Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have heard of possible engine issues with pre-1986 380 SL's-----something about premature failure related to some sort of camshaft problems. My source of information even mentioned a "conversion" process that remedies this problem (but it's not cheap). Has anyone out there heard about this problem? I am about to purchase a low mil 1985 380 SL and would like to know if I am possibly buying into an expensive problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
What you are referring to is the trouble with the timing chain. Mercedes originally installed a single chain which had a tendancy of breaking thus turning your engine into nasty business. The conversion is to a double row of chains. The expensive portion of it is that in order to convert to a double chain, you have to pull the engine. A conversion kit runs between 400 to 600 but labor can run over a 1,000 or more. I have a 1981 380 SL with 145k on it and it has a single chain. My MB factory certified mechanic tells me he saw no problem with the chain and I should be able to get another 30k ot of it. Since I only drive the car less than 5 k a year, it should last. In order to tell whether you have a double or single chain, you have to remove the valve covers. Ask the current owner when was the last time the timing chain was inspected. Hope this helps.<br>_______________<br>: I have heard of possible engine issues with pre-1986 380 SL's-----something about premature failure related to some sort of camshaft problems. My source of information even mentioned a "conversion" process that remedies this problem (but it's not cheap). Has anyone out there heard about this problem? I am about to purchase a low mil 1985 380 SL and would like to know if I am possibly buying into an expensive problem.<p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The 1981 through 1983 380SL's were the only MB 107 production years which had the single row timing chain and therefore the problem of unexpected breakage. All production from the first of the 1984 model year onwards was back to the double row chain and has no special issues. Note that the chains still have to be checked regularly, and may be stretched to the point of needing replacement as early as 60k if the car is low, low miles and may not have had the most frequent oil changes. However, this is only the standard double chain maintenance/replacement issue (probably will also need some of chain rails replaced, and new style chain tensioner, whenever the chain does need replacement. Not absolutely sure, but I believe that the single row timing chain on the '81-'83's was also limited solely to US spec cars.<p>Great cars, good luck with the purchase,<p>Mike Sullivan<br>'84 380 SL with 78k miles<p>: What you are referring to is the trouble with the timing chain. Mercedes originally installed a single chain which had a tendancy of breaking thus turning your engine into nasty business. The conversion is to a double row of chains. The expensive portion of it is that in order to convert to a double chain, you have to pull the engine. A conversion kit runs between 400 to 600 but labor can run over a 1,000 or more. I have a 1981 380 SL with 145k on it and it has a single chain. My MB factory certified mechanic tells me he saw no problem with the chain and I should be able to get another 30k ot of it. Since I only drive the car less than 5 k a year, it should last. In order to tell whether you have a double or single chain, you have to remove the valve covers. Ask the current owner when was the last time the timing chain was inspected. Hope this helps.<br>_______________<br>: I have heard of possible engine issues with pre-1986 380 SL's-----something about premature failure related to some sort of camshaft problems. My source of information even mentioned a "conversion" process that remedies this problem (but it's not cheap). Has anyone out there heard about this problem? I am about to purchase a low mil 1985 380 SL and would like to know if I am possibly buying into an expensive problem.<p><p>
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top