380SL - when the timing chain breaks?

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Jeremy, I'm not trying to act like a troll or act dense. I have two opposing opinions I am trying to reconcile with and even though one would think Mercedes
would be the definitive authority, I am at least giving a lot of respect to the opposing stance. I have no desire to throw away $4 G's to install a dual timing chain in an engine that seems to 'purr like a kitten' unless I have to. I have to weigh these two opposing positions and potential costs. Perhaps Mercedes has even opened themselves up to a class action lawsuit if enough data can be obtained. I'm kinda pissed about this as I purchased my 380SL thinking I bought a well designed, well engineered, and highly reliable vehicle. Why the h*ll would I pay $45K for a car that is a piece of crap. I remember well when I purchased my SL that I seriously considered the 1984 Corvette at 1/2 the cost I paid for the SL. I guess I should have instead bought the Vette and have 20 G's more in my pocket.
I assume those of you who advocate converting to dual timing chain believe the 380SL engine should then be reliable to 200k miles if well maintained.

the
years
said:
failure.
etc.),
on
the
don't
design,
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If you're real nice to it it should last longer than that.
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400,000 miles should be attainable with proper scheduled maintenance. If you really want to believe MB, it is your choice. That year corvette would have already consumed the extra $20k and not be worth more than $4k, rides like a pig and is what it is, a cheap sports car.
Where did you get the $4k figure?
If you are so unhappy with buying the SL, I will take it off your hands for $6k and change the flaming chain myself.
JJ
Ptolemy wrote:

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on
few
they
for
it
for
We
200,000
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If you put a different drive chain in it expect a value below $5,000. If you break the engine by not changing the chain, expect less than $5,000 for it, I was just offering to rescue the car from an untenable position. If you want to drop something different in it, try the European 560 engine and really get the performance that the chassis was built for.
As for the $6k, that was sight unseen, with a car under utilized and with the old single chain and a fair offer.
JJ
Ptole

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With an Isuzu motor? $2500.
I can understand your reluctance to accept that these single chain motors are not crap because Mercedes says so, but did you mention you had one before you asked?
Try calling some other MB dealers and chat up the parts guy and say you're thinking about getting an SL and ask them what they feel the good points and bad points are between say a 560SL and a 380SL.
Tom at Calibre motors might be a good plae to start.
Or if you want an outside opinion on the chance everybody on the Internet is lying to you try asking recognized authorities; try John Olson at slmarket.com or Todd Knutson who runs my SL list. They each have decades of experiece with all things Mercedes and expecially SL's.
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$5k and no more bitching and I will replace the tyres too. You have had the truth, now time for you to decide. Let us know how it goes after the chain either gets replaced or broken. JJ
Ptolemy wrote:

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wrote in message

searching
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Not going to waste any more time trying to convince you, it is your car, your choice, and when It breaks I will not feel that I failed to try to help
Good luck
JJ
Ptolemy wrote:

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wrote in message

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The 6 has less HP. If he's so well known what's his name?

