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Old 01-12-2002, 07:30 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: So. Burlington, VT
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Unhappy 300E Cooling system / Tranny Problem

This just happened but before I head off to my local MB dealer Monday morning, I thought I would get some info from any/all of you and I'm sure I will. I have a 1989 300E w/116,000 miles. Let me start by telling you that exactly 196 miles ago, the car was at the MB dealer for some PM which included a transmission service, fluid, filter etc.
Got on the highway this morning and after about 5 miles, the car began to shake. It seemed like a tire going flat only worse. I pulled over, took a cursory look and there was nothing obvious. The exit was 100 yards away so I got off and came home...another 5 miles. The car shook but if I backed off to 50, it was OK. When I got home, there was a trail of antifreeze and a hot smell. The engine temp. never moved from normal and the smell was what I would imagine a hot tranny would smell like.
I haven't been under the car but from the hood, there is lots of anti-freeze in the pan. I'm pretty sure I lost cooling to the tranny and my questions are simple. Do ya' think I did any serious damage and is there any possible connection to the service performed by the dealer?? Do the cooling line need to be disconnected, moved, looosened or anything to remove the pan on the tranny. If this is an expensive repair, I would like it to be something the dealer might be responsible for as opposed to a coincidence. What are the chances of the radiator or a cooling line failing this close to the car being serviced. I do much of my own maintenance but have shyed away from transmission work so I'm a little ignorant about what is down there and what may have occurred.
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Old 01-12-2002, 11:25 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
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Sorry, I don't know what happened, but the cooling lines do not need to be removed in order to service the tranny fluid, including removal of the pan.

Can you see where all the coolant came from?
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Old 01-13-2002, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
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I had my tranny on my 91 420 fail in the same way. However I pulled over right away and had it towed. It failed about 1 month after changing the transmission fluid. The shaking you describe happened to me also. It turned out to be internal hard parts of the transmission rubbing each other. In doing so the transmission is working against itself and generating a lot of heat.

Where was the antifreeze comming from? You say there is antifreeze "in the pan". What pan are you talking about?

Often times the transmission cooling lines in the radiator fail and antifreeze is sucked into the transmission fluid cooling circuit. If that happened you tranny is toast and a total rebuild is needed. If that is indeed what happened, I can see how anitfreeze and ATF might leak out of the top of the transmission at the case vent.

Check your ATF level and fluid condition.
Check your radiator coolant for presence of ATF.

If there is any cross contamination then your radiator has failed internally. As far as the dealer being responsible that would depend on what and how things failed.
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