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  #1  
Old 10-25-2004, 04:09 PM
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Location: Alexandria, VA
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Transmission Problems with 560SL

My transmission on my 560sl, 98k miles is downshifting and searching for a lower gear and sometimes going out of gear completely..what could be the causes...bad transmission fluid, I know is one, but what are the others? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2004, 06:04 PM
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tranny with the downshift mode

The BEST possible (least cost) cause is a plugged oil screen/bad fluid. If you have waited so long to change the tranny fluid that it has turned to varnish--you MAY be able to get some mor elife out of it by draining ALL the fluid (pan drop, torque convertor, valve body drop), soaking th evalve body in varnish solvent (MEK mixed 50-50 with isopropyl alcohol will work) and reinstalling with fresh fluid and 1 pint of LUBEGUARD.

The next causes are: worn oil pump, leaking internal seals, etc. etc. , all of which require removal and disassembly.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2004, 07:07 PM
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Well, I heard back from my mechanic...not sure yet the cause but he is not optimistic...tranny is slipping a lot, and I'm probably going to get a rebuilt tranny either from mb or adsit.
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2004, 11:30 AM
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as an update, my mechanic fond plastic pieces in the pan, and it seems something in the transmission broke appart so I'm doing an overhaul of it at Don Pool....Yes, it will cost as much as a rebuilt one from Adsit, etc.. but mine had only 98k miles and I want to keep it.
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  #5  
Old 11-02-2004, 07:57 PM
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Don Pool took the transmission appart and found the clutch threads badly worn, and overall, a lot of crap in there...said the gears were ok, and other expensive pieces ok, and that had i not taken it in quickly, it would have been a lost cause. Good news is that this transmission can be saved.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2004, 03:18 PM
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The transmission overhaul ended up costing $3k, and involved replacing just about everything major, including the valve body, clutches, etc....

What I learned going through this is that there are no easy answers with the transmission repair...they wear out, and in my case, despite changing the fluid every 15k miles.

In any case, I think just about every major repair to this car has now been done: paint, exhaust, soft top, timing chain, subframe and motor mounts, etc...
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2004, 05:40 PM
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Certainly this doesn't apply in your case as your transmission has been properly serviced and at regular intervals, but just an FYI from personal experience to others who might be considering a fliud/filter change on a high mileage (many of us here qualify) transmission of unknown maintenance history. I heard a rumor once that in some cases, old, sediment rich fluid can be all thats holding a high mileage AT togather by providing greater viscosity than fresh fluid. I dismissed it as hogwash until I changed the fluid in my 1980 450 (probably for the first time) and had to replace the AT less than a thousand miles later. Coincidence? Maybe, but the following link: http://www.autoguide.net/tmm/austin25.shtml (and others I've seen) seem to validate my suspicion. I may be propagating a dangerous rumor here, but unless I know its been serviced frequently or the ATF is burned, I for one am leaving it right where it is.
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'87 MB 560SL - 45K
'80 MB 450SL - 180K (Sold )
The rest: '83 BMW 533i - 286K, '04 Ford F150 - 7K, '99 Yamaha YZF-R1 - 10K
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2004, 06:18 PM
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Sutekh, I think you are quite correct that changing fluid can sometimes cause a problem. My understanding is that the fresh additives in the new fluid are what causes the problem.

Recently I had a problem with the tranny on my 500SL. My filter was somewhat plugged with little clutch bits causing some problems on flow....a fluid change was all it took though I was advised that the new fluid could cause a problem. A month later it is working better than ever so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. With some internal damage further damage is likely inevitable.

Richard, I was quoted $2,300 Cdn ($1,900 US) for a rebuilt tranny so I find the $3,000 US to be a bit high.
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2004, 10:47 PM
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I agree...it was pricey and had I expected this to happen, I would probably have gotten rid of it, before overhauling everything about three months ago.

If you buy a rebuilt from a company like Adsit, maybe you can get away with $2k including labor. But I use this car every day for commuting, not just weekends and I spoke with two highly regarded shops in my area and neither would touch rebuilts that weren't purchased from MB.

As for the cause, it was just hard driving, fluid changes had nothing to do with it. The clutch plates were shot, valve body completely gunked up (and replaced), seals replaced, etc....it was just time.
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2004, 05:59 PM
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As a postscript, I've put on about 100 miles on the car since picking it up from Don Pool Mercedes....transmission turned out really, really well. The vehicle really runs like new (which it should I suppose since I've replaced or ovhauled everything from transmission and suspension to interior wood, paint).
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2004, 01:08 PM
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Location: East Coast U.S.
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northern virginia

You simply cannot save money in Northern Virginia. Everything here is 2x what it costs elsewhere. The shops are at best arrogant and capable, on average arrogant/dumb/incapable, and at worst outright thieves who break your car and kill it off. If you want to open an MB shop and make a killing, do it here. So if a transmission job cost 2000 plus some miniscule amount of money for install elsewhere, think 4000 here.

