560SEC timing chain check.

1979-1991 280SE, 300SE, 300SEL, 380SE, 380SEL, 380SEC, 420SE, 420SEL, 420SEC, 500SE, 500SEL, 500SEC, 560SEL, 560SEC
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brycedunn
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560SEC timing chain check.

Post by brycedunn » Sun 18 Nov, 2018 7:55 pm

I recently acquired a 560SEC I'm going through all the normal servicing on the car. One of the first things I did was have a look at the condition of the timing chain and guides.
The chain feels tight, but the guides are partially discoloured. This is a bit different to my previous experience.

Car 1 1989 560: Chain changed at 260k. Chain was still original and guides were completely discoloured. One was broken.
Car 2 1988 560: Chain changed at 295k. Chain was still original and guides were completely discoloured. One was broken.
Car 3 1977 450: Chain change before my ownership at around 240-260k. On recent inspection at 300k, guides were not discouloured at all.

This car has 260k on it. Guides are partially discoloured.

Its hard to take photos but this is what it looks like:
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This is in contrast with the 450 with about 50k on the chain and guides.
Image
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I've got plenty of other things I need to do to the 560, so I don't want to have the chain replaced unnecessarily but on the other hand if it needs doing it needs doing.
Bryce
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by KimB » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 11:47 am

Hi Bryce,

We had the same situation with our 380SEC when we bought it. Chain good, guides a light coffee colour.

Since we had no previous history to go on, we put in a new chain, guides and tensioner.

We were too terrified to drive the car until that was done.

Now we sleep like happy little lambs! :laughing6:

Cheers,
Kim
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by CraigB » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 12:55 pm

Sorry for delay - I did try to respond earlier but as you know evil forces have been at work! You can measure chain stretch and look for wear on the cam wheels. I wouldn't lose too much sleep if that checked out. Their are two key things that I have come to associate with the 'grenading' of motors. What makes it happen is the breaking of the guide that is the LHS inner one. Its the only one that is on the inside run of the chain - ie. if the others broke the plastic would fly around and makes lots of noise. If that one breaks on the inner it goes between the cam wheel and the chain and throws it off/breaks/smashes rocker cover etc. All my keepers I have paid the one off $100 or so and bought the 'fixed for life' super guide from MB Spares or Lennox motors. Alternatively you can just change with the standard one but unless i had a receipt to show that has been done, that is the one thing i would do. Can be had for something like $20 aus. and can be replaced with chain still in place but have to unbolt power steer to get to the locating pins.

The other crucial item that I have read can contribute (but don't have personal evidence) is that a worn chain tensioner can allow the chain to slap and if so and guide is brittle then of course that would help it to break. But if you look at one of those special guides, not even a wildly slapping chain would break that solid lump.

But if its a keeper and you do the lot, you won't have to worry and spread the cost out over time and not such a big deal.
Craig Baulderstone
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by AMG » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 6:27 pm

100K is the max expected life for OEM chain & guides. At that stage all should be replaced, regardless - they are a Service item after all!

The original pactene / polystone UHMWPE 9000 series plastics that I posted about were made by hand by a guy who used to supply Alan Lennox.

I had often thought about making some myself but knowing how hard UHMWPE is to machine 'cleanly' the thought was dumped.

I enjoy the safety of knowing that the only issue is the tensioner and less-so the tensioner rail and the chain & sprockets - all of which will last a hell of a lot longer with the uhmwpe guides in situ.
Current:
1987 560SL 4sp. auto Signalrot "Stella"
1987 190E 2.3-16 5sp. man. Blauschwarz "Hermann"
1992 300CE-24 6sp. man. Perlblau / Iceblau "Gretel"
1992 Range Rover Classic 4sp auto Ardennes Green "Oswald"
2012 E63 AMG Speedshift MCT Diamantweiß "Klaus"
Previous:
1986 560SEL Anthracitgrau "Schultz" - In Mercedes Heaven
1987 190E 2.6 4sp. auto Signalrot "Sabine" - which now resides/owns Andrew M's Garage
1972 350SLC Astralsilber "Lurch" - now in the loving care of Craig B
1989 2.5-16 Blauschwarz 4sp. auto (parted) formerly owned by Derek/Hasan.
2012 Renault Sport Megane RS265 Trophy 8:08 6 sp. man. Liquid Yellow "Jean Rédélé"

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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by CraigB » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 6:34 pm

So Joe, do i take it that the pactene are no longer available from Alan Lennox? I remember having to wait at one stage because they were trying to get the guy to make some more.
Craig Baulderstone
Lurch
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280SE3.5
280SL
350SL
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560SEL's

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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by AMG » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 6:36 pm

