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Post Info TOPIC: Mercedes M117 Engine timing chain and guide replacement.


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Mercedes M117 Engine timing chain and guide replacement.


Hello to all,

I am a new member I joined earlier on this morning. This came about due to putting in a google search for advice on timing chain replacement on a Mercedes M117 engine. The google search came up with a step by step guide for doing this work that was Authored by SELLC on this Forum. I can only say after reading this piece and studying the photos that it was an absolute masterpiece put together by SELLC.

But what it also highlighted to me was that in reality it is a complex job to do this work. I have got a long history of mechanical work on cars and have been quite successful on most things I do in this line, but my work on large engines V8's in particular is very limited. I have rebuilt many 4 cylinder and straight 6 engines over the years and have been pleased with the outcome. But now I am dealing with a V8 and in particular a Mercedes V8, I feel like a young apprentice once again.

Last August I bought a 1986 Mercedes 560SL it had been imported from Florida a couple of years previously but prior to being imported into the UK it had been in storage at Florida for about 8 years so in total the car had spent about 10 years standing still doing nothing, I bought the car as a non runner.

Doing mainly common sense things I eventually got the car running, but it was running very rough, firing on maybe 5-6 cylinders smoking badly. The car has done a prove able 125,000 miles, other than the rough running the car was in very good condition. (Completely rust free to start with)

I decided that I would give the car a top overhaul and whilst doing so check over everything as I come to it. I know that for me to do this work it is going to take me a long while. I have a problem here though in that I have a unpredictable health condition, and it would be a bit silly for me to take the car apart probably into a 100 different pieces in my garage. I then have a turn of bad luck regarding my health and cant put the car back together. My Wife would then probably end up selling it all for scrap which would be a shame as it is a good car and I have also spent quite a bit of money. 

So I decided I would look around for a reasonable used engine then strip that engine down, leaving the car all in one piece, when I am then finished working on the new engine I would then over a 3-4 day period remove the engine from the 560SL and fit the new engine. This probably sounds like a very odd way to go about things but to me it would be the best way of getting to where I wanted to be with this car. I have wanted one of these cars ever since I was a kid and now that I have got one I want it to be perfect.

I eventually found the engine I was looking for it was a 96k miles engine advertised as in good condition. The place it was coming from I have had a lot of dealings with them and they have always been honest and straightforward with there descriptions. I bought the engine and it was delivered last December. I then found to my amazement that I had had a real bit of luck, the engine was a 300BHP ECE engine. I knew it had come out of a very rusty 1986 560 SEC when I bought it but I did not know it was the ECE engine. This then gave me the problem though of obtaining the Computers to go with it EZL and KE Jetronic. Once again I was very lucky as I think it is nearly impossible to get these but over a 2 month period I managed to get both. 

During this time I done quite a lot of servicing work on the car, I went right the way through including new Injectors, now the car is actually running very well, not quite perfect but very good. I have now decided I am going to fully rebuild the ECE engine, not sure now though whether I am going to fit it in the car though when it is finished as a couple of people have said to me it would be best leaving the car with Matching Numbers from new.

The advice I need though is, is it as complicated as it appears in SELLC's piece, fitting a new timing chain guides and tensioner when the engine is going to be stripped down and put back together, or is it more straightforward. 

I apologise for going on the way I have here, I have got a bit carried away, I will try and keep it more straightforward in future. But I really enjoy reading this forum, and thank you to anyone who can give me any advice. Kind Regards, David.



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FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

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Hello & welcome !

Build the original engine up to ECE specification would be best value for $$$ spent. Sourcing pistons at a reasonable price may prove difficult.

Matching numbers are a nice thing to have, but the high-output engine, being OEM spec "could / should" be seen as an upgrade regardless, as long as its authenticity can be proven.

These engines can see many miles of service. Inspection & measuring of your used-components may see you only needing fresh bearings & a valve-job on the original engine, along with chain & guides of course.

