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  #1  
Old 01-06-2002, 11:51 AM
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Location: Maryland. USA
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Transmission filter life expectancy

Looking for thoughts on installed tranny filter (OEM) life expectancy in the "severe" environment while accumulating 8000 miles per year.

My wife is the main driver of our 1980 450SEL. She accumulates mileage at a rate of about 8000 per year, most of it local short haul. This puts it in the "severe duty" category.

Under "normal" operating conditions, the fluid AND filter get changed every 30k miles. Add "Severe" and there is an additional fluid ONLY change at the 15k miles mark.

I have over the years always changed both. My reasoning was that due to the low mileage accumulation rate over time, I wanted to keep a fresh filter in there (e.g. less that 3 years old).

"Normal" mileage accumulation is at 12-15k per year. In theory the filter gets changed every 2-3 years. In my case it won't get change but every 4-5 years if I use the 15k fluid only procedure.

It all really comes down to, how long can an installed tranny filter (OEM) maintains it's integrity and efficiency in the "severe" and low mileage accumulation environment?

I'll probably keep changing it 'cause:
- It's not that hard to do
- I get a chance to inspect what has collected in the bottom of the pan
- Mainly peace of mind (probably the most correct reason)

Thoughts anyone on filter life expectancy?
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S, J.R. Brown
2000 G500 LWB Obsedian Black
2005 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road Sport
1993 Volvo 240 Sedan Anthracite
1980 450SEL Champange (owned it for 15 years. Great car)
1986 280GE LWB Anthracite (Sold it and kinda wish I hadn't)
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2002, 12:09 PM
dpetryk's Avatar
Electrons can do anything
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 1,071
I have it from a very reputable source that if one wants to keep the tranny is great shape, the fluid should be changed every 3rd engine oil change (about every 10k). and the filter should be done every 30k. The MB torgue converter is the only one in the business that has a drain plug and its there for a reason. So you should use it. Keeping the fluid fresh also prolongs the life of the seals and O rings and they will last longer. Your tranny will use about 2 gallons of fluid per change at a cost of about $15. Cheap insurance to maintain a complex and costly piece of equipment.

This information comes from a tranny rebuilder in my area www.jie.com. He only does MB and ZF transmissions. Been in the business for over 20 years. Ill take his advice seriously.
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I got too many cars!! Insurance eats me alive. Dave

78 Corvette Stingray - 3k
82 242 Turbo Volvo - Manual - 270k
86 300e 5 speed manual - 210k
87 420sel - 240k
89 560sl - 78k
91 420sel - 205k
91 560sel - 85k
94 GMC Suburban - 90k
97 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - 25k
00 GMC Silverado 1 ton 30k
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2002, 02:25 PM
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Dave,

Thanks for your thoughts. I've bookmarked your tranny guy's website.

Concur with you 2 gallon observation. I've always added the 8 qts even though the change calls for 8.x qts. 8 seems to put it right at the mark.

What do you think your tranny guy's thougths would be on filter age question?
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S, J.R. Brown
2000 G500 LWB Obsedian Black
2005 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road Sport
1993 Volvo 240 Sedan Anthracite
1980 450SEL Champange (owned it for 15 years. Great car)
1986 280GE LWB Anthracite (Sold it and kinda wish I hadn't)
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  #4  
Old 01-07-2002, 10:24 AM
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Electrons can do anything
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 1,071
His thoughts are exactly what I said. This was his advice I was quoting. He told me his secrets and said that if everyone knew it and did it that he would be out of business.
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I got too many cars!! Insurance eats me alive. Dave

78 Corvette Stingray - 3k
82 242 Turbo Volvo - Manual - 270k
86 300e 5 speed manual - 210k
87 420sel - 240k
89 560sl - 78k
91 420sel - 205k
91 560sel - 85k
94 GMC Suburban - 90k
97 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - 25k
00 GMC Silverado 1 ton 30k
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  #5  
Old 01-07-2002, 11:20 AM
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Location: CT, USA
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I just wanted to add that I charge my tranny fluid & filter every 30k miles, and use Redline Synthetic ATF. My '88 TE has 176k miles on it, and shifts the same as it did when I bought it at 67k.
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1995 E500 street car
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo S track car
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  #6  
Old 01-07-2002, 11:38 AM
dpetryk's Avatar
Electrons can do anything
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
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Amen to that!
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I got too many cars!! Insurance eats me alive. Dave

