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Old 04-25-2005, 07:15 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2
85' 380 SL early shifting problem

I need some help trying to diagnose a shifting problem with my '85 380 SL.

The car is original (no rebuilds yet) and has done approx 170,000 mls. The car is running beautifully but ...
when I pull away it seems to pull in first then shift through 2nd and 3rd very quickly and at low revs into 4th where I then slowly gather momentum. When the car is up to cruising speed it accelerates nicely but won't kickdown.
If I use the gear selector like a manual instead of an automatic I can hold it in gear so that I can accelerate normally and initiate downshifts.
I have spent most of my life driving and fixing manuals so don't have any experience with automatic boxes thus the plea for help!

I have taken the air filter assembly off and checked the linkages to the transmission to make sure they are all in place and have not suddenly slipped out of adjustment. I have also checked as thoroughly as I can for any vacuum leaks. I have not tried getting under the car to check anything there.
I have just moved to CT and no longer have the services of a trusted Mercedes mechanic and am concerned about being 'ripped off' for unnecessary repairs through a lack of knowledge to assess what I am being told. One mechanic has suggested that my transmission is 'slipping' and needs rebuilding. I am not sure what the symptoms of a slipping automatic are or how one does slip.
Any help/suggestions would be gratefully received.

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Old 04-25-2005, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 758
My first suggestion is to check your owner's manual to determine its advice on when shifting should occur. Something may be in there so try to ascertain "normal." Then, I would check to ensure the bowden cable has not stretched and is now loose. The linkage controls when it shifts, speed-wise, and the modulator (vacuum sensing) controls how firm it shifts. I believe the cable should be just snug with no slack. If yours has a rod instead of a cable, then it should be pushed toward the firewall and the ball end adjusted to just fit over the ball pin on the linkage. Lube the linkages with ATF after a thorough cleaning.



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