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Old 03-01-2003, 07:55 PM
MS Fowler's Avatar
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Location: Littlestown PA ( 6 miles south of Gettysburg)
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Looking for opinions on changing ATF

I almost own a 1982 240D, with 260,XXX miles. Engine started instantly w/o being plugged in after sitting for 2-3 weeks and packed in snow. Auto Transmission shifts like it should. Fluid is dark with just a hint of burnt odor.
Do you recommend leaving it alone, or can I change the fluid and filter. I've heard opposite opinions on this--but not from Mercedes people. What do you think?
Please any information is valued, but I am particularly interesated in what full-time techs think about this.
Thanks to all
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Old 03-01-2003, 09:14 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
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Not a full time tech but I have replaced ATF in an 80 300D, 91 300E, and 91 300SEL. Sounds like you need to replace yours. Not that hard but it can be messy. Don't forget to drain the torque converter. Using a screw driver turn the torque converter until you find the hex nut. But first drain the transmission fluid from the pan. Then take off the pan. The filter is easy to replace, you see it after you take off the pan. Don't over tighten the oil pan when you replace everything, you can split the gasket, I know from experience.

Maybe a FT tech will weigh in soon. Good luck.
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Old 03-01-2003, 09:18 PM
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On an Auto trans with that many miles, I don't think I'd change it. Here's why: Much of the friction material in that tranny is now suspended in the fluid. You drain the fluid, put in fresh ATF, let the slipping begin!
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Old 03-01-2003, 09:47 PM
jack baker
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I would not prolong it ,,,if it smells burnt, def. change it. (i change the tranny fluid yearly on every veh. i drive.).jack
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Old 03-01-2003, 11:42 PM
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If you "almost" own it, I assume you haven't actually purchased it yet. If the transmission is suspect, which any automatic with 260,000 miles would be, especially with burnt tranny fluid, then DON'T BUY IT! Do you know how much its going to cost you to have a rebuilt tranny installed? Around $2k, maybe more. Why would you want to buy this car? With that many miles it probably needs, in addition to the tranny, new brakes, new radiator, new suspension, etc., etc.

Keep looking.

'84 300D, 173k
'90 300CE, 162k
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Old 03-02-2003, 11:33 PM
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This is not helping---need more input.
On a question with two answers--yes, change it, or no, don't, I've recieved THREE diferent opinions!
Please help me out with this decision!
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Old 03-03-2003, 12:43 AM
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The first thing recommended by any savvy MB afficianado (pro or DIY) for minor auto trans problems is a fluid/filter change. So why wouldn't you do it for one that works good, but has old fluid? Of course you change the fluid /filter. There may be other gremlins in there with a car of this age and milage, but you asked about auto transmission fluid/filter change and this is the correct answer.
The Golden Rule

1984 300SD (bought new, sold it in 1988, bought it back 13 yrs. later)
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Old 03-03-2003, 09:21 AM
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Always change the transmission fluid and filter as recommended by the manufacturer. The one you are looking at is probably due for a change.

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Old 03-03-2003, 10:56 AM
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Change the ATF & filter. If the ATF is discolored it is time for a change. Fresh ATF does make a positive difference.

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
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Old 03-03-2003, 05:51 PM
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change trans fluid

YES !!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Much!

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
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Old 03-03-2003, 10:11 PM
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Thanks to all who've responded, but please don't stop. I would also appreciate any reasoning behind your opinions; Opinions are good, but the reasons behind them are more important.
It seems as if a consensus is forming--
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:22 PM
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Location: Portland, ME
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In your first post, you mention you've heard conflicting opinions on whether or not you should change the fluid. I assume that means someone told you the urban legend that the gunky fluid actually helps old transmissions. THAT IS PURE POPPYCOCK!!!

That theory is based completly on junk science. It goes something like this: "I had a transmission that was on its last leg. Then I changed the fluid, and it totally crapped out." Well, duh!!! It was already marginal. Changing the fluid had nothing to do with the transmission failing.

It is NEVER a bad idea to change your transmission fluid. If you change it too frequently, one could argue that you're wasting time and/or money -- but you will not be hurting your car in any way.

Jeff Pierce
Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:31 PM
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If the ATF fluid and filter has not had a change in the last 20K miles do it NOW!
82 300SD
93 F250 4x4
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Old 03-04-2003, 11:00 AM
I told you so!
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Location: Motor City, MI
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For more opinions, you may want to post your question on a good automotive lubricant web site:
95 E320 Cabriolet, 140K
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Old 03-04-2003, 09:00 PM
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My opinion.........

If your buying the car and are unsure when any of the fluids were changed then change out all fluids and filter. Its cheap insurance in the long run and provides a baseline you can follow for future maintenance.

02 C32 AMG

92 500E
84 190E 2.3 5 Spd
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