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HOW-TO: 5.6-Liter M117 top-end rebuild

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Well, after lots of planning and procrastinating, I finally got to work this weekend on my long-awaited 560SEC top-end rebuild. The car has 184K on it, and is blowing a slight amount of blue smoke when pulling away from stoplights -- typical symptom of either bad valve guide seals and/or a loose valve guide. This is allowing oil to drip down into the combustion chamber when the car sits idle, and thus the puff of blue smoke. About 1,000 miles ago, I also started getting a pretty bad ticking from the passenger-side valve-train ... indicative of probably a bad hydraulic compensating element ("lifter") or less likely, a bad rocker arm. I've also had a small (and very common) oil leak from the right rear corner of the head gasket -- an annoyance that drips oil onto the hot exhaust manifold and passes the burned-oil smell into the cabin. This is an extremely common issue with the 560 motors....

In any case, I spent weeks and months scoping out the job and waiting for the weather to get warm enough so that I could work comfortably out in the garage, but still be early enough in the year to avoid the Houston heat and humidity. So it seemed a perfect time to do what I think is going to be about a 5-6 week job. I figure I'll be able to put in little spurts of time in the weeknights with longer periods on the weekends. Also factored in is the machine-shop time to have the heads totally refurbished (valves ground, heads cleaned and pressure tested, checked for cracks, mating surfaces "surfaced", valve springs tested, and new valve guides and seals installed.

I'll also have the intake manifolds (there are two halves on the 560 motor) cleaned and blasted on the inside and outside, and the exhaust manifold will be blasted and then Jet-Hot coated for a nicer appearance. Around the time that this work is being done, I'll order all of the parts from MB that are required to do the proper repairs. I'm being pretty liberal with things, so when I see any part that even looks like it needs replacing, I'll replace it. Of course this massive parts order will also include lots of things like gaskets, all vacuum lines (which will be replaced), rear-engine heater hose (may as well do it as it's accessible now), and so forth.

Working this weekend, I got as far as getting the intake manifold off and the exhaust manifolds partially off. The intake manifold had tons of carbon in it but the heads were shocking -- lots of caked-on carbon that was partially blocking the passages! You can see it in a picture. It will be interesting to see the exhaust ports when I get the exhaust manifolds off; I am wondering how much carbon blockage is in the exhaust ports, as well as wondering which valve guide/seal combo is letting oil into the chamber. I'll find out soon enough.

This is a pretty involved job and as I'm getting into it, I've found LOTS of brittle rubber and vacuum lines, plastic connectors and other little bits that I'm planning on replacing with MB parts. It just goes to show how much of a toll that heat and age take on rubber and soft bits. The 560SEC engine compartment is much larger than the E500Es, so it's much easier for air to circulate around in there and I think this probably preserves the rubber and soft parts better than the oven that is the engine compartment of our E500Es.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this thread and I'll keep it updated regularly with photos as the project progresses. I hope to have the exhaust manifolds and the heads disassembled (cams, rocker arms and lifters removed) this week. I'll plan to bring the heads into the machine shop for renewal in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, while things are at the shop getting worked over, I'll clean the valley in the middle of the engine, clean all of the gunk off of the throttle body, and prepare my final order list of parts.

The scary thing will be putting everything back together! I hope I can remember how it all goes back.... :boxing:

Enjoy!

Cheers,

Gerry
 

Attachments

Glen

Site Admin, auto enthusiast...
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Sounds like a great project, Gerry. Looking forward to watching your progress. Good luck!
 

KarlC

E500E Newbie
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Nice project Gerry, cool to see it stage by stage, thanks for sharring.
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

I'm in the middle of a similar project with my 1994 E500, swapping in a spare M119 motor so I can replace the head gaskets on the original engine on the engine stand (it just didn't look like fun to attempt in the car). I've been taking lots of photos, I'll have to start a new thread when it's all complete.

Looks good so far, Gerry!


:5150:
 

TerryA

Active member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Gerry,

Keep good records. I will be testing you.

I have been procrastinating also on my 84 500SL w/ 180,000 miles on it. It is not puffing smoke yet but the lifters are really noisy and I am planning on replacing the timing chain and lifter shims this summer. I will probably be doing the heads also.

I parked it about 2 years ago when it would not pass smog. So its time for some work. I need to get it back on the road and probably sold.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

I'm documenting every step in a composition notebook, taking lots of photos before I disassemble things, and bagging and describing all removed parts. There are A LOT of small parts and I've not even removed the heads yet .. where it will be critical to keep things like cam bearings, rocker arms, and head bolts straight as to where they came off the engine.

So far, I would say this job overall would be for the "Moderate-plus DIYer" to the "Advanced-minus DIYer". Probably 80% of the folks I know wouldn't attempt it. It's not a rocket science job, but it does take patience some skill to reach some hard to reach items, and a decent level of organization. It helps to have a good set of tools - sockets in all three ratchet sizes (6-points are especially helpful), extensions and wobblies, etc. as well as lots of pliers, a magnetic "picker upper" tool for dropped hardware, good open-end and box-end wrenches, lots of screwdrivers of all sizes, good sets of Allen keys and Allen sockets, Torx societs and screwdrivers, and lots and lots of rags. There are a few special MB tools that are required -- specifically the special 8mm Allen "C" shaped socket to remove the head bolts, a valve spring compressor for MB engines, and a chain rail pin puller.

My car passed smog here in Texas back in November, but by a noticeably lesser margin than in the past. The lifter tick started in January and that was my impetus to get off my duff and do the job. I'm going to just replace all of the lifters on that side of the engine (there's 8 per side, as you know) and will inspect the rocker arms and cams very carefully when they come off the heads. If you do have to replace a rocker arm, factory docs say you have to replace the entire cam on that side. Luckily 560 cams aren't horribly expensive, and my friend Robert has a couple of dozen of them in his inventory. I expect that one of the hydraulic compensators ("lifters" or ball studs) are what's bad ... they are usually the culprit. I drove it for about 1,000 miles so hoping I didn't do any damage to the rocker or to the cam itself.

The machine shop will test all of the springs and rotators, etc.

The lifters run around $30 apiece on the aftermarket; you can get a new 560 cam for around $300 on the aftermarket.

:update:

Tonight I spent about an hour out in the shop and removed all of the top and bottom bolts & nuts/studs that attach the passenger side exhaust manifold. Interestingly, with the 560 coupes and sedans, there is a transverse pipe behind the engine that connects the manifolds together on US models. The 560SL cars don't have this transverse pipe. The transverse pipe clamps to the ends of each of the exhaust manifolds just ahead of the firewall, although the downpipe to the O2 sensor and then the cats is only on one side (passenger side). It was quite easy to loosen and remove the driver's side clamp from the manifold to the transverse pipe, but on the passenger side there's very little room and the bolt and clamp are up there quite high. I can reach it with a wobbly 11mm socket and about 2 feet worth of extensions together, but it's not optimal and very slow going. So, I'm going to have to drop the entire downpipe assembly which attaches at the manifold bottom and goes all the way back to the resonator (which on the 560s is a two-piece resonator that looks like kidneys coming off of the main exhaust pipe. So this is about a 4-5 foot length. I removed the downpipe end with little difficulty (only 2 bolts holding a common exhaust clamp) tonight, and removed the double-U clamp that secures the center portion of the 2 pipes to a bracket extending from the transmission (it's a support bracket), but didn't get back as far as the resonator section to remove those. I guess I'll soak those tonight and remove them tomorrow night.

