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  #1  
Old 02-23-2008, 07:58 PM
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JD
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, NY
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1994 S500 Transmission

Hello:

I am the owner of a 1994 S500 and over the past year I began experiencing transmission problems. First there would be a delay shifting into reverse (2 seconds), then the delay gradually increased (5 seconds, 10 seconds, etc...), then to get the car to actually move I would need to give it gas with the vehicle sometimes jerking backwards. As of two days ago the car no longer goes in reverse. I press the gas, but all that happens is that the engine revs - no wheel movement. Otherwise, the forward gears work fine (although, I have noticed a little bit of a hard shift from first to second in recent days).

I have been searching various forums and have determined that I should either have it rebuilt or have it replaced. However, I would like to clarify the following:

1. Which transmission does my car use - the 722.2 or the 722.3? What are the differences between these?
2. Is the dealer quoted price of $6,500 for a replacement too high? Should I get a second estimate?
3. How much should I expect an independent shop / tech to charge?
4. What would a "valve body mod to increase the fill rate of the reverse clutch pack" do in my situation? Does this require transmission disassembly?
5. If the dealer replaces the transmission would it cause added stress on the engine - and / or cause it or other components to fail sooner?
6. Would it be possible for the dealer to replace the transmission with the 5-speed version of the 1996 - 1999 W140's?

Last, is there something that I could / should have done to prevent this? I have owned the car since new and cannot understand why a pre-95 Mercedes with less than 100k miles should experience a transmission failure.

Thank you very much.

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  #2  
Old 02-23-2008, 08:07 PM
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JD
 
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Location: New York, NY
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Hello again:

I am also debating the possibility of selling the vehicle and replacing it with a 1998 or 1999 S500. In working condition it seems that I would be able to get $10 - 15k for my 1994, and that a mint 1998 or 1999 would be between $20 - 25k. Problem being, I have no clue how much a 1994 with no reverse gear (needing a transmission overhaul) would likely fetch - hopefully not $10 - 15k minus my $6500 estimate!?). Other than the transmission my car is in perfect condition. I do not have experience purchasing preowned vehicles and do not know if it is worth the risk. I love the aura of the W140s too much to go on not having one!

Anyone have any insight for such a decision – rebuild / replace tranny vs. replace vehicle?

Thank you.
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2008, 08:22 PM
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I get folks asking your last silly question all the time. A broke car is worthless. Your choice is to fix it or take a real beating.

1. Which transmission does my car use - the 722.2 or the 722.3? What are the differences between these?

You have a 722.3 a 722.2 is a very old 4 spd trans not built after 1981. Its just different like a ford or chevy is different

2. Is the dealer quoted price of $6,500 for a replacement too high? Should I get a second estimate?

since you were figuring on throwing it away with your last question I'd definitely do something different.

3. How much should I expect an independent shop / tech to charge?
about #2500 is what we charge for a 722.3 in a 140 car

4. What would a "valve body mod to increase the fill rate of the reverse clutch pack" do in my situation? Does this require transmission disassembly?

nothing or worse

5. If the dealer replaces the transmission would it cause added stress on the engine - and / or cause it or other components to fail sooner?

no other than the fact that running the car wears it out in general.

6. Would it be possible for the dealer to replace the transmission with the 5-speed version of the 1996 - 1999 W140's?

absolutely no unless you wish to fund an Apollo shot. The electronic trans works on a network with engine and traction control, you would find it cheaper to by the later car than to establish those systems in yours
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2008, 10:18 PM
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JD
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, NY
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Steve,

Thank you for your prompt and pointed reply.

The $2,500 that your company charges, is this for a rebuild or for labor to replace a tranny (w/ the MB replacement w/ a 2 year warranty)? If for a rebuild, do you warranty your work? Additionally, what do you typically charge for labor for a replacement job (non-rebuild)?

As far as my thoughts on selling, note that I very much love my car. I was just weighing all options and wanted to see what others may have done previously in my situation. My car has been pampered its entire life, and has relatively low mileage. Though, upon further reflection, my vehicle may prove to be more valuable in the long run if i hold onto it as a one owner vehicle verses having a used second owner one...

Thanks again, JD.
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2008, 10:42 PM
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The price I mentioned is for removing the transmission, disassembly, evaluation, replacement of defective parts and all clutches and seals, reinstallations, fluids and adjustments. This is what is commonly called rebuilding the transmission.

I almost never buy MB rebuilds because they are not cost effective for me or the client. We have probably rebuilt 300 or more 722.3 transmissions and part of what makes it work is that we have multiple cores in stock to handle the expensive hard parts when the issue arises, which won't in your case. The reverse clutch issue is rather straight forward and actually could be done without a complete disassembly but the units are old enough now that doing part of a job is not cost efficient as the results would be considerably more than half the cost and the long term effects would be little more than installing a used unit.

The issue with repairing your car is that whatever you do in the future the car has to be usable to be disposable.
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2008, 12:09 AM
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JD
 
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Location: New York, NY
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Steve,

Have you ever rebuilt transmissions for out of state clients? I am in New York. What would the logistics be like if I wanted to use your facility? Ship the car to you? Ship the transmission to you? Though, this may be cost prohibative. Do you recommend any shops in particular in the New York, NY / Long Island, NY area?

Best, JD.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2008, 10:56 AM
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I have rebuilt transmissions for some distant customers, but I don't encourage it. I DO NOT rebuild units separately. I only work on the whole car. The point being I want the final installation to work properly and be prepared to deal with many small issues that can arise, dip stick tubes that leak, modulators needing adjustment, etc.

