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Old 06-08-2003, 01:40 AM
haasman's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097
87 190E 2.3 8v: Engine rattle at startup- Tensioner?

I did multiple searches regarding engine noises at start up, chain tensioners and timing chains.

The 87 190E 2.3 8v has a rattle at startup that disappears after a few seconds and I am suspecting the tensioner and/or the timing chain.

Car has 210k miles on it. I know the head has been off, but I don't know when/ or miles.


-Is this typically the tensioner and/or the chain?
-Could it also be the belt tensioner or does this make noise continuously?

One odd item is after I did the last oil change to 15w-50 Mobil 1 the engine runs much more smoothly. Several family passengers remarked on the fact without any prompting which made me wonder of the thicker oil pumped up the tensioner?

Finally, if I do need to do the tensioner and chain, can anyone point me to the thread(s) that I may follow to do the repair.

Thanks in advance,

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)

Last edited by haasman; 09-17-2004 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 06-08-2003, 09:47 PM
haasman's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:39 PM
surfblau's Avatar
neue Dieseler
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: san francisco - immer kalt, immer windig, I want to move
Posts: 382
sorry no responses, but you can read my adventure that just started

seized engine on my SDL ?
84 300TD - 235k - Farbe "Surfblau" bought at 213k
87 300SDL - 131k - Farbe "PimpGold" bought at 115k
00 Klepper Faltboot Expedition Double
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Old 06-10-2003, 04:13 PM
csnow's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
If you have not done this already, try the BELT tensioner shock absorber first.

That thing will cause a rattle.

While motor is running, press down hard on the top loop of the shock absorber, and see if the rattle goes away.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.

Last edited by csnow; 06-10-2003 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 06-10-2003, 04:13 PM
Senior Canadian Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 827
if you haven't had the tensioner updated the cause of the rattle is three-fold:

1) the chain has stretched and needs to be replaced

2) the tensioner is the old style without an internal ratchet which maintains tension until oil pressure is built up.

3) in the absence of correct tension on the timing chain, the chain actually hits the valve cover until tension is re-achieved.

this is a common problem with earlier W201s.

you will need to replace the chain and tensioner (obviously) and quite possibly the timing chain rails and guides. it depends on the amount of wear that has occurred on these components. ensure that you get the upgraded tensioner.

go to and search there. LOTS of info on that site.

this noise is not associated with the drivebelt tensioner.

the rattle is t
'94 W124.036 249/040 leder; 8.25x17 EvoIIs
'93 W124.036 199/040 leder; 8.25x17 EvoIIs, up in flames...LITERALLY!
'93 W124.036 481/040 leder; euro delivery; 8.25x17 EvoIIs
'88 R107.048 441/409 leder; Euro lights
'87 W201.034 199/040 leder; Euro lights; EvoII brakes; 8x16 EvoIs - soon: 500E rear brakes
'70 R113.044 050/526; factory alloys; Euro lights
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