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Old 08-22-2001, 12:39 PM
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190 E timing chain

A guy at work gave me his 1984 190E. One problem, he said the timing chain broke. I can see through the oil cap that the chain is not broken but seems to have slipped out of the sprocket grooves up onto the top of the teeth. Of course it does't run. Is this common? due to chain stretch. And is the 2.3 a contact engine, what am I possably in store for. I did get the car for free so if it can be fixed and be reliable it would be worth it. Any help would help, thanks.
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Old 08-22-2001, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
Start by pulling engine as I'm sure that the valves are bent! the front engine cover & oil pan must be removed! MY youngest son just bought a 1986 190E 2.3 in the same condition. We spent about $850 in parts.
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Old 08-28-2001, 07:15 PM
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So some valves may be bent, is there a way to find out without taking the head off ? The reason I ask is that there is no way of knowing how many teeth the chain jumped. It doesn't really look like it jumped more than one, it's pretty stuck on top of the teeth it's on. I would think jumping only one tooth shouldn't bend valves. Thank for any more info.
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Old 08-28-2001, 10:10 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Beech Island, S.C.
Posts: 468
If the chain is not broken you can replace the chain without removing the head. Just thread the new chain through using the old chain and connect the new chain together after it's all the way around. Then after making sure the timing marks are aligned take the compression. If the valves are bent which is likely the compression test will show it.
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Old 08-29-2001, 07:25 AM
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With the tensioner that all these engines have it would be near impossible for the chain to be merely loose and resting on top of the sprocket teeth. Most likely it is broken allowing the loose piece of chain to be just setting there.

You could probably tell what's up by pulling the valve cover. If you end up feeding a new chain, you will probably find that there is a problem with a guiderail and/or tensioner.

As the other posters have said, you most likely have bent valves. For the price you paid, you have plenty of margin in the car to work with. If you can pull the head yourself and find a good machine shop, you can probably make a good car pretty cheap.

Good luck,
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:00 PM
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Okay, I had a chance to take the valve cover off, the chain is not broken. It does seem to be loose but I have read that the tensioner in these cars can relax and it has been sitting for about five months. I haven't picked up a Haynes manual yet so I can't tell if the timing marks are still lined up, I don't know where they are. The teeth on the cam sprocket look worn, but I have never seen a new one so I don't know about that either. If someone could help shed light on these subjects I would really apreciate it. Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2001, 09:41 AM
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Set the timing mark of the harmonic dampner on TDC by rotating slowly using the bolt head inside harmonic balancer (27 mm ?). Always rotate in normal direction of engine firing (look at direction of cooling fan blades). See if marks of cam spacer and mark on cam tower line up. If not, how much off are they? This will help to determine possibility of damaged valves. Before doing this, you may want to remove spark plugs to make it easier and also get a look at the valves inside possibly.
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Old 08-30-2001, 03:43 PM
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I have the cover off right now and can't seem to locate any sort of mark on the cam tower, I looked all over, am I looking in the wrong place ? The mark on the cam washer is almost straight up and the harmonic balancer is at 4 degrees. As always any info is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-31-2001, 10:54 PM
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This is what mine looked like on the 380.
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190 E timing chain-camful.jpg  
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Old 08-31-2001, 10:56 PM
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close up of area.
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190 E timing chain-cropcam.jpg  
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