Dropping this section of the exhaust will give me significantly more room to reach that transverse pipe-to-exhaust manifold connection and will immensely help the reassembly too. It feels like a pretty heavy section of exhaust too. Since the O2 sensor screws right into this downpipe section, I will probably remove it and replace it. It's what, $100 bucks for a Bosch ... though some 560 guys are running 2-wire Mustang 5.0 liter O2 sensors successfully which are about 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of a Benz unit. I'll just stick with the Benz stuff.

Last night I busted the vacuum tube that runs from the brake booster through the inner engine firewall to the intake manifold. It just broke in two from age and brittleness. Also, one of the two fuel hoses that attaches to the fuel cooler (which is attached to the A/C system to cool fuel running through it) has some exterior cracks, so those critical fuel hoses are also getting replaced. These hoses run from the fuel distributor to the fuel cooler, and from the fuel cooler to the fuel return line (back to the fuel tank). The vacuum hose is $94 wholesale, while the fuel cooler hoses are only $53 and $32 apiece, wholesale. In this case, with fuel lines, much better safe than sorry. The cracks scared me when I saw them.

I expect to finish dropping the exhaust tomorrow (Tuesday) night and will probably also get the passenger side exhaust manifold out (after finishing loosening the transverse pipe from the exhaust manifold on the passenger side), and hopefully make some headway on the driver's side exhaust manifold. I have to remove the EGR valve and heat shield from that manifold before I can remove it. Hoping that the EGR isn't frozen onto the manifold. So far I've been pretty happy in that none of the bolts and nuts I've had to deal with have been frozen on, but some pre-soaking has helped in a few cases. Most have come right off though, thankfully. Including the passenger side exhaust manifold hardware, which I was worried about. Came off no problem.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

92500e

E500E Newbie
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

excellent machine shop,very good people there. A few blocks over an excellent radio repair shop repairs MB radio's cd players nav units. Do you have enough jack stands.If you need some help let me know,be glad to help if needed.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

I have the car up on ramps which is IMHO sturdiest and most supportive. Although the car's nose is a bit higher up, I have the flexibility of being able to safely get underneath the car as I need to (which has been A LOT, so far). I've got a couple of pairs of stands too but don't anticipate needing them...

Glad you know Scroggins Machine. They come very highly rated by the Benz community in Houston. Bobby's great.

One of the side projects I've been planning to do while my car is down, is to send the Becker in for refurbishment/realignment of the cassette system, replacement of the two amps, and addition of an iPod input. Can this local shop work on a 91-vintage Becker? It's the same radio as the 92-93 500Es, but it's a one-piece unit without the trunk-mounted amp unit.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

92500e

E500E Newbie
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Yes he can repair the older becker unit and becker amps,we also talked about ipod input,he said that would not be a problem but he does not have the ipod aux cable. He also repairs VDO speedows.
 

92500e

E500E Newbie
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Austin radio located on 2406 Austin st ph-713-659-7920 he is a little rough around the edges but he knows his stuff,The MB dealer i worked at still uses him to fix old radios and new models that are out of warranty , he also repairs bmw radios etc.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Thanks man, I'll drive down there at lunch later this month and talk to him. That's great as I can combine it with the visit to Scroggins to take the heads and manifolds in for refirb.

Cheers
Gerry
 

jhodg5ck

"Nit-Picky and, Bitter Mechanic"
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

gerry,

Are you going to re-install the factory manifolds? I know you were talking about the ECE engines down the road.. If you are looking/thinking about it I do have a set of tri y's sitting on the shelf.. I'd also recommend avoiding Jet Hot.. I haven't been happy with their coatings on cast iron bits. I've switched to Swain Tech which IMHO, is a much better coating. You might also consider getting the intake manifold coated w/ a thermal barrier from them as it gets Mighty hot in there...

As an aside, and again..not sure if it's of interest, but I have a freshly machined set of heads that were fully P&P'ed that I won't likely be using given that the engine I was going to put them on turned out to be Already P&P'ed and a 6.0L :)

Jonathan
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

:update:

Made some good progress tonight; was out in the garage for about two hours working.

Tonight I was able to remove the EGR valve & heat shields from the driver's side (left) side of the engine, and then the left-side exhaust manifold. The left-hand manifold is removed from inside the engine compartment (above the engine). One of the passages in the manifold was significantly blocked with carbon build-up (see it in the photo below). I was also able to loosen both ends of the transverse pipe, which runs directly behind the engine and connects the two manifolds. Not my favorite job, but I got it done.

I next loosened the right-hand exhaust manifold. It is removed from underneath the car. It is a very tight fit. I have not completed dropping the downpipe from the car yet so it is blocking the manifold from coming down all the way, but I expect to be able to wrestle the manifold out tomorrow night. If I can't get it out, I'll loosen the right-hand motor mount and jack up the motor a couple of inches on the right side; this should provide enough room for it to slip down once I get the downpipe out of the way.

Once I got the left-hand manifold out, I have easy access to the power steering hoses and all of the lines going from the power steering pump to the steering box. Although they look in OK condition, I'm going to replace them out of hand because they are so easy to get at and they are fairly inexpensive. Come to think of it, I may replace the motor mounts as well because they are so easy to get at with the manifolds out of the car. When I get the heads out, everything will be even easier to get at ....

I believe I found the culprit for the bad ticking that I had for the last 1,000 miles before I decided to refirb the heads: looks like I had a bad exhaust manifold gasket. It had a tear in it although the engine-side metal surface of the gasket was intact. However, it appears as if there was enough material gone to allow the ticking. This is pretty common on these cars when you have ticking. A cursory examination of the cam lobes, lifters and rocker arms didn't show any obvious problems (I'll know more once I disassemble things) so I was scratching my head a bit until I found this bad exhaust manifold gasket. I am thankful if this proves to be the case as I won't have to replace any of the lifters or rocker arms on that side of the engine.

After I get the right-hand exhaust manifold out, I move onto the next and final phase of the first half of the project: removing the cylinder heads. I'll need to rotate the engine to take the pressure off of the springs so that I can remove the rocker arms, hydraulic compensators ("lifters"), cam oilers, cam towers, and cams themselves. Later I'll also need to remove the guide pins that hold the timing chain guides in the heads, etc. I'm going to replace the chain and guides while I'm at it, although they only have 40-45K on them. May as well -- guides and chains are relatively cheap at this juncture. After this coming Saturday I'll be unable to work on the car for about a week, but I expect to have the heads disassembled and ready to take into the machine shop by around the 20th or 21st of March.

