A170 CDI AUTO -ATF Fluid and dipstick - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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A170 CDI AUTO -ATF Fluid and dipstick

Hi, my wife's 2003 W168 LWB 170 CDI has been casuing me problems for a couple of months after about 1/2 mile of driving - usually just after she hit's dual carriage way from our house, the gearbox fails to change up as expected and then wont rev harder than 3000 rpm (no F on the dash though )

After covering off usual servicing items, I made a home made dispstick for the ATF from curtain wire and discovered that the fluid is as far as I can tell about the right level - but absolutely cooked.

Despite Mercedes suggesting this is a service free box, I want to change the fluid in the gearbox.

Q1: From my reading so far the Automatic (not semi) in the W168 is the 722.7 model is this right ?

Q2: I can find no reference anywhere (in english anyway) that tells me which ATF spec is required for the A class - note I have seen several people say use only mercedes spec, which is all well and good but I am planning on doing this job running it for a week and doing it again to flush it thouroughly and a buddy of mine can get me ATF fluid by the bucket load so I would like to do at least 1st attempt on buddies free fluid.

Q3: Does anyone know what the fill capacity is on this gearbox ?

Q4: Do you know anyone in the UK that supplies the dipstick ? I found someone in the states that will supply but including postage they want nearly $100.

All help will be gratefully appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 08:51 AM
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MB will supply the stick! £17.ish
Go to Bert Rowe's-mercedes-Benz 'A'-class info. Gearbox (Manual) Dumbell replacement, loss of gears , gear box oil replacement.reverse gear and revering light
and all the information you want is there part no, cost etc if one branch won't sell it to you go to another. read the deatil because you need other items as well.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-08-2012, 02:40 PM
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Hello, I just bought the car recently, Vaneo 1.6 petrol, '02. 123500km on it.
Since a couple of days i'm searching the net for how to check fluid level on A-class auto gearbox.

Mr. Lofty on your page (great site) it says:
"Get the gearbox up to 78C..... with the engine running and make sure you are at 11.5 on the dipstick."
"When transmission is cold, level must be between marks 2 and 4. The exact fluid level must be between 8 and 12 at 70-80 degrees c "
May i ask, what are those marks? eg. 11.5 = 11.5 milometers ?

My local MB shop doesn't have dipstick for sale, i know i can get it off ebay but if its just a piece of spring wire , why can't i just make my own.

Here is an example, i'm using a piano wire, i bottomed it out in the box, then pulled it out and it reads 7cm fluid level in the sump, with engine cold and stopped. Haven't checked it with running yet.

Can anyone post a picture of original dipstick with a metric ruler next to it? or at least tell me how to measure those marks for cold and hot levels.
i simply don't understand this: "level must be between marks 2 and 4. "

My fluid seems to be bright yellow in color. Could it be genuine MB then?
I was planning to replace it with Mobil ATF320, according to Lofty 59a page.
I'm also considering Mopar ATF+4 which is fully synthetic, i'm using it in honda gearbox with good results.

Actually full flush would be the best, there are two pipes coming out of the radiator, i'm planning to disconnect one of them to catch old fluid, while constantly filling up the gearbox with a new fresh ATF. Of course it requires stopping the engine during the fill up.

I think whole gearbox holds ~6.5 liters but it would take ~8 for a complete flush.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 02:31 PM
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finally bought a dipstick for 722.7 full automatic 5-speed transmission:

cold fluid level ~30^C: 1.5-2.5cm
hot fluid level ~70^C: 4.5-6.5cm

the reason why Mercedes calls for officially approved 236.10 fluid is only because all these newer oils like Mobil ATF 134 are too thin to lube FWD differential in W168 and W414 (vaneo).

So for eg. Mobil ATF 134 (or any other brand) says on the bottle it meets 236.10, 236.12 and 236.10.
We can use such oil in class E 722.6 transmission which is RWD , and its differential has its own fluid.
We cannot use it in our 722.7 transmission because it has a differential built in, the fluid needs to be thick enough to lube it too.

