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Thread: Timing belt replacement

  1. #1
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    Timing belt replacement

    I was wondering how much you'd expect to spend to replace the timing belt on a 1993 500e. Also what mileage should you start thinking of doing this work.
    Lastly, can anyone recommend a good mechanic for 500e in Santa Cruz, Monterey, or San Jose, ca

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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    You mean the timing chain?

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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    The timing chain usually doesn't require replacement, unless it is abnormally stretched due to poor maintenance (i.e., overdue oil changes). However, the chain rails typically are due by 100-150kmi, and are overdue by 200kmi. There is a LOT of labor involved for the chain rails, so often the chain (and sometimes tensioner) are replaced at the same time as a "while you're in there" thing. Most of the front of the engine has to come off (power steering pump bracket, smog pump & bracket, etc) and then you get more "while you're in there" stuff like re-sealing the tandem pump, replacing the PS hoses, and so on. The cost of the chain would be another $150-$200 on top of everything else (plus another ~1 hour labor), a new tensioner would be another $150-$200 on top of that (but no extra labor).

    I think this has been discussed previously, but I'd expect a ballpark of around 10 hours labor, maybe 15. Typical total cost often ends up in the $2k-$3k range. Shop around, get a few different quotes, and find out EXACTLY what they will do. I've heard crazy high quotes in the past but they don't always specify what it included.


    Side note: The two lower chain rails, located inside the timing cover, generally do not require replacement. Most shops won't bother replacing these two, but if they are including them in the quote, the price will increase dramatically as the timing cover has to be removed. Probably another 5-10 hours labor and a few hundred bucks more in parts. I don't recommend having the lower rails replaced unless they are broken or damaged, which isn't likely. If the timing cover is coming off to change the lower rails, plan on a $3k-$5k total bill.

    Or, you can DIY the whole thing, for a few hundred bucks in parts, and 20-30 hours DIY labor.


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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    The timing chain usually doesn't require replacement, unless it is abnormally stretched due to poor maintenance (i.e., overdue oil changes). However, the chain rails typically are due by 100-150kmi, and are overdue by 200kmi. There is a LOT of labor involved for the chain rails, so often the chain (and sometimes tensioner) are replaced at the same time as a "while you're in there" thing. Most of the front of the engine has to come off (power steering pump bracket, smog pump & bracket, etc) and then you get more "while you're in there" stuff like re-sealing the tandem pump, replacing the PS hoses, and so on. The cost of the chain would be another $150-$200 on top of everything else (plus another ~1 hour labor), a new tensioner would be another $150-$200 on top of that (but no extra labor).

    I think this has been discussed previously, but I'd expect a ballpark of around 10 hours labor, maybe 15. Typical total cost often ends up in the $2k-$3k range. Shop around, get a few different quotes, and find out EXACTLY what they will do. I've heard crazy high quotes in the past but they don't always specify what it included.


    Side note: The two lower chain rails, located inside the timing cover, generally do not require replacement. Most shops won't bother replacing these two, but if they are including them in the quote, the price will increase dramatically as the timing cover has to be removed. Probably another 5-10 hours labor and a few hundred bucks more in parts. I don't recommend having the lower rails replaced unless they are broken or damaged, which isn't likely. If the timing cover is coming off to change the lower rails, plan on a $3k-$5k total bill.

    Or, you can DIY the whole thing, for a few hundred bucks in parts, and 20-30 hours DIY labor.


    20-30 hours is a gross overstatement for the job. I did my chain/rails not too long ago (actually Steve Geyer did while I watched) and we were at his shop for half a day.
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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    Well, I couldn't do all the upper rails in half a day, and still do it right. When I say "upper rails", I mean including the three inside the cylinder head, not just the top ones between sprockets. You have to remove all four camshaft sprockets. You could roll in a new chain and do the top rails only (between sprockets) in half a day, yes.

    Remember, when I said 20-30 hours, I meant as a DIY mechanic who has never done this job before . NOT an experienced dealer tech (Steve Geyer) who has done the job dozens of times. As I stated earlier in the post, it would be half that time for a shop. OK, fine, 10-12 hours is technically half a day.

