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Post Info TOPIC: Auto-Trends LS1 inspired M116 and M117 Performance Engine Overhauls! Summer 2008
Do you think the M116 and M117 have what it takes to handle 400+ horsepower? The LS1 did! [10 vote(s)]

Yes
90.0%
No
10.0%
How can I get involved and be the first to own one?
0.0%


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RE: Auto-Trends LS1 inspired M116 and M117 Performance Engine Overhauls! Summer 2008


Tony H wrote:

Yes but it is a very small amount-about 1/8" on the 5 cam tower head bolts. I don't see it as any problem.
Question-on the head under where the valve spring rotater sits there is a stamped number (1 or 2)What does that refer to? I thought it might have something to do with the valve guidbore in the head but not sure.


I am not quite understanding what you are saying. The valve spring rotater sits on top of the spring.

Do you have a photo? 



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Sure-I will take one tonight. Thanks!

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Tony


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Here you go.  The numbers do not correlate to cylinder of valve.  Most are "1" but a few "2"



-- Edited by Tony H on Saturday 28th of September 2013 11:26:54 AM

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Tony


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Hi Tony H,

I'm only guessing here, but I think the numbers represent an inspection-code offered by an employee after the casting / manufacturing of the cylinder-heads, to determine the suitabilty of service. Since it was fitted to a vehicle & has already seen service, I'd say your safe ! Aluminium has always been a ficcle metal to cast, & back in the "early-days" quality control was paramount for MB, as any failure of any component would not see service on any vehicle sold to their customers. Quality was ( & hopefully still is...) the most important ingredient to their success.

I believe that the "star" shaped raised "notches" that have been cast around the guide ( right where your number of concern is ) was made to reduce the possibility of porosity & corrosion of the metal around the guides, & to provide a more stable platform for valve guide security when temperatures move from cold-to-hot with regards to expansion-rates of the differing metals etc etc. You'll possibly find similar marks around the cyl-head bolt-holes as-well. Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Rastus

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Hi Tony H,

I went back & revisited some earlier photos you provided ( see page 1 ), & in one of these, it "looks" like the No-2 is possibly consistent with your exhaust valve / port. You yourself have the heads, & if the numbers are consistent with the ports, ie, 1=intake, & 2=exhaust, then it would seem that the numbers do represent the valve-guides to be used for each valve, as you hinted at earlier with the guide-bore diameter. Are the numbers consistent with the ports ? I have to ask since there's not enough "photo" of the head to see the adjacent cylinders etc etc.

Cheers,

Rastus

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I think it relates to the machining of the valve spring pockets from the factory. Its important, but not if the valve train that come off the vehicle has been kept in order. If not, well you got some work ahead of you.



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Hi SELLC,

Great post & picture !!! What took you so long LOL ?

Rastus

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I guess there has been a lot going on.

You have access to the V8 Cafe so you know what I'm dealing with at the moment.



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A quick update on my 5.6L iron block project. I have abandoned the idea of using 560 heads-there is really no point to it. Using 450 heads will result in a 9.7:1 CR due to the smaller combustion chamber(45cc vs 50cc). After much side by side comparison between the two heads I believe I can make the 450 heads comparable to the 560 heads. I discussed installing larger intake valve seats so I could use the larger(by a small amount) 560 intake valves and my machine shop said it would be a waste of money for such a small increase in valve size. I can fit the slimmer stem 560 exhaust valves since the exhaust valve guide bore is the same size between the two heads.
The other thing I was pondering was what camshafts to use. I bought some very early 02/03 500SL (Euro market) camshafts that I believe will offer the most performance potential with a stock camshaft. Since the 500SL is around 240-245HP with 5.0L I would think I might achive 280HP with my higher CR, larger displacement and better FI/ignition/exhaust. Regardless it will be a substantial increase over the original 3.5L. Block is going to the machine shop next week for final honing/deck resurfacing. Next I will start working on the heads.

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Hi Tony H,

Good to hear that things are moving along nicely ! How's the rest of the restoration progressing ?