It will be interesting to see what I find when I get the heads off the car. I can already tell on the right-side head that there is some significant carbon build-up inside a couple of the exhaust ports -- that's just rooting around in there with my finger.

I hope y'all are enjoying this little odyssey I'm going on with the SEC. The M117 is fundamentally the father of our M119s in many if not most ways.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

:update:

Tonight I only worked out in the shop for 1.5 hours, as I've got a lot of other stuff to do around the house. In any case, I made some decent headway and I'll talk more about it here.

I managed to get the right-hand exhaust manifold out of the car. Actually, the car did it for me! One of the two rubber hangers holding the resonators ("kidneys") onto the bottom of the car broke under the weight of the unattached forward part of the exhaust system (downpipe and catalytic converter assembly) and fell all the way down to the garage floor. I wasn't too stressed about this as it now gives me better access to the joint between the resonator and downpipe/cat assembly, so I can knock them apart and remove the downpipe piece. This will allow me to re-attach and re-hang the exhaust system in sections, which will make the job easier (hopefully ;-) )

Anyhoo, with the downpipe totally out of the picture and resting against the garage floor, just a minute or two of shimmying the right-hand side exhaust manifold was enough to get it out of the car, thankfully. I was happy to have it out and this in and of itself was worth of the whole time I was in the shop tonight ... my alternative was increasingly looking like I'd need to loosen the motor mounts and engine shocks and jack up the engine to provide enough clearance to get the manifold out. Not having to do this probably saved me a couple of hours' labor in the tight confines under the car.

Anyway, with that out of the way, and a quick inspection of the manifold (not too much carbon build-up in the ports) I moved on to the next phase of the job ... the removal of the cams from the cylinder heads. Most of the work from here on out is going to be on the top-end -- which is great because it's much easier and more accessible than the underneath as I don't have a lift and the car is parked up on ramps.

You can see from the photos the careful prying off of the cam oiler tubes atop both cam towers. A flat-blade screwdriver is enough to do this job, but the most important thing is not to bend the aluminum oiler pipes! The brown oiler fittings slide off and I am going to replace them out of hand - they are cheap and easy to replace.

Moving on, the next portion of the job is the removal of the rocker arms. This job requires a special valve spring compressor to push down on the valves, and then each rocker arm just slides right off and out. Very simple, but there's 16 of 'em ! And the most important thing is that the cam CANNOT be putting pressure on the valve springs (i.e. the cam lobe must be pointing upward or nearly upward so that there is maximum distance between the piston and valve when it's compressed by the tool, and enough room to slide the rocker arms out). I tested the tool on a couple of rocker arms where the cam lobes were pointing up, just to get the hang of it. It's quite easy once you figure out how it all works.

I felt the noses of all of the cam lobes (all except 3 or 4 that were depressing the rocker arms and thus turned downward, that is) just to see what they felt like. The cylinder #1 intake valve cam lobe nose was rough -- it has some significant grooves in it that I could snag with my fingernail, and the grooves were all the way across the face of the nose. All of the other noses were smooth, so I piqued my interest even further, honing in on this rocker arm. Luckily the nose was not putting pressure on the rocker arm, so I was able to CAREFULLY depress the valve spring with the tool and extract the rocker arm. You can see what the rocker arm contact surface looked like.

It is significantly worn down and wow -- only about 1,000 miles of wear. This was the cause of the "ticking" that I was getting over the past 1,000 miles. It's very nice to find the cause, and have it be so readily apparent.

Replacement rocker arms are only around $25 wholesale, and are readily available either from Benz or on the aftermarket, so I'm not too worried about that. But, give that the cam nose is worn, that's going to have to be replaced too. Again 560 cams are fairly inexpensive on the aftermarket (around $250 for a TRW model) and readily available from Benz (I think around $850 for a cam) but I'm going to have to replace that. So, just for safety, I'll probably just replace all of the rockers when I do the cam. This is going to mean that I'm also going to have to adjust the height of the hydraulic compensating units ("lifters") that fit under one end of the rocker arms. There is a very simple tool for measuring this which I'm going to have to order -- not a big deal, but something else to do. And Benz makes several sizes of shims to ensure that the lifters are at the correct height. So, something else I'll have to do once I put the heads back together.

Next steps are going to be pretty simple -- remove all of the rocker arms (and keep them straight as to where they came from, for reassembly purposes), then remove all of the lifters, and remove the cam tower assemblies. I'll have to turn the engine when removing each rocker arm so that the cam lobe isn't putting pressure on the rocker arm. There's a couple of ways to do this -- I'll probably just bump it with the battery attached and the coil and fuel pumps disconnected so they don't operate. I don't think I have the correct size of socket and extension to go into the vibration dampener to turn the engine manually, and anyway the fan provides pretty tight clearance in there. So I'll just do it with bumping and see how it goes. If it's too much of a pain, then I'll remove the fan/radiator (which is already drained) and do it manually with a ratchet and socket I guess....

At that point, the heads will pretty much be ready to come off of the car and go into the machine shop for refurbishment. I figure just a couple or three more modest nights in the garage will have the heads ready to go. Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to touch the car again until a week from tomorrow (Sunday 14-March), so there won't be any updates until then.

Hope y'all are enjoying this.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Gerry, that scored rocker arm is disturbing. Any idea as to the root cause? Perhaps a cam oiler plugged at that rocker?

:eek:
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Difficult to say, but a lubrication issue COULD BE a potential cause of the problem. It could also be just plain wear and tear caused by 185K miles, or a weak/defectively hardened cam lobe or rocker arm, or a piece of dirt that got into the engine and triggered scoring of the surfaces.

Given that it's #1 cylinder (directly under the oil fill cap) the latter cause is certainly a possibility ... although the problem started a couple of hundred miles BEFORE my last oil change. I have changed the oil on this car pretty religiously between 2K and 3K miles for the past 40K miles that I've owned it. I will certainly examine the oiler tube for that bank and see if it's plugged (have to remove the end caps and cam tower oiler caps on it, which will get replaced out of hand as part of the job. However, I don't think a lubrication (plugged tube) issue is the cause. I think it's just plain wear - weak hardening and/or dirt entered into the engine at the oil cap.

I do know that starting with the 1989 model year (which my car is), M-B provided an extra degree of hardening on the cam lobes from previous years (model years 1986-1988) of the M117 motors.

I'll be pulling the rest of the rocker arms this weekend and will report back on any further wear issues. I don't expect to find any problems though ... I could tell from my stethoscope against the valve cover that the ticking was coming from cylinders #1-3 -- just couldn't tell exactly which. I had guessed #2, but given that this rocker was right next to #2 ... close enough ;-) A preliminary examination of the rest of the lobes and rockers on the right bank showed no issues, and I don't expect to find any on the left bank either.

