Trans shifting Enigma - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Trans shifting Enigma

I recently bought a E320 4Matic, 1999 with 147K miles on it. Going into the deal I knew that there were issues and these would need to be addressed before the machine could be restored to its former magnificence. Knowing several resources for information/parts and being a DIY enthusiast, I went a head with the deal.
I replaced the front 2 axles, shocks and springs. Several other projects remain, i.e. gear shifting issue, stuck sunroof and horn not working etc.
The next project I am taking on is the gear shifting issue.
This issue has me perplexed and I am hoping that the knowledge base of the collective can be brought to bear to resolve the issue.
Here is the scenario;
The gear shifter has 1~4 for manual shifting then D (Automatic drive and Overdrive AKA 5th gear), Reverse, Neutral and Park.
When the car is driven in manual mode, gears shift smoothly when one up shifts or down shifts 1~4.
Reverse is fine as well.
When one puts the trans in Auto mode the shifting is delayed and erratic. Sometimes it will shift at the correct moment other times it won’t.
Now for the enigma; There is some play in the shift lever and its only in “D” and no where else. If one holds the shift lever while in “D” (mind you no force is needed, just the weight of ones hand holding it back in “D” the shifting is fine! No issues. As soon as one lets go, its sluggish again! As if the trans is not connecting/engaging properly.
As part of my investigation, I took out the floor gear shifter completely and put it thru the motions without connecting the shift cable. The shifter is tight in all positions even “D”! No play what so ever! I changed the shifter bushing and retaining clip just as a precautionary measure since they are so economical to change. I cleaned out (Flushed) the gear shifter with contact cleaner and blew air thru it to dry it out. Cleaned all the connector pins for the wiring harnesses.
(I am sharing nothing new here but thought that I would just add this piece of information) The gear shifter is mechanical only for positions P, R N and D, positions 1~4 are shifted electronically.
I did notice that there was a gooey coffee like stain on some sections which was all cleaned and air flushed. I doubt that this would have affected the mechanical shifting mechanism as all the lever does is change the position of the gear shifting linkage which is attached to the trans. I am assuming that the position of the lever is highlighted by the led strip in the shifter unit (for night driving etc) and this is the extent of the purpose for the electronics as they relate to the motions off P, R, N and D!
I reattached the shifter to the trans and bolted it back and the issue returns!
I intend on doing the following 2 items today and should these have any impact on the issue, I will post the results, other wise please assume that the issue persists.
1. I am going to take out the shifter completely and drive the car by shifting by hand the linkage. This should shed light on whether the gear shifter is the culprit or the linkage cable as it positions itself relative to what the trans needs.
2. I am doing a trans fluid change today just for an added measure (also several threads here advised it) but doubt that this will have any impact as the fluid level is fine.
3. I am going to change the shifter unit next weekend unless someone has any other suggestions. ( I found a junk yard nearby that has one relatively inexpensive when compared to the price of a new one)
I would go in to the dealer but fear that all I am going to get is advice that the trans is the problem when any one reading this with any mechanical inkling can deduce that its not.
Thank you, for taking the time to read this post. Any insights that you can share would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by tmurtaza View Post
I recently bought a E320 4Matic, 1999 with 147K miles on it. Going into the deal I knew that there were issues and these would need to be addressed before the machine could be restored to its former magnificence. Knowing several resources for information/parts and being a DIY enthusiast, I went a head with the deal.
I replaced the front 2 axles, shocks and springs. Several other projects remain, i.e. gear shifting issue, stuck sunroof and horn not working etc.
The next project I am taking on is the gear shifting issue.
This issue has me perplexed and I am hoping that the knowledge base of the collective can be brought to bear to resolve the issue.
Here is the scenario;
The gear shifter has 1~4 for manual shifting then D (Automatic drive and Overdrive AKA 5th gear), Reverse, Neutral and Park.
When the car is driven in manual mode, gears shift smoothly when one up shifts or down shifts 1~4.
Reverse is fine as well.
When one puts the trans in Auto mode the shifting is delayed and erratic. Sometimes it will shift at the correct moment other times it won’t.
Now for the enigma; There is some play in the shift lever and its only in “D” and no where else. If one holds the shift lever while in “D” (mind you no force is needed, just the weight of ones hand holding it back in “D” the shifting is fine! No issues. As soon as one lets go, its sluggish again! As if the trans is not connecting/engaging properly.
As part of my investigation, I took out the floor gear shifter completely and put it thru the motions without connecting the shift cable. The shifter is tight in all positions even “D”! No play what so ever! I changed the shifter bushing and retaining clip just as a precautionary measure since they are so economical to change. I cleaned out (Flushed) the gear shifter with contact cleaner and blew air thru it to dry it out. Cleaned all the connector pins for the wiring harnesses.
(I am sharing nothing new here but thought that I would just add this piece of information) The gear shifter is mechanical only for positions P, R N and D, positions 1~4 are shifted electronically.
I did notice that there was a gooey coffee like stain on some sections which was all cleaned and air flushed. I doubt that this would have affected the mechanical shifting mechanism as all the lever does is change the position of the gear shifting linkage which is attached to the trans. I am assuming that the position of the lever is highlighted by the led strip in the shifter unit (for night driving etc) and this is the extent of the purpose for the electronics as they relate to the motions off P, R, N and D!
I reattached the shifter to the trans and bolted it back and the issue returns!
I intend on doing the following 2 items today and should these have any impact on the issue, I will post the results, other wise please assume that the issue persists.
1. I am going to take out the shifter completely and drive the car by shifting by hand the linkage. This should shed light on whether the gear shifter is the culprit or the linkage cable as it positions itself relative to what the trans needs.
2. I am doing a trans fluid change today just for an added measure (also several threads here advised it) but doubt that this will have any impact as the fluid level is fine.
3. I am going to change the shifter unit next weekend unless someone has any other suggestions. ( I found a junk yard nearby that has one relatively inexpensive when compared to the price of a new one)
I would go in to the dealer but fear that all I am going to get is advice that the trans is the problem when any one reading this with any mechanical inkling can deduce that its not.
Thank you, for taking the time to read this post. Any insights that you can share would be greatly appreciated.
After you let the car sit overnight and then you start it the next day, does it normally ride 1st gear? When I say ride, I mean doesnt want to shift? I have a 97 C280 with a tranny like that and unless I put my foot down, it doesnt like to shift out of 1st. But after the car has warmed up even after restarting the car it will shift fine. Just sluggish.

I do know that these transmissions are supposed to "learn" your driving style and adjust the shifting according to how you drive. Which personally, I think is a horrible idea but meh, mine still works so I cant complain.

These kind of transmissions are known to be sluggish horrible in general. Iv seen alot of car shows say the same thing even about the 90s SLK sports car. And after personally experiencing it, I have to agree that these trannys are horrible and VERY expensive so dont break it!
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 10:56 PM
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