Help please need advise re camshaft

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Feb 22, 2007

Have a 1997 E200Avantgarde 171k miles.

For about 3 weeks noticed that the temo gauge was on the high side (but not overheating) and have had to top up the radiator. I initially thought that there might be a radiator leak.

But, over the days, I noticed that the topping up of the radiator was needed more often. Then finally, I noticed that there was some smoke from the exhaust.

I took it to a garage and they confirmed my fears that it was a head gasket issue. I was also told that the viscous coupling needed to be replaced. So they undertook the work.
I finally picked up the car on a Friday. The engine ran smoothly but it sounded different- a higher pitch. After 3 days, I was crawling in a traffic jam on the M25 when suddenly all power just disappeared.

So the car was towed back to the garage.

They have now told me it is the camshaft that has cracked.

This sounds all rather odd.

Can anyone help.

Thanks :confused:
They fitted the camchain tensioner incorrectly so it stressed the chain too much and the camshaft gave out.

It's their fault.
Without checking the car I would suggest that Dieselman is probably correct.
can the wrong torque on the cylinder head not cause this as well?
I agree and guess they are not a Merc specialist, so you are partly to blame if they are not a Merc specialist.
can the wrong torque on the cylinder head not cause this as well?

What's happened is they didn't retreat the centre of the chain tensioner when fitting it. The whining was the chain under duress.
yep reason why many mechanics do not like to work on the HG of a chain driven cars.
I must be on the record books for a leaky gasket now.
over 12 months and still going, touchwood
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Thanks folks. As for them not being Merc specialists....
Is there anyway of confirming Dieselman's diagnosis? Whenever I tried to discuss it with them, they just said it was on of those things and is completely unrelated to the work that they did.
Dieselman's suggestion sounds most likely. If it were me, I'd ask whoever did the work exactly how they fitted the tensioner ;)

It's quite a common thing for people to c*** up unfortunately.

Being the novice that I am, what exactly should I be asking them?
There's a picture here on an old post of mine:

Basically, I suspect the garage removed the tensioner by removing it complete (using the outer hex on the body).

You're supposed to remove the inner (centre) part seperately before you refit it. Inside the main piece (the tensioner body) is a long spring and a bit that gets pushed out to act as the 'tensioner' on the guide rail to make the chain taught.

If the garage didn't remove this middle part seperately before re-fitting it, then chain may have been over stressed/too tight, causing the camshaft sprocket (that the chain goes around) to snap the camshaft (the cams won't bend, they're made of a hard material)

If the repairing garage is not admitting it is their fault now then they are going to try and get out of it by fobbing you off with your "lower" level of knowledge. My advice would be to get the car back and take it to a Merc specialist and tell them the sequence of events. Send recorded delivery letter to the first repairer telling them what you believe to be the cause (after you have the car back) and then give them the option to either repair it free of charge or pay the cost of a Merc specialist to do the work. Give them 7 days to reply. If no reply get merc repairer to fix the car, get statement and photos from them of what caused the damage and then present the bill with another recorded del letter to the first repairer - if they do not pay up issue small claims summons.
As I suggested in other forum they should have insurance to cover such events.

They should have told you that they were not competent to do such work and you are going to discuss with local trading standards dept if they do not put it right at no cost to you.

They may need to contract the job out to a Merc specialist and I would suggest that to them.

Trading standards will get tough with them as this is exactly their job.
I have seen a couple of 111 engine snap camshafts with no work done on the head at all.

But in this case I suspect it has been a incorrectly fitted tensioner.
To all those who posted replies, thanks.

What are my options? I suppose
1) scrap car
2) fix camshaft but then I have been told that they would need to change valves etc
3) get a new engine.

What would you recommend and if it is a matter of fixing would anyone hazard a guess of the approximate prices?

Thanls once again

I'd look towards the people who originally did the work on the head. Potentially it's either a case of rebuild, or replace the engine I guess - depends on the damage (a new camshaft plus various other bits will not be that cheap).

Must be worth at least trying this route before you look at scrapping the car...

Best of luck :)

Would you rather go with engine rebuild or replacement if it were your car?
If you are thinking of scrapping / seeling the car as is / then another option to present to the repairer is simply to give you your money back for the [poor] repair that they did - this may be more palatable to them than spending an unknown amount of money.....
If it were my car, I'd be tempted to look out for a secondhand engine to drop in.

Reason being that the 2.0 M111 is quite easy to come by and should be pretty cheap to source. Combine that with the fact that your engine has covered 171k miles, has had previous overheating problems and now a snapped camshaft this would surely be a more sensible approach?

The parts alone to repair your old engine may cost more than another one from a breakers/eBay etc.


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