Dude, give the fuck up already. Everybody and his brother has assured you these things are ticking time bombs and have been known to break in as few as 30K miles. Do you really care what the statistical average is, or MTBF might be for your car? Just get the damn thing fixed already and be done with it.
The only people you seem to believe are ones that have a vested interest in your engine failing, have you considered that? Have you googled "mercedes single row timing chain" ?
http://www.google.com/search?pg=q&fmt=.&q=mercedes+single+row+timing+chain&xI&y=8
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talked
Mercedes
that
low
not
convert
did
http://www.google.com/search?pg=q&fmt=.&q=mercedes+single+row+timing+chain&xI&y=8
Oh yeah, I have googled for "mercedes single row timing chain" and looked at a lot of websites. I would feel better if I had some data - MTBF, etc for assurance. You guys have put enough doubt in my mind that I need to get it converted unless Mercedes can refute (better yet give me some sort of guarantee) the need for it to be done.
I think this issue is detrimental to 380SL owners and possibly the reason that it has gone on for so long is what our local independent Mercedes expert stated that 'Mercedes has never done a recall'. Perhaps Mercedes is willing to abandon their customers in order to save their reputation?
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Mr Sexton,
Please pass this on, if you will:
First off, here is a pretty good article on the subject:
http://fly.hiwaay.net/~gbf/107/rt.html
I've played with 107 cars for 13 years. I've seen many early US market 380's succumb to the single row timing chain failure. I've also seen a number of those cars survive because the timing chain and top rails were swapped out every 50-60 K miles. The 40K reference in the article is a bit conservative, but not overly so. It's relatively cheap to just replace the chain. To the best of my knowledge, MB has stopped supplying that chain, but there are plenty of alternatives.
To conclude: A conversion is not necessary if the chain is replaced at 50K intervals or less. The cost of a single row chain replacement is 10% of a conversion to a double row, so it's doubtful that there would be any economic benefit for making the conversion. It's important to replace the rails, as they can cause as much damage when they get old and brittle as a snapped or slipped chain.
Todd Knutson
-----Original Message----- From: Richard J. Sexton [mailto: snipped-for-privacy@killi.net] Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 8:15 PM To: snipped-for-privacy@mbz.org Subject: 380 chain
Mr. Knutson; I read with interest this opinion on Usenet:
"This morning I stoped at an independent Mercedes repair shop. The guy I talked with was in his 50's and said he has spent his entire life working on Mercedes and knows SL's in and out. He claims he is well known in the area for his Mercedes repair expertise and he seems quite knowledgable. He said that the 380SL is the worst of the 107 group because of the engine being underpowered. He said that since I bought my 380SL new, did regular service, changed oil often, and did not abuse it that the single timing chain might not be that that big an issue. He said he thinks that perhaps those who let the oil get too low or did not change oil often enough is the reason for the failure. Mine does not leak oil nor burn oil - just not driven enough. He said he has repaired many engines when the timing chain failed and his costs were $1700-$2000 to convert to dual timing chain and $300 to convert the AC to R134 freon. Course, he did say that it might cost $6k if the chain failed to rebuild the engine.
It would be interesting to obtain 'data' as hard numbers on how these chains hold up so one can predict with probabilities of potential failure."
I was wondering if yoru group would like to comment on the accuracy of these statements.
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Richard, thanks for the post. Regarding this issue, it appears we have the following:
- Doug Rugg says that at one time Mercedes did convert some of the early 380SLs, free of charge, to double row chain for some customers.
- Todd Knutson thinks a conversion is not necessary if the chain is replaced at 50K intervals or less.
- My local independent Mercedes mechanic concurs with Todd Knutson.
- But we have other experts whose opinion is that it is necessary to do a conversion to dual timing chain ASAP.
- Another post states that Mercedes MBUSA Note in its Technical Bulletin that the single timing chain "MUST NO LONGER BE INSTALLED!!!!"
- Mercedes no longer will supply the single timing chain.
- Still we have 1981-1983 380SL engine failures due to timing chain failures.
My Gosh, this is a highly controversial topic!!! As we say in the software world, is there a "Best Practice"????

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Best Practice: Replace the single row chain with a double row chain. There is evidence that the single row chain can break and screw everything up. You can do various things to give the single row chain from causing probles, one of which includes replacing the chain every 50K and taking good care of the motor. There is no record of double row chains breaking and screwing up the motor.
You wanna piss about with a single row chain? Have at it, brother. But if you want a "Best Practice"- replace it with a double row chain.
Jeff
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Yeah, upgrade the chain.
The only conclusion I can draw from this since I don't have one of these engines and have no vested interest either way is, if you're REALLY careful and REALLY lucky and are REALLY good about maintenance then you can get by with a single row chain. While it is no doubt possible you'll find higher milage single row engines I know for a fact of one that was changed at 80K miles then broke 37K miles later with regular 3000 ile oil changs.
In terms of risk assesement it's prudent to upgrade; if you feel lucky, don't.
I would never consider buying a single row car, ever.
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...............END OF THIS THREAD........
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$4k for a dual timing chain conversion? Somebody posted that number a while back. Have you heard of other costs or what would be a fair cost to have it done?
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I posted the $4,000 , NOT for a conversion, which costs about $3,000 in a 380SL (less in a sedan because the pan is split in those). The $4,000 was in answer to an inqury about the cost of chain FAILURE.
Bill Ditmire Ditmire Motorworks,Inc. 425 White Horse Pike Absecon,NJ 08201 http://www.ditmire.com 609-641-3392
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380SL
What is the breakdown of parts versus labor for the conversion? Does the engine have to be 'pulled'? How many hours does it take? My AC is the old refrigerant and most likely I would convert to R134 at the same time.

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