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Old 07-03-2006, 09:42 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 33
124 Transmission issue, checking ATF

I just put a new radiator in my 91 300TE. I added some ATF for the bit that leaked out when I unhooked the trans lines from the old radiator.

During the test drive, it wouldn't upshift from 2nd. It pauses a bit from a start as well. It does this in reverse too, but that is the same as it was before the radiator change. Now, it pauses for about twice as long before moving in reverse.

Honestly, I've never checked the ATF on this car. I'm not sure what I'm looking for when I look at the dipstick. I've warmed it up, it's on level ground, and the engine is running. When I take the dipstick out, I can see some fluid on it, but it's VERY light. I have to look closely just to see that there is fluid on it. Is that how it's supposed to be? Or should the level be really clear to see, like when you check the oil?

Could my symptoms be caused by too little or too much fluid? It's possible that I put in too much. Is there something else that I can check?

Thanks in advance. You guys have helped me with a lot of work on this car.
- Brian

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Old 07-03-2006, 10:06 PM
dkveuro's Avatar
Sword of Damocles
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Here an' there.
Posts: 2,548
Warm, in P, the level should be between the marks .
These trannies are tough....usually leaks are only problem.

Cool, the atf should be just at the bottom to the stick.
Unless you dislodged something in the cooler lines while changing the rad', your upshift delay is coincedental.

If it only stays in 1st or rev' gear with no upshift, this usually means the govenor has stopped turning.

How long have you had the car?

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"A liberal is someone who feels they owe a great debt to their fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money."
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:39 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 33
I've had the car for about 4 years. I got it at 116k and an independent MB Tech completely went through the car and fixed most of the problem areas. It's got 154,8xx right now. I want to get my first high mileage badge this month, so I need to get this thing purring.

A little more history about the transmission:

The only other work that I know has been done to it is that a shifter linkage bushing was replaced. The gear selector wasn't staying put.

Previously, I noticed that there's a clunk when shifting from 2nd to 3rd when the car was cold. That may or may not be related...

I was just out there checking for vacuum hoses that may have come unplugged, and noticed something else. After I put the car in nuetral and rev it (or drive it) I am unable to shift into P. It's blocked at R. If I go back to D and then put it into P, it goes smoothly.

I'm really $afraid$ of a transmission rebuild at this point, so I'm looking for the easy way out. Should I try an ATF flush and fill to see if that helps?

Could this be caused by too little or too much fluid? I checked the fluid again and it looks like it could be low (just at the bottom mark), but I don't want to overfill it. Also, do I need to wipe the dipstick clean and then check the level like when checking the oil?

Sheesh, I feel pretty useless. I can change the radiator, solder the starter relay, and do other basic work, but I don't know how to properly check the ATF.
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:04 AM
Bob G's Avatar
Bob G
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Long Beach ,California
Posts: 276
Cool Do a transmission filter and fluid change

In reguard to your transmission you should take it upon your self to change the fluid and fliter on your transmission at lease every 30,000 miles. It may not of been done in along time. Contact Phil at fastlane for a transmission filter and gasket use Dextron three . Look up in your manual for correct amount of fluid it takes.

Bob Geco
Change fluids often
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Old 07-04-2006, 09:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Johnson City, TN
Posts: 985
If you are checking your fluid level with cold fluid, the level should be about 10mm below the add fluid mark on the stick. Checking hot fluid requires driving 20 to 30 minutes to bring it up to temperature.

I agree about changing the fluid in Torque Converter and Transmission every 30K. It is a trivial DIY exercise. Transmission in my '92 300 E shifts the same at 245K as it did at 100K.

Finally, your problem could be as simple as having the transmission shifter bushings replaced. Cheap nylon bushings, but a bear to install. Pay to have it done. Mine were toast somewhere south of 200K miles.

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Old 07-04-2006, 12:20 PM
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Sword of Damocles
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Here an' there.
Posts: 2,548
Possible the 'brake shifter interlock' has malfunctioned.

Does it allow you to take the ignition key out without it being in Park ?

Does the brake pedal need applied to allow shifter to move ?

.......Still think it is a govenor problem if it will not upshift.

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"A liberal is someone who feels they owe a great debt to their fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money."
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:22 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 33
The bushing has been replaced. That's not to say that it's not the problem.

I'm going to bet that the ATF was replaced when I got the car, but it's been a long time and the tech has the paperwork right now. Still, it's time to change it. It's been more than 30k.

What\Where is the Governor, and how can I troubleshoot it? I'll use the forums to do some research. Anyone have recommendations for where I can get a shop manual? I have the E Class Bible, which is only slightly more helpful than the owners manual. Ok, it's not that bad, but everytime I've had a problem so far a good hour searching the forum has been the most helpful. I can't believe the amount of knowledge here.

Thanks again!

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