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  #1  
Old 06-03-2005, 01:41 PM
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W124 300E - 1st year of first gear start...

I am having a discussion with a very knowledgable guy in England about when first gear start arrived in W124's from the factory.

He claims the they didn't get this until 1995.

My 1993 300E (3.2) had first gear start.

Stu Ritter, in his book, "The E Class Owner's Bible", claims valve bodies from 1989 through 1990 can be modified to have a first gear start every time, while 1991 and newer 300E's have first gear start from the factory..."

Frank Barrett writes in "The Illustrated Buyer's Guide to Mercedes Benz":

"Automatic transmissions in 1986 - 1990 cars started in second gear, but in 1991 this was changed to first gear start with a higher-ratio rear end (2.87:1 vs. the previous 3.27:1)."

From what I have learned, the '86-'90 300E was equiped with transmission 722.320. This transmission starts in second gear.

In the middle of 1989 MB started equipping the 300E with transmission 722.358, which has first gear start. However, the 722.320 continued to be fitted onto the cars well into the 1991 year when it was finally phased out. The 722.358 was eventually phased out in early 1993 when the the 3.2 liter 104.992 engine was installed.

The confusion is that the two transmissions overlap through the years. In other words the 1989-1991 models were equipped with either one of the above transmissions.

Of course the selection about which transmission would be fitted in the car was dependent upon some factors that I am not familiar with. I suspect, (but I may well be wrong on this) that it must have something to do with the rear end ratios which as we know, also were changed around this time. So, maybe the first gear start 358 tranny was fitted to the cars with the low numeric rear end ratio. The second gear start 320 tranny maybe was fitted to the higher numeric ratio cars. Again this is just a suggestion but it makes sense to me, but I am not sure about it.

By the way, the 300E with the 2.6 engine had neither of these transmissions but was equiped with the 722.4.. series.

Also the 300CE's with the 24 valve engine 104.990 cars were equipped with yet another transmission, the 722.369.

I don't believe the V8 W124's (400E, E420, 500E, E500) ever got first gear start.

Please chime in if your 1990, 1991, 1992 300E has first or second gear start.

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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2005, 01:57 PM
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My late '91 (in effect '92) US model 300E had first gear start from the factory. My current 'European' '94 E300D has it too.

In the UK (and most of Europe I think) the petrol models came with a switchable auto box with 'S' or 'E' modes. I've not owned one of these but I believe the 'S' setting would start you off in 1st. The diesels don't have this feature of course.
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---------------------------------------------------
past:

1983 230E W123 M102
1994 E300D S124 OM606 (x2)
1967 250SE W108 M129
1972 280se 3.5 W108 M116
1980 280SE W116 M110
1980 350SE W116 M116
1992 300E W124 M103
1994 E280 W124 M104
----------------------------------------------
"music and women I cannot but give way to, whatever my business" -Pepys

Last edited by chazola; 06-03-2005 at 02:33 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2005, 02:33 PM
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My car is a 1989 300ce with the M103 engine. The transmission is the 722.358 and is 2nd gear start. I just had my transmission rebuilt and I had the option to make it a 1st gear start, but the rebuilder advised me against it. He didn't refuse to do it, just recommended I kept it the exact way it was designed. The only thing different on mine now is the he did the necessary updates.
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2005, 03:58 PM
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My 91 300E has first gear start, and im glad. I wish the gearing was taller though....this high rpms at 75mph sucks, gas too.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2005, 04:01 PM
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My 1991 300CE has the 722.359 tranny with 2nd gear start.

glenmore
1991 300CE
1991 LS400
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2005, 04:38 PM
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No problem. At a stop, shift briefly into low then back into drive. Bingo! !st gear start!

Of course, you knew that.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2005, 04:46 PM
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The W201 M103 motored cars received 1st gear start in 1991 and I believe that was also the case with the W124 M103's as well. I used to own a 1992 2.6l 190 (which started in 1st gear) and have driven many different cars. I drove a 93 400E not too long ago, it was a 1st gear start, drove a 95 E420 a few days ago, it also was 1st gear start and drove a 92 300CE, it was also 1st gear start.

The 400E/E420 also has first gear start, many people confuse this particular car as having 2nd gear start because it has a B switch like the W124.036, but the 400E/E420 B switch (when locked) keeps the car in first and it never shifts out of it (unlike the W124.036, which will shift out).
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2005, 11:37 PM
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My understanding is that first gear start was implemented during the 1991 model year - late 91s have it, early ones don't.
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2005, 12:03 AM
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My 300TE was built in Sept 1990 and when I count the upshifts I am pretty sure I have 1st gear start. 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd, 3rd to 4th, that's how you can tell, right?
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2005, 12:34 AM
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Since66 - No problem. At a stop, shift briefly into low then back into drive. Bingo! !st gear start!
Of course, you knew that.


