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Old 05-14-2003, 04:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 66
Question 380SEC timing chain conversion

I will be changing the broken single row timing chain to a double row during the engine rebuild. Will everything fit without any modification to the timing chain cover or block.
Thanks, Bob
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Old 05-14-2003, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,503

It's hard to believe there are still 3.8 liter engines still running on the old single row chain.

It is interesting to note that in Europe, this engine never had the single row chain. From day one, they were all double row.
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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Old 11-30-2003, 12:10 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 788
is single that bad??

My aunt's 83 380SEL w/ 105,000 miles on it has the original chain and rails. I checked chain stretch and it was about 10 degrees. The rails are beer bottle brown. High time for a change. After having done the chain on my 420, they are going to let me do it saving them a ton in labor costs. Also after having done mine, I can probably do this in half a day barring any unforseen catastrophies (which are almost guaranteed, right??).

So here's the you all know...this thing is a single row. After having done a search the consensus is "if you're one of the ones still running the ancient single row....convert! now!" But...this obviously requires 10 times the labor. They are not planning on keeping the car but for maybe another year or two, and this chain and rails have done just fine for the last 100 grand. For this situation, is there really any hard pressing reason to go through the trouble to convert to a double row?

Question 2: Any reason to use woodruff keys? I've heard some about these as far as performance, but don't really know much about them as far as a necessary repair item.

Question 3: I've heard a lot of people here preach that you absolutely must replace the cam gears when you do the chain. I don't remember Thomanpin doing it on his pictorial. Also, single row cam gears are $80 each. Is this REALLY necessary??

'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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Old 11-30-2003, 06:48 AM
moparmike's Avatar
You will rue this day...
Join Date: May 2003
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 732
Well, most would say that 100k miles is the average lifespan of a timing chain. Anything after that is borrowed time.
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Old 11-30-2003, 08:18 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: MD
Posts: 102
Hi MBTJC. Iam in the process of doing this convert. Yes, it is not easy as they say. I was going to just replace the chain. however, I noticed every tooth on the single cam sproket was chipped. It is a wonder the car ran at all. It has 120k. The dbl spocets are only $30 a piece via Benz binn. The crank and intermediate gears are roughly 137, and 67$. respectively. Let us know how you did! And good luck! les
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Old 11-30-2003, 11:31 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 788
I think you also have to account for the distributor drive gear, which from Performance Products are over $100. I know if this was my car and I was planning on keeping it for a long time, this project would be worth the time, effort and money. But since this car belongs to my aunt and uncle, who are not "enthusiasts" they are simply interested in keeping the thing running so they can sell it in a year or so.

No harm will be done by just putting on a new single chain and new rails right? And like I said before, this one has done just fine for the last 100K, so what's to say this one won't do just fine for the next 100K??
'86 420SE Euro
904 Midnight Blue, Gray Velour
Dad bought it new, now I own it.

"A Mercedes-Benz is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age."
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