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  #1  
Old 12-25-2002, 12:55 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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89 260e tranny

I dropped off my 89 260e the other day for what I thought was going to be a reseal of the foward pump in the transmission. It was making an awful mess in the driveway. The shop is an independent mercedes repair facility in Scottsdale AZ. Let me say that the car only has 67,000 original miles and I had the tranny serviced at 43,000 when I bought the car. The first call that I received was to tell me that the torque converter had an unusual amount of play in it and that it could prove problematic in the future. I told them tohave it rebuilt since it was out of the car already. Today I receive another call to tell me that the front pump was removed to reseal but that a retaining clip or circlip had broken in half and caused excessive wear to the clutches. Now we are talking overhaul to the tune of about $2000.00. I have used this shop before and they have a good rep. He has asked me to come in so that he can show me the damaged parts. Does this sound fishy? I'm really disappointed in the amount of maintenance ($) this car has required with having so few miles. Please chime in with any similar experiences Tom
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  #2  
Old 12-25-2002, 01:14 AM
soopsmart
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Ask to see the fluid that was in the pan, you would be able to see the clutch material in the fluid. Most important of all, if you do need a rebuild then get a rebuilt one from the local dealer. MB rebuilt trans come with 4 year 50,000 warranty. The job pays 5 hours labor and the MB tranny should cost no more than $1750, also if your creative you can ask the parts guy at the dealer to give you a break on the price and maybe sell at the wholesale price wich is list less 20%. As for your tranny, to do a front pump reseal you take the pump out with the trans inverted(tailshaft down) nothing else comes out of the trans. So trans R&R is 5 hours and the pump pays 2 hours, total labor should not exceed 8 hours.
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  #3  
Old 12-25-2002, 01:15 PM
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Location: Gainesville FL
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Well everyone go out and see how many MB dealers will sell a RB for the proper list price of 1750. A 4 grand estimate is more likely. I don't know how it gets that way but its is more realistic.

As to wholesale, MB rebuilt prices are special catagory. A good wholesale relationship will have one buying at a percent over MB net (not at the middle column MB wholesale). MB whole sale is usually at about 15 to 20% off list. I buy most of my next day orders at net plus 20%. This is 28% off list. I pay net plus twenty for rebuilt also, but here is an example: 103 fuel distributor MB list 676. My cost 606 (plus or minus a dollar or two at net plus 20%). This is about 10% off list and is the way it is with a tranny. It is the main reason our rebuilds with install and fluid cost 1600. If we were at 2000 we would only be a couple hundred less than the factory rebuild sold by a dealer at MB suggested pricing and warrantee based labor (all MB trannies pay more than 5 hours warrantee - all other labor guides give at least another hour - we charge 6 hours R&R as part of our total).

As to the repair in question, do you believe the tech to be dishonest? The senario he describes is very concievable. The questions he asks are due to what he sees once apart; hardly something he could know ahead of time. I won't do a front pump reseal on a tranny with over 150k so he is probably justifiable in doing it with your mileage. Unfortunately mileage is just one component of age and often low mileage is not a benefit. Many seal type problems originate from no use. Rubber takes a "set" and/or dryes up. Corrosion takes place in bushings that leads to premature failure Don't expect him to be a metallurgist, why is not necessarily his job.

Without seeing the problem I can't really advise but the question of rebuilding is entirely different once this far involved. I would say that half of the labor has already been invested and unless you don't trust the man, I would go with his suggestions. It is most likely that what he is trying to prevent is for your benefit not his. In other words, he is not trying to get you to pay more to protect his warrantee. His seal repair will make it through the clutch failure that probably wasn't (or isn't) immenent. But if it fails in three years the seal repair will become a waste.