Only a few things concern my thoughts ( LOL) at the moment, & that's the camshaft business again....The M117 5.0ltr engine I'm pretty sure went out of production through the 1980's...The year you quoted above was for a 2003-4 year model, these were DOHC with 4-valves per cylinder designs, & then SOHC with 3-valves per cylinder...Also, your original 3.5 & 4.5 ltr engines would have had adjustable valve lash capability, not the later hydraulic-compensating-elements...These hyd-elements are not cheap to buy new, & I'm not sure whether you can use camshafts with either type, so be warned & tread carefully !

Cheers,

Rastus

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The camshafts are from a 117.960 which is early 80's Euro market 450SL 5.0 or 500SL. The heads I am now using are later 4.5 heads which have(accept) the hydraulic adjustors. Yes the early 3.5 and 4.5 engines used mechanical valve adjustors-the heads do not have oil passages for the hydraulic adjustors. I bought the camshafts with the matched rockers that were originally mated to them. Just by a visual inspection the lobes are "fatter" than the 26/27 stock 5.6 cams but I will profile them this weekend. The 02/03 I quoted is the cam code stamped on the camshaft and referenced in the manual by "05-215 Checking and adjusting camshaft timing". That code defines the grind of the camshaft. I will see if I can attach the PDF.



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Tony


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That was a very juicy PDF Tony!

Thanks for good read! Sounds like you're getting your numbers in order and I'm defiantly most interested in the progression of this modification! 



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A quick analysis shows the 500 cams with a little more duration (193 deg vs 189 deg @.050") a narrower LSA (106 vs 111 deg) but the biggest difference is the amount of retard-the 560 cams are retarded about 15 deg more than the 500 cams. All this seems like the 500 cams would be a little "hotter" but still very mild cams. They should work fine for my project. The 500 cams would probably not pass smog due to the tighter LSA and less retard.
So I pretty much have everything dialed in. Now I just need time to work on it!

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I have always marveled over the performance of the 500's 

I once had a 1985 Euro 500 SEL and it really seemed to haul ass! 



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No wonder-the 500SL was the quickest of the 107's. I'm excited about using the 500SL cams in my project and they are not too hard to find. The 500 cams are retarded too-just not as much. I'm having some adjustible timing gears made so I can play with the timing.

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Hi Tony H,

Yep, you're going to have some fun LOL ! The tighter the Lobe-Centre-Angle, the more valve-overlap, & generally more top-end power. However, it's interesting to note how the 560 cams are retarded by so many more degrees, as this too increases top-end power...

As always, the general understandings / rules of camshafts are always conflicting with one-another, & one guide-line with one motor, has a differing out-come with another ! Maybe since the 500's were generally 3-speed auto's ( in the 1970's ), so we find advanced camshaft timing, for more low-end torque etc etc, & the 560, though smogged-completely-out, had a 4-speed trans.

All I'm getting at is that usually, you find cams with tighter LCA's on the larger engines, not the smaller, & 106 degrees to 111 degress LCA is significant in camshaft design.

Very interested to see your results when you start adjusting your camshaft phasings Tony, keep us posted !

Cheers,

Rastus

PS It's also annoying that MB don't offer the full-specs of their cams, & only timing values etc. So well done Tony on finding the full-specs yourself !



-- Edited by Rastus on Friday 21st of February 2014 01:47:16 AM



-- Edited by Rastus on Friday 21st of February 2014 01:47:46 AM

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Apparently a larger LSA and retarding the cam reduces emissions by leaning out the low speed operation(that's where they tested emissions in that era) I kind of wanted to know what they were doing with the different camshafts. I'm sure it is always a balance between emissions, smoothness, economy, and power. These engines are really under-headed for the displacement so the tighter LSA 500 cams should help with the scavenging but increases emissions so no go for the USA. I don't think much more than 280-300HP is realistic with the small valves/heads these engines have-you can only move so much air through a given port/valve with NA. I'm not looking for tire shredding power but a substantial increase over the small 3.5 for a minumun of money. I don't mind spending money but one can spend crazy money for a small increase in power on these engines and end up with drivability/reliability problems and noisy valvetrains. I think my combination should be solid.
Where I am now is only a few hundred $ more than a quality stock rebuild-just the cost of the doner engines and having the 4.5 block bored. Everthing else I am doing should be done on any rebuild.
My 3.5 has an even tighter LSA than the 500 cams and it has a really nasty burble at idle. Hope the 500 cams have some of that.

