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  #1  
Old 07-20-2002, 06:01 PM
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engine conversion

Does anyone have information of converting a 450slc to a 350 Chevy engine? This is a common conversion for Jags, etc. but I haven't seen anything on the net about an slc change over. Considering the cost of repairs for a failed timing chain on a 450 I would think this would be a common change over.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2002, 06:07 PM
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Do a search on www.badbenz.com
There is a guy that put a stroker engine in a 1979 2 door.
Based on the way the car looks I'm sure he did not save any money though - beautiful car.
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2002, 02:07 PM
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Unless you put some serious money into the Chevy, you will be losing horsepower, and will have to manufacture a driveline.

Good condition M117 engines aren't in short supply at all, just a bit pricey. I'd just put another one in, or get the engine work done. If you do the work yourself, you are only out a valve job on one head (if the chain broke on starup) or both heads (if it broke running), probably new cams and rockers if you have lots of milage, and a new chain. Worse if you managed to punch a hole in the front cover when the chain piled up. Parts cost is horrible, and I think you will be ahead when you are done.

Peter
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2002, 06:48 PM
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conversion

The badbenz.con site is a very impressive effort. I have a feeling that this will be one of those cars one sees for sale that says, "have 50K plus invested, sell for 18K". Still, as with most hobbies, it is the effort more than the result.

Peter, Chevy engines that produce a solid 250+hp can be had for less than $2k complete. Fair enough there are installation costs but if one bought a 100K MB with a blown engine it might be worth the effort to convert. I nearly have heart failure buying part for my Ford tractor, God knows what a pair of 450 cam shafts would do to me.
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2002, 08:20 PM
LarryBible
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I love chocolate and I love nuts, but I HATE nuts with my chocolate.

I love MB's and I love small block Chevies, but I HATE the thought of them together. Chocolate and nuts.

My $0.02,
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2002, 02:40 AM
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you should be able to track down a used engine, or even a rebuild for not as much as you think.

A competent MB tech, who does good work, should be sought out to give you an estimate to bring it back to life.

Try www.silverstarrecycling.com or potomac german auto, to name a couple of salvage yards you may find a good engine in.

Alon
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2002, 12:20 AM
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Being more of a practicalist than a purist, if I should need a new engine or extensive repairs, I think that I would go with a conversion simply because one can get more bang (read as HP) for one's buck with a medium size US engine. I have been driving for about 45 years and as yet have, one, never thrown a timing chain that caused multi-thousands of dollars dammage to an engine, and, two, never had to pay the kind of prices that MB charges for its spares. The ides with driving is to get down the road in style and comfort while having maximum reliability at minimum expence. I realize that this approach is sacrilege to a die hard MB owner but I would rather be out driving my slc with a Chevy engine in it that having it sit in the garage while I wait for MB parts or the money to buy them.
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2002, 12:33 AM
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Its really not as expensive as you think though... I would do some research into good techs to properly diagnose and do the repairs for an estimate before trying to tackle a conversion. I do agree that the power issue is a good one.

In no means am I against it, I just think that the prices you seem to think everything is aren't really as high as you think they are.

Do some checking through fastlane or partsshop here on this site. I am sure you will find parts to be pretty well priced.

And checkt he good mb shops section for a recommendation of a good shop near you to have the car estimated at. It wouldn't hurt any to get a few extra prices.

Alon
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  #9  
Old 07-24-2002, 08:15 AM
LarryBible
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I couldn't agree more with Ashman. Have you ever done an engine swap? The engine itself might be inexpensive, but the conversion will not be. Then, once on the road you will most likely have numerous things to sort out. Been there, done that.

As far as your comments about MB, you happen to have one of the most complex of MB engines in the V8. These engines require close attention to timing chain and chain guides. If that is done, they are most reliable. I'm sorry that you have had bad luck.

There are reasons that the Small Block Jag is common. The first is that the Jag engines make the MB V8 you have, look very reliable and very inexpensive by comparison. Secondly, the Chev V8 configuration happens to nestle into the Jag engine compartment quite nicely; the oil pan sump in the right place and the dimensions fit well, etc.

