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Old 11-02-2004, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: CT
Posts: 3,510
88 560SL Fluids

I used to work as a MB RR, BMW technician at an authorized dealer for a short time in 1987. At that time and I may be wrong, I thought we were using Dextron transmission fluid for all our cars. I just purchased a 1988 560 SL and notice that the ownwers manual says use MB transmission fluid and MB power steering fluid. I called MBNA and asked them and they said MB fluids are the only approved fluids for this car, but I think she was reading the same manual page I was reading. Are there any substites for MB fluids in these cases. Any recomended brands.

MB fluids are not exactly on the shelves at the local auto parts store.

Thank You
John Roncallo

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Old 11-03-2004, 12:15 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,270
I've come to look at MB fluid recommendations with a jaundiced eye. Here's why.

They recommended ATF Type A Suffix A for my manual transmission. After some research I found that this was the GM ATF from the sixties that had a small quanitity of whale oil ,and it had not been available in the US for at least 15 years. The modern substitute at the time was Dexron II and Dexron III, today.

Second example. One of their rear axle oil recommendations was a Pennzoil 85W-90, and they gave the four digit Pennzoil product number. After not being successful finding any, I called Pennzoil, and they said this particular specified product was not marketed in North America! The equivalent North American product was a 80W-90 GL-5, which was commonly available.

If MBNA is going to publish an approved product list for the USA, it ought to be limited to products that are ACTUALLY AVAILABLE IN THE USA.

I know this doesn't answer your question, but I needed to vent. I believe an appropriate ATF for your car is Dexron III, but wait for comfirmation from others.

Also remember that your 560 had a clutch type LSD and it needs the additive in the 80W-90 GL-5. It's the same as the LSD additive sold by GM and Ford dealers.

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Old 11-03-2004, 08:51 AM
myanoch's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Scranton Pa.
Posts: 239
I just changed mine a month ago and I used DextronIII
working fine
Penzoil rep. said it was ok to use in the older cars
mine is an 88 560sl
you can go on line and check the penzoil sight
If I had a newer year old benz I would use the factoy fluid
Also my friends also use it in their old 450sl"s
I think changing fluid is the important thing
old dirty fluid is the pits for a trans
My 2 cents

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Old 11-10-2004, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: CT
Posts: 3,510
Thanks for the replys everyone. I did go with the Dextron III Castrol. It seems to be working fine.

John Roncallo

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