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mespe 02-13-2014 02:33 PM

how long is a trans fluid dipstick for a 1998 e320?
Title sums it up. I finally got around to attempting to measure the trans fluid level in my 1998 e320. It won't shift out of 1st, so I checked the TCM. It was full of oil. I cleaned it, cleaned the wiring around it and replaced the seal on the trans. But same issue, stuck in first and clunk when going into reverse (reverse starts out in second is the clunk I think).

Well anyway, I bought a TCM on eBay, put it in and same thing. I looked at the shifter mechanism, then took it apart- WRONG (I think) but same problems with the car after I put it back together.

So I bought a shifter assembly on eBay. I just got done installing it and thought, that now would be a good time to check the trans fluid level.

I pull out the springy type dipstick, thinking, this is pretty darn long. I put it in to measure the fluid level, and it got stuck with 8-10 inches still outside the dip tube and I can't push it in any further. I pull it out, it got oil going up to the springy part, way past the plastic fill line, AND I had that 8-10 inches to push it in.

So I measure it. It's 124 centimeters long (4 feet long for those unfamilar with centimeters)

Now I'm confused,,,

mespe 02-13-2014 02:59 PM

I'm glad I stopped to start this thread. Gave me a little time to figure it out.

Good news is after starting the car and going from P to R there was NO Clunk!!!
So looks like there's a good chance that my e320 will shift properly.

I'm thinking that the trans is over filled. Don't know why I hadn't attempted to check the level before,,, that was before Winter, who knows,,,

So the springy dipstick doesn't go all the way in. It's not supposed to go all the way in. But it stops at some point. I noticed 2 places where it seemed to want to stop, but continued past them.
Now to drain some fluid and put the console back together and give the state some money,,,

jcyuhn 02-13-2014 03:26 PM

You did check it with the engine running and transmission at operating temperature, yes?

mespe 02-13-2014 03:50 PM

no not yet. I haven't let the trans warm up, and I thinking that's a good thing, as I removed at least 1 quart of trans fluid, and I'm still above the 25C.
The shop temp is maybe 40 degrees and that's pushing it.

I bought the car in the fall, amd Winter set in before I could finish, so I brought her into my shop while looking for the TCM and Shifter.

It's been cold, so I hadn't worked on the car, until today. (Got the shifter in today, so that was reason to brave the cold shop and tinker a little.)

The trans fluid is still above the 25C mark, but I want to se if the car will shift. No way the transfluid is going to get hot enough to expand past the 80C mark in the 1/8 of a mile I'll test drive.

Before she never shifted. Now I got to go,,, will report shifting when I return.

mespe 02-13-2014 04:32 PM

Bummer, still no shift. And I can't put it into manual mode, won't physically move, as in the entire assembly has to move forward 1/4 inch or so, is there an adjustment for this?

I suppose that's the least of my worries regarding this car,,,

MAVA 02-13-2014 06:21 PM

Okay, how did you clean your TCM. I assume you removed the case of the TCM like on post five of the following post?:

My attempt at replacing the transmission plug. - Mercedes-Benz Forum

Yes, the dipstick does not go in all the way, and it is not even remotely close of going all in... You will feel the stop and that is the end...

Keep your old TCM. The versions of software in the TCMs had a lot of changes, and the early(pre 99) had many changes. Some will not work on certain transmissions...

To clean the TCM takes a handful of hours to do the job right... One has to use contact cleaner, and soak the board. Blot dry(do not let it evaporate dry-One wants to wick-up as much oil on the paper towel). Repeat it about a six to ten times. Then allow to dry about four hours or overnight...

Your fluid and filter needs to be no more than a handful of years old. The level must be proper. You can be in limp mode, or a valve in the valve body is stuck for several reasons. Dead solenoid, or bad shifter.

Here are some literature that may help:

Also, before you go crazy replacing parts have your codes read from the circular connector in the fuse box, but on a catastrophic problem. You can get a OBDII code in the 700's...from the port under the steering wheel..

Best of luck,


pawoSD 02-13-2014 07:44 PM

If its in limp mode it can only be taken out of it with the startek system, you will not be able to do it on your own. If it was leaking fluid into the trans controller then there is a plug piece and multiple O-rings that need to be replaced to stop the problem.

mespe 02-15-2014 09:41 AM

Thanks for the help guys,,, I broke down and bought the SD4,,, so I will be able to reset any codes.
I still have the old TCM, and I will try that, would be good to have a working spare.

I guess I can now reset the ECU on my wife's e320 4matic. We keep getting one malfunction because we haven't subscribed to the SOS service.

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