My take on "lifetime transmission fluid" - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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My take on "lifetime transmission fluid"

We have lot discussions about fluid replacement. Everybody has his personal preferences. Those who read my replies could figure out, that I am one of the guys, who prefers using the vehicles instead of washing and waxing them.
So my family has Mercedes vehicles with 240,000, 172,000 and 80,000 miles. Having lot of mechanical toys, I tend to neglect the recommended maintenance and prizing dry California weather I am getting away with it. My boat, motorhome, tractor gets oil changes on average 5 years intervals. Brake fluids work for 10 years without a problem. I continue experiment with keeping 30+ years old COMMERCIAL tire on my motorhome.
So getting to the point there are several ways owner deal with transmission fluid refreshing. Some drain 2 qt from the pan, what is about 25% and are happy with it. Some go for flushing, what doesn't change the filter and doesn't clean the bottom of the pan.
I was thinking about it, till Harbor Freight Tools had fluid exchangers for the price I could not refuse.
My general policy is "if you finally do it, do it right" so I went the route with dropping the pan, wiping it clean, changing the filter, putting fresh fluid in it and than do the flushing.
I tried to vacuum some fluid to avoid big splash, but the tube was just gargling. The plug in the pan was overtightened and didn't want to force it too much, since I was doing the job on the edge of my swimming pool, that I filled up last year, so some splash on the dirt wasn't any issue.
I will use this server for pictures, so it might take few steps to go thru all of them.
The pan had some nasty stuff in it. The bottom had fluid, that remind me more of 80-90 oils coming from differentials, than light tranny fluid. Look at the white towel soaked in it.
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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But beside how nasty the fluid looks like, there were no metal shavings and no dirt at the bottom.
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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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The control glasses on the machine shows fresh fluid pumped out and the used coming in.
Makes no mistakes.
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Hooking up the machine was quite easy. After dropping the lower shields, all it took was disconnecting the radiator hose, screwing #6 connectors from the machine and attach hoses. There were just few drops of fluid coming from disconnected hoses, so not a big deal.
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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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FINAL CONCLUSIONS?

Does the car work better? The non-turbo diesel is still sluggish
Transmission shift differently, what is not necessary better. The converter has much more noticeable slip on it, what makes cold morning shifting slightly smoother. I am driving lot in the mountains, using transmission for braking. Now braking is less efficient. I was satisfy with transmission work before and no change here.
The old filter come pretty clean. I am planning to cut it later for closer inspection. The way I did it seems to be quite efficient (I was a bit skeptic about pushing old fluid with new one without mixing both together). Now the dipstick show quite clear fluid.
IMHO I don't think the hassle of dropping the pan and changing the filter is worth it. Changing the fluid with the machine is easy job and quite efficient. I will probably do the filter on the car with 172k, since I already purchased it, but will probably do just the flush on ML with 80k. ... next year that is.
For proper flushing you need more fluid, than the transmission capacity. Machine eat some for the lines and filter. I used total of 12 qt for 8 qt transmission. Could use probably more, since I stopped machine because it run out of new fluid, while the one on return line wasn't totally clean yet.

Last edited by Kajtek1; 02-21-2008 at 11:33 AM.
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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 09:23 AM
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The gunk in the pan is consistant with what you would expect to find in a transmission that was causing no problems but had a lot of miles on it. The heavy stuff is worn material from the clutch packs that actually accomplish the actual gear changes. Since the transmission clutches are cooled by fluid rather than air like a manual gearbox the clutch "dust" has to go somewhere.

Although there should be sufficient fluid reserves to handle the particle build up well past the point the clutch packs wear out I still believe you will get a better service life out of the transmission if you flush that junk out before it starts to affect the quality of the gear shifting due to changes in the viscosity of the fluid from the foreign particle build-up.

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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 10:25 AM
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Kajtek - not that you are wrong and I'm right, but I personally would never run a flush machine through any transmission that has a drain on the torque converter. I feel that in order to properly drain the transmission fluid, you must change the filter and inspect and clean the bottom of the pan. If you are going to go that far, then one more drain plug on the torque converter and you're done. Now if I had a car with no torque converter drain, I might consider using a flush machine, but I'd still change the filter and clean the pan. Maybe I'm too old school, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

BTW, you didn't say anything about adding a pan magnet to your pan. Your car didn't come with one and it would be a good idea to add one. They only cost a couple of bucks.

I also believe that someone, either you or the next owner, is going to pay for the deferred maintenace on your vehicles, whether it be rusted out brake components due to old fluid, failing brakes or a blown tire at the most inopportune time, etc.

Len

Last edited by sokoloff; 02-22-2008 at 10:31 AM.
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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
Hooking up the machine was quite easy. After dropping the lower shields, all it took was disconnecting the radiator hose, screwing #6 connectors from the machine and attach hoses. There were just few drops of fluid coming from disconnected hoses, so not a big deal.
KAJTEK1; Always look forward to your postings.
Looks like it all worked out for you.
For me? I did a Tranny Oil Change and noticed an Immediate improvement.
I will do it every 2-3 years, NTE 24,000 Miles.
It's for MY peace of mind. I keep a logbook on repairs on my Cars, Bikes, Boats etc and learn what is called for in Factory Maintenance.
I go one better than Factory, either in Quality of Components or the Mileage
point of Scheduled Maintenance.

If your OK with it; heck; i'm OK with it too!

Charles
New York City, NY
Richmond County

United States of America
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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokoloff View Post
Now if I had a car with no torque converter drain, I might consider using a flush machine, but I'd still change the filter and clean the pan. Maybe I'm too old school, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

BTW, you didn't say anything about adding a pan magnet to your pan. Your car didn't come with one and it would be a good idea to add one. They only cost a couple of bucks.

I also believe that someone, either you or the next owner, is going to pay for the deferred maintenace on your vehicles, whether it be rusted out brake components due to old fluid, failing brakes or a blown tire at the most inopportune time, etc.

Len
Believe me I was thinking about pulling the plug on the converter, but first it is a hassle and doing that in dirt pit is not the most convenient, second I wanted to test the machine I was using first time in my life. I have other cars with no plug, so this is testing for the future as well. As I mention, I am satisfy with the efficiency of the flush and as I tried to prove on the pictures, there is no real need for the magnet.
As for "paying for the deferred maintenance in the future". My motorhome is 36 years old. All I am expecting from it is another 20 years. And frankly I don't care if somebody is going to have problems with it after that. The 30+ year old tire is on lift-able tag axle, so even if it blows, all I need is a push of the button to lift it and continue on my way.
Actually I just purchased vintage Airstream trailer with original 1965 tires. I inflated them to 80 psi for test and they hold. Will give them a test drive, before disposing split rims.
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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 11:14 AM
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Back to the original topic, what is your take on lifetime tranny fluid? Leave it alone and transmission sealed up?

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