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So here is the latest: my old fears about the "mystery" coating on the 560 pistons has returned to the point where I am looking for other options. I am putting a lot of effort and $ into this and just don't want to risk it on the pistons. After much research I think a good candidate are Buick 3.8 turbo pistons-they are forged, the correct diameter with several oversizes available, the compression height is .085" higher(leaves me room to mill the top to the ideal squish clearance) and they have a dish very similar to the volume of the 560 pistons. The Buick pin is about .060 smaller which leaves me the option to have the pin bores machined to the Mercedes pin size. I bought a cheap cast piston off Ebay to see how the valve, skirt clearance and deck height is before I get more serious.



-- Edited by Tony H on Friday 14th of March 2014 03:47:36 PM

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Piston selection is one of many advantages you have with a cast iron block. To get a similar aftermarket piston into an M117 aluminum casting one would have to have all the cylinders sleeved. Aluminum walls are far less forgiving in this aspect.

Early on in this thread I made mention of the above, interesting that you are making it a reality. I look forward to hearing what you come up with.



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Last flip-flop-I promise! After a lengthy discussion with my machinist I decided to stay with my original plan and go with the 560 pistons. Customs were way too expensive and I could not find a off the shelf that was close enough in compression height to work.  Block is now in the machine shop for final honing and parallel decking.  I have flip floped on my head choice as well. The 560 heads really do have more potential and the exhaust valves are larger as well as the intake. The main reason I was reluctant to use them was the loss of CR I would relaize. To compensate I am having .020" taken off the deck and after I machine the piston tops(about .035" to get .040" squish) I should end up with about 9.4-9.5:1 CR. Pics when I get it back.



-- Edited by Tony H on Monday 24th of March 2014 12:05:30 AM



-- Edited by Tony H on Monday 24th of March 2014 12:07:52 AM

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Hey Tony,

Once again, at least you have plenty of possible combinations to choose from ! Don't forget about your free-breathing dual-exhaust system...You only need to calculate the amount of exhaust-slugs that a V-8 produces at 2,000 rpm to realize that a twin-system is the ONLY way to go with any V-8 engine...Single systems do nothing but rob you of power-making potential !

Cheers,

Rastus

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Totally agree concerning the exhaust system. My goal is to build custom long tube headers connected to a 2.25 or 2.5" dual system with an H-pipe. I may use euro logs until I can get the headers built. Inderstand this is all in the future.

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G'day fellas...

Newbie here obviously... And Aussie... Both good things...right?
Is there an M116 sticky on what to look for and stuff? I'm just looking at my first foray into MB classics and am eyeing off a damn nice looking '72 W108 that claims full restoration including paint, interior and rebuild of the 3.5... Looks great.. I want reliable, comfy.. Stylish.. Versus a bit more for a 6.3 with THAT air suspension (cringe)..

Have been avidly going through this discussion and have to say I'm impressed by the motor... My background is ford windsors and clevelands (Aussie builder etc etc) have a handy father who is a retired mechanic with a penchant for w111 220s's...

From what i have been reading.. I like what a small displacement 6bolt alloy (?cast?) V8 offers... Being strong, smooth and perky..
So here's a few questions relating to early posts...
a) What's the fuel (and it seems oil) usage of the stock 3.5 assuming good condition?
b) output seems high on any scale...?
c) if I'm looking for smooth n cruiser type limo would a tiny blowback turbo and a slightly taller final drive give me lower revs on the highway and therefore lower fuel use? I noticed the mention of 3k+ rpm at highway speeds and look at current cars sitting way lower...

I enjoy the improvement and that more is better but I'm looking to get minor power improvement with better fuel on a car rather than tyre smoking high hp.. I'm looking at the current euro push towards efficiency with tiny turbos..

I'm not even sure if I'm being sacrilegious by suggesting low boost turbos on a classic... But this seemed a good place to start...

Cheers..

Ben



-- Edited by Ben on Sunday 20th of July 2014 09:54:51 PM

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Having said all that... Would I get more enjoyment just putting a free flow exhaust on it and enjoying the drive?

plus the option is a W108 2.8 manual.. Vs the 3.5 auto.. 

