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Old 10-07-2003, 01:47 AM
olpos's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: san
Posts: 323
Cool Buying 83 euro 500SEL timing chain ,horse power

Well looks like i may be buying my first Mercedes. I would like to know if a euro 500SEL has the same h.p. as a California car.
there are 2 cats on the car but not sure what else would be changed to make it a u.s.a. car. I am talking performance wise.
The car has 200k miles on it with a new trany. Also wondering on the timing chain,single row? It was bought in germany and shipped back in 1985. If i read right, this is a second year car. Are there any weak spots to go after first.I work as a smog tech and mechanic so i understand most things pretty well. Also ac works very well. this car has power front windows and roll up rears. I have read most all treads ,but there is not much on 83 500sel.Does the U.S.A. 84 Mercedes have the same parts? THANK YOU FOR THIS GREAT FORUM,which has been very informative. At 49 years old/young i look foward to driving a real car.
THANK YOU from Rich in San Diego,Ca.

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Old 10-07-2003, 02:13 AM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,806
You can see depictions of the Euro and EPA exhaust system configurations at

I won't sermon you on emissions requirements but other federalization changes can include US spec bumpers, sealed beam headlights, US spec front corner lamp sockets so they're side markers as well as turn signals, US spec taillights with a red strip on the leading edge, addition of door side intrusion beams, mph speedometer, unleaded fuel filler restrictor, maybe fitting a US spec headlight switch that only allow fogs with the low beams.

Comparing numbers, a Euro 500SEL has 8.8:1 compression and goes 0-100km/h in 7.7sec. A US 500SEL has 8.0:1 compression and goes 0-60mph in 9.0sec. I think the cams are the only other major internal difference between Euro and US spec cars.

As I understand all Euro V8 engines have double row timing chains. Only the early M116 (380SE/SEL) had single row chains. Your car has an M117.

A Euro car should be considerably more powerful but who knows exactly what was done to federalize and California-ize it plus what's been done to it in the last 20 years.

I'm sure many parts are shared between the Euro 83 and US 84. Your best bet is to consult Phil through the PartsShop link at the top of this page.

If your car has rotary knobs to control the AC I hate you

95 S420
91 300SE
87 300SDL
83 300SD
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Old 10-07-2003, 02:37 AM
olpos's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: san
Posts: 323
Thanks Sixto

Well to set your mind at ease,it has the push button ac.I could only wish for the other. The car does have a very nice light met. green paint i have only seen one time. Looks great with the chrome rims. no cruise though. Thanks for the info.It does have dual exhaust with aftermarket cats that flow very well.i have seen inside this type cat before.Not much in them
One more question,thinking of rolling in a chain and only changing the upper rails.does not have any chain noise, just to feel safe. Rich

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