Craig, That I do not know. I heard a couple years back that the guy who made them stopped making them. That wouldn't stop someone copying the factory guide, but the material is a PITA to get a clean finish on.
It's important to use the correct grade uhmwpe as well, if i recall correctly it's pactene 9000 series. (commercial name)
Current:
1987 560SL 4sp. auto Signalrot "Stella"
1987 190E 2.3-16 5sp. man. Blauschwarz "Hermann"
1992 300CE-24 6sp. man. Perlblau / Iceblau "Gretel"
1992 Range Rover Classic 4sp auto Ardennes Green "Oswald"
2012 E63 AMG Speedshift MCT Diamantweiß "Klaus"
Previous:
1986 560SEL Anthracitgrau "Schultz" - In Mercedes Heaven
1987 190E 2.6 4sp. auto Signalrot "Sabine" - which now resides/owns Andrew M's Garage
1972 350SLC Astralsilber "Lurch" - now in the loving care of Craig B
1989 2.5-16 Blauschwarz 4sp. auto (parted) formerly owned by Derek/Hasan.
2012 Renault Sport Megane RS265 Trophy 8:08 6 sp. man. Liquid Yellow "Jean Rédélé"

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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by brycedunn » Thu 22 Nov, 2018 2:48 pm

Thanks all. I will probably have the chain done, but one thing I have seen is that in benzworld they say the febi tensioner is rubbish and only use the genuine one. However the genuine one is now seriously expensive - a quick search show it to be over USD$400.

Does anyone have experience with the Febi Tensioner?
Bryce
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by brycedunn » Thu 22 Nov, 2018 2:52 pm

AMG wrote:
Wed 21 Nov, 2018 6:36 pm
Craig, That I do not know. I heard a couple years back that the guy who made them stopped making them. That wouldn't stop someone copying the factory guide, but the material is a PITA to get a clean finish on.
It's important to use the correct grade uhmwpe as well, if i recall correctly it's pactene 9000 series. (commercial name)
That is a shame they are NLA as it looked like a good solution and I would have been happy to pay the extra.

If somebody manufactured those plus a ratcheting tensioner like the M100 these engines really would be bulletproof.
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by AMG » Thu 22 Nov, 2018 3:24 pm

Ratcheting tensioners are not the be-all and end-all , just as a 16v owner who has had one fail. $$$$$ to follow.

No the most logical solution is a manual tensioner. However, this also comes at a premium - it's called regular maintenance. every 5000km with an oil change in old-school parlance.

Having said that, I have never had an issue with the tensioner on any of my v8's to date. They have been replaced at the correct service intervals, along with the chain, sprockets tensioner rail and guides. All of which keeps the thing serviceable without intervention for the next 100K km.

I have a manual tensioner in the 16v. It has needed adjustment once since installing. While I'm pretty damn picky about the mechanicals of the 16v, I'd rather prefer a longer maintenance-free interval solution in the v8's. Perhaps the americans got a crap batch of febi tensioners. There are plenty of other brands around. and I'm sure a gen-u-whine one comes with a little holographic sticker worth more than the part contained inside the pretty box with the silver star on it.
Current:
1987 560SL 4sp. auto Signalrot "Stella"
1987 190E 2.3-16 5sp. man. Blauschwarz "Hermann"
1992 300CE-24 6sp. man. Perlblau / Iceblau "Gretel"
1992 Range Rover Classic 4sp auto Ardennes Green "Oswald"
2012 E63 AMG Speedshift MCT Diamantweiß "Klaus"
Previous:
1986 560SEL Anthracitgrau "Schultz" - In Mercedes Heaven
1987 190E 2.6 4sp. auto Signalrot "Sabine" - which now resides/owns Andrew M's Garage
1972 350SLC Astralsilber "Lurch" - now in the loving care of Craig B
1989 2.5-16 Blauschwarz 4sp. auto (parted) formerly owned by Derek/Hasan.
2012 Renault Sport Megane RS265 Trophy 8:08 6 sp. man. Liquid Yellow "Jean Rédélé"

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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by John Green » Fri 23 Nov, 2018 1:14 pm

That looks like an aftermarket timing chain to me? First clue is the single clip on the joiner link. The genuine chains are made by IWIS and have a link that looks like the picture below. Also you can see the word IWIS stamped into each link.

Image
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by brycedunn » Fri 23 Nov, 2018 1:59 pm

Thanks John,

Looks like both cars have aftermarket chains, only with the SLC I know how long ago it was done. SLC was done a couple of years before I bought it, so since I have owned the car since 2003, probably around 2000-2001.

SEC also looks aftermarket but guides appear older. So probably done in the UK before the car was imported here in 2005. SEC chain seems like it should be done, but not as an emergency as it was an original chain.

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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by AMG » Sat 24 Nov, 2018 8:51 am

At the risk of alienating everyone here on the thread:

1. pics of chain "C-Clip" (1st pic) which is installed in the correct direction presents no issue whatsoever. It might help to know that those exact same clips are used in more stressful situations on motorcycle chains and run without lubrication and are exposed to the elements. Many riders are too lazy to service their chains and simply replace them when the front and rear sprockets have no teeth left or the chain breaks from rust.

