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Old 07-12-2002, 04:46 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 60
problem identified

I posted a thread several weeks ago concerning my '89 420 SEL having a rough idle at when I started the vehicle. I checked several avenues that were suggested and nothing turned up until I started the car yesterday and it wouldn't turn over.

I had a mechanic take a look at it and he determined that the timing chain tensioner had broken. He also said that the timing chain was on its way out and at least two of the plastic guides were broken.

He claimed that the links were jumping when the car was idling upon ignition and that as the rpms rose, the "roughness" would disappear because this could not be detected at higher rpms.

Does this sound legitimate? I am supposed to see the car tomorrow morning. His price tag for fixing this is around $1,600.

If this is indeed the problem, is that a fair price for fixing it and could this be a diy job for a fairly amateur mechanic?
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Old 07-12-2002, 05:18 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
There are tons of threads regarding forum members who rolled in their own timing chains.

I'm not looking forward to doing one, but probably will when the dreaded head gasket finally gives out.

Some special tools are required such as the crimp used to fasten the link onto the new chain, but I believe the most difficult part of the job is patience.

Go too fast or get careless, and you will wind up having to dismantle more of the engine than you care to...
2009 ML350 (106K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (80K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (138K) - My daily driver
2016 Mustang (32K) - Daughter's car
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Old 07-12-2002, 07:36 PM
dpetryk's Avatar
Electrons can do anything
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 1,071
Ive done three of them. Do big deal. It does take te right tools and a small amount of above average DIY skill. The mechanics story sounds fishey to me. Normally when the rails break the chain jumps and you have bent valves. If they are broken and it didnt jump timing, then there are some loose pieces running around inside your engine. All of he chains I have done used clips so no need for the crimping tool.

He claimed that the links were jumping when the car was idling upon ignition and that as the rpms rose, the "roughness" would disappear because this could not be detected at higher rpms
Sounds bogis to me. If links were jumping around, you would have bent valves.

While I was in there I replaced the valve stem seals and my oil consumption went to zero on both of my 420's. Total cost about $150 and about 6 hours time.
I got too many cars!! Insurance eats me alive. Dave

78 Corvette Stingray - 3k
82 242 Turbo Volvo - Manual - 270k
86 300e 5 speed manual - 210k
87 420sel - 240k
89 560sl - 78k
91 420sel - 205k
91 560sel - 85k
94 GMC Suburban - 90k
97 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - 25k
00 GMC Silverado 1 ton 30k
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Old 07-12-2002, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
I agree that the diagnosis sounds wrong.

Having said that, if you have the original timing chain, tensioner, and guide rails in your '89 420 SEL, I don't think you'll find a person on this site that wouldn't recommend replacing them.

Do a search on 'timing chain' and you can read these threads all day and night.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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