Have a great day,
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2002, 08:27 AM
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I imagine you could easily spend $10k putting a Chevy engine in it if you do it right. I met the guy with the badbenz and talked to him at length and it sounded like he had at least $35k in that car.
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2002, 10:58 PM
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I am nearly 60 and have beem messing with engines for the better part of 50 of those years. I have done numerous car engine swaps, a couple of motorcycle swaps, and many, many rebuilds. I have worked on everything from .049 model airplane engines to 40K hp Fiat marine engines in the Persian Gulf. Their cylinder liners are 1.1 meter in dia. and nearly 4 meters long. We installed 4 on them during the Iran Iraq war in 1984 in a super tanker off Bander Abas, Iran while Iraqi pounded the crap out of the Hormuz terminal near by. Not that this makes me a hero, only that it means I have done my share of weird mechanical projects in 20 years of living as a free lancer over seas.
If one were not going to go where Mr. badbenz.com went,(and, I must say, it looks like he did a masterfull job) I can't see that a new, warmed over sbc 350 and even a GM 700 overdrive trans. would cost more than $4K installed. Buying a salvaged MB 450 engine without going through it completely is basically buying someone elses problems. Going through a 450 I doubt would give one much change out of $4K. Then, when the 450 is complete, you are tied to MB's exorbitantly priced spares and service for the next 150k miles.
Don't get me wrong, MB makes some stunning cars and engines. I have been through the MB museum in Stutgart twice and the bill of fare there is beyond compare. But, being of Yankee extraction on my father's side, I tend towards the practical more than the purist side of the issue.
If I did not have the highest regard for MB's products I would not be drooling after a silver and black Euro model slc.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2002, 11:41 PM
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The biggest problem is that the sump on the MB is in front and the sump on the Chevy is in the back. This means that the crossmember has to be removed to put the Chevy engine in the MB, and that you then have to find a way to put a suspension back in. Biggo Problemo.

The usual "fix" is to stuff a Chevy front end from a midsized RWD car under the Benz, totaly ruining the handling, etc. More trouble. The fancy fix is to fabricate an offset crossmember so the oil pan can stick down were the crossmember should be.

The repair for the broken chain is far easier than the hassle of getting the chevy engine in there. You will only be out the valves on the right head, a head gasket, a chain, chain guides, and some time. You will probably need to pull the engine (vastly easier to remove the heads with the engine out!) and the left head needs come off if the chain was dropped and you can't fish the replacement through (chain cover goes under the heads, a royal pain to re-install if the heads are on). If you do it yourself, you won't be out more than $2000 for parts at the most. Costs $4000 for Hans to do it at $60/hr.

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #13  
Old 07-25-2002, 08:15 AM
LarryBible
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Now that we know who we're talking to, let's proceed with engine swap dialog.

I expect that you are one of those people (and I have known several in my life, including my Dad) who are project oriented. My Dad swapped a Model A engine into an Essex in the early thirties. I expect that the fact that the engine currently in the car is expensive has little to do with your desire to do this engine swap. You want to do it because "it's there." I have done a few engine swaps over the years myself. If you have done them before, then you know what's involved and what you're getting into. Most people who talk about doing an engine swap haven't a clue what they're getting into, that's why I was discouraging before.

I still hate to see an MB get modified like this, but I expect you will do it regardless, and if you do, I would like to see you be successful at it.

If you are not totally hung up on a small block Chevy, a small block Ford would be a much more practical swap for this application. The sump is in the front, AND the external dimensions are slightly smaller. There are also oil pump pickup/oil pan combinations that can move the sump into different locations. But, I expect that using the pickup/pan combination from the sixties, early seventies would put the sump where you want it. This would be an easy item to find and will fit on any small block Ford up through the mid nineties when they went to what they call the Modular V8 which is a totally different animal.

Additionally, with the Ford distributor in the front, I expect that this would make things easier for this swap.

You also are not limited to the 5.0, although it is clearly the most common. The 351 Windsor is of the same family and would offer more low end torque, if that is what you want. If you're wanting to really build some torque and power, you can get an intake manifold that will allow you to use Cleveland heads. The Cleveland heads certainly outflow Windsor heads and they even outflow decent sbc heads.

Keep us posted on the project,
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  #14  
Old 07-25-2002, 08:47 AM
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If I remember correctly the badbenz had a dry sump.
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  #15  
Old 07-25-2002, 10:18 AM
LarryBible
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The thought of a dry sump occurred to me. However, since this gentlemen wants a somewhat economical swap, this would be too expensive, I feel quite sure. BadBenz, was a blank check project.

Keep up the thoughts,
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