I don't know anyone in your area well enough to recommend them. In general the characteristics of a shop that will produce the value you are looking for would include these features: German specialist independent, or as narrow a focus as possible down to a MB speciallist, a shop that has a Star Tester diagnostic tool (DAS, Star Diagnostic Compact2/3, or Basic/2 terminology), and one that has a full parking lot, sorta like chosing a restaurant. Probably the single best determinant of the above is whether they have the MB diagnostic tool. Any shop not having the tool is not dedicated to the trade or is too general for good value in specialized repair. If you ask I'll guarantee they will all say they have the tool. I would ask to see it!!! Shops that don't have one don't consider it cost effective and will lie about it using their imitation tooling as a personal justification for the lie. This actually applies to all cars. I would not advise using a shop that doesn't have the ,manufacturers diagnostic communications device. The issue is commitment as much as capability.
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  #8  
Old 02-24-2008, 11:17 AM
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If you are interested I know of two very competent shops, one in Mineola and the other in Lattingtown. They both specialize in Mercedes, one is factory trained from back in the 70's, the other has worked for some of the most reputable/high end shops on the Island before going out on his own.

Should you like, I can also provide them with the upgraded wearable items that we produce (kevlar bands, HP clutches, even valve body mods should you be interested).

Drop me a line should you be interested.

As for having the DAS, I and quite a few other techs have people w/ the DAS that come around on a weekly basis so we can use their DAS for a nominal fee. Much easier on the wallet less then the 12K investment plus yearly upgrades!

Jonathan
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2008, 11:27 AM
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JD
 
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Highly informative! I appreciate your insight. I plan to make the rounds this week. Will also price one additional dealer, becuase I know that the one I visited is typically on the high end. Will post my approach upon my final determination. Thank you very much.
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2008, 11:34 AM
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JD
 
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Jonathan, Thank you for offering the referrals. I will private message you shortly.
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2008, 11:52 AM
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For general purposes, I stand by my opinion that a shop not commited enough to the car to make a minor investment in proper tooling is not commited enough to get my recommendation. These cars are too complicated to be worked on with borrowed equipment. There is no way a shop can become efficient enough to give good value without having proper tooling at their finger tips. We use our DAS machines scores of times ever day. Every service on a 98 on car requires it. Its use for such reading and evaluating all systems codes is daily training a shop can not do without and be commited. After all what form of business could think of a 10k investment in tooling as significant when it is a required piece of tooling for the last ten years of a car for serving alone. I also find it strange that many shops with this economic position will also have 20k worth of wallet flushing tools.

As I stated this tool is the grail in determining a shops real disposition.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2008, 02:37 PM
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Well, I personally work on Very few OBD II and later cars..my focus is 70's/80's/early 90's.. For the amount a DAS would have cost me it would be foolish to spend that kind of $$$ in a tool so infrequently used.

As such, I have to kindly disagree that having this tool pre-determines a shops viability as being a suitable venue for one to bring their Mercedes.
Besides, a tool is only as good as the user..thus based on the aforementioned logic having this tool w/ a 5$ an hour lackey operating it makes that shop more qualified then the enthusiast repair facility that lives/eats/breathes Mercedes.

As an aside, I can't for one think of one tool that I have that I would classify as wallet flushing...all my purchases are thoroughly considered on all levels prior to pulling the trigger.


Jonathan
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Blue Ridge Mercedes
Jonathan Hodgman
http://www.blueridgemb.com/
Enthusiast Service, Restoration & Tuning.
Follow Us on Facebook!
Located in the Atlanta area
Specializing in all pre and post merger AMG's including Hammers and DOHC M117 engines.
Mercedes Repair Atlanta
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2008, 02:58 PM
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Being in a large metro area you may be able to sustain a small market in ten year old and older MBs. There are so few of those cars owned by folks that will pay for professional repairs anymore. But a big city would be where it would be at.

Even though I'm pushing 60, I still plan for the future. Of course the future is ten years old atleast for the requirement of competent diagnostic communications tooling. I hope you have your end game planned as even in the big city time moves on. Automobile technology is expanding at a rate only exceeded by consumer electronics, don't get left behind.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2008, 08:38 PM
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Oh, I agree...were it not for the utter proliferation of older Mercedes here in Atlanta I could not survive on my long distance/enthusiast clientèle alone.

I do have plans to acquire the DAS, just not for another 2-5 depending on how things go. The older cars will become fewer and far between, perhaps even faster then I think/fear given what gas prices will surely do in the next 5 years.

I'm just turning 30 in a few months and yes, to survive I will have to expand into the later cars, but my Heart just isn't into them like it is for the Older/Real Mercedes;-)

Jonathan
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Blue Ridge Mercedes
Jonathan Hodgman
http://www.blueridgemb.com/
Enthusiast Service, Restoration & Tuning.
Follow Us on Facebook!
Located in the Atlanta area
Specializing in all pre and post merger AMG's including Hammers and DOHC M117 engines.
Mercedes Repair Atlanta
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  #15  
Old 03-02-2008, 07:33 PM
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JD
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, NY
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Thank you to everyone for your help! My transmission has since been rebuilt. Both the reverse and k1 (3rd gear) clutches needed replacement. Now, the forward gears are smoother than ever and the reverse is fixed - with no delay at all. I used one of the mechanics referred to in this thread - who was very professional and to the point throughout. If anyone has any questions feel free to PM me. Best, JD.

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