I have a 1983 380SL with 195K miles. I removed the valve cover and it has
the double timing chain. I understand that the 1983 model had a single
chain, so I assume that the upgrade kit may have been done around 100K
miles. My question is when should I replace this timing chain? If it needs
to be changed what else need to be replaced along with it? The engine is in
excellent running condition at this time. Thanks for your advice.
As I've owned an 81 380sl for a number of years, I can pass the info
I've learned from the people here and others over those years on to
The first thing is don't assume that the conversion was done around
100k miles, since the odds are that the original chain wouldn't have
lasted that long, and that it was converted long before then. And even
if the chain had been converted around 100k, MB recommends that it be
changed every 100k. So you're ready for a new chain anyway.
You also need to change the chain tensioner and the upper chain guides
at this time, and MB also recommends that the lower guides be changed
at 200k, However, I've been told by several people that the lower
guides rarely break, even at 300k -- though the experts here might
In any event, since I did most of the work myself, it cost me app. 80
for the tensioner, 90 for the chain, and about 30 for the upper guides
and tensioner guide. However, if you have MB do it, my guess is that
you're looking at somewhere between 1500 and 2000 for the same work,
and twice that much if you have them do the lower guides, too. OTOH,
if you shop around, you may find a good independent that will be more
If you let people here know where you're located, maybe they can
Good luck with it. They're great cars, but they need a lot of work!
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