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Old 02-19-2006, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 31
Automatic Transmission E class 1998+ Questions

Hello all,

I have a 1998 e320 4-matic with a transmission oil leak. When the transmission started to exibit rough shifting issues, I checked the fluid levels (yes I have the dipstick for these models since the unit is "sealed for life"). When it was clear that it was low, I could not get mercedes fluid, so I added Dexron III/Mercon fluid in a pinch. I was also convinced that the car may already have Dextron in it.

The car has a long history. I purchased it from a junk yard without a title, fixed it up and now have an r-title (4 years ago) but did nothing to the transmission. It is obvious that the pan has been removed at one point. I have had no problems with it in the last 4 years (40K miles).

I plan on changing the fluid once it warms up around here. Does anyone know who makes/bottles mercedes A/T fluid, and if it is a true synthetic or a blend?
How long is "life" etc. And is what is the down side to Dextron? or to mixing synthetic and dextron?

I also have a 1998 e300d with 175K and the A/t fluid has never been changed. Again "How long is life". I have had no problems with this one but wonder how long life is.

Thanks in advance for any info

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Old 02-19-2006, 01:40 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
There are no technical answers to your questions. ZF who makes BMW lifetime fill trannies, has representatives who will state (behind closed doors) that ZF considers 100,000 miles life time of synthetic fluid.

Most technicians agree that the life of a trans is limited above 100k if the fluid isn't changed. Based on the sum total of experience in technician groups, it is well established that applying a 60-80k interval can make a difference in the life of a transmission.

I personally think you have won the lottery getting 170k without service. I also would say that most techs are extremely reluctant to service a trans with over 100k on the fluid. This reluctance is not for the benefit of the trans it is to cover their A as anyone taking service to those levels will be the first to blame the tech when something goes wrong after the service. Who needs it, don't ya know.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 02-19-2006, 03:31 PM
Southern's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Carol Stream, Il, USA
Posts: 605
I have read from the various posts that you should not substitute the Mercedes synthetic fluid for anything else on these transmissions not even Mobil synthetic trans fluid.

Any Mercedes dealer should carry the "special" Mercedes transmission fluid or you can order it through the MercedesShop website.

1998 Mercedes E320, 200K Miles
2001 Acura 3.2TL, 178K Miles
1992 Chevy Astro, 205K Miles
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