a re-shimming of the valve train. The thing about changing rocker arms and ball studs is that you are supposed to "adjust" the clearances via shims, which requires a special tool...and shims, of course. So unless the rocker arms are starting to spall I would just leave them...

I agree dealing with the "cones" on the valve stems is a PITA!! A magnet and hemostats were critical for me...and if you drop can have a heck of a time finding it again...BUY SOME EXTRAS BEFORE DOING THE JOB!!!


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Old 09-09-2003, 09:49 PM
Posts: n/a
My hat is off to you. I changed out the valve stem seals on my 82 380 SL (133K) this last winter, but I had the advantage of having the engine out of the car and on a stand. I used the KD tool and while it worked great for removing the rocker arms the additional compression needed to remove the keepers was difficult to get with the KD as it had a tendency to push the spring to one side and restrict access to the keepers. Those rear cylinders would have been very tough with the engine and hood in place.

I also replaced all the ball studs and then adjusted the valve clearance. I had to go just one step thicker on all sixteen valves to achieve the correct setting, but the engine is extremely quiet at its steady 500 rpm idle speed. I also changed out the holders, seals and O rings on the injectors which probably had an effect as well.


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