Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog How To Articles Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help




Go Back   PeachParts Mercedes ShopForum > Technical Information and Support > Tech Help

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-17-2003, 03:53 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 627
Just how often should a timing chain be replaced?

At the risk of asking a question that has been discussed many times previously (a search of "timing chain" gives too many responses), how often should timing chains be replaced on various MB engines? Is there a listing somewhere?

I know that for say an early alloy M116 (3.8) with the single row chain the answer is "very often". The early M102 with a single row chain also requires regular chain replacement. For the M103 the popular opinion seems to be "never", despite that engine using a single row chain. How about the later M102 with a double row chain? Some suggest it does not need replacing.

My '90 190E-2.3 (double row chain) at 220,000km has a little chain noise until the oil pressure rises, mostly on a hot start. Should I replace it or maybe just the tensioner?

How about the chain in my '73 350SLC (3.5 iron block M116 with double row chain)? I replaced it about 120,000km ago. Recently I was getting some chain noise at idle during warm up. A new tensioner silenced it although while doing a valve clearance adjustment recently I noted that the right bank camshaft is probably half a tooth (or more) late due to chain stretch/wear. Time for a new chain again?

How about some other popular engines such as the M104 six and M111 four (each with double row chains)? Do they need chains replaced at any particular interval? Do I really not need to worry about our M103 now showing 180,000km with its single row chain?

When replacing chains are the joining links with clips satisfactory or should a rivetted join like with the original chain be used? Should tensioners also be replaced at the same time? How about guide rails and tensioning rails?

Does anyone have definitive information on this subject for the various engines? Maybe some of the knowledgable techs would like to offer their thoughts on this. It certainly seems to be a topic of concern for the members here.
__________________
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-17-2003, 11:27 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
I believe 10* of chain stretch is the limit at least for V-8's, most seem to change chains at about 8* stretch. If you are about 1/2 tooth off due to stretch that would put your chain stretch at a guesstimated amount of 7*. You're close to chain time.

I've done chains on both of mine, used the "C" clip masters. Have had no problems with them. On the 560 I have logged about 20K+ miles since the change.

The inlines seem to require less chain replacement, most likely due to their short travel distance. Remember, with the V-8, the chain is 6 feet long and makes numerous turns as it wends it's way around. All those turns add a little more wear to the links (compounded big time by extended/neglected oil changes).
__________________
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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-17-2003, 12:42 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
Quote:
Originally posted by MikeTangas
All those turns add a little more wear to the links (compounded big time by extended/neglected oil changes).
That's the real key...the oil change intervals. If you (or the PO) have been lagging in this department, expect to do the replacement sooner than you think...
__________________
2009 ML350 (106K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (80K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (138K) - My daily driver
2016 Mustang (32K) - Daughter's car
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-17-2003, 03:27 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
For the single row early M102 engines, I would change the chain and tensioner at 200,000kms (about 125K-miles), even with good oil changing history. I paid close attention to mine and they were in pretty good shape at 200K, but better safe than sorry.

We did the 190E 2.6 chain and tensioner at 250,000 kilometers, again for peace of mind. It wasn't stretched much, but for about $300 it seemed like cheap insurance.

The single row chain in the US spec M116 3.8L engine needs really frequent changes, but even that doen't seem to work 100%. I've met a few owners that did regular changes only to have the chain break at some ridiculously low mileage. Updating to double row seems the only real solution. Rare to find one that hasn't been updated as time marches on.

On the M111, I'll probably start paying close attention to the chain past 200,000 kilometers. I've seen some M111's at over 250K, all with their original chain, and none making noise. All with good oil/filter histories. Before 250K I'll probably open it up and check the chain, guides, etc. Little engine, short travel, double row, Mobil 1 every 5K-km's...should last a long time.

The M103 seems to have very long chain life despite being a single row. It has a very short length and no major direction changes.
__________________
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

http://img31.exs.cx/img31/4050/tophat6.gif
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-17-2003, 05:41 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
While I can't comment on M102 and other engines, M103 and M104 engines have a ratcheting tensioner, which is another reason for timing chain durability. It uses oil pressure as do others, but as the chain loosens the plunger "ratchets" to keep the chain tight, even after the engine is shut down. Since there is no looseness during that cold start up, it does not hang up on "stuff" causing things to break, like timing chain guide rails.
__________________
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".
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-17-2003, 06:47 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: La Quinta, CA
Posts: 271
Cool

how often should timing chains be replaced on various MB engines?
___________________________________________________
Most of the info I have read on this board says 100,000 miles and/or 10 years. Seems that most of the problems come not from the chains breaking but stretch and/or the plastic parts associated with the timing chain system. The plastic gets old and brittle, breaks, drops into the chain/tooth and causes the big problem.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-17-2003, 06:49 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,052
At some point did the M103 receive a double row timing chain?