Don Pool will typically do the job right. They are expensive. They can also be exceptionally rude with numerous examples of that found over the Internet. At the same time, they may be the best shop in the area and I'd use them again. I just have to bring my thick skin with me and prepare to be humiliated while spending top dollar.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2004, 02:19 PM
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I've simply not had a negative experience with Don Pool, so I would not let some of the posters here scare you off from them. They are not cheap but for something this major, I really wanted them to handle it.

But, if you've had a bad experience, there are some other good shops here...Peter Fuchs runs a shop in Vienna? which is good and he really knows his stuff, for example. RC Imports (Rick) is good, and there are plenty of others.
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  #13  
Old 11-09-2004, 02:46 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: East Coast U.S.
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not the point

the point isn't that. Actually, in this area, Don Pool is one of the better shops. But just go do a google, click on newsgroups, and type "Don Pool" mercedes. See what's up there. It's for real, they are arrogant. The stories strike me as completely real because that's what I have experienced. Then again, every job they have done for me they did right the first time. So if you take your car in there, it'll probably get fixed right which is something the majority of the shops in this area cannot say.

With that said (and I comment more on it in a moment, your past threads being evidence to it), please add-up for the group the TOTAL dollars you spent on your transmission issues here for the last two years, not just the latest repair.The number will be very interesting and HUGE. Do you really think this was an economical end to all of this. Again though, to their credit, their mechanics are good. They just aren't friendly in my experience and in that of others. Your data point will stack up against mine, others mentioning it on this site, and on the open Internet (search on google, newsgroups). So it's good that, in your experience, it was good. Put one in the "good experience" column but also put a dollar figure next to that final transmission repair bill, TOTAL.

For your issue, if you search back through your threads, you'll see you were caught-up in a litany of partial repairs before they socked it to you. In fact, in one case, it makes me think that something you spotted in there was brought to their attention and they missed it (something about them telling you it's a common problem, all of them do it, the next thing is that you are back in there with that part shaking out in peices from the engine). We tend to bond with our captors and defend them. It's a common thing for hostages. For those that can't work on their car or have a problem serious enough that it needs a mechanic, we tend to bond with the captors. I'm glad to hear good things about Fuchs, I heard the shop is called SilverStar motors or something like that. I plan on trying him with the next issue because my skin may be thin on the next repair.
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  #14  
Old 11-09-2004, 04:13 PM
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Bonding with my captors? Hardly...like I said, there are many good shops in DC to choose from. History of my car is that I bought it in 1987. In that whole time, the only major maint. I did was four years ago when I replaced the calipers and A/C compressor...did other items as well, such as water pump, etc.. hardly major or unexpected.

This summer, after 17 years, 98k miles my 560sl was either going to be traded in or overhauled...it was a real mess...no A/C, rattled, looked great but not fun to drive.

The trade in value was $7k and the car I wanted would have cost me about $27k. I would not have sold it privately, without knowing it was in good mechanical shape. Instead, I decided to keep my 560, which involved a $4.2k overhaul of everything from the subframe and motor mounts, to timing chain, etc... When I got it back, the transmission worked, but the shifting got hung up at times between drive and reverse. I suspect that the problem may have been evident by the quality of the transmission fluid, and lurching quality of the shifting. So, I dropped another $3k just now on the transmission (there was a small repair cost to the linkage..about $100 during the summer)...so, the overhaul of this vehicle cost me grand total of $7.2k.

Financially, what is the effect? If the value of the car as it had been was $7k, and the repairs cost $7.2k, total "cost" to me was $14.2k. Whether this makes financial sense depends upon how long I keep it and whether it holds up.

Last edited by Richard1; 11-09-2004 at 04:29 PM.
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  #15  
Old 11-09-2004, 05:07 PM
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Location: East Coast U.S.
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it looks like they treated you well

The bottom line is that, based on that information, you were treated well all the way around given the costs in this area. I do not believe that the money you spent was at all excessive for the car in this area (again we know this area is expensive) and book value isn't relevant on cars like this but instead condition and how long you intend to drive it.

Yes I know there are some good mechanics in this area and I appreciate the references because I cannot fix everything on my car, not nearly everything but instead a bunch of things. But I've also experienced some horrible mechanics in this area. I know in Maryland there are a few good ones and also in Virginia. The trick is finding them and, in my opinion, doing the work yourself if you can.

Last edited by ericgr; 11-09-2004 at 05:07 PM. Reason: typo
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