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Old 09-29-2003, 10:29 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Kingsburg, Ca.
Posts: 87
$$$ for Timing Chain Work

I have a 1980 450 SL. How much should I expect to spend at a highly qualified shop to have the timing chain replaced? Also, when they do the timing chain, are there other things that they should do while they're working on it?

Chris Meyer
1980 450 SL (99k miles)
2003 Honda Odyssey (Family Hauler)
2006 BMW 330i (daily driver)
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Old 09-29-2003, 10:57 PM
M D Nugent
Posts: n/a
They should also check the cam sprockets for wear, and the plastic upper and lower chain tensioner parts should be replaced "as long as you're in there."

If you do replace the cam sprockets, please contact me as I'm collecting worn used ones to experiment with, and will pay something above shipping costs for another pair (and the old double row chain). My email address is
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Old 09-30-2003, 01:51 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 165
ya, do the guides and tension while your there.
I did the chain on my 450 several years ago. The replacement chain has a master link. So you secure the old chain to the spockets with some plastic zip ties, then cut the chain (don't let the chain slip). Use the master link to connect the two together. Hand crank the engine to snake the new chain into place.
It took me about 12-14 hours, so I would think a shop could do in 2-3 hrs.
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Old 09-30-2003, 06:50 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
Treat yourself to cam oil tube kits as well.
Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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Old 09-30-2003, 10:33 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 766
DZLPWR, you're underestimating your own ability; the shop's faster, but not as dramatically so as you thought.

My indie shop did the timing chain, upper guides, cam gears, tensioner and valve cover gaskets. Parts were $493 and there were 7.4 hours plus a few miscellaneous small charges; total $1033.
Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)

SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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Old 10-01-2003, 02:53 AM
wbain5280's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Northern Va.
Posts: 3,386
It's displayed at the following web site: See Cars - Technical -Motors

Be informed.


Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL


Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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Old 10-01-2003, 03:16 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 563
I thought the 450SL had metal guides, but then I don't have a 450. My experience is with the 5.6L engine, but I'll assume the 450 is similar in this regard.

Certainly have the upper guides checked and/or replaced. Replace the tensioner. Should also replace the cam oilers and valve cover gaskets.

How many miles on it and has the oil been changed religiously? There are lower guides to be concerned with, but with regular oil changes, they could last 250k+ miles. They are also a bear to get at.
Mike Heath
1988 560SL Black/Palomino
1988 300SEL Black Pearl/Burgandy
1984 500SEC Anthracite Grey/Palomino
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