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'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just bought an '85 380SL with 145K miles on her that's due for a timing chain. I feel pretty sure I can do the job myself and have been doing research and pricing parts.

I am not one to cheap out on new parts, but , at the same time , not one to go running to Mercedes if the same or equivalent (German) part is available on the aftermarket.

This seems to be the case with the timing chain, which is made by IWIS for Mercedes, so, no problem getting that for less than $80.

The tensioner seems to be a different story. Indications are that the Febi/Bilstein, although German made, either does not last, or does not work as well as the Mercedes tensioner, and those seem to be the only options. There is a huge differential in price - something like $60 vs $250.

So, R107 cognoscenti, what has been your experience- is the Mercedes tensioner worth the 4x differential in price? It seems to me that even if the Febi wears out twice as fast, it's not that big a deal to replace.

Your thoughts?

Rick
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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So, R107 cognoscenti, what has been your experience- is the Mercedes tensioner worth the 4x differential in price? It seems to me that even if the Febi wears out twice as fast, it's not that big a deal to replace.
The tensioner on my car made it from late 1977 to 2009 - 31 years - and 175,000 miles. If the replacement lasts 15 years or 85,000 miles, I will feel like I got my money's worth.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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What ever you do..........the upside is that it is fairly easy to replace.

But I'm all about MB parts......like Scott said.....the original lasted how long?
 

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US spec MB560SL 1986, Audi A4 and A6, Ford Taunus 1964 17M and 2.0 1975
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Febi

I bought the Febi because I was convinced the real engine kind functional test bench they are using for 100% tensioner production. Additionally I can not see any visual difference between the Febi to MB original tensioners. (560SL -86)
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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I used the Febi one. It is actually Febi-Bilstein. I figured if Bilstein shocks are the shocks of choice for our cars, why would I question the quality of the tensioner from the same company? And who makes the MB version?

Besides, for unknown reasons, an on-line site was selling the early version that I needed for my '72 for C$50.00!
 

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560SL,380SL
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FWIW, I had one (Febi) poop out after 20K. The one on it now (my 380SL) has 30K on it. There is a guy on the 126 board who owns a shop who says that only the MB part contains a one-way valve, don't know if it's true or not.

I was so upset over the near-disaster, that I bought and installed METAL guides for the LH side of the engine. They are more expensive, but if your tensioner fails, you will definitely know about it well before those guides break. I wish that these metal guides were available for the 560.

PS: Join MBCA and/or shop around for discounts on MB parts. With that taken into consideration, many genuine parts become reasonable.
 

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1984 380SL
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My FEBI tensioner loses it after three days. If I drive it at least every other day, no problem. It has 5000 miles on it.
 

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'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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My FEBI tensioner loses it after three days. If I drive it at least every other day, no problem. It has 5000 miles on it.
Interesting. My Febi-Bilstein has been in for 2 1/2 years with no problems.

Don't know if it makes a difference, but I submerged mine in oil and actuated the plunger before installing so as to make sure all air was eliminated. This is covered in the manual.
 

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1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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Did the same with my new one on the '73. It maintains pressure with no problem even sitting 30 days. No noise at start up.
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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Mine hasn't had any issues, either. And I also submerged and filled mine (and then had to squeeze the hell out of it to get it down enough to fit into the car).
 

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'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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Discussion Starter #11
Scott-

Did you use a Febi or gen-u-ine MB?

Actually, I think the 450 engine is a different part # from the 380/560, isn't it?

Rick
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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Did you use a Febi or gen-u-ine MB?
It had to have been Febi, because I certainly didn't pay $300 for it.

Actually, I think the 450 engine is a different part # from the 380/560, isn't it?
Um. Well, if you're talking about the engine, they're all 117 engines, but the 450 is a 117.985. If you're talking about the part number of the tensioner, I don't know. I do know the early 450s used a different one, because they didn't have the smog controls. Whether they changed the design later....
 

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Yeah, i think it was about the time they went to the alloy blocks that the tensioner design changed completely. For the earlier design, like on your 450 the Febi one is VERY similar to the genuine one, and may even be OEM.
 

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1991 MB 300-SEL - M103 motor
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Just received a "Made In Germany" Febi belt tensioner for a 103 motor today from an online parts provider I've used for the last 10 yrs.

Won't be able to begin reinstallation 'til next week.

Also replacing engine shock - tensioner rod/nut and belt

All "Made In Germany" as well.

Time will tell.
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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Just received a "Made In Germany" Febi belt tensioner for a 103 motor today from an online parts provider I've used for the last 10 yrs.

Won't be able to begin reinstallation 'til next week.

Also replacing engine shock - tensioner rod/nut and belt

All "Made In Germany" as well.

Time will tell.
Belt? :confused:
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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Sorry for the misunderstanding. The thread is about timing chain.
 
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