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#1 Old 12-17-2016
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SLK230 transmission issues

I just bought a 2001 SLK230 and it has not been taken care of. On my first highway drive I was pulling 4000 rpms at 60mph. Thought that was high. Then the next day I took it out again and was pulling around 2200 rpms at 60mph. Much better. Then after taking off from a red light it went back to 4000 at 60mph. Did the transmission reset and it was back to 2200 until taking off from another red light awhile later. Any idea what is happening? I'm stumped.
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#2 Old 12-17-2016
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Seeing as you said that he car has not been looked after - the First thing I would do is perform
a transmission service. Change the oil and filter and go from there - it may be something as simple
as a stuck solenoid which may free up with fresh fluid/filter.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitznj View Post
Seeing as you said that he car has not been looked after - the First thing I would do is perform
a transmission service. Change the oil and filter and go from there - it may be something as simple
as a stuck solenoid which may free up with fresh fluid/filter.
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#4 Old 12-17-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bman7356 View Post
I just bought a 2001 SLK230 and it has not been taken care of. On my first highway drive I was pulling 4000 rpms at 60mph. Thought that was high. Then the next day I took it out again and was pulling around 2200 rpms at 60mph. Much better. Then after taking off from a red light it went back to 4000 at 60mph. Did the transmission reset and it was back to 2200 until taking off from another red light awhile later. Any idea what is happening? I'm stumped.
Try this and use the proper grade gasoline

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#5 Old 12-17-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitznj View Post
Seeing as you said that he car has not been looked after - the First thing I would do is perform
a transmission service. Change the oil and filter and go from there - it may be something as simple
as a stuck solenoid which may free up with fresh fluid/filter.
Okay I will do that. Is there anything else I should change out while I'm doing that? Somebody thinks it may be a speed sensor? I'm very new to these cars.
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#6 Old 12-17-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbanks15 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bman7356 View Post
I just bought a 2001 SLK230 and it has not been taken care of. On my first highway drive I was pulling 4000 rpms at 60mph. Thought that was high. Then the next day I took it out again and was pulling around 2200 rpms at 60mph. Much better. Then after taking off from a red light it went back to 4000 at 60mph. Did the transmission reset and it was back to 2200 until taking off from another red light awhile later. Any idea what is happening? I'm stumped.
Try this and use the proper grade gasoline

https://www.slkworld.com/general-disc...-learning.html
I did this and it worked fine till a bit down the road when I had to come to a complete stop for a red light. After take off it was back to pulling 4000 rpms at 60mph. Does it require multiple resets?
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no only 1 reset

do a transmission service if you have no idea when it was done last


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#8 Old 12-17-2016
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Check if it is in W (Winter) or S (Standard) Winter mode will shift to a higher gear faster than Standard.


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#9 Old 12-17-2016
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First and foremost, you need to check for transmission fluid wicking through your "pilot bushing" into your wiring harness and further into your transmission computer. The pilot bushing is where the wires enter your transmission, it's a plastic electrical connector with rubber seals designed to prevent fluid leakage. They frequently go bad, and when they do, transmission fluid will wick through your wiring harness all the way up to your transmission computer and cause all kinds of weird behavior. You should inspect your bushing from under the car - feel for any oily fluid on the wires. Next pull your passenger carpet back, remove the styrofoam, free your equipment bridge (3 10mm plastic nuts) and lay the bridge down in the floorboard so that you can see the yellow padding. If the yellow padding has any red stains near the wires - bingo - replace the pilot bushing. You might be able to salvage your transmission computer by disassembling and cleaning it, but usually replacement is required once it gets to this. It's a straightforward swap, no coding or computer work required.

I've also had to replace a conductor plate to straighten out one of these transmissions - this just adds a few extra minutes to a transmission service. IIRC these plates cost about $100 USD and are very easy to replace - again with no coding or computer work required.
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#10 Old 12-18-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbarringer100 View Post
Check if it is in W (Winter) or S (Standard) Winter mode will shift to a higher gear faster than Standard.
I have it in S but honestly I don't know if that switch is even working in my car.
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#11 Old 12-18-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efair View Post
First and foremost, you need to check for transmission fluid wicking through your "pilot bushing" into your wiring harness and further into your transmission computer. The pilot bushing is where the wires enter your transmission, it's a plastic electrical connector with rubber seals designed to prevent fluid leakage. They frequently go bad, and when they do, transmission fluid will wick through your wiring harness all the way up to your transmission computer and cause all kinds of weird behavior. You should inspect your bushing from under the car - feel for any oily fluid on the wires. Next pull your passenger carpet back, remove the styrofoam, free your equipment bridge (3 10mm plastic nuts) and lay the bridge down in the floorboard so that you can see the yellow padding. If the yellow padding has any red stains near the wires - bingo - replace the pilot bushing. You might be able to salvage your transmission computer by disassembling and cleaning it, but usually replacement is required once it gets to this. It's a straightforward swap, no coding or computer work required.

I've also had to replace a conductor plate to straighten out one of these transmissions - this just adds a few extra minutes to a transmission service. IIRC these plates cost about $100 USD and are very easy to replace - again with no coding or computer work required.
Thanks for the advice! I will look into that today.
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#12 Old 12-18-2016
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When driving at 60 mph and turning 4k have you tried to tap the level to up-shift to a higher gear. Should tap to the "+" toward the right to see if it will shift into a higher gear.


