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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing the Timing Chain Tensioner

Mike Holloway

Time:

30 minutes30 mins

Tab:

$150 to $550

Talent:

**

Tools:

Adjustable open-ended wrench, 6mm Allen wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R107 (1972-89)

Parts Required:

Timing chain tensioner

Hot Tip:

Remove any component to provide more room

Performance Gain:

Proper chain tension and increased wear resistance

Complementary Modification:

Timing chain, chain guide, sprocket replacement

One would think that when the engine is at speed there is a higher incidence of wear and eventual failure. This isn't necessarily true in the case of certain components, namely the timing chain. Chains, sprockets, gears and even bearings experience the most wear upon startup. The timing chain and the various components (guide rails, tensioning rail, chain tensioner) will wear out after 100,000 miles and should be replaced. The sprockets should also be replaced. The chains can stretch but they also wear. As each rolling element of the link begins to experience wear it sets up for increased vibration and movement of the chain links and pins against the sprocket surface. As many teeth as the sprocket has, the chain has many more links. The sprocket surface wears down contributing to sloppy movement as the chain passes over the sprocket surfaces. This creates an even greater opportunity for chain breakage.

The guide rails will be the first order of business to address. In order to change the guide rails in preparation for the replacement of the timing chain, all the components in front will have to be removed. This includes the belts, pulleys, alternator, the distributor and the power steering pump were all removed. Please refer to these articles should you need assistance.

I also removed the radiator. Normally you wouldn't have to do that but it was already out due to the development of another article. Refer to removing the radiator article for help in that regard.

Also, the distributor should be set at top dead center (TDC) and marked. This is needed when you put everything back. The distributor was also removed earlier. Hence, you can refer to the distributor removal article if you need assistance.

The valve cover will have to be removed as well. In order to do that you will have to remove the air box. Refer to the valve cover removal article for help on how to do that project.

After the chain guide rails, the chain tensioner now has to be removed.

The timing chain tensioner is located on the front of the engine on the right side.
Figure 1

The timing chain tensioner is located on the front of the engine on the right side. I used an adjustable open-ended wrench because I did not have an open-ended wrench large enough to accept the tensioner nut. 

Once the end cap is removed you can remove the tension spring and examine it for any damage.
Figure 2

Once the end cap is removed you can remove the tension spring and examine it for any damage.

The tensioner housing is held in place by 3 Allen screws.
Figure 3

The tensioner housing is held in place by 3 Allen screws. Using a 6mm Allen wrench, loosen and remove the bolts.

Once the Allen bolts have been removed, the housing can be separated from the engine.
Figure 4

Once the Allen bolts have been removed, the housing can be separated from the engine.

Once the tensioner housing is removed, the chain tensioner will be visible and removable.
Figure 5

Once the tensioner housing is removed, the chain tensioner will be visible and removable. Installation is the opposite of removal. New gaskets will have to be used. 

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:47:38 AM