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  #1  
Old 11-11-2000, 08:14 AM
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Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 317
I was recently quoted a minimum of $200. to possibly more to replace the timing chain cover gasket. Is this price low, right, or high? Is this a time consuming project? If I do it myself, am I going to need a place to keep the car overnight? The car in question is a 1986 300E.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2000, 08:37 AM
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Location: Gainesville FL
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I always hate to make comment on labor prices. What I can say about that job is that in our shop we leave it to a couple guys who have done it before.

Its a job that experience plays a big part. Technique really matters to results. I don't remember how much time it takes as our best guys probably do it in less than 1.5 hours. I would guess that the book pays 2-3 hours and parts are inexpensive although we find a surprising amount of belt tentioner/bearing bracket problems when these are apart.

------------------
Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2000, 09:26 AM
LarryBible
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rich,

As always, Steve gave a very insightful response. Now that I have done this, I can see that the tech needs to know the trick and use the right gasket sealer.

In the real world, it doesn't work this way, but if I could line up as many of these jobs as I could do, and get $200 a shot, I would make alot of money. In the real world, it doesn't work that way for the profitability of the shop. I can see where Steve's guys could do these in 1.5 pretty easy. They've done it before and know how to be successful. If you take it to someone who has not done several of them, they will have to spend that several hours to get it done, and their chance of success is greatly lowered. I'll bet Steve could make a very safe bet every time his guys do one, that it will not leak. If he put a new guy, even a good tech on the job, he couldn't make that bet the first time or two the guy did it, although it would probably not leak.

Then there is also other wisdom in his response that you should listen to. He explained that doing this job thoroughly involves checking other components and possibly finding tensioner problems etc. If this occurs, fix it all. If these engines are right, they will give you many good, trouble free miles.

If the leak is very small, actually I wouldn't worry about it. If it were my car, and I were going to pay to have this done, I would want to have this done by a tech that has done several before successfully like Steve's guys. Even if the job pays 3 hours, and the guy does it in fifteen minutes, it should be of no concern. You are getting your moneys worth.

Good luck,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2000, 07:13 PM
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Posts: 317
Thanks for the response guys. I will be sure to ask the owner who will do the job, how many of these he has done and how many times was he successful without leaks. I'll also be sure to have him fix anything else he truthfully finds wrong once the job is underway. Thanks for the advice.

------------------
Richie
1986 300E
tint windows
clear corners
euro headlights
16"silver borbet s type
soon to be 94/95 taillights
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2000, 12:14 AM
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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I would think its not too expensive a repair. as long as they use the Blue stuff I think is what I remember reading from larry's 300e post...

Alon

------------------
'92 300CE
Metallic Black (Blue Flaked) on Parchment
Clear Corners
94-95 Tail-Lights
Debadged
Black Grille Insert
78.5k Miles

Future Upgrades:
Sportline Suspension
17" AMG Monoblocks or EVO II's
Euro Headlights
Performance Chip
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Click here to Go To My 300CE Page

[This message has been edited by Ashman (edited 11-12-2000).]
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2000, 01:23 PM
R Easley
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quote:
Originally posted by stevebfl:
I don't remember how much time it takes as our best guys probably do it in less than 1.5 hours. I would guess that the book pays 2-3 hours . . .


Good afternoon, Steve --

Gotta respectfully disagree with you on this one. I think that you must be confusing a 103 seal job with the job for another engine.

MB warranty time on this job is 5.5 hours and their times are usually less than aftermarket flat rate guides.

The timing chain cover reseal requires removal of, among other things, the upper top cover (and this also needs to be resealed and a fresh seal for the rotor at this time), the distributor, the belts, water return line, timing chain tensioner, fan clutch, and much more.

I would imagine that a seasoned professional might get the job down to 3 hours or so, but this is a job that I would certainly not want to have rushed if someone were doing it for me.

If anyone goes the DIY route on this job, be extra, extra careful doing this job -- it is not a typical R&R parts-type job. Just as one example, the mounting for the distributor rotor has a deeply-embedded Torx-headed bolt and I could easily see a DIYer either not securely planting the socket in the bolt (and thus, wallowing out the head) or overtightening the bolt upon installation and snapping it.

Richard Easley
Waco, Texas

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  #7  
Old 11-12-2000, 07:27 PM
LarryBible
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Mr. Easley,

If this job pays 5.5 hours, I really do want to line them up down the road. I should be able to retire in a year or two to the Bahamas.

I have never made my living as a tech in my life. I'm a Software Engineer.

I recently had to remove the head from my '88 300E. I put it back on and got everything back together on a Sunday and drove it to work on Monday. It did not seem to have good power. I had marked the chain and cam sprocket and suspected that it was a tooth off.

I rolled it in my shop building on that Monday night and removed the valve cover, dist. cap, rotor, rotor mounting piece(which by the way is an Allen, not torx), the fan clutch/fan,(only because I needed access to the crankshaft to turn the engine). After checking the cam timing and finding that it was indeed off by one tooth, I removed the upper cover, the chain tensioner and moved the cam sprocket one tooth and rechecked. I then replaced the shaft seal in the cover, cleaned the groove for the lower seal, and put everything back together.

