joe p can you plz explain "124's put the manual valve into 1st when placed in first. (carryover from the 2nd gear start cars)"
The manual valve is in the valvebody, it is the direct connection from the shifter to the tranny. The 1-2 shift command valve in earlier 124's (86 to 90 300e's) had the loading spring on the otherside for second gear starts versus 1 st gear starts. MB moved the spring in 91. This spring is over ridden via fluid pressure when the tranny see' s full bowden cable input, kickdown switch input (on some versions) or manual valve input for 1st gear start. The shifter was not changed when the valvebody was nor was the manual valve. Hence "carryover" from previous models.
How many miles does this unit have, you might simply have a gummy valvebody that needs teardown and cleaning. Or it might be giving you a early warning of impending rebuild needs. Reverse delays are normally linked to either low working pressure or leaking front clutch apply piston seals, which contribute to front clutch wear.