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Rastus,

Thank you for your reply, I understand exactly what you are saying and the benefits of that.

The ECE engine is 100% genuine, I will try to attach a photo of the engine number. The problem I would have though in rebuilding the original engine that is in the car is the car would be in a lot of pieces for a long while. I think myself that to have a high performance engine in the car is an upgrade, but other people I have spoken to have said to me "No don't do that you are going to spoil the originality of the car" 

 

The EZL I got is part number 004 545 00 32

The KE Injection  is 004 545 2532 and 0 280 800 156

 

I have already bought quite a lot of parts for the rebuild 

Full Gasket set

New Hydraulic lifters

New Rocker arms

Piston rings

Main and Big end bearings

Timing chain kit including all guides and tensioner

Oil pump chain

Valve guides and seals

 

I am actually looking forward to taking my time and hopefully have a really nice running engine at the end of it.

 

The only bit at the moment I am unsure about though is fitting the timing chain.

 

Regards

 

David



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Thanks for the kind words!

From your list it looks like you're doing a full on overhaul on the ECE engine. I am not as versed in these euro engines as this is the USA and I see mostly all US spec setups but I know enough that I believe you will need more than just the computer and ignition module. I think the euro units use an eight pin plug to the module? And also there are some other adjustment knobs and transmission electronics that make the US harness require significant re-working. The one nice thing about the SL is the fact you can lower the engines out the bottom of them cars since the crossmember is removable, you'll want to do all them mounts at that time too. Rings are probably file fit and I won't even get into the process of boring these blocks as that is the real trick. It's a full on overhaul what you are suggesting.

A full on overhaul will be a bit of work, and bearings would require resurfacing of the crank - which will also throw out the balance unfortunately. Not by much, but it's still a factor. It's a very big job to overhaul these engines but it's not nearly as bad if yours is up and running now and you can take your time with the donor engine. Sounds like you got a good plan of attack and I look forward to reading about your adventures! 

By the way, the SL looks fantastic!



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A middle-aged loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless - in a world of criminals who operate above the law.



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davidfox wrote:

The only bit at the moment I am unsure about though is fitting the timing chain.


 

Hi David,

Your motor ( I'm guessing ) will be on an engine-stand, so chain fitment & timing will be easier. Just remember that when looking at the front of the engine, it rotates clock-wise, & where the tension on the links is going to be is where you should be thinking. eg, Crank pulls chain, then cam-sprocket. then idler gear etc etc. The slack in the chain should be the section where the chain-tensioner mounts.

There's provision on the camshafts for a 22mm ( I think )open-end spanner to secure, & allow rotation for mark aligning. Then rotate sprocket on chain, so that its key-way hole will line up with the key on the cam, will allow fitting to the cam sprocket.

All this will make more sense when the time comes, & you go through the motions, & what I've written is based on the fitment of a master-link-less OEM chain.

 



__________________

"Only an alert & knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial & military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods & goals, so that security & liberty may prosper together".    Dwight D.Eisenhower.



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SELLC,

Thank you for your reply, you are correct I am intending on doing a full rebuild on the ECE engine. I do understand that it is a long probably complicated job to do and will involve quite a lot of headaches, a lot of people have also told me that it is not necessary on an engine that has only done 96k miles, which is true. But my circumstances are not exactly normal at the moment which is why I bought another engine to start with rather then do major work on the one in the car, as I said in my earlier comments I am not in the position to take the car completely apart over a long period of time which is what it would take me to do this work. The way I am doing it the car stays in one piece while the 2nd engine gets a full rebuild and finally gets swopped over. I know it seems an arse about face way of doing things but I don't really have any choice.

