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Old 03-17-2003, 08:15 AM
1973 450SL 117.982 107.04
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 53
Lightbulb Timing Chain Stretch and replacement

MB does not state if timing chain stetches X degrees then timing chain should be replaced, it does say about the use off offset woodruff keys for compenstation, how much would it take to stretch before ultimately jumping teeth(disaster). I read some posts as little as 5 degrees and others that say the chain will outlast the engine if oil is changed every 3,000 miles. So what is the answer??

'73 MB 450SL
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Old 03-17-2003, 09:42 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Dobson, NC
Posts: 5
Timing Chain Stretch and replacement

I don't know about other models but the early 380SL (81-83) are the ones with the weak chain unless they were upgraded to a double roller. I believe all 450s have double roller chains. Mine is a single in a 1981 and I changed it at approx. 85K and am ready to replace it again at 151K. Important as well is the tensioner. Before replacing mine the first time I could hear the chain rattling at start up because the tensioner was weak. I was lucky I did not have a major failure.

This may ease your mind a bit but my knowledge is limited so don't rely soley on my reply.
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Old 03-17-2003, 11:39 AM
afmcorp's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: NW Indiana LaPorte
Posts: 571

do a search on timing chain and look for the thread by thomas pindelski. thomas did an excellent picture tutorial on this subject. he estimates based on certain factors when he'll replace his. just seek this out he even has a website he allows you to look at for all his maint work.
good luck
Thanks Much!

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
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Old 03-17-2003, 12:34 PM
Thomaspin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
Thanks, Craig!

My reasoning (illustrated and explained on my site) attempts to separate chain wear from tensioner and guide rail wear.

I replace the tensioner first and then look at the change in chain 'stretch'.

On my 560SEL only the tensioner had to be changed (see the chain rails page) whereas on the 380SLC both the tensioner and chain (twin row) needed replacement (see the chain replacement piece).
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