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  #1  
Old 04-14-2002, 12:14 PM
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Location: New York, NY
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Question about DIY Maintenance on a 98+ C/E-Class

As a DIY mechanic, how much work can you do with these cars? I'm trying to determine how dependant I would be on the MB dealer if I purchased one of these cas. I was told transmission fluid changes/level checks require a special tool. Is this true? How often do you need to change it? If I change my own oil, can I reset the FSS indicator or does that require a special tool as well? I appreciate any replies. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2002, 12:50 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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The transmission is claimed by MB to be a fill for life, however, I had mine canged at 70-k miles anyway.

The FSS can be reset without a tool.
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  #3  
Old 04-14-2002, 01:23 PM
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Thanks Ali. What kind of oil do these cars require. I know they use synthetic but is is MB own blend or is it Mobil1 , Syntec, etc? How many quarts does the 2.8 and 3.2 V-6 engines take?

I was searching through the forum and I see MB sells a dipstick for the transmission and engine. Is these inexpensive items? I s it worth purchasing for a DIY mechanic?
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  #4  
Old 04-14-2002, 02:29 PM
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I've been maintaining my 98 E320 since I bought it 1 1/2 years ago. Since the transmission is a sealed unit and uses expensive synthetic trans fluid, it is not considered a DIY job. Mercedes claims that the fluid will last the life of the car, I will have my changed at 100K miles along with the spark plugs since I intend to keep the car "forever".

Mercedes has a special tool for checking the transmission fluid, but the tool may be difficult to obtain since the temperature of the fluid is critical for obtaining the proper level.

Mercedes recommends synthetic motor oil for the vehicles with FSS. I use mobil 1 0W-40 for the winter and mobil 1 15W-50 for the summer. The V6 uses 8.5 qts. of oil. The FSS suggests oil change intervals around 10,000 miles. Since I intend to keep my car "forever" I change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles which equates to twice a year based on the amount of miles I put on a year.

The owners manual explains on how to reset the FSS, and the oil filters are relatively inexpensive through fastlane. The gas and charcole filters are still expensive.

Maintenance that I did myself beside oil and filter changes includes rear differential fluid change, radiator fluid change, brake fluid flush, and gas filter.
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1998 Mercedes E320, 200K Miles
2001 Acura 3.2TL, 178K Miles
1992 Chevy Astro, 205K Miles
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  #5  
Old 04-14-2002, 02:31 PM
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The reason MB pulled the dip stick was that they want the fluid level set at an exact temperature. The tool that is used looks like a five root flexcable with a five inch plastic rod made to the end. When inserted it goes all the way to the pan bottom and the level of fluid is gauged from the bottom of the pan, unlike a normal stick that measures fluid height from the distance from the top of the tube.

To set properly the scanner monitors temp and the fluid is gauged. Among technical forums, the common impression is that the lifetime fill transmissions are committed to a 100,000 mile life. This is well outside the realm of the original owner and suits MB fine. Other than setting the level there is nothing special about servicing the electronic trans except the cost of the fluid.

If you are interested in a FFS service schedule print out, write me during the week.
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2002, 04:31 PM
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Thanks for your help guys. Steve, when you say a 100,000 mile life, you are referring the trans fluid and not the trans itself?

From what I gathered on this forum, if I by a 98+ C/E-Class I'm looking at the following schedule (as per member recommendations):

DIY:
Oil/Oil Filter change: 3,000-5,000 miles (use Mobil 1)
Air Filter: when FSS light is on (schedule B)
Brake fluid: every 2 years
Coolant: every 3 years
Spark Plugs: 100,000 miles

MB Dealer:
Tranny fluid: 100,000 miles

Does this look right? Please let me know.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2002, 11:45 PM
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The air filter recommended change is 60K miles.
The pollen filters are to be changed at FSS schedule B.

I would recommend the following:

Rear Differential: 75-100K miles
Power steering fluid: 75-100K miles
Gas filter: 60K miles
Charcole filter: 60-75K miles
Rotate tires: 5-6K miles
Brakes - as required along with repacking the bearings.
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1998 Mercedes E320, 200K Miles
2001 Acura 3.2TL, 178K Miles
1992 Chevy Astro, 205K Miles
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2002, 08:48 AM
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I was taking a back hand to the people that are prescribing service based upon marketing factors.

It seems that the concensus of techs are recommending the lifetime fill trannies be serviced at 50-60k. A subgroup says that if the trannie has not been serviced by 90k, don't touch it. This warning is among techs to prevent one from servicing and winding up married to the very possible driveability problems that can result from such service (after no service).
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2002, 10:24 AM
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Steve, do I hear you suggesting to service the trans around 50-60K or forget it due to the fact that at higher mileage there is a real possibility of stirring up sediment, etc. that will cause problems?
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2002, 12:28 PM
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Let me rephrase this. I was restating a widely held view of repair technicians. The advice is to other technicians not vehicle owners. The advice is intended for the technicians liability protection.

From an owners point of view, it has to be done for any hope of a second 100k. The problem for the technician is having an owner understand the risk is his, not the technicians.
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