I changed ATF and filter on my 96 E320 (722.329 transmission) last weekend at 87,000 miles. I used a 27mm socket on the crankshaft bolt to line up the torque converter drain plug. This required removal of the front belly pan. I have seen some discussion of using a long screwdriver (through an access hole) to rotate the torque converted instead of rotating at the crankshaft bolt. This would avoid the need to remove the front belly pan. Is the use of a screwdriver to rotate the torque converter an acceptable procedure?
I changed the ATF and filter a bit early because last winter in cold weather the transmission was unruly until it warmed up a little (say 0.5 miles). From a standing start, the engine would rev a little before the transmission would engage. I used el cheapo brand ATF that met specifications. If fresh fluid and filter fix it this winter, I will add a supplemental 15K fluid only change with fluid and filter at the recommended 30K. If not, can anyone comment whether Mobil 1 ATF helps tame cold weather transmission behavior?
As an aside, I was pleasantly surprised that my transmission pan was really clean: no debris. I was bummed out using a bar type torque wrench to torque the pan bolts and drain plugs. It's hard to see the bar from an angle at 3 inches. A click type torque wrench is on my XMAS list.