78 Corvette Stingray - 3k
82 242 Turbo Volvo - Manual - 270k
86 300e 5 speed manual - 210k
87 420sel - 240k
89 560sl - 78k
91 420sel - 205k
91 560sel - 85k
94 GMC Suburban - 90k
97 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - 25k
00 GMC Silverado 1 ton 30k
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  #7  
Old 01-07-2002, 11:42 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Atlanta Ga
Posts: 281
I was going to change the tranny fluid/filter in my 86 560SEL and was wondering if the 2 gallon refill "rule" would be in effect also...for some reason I've been kinda weary of changing the tranny fluid because I've heard (from MB dealership service "pros" ) that it was a different ball game when it comes to changing the tranny fluid on the 560 (or maybe they just meant the 126) and I should ONLY have an MB facility (like them of course at the tune of 125 bucks) do such a job. I've changed my tranny fluid (as well as tranny swaps) in all of my other MB's but this is my first 126. I figured a tranny fluid change is a tranny fluid change but I also know how "iffy" and sometimes even strangely "different" MB's can be and although I can't even believe I considered letting the dealership do the job because of their opinions about one doing it themselves.Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that it SHOULD be relatively easy as any other tranny fluid/filter change and will go ahead and do it. I was just wondering if anyone has an absolute favorite as far as what type of tranny fluid I should use and how much? I kinda like the 2 gallon theory but I hope that the "little bit" of difference between recommended amount and what everyone uses doesn't back up what the techs say about doing it EXACTLY to MB specs.Thanks guys!
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1986 560SEL
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  #8  
Old 01-07-2002, 12:06 PM
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Electrons can do anything
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 1,071
Bottom line is you fill it to the proper level, whatever it takes. Most tranny are somewhere between 7 and 9 quarts. The 126's are straight forward. No magic here. Just drain the torque converter and pan, new filter when appropriate, and refill. To refill, put 1 gallon in, then run the engine. While it is running put the rest of the fluid in. This will keep you from overfilling the case when the torque converter is empty. Fill to the mark whatever it takes is what it takes. One problem when draining the fluid using the drain plug on the pan is that it leaves about 3/8" of fluid in the bottom of the pan. Probably about a third to a half of a quart or so. Removing the pan gets it all.

As far as fluids are concerned, its my belief that Dexron III is Dexron III. It does not matter who the vendor is. I buy mine at Kmart, $5 a gallon. I can just feel the reaction of some of the members as I am writing this. It is probably all made at the same place. Correct me if I am wrong. Now I know there are many different synthetics out there but Im not talking about them.

Just my opinion.
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I got too many cars!! Insurance eats me alive. Dave

78 Corvette Stingray - 3k
82 242 Turbo Volvo - Manual - 270k
86 300e 5 speed manual - 210k
87 420sel - 240k
89 560sl - 78k
91 420sel - 205k
91 560sel - 85k
94 GMC Suburban - 90k
97 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - 25k
00 GMC Silverado 1 ton 30k
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2002, 01:46 AM
realneal
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'Anything'???

Dave,

Concerning your statement 'Electrons can do anything', please define 'anything'.

Sorry, but the debbil made me do it.
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2002, 07:48 PM
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Electrons can do anything
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 1,071
Considering that everything in this universe is made of the same stuff, you know the small pieces, electrons, protons, and neutrons. At the subatomic level the fact is you can make anything with those particles. All the known elements are made of these three particles. The only thing really different is the recipie.

At the human level, we sure do a lot of neat things by pushing electrons thru various types of circuits. Everything from large motors all the way down to mircoscopic semiconductor circuits.

So my conclusion is that everything we do involves electrons in some way or another.
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I got too many cars!! Insurance eats me alive. Dave

78 Corvette Stingray - 3k
82 242 Turbo Volvo - Manual - 270k
86 300e 5 speed manual - 210k
87 420sel - 240k
89 560sl - 78k
91 420sel - 205k
91 560sel - 85k
94 GMC Suburban - 90k
97 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - 25k
00 GMC Silverado 1 ton 30k
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2002, 09:16 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
We sure do meet the most diverse, interesting people on this site, don't we?

I think I should have paid better attention in Physics class. Or was that chemistry....?
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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