Looking at new rockers and a new cam for the right bank though.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

:update:

Well, 3 more hours' work tonight and I made some pretty significant progress at disassembling the heads. We're "go" for removal of the cam sprockets, chains, cam towers and hydraulic compensating elements ("lifters") from the heads as next step.

Tonight, after removing all of the spark plugs, I removed all of the rocker arms from the valvetrain, having to turn the engine to several different points to get the cam lobes to ease off pressure on the valve springs in order to compress all 16 springs to remove the rockers. You have to keep each rocker arm bagged as to where it came from. Analysis on each of the cam lobes and rockers in a second. This took me the better part of an hour to carefully go over them both visually and by feel.

After removing the rocker arms, it was time to move the motor to Top Dead Center (TDC) in order to check the cam timing marks. Tomorrow I will remove the timing chain tensioner, cam sprockets, tensioner rail and cam slide rails from the heads. After that, it's basically time to remove the heads. Looks like I'll be bringing 'em into the shop mid-week, so should have a diagnosis on the pressure test, cleaning of the heads and intake manifolds approximately 7-10 days later, making it hopefully that I get things back around the 25th or 26th of the month, and can start re-assembling things at that time. I'll have to make my first MB parts order (new cam, rocker arms, cam bearings, etc.) probably about the 18th or 19th of March. Looks like this first order is gonna be a spendy one .... I'm not going to muck around with having the cam polished and re-used. They're cheap enough that I'll just get a new one.

Moving the motor to TDC was a dilemma that I was pondering all week. There are several ways to manually move the motor. I decided to do it by harnessing the power of the starter motor, rather than trying to do it manually with a huge socket on the end of the crank. To do that I'd have to remove the radiator. The radiator is empty of coolant, but I just didn't want to hassle with it. So, I decided to just activate the starter to "bump" the motor around. To do this, I made a little wire that I could touch to the two terminals on the solenoid. By shorting these two terminals, it was simple to turn the motor.

Before I did that, however, I did the following tasks:

a) Removed the fuel pump relay (so bumping the starter didn't activate the fuel pumps and send fuel spurting)
b) Removed the wires from the coil terminals (so as not to deal with any voltage or arcing hassles)
c) Removed the coil itself (to be able to clean the area on the inside of the fender underneath it (two bolts hold it on)

Then, I just had my wife help me by looking at the marker, and turned the motor from underneath until it hit TDC. I missed it slightly (3 mm) on the first pass -- enough that I was uncomfortable to call it TDC. The next time, I got it right on as you can see. Except that I got an oil shower from the oil pump sending oil up to the heads, which cascaded down upon me under the car... :thumbsdown: :banghead: :fish: :oops:

OK, so on to the diagnosis of the rockers and cam lobes ....

Overall, the left bank (driver's side) were nearly perfect, in terms of the cam noses and the rocker-arm wear surfaces themselves. Look like they have plenty of life left, which is great. Looks like the lubrication on that bank of the engine is great and little wear issue.

On the right bank, it was a different story. Cylinders 1-3 rocker arms generally had some significant wear on the contact surfaces, although the cam noses themselves looked OK. Cylinder 4 (closest to the firewall, passenger side) looked pretty good -- pretty much as the left bank cylinders 5-8 looked. There were no scoring or imminent failure issues on the rocker arms for cylinders 1-3 that I could tell, but I'd be willing to bet that anywhere from 20-50K miles in the future that would not be the case, and the lifter and/or cam nose would wear to the point where it would look (and sound) like the cylinder #1 rocker arm and cam nose that I mentioned previously. In short, there was enough wear on the other rockers that it's a no-brainer to replace the cam and all rockers (and probably lifters) on that side, just to be safe. I'd rather do it when it's easiest to do, when everything is accessible and/or off the car.

I'll leave the left bank alone and if it fails in the future, I've got the tools and the know-how to do the job probably in a single day, after diagnosing and then ordering the parts.

I'm going to have to buy a 24mm socket at the Craftsman store tomorrow in order to remove the hydraulic compensating elements ("lifters"), which screw into the heads. It will be easiest to remove the lifters with the heads still on the car.

Here are a few photos I took of the job tonight. Enjoy !

Cheers,
Gerry

P.S. BTW Dave/GSXR ... some further research leads me to believe that it is probably a cam oiler cap problem that caused the lubrication issue with the right cylinder bank. I haven't examined the caps in detail yet (I'm purchasing news ones as a matter of course for the rebuild, they're extremely cheap) but will when I replace them. Cracked or otherwise brittle caps are generally the cause for individual cam and/or rocker arm wear. Because they are plastic, they get brittle both from age and also from repeated heating/cooling cycles. I'll post details when I replace them and pull off the old ones, examining them closely. They are safely bagged and tucked away for now ...
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

<img src="images/smilies/update.gif" border="0" alt="" title="" smilieid="118" class="inlineimg">

Today was a long day in the shop, about 8 hours all told. But overall it was successful! One of the two cylinder heads is off the car! <img src="images/smilies/banana1.gif" border="0" alt="" title="" smilieid="51" class="inlineimg">

The other one just needs to have it's head bolts loosened and it's off the car as well.

To recap today's "activities," here's what I did:

I removed the timing chain tensioner. This is a critical part that (if it goes bad) can have a catastrophic effect on the engine. Mine was replaced about 60,000 miles ago, along with the timing chain rails and timing chain. I think I'm going to invest again and replace it. The timing chain tensioner has a little rod on a plunger that puts pressure against the timing tensioner chain rail. This keeps the chain taut and thus from jumping around. The tensioner rail also takes the "brunt" of the timing chain wear. Mine was quite worn after 60K miles, so I'm going to replace it. I will also replace the three upper timing rails, which are cheap parts and also cheap insurance against anything bad happening for at least the next 100K miles.

I also removed the accessories on the front of the heads .. namely the cruise control actuator unit, the power steering pump and pump bracket, and the alternator and alternator bracket. This made the fronts of the heads "bare" and thus easy to access the pins that hold in the upper timing chain rails on both heads. I left the hydraulic lines attached to the power steering pump so no need to bleed it ... I can just reattach its mounting bracket and the pump itself, and then adjust the belt tension as necessary.

After making the fronts of the heads accessible, I also had good access to the cam sprocket bolts. Those were torqued on pretty tight, but I got them off with little trouble. After shimmying the sprockets and associated Woodruff keys off the ends of the cams, I put coat hangers through the ends of the timing chain so it wouldn't fall down into the engine. Now THAT's a real pain...