Ben



-- Edited by Ben on Sunday 20th of July 2014 09:53:55 PM

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Hi Ben,

I've got one of these 3.5 V-8's in a '73 SLC coupe, & it's a good all-round tourer, with a healthy dollop of top-speed.. This is about 205 kmph @ 6,300 rpm. MB had always geared their cars to be capable of pulling max. rpm in top gear. - ( Pre over-drive & 5-6-7 speed auto days of course LOL). For the 3.5 to do this, they fitted it with 3.46 final drive ratio. I would not change the ratio, as although the over-all performance is surprisingly pretty good for its 213.5 ci displacement, it's NO 1/4 mile drag car, & though it's a V-8, its tiny capacity means that it lacks that big V-8 torque at low rpms & wide open throttle...So what you get is a very happy, free-revving motor that needs high rpms to pull the heavy payload that a MB is...

Just check your oil-level after every tank of fuel. Regular driving at legal speeds won't / shouldn't see it drop on the stick. Sustained high-speed motoring may see it start to drink depending on the weight of the oil & brand. I use Shell Helix HX-7, & she only starts to drink it after sustained 100mph motoring, where the engine is happily sitting at about 5,250 rpm...

The hardest thing for me to get used to was the way the motor revs !!! Think of it as a great little V-8 that offers typical V-8-like power delivery, but with 6-cylinder fuel economy. You should be able to get around 24mpg, or 8.33 km per litre, or if you rather, around 12.0 ltrs consumption for 100k's traveled. Not too bad for heavy cars...

If I were you, & had my eyes on these cars that are older than my SLC, I would with no hesitation grab a 6.3, & put-up with the air-suspension. These 6.3's hammer, & offer a far better dollar for dollar running cost over the time of your ownership. And that's not including the smile-factor that you'd have !!!

Any of these V-8's will benefit from a free-flowing dual exhaust, & unleash more power for free. I highly recommend it !!!

The 2.8 in the W108 is a nice car, & the motor will impress you for what it is, but it would honestly struggle to satisfy any performance quest without flogging it everywhere you went. That being said, if it's the "Twin-Cam" 2.8, top speed will see you top-out at about 195kmph, at approx 6,500rpm, with fuel consumption very similar to the 3.5 V-8. The 3.5 is an overall far better / stronger engine than the Twin-Cam in my opinion.

I hope this helps, I'd go for the 6.3 ( though they're thirsty ), & enjoy whatever you grab yourself.

Rastus

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Finally got the block back from the machine shop but been too busy to do anything with it. I had .030 taken off the deck so by time I machine the piston tops for proper squish I should have about 9.5:1 cr which is where I want to be. I had the front cover machined at the same time. I am designing some adjustable timing gears to dial in my cam timing. All the stock cams are retarded various amounts for emissions and from what I have read this reduces fuel economy, runs hotter and less responsive at lower speeds (where we drive most of the time)
Speaking of air suspension I have been giving some serious thought to converting my coupe. There is no downside(except cost) and the systems available today are very sophisticated. Plus the thought of reinstalling my front springs scares the heck out of me more than when I removed them. Worth the cost of the system just not to do that.

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Hi Tony H,

Good to hear that progress is being made. Even just a little bit everyday still moves you closer to completion.

The air suspension systems were only good on smooth roads, since when you encounter a heap of bumps successively on the road, the air heats-up & then expands, & this changes the dynamics of your ride from comfortable to really poor & harsh quite quickly...Stick with the springs & regular shock-absorbers would be my suggestion. You'd also have a wider range of comfort settings to choose from, though these would remain fixed.

Also, MB went to the trouble of color-coding the springs, so that they went back into the correct / allocated positions...eg, the drivers side front spring is calibrated for that position only & shouldn't be used in any other position. They do this knowing that the car will more often have just the one occupant in it ( driver ), so its actually a different spring to the passenger side etc etc.

A good / new spring compressor is all you need to gain confidence in the tool...The threaded bar does flex quite a bit & often puts that lump in the throat as you wind-it-down for clearance. Using a new compressor, or a MB special tool is the trick in your situation. It's only the older tools that can slip & move around a little that will give these concerns. New ones or even OEM tools are not too expensive, & worth it for the piece-of-mind. I'm sure some-one somewhere will make a spring tool for the old W-108's.

