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Old 10-09-2002, 08:40 PM
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'97 E320 transmission failure


I recently had the displeasure of having my '97 E320 towed to my MB dealership after being unable to proceed in any forward/reverse gear a couple of Saturdays ago.

The following Monday, the service department quoted me $8k to replace the transmission and torque converter ($7k in parts).

I read somewhere that the replacement of the "permanent fill" ATF and filter, while not a scheduled service item, should be done at approx. 60k. On this board, I saw mention of a service bulletin regarding '97 and later (722.6) E320 transmissions.

My questions are:

1. I wasn't immediately aware of this fluid/filter replacement. Is the service dept. *supposed* to do this without me asking?

2. Can the transmission type (i.e. 722.6) be determined by knowing the car's chassis number?

Thanks for any feedback you can provide...

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Old 10-09-2002, 08:48 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
I have not heard of any service bulletin regarding replacement of the tranny fluid, it is a good idea, but that is not what MBUSA will tell you. In fact, I have had asked a couple of dealers to replace the fluid in my tranny, and they refused. I had the fluid in my transmission replaced at 70k miles by one of the moderators on the board, Steve Brotherton.

That is extremely high in price for a tranny. The tranny in the 97 E320 should be a 722.606, and you should be able to have it rebuilt for somewhere around $3,000, I would think. I think the list price for a new tranny and torque converter is just over $6,000 and it certainly does not take $1,000 worth of labor to R&R a transmission. Try to go the rebuilt route, a brand new one is too expensive.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
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Old 10-10-2002, 01:13 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 352
I also have a 97 E320 and I have had some shifting problems. My car only has 39k miles. I am thinking of having the fluid changed. What symptoms did you experience before the failure and how many miles do you have?
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Old 10-10-2002, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
Synthetic fluid is GREAT but there isn't any way that it will last the LIFE that the transmission can last!! The fluid should be changed before the car gets out of warranty!!

All 1996 & later V-8s & V-12's have the .6 trans. ALL 1997 & later cars also have the .6 transmission.

I have posted warnings on these transmissions many times on this board!! Change the fluid!!

I would think that you can get a aftermarket rebuild with a 2 year warranty for less than $4,000. installed
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Old 10-10-2002, 01:37 PM
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Re: '97 E320 transmission failure

Thanks for the responses.

The car has about 68k miles on it; prior to this I would occasionally experience a slight jerking when backing-out of the driveway. Only on the day of the failure did I experience a more significant (forward) jerking.

So, in my case, should the shop foreman been knowledgable and proactive about the fluid change? In any case, I've certainly learned something new...

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Old 10-10-2002, 06:48 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
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68k (and 5 y/o) is WAY too early for a failure.

I would push warranty on that to the fullest extent.

2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
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Old 10-10-2002, 06:50 PM
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Given the youth of your car, and the low mileage, I would press the dealer to get MBUSA to chip in for the repair.

If you don't ask, you won't get.

If necessary, talk to the Zone Rep, and see what you can get.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 10-22-2002, 12:15 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
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What did you find out? Will MBUSA cover the work?
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Old 10-30-2002, 08:17 PM
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Old 11-11-2002, 03:50 PM
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Re: '97 E320 transmission failure

Sorry for the delayed response on my part...

After my wife's confidence/comfort level with the car dropped to a very low level (it was her daily driver), we decided to trade-in the car that week (in its current state) on an '02 C-class.

I still intend to follow-up with the folks at the dealership for my own peace of mind. I do appreciate everyone's responses - too bad none of you work at my local dealership! ;-}

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