Soopsmart has some interesting figures that are basically correct, but the shop in question can not sell you a MB rebuilt at 1750 and keep its door open (especially after spending time disassembling your tranny - which will have to be reassembled tobe acceptable as a core) and neither do any dealers. For DIY it is probably possible to get a tranny for less than the 1750 from a dealer not having to install, but if my dealer doesn't do it in a rural setting I doubt anyone does it with installation.
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Continental Imports
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33 years MB technician
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  #4  
Old 12-25-2002, 04:32 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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tranny turmoil

Thanks for the response. I talked with the owner of the shop before I ever brought it in. He told me that if it was in fact the front pump; the tranny would need to come out. He said that with the trans removed they pull the flywheel and replace the rear main seal and cover, reseal the front pump and other assorted seals on the trans that are accessible and then reinstall. If that's all they find the total ends up being about $750.00. He did say that it was not unusual to pull a trans on a higher milage car only to find that the clutches are toast. He said that he really didn't expect to find that with my car. Once found he said it was uncommon but not unprecedented. I bought the car 18 mos ago for $4500.00 and in the time since I have put $4000.00 into the car. I have only had the car in the shop twice( trans service and hard start diagnostic ck) so the 4000.00 figure wouldbe alot higher if I would had all the work done. I really love the way the car drives but wonder if a Toyota Camry isn't the way to go. I've got a 1991 Chev Suburban with 167,000 miles on it that hauls 4 kids, trailers, and a boat and has not required near the amount of maintenance. I'm an aircraft mechanic and work out of a toolbox all day; I'm just getting tired of wrenching on this car constantly. The mechanic who's doing the trans says the car will require approx $2000.00 per year to maintain on average and if someone's getting by on alot less then there will be a cumulative effect down the road with some big repair bills. What is standard in the way of warranty on a rebuilt trans done by an independent facility? Thanks everyone for letting me ventl; my poor wife is sick of hearing about it. Tom
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  #5  
Old 12-25-2002, 04:53 PM
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One must have the proper perspective on this. A good Toyota Corrola probably would cost you 8 grand. By buying a car cheap one can be faced with the concept of only buying part of a car. You may not have got a good deal by the time you finish the car but transmission problems are rare on most cars and having one is sort of like winning a reverse lottery. It just can't be included in anticipated maintenance costs.

Your 260E is a car that is easily owner maintained. The cost of repairs in the second hundred thou have to be no greater than other cars with similar features.

The idea to owning one of these cars is to drive a safe comfortable vehicle with certain status for a minimum amount of money. The alternatives involve various new car/depriciation situations and/or dropping ones standards. Many people are proven winners in the game but it is somewhat like a lottery in some cases. My advice is to usually buy a higher priced, better shape, used model, than to go for lowest price and repair as you go.

Can anyone that has driven a quality German car actually accept driving a Honda or Toyota (not including Lexus)? One must have priorities in life. Driving a safe, comfortable, (fast), well handling car has always been my standard. I align cars for bunches of shops that bring me everything. I almost want to put seat covers on most Asain or Domestic cars ten years old, before I sit on them in my work clothes (for my protection).
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Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
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33 years MB technician
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  #6  
Old 12-25-2002, 05:23 PM
Jackd
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Steve has made some very valid points.
I also own a 1989 260E which I bought in 1992. The car now has 245K. I will not say I did not have any problems with the car but overall, it has been extremely reliable and the cost of ownership has not been much greater that it would have been with a lesser car. Problems (and sometimes big problems) will come with any car as part of the standard equipment package.
A transmission problem, although hard to swallow, does not mean the car is poorly built or less reliable than a Toyota. I had a transmission problem on a 1997 Honda CR-V, only about 5K outside the warranty period. Normal? No, probable:Yes.
My Benz has been maintained by the book (and some) is still rewarding me with a ride, safety, comfort, handling I could not find in a lesser/newer car.
I'm on the point of having to decide what to do with my 260E as it is beginning to show some signs of old age. But what can I get as a replacement? Another/newer W124 would be a solution but I am inclined at throwing $5 to $7,000. at it to bring it back to it's original glory. This would be a cheaper/better solution than buying a Toyota or Honda and I would still be driving a Mercedes.
JackD
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2002, 06:40 PM
soopsmart
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260e

part #124270670188(one of three options-need vin #)at my local dealer(Washington) $2100 list, #1242701202 $1770 list. Get trans # wich will start with 722.4__ then call dealer. True, dealer to R&R trans would cost an arm an a leg. Great advice from all on maintenance costs. All 124 cars, in my opinion, are an excellent investment. The ones that have high maintenance bills are the ones that have had little or no maintenance done. Best bet when purchasing any vehicle is to have a good mechanic that knows that particular vehicle well look it over first.
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