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  #1  
Old 01-19-2020, 04:35 PM
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Towed 95 E320 with a tow dolly, is transmission toast???

First off a little background on my situation. I know that when towing a 124 or any non front wheel drive car for that matter, the best way is to use a car hauler with all 4 wheels off the ground or if using a tow dolly, disconnect the drive line.

I bought a 1995 E320 for $100. The interior is in great shape and my plan is to use the front leather seat skins and transfer over to my 1987 wagon as I have collected pretty much all the wagon specific interior bits and I just needed some nice front leather seats and leather front seat door panels.

The seller told me he inherited car from aunt and his daughter had been driving it for a couple years until she ran over something and knocked a hole in the oil pan. His local mechanic told him it would be $900 to replace oil pan. He didn’t want to put that much money into the car, considering it had 300,000 miles on it.

He just wanted the car gone. Needless to say I jumped all over it, especially after he sent me a few pics of the interior and how could I go wrong for $100?

So I picked up a tow dolly, hooked it up to my 1987 300TD, and drove the 150 or so miles to go pick it up yesterday. My thoughts were that I only care about the interior, so no big deal if towing it with rear wheels on ground kills the transmission.

Relatively uneventful trip, except that I apparently have a leak from when I installed my EGR delete plate, and this basically made my turbo non existent which made for some very slow climbs on inclines.

Unloaded the car and called it a day. Well, went to go check it out a little more this morning and was pleasantly surprised to say the least. I have never seen a smoke silver E320 with this many miles and no clear coat failure. No noticeable dings or dents. Already knew leather in pretty good shape. Looked at the instrument cluster, looks new!! Steering wheel, no cracking. Zebrano wood has a few hairline clear cracks, but no fading or clear cracks on any of the other wood, even the door trim. Armrest, 9.9 out of 10. Radio knob, clean and looks barely used. This car has obviously been loved and garaged. Opened the hood, harness updated, valve cover still has all paint and no peeling, etc.

Needless to say, feeling pretty good about my purchase. Grabbed the owners manual pouch and went inside. Folded in the owners manual case were at least 50 or so service records, up to about 6 months ago. As I kept reading, I started to feel worse and worse about dragging this car on its rear wheels for 150 miles.
-head gasket replaced @ 240,000 miles
-upper engine wiring harness replaced
-throttle body wiring replaced/rebuilt
-AC compressor replaced at 200,000 miles
-AC Evaporator replaced at 220,000 miles
-complete transmission rebuild at 260,000 miles
-new Mercedes car mats at 275,000 miles
.....and many more things.

Basically here is my question....is the transmission more than likely shot?

Fluid doesn’t smell burned. I haven’t drained it yet. As far as the oil pan goes, hole is not quite accurate, more along the lines of a 1/2 inch crack that leaks badly.

I don’t mind replacing the oil pan, but last thing I want to do is fix that issue and and then the transmission is shot.

Any thoughts or suggestions as always are much appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 01-19-2020, 05:09 PM
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the only real way to find out is to drive it. maybe you can patch it enough so that it will hold enough oil for a short test drive (can use duct tape and old oil for this)

my guess is that the tranny is fine
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2020, 07:13 PM
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I hadn’t thought about duct tape for a quick fix, was thinking about JB WELD, but duct tape may be the way to go for a quick, messy test drive. Thanks for the tip. Will report back when I get a chance to try it. Hopefully tomorrow or next day.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:11 PM
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The first problem is the trans gear train does not see lubrication when the engine is off and being towed.

The other issue is that neutral in an auto trans does not disconnect the gear train from the drive shaft. Because of this the gear train can spin to speeds not normally seen when the engine is driving the transmission. Over speed of the gear train + no lubrication can lead to damage that won't necessarily show up immediately.
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  #5  
Old 01-21-2020, 01:10 PM
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Got under car this morning — NOT a small crack, but a long crack from bottom of pan winding to almost the top on drivers side.

