New 380SL Owner - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 07:59 AM
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New 380SL Owner

Hey there gang, glad to be here! I just bought an '83 380SL yesterday and have already made gratuitous use of this forum in researching the purchase. I've got a few questions so I made a new thread, hope that's ok...

Anywho, I'm not much of a DIY sort of fellow but there is a local mechanic who specializes on German cars so I'm thinking I'll be using him for most work (hopefully won't need much) on this car. I don't believe this one has had the dual row timing chain upgrade but I still need to carefully go over the service records to confirm. If not should I go ahead and have the single serviced? What all do I need to buy to do that, the chain and tensioner or are there guides/sprockets involved too?

Also, the oil change sticker looks like it was last done about three years ago so I'm thinking I'll want to do that post-haste. Is this something any of those quick lube places can do or does it involve non-standard/old parts and would be best left to someone a bit more professional such as the afore-mentioned German car mechanic?

Ok, I'm sure I'll be around with a ton more questions but thanks for having me so far! Here's a pic of my new friend, I paid $7,500 for it, it has 44k miles and only ever had one owner. I'm pretty psyched on the purchase!



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#2 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 11:14 AM
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Single or dual, unless you have evidence of recent service it is a must do.

Tensioner, cam sprockets, chain, three upper guides, tensioner rail cover, cam oiler fittings, cam cover gaskets. Cam sprockets for the single row are NLA, rare as hen's teeth and priced as such when they do come around.

I wouldn't trust a lube 'n go unless you have a relationship and the manager has a grip...


CHECK YOUR SUBFRAME
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#3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 09:45 AM
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No, Jiffy Lube and the like do not stock filters for us. Go online and buy three or four 'oil change kits' with gaskets and crush washers. Then you can take it anywhere, just give 'em your filter. Where are you located? Down here I use a heavy oil due to high ambient temperatures.

You paid pretty much top dollar for your car so it should be in good shape as far as finish, the two tops, tires, rims, interior, etc. But you will certainly find the running gear needs attention. Brakes and lines, pumps, belts, hoses, shocks, rubber bushings, exhaust, timing as mentioned above very important.

You will find it useful to acquire a copy of the factory service manual, available on disk but I got the paper versions, three volumes. Then you can work with your mechanic from a standpoint of knowing what you are talking about. For me the last few years have been the equivalent of a graduate degree in R107-ology.

You don't say what use you plan to make of it but you will find the 380SL in proper trim will get you anywhere economically and comfortably and look good doing it.

Take more pics! Fill in your profile!
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#4 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 10:19 AM
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Vehicle: 1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 44k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 184K mile.
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I too have a 1983 380SL and like yours mine also has just over 44,000 miles.
I've owned "Angel" since new.

I think you got a great deal -- hell would freeze over before I would sell mine for $7.5K.

I had mine converted to dual row timing chain in 2009 when it had 40K miles on it.
Not cheap to have done -- the engine has to be pulled. But, when done, you will find
the engine tight feeling like it was brand new. I could tell the difference when I
got mine back out of the shop.

Years ago I contacted Mercedes complaining about the single row timing chain and
talked to a Mercedes rep. He told me that not all 1983's were single row and he
wanted my VIN to discern. Unfortunately, mine was the single row chain. You can
take a dental mirror and flash light and look down in the Oil Filler hole to see
if the chain looks like a bicycle chain or if it is a wider dual row chain.

A 30 year old car with 44K miles is something special and I bet the condition
of your 380SL is superb.

Keep on this forum. There are a lot of DIY instructions here to do various fixes.
Unfortunately, you won't find converting the timing chain a DIYer task. But
many other things are very well documented here and the folks on this forum
can help you with a lot of tasks.

Post some more pictures of your 380SL so we can see what you got.

BTW, my website shows the disassembly of the 380SL engine when mine
was converted to dual row timing chain:
1983 Mercedes 380SL


Carl

Carl



"You have chosen to drive a MERCEDES-BENZ, a car in whose construction and production we have taken great pains because we believe that quality is not a matter of chance." -- page 3, Owners Manual 380SL
Timing Chain, Subframe, wiring harness, Climate Control, Rust prevention, etc.
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#5 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 08:26 PM
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Date registered: May 2004
Vehicle: 1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 44k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 184K mile.
Location: Advance, NC
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BTW, a rough 1989 560SL sold last Saturday at a local estate auction for $9K.
It was not a car I would have wanted to own - faded paint, drivers seat
worn through to the leather, Doors did not close properly, wreck history,
odometer not correct, etc.

Carl

Carl



"You have chosen to drive a MERCEDES-BENZ, a car in whose construction and production we have taken great pains because we believe that quality is not a matter of chance." -- page 3, Owners Manual 380SL
Timing Chain, Subframe, wiring harness, Climate Control, Rust prevention, etc.
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#6 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 04:37 PM
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Hi Carl

I have recently bought a 83 380 sl, a texas car with 69000 miles on it. and enjoyed your website noted within your last posting

That timing chain issue, makes me a little uneasy. Particularly thinking of taking the engine out of the car. I thought I read many of the US versions had been updated under warranty many years ago. That's something I'll need to take a closer look at. Owning a 1965 230sl aswell I have used the SL113 forum extensively. However looks like this benzworld forum is the place to be for a new r107 owner. You appear to have had great long term enjoyment with your car

cheers

another 380sl newbie Rob

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwmoser View Post
I too have a 1983 380SL and like yours mine also has just over 44,000 miles.
I've owned "Angel" since new.

