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Old 03-07-2001, 12:59 PM
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My 1988 300SE suddenly developed a problem with the automatic transmission a few days ago. When the transmission attempts to upshift into 4th gear, the shift takes about 2-3 seconds. During this time the engine revs freely and the transmission feels as if it was in neutral. When 4th finally engages, it happens very sluggishly. All other gears engage normally and kickdown and reverse are also OK. To make things more difficult, the problem occurs only occasionally. I've noticed, though, that it is more likely to happen when the engine is cold (it's below freezing here) and/or when the revs are over 3000.

The car has 65000 miles on it and has been regularly serviced by the dealer and has not been abused, so wear and tear should be out of the question.

I have very limited knowledge about the way automatics work, but I understand that the one on my car is controlled by vacuum. Could a vacuum leak be the reason for this kind of behavior since the problem occurs when there is less vacuum in the manifold? (As far as I can tell by the "Economy" gage)

Any ideas and insights would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-07-2001, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
What you are describing is related to an internal clutch problem(k-2). It is operated only in 4th gear. There are 2 teflon seals that this clutch rides on & they can fail. You might try changing the fluid with a synthetic ATF like Mobil 1 before you have it repaired.
If this was a vacuum problem it would happen durning ALL gear changes!!
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Old 03-07-2001, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
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Since the problem is internal you might try experimenting. I would run the modulator in at least one turn and hasten the shift point by at least a turn on the control pressure cable housing adjustment. This is sort of like seasoning; do it to to taste, if you need more give it more.

Since the real problem is intermittant or just starting, these adjustments may put off going inside for quite some time.
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Old 03-08-2001, 10:10 PM
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Location: Malaysia
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I'm inclined to agree with MBDoc. Any updates, Jari?
... Kerry

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Old 03-08-2001, 11:04 PM
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Thank You for the concise diagnosis and the tips! You guys really know these things

I'll get the oil changed this weekend and try the adjustments Stevebfl suggested. I'll post an update when I know more.

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