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  #1  
Old 11-02-2001, 06:40 PM
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Location: Canada
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Quick question about measuring ATF level.

When I measure ATF fluid level, service CD says I should put transmission into "P", but doesn't say if I should shut down the engine or not.

I changed my transmission fluid by myself last week, now the car hums and vibrates when I stop the car with level in "D", I filled the ATF between min and max when engine temp was 80C, but I did that when the engine was shut down, don't if that was right or not.

Mine is a 92 400E, I use Mobil-1 ATF.

Thanks.
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99 BMW 540i 6-speed 110K Km
03 SAAB 9-5 wagon 80K Km
92 400E (Sold) 245K km
Still missing the days with the Benz, it kept me busy.
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2001, 06:46 PM
jfujimoto
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Engine on.
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2001, 07:10 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Silly me, hope that didn't damage my transmission, today I checked the ATF level when engine running, I couldn't see any oil mark on my dip stick, my ATF must be very low.

I poured in about 6.5 Litres ATF, the manual says I should expect 7.7 litres for a 400E, it must miss that 1.2 L.

Thanks a lot.
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99 BMW 540i 6-speed 110K Km
03 SAAB 9-5 wagon 80K Km
92 400E (Sold) 245K km
Still missing the days with the Benz, it kept me busy.
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2001, 09:10 AM
someguyfromMaryland
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I don't know where to find it now, but there is an official guide to transmission dipstick markings that shows where the level should be when the car is started cold and warmed up for only about 5 minutes. This is about 90C in the tranny. Most cars were about 1/4" to 1/2" below the low marking on the dipstick and every tech I've talked to has agreed with this.

Just remember to fill it to slightly below the low line on your dipstick if you can't find this guide and you should be ok. Of course, I don't know if this applies to the newer trannies filled for life with the marvelous mystery lifetime fluid.

someguyfromMaryland
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2001, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Omaha, NE
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Perhaps the ideal way to check ATF level is to really get the transmission fluid hot, by driving at least 15-20 miles, then check with the engine running. My tech puts the dipstick on his cheek to see if it's hot. If it's so hot he can't stand to leave it on his face, the transmission is hot enough for an accurate check. You would then use the upper mark on the dipstick to check, and you need to look at both sides of the dipstick. Sometimes it's hard to actually see the fluid, especially if it's clean, so I sometimes have to check it 3-4 times to see if I'm really seeing the true level (and my tech does the same). You also want to leave the dipstick in for a couple seconds before you pull it out for a reading.

You'd think this was a simple, trivial thing, but it's not. . .
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'93 400E
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2001, 02:55 PM
someguyfromMaryland
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Steve,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I'd look for another mechanic if the one you have actually puts a transmission dipstick to his cheek. They can get hot enough to burn the skin quickly. I'm hoping this is a story he told you and not something you actually witnessed. Otherwise, how many really macho slash scars does he have on his face?

Seriously, the level check after running for 5 minutes is because the temp will be close to 90C and hot temps can vary, depending on the season, how hard you were driving, etc... I understand the logic of checking after 5 minutes of warmup, the image of somebody putting a dipstick to their face, no way. My 300TE tranny dipstick gets hot enough in summer that I hold the thing with a rag to keep from burning my fingers!
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2001, 10:05 PM
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Location: Omaha, NE
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You're right, it does sound kind of Rambo, doesn't it? He's actually a very conservative and experienced guy, the best tech at our local dealer for 14 years before leaving to start up his own shop. I've seen him do it, very gingerly, just sort of gets it close to his face, probably does that since he's always wearing rubber gloves and maybe can't feel it with his hands as well.

I think his point is just that most folks (present company excepted) don't really warm up their transmission fluid adequately, thinking that if engine coolant > 80 degrees, then trans. fluid must be maximally warm, which it is NOT in most cases. This leads the unwary to overfill their transmission, if they use the upper mark, and we all know that ain't a good think for an automatic. . .
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