So the safest way is to pay for genuine MB 236.10 (A 001989210310)
or 200 liter drum of Shell SPIRAX S4 ATF 3403 (officially MB 236.10 approved).

Or try some other brand fluid, which has a similar viscosity indexes to Shell SPIRAX S4 ATF 3403: 33.0 at 40^C , 7.2 at 100^C
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 12:50 PM
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i've already replaced the fluid, so i share my procedure:

1. i dropped 2.7 liters of fluid from the pan, +0.3l was spilled after i removed the pan

2. i replaced the filter, cleaned the pan and existing magnet, and i added an extra one

3. after reinstalling the pan i put 3 liters of new MB 236.10 fluid in

4. i removed upper transmission line from the radiator

5. i attached 11mm (outer diameter) plastic hose to the radiator,
its to collect the old fluid into container


6. engine starts, gear selector into D, old fluid starts coming out from the plastic hose

7. after ~3 liters is out, engine should be stopped and new fluid added, upper transmission line reconnected to the radiator.
Adding fluid to match COLD marks on the dipstick would take some time.

pictures below:

I actually flushed more then 3 liters through the converter, but its not needed, as i'v noticed that after 3 litres new clear red fluid was coming out.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 05:41 AM
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Have the same problem with additional tacho problem. Driving along the road and it goes flat as a witches tit. I had to pull over, switch off and cool a moment, resatart and all is well again, BUT I also had a duff tacho and as I changed the whole speedo for an ealier none desiel one the tacho works so it was definetly the unit not the car but the problem with the flat spot has gone and it seems to be quicker on the pedal as well so I wonder if the two are related somehow? I was told gear box leval should be done in N with engine running. using MB fluid just to be sure as these gearboxes are fragile enough as it is, what a crap design and build quality, so Chrysler.

Last edited by Black eagle; 08-25-2012 at 05:44 AM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2015, 01:05 PM
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Either speed or engine RPM can be also read real time through OBDII port, so it would be easy to check if its faulty instrument cluster or wrong signals coming from the engine.

Anyway Imageshack busted all the photo galleries, so i'll post my gearbox fluid flush procedure once again, for future generations.

1. Undo the drain bolt, torx 5, and M10 washer. You should drop ~3 liters of old fluid. Actually you could skip this part, and just remove whole pan with the fluid in it. Pan bolts are torx too, but bigger size.

2. Remove old filter and install a new one eg. VAICO V30-7421 or genuine MB A1683770395.
My factory magnet A2202710098 was very weak, so i put an extra one, just like on the photo above, far from the electrovalves.

3. After the pan is put back on, add 3 liters of new MB 236.10. It goes through the dipstick tube, small funnel is required.

4. Now is time to replace the rest of the old fluid which still remains in the radiator and hydrokinetic converter.
Remove gearbox return line from upper part of the radiator.

5. Insert a clear plastic PVC hose, 11mm outer diameter, into radiator hole. It should be a tight fit, so it won't leak. The other end put into some bottle outside the car, to collect the old fluid.

6. Start the engine. While the engine is running, keep it in brake, and go trough all the gears: P..R..N..D..

7. Have somebody else to keep looking at the bottle and fluid coming out of the radiator. Once its filled with 3 liters, or you hear hissing sound coming from the gearbox stop the engine!!

8. Stop the engine ! as stated above.

9. Remove the hose from the radiator, and put the metal one back. Be careful not to strip the thread, its a cone seal connection.

10. Add 2.5 liters of new fluid, through a dipstick tube. Check the level, and add if its below the cold mark.

Actually checking the level, was the most difficult part because new oil is hardly visible on the dipstick

cold fluid level ~30^C: 1.5-2.5cm
hot fluid level ~70^C: 4.5-6.5cm

Haynes manual says the 722.7 gearbox holds 5.7 liters dry, so 6 bottles of MB 236.10 should be enough for full flush.
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