Manual Transmission Failure on a 350 - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 04-22-2011
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Manual Transmission Failure on a 350

Hey guys,

So last Wednesday I took off from a stop, shifted from first to second fine, then attempted to shift from second to third at about 4,000 RPM's only to find that the shifter had disconnected from the gears, and my car was suck in second. It moved around almost like it was in neutral, but it could not engage in any gears.

The dealership was able to forcibly fix the stuck gear but believes it will happen again if internal repair is not made. My 3rd party warranty company finally authorized the repairs today. The techs that pulled the tranny out and opened it said they had never seen a tranny this damaged, and thought that I must have driven the hell out of it!

It's an 05' with 49,000 miles on it, of which I have only driven 15,000 of. They haven't identified the problem yet, but they think it started with the synchro's being out of alignment. Which I brought it in for back in December after researching a problem I had shifting into second from first at high RPM's. The mechanics couldn't replicate the problem and if they opened up the tranny and couldn't find a problem I'd be out of pocket for the labor.

I bought the car from a woman in California and have no idea how she drove it, but this is my 3rd manual car and I've been driving them for 7 years now. I may not be an professional driver but I know how to shift.

The service advisor at the dealership is trying to tell me that these aren't real sport cars and shouldn't be driven as such. She brought this up after I told her that I've shifted close to redline several times. My argument was "Why does this engine rev so high if it's not designed for it?" She kept saying "But it's not an AMG".

Anyways, I was mainly curios if anyone else has had any sever problems with their manuel tranny's. Does this problem sound like a defect or a driver issue? Aren't these supposed to be pretty stout transmissions? And will someone please tell me that this IS a sports car and that it was designed for performance driving!!! I know I'm not the only one who bought this car because they like to drive fast!

Thanks.

I'll be sure to post the actual diagnoses when I hear it.
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#2 Old 04-22-2011
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A manual transmission stuck in gear is either a linkage or interlock problem.
Problems with synchros will give you difficulties engaging a gear.


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#3 Old 04-22-2011
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Do you know if either of those problems are severe enough to the point that the tranny needs to be replaced rather than repaired?
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#4 Old 04-22-2011
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Not sure I've ever owned a manual that I've not "shifted at close to redline" repeatedly?! I'd also question how many 6 speed manual gearboxes they have worked on, given their popularity stateside.

Don't know enough about the internal workings of the mb 6sp to say, but I would find it very hard to believe that MB would put a transmission in a car that couldn't deal with normal shift load.

Ask RacerCub if he ever shifts at close to redline in his! :P


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Originally Posted by Aggie 08 View Post
Do you know if either of those problems are severe enough to the point that the tranny needs to be replaced rather than repaired?

Almost any transmission problem can be severe enough to cause serious damage if it's not caught and fixed quickly - loads of moving parts with tight tolerances.

The MB 6sp is very popular outside the US, and has a very good reputation. I've not heard of anything that would make me think they have chronic problems. Most of the E Series taxi's have 'em, and they do crazy miles.



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#5 Old 04-22-2011
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Well, i dont drive a manual - although the 7 speeder makes me wish sometimes that i did.

Having said that, shifting near the redline repeatedly is never a good thing for any tranny, i dont think. Manual gear box failure is not been a theme that i have come across here, but i think the brute majority here have autos.

MB undoubtedly markets SLKs as sports cars. But the durability of any tranny will be tested if you repeatedly dump clutch at high rpms and wring the last bit of push from the engine repeatedly - i am not saying that you do this, but you dont know how this car was driven before and you seem to have had a niggle earlier on.

All the best with the repairs. I personally will not be volunteering too much information on my driving style if i have a tranny problem, lest i be blamed of abuse. I think i know the difference between driving sportily and abuse but that is rather difficult to put across well.


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#6 Old 04-25-2011
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60,000 miles and no indication of problems with my transmission. Although most of the time I am easy on the gear changes (4000 rpm), it has seen it's share of near red line shifts (just can't help myself). I consider it a sports car and drive it like I think it was meant to be driven.

Sorry about your situation, but I have to think you bought a problem based on the fact you noticed issues while shifting several months ago.
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#7 Old 04-25-2011
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Gearbox failure has been pretty rare in my experience. Though I have known some occasional failures at work, I've not personally had a gearbox failure for over 30 years. I've never owned an auto car.
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#8 Old 04-25-2011
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Yeah, I have a 2006 MT with 62k miles on it. I've driven about 10k of those so far.... gearbox is fine. 2nd is actually a little notchy when it goes in, which worries me a little bit but it doesn't appear to be changing in any way so I'm choosing not to worry about it. (Maybe I should....LOL)

I shift mostly around 3, 4k when I'm going easy, and when I'm in the mood I shift at 5, 6k every time... this is actually one of the easier boxes I have shifted in.

One thing though: given the choice I always slip the clutch rather then try to jam it in. Would rather replace a clutch then fix a tranny... saved me when I once went into 3rd instead of 5th in a hurry. Most (99%) of the time I don't slip or miss the rpms but no one is perfect. So when it happens I shrug and slip the clutch a bit and get on with it.

Looking forward to a DSG in my next car...whatever it is. Love manual control don't actually really like shifting especially in stop and go. argh.
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#9 Old 04-26-2011
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I have rebuilt / modified a few manual trannies in my time and can tell you if its chewed up inside then you would have known because it would sound trully awful in operation and slipping out of gear etc. The fault you desrcibe is a selector failure and this is usually a straightforward repair.
Provided you dont crunch the gears between changes it has oil in it and the clutch isnt dragging then you will struggle to damage the box due to spirited driving all the boxs I have broken have been because I put too much power through them.
Ignore the idiotic woman as she is merely repeating what the mechanic told her with a few embelishments. My guess is the box requires a strip and the mechanics are talking it up as they dont want to do it.
Can you show some pictures and we can see what it looks like.
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