The top and bottom of it is back in October 2018 after a couple of days of serious pain in my right abdomen I went to the A and E at UCL Hospital, after some investigations and a CT scan they told me I have HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) Liver Cancer, after seeing the experts a few days later I was told there is nothing that can be done as it is to far advanced. The only thing they could offer me was a drug called Sorafenib which may extend my life by 2-3 months but the side effects are heavy. I turned the offer of this drug down, as I thought "Well thats only going to prolong the agony" and that was how things were left. A few days later the Specialist Nurse who had been dealing with me phoned me and asked can I come in and see the Professor the following Friday, I agreed. When I saw him he said to me that there is no guarantee he can even do this but would I be willing to go on to a Clinical Trial for drugs that are not licensed anywhere in the world but have so far shown good signs in the early stages of testing. I immediately agreed as I had nothing to lose anyway. Over the next 3 weeks I went through a very intensive screening program, all the results were sent through to the drug company (Eisai) 2 days later they turned me down for the trial as the Tumour had grown to much. The Professor told me not to get to downhearted as he knew of one other possibility, another company (Roche) he would try using the same data that had already been gathered, this time I was in luck they accepted me on there trial. I had the first Infusion December 2018, since this time I have an Infusion every 3 weeks plus lots of scans and questionnaires.

I thought to myself "Well there is no point me sitting around moping and bellyaching about this situation, the Hospital are doing there best for me, I had better start doing the best for myself." So I went out and bought an old 190E (I have always liked Classics) that was in a bit of a run down state. (A bit like me) Over the next 2-3 months I stripped it down and done a lot of remedial work on it. I was doing about 5-6 hours a day 4-5 days a week. Eventually it all came up good, I put it on eBay and sold it for a small profit. (Although this was not the purpose) It made me feel good though doing something I liked doing. After this I started looking for another project and came up with the 560SL.

In May 2019 I was told by the Hospital that there had been a major shrinkage of the Tumour, there were still no guarantees but things are looking better. It was the best news I could have ever hoped for. Now 20 months after being told I had 9 months left I am still here, there have been a couple of rough times in this period, but mentally staying positive and keeping busy I have found to be the best medicine, combined with the treatment at the Hospital. I have learnt a lot about life though over this time.

This is why I know there are no guarantees what tomorrow may bring. I have told you this not because I want sympathy, number one I don't deserve it or need it, the ones who may need some of that are the kids who attend the Hospital for the same reason, they haven't had a life, I have, well nearly 62 years.

I did not want to go out and spend a lot of money on a car then dismantle it into a hundred pieces and my luck runs out, as it would mean I am going to be leaving my wife with a garage full of scrap metal as she would not know what to do with it all. This is why I have to do things in a arse about face manner.

Anyway enough about me back to the car. I did not know that the engine can come out from underneath, I think this may well be the best way for me to go here as I am restricted working in a small garage.

What you have said re the Module, I assume you mean the EZL unit, I know some of these are 8 pin but I believe the correct one for this ECE engine looks exactly the same as the 560SL one only it has a different part number. I have done a lot of research on this point and I keep coming up that the correct one for a 1986 560SEC with the ECE engine is the one I have managed to obtain, part number 004 545 00 32 the KE Injection ECU I know is the right one as it came from the same car that the engine was in. It was lucky I managed to get this as when I bought the engine it was only after it was delivered that I realised I would need these parts as obviously the 560SL ones would not be compatible. I got back onto the yard where the engine came from, they still had the KE Injection ECU, but somebody had bought the EZL for a 1988 500SL knowing it was not the correct part but they bought it on the off chance it may work. 

I do intend though to take my time and be patient doing this work as I am actually in unchartered territory here with this, as this car is the first time I have ever worked on a Mercedes V8. But I really do like working on these cars they are engineering that I feel comfortable with, and am actually learning a lot as I go along. If I come up with a problem as it is more or less certain that I will, I will just have to find my way round it and do whatever I have to do, as after all the answer must be there somewhere.

