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#1 Old 04-26-2012
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Transmission losing smoothness

my 2003 SLK230 is now up to 85k miles and beginning to shift a little less smoothly (automatic trans) than when purchased at 48k miles. No maintenance is mentioned in owners manual, manual says take to dealer even to check oil level. Any suggestions?
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#2 Old 04-26-2012
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Best thing to do is change the trans fluid and filter it will make a big difference.
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#3 Old 04-26-2012
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is fluid and filter a dealer or DIY job?
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#4 Old 04-26-2012
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That depends on your mechanical skills. Its Fairley simple to change, you will need a set of torx sockets to remove the pan bolts. When I changed my oil/filter I also placed a strong round magnet in the corner of the pan to catch any metal partials just in case.


ps: you will also need a dip stick, MB calls it a tool. Best and cheapest place to get one is Ebay for around $25 + shipping.
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#5 Old 04-27-2012
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You may want to check your engine & transmission mounts.


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#6 Old 04-28-2012
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I did it myself. It is actually quite easy. The directions someone posted here are spot on, including a nice beverage. Hardest part was getting it up the ramps!

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#7 Old 04-28-2012
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The friction material on the plates or clutches is disintegrating. This is due to either abuse or the transmission fluid and filter haven't been changed periodically.

Get the fluid and filter changed pronto! Any transmission shop can do it. The only caution is to use a fluid with the same coefficient of friction as the clutches. Probably best to get the MB fluid.
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#8 Old 04-28-2012
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Question Connected problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatocha View Post
my 2003 SLK230 is now up to 85k miles and beginning to shift a little less smoothly (automatic trans) than when purchased at 48k miles. No maintenance is mentioned in owners manual, manual says take to dealer even to check oil level. Any suggestions?
I perhaps have a similar problem in that, particularly at low temps & starting out, the 1-2/2-3 shift will sort of clunk into place, and when slowing down, it feels like the transmission doesn't want to disengage until it's right at the point of stopping. (So I get this clunk/de-surge at that point.)

I've mentioned this to my dealer several times but they've offered no solution. (No real a surprise there.) I bought the car with 50k (and the problems) and now have 110k. Switching back and forth between S & W modes doesn't seem to effect the problems/performance.

Mostly this is annoying more than anything.

In maybe a related problem/issue, particularly if I'm just rolling down a long steeper grade under cruise; 1) the car will shift down to maintain speed (which is quite abrupt!) and it is seemingly going back and forth into a mode where it is utilizing engine braking. (So it feels as if the system is retarding then releasing, retarding then releasing, 10-20 times per mile.) Perhaps this is the way it's supposed to work - though neither of my Fords did anything like this - so I might have two issues.

First, the low speed shifting in the transmission, which sounds like a similar issue to the initial poster's and which the suggestions above might help, and second, the transmission/cruise/engine speed interaction, which might or might not be related or helped.

Anyone with any similar issues?
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#9 Old 04-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilred320SLK View Post
I perhaps have a similar problem in that, particularly at low temps & starting out, the 1-2/2-3 shift will sort of clunk into place, and when slowing down, it feels like the transmission doesn't want to disengage until it's right at the point of stopping. (So I get this clunk/de-surge at that point.)

I've mentioned this to my dealer several times but they've offered no solution. (No real a surprise there.) I bought the car with 50k (and the problems) and now have 110k. Switching back and forth between S & W modes doesn't seem to effect the problems/performance.

Mostly this is annoying more than anything.

In maybe a related problem/issue, particularly if I'm just rolling down a long steeper grade under cruise; 1) the car will shift down to maintain speed (which is quite abrupt!) and it is seemingly going back and forth into a mode where it is utilizing engine braking. (So it feels as if the system is retarding then releasing, retarding then releasing, 10-20 times per mile.) Perhaps this is the way it's supposed to work - though neither of my Fords did anything like this - so I might have two issues.

First, the low speed shifting in the transmission, which sounds like a similar issue to the initial poster's and which the suggestions above might help, and second, the transmission/cruise/engine speed interaction, which might or might not be related or helped.

