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Old 03-07-2006, 07:12 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 26
New to This Forum and I Have Some Questions.

Hello everyone. I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I'm Wayne Thomas and I live in Mid Michigan. I make and use Biodiesel in my 1999 F-250 7.3 liter Powerstroke. I also use it in my garage furnace, house furnace and fuel oil space heater in my basement.

As of late I've been keeping and eye out for a diesel powered car to run my Biodiesel in as well. I've read on several post on the discussion forum that the Mercedes Benz diesel engine is one of the very best engines in the world and excellent choices for the use of Biodiesel.

So, without further delay, on the meat of the thread. I was driving along and passed a farm with a ton of junk. There are many pieces of heavy equipment, trucks and cars. A Mercedes caught my eye. Upon closer inspection I found it to be a diesel powered car. As it turned out, there were they Mercedes' and all three were diesel powered. Perfect, the car I want and even some choices!

Unfortunately, I've never owned a Mercedes before so I needed to do some research so that I can make an informed decision. There is some info about the Benz diesel on the biodiesel forum in which I linked above and I was also referred to this forum for some more specific information. You guys came highly recommended.

The car in particular I'm interested in is a 1981 300D. It has a 5 cylinder inline engine. I understand from what info I could find that these cars have very good engines and just love the taste of biodiesel.

Could any of you be so kind as to inform me as to any issues with this particular model?

I forgot to check the mileage on the car but I'm guessing there is well in excess of 100,000 miles on it. Probably even much more as I understand these babies run forever if cared for properly.

The seller is only asking $750 dollars for the car. Being pretty broke I offered to do some mechanical work in exchange for partial payment on the car I want.

The situation is this, the two other cars both run but one needs a transmission and the other needs a rear window and some structural steel work to the rear window frame that was severely damaged during the breaking of aforementioned window. Evidently he was pushing the car up on the car trailer with a loader of some sort. Something happened and the car rolled back and impaled itself on the fork of the pushing machine. Hence the damage to the frame as well as the breakage of the glass.

The car that needs the transmission is in much better shape body-wise than the one that needs the window so the owner is thinking that, if the transmissions interchange between the two cars, he'll have me change the trans on the better car and sacrifice the other car's transmission in the process.

The better of the two cars has a 4 cylinder engine and the worse of the two has a working transmission but it's attached to a 5 cylinder engine. The seller was told that the two transmission are either the same model or that they do in fact interchange.

So my question is this, will the two transmission interchange from an 81 model with a 5 cylinder engine to a 83 240D model with a 4 cylinder engine?

During my experience with auto repair and high performance drag racing, I've become a very capable transmission rebuilder. At least as it applies to American rear wheel drive cars and trucks.

Could anyone with experience in rebuilding Mercedes Benz transmissions give me some idea of the internal similarities and differences between the German made Benz trans and their American counterparts?

I have no doubt that I could in fact successfully rebuild the Benz tranny but it would be awesome to acquire a little insight into any peculiarities that I may encounter during the rebuild.

So any advise regarding the internal workings of the Mercedes Benz Automatic Transmission would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to offer.

Wayne Thomas

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Old 03-07-2006, 07:45 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 36,067
the benz

tranny was modeled originally after the gm hydromatic of the fifties, one of the most rugged and durable devices known to man. two planetaris and front and rear pumps. a non lockup torque converter. and they last a very long time if the fluid and filters are changed at 30k intervals. life of car i hear. most never get the chance because of poor care.

i dont think they are particularly difficult to rebuild, but i am not an automatic guy.

tom w
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:01 PM
Austin85's Avatar
Smells like Diesel..
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Boca Raton, Fl
Posts: 2,723
Thumbs up

Wayne in Mich.

I am not a big techie, but this is a great place to hang an d get info on M-B's.
I hope this link copies. There should be some helpful information on this..

and 100,000 on the clock is just breaking in for a 300D, if it's been taken care of.

Enjoy and post a few pics if you are able to get one.
'87 924S
'81 280SEL

Sold ->

81 300SD -
93 300E w/ 3.2
85 300D-
79 300SD
82 300CD
83 300CD - CA
87 190E 5 spd
87 Porsche 924S

"..I'll take a simple "C" to "G" and feel brand new about it..."

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Old 03-07-2006, 09:11 PM
jbaj007's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 2,053

Welcome to the group.

ATSG manual for 722.3 is here:

I've got some factory 722 transmission service manual microfiche, but no way to copy it for you,(and no useful rebuilding experience ); so that may be of little help.

If someone has a microfiche printer and could knock out a copy for me and for anyone else they wanted to, email or PM me. It's ~ 180+ pages.
The Golden Rule

1984 300SD (bought new, sold it in 1988, bought it back 13 yrs. later)
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Old 03-08-2006, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 26
Thanks for the info.

Thanks guys. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

I'll keep you all informed as to my progress.

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Old 03-08-2006, 05:35 PM
Diesel Giant's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Loganville/Atlanta
Posts: 2,156
Welcome to the forum. I will be doing a DVD in the future on how to rebuild one of these units. Now I just need one that is not shifting perfectly.
1981 300D 147k
1998 VW Jetta Tdi 320k
2001 Dodge Ram 2500 141k
1979 300D 234k (sold)
1984 300D "Astor" 262k(sold)
Mercedes How-To and Repair Pictorials
I love the smell of diesel smoke in my hair
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:24 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 26
4 cyl and 5 cyl trannies don't interchange?

Someone from another forum told me that the transmissions on the 4 cylinder and 5 cylinders DO NOT interchange.

Is this true?

Thank you,

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Old 03-08-2006, 07:33 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Canton,Texas
Posts: 987
I think they will bolt up ok but whether or not they are set up the same inside I have no idea. I would guess they are slightly different since the output from the 2.4 is around 67hp and the 3.0 is around 120hp.
1985 300D Turbo ~225k
2000 F350 (Powerstroke) 4X4, SWB, CC, SRW, 6spd ~148k
1999 International 4900, DT466e (250hp/660 ft/lbs), Allison MD3060 ~73k
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:33 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Posts: 6,510
If I understand your question you wish to put the five cylinders automatic transmission behind the four cylinder engine. You might be a lot better off changing the five cylinder engine and transmission into the four cylinder body as they are the same chassis and this has been done many times. The primary reason is the four cylinder with the automatic might be a little more sluggish performance wise than what you want or expect. Others will comment Since you have the two cars there all the parts required are pretty much there already. Pretty easy swap. Of course this is based on the five cylinder engine being in good condition. Details of the swap are probably in the archives on this site. Welcome to the site by the way.

Last edited by barry123400; 03-08-2006 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 03-08-2006, 10:45 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 26
Thanks Barry.

My first question, are you absolutely certain that the trans from the 5 cylinder car will interchange with the other trans and, most importantly, will it opperate correctly bolting it up to the back of the 4 cylinder?

Will there be a differene in flywheel/flexplate, torque converter, cooler lines, linkages, sensors, mounts, crossmember configuration?

You see, I have to have all tis information before I can make an educated decision and then make an accurate recomendation to the custoster.

So please let me As Soon As Possible as to any other changes or significant modification.

Thank you,

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Old 03-08-2006, 10:59 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 7,334
Not 100% sure, but plan on them not being compatable. The flywheel is different and the shaft lengths are different due to the 4 cylinder engine being shorter.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 26

Ahh, shaft length is likely to be a big enough concern to scratch the whole deal.

Thanks for the input.


Originally Posted by MTUpower
Not 100% sure, but plan on them not being compatable. The flywheel is different and the shaft lengths are different due to the 4 cylinder engine being shorter.

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