I was very pleased when I got the car as I only bought it from photos but it turned out that the seller had been quite honest with the description, I will try to attach a few other photos of the car, you can see a few bits I have done on the car. I changed the cooling fan over to an electric one (This has made a big difference to the running of the car) I also had to rebuild all of the fuel pump assembly as there were leaks, odd pumps, and the pressure was very low I think.

Anyway SELLC thank you for your advice it is a pleasure reading your pieces on this forum.

Regards

 

David



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Rookie

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Rastus,

Thank you for the advice, it makes a lot of sense what you are saying. I don't really know why as I have fitted timing chains on several occasions but I have never done a V engine, for some reason when I read the description for doing this job it seems to leave me a bit uncertain about doing it. But probably when I get started on that part of the rebuild it will all drop into place, or I hope so.

It is a Master-link-less OEM chain that I have bought. That was actually another point though that made me uncertain as when I read about doing this job I often see references to a link in the chain that comes apart.

Anyway good luck thanks once again,

David



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FAR BEYOND DRIVEN

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Yo,

Since time is critical here, I'm sure a machine-shop would be able to prepare & assemble a short-motor for you. Less parts, labour would be under $1-K ball-park, & all you have to then do is reassemble cyl-heads, chains, front-cover from home :).


__________________

"Only an alert & knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial & military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods & goals, so that security & liberty may prosper together".    Dwight D.Eisenhower.



CERTIFIED POST WHORE

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davidfox wrote:

SELLC,

Thank you for your reply, you are correct I am intending on doing a full rebuild on the ECE engine. I do understand that it is a long probably complicated job to do and will involve quite a lot of headaches, a lot of people have also told me that it is not necessary on an engine that has only done 96k miles, which is true. But my circumstances are not exactly normal at the moment which is why I bought another engine to start with rather then do major work on the one in the car, as I said in my earlier comments I am not in the position to take the car completely apart over a long period of time which is what it would take me to do this work. The way I am doing it the car stays in one piece while the 2nd engine gets a full rebuild and finally gets swopped over. I know it seems an arse about face way of doing things but I don't really have any choice.

The top and bottom of it is back in October 2018 after a couple of days of serious pain in my right abdomen I went to the A and E at UCL Hospital, after some investigations and a CT scan they told me I have HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) Liver Cancer, after seeing the experts a few days later I was told there is nothing that can be done as it is to far advanced. The only thing they could offer me was a drug called Sorafenib which may extend my life by 2-3 months but the side effects are heavy. I turned the offer of this drug down, as I thought "Well thats only going to prolong the agony" and that was how things were left. A few days later the Specialist Nurse who had been dealing with me phoned me and asked can I come in and see the Professor the following Friday, I agreed. When I saw him he said to me that there is no guarantee he can even do this but would I be willing to go on to a Clinical Trial for drugs that are not licensed anywhere in the world but have so far shown good signs in the early stages of testing. I immediately agreed as I had nothing to lose anyway. Over the next 3 weeks I went through a very intensive screening program, all the results were sent through to the drug company (Eisai) 2 days later they turned me down for the trial as the Tumour had grown to much. The Professor told me not to get to downhearted as he knew of one other possibility, another company (Roche) he would try using the same data that had already been gathered, this time I was in luck they accepted me on there trial. I had the first Infusion December 2018, since this time I have an Infusion every 3 weeks plus lots of scans and questionnaires.

I thought to myself "Well there is no point me sitting around moping and bellyaching about this situation, the Hospital are doing there best for me, I had better start doing the best for myself." So I went out and bought an old 190E (I have always liked Classics) that was in a bit of a run down state. (A bit like me) Over the next 2-3 months I stripped it down and done a lot of remedial work on it. I was doing about 5-6 hours a day 4-5 days a week. Eventually it all came up good, I put it on eBay and sold it for a small profit. (Although this was not the purpose) It made me feel good though doing something I liked doing. After this I started looking for another project and came up with the 560SL.

