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Old 06-12-2003, 12:13 AM
Tom McMenamin's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Orange Park Florida
Posts: 363
It's Timing Chain time and Anxiety is high!


I am an avid reader of this site and believe it to be one of the Best! I have reviewed virtually every Post on Timing Chain for my 560 SL.

Well, now is my time to schedule the appointment, and to get it done. I saved the money and need to get on with it. Despite the fact the car is running better now than ever.

It actually makes me ill to think about this job. I even thought of taking it to Atlanta , leaving it a week with our sponsors just to eliminate my anxiety. It's not a bad idea, but I live in Maryland and that's a long haul. I spend money and Love this car, but I think maybe that is overkill! (By the way, people have laughed at me when I tell them about this thought process)

I'm a guy who drives 45 miles just to get his laundry done at a special dry cleaner, so I'm not skiddish about finding the right spot. After 2 years of using the current shoppe, I have some trust level. So that's behind me!

The question:

When you take the car in, and to avoid further discomfort, what do you recommend that you say to the shop in regards to "Hey. Joe. while you are in there doing the chain how about checking the following things just to make me feel better"

What are those things you should list as items to check and repair or simply check or better yet what can be cleaned, restored, replaced etc. so that additional peace of mind can be given to a brain dead MB owner like me? I would really like to avoid that age old mechanic response, "Golllleee, Tom I wish you had said something about that, and I would have looked into that when I did the chain"

By the way, I know this should be posted on the SL Board but I get better technical help when I Post here. Forgive me devoted loyalists!

All help graciously accepted, All slings and arrows deflected, appreciation grandley deciminated (sic)!
1988 560SL
Black Pearl/Palamino
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Old 06-12-2003, 12:18 AM
WANT '71 280SEL's Avatar
I'll Go Upside Your Head!
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 3,378
go to He is a member here and I believe that he has step-by-step instructions with pictures. He did his on a 560SEL I believe.
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Old 06-12-2003, 03:25 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Have him check the upper rails, the tensioner rail and definitely change the tensioner while doing the chain. Might also ask to have the cam sprockets checked for wear and perhaps even have the oiler tube kits put in for good measure. The oiler tubes are held in by little plastic fittings that get brittle with age. Chances are they are fine, but the parts are very short $$$ and should only take a couple minutes, great for extra peace of mind.
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

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 06-12-2003, 04:53 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
If you really love it have the best shop you can find do a cover off and do bottom rails oil pump chain and have bottom sprockets checked. I did a cover off on my Euro 500 SE last summer and one bottom rail was paper thin.........
William Rogers......
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Old 06-12-2003, 08:19 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 259
Fellow 560sl owner

Just find a reputable mechanic in the area, have them pull the valve covers and get a look at the chain and rails condition and measure measure the chain stretch. Shouldn't be more than $200 in my opinion. I think the consensus is that if the chain has more than about 5degrees of stretch and the rails are reddish brown, then replacement is called for.

Agree with looking at the Pendelski pictures if not just to familiarize yourself with the terminology. The problem with these chains seems to be that they are so long and go in and out to so many different sprockets that if it gets a little stretched and jumps a tooth or gets too loose, it can break off a chip of rail, in turn it gets stuck in the sprocket, causing the whole chain to come off with the motor running, which causes all kind of havoc with the valves and pistons colliding. Not a good thing.

The rails which act as guides to the chain are hard plastic and wear out and become brittle over time and can break. There is also a chain tensioner that looks like a really big bolt at the front of the passengers side near the frontmost sparkplug. It also keeps the chain somewhat tight and on line.

Check out the pendelski and read the comments about the tensioner and the rails and how to measure the stretch and at least you will be able to understand the mechanics lanquage.

Good luck.

J. Boggs
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