Well - I called MBUSA.
They told me I needed to bring the car to the dealer and were not aware of any issues with the 1997 automatic transmission. . . I drive a 97 e420 produced 9/97 with 27000 miles that will go out of warranty this October.
My experience with dealers is that they seek to deny the existence of any problems - so I was hoping to point them to the upgraded transmission package - no luck.
Any additional guidance before I bring my car in would be appreciated. Also, I live in Austin, Texas. If anyone has had good luck on this issue with any dealers in Texas (i.e. know and are willing to acknowledge a problem) let me know, please.