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  #1  
Old 10-30-2009, 11:36 AM
sasquatchgeoff's Avatar
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Transmission Service - Dealer, Indie, or Self?

It is time for transmission service on my 201 190D. I wanted to poll members here for their opinions on the value of dealer, indie, or self service. My dealer wants to charge me $275. I am looking into the local indie (MBI Motors) and their prices, as well as the potential for me to do it. However, the dealer "back-flushes" thereby maintaining a steady level of fluid in the transmission, supposedly preventing the failure of seals, etc. Admittedly, I am non-transmission-ese fluent.


Any thoughts on this?
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2009, 11:51 AM
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Unless the transmission is full of nasty crud from having been ignored and abused for many years (and is therefore almost toast) I don't see that the shop's back-flush technique buys you all that much. Drain as much fluid as you can from the pan and from the torque converter, replace the filter and the pan gasket, remember to tighten the drain plugs, and you're good to go for less than $100.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2009, 12:16 PM
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I don't have a garage, just a steeply sloped driveway, so I opted for the indie. Luckily I found a shop that I like, I think he charged me $80. I already had the filter kit.
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2009, 12:32 PM
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Self if you can. IMO dropping the pan is the best way to go if you don't know the last time the filter was changed. I buy the gasket from the dealer and sometimes the filter. The gaskets are about as cheap as the aftermarket ones and the filters aren't that much higher. Then I buy fluid at my favorite parts store. I usually can get it all done for around $60 I believe.
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2009, 12:59 PM
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I guess I should have mentioned that this is a rebuilt with approx 40K on it - all miles driven by me. Plus, the car sat for 6 mos while I worked on the engine. The radiator was removed and the flex hoses dripped clear, decent looking, violet colored fluid. I suspect the rebuild shop (Deans in Seattle) used dexron. MB trans fluid is a different color right? Different spec?
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327K on 1986 W201, 602.911, 722.414 2.5 190D ("The Red Baron")
139K on 1993 W124, 104.942, 722.433 2.8 300E ("Queen")

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4081/...0bb92d3c_m.jpg http://i370.photobucket.com/albums/o...g?t=1325284354

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  #6  
Old 10-30-2009, 01:07 PM
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Should be Dexron III in there. Doing it yourself is really not too hard, and then you will KNOW for sure if the fluid in the torque converter was changed too.

Rick
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2009, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graplr View Post
Self if you can. IMO dropping the pan is the best way to go if you don't know the last time the filter was changed. I buy the gasket from the dealer and sometimes the filter. The gaskets are about as cheap as the aftermarket ones and the filters aren't that much higher. Then I buy fluid at my favorite parts store. I usually can get it all done for around $60 I believe.
The guy who has done work for me when I was ill/unable, has also done all my DB AT fluid and filter changes, including as much as possible from the torque converter. He charges a flat 75 bucks.

If I get this building, I'll be building ramps and doing it myself.

s
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  #8  
Old 10-30-2009, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strelnik View Post
The guy who has done work for me when I was ill/unable, has also done all my DB AT fluid and filter changes, including as much as possible from the torque converter. He charges a flat 75 bucks.

If I get this building, I'll be building ramps and doing it myself.

s
$75 for the labor and you supply the filter, gasket, and fluid, correct? So in reality you are paying more, correct?

If the $75 includes all that and he knows what he is doing you are getting a good deal. If it doesn't include it, it is probably a reasonable charge (if one doesn't do it themselves).
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2009, 04:42 PM
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The question back to you is whether you're trying to avoid cost or work. If I could trust someone to do a good job for $80, I've done enough tranny servicing that I don't care to go back down there. But it's a chance to check for leaks, condition of shift rod bushings, flex disks, etc.

Dexron II or III is good. It's hard to tell what you're getting at parts stores these days since no one uses Dexron III in labels anymore. Even Mobil 1 no longer sells ATF with a distinct claim to be Dex III compatible. There's a synthetic version of Dex II available from Redline or one of the other reputable synthetic oil brewers. The really meticulous MB owners I know use synthetic Dex II.

Mind how you fill the tranny. Initial fill is only what you drained from the pan and maybe a quart more. Fill the rest a little at a time with the engine running checking the dipstick frequently until the fluid is about 10mm (each application has a specific gap) below the cold mark. Get the transmission to operating temperature and top off as necessary.

Sixto
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2009, 04:58 PM
Craig
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I just have my Indy replace the fuid and filter (no flush). I could do it myself, but it's not my idea of fun.
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  #11  
Old 10-30-2009, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
The question back to you is whether you're trying to avoid cost or work. If I could trust someone to do a good job for $80, I've done enough tranny servicing that I don't care to go back down there. But it's a chance to check for leaks, condition of shift rod bushings, flex disks, etc.

Dexron II or III is good. It's hard to tell what you're getting at parts stores these days since no one uses Dexron III in labels anymore. Even Mobil 1 no longer sells ATF with a distinct claim to be Dex III compatible. There's a synthetic version of Dex II available from Redline or one of the other reputable synthetic oil brewers. The really meticulous MB owners I know use synthetic Dex II.

Mind how you fill the tranny. Initial fill is only what you drained from the pan and maybe a quart more. Fill the rest a little at a time with the engine running checking the dipstick frequently until the fluid is about 10mm (each application has a specific gap) below the cold mark. Get the transmission to operating temperature and top off as necessary.

Sixto
87 300D
The purpose of my post was to query the forum and determine what is the safest option. Of course, saving money is ideal, but if my tranny fails down the line because of contamination, or if the pan starts leaking because I fargled it up trying to torque it on with my waffle-iron sized mitts, or some other god-awful outcome that would be unforeseen on my part, at least I will know where I went wrong. Where if I just leave it to the dealer or the indie and blindly deal with the potential aftermath I mnight be out a perfectly good rebuilt tranny. Since my initial post, I have learned that MB is OK with dexron (I assumed otherwise) and flushing may not be necessary since I have relatively clean fluid/filter.
Thanks to all for their input!
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327K on 1986 W201, 602.911, 722.414 2.5 190D ("The Red Baron")
139K on 1993 W124, 104.942, 722.433 2.8 300E ("Queen")

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4081/...0bb92d3c_m.jpg http://i370.photobucket.com/albums/o...g?t=1325284354

Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
- Albert Einstein

take a walk down memory lane...
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