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Old 07-28-2003, 10:50 AM
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280CE transmission advice needed

The saga continues. Picking up from an earlier thread, I have a 79 280CE with 170 thousand. And need advice on what to do next over a flaring/ slipping problem. A bit over a week ago, it began to slip in both the 2-3 and 3-4 shift. With the guidance of this forum, and the wrench/tech that drove the car himself for a month before I bought it and declared the car "solid"; I went through the list of possible "easy fix" causes with no improvement. (Flush & filter, vacuum line check, new vacuum modulator-old one was bad, but new one didn't make a difference.)

I found a local tranny shop claiming Benz expertise and dropped it off. Without going through all the conversations, this "expert" tripled the rebuild estimate over what I'd been quoted just as soon as he had his hands on my keys. He pressure tested the tranny and found 50lbs. telling me it should be 150# under throttle. Opened it up and said he found a clogged valve, but no metal at all in the pan. But before he put the pan back on, he was waiting for a call from another expert on older trannys (I think this one is a 722.112) as he had limited experience on cars this old (great). 2 days later, he never got the call back but said he had ordered a schematic that would give him the answers he needed and it would arrive soon. I called back the next day (last Friday). He said the schematic didn't provide the info he needed, and he would put the pan back on, and see if the clogged valve was the entire problem, and would call me back before the day was over.

At 6:30 friday evening. He called: "I put the tranny back together and it now tested way too high pressure (300#), so backed off on the modulator to normal, and took the car for a drive. 3-4 shift was perfect and "a little long" on the 2-3 but acceptable. Then at a stop sign, I lost all forward gears and had to walk back to the shop and get the tow truck."

This AM he called again: "I opened it up and found a small piece of aluminum had jammed a valve. I don't know where it came from. The car is shifting ok now on the rack and pressure is in spec., but I do not want to test drive it. Since I don't know what's wrong, or how much parts will cost for a rebuild I can't make a rebuild quote; your bill is $200, and I'm really upside down on that number. No, we will not install the used tranny you located. If you find someone that will, I'll buy the old one from you for parts and just to take it fully apart as a learning experience though."

Ok, we can talk about "experts that aren't" and ripoff garages, but my question is: based on this data, can anyone guide me as to what might be wrong, what the liklihood is that I'll never make it the 25 miles home from the shop? He said the piece of aluminum is about 3/4 inch long, and that had it been steel he would guess it was a part of a bearing(?), but as aluminum, he had no idea.


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Old 07-31-2003, 03:25 PM
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Concensus of those hearing my description of the aluminum bits found stuck in a tranny valve is that the piston that pressurizes the 2/3 shift and reverse lost the flange/rim around it. Picked up the car and drove back to work and then home. Slipped a bit but was much improved. Next day (yesterday) I made it about a mile from home and lost all forward gears. Drove back home in reverse (to some interesting looks). Took only a couple of calls to find three different used transmissions, all $350-450, so car is dead until I can arrange for delivery of the replacement and find someone to install.
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