    If you drove your car in, Steve had all four of your camshaft sprockets removed, tandem pump & smog pump unbolted, replaced all upper chain rails, and had it re-assembled the same day and you drove it home... I am truly amazed.


    Photo of the bottom guide in the head, below the left exhaust sprocket:





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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    This forum is amazing! Thanks for the quick and thoughtful answers.

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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    It would take me about 1.5 days (better part of a weekend -- probably 15 hours) to do this, but of course some hours would be spent photographing it for a HOW-TO

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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    That reminds me. Gerry/Glen, do we have any other thread discussing the cost of paying a shop to do this job? I don't remember any. I'd love to archive some official quotes (not guesstimates) from various shops, it would be nice to keep that all in one place.

    A complete How-To would be awesome. I could provide a list of required and optional/possible part numbers, since I just went through this over the last couple of months. Gerry, I've seen your work, I'll almost guarantee it will take you 20-25 hours, excluding camera/documentation time. Mechanics who do this job in ~10 hours are not cleaning anything, they are tearing down, replacing, and slapping it back together. They don't own the car so they don't care if there's oil+grime everywhere. And they won't be doing additional preventive maintenance work either. I cleaned mine spotless, so I can tell if there are leaks in the future; and did a ton of PM stuff... I don't want to pull the front of that motor apart for a LONG time, if I can avoid it.


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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    I don't recall any solid numbers from the last several years. I had my upper rails done about 10 years ago at my local dealer along with some other work...that bill was over $3000!
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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen View Post
    I don't recall any solid numbers from the last several years. I had my upper rails done about 10 years ago at my local dealer along with some other work...that bill was over $3000!
    Thanks, Glen! Any chance you still have the receipt, and could post the total hours charged, and if anything was done besides the rails?


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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    Looks like it was 12 years ago, this month (Jan 18, 2002).
    The work order is a little confusing to read but I believe the upper guide replacement portion alone was $1390.40 for labor plus 2 valve cover gaskets and 4 different rails and the two upper guides. My upper engine harness was also replaced at this time at 50% goodwill for part and labor plus all the oil tubes (plastic) were replaced and a few other minor things. Total bill was $2656.41.

    I remembered it being over $3000 because a week or so prior, I had the alternator replaced for $557.15

    The work was performed at Hoehn Mercedes here in Carlsbad.

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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Well, I couldn't do all the upper rails in half a day, and still do it right. When I say "upper rails", I mean including the three inside the cylinder head, not just the top ones between sprockets. You have to remove all four camshaft sprockets. You could roll in a new chain and do the top rails only (between sprockets) in half a day, yes.

    Remember, when I said 20-30 hours, I meant as a DIY mechanic who has never done this job before . NOT an experienced dealer tech (Steve Geyer) who has done the job dozens of times. As I stated earlier in the post, it would be half that time for a shop. OK, fine, 10-12 hours is technically half a day.

    If you drove your car in, Steve had all four of your camshaft sprockets removed, tandem pump & smog pump unbolted, replaced all upper chain rails, and had it re-assembled the same day and you drove it home... I am truly amazed.


    Photo of the bottom guide in the head, below the left exhaust sprocket:




    Yes, Steve is that amazing. The custom timing chain tool also cut the time down quite a bit (think you bought one of those)
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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    Dave,

    You should a tleast layout the specialty tools needed for doing all this work. I think your the only DIY'r on the list here whom has done the job. It's amazing how much easier things are the 2nd time.


    Michael

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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    I had the stealership replace the timing chains, as per the maintenance manual, back in 2011. Here is the invoice for your info, but please spare me any cackling about prices, etc. Remember, its in Cdn. dollars (we call them Loonies for a reason).
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    Re: Timing belt replacement

    I had my timing chain done at a shop run by an ex MB
    technician. He did all the guide rails that could be
    done without removing the timing cover. Tensioner too.

    I bought all the parts from an online website called
    parts.com. He charged me 8.0 hours labor.

    And he had the car 2 days. He wanted to make sure
    there were no leaks and double check his work.

    That was done at 200,569 miles
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