In May 2019 I was told by the Hospital that there had been a major shrinkage of the Tumour, there were still no guarantees but things are looking better. It was the best news I could have ever hoped for. Now 20 months after being told I had 9 months left I am still here, there have been a couple of rough times in this period, but mentally staying positive and keeping busy I have found to be the best medicine, combined with the treatment at the Hospital. I have learnt a lot about life though over this time.

This is why I know there are no guarantees what tomorrow may bring. I have told you this not because I want sympathy, number one I don't deserve it or need it, the ones who may need some of that are the kids who attend the Hospital for the same reason, they haven't had a life, I have, well nearly 62 years.

I did not want to go out and spend a lot of money on a car then dismantle it into a hundred pieces and my luck runs out, as it would mean I am going to be leaving my wife with a garage full of scrap metal as she would not know what to do with it all. This is why I have to do things in a arse about face manner.

Anyway enough about me back to the car. I did not know that the engine can come out from underneath, I think this may well be the best way for me to go here as I am restricted working in a small garage.

What you have said re the Module, I assume you mean the EZL unit, I know some of these are 8 pin but I believe the correct one for this ECE engine looks exactly the same as the 560SL one only it has a different part number. I have done a lot of research on this point and I keep coming up that the correct one for a 1986 560SEC with the ECE engine is the one I have managed to obtain, part number 004 545 00 32 the KE Injection ECU I know is the right one as it came from the same car that the engine was in. It was lucky I managed to get this as when I bought the engine it was only after it was delivered that I realised I would need these parts as obviously the 560SL ones would not be compatible. I got back onto the yard where the engine came from, they still had the KE Injection ECU, but somebody had bought the EZL for a 1988 500SL knowing it was not the correct part but they bought it on the off chance it may work. 

I do intend though to take my time and be patient doing this work as I am actually in unchartered territory here with this, as this car is the first time I have ever worked on a Mercedes V8. But I really do like working on these cars they are engineering that I feel comfortable with, and am actually learning a lot as I go along. If I come up with a problem as it is more or less certain that I will, I will just have to find my way round it and do whatever I have to do, as after all the answer must be there somewhere.

I was very pleased when I got the car as I only bought it from photos but it turned out that the seller had been quite honest with the description, I will try to attach a few other photos of the car, you can see a few bits I have done on the car. I changed the cooling fan over to an electric one (This has made a big difference to the running of the car) I also had to rebuild all of the fuel pump assembly as there were leaks, odd pumps, and the pressure was very low I think.

Anyway SELLC thank you for your advice it is a pleasure reading your pieces on this forum.

Regards

 

David


 

David, that is a terrific write up with excellent photos! Your courage and willingness to share are one of the main things that got me into Mercedes to begin with! The stories and lessons along the way make the people that own Mercedes some of the most interesting folks you will ever meet! I admire your courage and openness with regards to past health obsticles and wish you the best!

I think the path you have taken is a wise one, enjoying your vehicle while taking the time to build up something special and put your mark on it! I wont lie to you, this project too will be a big one as currently planned but ceritanly doable if you have the time and money, not only that it would be a really nice ride when finished! I liked the Brazil interior on smoke silver exterior, reminds me of my 560SEL which was originally smoke silver on mushroom but I changed out to a two tone Brazil and Mushroom interior to help substidize cost of changing an engine due to timing chain guide failure. That is how I purchased the car, in destress - then the entire family helped put it back together out of a few other cars and we enjoyed that car for ten whole years. Still have it but have been distracted by working to pay the bills and keep the kid busy and making money.

That is a really clean SL, both inside and out! Being able to enjoy it while you're working on building an engine with more power, at least 75 HP more to be exact, might turn out to be fun! But it will be work none the less! Rastus makes a good point that a machiene shop could help you a lot in the rebuild area that could take some of the more critical errors out of the equation. 

We'll be pulling for you, so just keep on with what feels best as it sounds like a solid plan of attack.



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A middle-aged loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless - in a world of criminals who operate above the law.

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