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Old 06-05-2002, 12:06 AM
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How about Metric Motors, Inc. -- they sell engines.
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Old 06-05-2002, 07:39 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Lathrup Village, Michigan
Posts: 2,939
My chain broke at 218k miles.

$2000 for a head is not almost the same as $5000 for an engine. At least for me.
Michael LaFleur

'05 E320 CDI - 86,000 miles
'86 300SDL - 360,000 miles
'85 300SD - 150,000 miles (sold)
'89 190D - 120,000 miles (sold)
'85 300SD - 317,000 miles (sold)
'98 ML320 - 270,000 miles (sold)
'75 300D - 170,000 miles (sold)
'83 Harley Davidson FLTC (Broken again) :-(
'61 Plymouth Valiant - 60k mikes
2004 Papillon (Oliver)
2005 Tzitzu (Griffon)
2009 Welsh Corgi (Buba)

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Old 06-05-2002, 12:57 PM
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It'd be different with an inline-5 or inline-6, the head would be easier and less costly to do. Our tech is very much for the engine swap "if you're going to put that much toward the heads; why not just spend the extra $$ and drop a rebuilt in there?".

I trust his advice. An engine swap would be less labor hours for him than doing the heads, so that makes sense.

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Old 06-06-2002, 09:02 PM
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My dad is having an Adsit rebuilt 3.8 liter dropped into the car. The car should be ready in 1.5 weeks or so. I can't wait to drive it again; admittedly, this was kind of a pain, but I feel like the 380SE's heart transplant is the right thing to do, and so does he.

Anyway, maybe I'll be able to post some pics of the new unit and the old disassembled 3.8.

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Old 06-06-2002, 09:34 PM
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I think that was the smart thing to do. Spending more time and a lot of $$ for labor just to put a 4.2L in your car would have been ridiculous, IMHO.

Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 06-06-2002, 11:45 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NY
Posts: 530
Putting a 420 or 560 motor in the 380 isnt that hard. As far as exhaust, the only thing that would change would be the headers, which I believe to be the same. You can reuse the old ones I believe. Euro versions have two pipes instead of the USA ones that collaberate at the back of the engine and feed to the pass. side. As far as weight goes, the 420 motor is probably lighter than the 3.8, being all aluminum alloy, block and heads. But if you were to put a 4.2 or the 5.6, you would probably want a doner car. Since there are alot of little things here and there that you would need. I personally would pick up a 560SEL, instead of sinking 6000 into such an old car. But for some, the car does have sentimental value, and I guess you cant put a price on that. just my two cents.
93 300D 2.5 Turbo, Black/Palomino 273K
09 E350 Black/Black 41K
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Old 06-07-2002, 12:26 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 194
380 SE

I have a feeling that all that your car needed was a pair of rebuilt heads and the new timing chain and tensioners.The bottom end on these cars are good for 500-750 k if taken care of.The block is made of an aluminum/silicon mixture thats causes hardly any wear in the cylinders.In other words ,the "bottom ends" of these engines were built to last.
but dropping in a rebuilt 380 is not a bad way to go.
then nothing to worry about.
Sticking with the 380 engine is a wise choice.
Good job for saving an old 380 SE !
'60 190b
'77 300D
'78 240D
'82 300TD
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Old 06-07-2002, 02:50 AM
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We might have been able to find a thrashed 560SEL for $5.5 or $6K. But then it would have needed more work, and had more unknown problems that we'd have to resolve.

Putting a 5.6 liter in the car...well, we could have gotten a used 5.6 liter for $2750, with under 100K miles. Since the 5.6 liter is a different engine than the 3.8, there would have been lots of PITA things that my dad and I wouldn't want to mess with.

Anyway, updates will follow when more progress happens.

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Old 07-02-2002, 12:20 AM
WRM WRM is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: BURBANK CA
Posts: 151
somebody passed me your ad. i'm parting out an 84 380se. it has 135000 miles on it. it belonged to a customer.3000 miles ago i did a valve job on, new chain, rails, some new valves, complete intake reseal. cost them about 3700.00. top end is completly new.let me know if your intrested.
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Old 07-28-2002, 10:30 PM
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car runs again!

You guys were right. We took it to Benz Friendz in Seattle and they said "All this car needs is to have the heads rebuilt and new chain & related components installed."

Turns out that only 2 valves hit pistons (chain broke on startup).

So Benz Friendz did the left head (the right head was apparantly fine) and the chain, tensioner, et al. Doing this also cured the 380SE's infernal "tickticktick" of lifter noise at idle. It now idles quietly, like an MB V-8 should.

He also had the right fron window regulator done, since that window hadn't opened for a while.

Total cost? $2297 US, with parts and labor.

With the cash we were able to save, my dad also picked up a '91 Volvo 940SE with 207K miles, but with many new components and a new engine at 115K miles (previous owner ran car out of oil). This car is turbocharged and has Volvo's rare Turbo Plus boost control system, which provides a temporary overboost at full throttle above 3,700 rpms, raising HP from 162 without the Turbo Plus to 188 with the system engaged. Lots of passing power.

The important thing is that the MB has a new lease on life and is smoother and quieter than ever. It was a fun drive from Seattle to Wenatchee, via I-90.

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