Have a 20-year-old 380SL here, with about 188K on the transmission, one of the good old 722.3 four-speed autoboxes. Records from PO are reasonably good, but contain no mention of a trans rebuild.
Fluid looked okay when I first got at it, a bit dark, but not burned. Drained the torque converter (man, is that a rough job), drained the pan, dropped the pan. Nothing scary hiding in the pan itself save for a few metal flecks.
Changed the filter and gasket, with a thank you to the PartsShop folks, and refilled with clean Dexron III.
It feels crisper now that it's been serviced, but it still has a noticeable 2-3 flare. This seems to be its only vice. The other shifts are fine, it finds reverse promptly, downshifts are quick.
The car is only an occasional leisure driver, and since it's not driven to work or for long distances it doesn't require perfect dispatch reliability. Thus, I am not in a hurry to drop $2K on a new trans until it becomes imperative.
Searching the archives on this, I've found references to a spring kit that is intended to improve the crispness of the 2-3 shift and get rid of the flare. The posts here also indicate that the flare really does need to be fixed, or it'll wear out the associated clutches and bands.
What I haven't been able to figure out from the archive posts is whether the kit is a feasible install for a driveway DIY. I spoke to a local MBZ trans shop of good repute. They said, "Five hours," but jeez, at $85 per hour, I'd rather start saving towards a rebuild.
I can certainly get the pan off and the filter out of the way in a lot less than five hours!
But the big question is this: can the valve body be pulled out easily once the filter is removed, on the 722.3 trans? I have never had occasion to find out. It seems that the spring should be easy to put in if the VB