I did not keep exact time on this job, but I know that it was no more than three hours, and I think it was closer to two hours. If you were merely resealing the cover, you would NOT have to remove the tensioner, or the fan. The job came out well and does not leak. The key is using the correct sealer that is supplied by MB for this job. It allows you to slide the cover on the bottom seal without moving the seal out of it's groove.

If MB says this is a 5.5 hour job, they MUST be allowing for the replacement of other things, or you are getting this confused with an M104 motor.

I expect that Steve has guys that can do thie in 1.5 hours and check everything else while they're doing it.

If the book says to remove the coolant pipe to remove the front cover, the book is wrong. I removed the vertical allen bolt that bolts down the coolant tube, but that was only so I could get a socket on one of the horizontal bolts that hold on the upper cover.

If the MB book specifies 5.5 hours for this job, I really hope this is not representative of other times that they are specifying. I have never known of their times to be so inflated. If it's 5.5, they need to review it.

Thanks for your comments,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2000, 07:36 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: New Bedford, MA USA
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Larry, Steve, I think the 5.5 has got to be for something more involved than just the upper half of the front cover. Maybe it's for resealing the whole front cover.. That to me would be more in the 5.5 hr time slot.

------------------
Jeff Lawrence
1989 300e
2000 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
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  #9  
Old 11-12-2000, 09:56 PM
R Easley
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Good evening, Mr. Bible --

It appears from your response to my post that you are confused. Please go back to my message and you will see that I am referring (along with Steve Brotherton) to a distinctly different procedure than you surmise. See, specifically, this sentence: "The timing chain cover reseal requires removal of, among other things, the upper top cover (and this also needs to be resealed and a fresh seal for the rotor at this time). . ."

You are referring to a top front cover R&R and we are referring to a timing cover R&R -- two very time-different procedures.

Please see my comments interspersed:

quote:
Originally posted by LarryBible:

Mr. Easley,
If this job pays 5.5 hours, I really do want to line them up down the road.



The job does indeed pay 5.5 hours. It is Procedure #01-210, not to be confused with Procedure #01-212 (which is what you erroneously think that it is.)

quote:

<snip>
. . . rotor mounting piece(which by the way is an Allen, not torx)



Yes, on mine -- a 1990 -- it is indeed a Torx-headed bolt, though the type of bolt is irrelevant to the discussion.

quote:

<snip>
I did not keep exact time on this job, but I know that it was no more than three hours, and I think it was closer to two hours. If you were merely resealing the cover, you would NOT have to remove the tensioner, or the fan.



Again, you are confusing Procedure #01-210 with Procedure #01-212. A timing cover R&R requires the removal of the tensioner and the fan . . .

And, though Steve Brotherton has not followed up his original post, it is apparent that he is referring to 01-210 also, same as me: note his comment: "although we find a surprising amount of belt tensioner/bearing bracket problems when these are apart", which is indicative of a timing cover R&R, and not simply the top cover). Though the original poster _may_ have meant simply a top cover R&R, Steve and I both assumed the timing cover.

One correction to my original post: in quoting the 5.5 hour time, I was assuming an automatic transmission. I see that your 300E is a 5 speed, so the job is 5.2 hours instead of 5.5 hours for your car . . .

Richard Easley
Waco, Texas
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2000, 10:14 PM
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Location: Gainesville FL
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I am at home so I don't have a labor guide handy. My reply was based upon the simple, short, repair done to the upper timing cover. We probably do one of these every week or two. We have done only a few lower covers. I think almost all of them were 104 motors. I was refering to labor for this and I was also guessing at times as I neither price work (normally) nor do I do assembly work.
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  #11  
Old 11-14-2000, 08:45 AM
LarryBible
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I understand the confusion now. But I expect that if he is doing this for an oil leak, he probably only needs to do the upper cover. This is the leak prone area.

If he's not familiar with this engine, he may call this the timing cover proper.

Good luck,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
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  #12  
Old 11-14-2000, 10:36 AM
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Posts: 317
Thank you to everyone that has replied. True, I'm not to familiar with this motor. I should have detailed what the problem was. Yes, it's an oil leak and it seems to be coming from the upper portion and leaking down. If I caused any confusion I sincerely apologize, as I do take everyone's input as to be very important. Until my next question....

Rich
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2000, 12:12 PM
LarryBible
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rich,

I think I speak for everyone when I say that there is absolutely no apology necessary. We are all just chatting over your problem.

From what you just said, I feel pretty sure that all you need is the upper cover removed, resealed and replaced. This is a common source of leaks on this engine. Unless it is leaking bad enough to puddle the garage floor underneath it, it's not a burnine necessity to repair it right away.

Good luck,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2000, 01:39 PM
Jack
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sugarland, TX
Posts: 285
If anyone have replaced the tensioner or the fan clutch bracker on the 103 engine, it required to remove everything in the front of the engine.

Sometime, the leak may not be the timing cover, but rather the oil dip stick o-ring, or the fan clutch bracket. There is no seal on the bracket to engine block.

jack
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