While cleaning oil pan, noticed a couple things:

1)Transmission fluid had leaked from transmission pan and sprayed pretty significantly over the rear portion of exhaust (which looks in great condition). I assume this was from the tow trip home.

2)should’ve expected the next thing, lower radiator support pushed back a good bit, so much that shroud was pinned against a couple pulleys. Managed to get the piece pinned against the pulleys and belt out and there is no belt, fan, or pulley interference with each other now. It is still tight though, with clearance amount I am not comfortable with.

Thinking about giving up, but decide to go ahead and JB Weld crack, a cover that with several layers of duct tape.

Put 7-8 liters of oil in. Drop it off the jack. A tiny drip of oil from pan, not surprising, and fire it up. Sounded incredible. M104 idle was steady, no strange noises, etc.

Jumped in put in reverse (engaged instantaneously) backed out, threw in drive and took off. Shifts were crisp, but not hard. Pulled out of my little neighborhood, and gunned it.....took off, car felt really great, then oil light came on, turned around and went home.

Oil was coming out at a pretty good clip, but not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Oil pan will obviously need to be replaced.

I assume I will be ok pulling the lower radiator support back out. No damage or leaks that I can see other than radiator support and oil pan.

Still on the fence about whether or not to go forward with trying to save it, or just gut it as I was originally planning to.
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2020, 04:23 PM
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A few pics of the car, crack in pan, etc. No particular order.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/186569326@N03/
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2020, 05:26 PM
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sfsegui, if it were me I would make every effort to use this 1995 E320 as a local daily driver. I had two 1995 E320's at one point … one as a "snow car". Still have the other one with only 97,000 miles. They are dependable, fine driving, low maintenance vehicles.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2020, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsegui View Post
-head gasket replaced @ 240,000 miles

It's likely that this car is on it's 4th head gasket
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2020, 06:40 PM
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A few more pics of exterior and interior.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/186569326@N03/albums/72157712772212106
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2020, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christuna View Post
It's likely that this car is on it's 4th head gasket
Meh they’re easy enough to do
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  #11  
Old 01-22-2020, 08:20 AM
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sfsegui, if you decide to resurrect this 1995 E320 use some leather conditioner on the seats because they have been neglected, and are dried out. What's the deal with the driver's seat armrest? Having asked that, it appears in excellent shape.
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  #12  
Old 01-22-2020, 01:31 PM
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Well the rear pump in the transmission was deleted for the later 124 cars, I'm pretty sure this car doesn't have one, so the transmission may have hidden damage from the tow. You could try calling Sun Valley transmission and ask them, I've heard they are very helpful with providing advice over the phone. They may be the place that supplied this rebuilt transmission.

If the AC works, that would be a fine daily driver.
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  #13  
Old 01-22-2020, 02:26 PM
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Ferdman, just applied first application of leatherique on the seats, I removed the armrest to replace one of the broken retaining straps, and yes, the interior is in excellent shape, other than the dried out seats which I hope I can resuscitate with the leatherique.

Max, that is good advice about calling Sun Valley. I will give them a call after I pull the lower radiator support out a few inches and replace the oil pan.
I have decided to give it a go with the repairs and make it a daily driver. Worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work out and all I have lost is some time.

AC blows ICE COLD.
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2020, 09:28 AM
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sfsegui, Leatherique is a fantastic product. It should rejuvenate the seat leather.

I recommend running Bosch F8DC4 sparkplugs.
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  #15  
Old 01-25-2020, 09:09 AM
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[QUOTE=sfsegui;4000266

Max, that is good advice about calling Sun Valley. I will give them a call after I pull the lower radiator support out a few inches and replace the oil pan. [/QUOTE]


At some point, Sun Valley is going to shut off free advice as eventually they will be on the phone more than they are generating revenue. My post # 4 tells you everything you need to know.

As for post 12 speaking about a rear pump, I had thought that all MB trans regardless of series lost the rear pump circa 1986.

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