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  #1  
Old 05-24-2002, 03:14 PM
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Question Sloppy Shifter-Manual Transmission W124

My 1986 300E with a 5-speed manual exhibits shifter-slop.

The 5-speed is so rare, that it is not surprising that I have been unable to locate anything about this problem on the 'net, or this board.

It would appear that the mechanism in which the shifter lever pivots has a fair amount of excess play.
I recently removed the shifter boot, and lubricated the entire mechanism with lithium grease.
This improved the smoothness of the shifter operation dramatically, but it would appear that the various plastic bits were already very warn, or coming loose, so the excess play remains. Much of the problem appears to center around the reverse-lockout feature and related bits.

Years ago, long before I inherited this car from my aunt, this was one of the best shifting cars I had ever driven. 180K miles later, the shifting action is far from sweet.

Before I tear into it, has anyone undertaken this project before?
Can adjustments be made to solve this problem?
If not, what parts do I need?

I would rather not disable my daily-driver while waiting for what will certainly be 'special order' parts.
Thanks so much for any insight.
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1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.

Last edited by csnow; 05-24-2002 at 03:23 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2002, 03:26 PM
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Glen, the previous owner of my car, ordered a complete set of linkage bushings from the dealer and installed them in 30 minutes. The results were good. I don't know how long the parts took to arrive or if his problem was the same as yours.
In Glen's words:
Replaced the shift-rod bushings today. Lately, it's been harder to engage first gear, there was a lot of play in the shifter. I determined the problem by crawling under the car and inspecting the shift linkages. The first gear rod bushing at the shifter side was gone. I ordered a complete set to replace all the bushings. The job took about 30 minutes and gear selection is smooth once again.

You should respond to our thread identifying the 5 speed owners:
5 Speed Roll Call
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1967 250SL
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Old 05-24-2002, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the lead VR.

In my case the linkage bushings on the transmission end are not that bad off.
The problem appears to be in the base of the shifter assembly itself.
I had gone through that lengthy 'manual transmission' thread, and it was interesting, though no one seemed to have my particular problem.
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  #4  
Old 05-24-2002, 05:32 PM
LarryBible
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It takes very little play in the rod end bushings to cause a lot of slop in the lever at the top. Look at the mechanical advantage involved with this.

Secondly, if it is indeed the shifter mechanism. I expect that this would be a very common salvage yard part in Europe. I remember a post about a month ago in which a German fellow was offering to find salvage yard parts for MB's. You might do a search if you do indeed need a shifter.

Also, beware that the '86 has a totally different shifter and transmission than the later models, certainly different than the '88. The shift pattern is even different, reverse is in a different location.

Good luck,
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Old 05-24-2002, 05:52 PM
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Thanks Larry,

It's good to know about the 'uniqueness' of the '86 transmission for salvage-yard scrounging purposes.
I suppose you would not have this sort of problem in Texas, considering the accumulation of roadsalt gunk I found in the shifter mechanism.
I suppose what I really need is a parts manual with a schematic drawing to figure out how this all goes together.

BTW- What type of oil do you use in your transmission?
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Old 06-06-2002, 02:50 AM
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I hope that you are making some progress on your shifter issues. Now can we talk about mine?
My car has always been hard to shift, especially when cold. You must feather the shifter into 2nd to avoid a clunk. It often shimmies as you let the clutch out in 2nd. Also, I try to have a minimum of carpets on the floor and slam the clutch down hard. Alas, I have tried a couple of high speed runs and seriously hammered the gears into 2nd. I feel that my synchromesh are weak and that I have damaged them further.
Recently, I had the mechanic check the clutch operation and he said it was fine. A vibration problem was fixed by replacing the flex disc, (again), driveshaft mount and an engine mount. My driveshaft balancer was removed about a year ago, which I mention for completeness.
I really like my car, but I would like to know what is up. I have decided to store my car in the winters from now on, so I can rebuild the transmission then if needed.
What do you think?

PS: I met a guy locally who restores 300sl cars. He has lots of experience with manny tranny Mercedes!
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Old 06-06-2002, 09:11 AM
LarryBible
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It sounds like you are having problems with the clutch not releasing. Are you sure that everything is okay hydraulically?

Have a great day,
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Old 06-06-2002, 02:08 PM
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Usually, hydraulic problems in the clutch are internal seal leaks, and can be diagnosed in this way:
1) Make sure the fluid level is ok (perhaps obvious, but...)
2) Engine running, depress clutch, shift into gear.
3) Keep clutch depressed for several minutes (let's say, 3 min)
4) Did the clutch start to engage in this time? If not. slowly let out clutch, and see if it starts to engage unusually early in its travel.
Failing that test is a good indicator of a partial failure in hydraulicsville.

Throw out bearing?:
Does a new noise start when the clutch is depressed, snd stop when it is let out?
The clutch will not fully disengage if the T/O bearing is starting to bind.

Oil change?:
How long has it been?
This can have miraculous results if the oil is really dirty.
On an Audi I used to have, I found that the prior owner had used a thick gear oil in the transmission by mistake, when it called for a motor oil viscosity. The symptoms were similar to yours.
Shifting improved markedly.

Just a few things to try before condemning your transmission...
Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2002, 02:38 PM
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The mechanic checked the hydraulics for leakage and it was good. He drove the car and thought it was good too. I'm going to try the leakage test that you mentioned.
There was a new throw-out bearing put in a while ago, but it does make that noise when the clutch is in. I hear it if I go through a restaurant drive through.
The oil was changed less than 5000 miles ago. It first received synthetic gear oil which was a disaster. Then that was replaced with synthetic ATF which was much better.
The shifter feels good and all gears are easily found.
Thanks!
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  #10  
Old 03-21-2003, 02:10 PM
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Lightbulb

Update:

After ignoring this problem for some time, I opened it up again for a closer look, and determined that there is substantial play in the shifter 'Yoke Bushings' (#30 in the picture).

I ordered up the repair kit (#18), along with new linkage bushings (#282 some play observed), and I'll let everyone know how it goes.

"Everyone", meaning the 5 readers or so who have this transmission, of course!

Link to picture of shifter mechanism

Note: If above link does not work (Growl!), paste the following URL in your address bar instead:
http://www.eccentrix.com/members/csnow/misc/shifter3.jpg
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