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  #1  
Old 05-04-2008, 09:02 PM
galaxyhillvt
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: NH
Posts: 2
380SE Advice

I've come across a one-owner, 1983 380SE, light ivory, 95K priced @ $2900/bo. There aren't service records, but it belongs to an elderly gentleman who never drove it in the winter as he spent his winters in Greece. It appears to be a cream puff as I used to park my 82 240D in his garage during the winter months.

I've searched this forum and it apparently it's recommended that 380 owners replace the timing chain, guides, and tensioner @ 100K. Is this a costly repair? What other sort of repairs should I expect?

Bottom-line, I'm looking for a safe, reliable car next year while I'm in graduate school and I won't have a lot of extra cash for repairs.

Any advice would be most appreciated! Peace!

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  #2  
Old 05-04-2008, 11:25 PM
wbain5280's Avatar
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If you can do the work yourself, it's not too costly to replace the guides and the chain. If the engine still has the single row chain, there are several sprockets to replace to upgrade it to a duplex chain. The real problem is that the driver side inside chain guide breaks causing the chain to slip a tooth or two and then the valves crash into the pistons. So proper maintenance is required.

I added a post on how I replaced my guides and then the chain on my 420SEL.

If you can't do the work yourself, it may not be worth it.
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2008, 12:17 AM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
 
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On the one hand, it doesn't have a lot of miles, on the other hand, it is getting up there in age, things get brittle, and as Warren mentioned, the chain guides can break and cause sudden loss of money. So, if you're going to replace the chain and guides, you're looking at over $1k, unless you do it yourself. That would be w/o finding anything stuck (like the pins that hold the rail in) or worn out (like the pass. side cam and/or lifters).

Might be better off with a nice 300E.
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  #4  
Old 05-05-2008, 08:01 AM
MB, love..hate..love..
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galaxyhillvt View Post
I've searched this forum and it apparently it's recommended that 380 owners replace the timing chain, guides, and tensioner @ 100K. Is this a costly repair? What other sort of repairs should I expect?
From what you posted, and the money asked, it sounds like a good buy, especially if you know the owner. I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist over the timing chain, unless it's a single row chain. I don't know. My Adsit catalogue lists both for the year range of your SE. If it is, and you're convinced that it must be changed to a double row, that would be major, since the lower sprockets will need changing, meaning the front cover has to come off. If it's a double row, you can change it yourself (if you think it needs it). The upper guides and tensioning rail are also easy DIY jobs, assuming you have the skills, tools, and shop manual.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2008, 07:02 PM
Benz Mercedes's Avatar
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83-84

The change to double row was about mid year 1983, remove the oil filler cap and feel for single or double row chain, I think even a single row engine can last , if the giudes are changed every 100,000 miles or 6 years. and the new guides are much improved. these are great cars.

Ben
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2008, 12:20 AM
Chadahar's Avatar
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Location: Golden Valley, AZ
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Just remove the passenger side valve cover and look at the timing chain. buy a new gasket to replace the one yon the car now. unless you have EXTREMELY ong fingers...you cannot feel the timing chain. My car is a Feb 1984 380SE and had the dual chain. but at 184,000 I decided to change it. my Indy recommends that a single row chain be replaced every 100,000 miles. Funny he told me my car with a new dual chain was good for that many more miles too at least. My cost at an Indy was about $800.00 for chain, guides and labor.
Well worth it.

Have an Indy do a PPI and check the chain for stretch. if it has stretched, then it needs to be replaced or at the very least a new tensioner installed. (I did install a new tensioner with my TC change.

Mine has double the miles than that one and it is a great car. Go for it! or put it on the cars for sale here and let someone here have a shot at it.
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2008, 10:02 AM
MB, love..hate..love..
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chadahar View Post
Have an Indy do a PPI and check the chain for stretch. if it has stretched, then it needs to be replaced or at the very least a new tensioner installed.
Read this and perhaps you could check the chain yourself, or show the indy how. http://www.peachparts.com/Wikka/M117TimingChain If the valve cover is off anyway, getting a 27mm socket on the crankbolt and turning the engine by hand to check the timing marks on the passenger camshaft is small potatos investment to find out if you really need to replace the chain. Lots of great discussion on this forum on this subject too, including using/not using offset woodruff keys to compensate for chain wear, and how to do the chain replacement if needed.

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