Anyone with any similar issues?
EXACTLY the same problem that I have. More annoying than anything and of course I am worried it is doing damage. Not yet found a solution, might try getting the fluid changed.
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#10 Old 04-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilred320SLK View Post
I perhaps have a similar problem in that, particularly at low temps & starting out, the 1-2/2-3 shift will sort of clunk into place, and when slowing down, it feels like the transmission doesn't want to disengage until it's right at the point of stopping. (So I get this clunk/de-surge at that point.)

I've mentioned this to my dealer several times but they've offered no solution. (No real a surprise there.) I bought the car with 50k (and the problems) and now have 110k. Switching back and forth between S & W modes doesn't seem to effect the problems/performance.

Mostly this is annoying more than anything.

In maybe a related problem/issue, particularly if I'm just rolling down a long steeper grade under cruise; 1) the car will shift down to maintain speed (which is quite abrupt!) and it is seemingly going back and forth into a mode where it is utilizing engine braking. (So it feels as if the system is retarding then releasing, retarding then releasing, 10-20 times per mile.) Perhaps this is the way it's supposed to work - though neither of my Fords did anything like this - so I might have two issues.

First, the low speed shifting in the transmission, which sounds like a similar issue to the initial poster's and which the suggestions above might help, and second, the transmission/cruise/engine speed interaction, which might or might not be related or helped.

Anyone with any similar issues?
Im somewhere in this realm. When cold and i back out of the driveway and i click into drive, It hits pretty hard. plus when driving off when cold it likes to stay in first gear for a block or so. kinda like its telling me to warm it up first before i drive off. I have 73k
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#11 Old 04-29-2012
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Transmission losing smoothness

Okay, so now I've bought fluid, filter, gasket, drain plug washer and a "key" for the dipstick cover from an MB dealer ($217). Also got a set of Torx sockets for the pan. A few more questions before starting though:

1. How to know when the amount of added new fluid is correct - the parts guy said "we put in 5 quarts". Is it necessary to buy a dipstick and check fluid level, or just assume 5 qts is ok?
2. The dipstick cover doesn't seem to come off after inserting the red plastic key - should the cover be forced even if it has to be broken?
3. I'm assuming the new fluid has to be injected through the dipstick tube - is this right?

About the post re clunking on startup - my SLK230 has similar symptom, starting up at around 1/4 throttle there's a light clunk from 1 to 2 and 2 - 3 gear, particularly if throttle position happens to be changed at the the same time as the shift is taking place. Sometimes light clunk also occurs when down shifting through lower gears. Hopefully the new fluid and filter will smooth things out.
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#12 Old 04-29-2012
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Automatic transmissions are subjected to a lot of stress and wear over time. Much of it can be reduced by periodic maintenance and a gentle driving style, but getting close to or over a 100K means getting it removed and overhauled.

The MB 7-speed unit is a complicated unit with it mechanicals plus some computer software involvement. Expect to spend several thousand dollars for a complete overhaul. It would be wise to find a shop that specializes in MB (and other high-buck rides) for a repair. It doesn't necessarily mean a dealer either. Many Benz dealers just remove the unit and send it out to a independent contractor. You may save some money eliminating the dealer.
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#13 Old 04-30-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang Sally View Post
Automatic transmissions are subjected to a lot of stress and wear over time. Much of it can be reduced by periodic maintenance and a gentle driving style, but getting close to or over a 100K means getting it removed and overhauled.

The MB 7-speed unit is a complicated unit with it mechanicals plus some computer software involvement. Expect to spend several thousand dollars for a complete overhaul. It would be wise to find a shop that specializes in MB (and other high-buck rides) for a repair. It doesn't necessarily mean a dealer either. Many Benz dealers just remove the unit and send it out to a independent contractor. You may save some money eliminating the dealer.
Im not sure if your just telling us about 7 speeds or you think we have 7 speeds. But you may or may not know. We have 5 speed automatics. Our rides are SLK 230's
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#14 Old 04-30-2012
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If there is one service that owners shouldn't tackle, it the automatic transmission no matter what speed it is.