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#13 Old 12-19-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbarringer100 View Post
When driving at 60 mph and turning 4k have you tried to tap the level to up-shift to a higher gear. Should tap to the "+" toward the right to see if it will shift into a higher gear.
I was thinking the same thing. Are you inadvertantly selecting manual mode? You have a gear indicator on the dash. If you are in fully automatic mode, it will say 'D". If you've bumped it to manual, it will read the gear number you've selected. I'd start here though it also makes sense to service the trans especially as it's history is somewhat unknown.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitznj View Post
Seeing as you said that he car has not been looked after - the First thing I would do is perform
a transmission service. Change the oil and filter and go from there - it may be something as simple
as a stuck solenoid which may free up with fresh fluid/filter.

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#15 Old 12-19-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mn car guy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbarringer100 View Post
When driving at 60 mph and turning 4k have you tried to tap the level to up-shift to a higher gear. Should tap to the "+" toward the right to see if it will shift into a higher gear.
I was thinking the same thing. Are you inadvertantly selecting manual mode? You have a gear indicator on the dash. If you are in fully automatic mode, it will say 'D". If you've bumped it to manual, it will read the gear number you've selected. I'd start here though it also makes sense to service the trans especially as it's history is somewhat unknown.
I have tried that. I can't even get it into manual shift mode. Always just says "D"
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#16 Old 12-19-2016
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Originally Posted by Bman7356 View Post
I have tried that. I can't even get it into manual shift mode. Always just says "D"
Okay, that's a pretty big clue. It's unlikely it's a faulty trans. These things are pretty bullet proof. It could be the shift module itself. While that's fairly expensive, it's pretty easy to replace. A couple other questions. Do you have the ability to scan for possible codes?
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#17 Old 12-20-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mn car guy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bman7356 View Post
I have tried that. I can't even get it into manual shift mode. Always just says "D"
Okay, that's a pretty big clue. It's unlikely it's a faulty trans. These things are pretty bullet proof. It could be the shift module itself. While that's fairly expensive, it's pretty easy to replace. A couple other questions. Do you have the ability to scan for possible codes?
No I don't have any access to a scan tool unfortunately.
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Quote:
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No I don't have any access to a scan tool unfortunately.
I used Torque app for Android and a $15 small OBDII scanner from EBAY to reset my error codes. Worked every time for me! What I did was to reset all error codes. Drive about 200 miles (you need to drive certain # of miles for your computer to adjust after reset). Then check for codes again. If something returns then you need to investigate further by searching the code via google.
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You don't say how many miles are on the car.

Automatic transmissions on Mercedes cars from the late 1990s to about 2007 or 2008 are often left un-serviced, even by the dealership service teams, because MBZ removed the transmission service entry from the recommended service list for those years in order to compete with other car makers' claim of "No service required!"

The automatic transmissions should *always* be given a lubrication service at 40,000 mile intervals (drain old, contaminated oil, replace filters, refill). Most of the transmissions will last through two missed transmission services, but a large number of them then have transmission problems starting around 100,000-115,000 miles. This usually means a $4K to $8K transmission replacement, for any shop where the mechanic is unwilling to overhaul the old transmission at a reasonable rate; they just replace it with a new or remanufactured transmission. (A good shop and a knowledgeable mechanic can usually do an overhaul on the bench for around $3K or so, but this is becoming rare to find because it is quite time consuming to do and locks up a service bay while the car is apart...)

The behavior you describe sounds like it could be one of or a combination of a couple of things:
  • gear selection mechanism clogged up and working inconsistently
  • valve body damaged or worn
  • clutch packs in the transmission worn out
  • insufficient fluid level or clogged filter not allowing trans to maintain proper operating pressures for the mechanism

The very first thing to do, however, is to pull a sample of the transmission oil and examine it for current condition. If it smells burnt, it's at least worn out. If it feels gritty or larger bits of metal/friction material come out with it, and the mileage is high, the likelihood is that the transmission needs an overhaul. Changing the oil and filter could restore consistent, proper operation for a while, but depending upon mileage, it might not last long.

My SLK280 had 85,000 miles on it when I bought it. I had the automatic transmission oil checked when I had the pre-purchase inspection done. It smelled slightly burnt and very slightly gritty, but analysis showed no metallic content and the shifting seemed sound. I had the transmission service done immediately after buying the car, with an extra flush of fresh oil, and no significant crud came out. Since I did that, the transmission's behavior has been transformed: it feels like a different car, shifts consistently and crisply in both C and S modes, up and down shifts manually perfectly. Even the service is somewhat expensive (about $700) but once every 40,000 miles is well worth the price—it should allow the transmission to last 300,000 miles or more.

Good luck with it! Take it to a qualified Mercedes-Benz independent shop ... they'll generally cost a lot less than the dealer and often give better, more informed service.

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#20 Old 12-31-2016
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So I ordered a new conductor plate and tranny fluid for my slk230. Just got to thinking and I bought this car with 20" rims and low profile tires. Could the change in size be what's causing my tranny to shift at higher rpms? I planned on putting stock wheels and tires on it anyways. Should I do this before I change out conductor plate to see if it helps?
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