So, inside an oilbath, no particular issues - except one. Continuous high-speed. Eventually the side-loads on the hardened pins wear the pin grooves, the c-clip gets loose and will eventually come off - will take some pretty serious abuse to see this though.

2. Pics of link with double individual e clips: You'd think this would be stronger, right? or Safer? No. It's no different to the bigger C clip, but they are more prone to coming off. I have had them disappear on my 16v chain (genuine MB iwis chain) and I've bought many replacement links and clips in the past. I make a point of checking at every oil change / valve clearance adjustment.

The "safest" method of attaching the chain is to use the swaging tool (factory tool, but there are plenty double-row and single-row chain swaging tools around) which is a permanent solution when done PROPERLY and with care. It is posible to overdo it and compress the link so that it binds.... If one does this, the results will be dire.

and that is why the chains are supplied with the clips - to prevent someone from swaging the link incorrectly. Yes, they are an "easy way out" method of replacing the chain and there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the three methods if applied correctly.

But....

If you like to sink the boot in until the engine spins out to the redline and cuts out, then you would always want to use the swaging method.

Yes, you have to cut / grind the pins off to remove the chain and it's a PITA and takes longer etc etc etc....

Choice is yours, or your mechanics.

Iwis is recognized world-over as being a chain manufacturer of the highest reputation, but it is not the only manufacturer that can supply high quality chain.

Sachs, DID, RK are all well-known duplex chain suppliers with equal quality and reputation - But perhaps the anecdotal evidence is the iwis product is superior because it's survived in engines without maintenance since the engine was assembled at the factory and the others were not OE.

3/8 roller chains with standard pitches - hardened rollers or not - there are plenty of choices to be had on aftermarket but not all of them are suitable, so in this instance the correct way to purchase is to select the appropriate chain against the factory part number and buy a reputable brand from an equally reputable supplier who will honour warranty (not that you'd take a chance on a timing chain....... but maybe there is someone out there who doesn't know better)

My personal preference is Iwis and swaging the joining link in preference to the C or E clips. Takes longer, but gives me additional peace of mind.
Current:
1987 560SL 4sp. auto Signalrot "Stella"
1987 190E 2.3-16 5sp. man. Blauschwarz "Hermann"
1992 300CE-24 6sp. man. Perlblau / Iceblau "Gretel"
1992 Range Rover Classic 4sp auto Ardennes Green "Oswald"
2012 E63 AMG Speedshift MCT Diamantweiß "Klaus"
Previous:
1986 560SEL Anthracitgrau "Schultz" - In Mercedes Heaven
1987 190E 2.6 4sp. auto Signalrot "Sabine" - which now resides/owns Andrew M's Garage
1972 350SLC Astralsilber "Lurch" - now in the loving care of Craig B
1989 2.5-16 Blauschwarz 4sp. auto (parted) formerly owned by Derek/Hasan.
2012 Renault Sport Megane RS265 Trophy 8:08 6 sp. man. Liquid Yellow "Jean Rédélé"

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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by brycedunn » Sat 24 Nov, 2018 11:07 am

Hi AMG - Is the procedure you refer to the same as what is shown here for this diesel chain? I can see how it will be stronger although my engine is not going to be spending extended periods at redline.

http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/gen ... r-how.html

Bryce
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by KimB » Sat 24 Nov, 2018 4:28 pm

brycedunn wrote:
Sat 24 Nov, 2018 11:07 am
Hi AMG - Is the procedure you refer to the same as what is shown here for this diesel chain? I can see how it will be stronger although my engine is not going to be spending extended periods at redline.

http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/gen ... r-how.html

Bryce
Hah ha! I bet that's what all 560SEC owners say when they get their first big coupe! Then they get in the driver's seat and start spending "short" "extended periods at the redline"!! :nono:
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by kimrh » Thu 29 Nov, 2018 9:39 am

short" "extended periods at the redline"!! :occasion5:
87 White Euro 500SEC "ECE" 195kw
88 Black Euro 560SEC 220kw
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Re: 560SEC timing chain check.

Post by John Green » Thu 29 Nov, 2018 12:54 pm

KimB wrote:
Sat 24 Nov, 2018 4:28 pm
brycedunn wrote:
Sat 24 Nov, 2018 11:07 am
Hi AMG - Is the procedure you refer to the same as what is shown here for this diesel chain? I can see how it will be stronger although my engine is not going to be spending extended periods at redline.

http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/gen ... r-how.html

Bryce
Hah ha! I bet that's what all 560SEC owners say when they get their first big coupe! Then they get in the driver's seat and start spending "short" "extended periods at the redline"!! :nono:
Chains for all MB diesels look the same at first glance, however the pin that the rollers run on and that join everything together is thicker than the petrol version. Can't remember the spec, but it is something like 4mm for the diesel chains and 3 mm for the petrol chains. The actually roller has the same OD, it's only the inner dimension that changes on the roller. All diesel chains MUST be riveted and the joining link only used to wind it though.

Over the years I have seen a few diesels with petrol chain in them, in most cases found whilst doing a valve clearance adjustment.
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