Next up were the 16 hydraulic lifters that screw into the heads. These are easily removed with a 24mm deep socket, although some of them were pretty well torqued on. Two of them were quite loose, surprisingly! I took some pictures of the oil passages in the head and on the underside of the lifters to see where the oil enters them. On the last couple of turns of loosening them, you can hear a small "whoosh" of pressure escaping. These lifters have to be marked as to the cylinders they came from, and stored in an upright position. I used a cardboard box to do this, just punching holes in it and marking each lifter as to where it came.

After that, I pretty much was ready to begin removing the cylinder heads. There are 18 8mm head bolts, five 8mm cam bearing bolts, and two additional 6mm bolts that hold the front of the cylinder head to the block just below and aft of the cam sprocket. Takes quite a bit of patience (not to mention arm strength) to bust some of those head bolts loose! For most of them I had to use a 1/2" drive breaker bar along with the special 8mm "C" shaped socket in order to get enough leverage to break them free, then I could finish them off with an 8mm hex socket on a wobbly extension. You have to remove (and re-install when putting things back together) the cylinder head bolts in a specific pattern, the removal of the heads being the opposite pattern of that when torquing them down.

To break the head free of the block, I just had to smack it in different places with a rubber mallet and it came free with little difficulty.

I examined the head inside and out. The intake chambers looked pretty good and had little if any gunk inside of them. The exhaust chambers had a modest amount of gunk, but nothing seemed horrible or clogged any more than you'd think an engine with 185K miles would have on it. I took lots of photos so you can see what it looked like in there.

It will be interesting to get the driver's side head off the car, because that is the one that I believe has had the small head gasket leak for years, as well as the lubrication-related issue with the cam and rocker arm on cylinder #1. Right-banks seem to be the "problem children" for some reason with the 560 motors, but I don't know why.

Enjoy the photos !!
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Quick night tonight - only 1.5 hours in the garage. Got the 18 bolts of the right-hand engine bank head off, as well as the three small bolts that hold the front corner of the head to the block (around the timing chain sprocket area). I was fretting all day about the rear-most two head bolts, as they are pretty close to the inner firewall and tough to access, but I soaked all of the bolts overnight and they all came off noticeably easier than the left-hand bank's head bolts, which were not soaked. Some folks say to remove the inner firewall as well as the windshield washer reservoir & battery, but I didn't want to hassle with all of that. Since the factory procedure didn't specify removing that inner firewall, I finally figured it was possible to do the job without removing it. Luckily, I was right and probably saved a good hour or two of time by not having to do it. Sort of like not having to remove the radiator to access the crankshaft bolt ... able to bump the solenoid instead with a jumper wire to get the TDC.

So....I just have to remove the five remaining cam tower/bearing bolts (which are short and screw into the head, not into the block) and remove the cam and towers, and I'll whack the right head off the block with a rubber mallet. Much easier tonight than I expected. Tomorrow night will probably be an hour to an hour and a half work removing, tagging and bagging everything, and loading the heads and manifolds up for the trip to the Scroggins machine shop on Wednesday or Thursday at lunch.

Effectively, I'm done with the disassembly phase. While stuff is at the machine shop, I'll get anal and clean the inside of the engine compartment, soak the bolts in kerosene to clean them up, clean the throttle body, clean out the V in the engine block, and various other accessory parts and systems, and make my first MB parts order.

Looks like my friend Robert can supply with me with a used MB 560 cam, for next to no cost. He has new ones in stock as well, but I think I'll go with a used one. That ought to save me a couple hundred bucks...

I'll post more piccies tomorrow night of the right-hand head, particularly the area where the valve guide/seal is leaking and/or loose (and thus letting oil leak down into the combustion chamber) and also the tiny weep in the rear head gasket area causing the oil smell in the cabin. More soon !!

Cheers,
Gerry
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Lookin' good, Gerry! Say, what will you use to clean the block surface?

:5150:
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

:update:

Well, only about 75 minutes out in the shop tonight. Both heads & cams are off the car, and ready to go into the machine shop tomorrow afternoon. Called Bobby Scroggins today and he's ready and waiting.

Here's what I found tonight: a cracked head where the timing chain tensioner screws into the head. Hopefully they can weld this area and close it back up. I will have them pressure-test and check the heads for cracks, as well as clean them up, grind and lap the valves, press in new valve guides and valve guide seals, and basically make everything nice again. Same with the intake manifold halves. They will clean them up nice and make it all look beautiful and functional.

Now the fun begins ... lots of elbow grease to clean up the block and engine bay, below the car, etc. I'll have a couple of weeks to do this, probably will work about two hours on it every night. I need to remove the timing chain tensioner rail, but this is held in the block with a single pin at the bottom that it pivots on, and now that the right-side head is off the car, it's easily accessible. I'll keep the metal part of the rail but replace the plastic insert on it.

Basically, half way there now. I hope it all goes back together as nicely as it's come apart.

GSXR, I will probably use a wire brush and rags with some Simple Green and brake cleaner spray to clean the block, Simple Green and various car care products to clean the engine bay, and kerosene and a wire brush to soak the head bolts in to clean them up. I'm not looking for Afshin-level (i.e. anal) cleanliness, just to have things tidy.

Enjoy!

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

I brought the heads and intake manifold into the machine shop today and had a good conversation with Bobby Scroggins, the owner. He and his dad have worked on MB engines for the past 40 years and he said that that the M117 and M119 are (to them) the last and best engines that MB made. Scroggins is the main machine shop for all MB dealerships in the Houston area except one, and they also do a lot of the "heavy" warranty work when MB engines fail on newer cars.

Bobby told me that the newer M112/M113 and M272/M273 engines are extremely poor reliability and quality-wise by M117/M119 standards. He said the newer cars are burning through valve guides and are not nearly so beefy as the older ones. They are seeing major issues with the newer engines coming in through the dealerships.

The more interesting thing (to me, privately) is that the dealerships are passing heavy-duty engine work to guys like Bobby. It just goes to show how much MB technician training is geared toward reading codes and replacing modules and parts, and has moved away from "real" mechanical work.

Bobby was happy to see my E500 and told me to hang onto it as well as my 560SEC. He said that they will essentially never wear out and will serve long lifetimes if well-maintained. He (without any input from me) said that all Mercedes-Benz cars made after the W124s are just not up to the level of the earlier cars, quality and reliability wise. Yet another independent confirmation of what I've heard from multiple knowledgeable sources around the country, and also in keeping with my philosophy of not owning a Benz made after 1995, the last year of the W124.

The intake manifolds will be de-carboned and then I will pick them up, and take them to another local business called Poly-Dyn (http://www.polydyn.com) to be coated. The underside of the lower half of the intake manifold will be ceramic-coated; this is the portion that is most exposed to the heat of the engine block, and the rest of the manifold will be coated as well. The reasoning is that the heat-resistant coating will repel heat from the intake and thus will keep the incoming air charge a bit cooler than otherwise would be the case. The exhaust manifolds will also be ceramic coated.

