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Old 05-28-2001, 07:46 PM
Posts: n/a
My 1976 300D (3-speed 722.1 trans)is apparently leaking fluid back from the torque converter - after the car sits overnight the fluid level is 2 inches or more above the max mark.

Checking the fluid level cold (car running) shows the level way below the add mark.

Checked hot (after 25+ miles) the fluid is between the add and max marks.

Am I correct to assume that the seals and/or valves are leaking fluid back from the torque converter. Is there anything else that might explain this leak back?

Short of a rebuild, what are my options? If there isn't anything I can do short of a rebuild, what symptoms should I look for as the trans begins to get worse?

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Old 05-28-2001, 08:38 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,948
you did not say

how the tranny is performing. If it is performing ok I would not worry too much about it. The levels that you stated at various conditions sounds pretty normal to me.
'85 300D
'95 E320
'97 CRV
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Old 05-28-2001, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I'm not sure about your fluid problem, I would be more concerned how your 722.1 tranny lost its 4th gear.

The only three speed automatics that MB made were the 722.0 trannies used in V8s and the detroit automatic used in the 300d (189 chassis).
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-29-2001, 12:09 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Cremona, Alta, Canada
Posts: 263
Level sounds normal. When engine is off the oil will be about 1-2" above the full mark. Also when you start and run tranny cold it will be lower than when it is warm.
82 300SD 110k
91 Caprice SS
92 Jetta TD
97 Cadillac Concours(300hp)
84 Celebrity 4.3L diesel
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Old 05-29-2001, 12:30 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 758
Look at a few things first

Greetings Robert,

I think Steve is poking fun at you, because it's obvious that your four speed tranny starts out in second gear like most of us that own pre 80 vehicles. If your torque converter was is fact leaking down there's an easy check besides looking at fluid levels in the morning. Start up the car from cold and within 30 seconds shift it into drive. Does it move forward or just sit there? If it's moving, the torque converter is filled with fluid. I haven't exactly timed it out, but there's at least a good minute to fill a torque converter that has totally drained out sitting overnight. No torque converter, no movement. Do this check first. Second, is the car parked on an incline nose up, overnight? The proper fluid check should be done after the tranny has been driven to obtain operating temps. Of course if it's still cold where you live, the trip will be longer to reach what is considered operating temps I believe are 187 F degrees. Post your results and we'll go from there.

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Old 05-29-2001, 01:02 AM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Cremona, Alta, Canada
Posts: 263
Just to clarify. A torque converter can not drain out unless it is leaking onto the ground. They normally drain to the input shaft level and that oil goes to the sump which partially explains the higher level when engine is off. Checking the oil with the engine off is a waste of time other than to confirm there is oil in there. Drive and enjoy. No puddles under the car? No worries.
82 300SD 110k
91 Caprice SS
92 Jetta TD
97 Cadillac Concours(300hp)
84 Celebrity 4.3L diesel
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Old 05-29-2001, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York City Burbs
Posts: 177
BAd Seal?

Did anyone stop to think that the front tranny seal was shot??

I changed mine out, and did the rear main seal at the same time.
Patrick Leber
'84 190E 2.3
'83 Porsche 944 (track car)
'84 Porsche 944 (parts car)
85.5 Porsche 944 (sled)
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Old 05-29-2001, 12:08 PM
Posts: n/a
torque converter leaking down ATF fluid

Thank you all for the input - my "problem" is the result of user error...I now know how to properly read ATF fluid levels hot and cold.

Thus, the goood news is that I really don't have a transmission problem.

Thanks again for all your help.
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