Test drove an '87 300SDL today which I'm considering purchasing. I will obviously have a prepurchase inspection done, but have one quick question for all of you.
I noticed the tranny flared under accelleration in one of the gear changes (can't remember which, but it had to be either 2-3 or 3-4). Car has 150k miles on it, and was looked over completely by the dealer at 100k. Owner asked them to change everything they could find wrong (and they did.. springs, shocks, glow plugs, etc.) Tranny fluid was changed at the time.
Since then, the owner had the dealer check out the tranny once and they said it's "no cause for worry" (not sure if this is true or if the present owner is just trying to make a sale..)
I checked the dipstick (warm, engine running, after a 10 mile drive including a highway run) and there was almost no fluid showing on the dipstick.. just a little drop at the bottom.
So my question: Assuming this car has up to 50k miles since the last filter/fluid change, is this tranny toast or will a fluid/filter change bring it back? My '83 300SD shifts funny (though not as bad) with 2mm less fluid on the dipstick than it should have, so I assume no or very little fluid showing is a bad thing.
Current owner seems to know little about cars other than to have the dealer "change oil, check it over" at regular intervals. Owner doesn't see what the problem is, because it isn't very apparent when driving the car.. however, it scares the hell out of me...
Cause for concern? Great car at a great price? About to get into a tranny replacement project? Let me know your thoughts...
I should also mention that although I didn't try putting it into reverse, the shift from Park-Drive was very quick (less then 1/2 second) as compared to my 300SD (2 seconds in summer, 3 or so in winter)
'83 300SD 335,000km (207k) mi
'87 560SL 163,000km (101k mi)
'86 300SDL 356,000km (220k mi)
'92 500SEL 250,000km (155k mi)
'90 300SL 140,000km (87k mi)
'01 S430 260,000km (161k mi)
'03 SL500 167,000km (104k mi)
'07 GL320 CDI 4MATIC 289,000km (162k mi)
'07 S550 4MATIC 170,000km (105k mi)