Poly-Dyn is a nationally known coating company that just happens to be a couple of miles from my office. The owner started out here in Houston back in the early 1960s, hired by NASA to develop a coating process for the Gemini spacecraft program. The coating system he developed he took proprietary and is still using today, along with a number of other types of surface coatings for automotive and industrial use. He is "friendly competitors" with Dan Swain of Swain Tech (another well-known coating company) and has known him for the past couple of decades.

http://www.scrogginsmachine.com
http://www.polydyn.com

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Jim

E500E Newbie
MB out sourcing re-builds and quality end date.

gerryvz said:
The more interesting thing <<>> is that the dealerships are passing heavy-duty engine work to guys like Bobby <<>> and (MB) has moved away from "real" mechanical work.
In 2008 a very reliable source told me that AMG sub-contract some of their engine work.

also

It is good to get another confirmation of the quality cut off date i.e. up to and including 1995 for MB cars.

Jim.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Yes, when I visited Vaeth in Germany a couple of years ago, they told me that they are AMG's primary subcontractor for when jobs on older cars come in for custom work, such as for a 500E.

AMG has no capability nowadays to do work on an M117 or M119.

It appears that more and more MB dealers don't either. I know about 5 years ago, at my local dealer in Portland Oregon, there was only one tech on the staff who could deal with serious mechanical work on an older engine such as a M117.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

KarlC

E500E Newbie
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

gerryvz said:
Bobby told me that the newer M112/M113 and M272/M273 engines are extremely poor reliability and quality-wise by M117/M119 standards. He said the newer cars are burning through valve guides and are not nearly so beefy as the older ones. They are seeing major issues with the newer engines coming in through the dealerships.


Cheers,
Gerry
What years and what cars have the M117/M119 engines ?
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

KarlC said:
What years and what cars have the M117/M119 engines ?
The M119 (in various forms) was used in:

W124, 1992-1995
W140, 1992-1999
R129, 1990-1998

The M120 (which is based on the M104/M119 design) was used through 2002 on the R129.

I do not know the specific years/chassis for the M117 but I believe it ended in 1991, and was only used in the R107 and W126 chassis.


:e500launch:
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

The M100 was Mercedes' first production V-8 engine. This engine was found in the W109 300SEL 6.3 (1968-1972) and the W100 Grand 600 (1963-1981). This version had mechanical Bosch fuel injection. A later variant of the M100 with K-Jetronic injection was specifically made for the 450SEL 6.9, which was produced from 1975-1980.

The next V-8 engine was the M116/M117 twins, which were closely related.

There were two generations of the M116/M117 V-8 engines: the first generation with an iron block, and the second generation with an aluminum block.

The first generation M116 engines were found in 3.5 liters, and the first-generation M117 engines were a US-specific design (smog motor) with 4.5 liters. The 3.5 was a higher-revving V-8 and couldn't meet US smog regulations, so MB punched it out to 4.5 liters to maintain 3.5 power levels, and smogged it for the US market. The 3.5 iron-block was introduced in September of 1969, for the 1970 model year, and used Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection (which was computer controlled). This 3.5 M116 engine was used in the W111 280SE 3.5 coupe/convertible, the W108 280SE/SEL 3.5, and the W109 300SEL 3.5. It was also used in the R107 350SL and SLC two-seater convertible and coupes.

The first-generation M117 engines were 4.5 liters (as I said) and were used with a 3-speed automatic transmission with torque converter -- MB's first. They came to the US in the summer of 1971 and were not offered in Europe or elsewhere -- in fact, European Delivery US cars driven in Europe came from the factory with 3.5 badges on the trunk to disguise them, and the badges were only replaced with 4.5 badges once they came Stateside. Effectively, MB didn't want people in Europe to know they were doing a 4.5. The 4.5 was found in the W108 280SE/SEL 4.5, W109 300SEL 4.5 and the R107 450SL.

The M116 and M117 evolved into the W116 cars (the W116 450SEL for the US market) and the 350SE/SEL W116 for non-US markets. There were also 350SL R107 roadsters. For this second-generation, the injection was changed over from D-Jetronic to K-Jetronic.

In 1979, MB introduced the second-generation M116/M117 with the introduction of the W126 chassis. The M116 was introduced in 3.8 liter form and the M117 in 5.0 liter form, both with aluminum blocks and heads. These motors were used in both the W126 and R107 chassis (380SE/SEL, 380SL/SLC) (500SE/SEL, 500SL/SLC) and employed K-Jet and later KE-Jet.

In the mid-1980s (in the US for the 1986 model year) MB created the second-generation of the alloy M116/M117, bumping up from 3.8L to 4.2 liters for the M116 and adding the 5.6 liter displacement while keeping the 5.0 liter displacement. They moved to KE-Jet injection around this time too, perhaps a little before. You know these in the US as the 420SEL and 560SEL/SEC and 560SL, although in Europe and other countries they also had a 420SL. The 420 and 560 were produced through the end of the 1991 model year in the W126 and the 1990 model year in the R107 convertibles.

Also during the mid-late 1970s, while the first-generation M116/M117 were being produced, Benz came out with a near prototype all-alloy V-8 with a displacement of 5.0 liters that was basically a racing engine. This engine was produced in very low numbers and was found in the rare R107 450SLC 5.0 coupes, which were a semi-homologated version of the rally and racing cars that Benz fielded in the late 1970s.

This engine (an offshoot but close relation to the M117 and part of its' family) was the direct father of the M119 as found in the E500E. The M119 was used in 4.2 and 5.0-liter displacements from MB, and 6.0L from AMG.



The M119 was used from 1990 through 1999 and was found in the R129 (500SL/SL500), W140 (420SE/SEL/S420 & 500SE/SEL/S500), and W124 (400E/E420 and 500E/E500) models. The early .96x tall-deck version was only used in the R129 from 1990-92 (KE-Jet). The .97x has LH injection (through 1995), and the .98x has ME injection with coil-on-plug ignition, on all models from 1996-99.

This is by no means complete, but hopefully provides some beneficial information. The M117 is similar to the M119 in many fundamental ways, although the M119 is a significant step up in terms of technology: twin cams, more modern electronic fuel injection (LH and ME), variable valve timing, electronic control (knock sensing), stronger engine management and diagnostics, etc. Both engines share more of a "cost no object" engineering-based approach as compared to MB V-8s produced since, they are also preferred by mechanics in terms of their robustness, durability and solidity of engineering.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Bobby Scroggins, owner of Scroggins Machine, called and left me a message late yesterday that my heads and intake manifold halves are ready. I spoke to him on the phone just now. Everything checked out with the heads with regard to the pressure testing, etc. No cracks, no bad threads, etc. They replaced all of the valve guides which were just plain worn-out from the 180K+ miles the car had driven (again, a very common issue with M117 heads). They ground the valves, surfaced the heads (.002" - just to basically clean off the sealing surfaces), bead-blasted everything, de-carboned the exhaust ports, replaced valve guide seals, tested valve springs, etc. No issues -- thankfully just a routine cylinder head refurbishment. Again, a testament to Benz quality.