It is obvious that the fellow above with the parts doesn't know what he is doing. I recommend he take his parts to a qualified shop and have the service done.

It is a lot more than just changing the fluid, filter and gaskets. There are inspections that need to made to determine what condition the unit is in. For example, does the oil have any contaminants from deteriorating friction materials? There are adjustments to be done to the shift program either mechanical or software. Also it is a PITA to lay on your back rather than take a comfortable look at things beneath a lift.

In my area, the Benz dealer charges $250 for labor plus parts. That's a deal when you consider that the work is guaranteed.
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#15 Old 04-30-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatocha View Post
Okay, so now I've bought fluid, filter, gasket, drain plug washer and a "key" for the dipstick cover from an MB dealer ($217). Also got a set of Torx sockets for the pan. A few more questions before starting though:

1. How to know when the amount of added new fluid is correct - the parts guy said "we put in 5 quarts". Is it necessary to buy a dipstick and check fluid level, or just assume 5 qts is ok?
2. The dipstick cover doesn't seem to come off after inserting the red plastic key - should the cover be forced even if it has to be broken?
3. I'm assuming the new fluid has to be injected through the dipstick tube - is this right?

About the post re clunking on startup - my SLK230 has similar symptom, starting up at around 1/4 throttle there's a light clunk from 1 to 2 and 2 - 3 gear, particularly if throttle position happens to be changed at the the same time as the shift is taking place. Sometimes light clunk also occurs when down shifting through lower gears. Hopefully the new fluid and filter will smooth things out.
1) Get a dip stick don't guess on the amount.
2) The red key needs to be removed before the cap comes off.
3) That is correct, dipstick tube. Get a funnel with a long neck.

In my past experience when i lost a trans there was no warning, it just stopped working. Maybe others had a different experience.
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#16 Old 05-08-2012
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Question Just grasping at straws but . . . .

Any possibility that these kinds of symptoms are the result of a worn torque converter?
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#17 Old 05-08-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilred320SLK View Post
Any possibility that these kinds of symptoms are the result of a worn torque converter?
Torque converters don't have any moving parts.
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#18 Old 05-08-2012
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Originally Posted by livefreeordie View Post
Torque converters don't have any moving parts.
Wouldn't quite go that far . . . but I know what you mean. (None of the typical springs, valves, linkages and such.) TCs act more like pumps, (turbin pumps!) with some very tight tolerances and can be "Burnt Up" through misuse. For instance, by revving the car with your foot on the brake, pulling a heavy trailer up a steep grade, etc.. The fluid will break down and the blades can warp, wear, or otherwise be damaged. This would damage the engagement curve to some degree I would think. (Wikipedia has a pretty good article on failure modes.)

Generally not something that happens a lot . . . . but it does happen. Was just wondering if anyone had any direct experience?
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#19 Old 05-08-2012
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Not what Ive been told.....

I have changed the converter on my 99 C230 kompressor 140 kmi., it made a difference. I now have a 99 SLK230 107kmi., bought with a bad motor due to a small hole in the oil pan. While doing an engine swap I also did the converter due to ease of changing at the time. My converter rebuilder who I have used for about 20 years told me that the Benz 5 spd. converter has alot going on inside it compared to most others. Specifically stated something about "clutches" not just fins going on inside them, and that these converters do wear down.
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#20 Old 05-08-2012
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Originally Posted by lowflyingbird View Post
. . . While doing an engine swap I also did the converter due to ease of changing at the time. . . . .
In some near future I'm going to have to replace the rear crank seal, so, like yours, it would be a good time to consider it.

A few G-Whiz questions then . . . . So did you get a rebuilt unit, new one, or have yours rebuilt? Guesstimate on the cost for the TC method you chose? Did you feel any noticable improvements? (Though if you were swapping that much, the whole car might have felt different.)

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