Cheers,

Rastus

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I did a little write up on using the spring compressor tool -

http://autotrend.activeboard.com/t34382884/mercedes-benz-w126-front-coil-spring-tool/

Definatly makes the job 1000 times easier. I too feel the soft air ride would take away from the classic and tight feel of these cars.



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Appreciate every ones comments. The 108/111 front suspension is totally different than the 126-the spring is in a very enclosed area and expands to about 3 times its compressed length-there is no way to get a tool around the spring. The 109(300SEL) was an air suspension car and it's essentially the same chassis as the 111-in fact there was an air suspension version of the coupe-the 112. From the many people I have conversed about concerning the conversion the ride is better and more controlled. Plus I went from the original 185/75/14 tires to 225/60/15 front and 235/55/16 rear so the tires have a stiffer sidewall. The ride was harsher with the low profile tires. I'm hoping the air suspension will compensate somewhat.
The main problem with the early air suspension cars(109/112) was the leaking leveling valves since it was a totally pneumatic system-no electronic ride height sensors like todays systems. Nothing on my car will be cut/modified/welded preventing return to original if desired.

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I just found this thread, 5 stars GREAT. I am an older hot rodder with many different engine builds. I got 400HP out of my 351 Windsor back in 1971 using Pontiac 389 valves in the Ford heads. Had a Morris Minor pickup with a 1311 CC Cooper engine pitting out 130 HP, blew the doors of a lot of V Dubs back then.

I have wanted to do a Mercedes V8 engine for almost 15 years now. Finally have a 1977 450 SLC with 33K miles, engine runs great with CIS.

Back 10 years ago I bought 8 MB pistons on eBay, told they were for a 450 M117 engine. But there is no dish, Mahle A031-96L26 in 92 MM zero over bore. Pistons came with rings and piston pin, I was thinking a ceramic coating and a skirt coating and find a low mileage 450 block. Piston is flat top with 4 valve notches.

But now a 560 crank would bolt up, sweet. Nothing better than more torque.

Speaking of air suspensions, my first MB was a 1969 300 SEL 6.3. Air suspension was great as everything was fresh and working well. But a new air suspension would be much better. I could go over speed bumps at 60 MPH with zero issues. Some lame expert at Benzworld was saying no way a 6.3 could beat R107 or other 560 engine car. HA. Maybe 3-4 car lengths to 60 MPH and 10 lengths or more to 120 MPH! Mine had a Borla dual exhaust and dynode @ 300 HP at the flywheel and 433 #/Ft torque. Blew the doors off a LOT of rice rockets. Zero to 60 was under 6 seconds sometimes, usually 6.5 seconds.

If I were to do this 560 crank into a 450 iron block I definitely would go to the General Motors parts bin with hot rodder options.

Somewhere a long time ago I read about a MB with Chevy pistons and rods. Cursed with a photographic memory that with age is now CRS, cant remember s**t. Anyone remember it?



-- Edited by breastroker on Monday 17th of April 2017 12:51:25 AM

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Thanks! Although I can't take much credit as the other member was working on a pretty custom build too! I wonder how that project has come along since the last time he posted? 

I agree Chevy performance parts would be the way to go, perhaps some of them newer sealed power light weight flat top LW2256 pistons with the full floating pins and low drag rings would  a better option than Mercedes own pistons? I must admit though, I'm very impressed with factory MB rods and Crankshaft's as they are made very well, much better than some of the older 350 factory GM stuff! Although some of the newer LS titanium rods in their high end engines may best the older MB rods.

One thing is for sure, it's VERY RARE to see internally modified Mercedes Engines here in the USA! I'd imagine once I get off my butt and start fiddling with one of these many engines I've been collecting over the years a clear path could be documented and proven. It's amazing how quick time flies, and although my financial situation has greatly improved since I've started this thread the fact remains that these Mercedes engines do hold up well, so much in fact I haven't had any real need to rebuild one! Heck, at this rate I could be an old fart without the brass to even use that extra horsepower by the time I get it figured out! LOL, just kidding! I don't think that part of me will ever grow apart. 



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