The total labor for the cylinder head refurbishment, cleaning, and the cleaning/de-carboning of the intake manifolds comes to $632.67. I'll pick everything up on Tuesday and hand the intake off to Poly-Dyn for the coating of the lower half of the intake manifold, and be ready to roll by next weekend to commence re-assembly.

Parts shipment is on the way. I'll attach the parts order so that y'all can see the extent of the stuff I'm replacing. It's quite amazing !

Cheers,
Gerry
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Picked up my cylinder heads and intake manifold yesterday, and dropped my intake manifold off at PolyDyn today while picking up the exhaust manifolds.

Everything looks beautiful, perfect and clean. It will be a pleasure to put everything back together being so clean. Excited about that !!

I will take photos. The cost for the exhaust manifolds to be ceramic-coated was $165.00. The cost for the bottom half of the intake manifold to be coated with a ceramic coating & top-half with a heat-radiating gold coating was $192.

The purpose for the coatings to the exhaust and intake manifolds are several-fold. 1) Cosmetics. Wanted to dress things up a bit, particularly on the exhaust manifolds which are visible on the M117 in the C126 (i.e. the last MB V-8 NOT to have any plastic crap cladding). 2) Heat reduction underhood. The coatings help keep heat within the exhaust manifolds and radiate significantly less of it into the engine bay. This makes things cooler, bakes and cooks plastic and rubber parts more slowly, and generally is better for power generation. 3) Intake heat reduction. Coating the lower half of the intake manifold with ceramic coating and upper part with a gold-colored heat-resistant coating will help keep the intake air charge coming into the engine cooler as it will be better insulated from engine and engine-bay ambient heat. And as we all know, cooler air going into the engine helps it generate more power.

Scroggins returned the valve guides they pulled from the cylinder heads to me, so I will post photos of those too. Basically he just told me that they were worn out due to the mileage on the engine (184K) and a few of them were a bit loose in the heads, which in conjunction with worn valve guide seals would have been the reason that the engine used approx 1.5 quarts of oil per 3,000 miles. Since I got the car in 2002, I could never figure out where that oil was going.

Photos soon. Rebuild will be starting shortly, so lots more to report as that progresses over the next couple of weekends.
I am looking forward to having the engine back together and the car running again.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Here are some photos of the exhaust manifolds and the cylinder heads, as received from Poly-Dyn and Scroggins Machine, respectively.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Gerry, excellent work with all you are doing, I'm very much enjoying you write-ups, sort of like a Charles’s Dickens weekly install.

Those manifolds and heads look wonderful. Looking forward to the next installment.
Russell
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

By the way, just to follow up on the issue of the cracked head/casting. It turns out, and I discussed at length with multiple knowledgable sources, that this "crack" where the chain tensioner fits into the head is a standard "feature" of all M117 cylinder heads, and is completely normal.

So that was a false alarm, and the cylinder head came from the factory like that. No cracks! (whew).

Also ... the ceramic coating on the exhaust manifolds should keep surface temps on the manifolds down by 200-400 degrees Fahrenheit over un-treated manifolds. This could translate into some seriously reduced engine-bay temps.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Couple of pictures from tonight -- got the V all cleaned out and made some good progress on the block surface that mates with the head. The left-side bank is almost all scraped and cleaned off. I'll finish it and do the right bank tomorrow night. I also cleaned the driver's side shock tower area, hoses, top of the steering box, etc. just for aesthetics.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Here (attached) is the parts list for the rebuild. As you can see, lots of small parts like nuts and washers, but quite a few biggies as well.

All told, I think the parts are going to come out to somewhere between $1,500 and $1,800 US.

That's in addition to around $950 for the head refurbishment, exhaust manifold and intake manifold cleaning and coating.

The labor spec'd for the job is 22.5 hours by the MB book, although mechanics tell me that it in reality takes one mechanic close to a full week to do this job well.

So the labor at $100 an hour would run around $2,200-2,500, on top of all of the parts and head work.

To do this job right, with a shop, replacing everything that should be replaced, is $5,000+.

That should give you a ballpark for an M119 head job, as well. I'd expect an M119 to be even more due to the increased complexity of the motor, four cams, etc.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

:update:

Well, the parts are en route and will arrive via FedEx on Thursday. This gives me a few more days to focus on cleaning up the engine and engine bay a bit, soak and clean various bolts in solvent to clean their threads, and prepare for the reassembly phase.

Early this evening I spent an hour in the shop and removed the timing chain tensioner guide rail from the engine block, and finished scraping the left-hand side sealing surface of the block. I also started on the right side block surface but have some additional work to do. After all of this scraping, I'll run my shop vac all over to remove any dust, scrapings and debris from the block's oil, air and water passages. This will be critical before I put the heads back on. For the most part, the head gaskets came off of the block pretty clean and thus not too much scraping has been needed. Really very little material was left on the block itself, which has made my job relatively easy.

I've attached some photos of the tensioner guide rail and the valve guides that Scroggins Machine removed from the heads and replaced with new ones. These valve guides, with 184,000 miles on them, were simply worn out and are now officially "scrap metal".

In any case, enjoy!

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Two big boxes of parts arrived in the FedEx today. Looks like I have pretty much everything I need to get going. A few parts were not included, so I'll have to get those from MB directly, but not a huge deal.

Here are a few photos of what arrived. :wahoo:

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Well, tonight I had two good hours in the shop and made some headway on the re-assembly. I washed each of the 21 head bolts on the right (passenger) side of the motor in solvent to clean them up really good. Most all of them looked pristine. I fitted the head gasket and then, after cleaning the head's passages with a shop vac), fitted the passenger side head to the car. I inserted each of the 21 bolts to finger tight, to hold the head on. Then I test-fitted the cam towers and then fitted the cam itself. It was the new cam and it fit into things just fine. I used Lucas assembly lube on the cam bearings and journals. I will also use the same lube for the other side and for the lobes, rocker arms and hydraulic lifters in advance of "pre-lubing" the car when it's all complete.

On Saturday I'll torque the head down and also install the second head. I'm hoping that Sunday I can get the exhaust manifolds fitted, as well as the transverse pipe that connects them behind the engine. I will also plan to install the 3 inner timing chain rails to the heads, the timing chain sprockets, and to re-install the alternator and power steering pump to the front ends of the heads once they are torqued down.

I still haven't received the intake manifold pieces back from Poly-Dyn but they were scheduled to be coated on Wednesday afternoon. I am sure they will be ready to pick up on Monday or Tuesday.

Here are some photos below of my progress tonight.

Enjoy!

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

mistermiata

Member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

loving every minute of this Gerry. Its like watching a movie. Cant wait to see how it ends ;0)
Thanks for all the excellent info and pics!
 

