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  #1  
Old 01-14-2005, 02:42 AM
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mid-late 1980s S-Class V8- good price for chain replacements? (87 420SEL)

Can anyone tell me what a fair price would be for a timing chain replacement for a 1987 420SEL, as well as a 1985 500SEL? I am considering to purchase one of these and wanting to know what the maximum I should pay for a chain replacement on these cars. The 87 has 178K (priced $2900 OBO) and the 85 has 152K (priced $5200). Not sure when the chain was replaced on either, so it may be best that I have them changed. Is anyone cheaper than the other? Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 01-14-2005, 05:46 PM
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I've been quoted prices of around $1,200 to be done correctly with all rails and the oiler tubes over the cam.

If you like messign with cars, you can save BIG TIME doing this one yourself. I ended up doing the entire job for just a couple of hundred bucks. I would recommend springing the $50-$60 or so on eBay for one of the pin extractors, though.

What would you need:
Chain
Chain rails
Chain rail pins
Chain tensioner
Valve cover gaskes (good idea)
Valver cover crush washers

PM me if you have any questions...
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1989 560 SEL (black/black)
2001 Audi TT Roadster (silver/grey)
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:19 AM
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As luck would have it, there is a posting on timing chain replacement on the Vintage forum.

Timing chain replacement: Step-by-step guide with photos!

With pictures too.
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Warren

Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

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

ENTER > = (HP RPN)

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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Old 01-16-2005, 10:00 PM
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Thanks for posting that information. So, if someone is unsure of when the chains were replaced- the best thing to do is to go ahead and have it changed, or can the chain be inspected to see if it is still in good order? Also, when they need changing, do they make a noise or anything, or are they totally silent until they slip?

Thanks in advance!!
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1988 Mercedes 300SEL
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2005, 02:24 AM
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I talked to the guy with the 1985 500 SEL. He said no cause for concern, because the 500 has a dual chain and he has never heard of one breaking and causing damage. He said the 380 SEL was a different story, as it was a single chain engine. Is this true? Thanks.
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1988 Mercedes 300SEL
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2005, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86560SEL
I talked to the guy with the 1985 500 SEL. He said no cause for concern, because the 500 has a dual chain and he has never heard of one breaking and causing damage. He said the 380 SEL was a different story, as it was a single chain engine. Is this true? Thanks.

semi-true.... the 380 up to 1983 had single chain until they were converted to dual chains. However, all m116 and m117 engines need their chains changed on timly intervals.
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2005, 01:47 AM
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Thanks Snib. I am also considering a much cheaper 85 380SE. I just do not want to buy one of these and have the chain snap and destroy the engine.

That is one reason I was wanting to know if there were any warning signs of a worn chain, such as noises, etc.

Thanks again!
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1988 Mercedes 300SEL
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2005, 02:59 AM
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You need to find out how much wear the chain has. Take the valve covers off and align the notches on the cams. Then look at the crankshaft timing marks to figure the stretch. Anything less than approx 10 - 12 degrees of stretch is basically OK, more is dangerous. The valves and pistons can collide. The chain guides also figure into the 'stretch'.
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Warren

Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

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

ENTER > = (HP RPN)

Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2005, 01:21 PM
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It's not just the chain...

It does not matter if you have the dual sprocket or the single sprocket in terms of a serious risk factor. The real problem is not just the chain. It's the guide rails. They are made of plastic, and over time they become briddle. The most norious one is the inside guide on the driver's side. Here is what happens: Chain slacks and develops a "slap". "Slap" hits the guide rail described above while traveling up towards the driver's side cam. Guide rail breaks off a chunk. Chunk gets grabbed by chain and turned into the sprocket. Chain jumbs and seizes, pistons hit valves, and the engine bites the dust, as does your wallet.

If you replace the chain only you are still at risk, because the part is still briddle and can break (it has happened, according to a Mercedes shop here in the Washington, D.C. area). If you replaced the guide rails and the chain tensioner and skipped the chain itself, you'd probably be safer than if you replaced the chain alone! (nobody does that, because once you are in there, you might as well do the chain.) Again, this has nothing to do with the number of sprockets.

You can check the guide rails while you check the chain as descibed in the previous post by wbain5280. They are visible right on the front top by the sprockets as you remove the valve covers - plastic thingies the chain rubs against as it travels. If they are white or a light tan, they are new (as most likely the chain would be). If they are beer-bottle brown, they are shot. Even if the chain looks ok, you're going to have to do the job.

Oh yeah - here is the funny part - they are under $10 a pop (plus the pins that hold them in place)...
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Last edited by hbofinger; 01-19-2005 at 01:22 PM. Reason: spelling...
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2005, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for that information. Too bad it cannot be viewed/inspected without removing the valve covers. So I am assuming there are no noises it makes when it is worn.

I just wish people would keep service records with cars, so the new/potential buyer will not have to play guessing games.

So, I guess it is best to assume that they have not been changed, if there are no records to indicate. I guess I will phone a few shops tomorrow to get an estimate on a chain replacement on the 85' 380 SE, as well as a 85' 500 SEL and 87' 420 SEL. All are cars I am considering, but unsure about the chains, except still unsure about the 87 420.

Thanks again.
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2004 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4wd
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1988 Mercedes 300SEL
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2005, 10:39 PM
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All the V8's you are looking at have problems with timing chain stretch and old chain guide rails.

For some reason, MB never put in a timing chain tensioner that effectively takes up all of the timing chain slack as it gets old and stretches.

They also switched to plastic chain rails in the early 70's, which get hard and brittle as they age.

You can hear a chain that has too mutch stretch. It'll make a slapping sound, generally at start up. It's real obvious.

When the chain hits one of the chain rails, the plastic breaks, the bits and pieces get stuck between the chain and the cam sprocket, causing it to bind, and breaking a cam shaft, bent valves, etc.

There is also the chance that a loose chain will jump a tooth on the cam sprocket, causing the valves to hit the pistons, but I think this scenario is less common on these cars.

The safe advise is to change the chain and the chain guides, tensioner rail every 100,000 - 125,000 miles or so as good preventative maintenance.
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2005, 11:30 PM
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Actually beleive it or not the newer Jag V8's used since 1998 have a problem with plastic chain tensoners going bad. It is a 4 overhead cam V8 with a small chain connecting the two cams, those tensoners go bad. Poor design and need to be changed every 80k-100k. MB are not the only cars that have chain issues.

I would just assume you need to do the chain, better safe then sorry.
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  #13  
Old 01-20-2005, 12:12 AM
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If you replace the chain only you are still at risk, because the part is still briddle and can break (it has happened, according to a Mercedes shop here in the Washington, D.C. area)
_________________________________________________________________
Most MB mechanics will tell you that 95% of the time the problem is the guide rails not the chain. It is very common for the plastic to break and get jammed in the chain....and then you are in for big time $$$$ to fix. So replace the chain AND the guide rails. I had mine done about two years ago for under $800 at an indie shop. The rule of thumb on chain and guide replacement is 100K miles and/or 10 years. The plastic pieces are bright white when new. As they age they become a brownish/yellowish color. If you do an inspection and find a loose, sloppy chain and/or off-color plastic it is time to do the update.

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