$1400-$3500 for a rebuild tranny??? That is about the Dutch guilder price!!! 1250-2000 Dutch guilder for a completely rebuild tranny...
It is sad to hear that all these mercedesses are in desperate need of a head-job. I have just taken off the head of my 300SL-24 to get a new gasket (I had 3,5 liter of motoroil in my coolant!), new lifters and valve guidances + seals (24!), new timing chain, new spark plugs, new oil filter, transmission filter, new motoroil, transmission oil, differential oil...and model 97 bumpers, Xenon head lights and so on.
with a minor 600+k