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Old 12-06-2002, 02:30 AM
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Angry help me! transmission gone

One month ago I noticed the shifter in my '94 C280 began to feel mushy. The other day I was driving to school, All of a sudden my car went into neutral, I looked down and it was in drive. No gears would work. Just reverse. I checked the transmission fluid and it was completely gone. I refilled it and nothing happened.My car has 92000 miles on it (and I had the 65000 mile tranny service done) I had the car towed to a very reputable mercedes mechanic where I live and he said I need a totally new transmission. The car was driving perfectly fine before this happened, no warning lights, no rough shifting, nothing. In the year and 30000 miles I have owned this car I have replaced: The water pump, battery, rear bushings, wiper motor, strut bars, control arms, brakes, o2 sensor, wiring harness, and now this. aaahhhh!!!
Do C280's have a reputation for being so unreliable? Does it sound like my mechanic is right in his findings? How much should I pay for a rebuilt transmission? and also, does anyone know if a 94 E320 tranny will fit my car? Any info would be a big help to me right now. Thank you very much.

-Chris Whitsett
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Old 12-06-2002, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
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Trans failure on a C280 is uncommon!
The trans from the E320 will not fit the C280, it is longer & wider.
The transmission from a 190E will fit.
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Old 12-06-2002, 12:14 PM
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really? a 190 trans will fit? that should be easier to find then. Should I get a second opinion before I go through with the repair?
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Old 12-06-2002, 01:07 PM
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What about They have 190E transmissions for about $1000. Rebuilt and tested. I believe they are in Atlanta GA.
Michael LaFleur

'05 E320 CDI - 86,000 miles
'86 300SDL - 360,000 miles
'85 300SD - 150,000 miles (sold)
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Last edited by mplafleur; 12-06-2002 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 12-06-2002, 01:32 PM
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I had a similar problem with my S420 at 87,000 miles. I ended up going with a factory rebuilt transmission that carried a two year warranty...and I have had to use the warranty!!! I do not have the invoice in front of me, but I recall the transmission cost @ $3,400 plus a torque converter @ $800.00. Labor was another $2,000. It's scary...but it's a W140. You should be able to do much much better than that.
On my car, MB recommended timeframe for changing the fluid is every 100K. Big mistake...every mechanic I talked to about this says to change it @ 50k. Live and learn.
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Old 12-06-2002, 04:50 PM
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when I said totally new, I meant one other than the one that's in there, thanks though. He quoted me a price for a rebuilt at $2500, he said I may be able to do better though. How much does labor usually run on a job like this? Don't you usually have some kind of idea your transmission is going out before this happens? Mine was running perfect. The shift to 2nd was slightly rough sometimes, but i've noticed that in every mercedes I've ever driven. I suspected it was just the linkage that had broken. I trust this mechanic very much I have gone to him for a while and has proven to be very honest and knowledgeable, but this just sounds strange to me. I am a college student with hardly any money, so any money saving tips would help too ; )

thanks for your input
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Old 12-06-2002, 05:07 PM
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I'll look at my invoice when I get home and let you know what the number of labor hours were on my car. As for the transmission failure on my car, one minute it was working great, the next minute it was grinding away. MB called it a "catastrophic" other explaination.
I'm sure you can find a used one...especially if the 190 Transmission will fit.
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Old 12-06-2002, 06:27 PM
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Looked at the invoice for my transmission repair. I was wrong on the labor number. Following are the numbers:
140-270-94-00-88 Auto trans. $3,146.00
140-250-04-02 Torque Converter $1,287.00
There were various other misc items that total another $503.00
Labor totalled $1,037.50 I cannot remember what the hourly rate is...but it looks like the R&R job can't total more than 15 hours. The job was done at a MB Dealership.
Remember these numbers are for a W140.
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Old 12-06-2002, 08:12 PM
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ok.... so $1000 for tranny, $1000 for labor, maybe my mechanic quoted $2500 for the total job...that's not that bad, one more question....a year ago my wiring harness went bad and I replaced it for $500. Recently I found out mercedes had a recall for the wiring harness in the 1994 C280 and fixes this problem for free. Being that I already had the work done.... Does anyone think they would reimburse me? I could use the money right now...
p.s. thanks for the invoice info!
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Old 12-06-2002, 08:40 PM
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Did you have your harness replaced at a dealer if not your out of luck.
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Old 12-07-2002, 09:42 PM
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rebuilt trans recommendation needed

My 1992 500 SEL trans just suddenly failed at 123,000. miles.I also am considering purchasing a rebuilt unit from european or was qouted 1050. for a rebuilt unit with a 2 year warranty. Seems to cheap to be true. Has anyone had any experiences with these companys? Can someone suggest a reasonable,reputable place to purchase a rebuilt unit from? I need help,car is broken down,i have no back up vehicle.Thanks
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Old 12-07-2002, 11:01 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 75
Sure are alot of MB failures. Do any of you remember if you ever had a period of time when you were dealing with engine temps running higher than what you thought was normal.

I know MB says you should use their tranny fluid, but I believe the old school you get what you pay for (most of the time).

Synthetic ATF is in my opinion better insurance at best as you have a little bettter heat protection and superior additive formular.

Any transmission run with high engine temps (especially during the summer) is sure to cause problems down the road.

Since the cost is so high just for the fluid 5 to 7 dollar range, most people consider this to high, but I think your transmission will know the difference. No science just experience.
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Old 12-08-2002, 11:46 AM
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Don't forget about that Torque Converter...
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Old 12-08-2002, 06:13 PM
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I keep hearing about a torque converter.....Does that have to be replaced any time the transmission is rebuilt? My mechanic quoted me $2500 for the total job, $2000 for him to rebuild it himself, he strongly reccomended finding one that was already rebuilt though.
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Old 12-09-2002, 11:17 AM
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The problem with the torque converter after a transmission failure is contamination. As I understand it, the veins in the torque converter are very difficult to clean out, and there is no good way to know if the torque converter is in fact clean. If not, some of the contamination from the failed tranny ends up in the rebuilt one by way of a contaminated Converter...Hence the risk.
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