I think you got a great deal -- hell would freeze over before I would sell mine for $7.5K.

I had mine converted to dual row timing chain in 2009 when it had 40K miles on it.
Not cheap to have done -- the engine has to be pulled. But, when done, you will find
the engine tight feeling like it was brand new. I could tell the difference when I
got mine back out of the shop.

Years ago I contacted Mercedes complaining about the single row timing chain and
talked to a Mercedes rep. He told me that not all 1983's were single row and he
wanted my VIN to discern. Unfortunately, mine was the single row chain. You can
take a dental mirror and flash light and look down in the Oil Filler hole to see
if the chain looks like a bicycle chain or if it is a wider dual row chain.

A 30 year old car with 44K miles is something special and I bet the condition
of your 380SL is superb.

Keep on this forum. There are a lot of DIY instructions here to do various fixes.
Unfortunately, you won't find converting the timing chain a DIYer task. But
many other things are very well documented here and the folks on this forum
can help you with a lot of tasks.

Post some more pictures of your 380SL so we can see what you got.

BTW, my website shows the disassembly of the 380SL engine when mine
was converted to dual row timing chain:
1983 Mercedes 380SL


Carl

rob

1966 230SL
1983 380sl
2013 a200
Sydney Australia

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#7 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 04:59 PM
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The engine doesn't need to come out to install a new single-row chain. Just install a fresh single-row chain, upped chain guides, new chain tensioner (use the genuine MBZ part only!) , and new cam oiler tube supports and you're good for a long while.

For a car that has likely sat unused for long periods of time, be wary of fuel system degradation due to sludge from the tank working its way through the system. I recommend Kreen (others here prefer Techron, which is certainly easier to find) in the gas tank to help clean out aged fuel deposits and varnishes.
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#8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanso View Post
The engine doesn't need to come out to install a new single-row chain. Just install a fresh single-row chain, upped chain guides, new chain tensioner (use the genuine MBZ part only!) , and new cam oiler tube supports and you're good for a long while.
...
Unfortunately, Mercedes Benz is playing games.
Mercedes will not sell you a Single-row timing chain - if you want one
you will have to purchase it from a 3-rd party.
In addition, technical bulletins instruct their technicians to stop installing
Single-row timing chains.

Here is what is stated:
"The simplex chain (in USA engines 116.96 up to model year 1983)
must be replaced with the duplex chain together with all sprockets
in the case of repair."

You will have to remove your Engine to do this.

Mercedes screwed us with the Single Row Timing Chain just like Mercedes
screwed the 1992 thru 1996 owners with defective wiring harnesses.
Mercedes did not stand behind their pricey cars.
Never purchase a new Mercedes - the only Mercedes one should purchase
is a pre-owned Mercedes that you have researched for defects and quirks.

Carl

Ref: Untitled Document
Search for "320 Renewing Timing Chain" and download the document.

Carl



"You have chosen to drive a MERCEDES-BENZ, a car in whose construction and production we have taken great pains because we believe that quality is not a matter of chance." -- page 3, Owners Manual 380SL
Timing Chain, Subframe, wiring harness, Climate Control, Rust prevention, etc.
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#9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 05:55 PM
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#10 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 05:59 PM
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Date registered: May 2004
Vehicle: 1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 44k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 184K mile.
Location: Advance, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbieMarks View Post
Hi Carl

I have recently bought a 83 380 sl, a texas car with 69000 miles on it. and enjoyed your website noted within your last posting

That timing chain issue, makes me a little uneasy. Particularly thinking of taking the engine out of the car. I thought I read many of the US versions had been updated under warranty many years ago. That's something I'll need to take a closer look at. Owning a 1965 230sl aswell I have used the SL113 forum extensively. However looks like this benzworld forum is the place to be for a new r107 owner. You appear to have had great long term enjoyment with your car

cheers

another 380sl newbie Rob
Hey Rob, 69,000 miles makes me think you have a pretty nice vehicle
and it might already have been converted. You can open the Oil Cap
and use a Dental Mirror and flashlight to get a look see. Hope you
do this and find a double-row timing chain.

At 40,000 miles I heard what sounded like chain slapping.
I have a photo on my website showing how slack my old
single-row chain was.

If you hear your chain flapping when you first start up your car,
I would have it looked at.

Carl

Carl



"You have chosen to drive a MERCEDES-BENZ, a car in whose construction and production we have taken great pains because we believe that quality is not a matter of chance." -- page 3, Owners Manual 380SL
Timing Chain, Subframe, wiring harness, Climate Control, Rust prevention, etc.
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