What model year?

Can a single row 103 be "upgraded" to a double row timing chain?

An inline six will have less load variation on the chain due to the greater number of more closely phased lobes, which will contribute to chain life compared to an inline four.

Duke
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-17-2003, 07:06 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Quote:
Originally posted by Rockman59
how often should timing chains be replaced on various MB engines?
___________________________________________________
Most of the info I have read on this board says 100,000 miles and/or 10 years. Seems that most of the problems come not from the chains breaking but stretch and/or the plastic parts associated with the timing chain system. The plastic gets old and brittle, breaks, drops into the chain/tooth and causes the big problem.
That 100K mile rule is a good one for the various older M116/M117/M119 V-8 engines. They have very long chains that change direction. The 116's have brittle plastic guides that go bad with age, and can really do some collateral damage when they break.

The inline engines are a tad different. The chains are not nearly as long, and don't have huge direction changes like the V-8's. Even the twin-cam M104 and M111 engines have much shorter chains than the V-8s.

That said, 100K-miles is not a bad interval for all engines to be looked at. If I owned a low mileage M116 420SEL W126 car with it's original chain and guides, it would be going to a shop first thing tomorrow! On a C220/230 with an M111, changing the chain at 100K-miles is overkill by a huge margin.
__________________
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

http://img31.exs.cx/img31/4050/tophat6.gif
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-17-2003, 07:07 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Quote:
Originally posted by Duke2.6
At some point did the M103 receive a double row timing chain?
In don't think so, but I could be wrong. I think the double row was added when the twin-cam head was dropped on and the last number went from 3 to 4.
__________________
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

http://img31.exs.cx/img31/4050/tophat6.gif
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-17-2003, 10:21 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,726
I think that's right - the 103 motor was always single and the 104 was always double. They are both very solid - the 103 because it's so short and the 104 because it's double. I once had a 103 motor with 275k miles. My mechanic didn't want to change it because it wasn't acting up and he'd never seen a problem on one. His theory was that if it's not acting up you introduce risk by changing it. Bu it worried me so we did it. It turned out it was the original and it showed no real signs of wear. Most mechanics I've talked to have never seen a 103 timing chain problem. I really haven't heard about any 104 problems either, of course they're typically not as high on the miles.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-20-2003, 10:05 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 627
Thanks for all the replies, it's amazing how much interest timing chain threads generate. The responses were much as I expected.

From this I would conclude that for my family's current "fleet" the following applies:

My '73 350SLC W107 (3.5 M116, double row chain) could probably use a new chain despite the current one only being there for the last 120,000km and with 6 monthly (2,500 to 5,000km oil/filter changes).

My '90 190E-2.3 W201 (8 valve M102, double row chain) at 219,000km I probably need not worry about for some time yet.

Our '90 300TE W124 (M103) at 179,000km I need never worry about.

My parent's '93 E320 W124 coupe (M104) at 130,000km I need never worry about.

My parent's '96 E230 W210 (M111) at 110,000km I need not worry about for a long time yet.

My wife's parent's '99 C200 W202 (M111) at 60,000km no worries for a long time yet.

How about other related components? Does everyone replace just the chain or do they replace the tensioner and various rails and guides as well? In some situations I believe the guides and rails can be the actual cause of chain failure rather than the chain itself.
__________________
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-20-2003, 10:25 PM
Manya
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
well, when I had my cracked head repairs, the mechanic that did it for me noticed no significant strech on the chain and advised me not to change it. He did replace the tensioner though.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-20-2003, 11:46 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Definitely do the rails and tensioner (do them first) then check the chain for stretch. If after replacing the rails and tensioner your chain still shows 8*-10* stretch, roll in a new chain. Upper rails aren't too difficult on the V-8's and the tensioner is only a matter of a couple bolts (but holding the new tensioner against the block is a be-itch while trying to start the bolts).

This is in regards to the SLC.
__________________
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 TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-20-2003, 11:50 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
Oh, don't forget to check out Thomaspin's website:

www.pindelski.com

He has great pictorial DIY articles on his three MB's: 380SLC, 560SEL, and 300SD. He has done the chain and rails on the SLC and SEL, I think.
__________________
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".
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-21-2003, 01:43 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 412
I asked my mech about the timing chain on my 103. He told me that he had only replaced one timing chain on a 103 in his life. It was replaced at 850000 km (530000 miles) and could easily have made to a million..!

Now THAT'S quality for ya'!

Freestyler
__________________
Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do, you're a mile away -and you have his shoes!


'86 300E optically converted to '95 E300 (Sold)
-Blauschwarz on silver
-Black leather
-17" AMG & 15" AMG for winter
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2018 Pelican Parts LLC - Posts may be archived for display on the Peach Parts or Pelican Parts Website -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page