What's so bad about the 380 V8

Hi All,
I've heard a few comments trashing the W107 380 V8. What's the problem?
Mine's almost ready to go back on the road, and while the engine's out I'd
like to do any remedial that need doing. I would much rather not have to take it out again.
So, what should/could I do to avoid the common problems with this engine. Apart from changing it,that is, which is not an option.
--
Alec Wood M1BNK
Teesside UK
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Alec -
From all I've heard, the 380 was an attempt at economy & efficiency, as the old iron block V-8's consume more petrol than one might like. MB went through some growing pains with the alloy block engines. 3.8 litres is a bit underpowered for a 107, which was the first complaint. The single-row timing chains would stretch over time, jump the sprockets causing valves & pistons to collide cat- astrophically. MB went to a double row timing chain in '84. If yours has not been converted, careful monitoring of chain tension and replacement of the single row chain at around 40,000 miles is recommended. Also, if head bolts are not re-torqued per specification when replaced they have a tendency to pull out of the block, necessitating the installation of helicoil inserts to provide new threads. The 380's just developed a reputation for being somewhat problematic, as well as underpowered. From what I've been given to understand, the 560 series fixed all those problems, has plenty of power, and just isn't the same car as the 450's & 380's. For my money, the old iron block 450's *RULE*! 210,500 miles, and still not quite broken in yet <grin>
Jerry Wolfram '78 450 SL
"Alexander S. Wood" wrote:

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The original poster signed UK below his name, so I would think that his questions pertain to the European model. If I remember correctly, the single-row timing chain in the 1981-1983 models is a US version problem only. Also, the US model is indeed underpowered at 155 hp SAE net, but the European model is much better. It had either 218 PS DIN (215 hp SAE net) in the early version or 204 PS DIN (201 hp SAE net) in the later version. I would think that this extra power over the US version 380 SL and lighter weight (no 5-mph bumpers, etc.) makes it a better performer. In addition, the 380 SL had a 4-speed auto which would probably make it a better performer than even the US 450 SL. Also, the less powerful of the two Euro 380 SL versions (201 hp SAE net) was still more powerful than any of the US 450 SL models.
Best regards,
Danny
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