Please pass this on, if you will:
First off, here is a pretty good article on the subject:
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.
From: Richard J. Sexton [mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 8:15 PM
Subject: 380 chain
I read with interest this opinion on Usenet:
"This morning I stoped at an independent Mercedes repair shop. The guy
with was in his 50's and said he has spent his entire life working on
and knows SL's in and out. He claims he is well known in the area for
Mercedes repair expertise and he seems quite knowledgable. He said that
380SL is the worst of the 107 group because of the engine being
He said that since I bought my 380SL new, did regular service, changed
often, and did not abuse it that the single timing chain might not be
big an issue. He said he thinks that perhaps those who let the oil get
or did not change oil often enough is the reason for the failure. Mine
leak oil nor burn oil - just not driven enough. He said he has repaired
engines when the timing chain failed and his costs were $1700-$2000 to
to dual timing chain and $300 to convert the AC to R134 freon. Course,
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
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
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