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Old 11-10-2008, 01:52 PM
5 would be even cooler...
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 17
Unhappy 1993 300E 2.8... Is my transmission dead?


Last night I took a break from work to run an errand in my fairly new-to-me 300E and I noticed the transmission flaring a bit in the 2-3 shift range. I had never noticed that before as it's always shifted fine, but I thought maybe it was related to the massive temperature drop that we've had here in Iowa over the last week or so. I didn't think too much of it until I left work to go home. It was 2:00am, much colder, and when I put the car in drive, it sort-of moved forward, and then acted like it was trying to catch, but didn't, and then it finally did. It made it ten miles, but when I turned off the main highway to go home and hit the gas again, nothing - just RPMs. I tried the other forward gears and still nothing. Finally I tried reverse, which worked fine, so I just turned it around and finished the last mile and a half of my journey backwards :-). I was tired, and it was just too cold to sit and wait for a tow. Safely home in my garage I checked the fluid (again) - it's redish, but not the bright red of freshly-changed fluid (I was planning that at 150,000 since it had been done somewhere near 100,000). I don't think it smelled burnt, but I really don't have much of a sense of smell, so I can't say for sure.

The car has 147,000 on it, about 4,000 I put on myself over the last few months. It was dealer serviced until just after 100,000 by its original owner. Then it went to two other people before me. I don't have too much money into it (purchased for $2100) thankfully, but it's in relatively nice shape (not "mint", but much better than most 15-year old cars one sees) and I'd like to keep driving it if possible. That said, I'm not really at a point where I can spend the money on a tranny-rebuild right now, nor do I have much time to work on it (that should change in a couple of weeks - work-related). By the way, this follows a water-pump going out and a window-switch short-circuit battery-fry (I'm still trying to figure out what happened - it happened the same day the water pump went) on my '79 300TD and fuel-starvation issue/starter going out (yes, also on the same day at the same time) on my '72 220D, all within the last 2 weeks. Arrgghh.

Anyway, I'm not all that concerned about the diesels as I was planning on putting them away for the winter. However, the '93 was supposed to be my sure-fire "dependable" car. I've found some info. about the B2 piston and I'm hoping (maybe it's called wishful thinking) that's it, but I figured I get some second opinions/suggestions here first.

And, if it does need a transmission rebuild, if anyone wants to make an offer on the car (or maybe I"ll consider parting it out), let me know :-).


Cars of Interest:
1972 Mercedes 220D
1982 Jaguar XJ6
1987 Jaguar XJ6
1957 Plymouth Savoy
1959 Cadillac Series 62
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Old 11-10-2008, 03:16 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
The 2-3 shift flare could be as minor as a modulator adjustment, or as major as a rebuild. Typically, it's valve body wear.

As far as taking heed of the behavior as being "on its last legs", I have a donor tranny awaiting transplant on my daily driver 300E, as I get the same "flaring" on 2-3 and sometimes 3-4. That was 2.5 years ago when it started doing that, and the original tranny hasn't worsened a I've delayed the swap until it actually goes south.

I wouldn't be too hasty to call yours DOA just yet...
2009 ML350 (106K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (80K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (138K) - My daily driver
2016 Mustang (32K) - Daughter's car
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:13 PM
yal's Avatar
yal yal is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, Long Island
Posts: 2,705
Definitely "B2 Piston".
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Old 11-10-2008, 06:10 PM
pawoSD's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 14,923
Originally Posted by yal View Post
Definitely "B2 Piston".
Yep, probably an easy fix.
-diesel is not just a fuel, its a way of life-
'15 GLK250 Bluetec 73k - mine - (OC-75,000)
'17 Metris(VITO!) - 5k - wifes (OC-10k)
'01 E320 Wagon - 157k - mine (OC-160,000)
'89 420SEL 166k - mine (OC-167,000)
'01 E320 - 166k - dad's (OC-171,500)
'07 E350 Wagon - 128k - dad's (OC-132,500)
'01 SL500 - 48k - dad's (OC-52,000)
'09 E350 4matic Sedan - 118k - Brothers (OC-117,000)
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:04 AM
5 would be even cooler...
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 17
B2 - good to hear

Thanks guys - I'm hopeful again! After finishing my drive home in reverse last night, I was a little distraught. I tried it again for the heck of it this evening and still had no forward gears, and then checked here to see about a verdict. Looks like I need to start learning about B2-piston replacement. I'm going to attempt to post a few pics so you can see why I don't want to write it off yet (or for quite some time for that matter).
Attached Thumbnails
1993 300E 2.8... Is my transmission dead?-dsc04515_vsm.jpg   1993 300E 2.8... Is my transmission dead?-dsc04516_vsm.jpg   1993 300E 2.8... Is my transmission dead?-dsc04517_vsm.jpg   1993 300E 2.8... Is my transmission dead?-dsc04520_vsm.jpg  
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:03 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NW usa
Posts: 34
similar proble

My transmission had the same problem except it resolved in a few minutes and I was able to drive it home (in forward) and then the reverse went. That is where I am today. I have driven it in forward (carefully planned trips and parking) and it is okay. I'm planning a full transmission replacement.
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