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Old 05-24-2001, 10:21 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 301
Hello everyone,

I bought this car a month ago and immediately started reading this forum. You folks are a wealth of good information however the side effect is....I am almost afraid to drive my car. I'm like the hypochondriac flipping through the Physician's Desk Reference. Here goes my first question and yes I have read most of the threads on this subject already.

The car is a 1991 420SEL with 155k.
Although I bought the car from a dealer I was able to find the previous owners phone number on some maint. records. He claims to have changed the timing chain, guides, tensioner ect at 110k but the shop he used has no record of that service(the shop owner offered perform this job for me at a discount)

On first start up in the morning the is about 1 second of what sounds like valve noise.

Is there any way a timing chain could last 155k?

Could the noise really be valve noise instead of the timing chain's ominous warning?

Is there anyway to view and asses the guides?

What would you do in my position?

I promise future posts will practice better word economy.

Thank you all in advance
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Old 05-28-2001, 02:30 PM
MBenzNL's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: the Netherlands
Posts: 1,417
I don't know about the timing chains in the US, but I guess that they are pretty similar to the ones we use in Europe. You can check whether the original timing chain has been renewed in the past by rotating the engine by hand and look for a black plug link in the chain...the black plug link is the part that is compressed after the chain was renewed (the valve cover has to be removed to check this).

1990 300SL-24
1993 C250D
with a minor 600+k kilometer
(the Netherlands)
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Old 05-28-2001, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
The chain is not the problem. I have seen many original chains last to 300K. The problem is that the tentioner occasionally will leak down when the engine sits. During the rattling period (about 2-3 seconds)the rails which never touch the chain are banged around.

The original rails (viewed with valve covers off) are white plastic. After 60-80k they turn amber; then brown. Once they are brown they are as brittle as glass.

Have the rails checked by a color co-ordinator (bg).
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-28-2001, 11:27 PM
Posts: n/a
My 560SEL with 61k ml's makes a clatter for a couple of seconds after the car has been sitting for a couple of days - I thought this was lifter clatter but maybe it's the tensioners. Are the tensioners hydraulically fed?
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Old 05-29-2001, 01:59 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 301
I took off my valve covers today and I just thought I'd tell you all what a beautiful shade of brown my Tchain guides are. In think I'll be safe and tow it to the repair shop in the morning.
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