Glen

Site Admin, auto enthusiast...
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

mistermiata said:
loving every minute of this Gerry. Its like watching a movie. Cant wait to see how it ends ;0)
Thanks for all the excellent info and pics!
Eh, it's such a predictable movie though. We all know it has a happy ending... :burnout:
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Today was a real tough day in the GVZ werkstatt.

First thing this morning, I torqued the right-hand head onto the block. Everything went swimmingly well with the torquing process, and sequence, and it all was good. Until I got to the three M8 (small) bolts that hold the timing chain (front) end of the head to the block. I torqued one of these babies too tight and stripped the threads right out of the head. Luckily it's on the INSIDE CORNER of the head and fully outside of the head gasket area, right next to the water pump on the top of the head. I will have to remove the torqued head (not a fun process) and will Heli-Coil (re-thread) this hole in the block tomorrow (Sunday).

A setback to be sure, but not an insurmountable one. The good thing is that all of the 18 main head bolts went on just fine, torqued great, and I learned a hell of a lot in terms of what I need to do and when to do it. The bad thing is that I will have to get a new head gasket for that side, as I am loathe to re-use a new but already torqued head gasket. Some mechanics would and will re-use them, but I think this component is critical enough that it's worth the $50-60 to just get another new one and use it. The Heli-Coil kit will run me around $40. So, it was a $100 mistake and I am out the time (at least for getting that head back on the block) at least 4-5 days until the new gasket gets here. The Heli-Coil for that hole will only take an hour to do, at most. I can get the kit and Heli-Coil inserts at my local NAPA auto parts store that are intended for the particular metric size bolt and thread pitch that this one was.

Not the end of the world, but not great either. My first real snag with this project, at least unexpected. I consoled myself by cleaning the left-side head bolts with solvent to prepare for that head's mounting on the block later in the day. My wife helped me briefly steer the left-side head onto the block by running the timing chain through the chain cutout in the end of the head. It was a pretty simple process and as it was my second time doing it, much easier.

After a couple of hours and a night out for dinner with my wife, I went back into the shop and decided to spend another hour or so getting more work done. I inserted all of the head bolts into the head/block and also assembled the cam towers/bearings/cam with assembly lube and then mounted them onto the head. All of the head bolts are finger-tight in their holes and will be formally torqued down on Sunday. That will allow me to begin re-assembling that side of the motor, able to put the cam sprocket and chain back together for that side, put the power steering pump back on the front of the head (after mounting brand-new timing chain guide rails, of course).

On Sunday I will remove the right-hand side head and Heli-Coil the stripped hole.

I will pick up my intake manifold pieces on Monday or Tuesday from Poly-Dyn, where they've been ceramic-coated (bottom half) and heat-resistant coated (top half), and hopefully will have the new head gasket kit by Wednesday or Thursday and can begin re-mounting that head.

Have to say that the engine looks quite good with the two heads mounted along with their respective cams. However, with the right-hand head coming back off of the car for a few days, it will feel like progress is reverting for a while.

Ahh well, you live and learn. Could have been worse, I guess. Luckily Heli-Coil is an MB factory-approved process (they have a how-to entry for it in the M117 service manual) and from what I understand it's a pretty reliable process when done right. So I am looking forward to yet another new experience. Perhaps it will come into play again in the future for an M119 rebuild or something.

In any case, here are a few photos taken tonight from the day's activities.

Enjoy,

Cheers,
Gerry
 

Attachments

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Gerry, when installing the cylinder head bolts, did you coat the threads & head contact surface of the bolts+washers with engine oil?

It's interesting that the M117 bolts are not torque-to-yield... after the second torque stage & 10-minute break, you loosen slightly & re-torque. I had never seen that procedure before. The M119 (and M103/M104) have a single torque stage and then two separate 90° turns. Both of these procedures are different than the Mercedes OM60x diesel engines which use a double torque stage followed by a single 90° rotation. I guess different MB engineering teams came up with different procedures for the head bolt torque process, eh?

:alky:
 

Glen

Site Admin, auto enthusiast...
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

I guess they wanted to make sure they could sell more headbolts for the later engines :)
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Yes, I am oiling each head washer and bolt before installing. I found a thread on Mercedesshop.com where the guy did EXACTLY the same thing as I did, on the same bolt, at the same time (last bolt after torquing the head) and he was able to helicoil it in place, without having to remove the head. He gave some pretty good information on what he did.

Interestingly, the Elring instructions say NOT to put oil on the washer contact surface where it meets the head. Pretty hard to NOT do that when you're oiling everything else !! MB factory manual doesn't say anything about that, though they do say to oil the threads and bolt contact surface before installation. You can bet I'm following the factory instructions to a "T".

I bought a heli-coil kit today and will shortly be going out to the shop to install it. If I am successful, I'll be able to continue and not have to remove the head and waste the time/effort as well as the $75 head gasket. You shouldn't re-use a head gasket that's been torqued to the head, even if the engine hasn't been started.

I'm told that you can safely re-use M117 head bolts one time, but after that they should be replaced with new ones. They are indeed stretch bolts but not as "stretchy" as for other cars/marques. All of my head bolts were in beautiful condition and just a bit of cleaning with some solvent and a wire brush made them look like new again. Pretty cool.

Yes, it's a three-stage torquedown process. 30 n-m, then 60 n-m, wait 10 minutes, then back off 1/4 turn and then back to 60 n-m. No need to re-tighten once the engine has been warmed up or run. The second (left-hand) head will be torqued down later today or tonight. After that, I will re-install the hydraulic lifters and cam sprockets, then the exhaust manifolds, then the accessory equipment (power steering pump and alternator, which attach to the fronts of the heads. And, of course, the three inner timing chain guide rails. That is the first task after the heads are torqued down.

My remaining parts order will be arriving on Monday and Tuesday via FedEx. This consists mainly of a lot of washers/nuts/bolts/tie wraps, a few vacuum lines of the correct color, and the two fuel cooler fuel hoses.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

:update: :new:

Happy to say that I dodged a major bullet today, folks. :wahoo: :stormy:

I was able to drill out the hole in the block THROUGH the head (whose hole was slightly larger in diameter than the stripped block hole), tap it, and then insert the Heli-Coil threaded insert. After breaking off the tang on the bottom of the Heli-Coil with a drift punch and a hammer (per procedure), I carefully (and with lots of trepidation) screwed the M8 x 1.25 thread pitch 6mm hex head bolt into the top corner of the block.

It held !! :banana1:

Torqued it down to around 21 n/m, and then torqued the two other 6mm companion bolts at the lower corner and inside the timing chain slot to the same torque. All is well.

Here are some photos of the process.

WHEW ! :relieved:

Cheers,
Gerry
 

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gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Re: 560SEC top-end rebuild

Glad to hear it worked out ok, Gerry! Next question - what brand/model torque wrench are you using, and what is the range in Nm?

:D
 
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