This is incorrect;
The auto shifter only goes down to 2nd, still starts in 2nd gear when shifted all the way down.

I just pulled my trans after some governor issues and totally forgot about making this mod.

I think it is the most annoying thing to start off on the line and hesitate while the "automatic" trans thinks about what gear it wants to be in. Meanwhile traffic is showing off it's tail lights.... However, once it wakes up and figures out it wants to be in gear, it runs the R's like a bat out of hell...

Any links to information on making this mod would be most appreciated. Especially if it can be done while the trans is still in the car.
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  #11  
Old 06-04-2005, 01:35 PM
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Suginami,
I am the guy who started the thread about the 722.358 first gear start.
I swapped my transmission from the 722.320 to 722.358 hoping to get the first gear start. It did not. the 722.358 at least the one I have also starts in 2nd gear.

I am going to update the original thread I started back then.
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  #12  
Old 06-04-2005, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin190
Since66 - No problem. At a stop, shift briefly into low then back into drive. Bingo! !st gear start!
Of course, you knew that.


This is incorrect;
The auto shifter only goes down to 2nd, still starts in 2nd gear when shifted all the way down.

I just pulled my trans after some governor issues and totally forgot about making this mod.

I think it is the most annoying thing to start off on the line and hesitate while the "automatic" trans thinks about what gear it wants to be in. Meanwhile traffic is showing off it's tail lights.... However, once it wakes up and figures out it wants to be in gear, it runs the R's like a bat out of hell...

Any links to information on making this mod would be most appreciated. Especially if it can be done while the trans is still in the car.
Begging your pardon, this info is not incorrect.....it most definitely works on my '86 300E. It takes off like a scalded ape when the method I described above is used.
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77 300D
82 240D
85 190E 2.3
86 300E RIP 12/28/09
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00 E320 Current
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....and a whole passel of BMW 2002 and Tii
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  #13  
Old 06-04-2005, 06:39 PM
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Yes, the shift into "2" and back into "D" allows first gear start on otherwised governed valvebodies.

But this is annoying IMHO. Fortunately, I drive like a jerk most everywhere I go, and every time I press the go-pedal(briskly), it knows enough to start from first(don't even have to engage "2" or kickown) in my 300SE.
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  #14  
Old 06-04-2005, 07:05 PM
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Suginami, pay close attention to this fact:

My 1995 E 320 T has second gear start (original 4-speed auto transmission fitted as an option).

When ther car was ordered from Germany, most W/S124 were fitted with an standard five-speed manual transmission. The automatic option offered two transmissions to choose from: the traditional four-speed auto with second gear start and an optional five-speed auto with first gear start.

Since the car was ordered fully optioned, originally the five-speed auto transmission was included. Then the salesman recommended to stick with the regular four-speed auto since it had better gear response for mountaneous driving conditions (as we have here in Costa Rica) according to M-B bulletins. So, he proceeded to delete the option. Later, I regreted it deeply, since I HATE the second gear start, and the five-speed auto had from factory first-gear start. The optional five speed auto carried a premium of about US$800 over the original four-speed auto (which by itself added about US$2,000 to the sticker price).

I guess that is where most of the confusion sorrounds first or second gear start on W124s automatics. Most world markets (including Germany) offered the traditional four-speed (second-gear start) as optional fitting on most models up until the demise or end of the series. Maybe as a cost saving measure???

In some special markets like the U.S., England, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Emirates, etc., the five speed auto was fitted standard on most W124 models sold there (unlike Germany and the rest of the world) making all of these cars first-gear starters. I am sure the four speed auto was considered obsolete for these special markets, where the US$2,800 premiun was just added to the original sticker without any worries that might scare customers on these wealthy regions.

As I understand, the five speed optional transmission with first gear start was also ONLY available to six-cylinder models (i.e. E 280 / E 320) from 1993 up. ALL diesels and four-cylinder (E 220 / E 220) W124 models came only with the four speed-second gear start automatic if an auto transmission was ordered over the standard fitted manual transmission.

So, in conclusion:

The five-speed auto with first gear start was fitted to E 280 / E320 models only from 1993 until the W124 finished its production as an optional item for most markets. Special markets had this transmission fitted as standard from 1993 on.

The four speed auto auto with second gear start was fitted to most W124s (four and six cylinder gas engines and ALL diesels) from its original production date up to the end of it.
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Last edited by A. Rosich; 06-04-2005 at 07:35 PM.
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  #15  
Old 06-04-2005, 08:13 PM
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My '91 300E with 722.358 has 1st gear start. Chassis no. is B399221.

My dealer printed a "vehicle data" sheet for my car and there are a couple of sets of numbers after the tranny (could signify something)

722.358_03_474262

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