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Old 02-26-2001, 12:26 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Matthews, NC, USA
Posts: 133
My 92 500E has some 96,000 miles. I have heard various comments on change intervals for the timing chains. We recently replaced them on my 380SE and simply rolled the new one in.

How complex is the timing chain replacement on the 500E. Can you roll the new one in? If so, can I or should I replace the rails as a safety precaution under the understanding that the rails are plastic and in a heated environment may have become brittle? Can the rails be replaced easily or is that complicated.

I enjoyed the guided tour on the replacement of the distributors for the 500E. Is there a similar guided tour for the timing chains.


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Old 02-26-2001, 05:31 PM
Mark Herzig's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 380

Here's my 2 cents. THe chaing is probably OK but rails should be checked and possibly replaced. I'll let a knowledgable tech confirm BUT I's a pretty hairy ordeal... lots of labor from what I know.
Mark Herzig
1995 E300D 153K
1985 300D 142K (sold)
1979 450SL 122 miles (sold)
1992 500E 127K (sold)
1987 300SDL 132K (sold)
1986 300E 161K (sold)
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Old 02-26-2001, 09:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
I have not seen one of these just let go. I have had them towed in making alot of noise, knocking and soforth.

I would just wait for the day you hear a slight rattle on start up.

When this happens, you may want to go and get the chain, rails and tensioner done.

Yes, it is a tough job that requires special tools.
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 02-28-2001, 11:13 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
I'm getting my rails done on Monday. I got the idler arm bushing replaced today and the shop owner showed me his 1987 420SEL. Beautiful car but it has a blown engine due to the plastic rail failing. The part of the rail that extends above the head broke off and jammed one of the cam gears. This caused the chain to skip or stop, I don't know which. A couple of valves broke off and severely gouged the cylinder walls and the pistons. He said that they can't be re-bored deep enough to repair and that putting in sleeves would be rather expensive. So, he is looking for a replacement engine for several thousand dollars. If my rails show that deep brown patina, I'll know it was time for the repair. If not, I will still rest easy knowing exactly what the inside of my engine looks like.
1967 250SL
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Old 03-07-2001, 06:58 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
The rails are good now. They were in poor shape. Not cracked, but very brown and brittle. The chain and tensioner were good.
1967 250SL
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