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Old 12-15-2002, 03:35 PM
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M103 transmission problem

OK... last February, I purchased my first car. It has now 175,000 miles on it. When I bought it it had 169,000 miles. Today, I was planning on going on the highway, but the car wouldn't kick into 4th gear. The car I understand starts at 2nd gear. Then I hear the 3rd gear, but for the first time today... it wouldn't hit 4th gear. I had to get off the next exit ramp and head back home ticked off.

I am unfortunately stuck in a family that doesn't drive.. and they don't know anything about cars. So it all falls on me. I even have to pay for the repair. I honestly don't know what happened to the tranny. I believe its the original tranny since I didn't find anything done to it in the history of repairs.

My question is.. how much would it cost to replace a transmission.. or rebuild it. Could it be that the tranny doesn't need a rebuild or replacement but something minor done to it?

Right now I am ticked off since many bad things have happened to me recently, and now my ride is giving me the finger as well. Anyone recommend a good an honest mechanic in Central Ohio that can help me deal with this problem? I don't trust my regular mechanic now and am looking for a new one.

I would appreciate any help.. thanks
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Old 12-15-2002, 03:58 PM
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You may very well not need a new transmission or rebuilt.
Some of the things to check before tearing it down.
1) Have you checked the oil level. It does not take much under filling for the transmission to behave erratically.
2) When was the last time the oil/filter service been done.
3) Is the transmission modulator operating as it should.
4) Any problem with the linkage (shifter)?
5) Is the cable from the throttle linkage adjusted properly ?

Keep us posted.
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Old 12-15-2002, 03:58 PM
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Have you checked the fluid level? When was the last time the filter and fluid were changed?
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Old 12-15-2002, 05:05 PM
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I have no idea when the last time the the transmission fluids were changed. Is this a simple task?

Here is what I do know...
I had the oil changed just over 2000 miles ago (10w40)
I just went outside and checked the transmission fluid level... here is what I saw. I took out the dipstick, wiped it clean and put it back in. The dipstick is not straight, but has curves which looks to be made by design. Anyways.. on the very bottom of the dipstick, there are 2 lines that run across the dipstick. The fluid level in between the bottom end of the dipstick and the bottom line. Should the fluid be AT the line? The color of the fluid is hard to describe. At first it looked green.. but then it looks a little red.

About the transmission modulator.. i have no idea what that is. There is no problems with the shifter in moving from park to reverse, etc. Question #5... I don't know what that means. Again, I am not too knowledgable on mechanics. I am trying to learn

Thank you for your responces.
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Old 12-15-2002, 05:25 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
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How did you check the fluid level? The tranny fluid should be up to operating temperature (run the car for approximately 20 minutes prior to checking it), the car should be on level ground, with the tranny in park and the engine idling. THEN it should be between those two lines on the dipstick.
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Old 12-15-2002, 05:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
You also might try disconnecting the kick down solenoid at the back right of the trans or under the gas pedal. Doing it at the trans guarantees that electric control isn't the problem.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 12-15-2002, 06:26 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,096

These are the times that test your commitments ... and especially to your car.

Having been there, done that ... this is what I did:

Become student of the subject. Use this forum and any other resource to answer all of your questions about this trans problem so you can quickly, cost effectively and in a satisfying way, fix your car.

It very well may be it is something that won't take a MAJOR frickin trans overhaul, maybe not. Be a clever man. Figure it out. You will be glad you did!

Forgive my further life lesson discourse, but I have found doing the above not only makes my MBZs run better, but my life seems to come back to normal as well during trying times.

My 2 cents

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 12-15-2002, 08:20 PM
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I took the car around town and came back home to check the trans. fluid level. The fluid looked good, so I bet my mechanic did change it when he said "changed all the filters, etc" this past summer. I then went back on the highway and had the car go to 4th gear. This made me think... would tempreture have an affect on changing gears in an automatic transmission? The tempreture currently is in the mid-30's. When I went back on the highway... the car has just been driven around town and was still warm.

In any case... I will have this looked at soon.

Haasman.. thanks for your input. I have only come here to get an idea of what my problem could be. I want to have somewhat of an idea of whats wrong... obviously only guessing by symptoms... before having someone work on my car.
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