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Old 01-17-2003, 01:13 PM
Thomaspin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
E clips on the dual row 380 cam chain

I realize the clip vs. crimp a cam chain issue has been discussed to death here, but I wonder what opinions you all have about E clips?

First, let's assume that you are OK with using clips instead of crimping. Like me you accept that the stress on the clip is minor, as nearly all force applied to the chain is along the length of the chain. I am, having reached this conclusion based on an absence of reported chain clip failures (assuming good tensioners and guides). Further, rental of the crimping tool is difficult (in years past I used to rent from Performance Products, but they no longer seem to offer this service, and timing was never what you wanted it to be when they did) and the cost of purchase prohibitive.

Second, assume that you and I are uncomfortable/unskilled enough to think that the job can be done with a ball peen hammer to 'crimp' the chain.

I purchased a new chain for the wife's 380SLC. It was converted to a double row chain >100k miles ago. The engine still shows 10 degrees of stretch after replacement of tensioner and timing rails and can be heard slapping at start-up. I got it from FastLane as they offer the OEM JWIS (manufacturer) chain with a clip. The chain came, however, not with the single clip which grabs both pivots in the join, but rather with two small E clips, one per pivot.

Here's the Q. What are the pros and cons of two small E clips versus one compound one?

Please, no flames about clips versus crimping. If you respond, please do so because you are comfortable with clips and have useful empirical or technical input.

Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2003, 01:30 PM
junior member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 592
damn. that was a very nicely written post.
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Old 01-17-2003, 01:33 PM
Posts: n/a
I have never personally used e clips, but I have been told that some of the early cars used them. The e clip does away with the problem of getting the C clip on backwards.

The chain itself RARELY if ever fails anyway. What fails is a rail or a tensioner that leads to binding that breaks the chain.

Although I hesitate to suggest what you do with such a critical subsystem in YOUR car, I would personally feel comfortable using e clips if the car were mine as long as there is nothing that comes near those e clips as the chain cycles. I would worry much, MUCH more about the condition of the rails and tensioner, particularly in a V8, than I would about the type of closing link used on the chain.

My $0.02,
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Old 01-26-2003, 12:14 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Well, all that came with the new chain I rolled in the 560 was the little clips. "C" or "E" clips, whatever you want to call them, two of them were in the package. I couldn't even source a crimpable master link through the dealer.

I used the small clips and after almost 14K miles have had no problem. The small clips do need to be installed correctly, just like the old fashioned single "C". Make sure the open end of the clip is trailing. That way, should the clips make contact with anything internal, they will be driven on rather than knocked off.

The two clips are small and easily dropped. Be sure to stuff a rag in the head at the timing chain passage to catch the clip(s) should you drop one.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

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Old 01-26-2003, 12:34 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
When I did my 380, I popped for a Mercedes chain with the old-style clip and used it. But I would have used the C/E clips had I gone with Iwis. For me the clinchers were that no one could cite a failure of the clips, and the MB manual did not recommend crimping. Plus I thought that the clips were a better bet than my first attempt at peening.
Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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