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Old 10-04-2004, 11:25 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,830
98 ML320 Trans Fluid Change

I have some questions on changing the transmission fluid on a 98 ML320 with 95K.

I found the trans fluid fill hole and it is covered with a black plastic cap with a red tab on it. How do you remove this cap? Is it supposed to be broken off? Fastlane sells a $50 dipstick that says it's for diagnostic purposes only. Can the dipstick be left in there, or must it be replaced by the tube pin?

The fluid is $14.60 per liter. Must this fluid be used, or are there competitive products that are cheaper? How much should I buy to change the fluid in the pan and torque converter?

Is the pan gasket reuseable?

95 E320 Cabriolet, 153K
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Old 10-04-2004, 11:52 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
First of course I don't recommend changing the fluid. Certainly not with only 100K miles on it.
The square part that you see that locks the cap in place is broken off, then with a small screwdriver push the remainder of the red tab through the cap, then the cap can be removed. Be sure, when you are through, to get a new locking tab. It "locks" the cap in place so it's important it's there, otherwise the cap can actually come off quite easily, may come off by itself. DON'T lose the rubber o-ring on the cap!
NO NO NO there is NO substitute for the MB fluid! (NO!)
The dip stick is used on various other MB transmission applications, there is no "custom fit" dipstick for the various models, it is a tool. The transmission fluid temp has to be at a specific temp (80c) for the stick to be accurate, so MB left the dipstick OUT for this reason, it is no good if you don't know the EXACT temp of the fluid. This is a good reason for you to not attempt changing the fluid yourself. Other than that the job is like any other MB transmission. The temp is read using the shop computer, there is a temp sensor inside the transmission the shop computer can read the value of.
You shouldn't reuse the trans pan gasket, it would be foolish to reuse it IMHO. WHY reuse it?
I would buy about 8 liters to do the trans with the torque converter. Make sure your TC has a drain plug though, and order a new seal for both drains.

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