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Old 08-27-2011, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: Jan 2010
Vehicle: 1997 C230 185K (Sold) 1999 C280 Sport 122K
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Limp Home Mode 1997 C230

So now this has happened 3 times in the past two days. after a stop the car will kick into limp mode and will not shifty. Sometimes when I stop, turn off the car and start again it shifts fine, other times the limp mode persists. What usually causes this?

Can this be cause by bad transmission fluid?

The CEL is not on. Can there still be codes i can get even though the CEL is not on?

I have driven the car from 110K-185K and have never changed the transmission fluid.


I went ahead and changed the transmission fluid, gasket and filter.

-There was some shaving on the magnet which I cleaned off.
-The fluid was totally black and smelly so it was way overdue.
-It put out about 7 Qt of black bad oil and I replaced with the new fluid.
-After several readings on forums I decided to go with the valvoline max life.
-The initial jerk/rough take off on 1st gear is gone
-The rough shift between 1 and 2 is gone.
-The general shifting of the car is way smoother than before.
-I still have not been able to accurately measure the temperature of the transmission fluid because I have not had a chance
to drive the car long enough (I read on a forum that it needs a good 30 min drive)

Howver, I still was getting the clunks on shift from 'P' - D and from 'P' - 'R' and limp mode at initial run. (in the morning)

After reading more postings I found that unplugging the negative terminal may help solve this, I did that and its way better. I am waiting to see if I will have limp mode issues tomorrow morning. Whats left I attribute to the necessity of differential fluid change which I believe needs to be done also. Can anyone second that or counter? Just need feedback.

Now one more thing that usually happens, not all the time but normally at initial/start up of the car on any day. There is a strange noise that sounds like it comes from the transmission (Like a screaming sound, dont really know how to describe it, maybe a thin sheet of metal vibrating and making a whining noise) that only happens in the 1st/2nd gear and after the transmission warms up it disappears, usually in less tha 2 min.

Anyone have an idea what that could be?

Is there anything else I need to do with this transmission to get the best results. I read somewhere on another forum that I should inspect the wiring connections on the transmission, where are these located?

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by veli410; 08-30-2011 at 08:02 PM. Reason: update
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2007
Vehicle: 1998 c230 151K Is it done snowing Yet?
Location: Exit 98, New Jersey, U.S.
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I would get the tranny fluid/fliter changed and have the computer checked for stored codes.

Right now it could be a number of things such as low fluid, flakey MAF, 02 sensor (s), conductor plate issue, etc. B
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Vehicle: 98 ML320,02 C240 sdn 02 C230k ,94 530i 98 528i, 97 318Ti
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This could also be a faulty speed senson, check all your speed sensors, I was ready to replace my transmission but was lucky enough to plug it to a stardiagnose that pointed to a defective sensor.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Where are the speed sensors located?
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Vehicle: 1998 c230 151K Is it done snowing Yet?
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The speed sensors are on the conductor plate inside the tranny, there are also solenoids housed in the conductor plate. If you look in the w210 section there are several pictures. Btw some metal particles are not necessarily something to get worried about, some tranny shops try to show that to customers to sell them a new one.

If the whining noise was an all the time issue it may lead me to believe its a internal mechanical issue but from what you said that is not the case. Were you able (some do not have them) to drain the torque converter and find a plug there?

Would inspect the heat shielding for exhaust concerning the sound, the fluid level is crucial and really only can be properly checked with a special dipstick perhaps you have that?

The clunk may be worn flex disks, there may be some wear in the differential, lash clearance but if its not leaking my suggestion is leave it alone. The center bearing for the driveshaft can also wear on higher mileage vehicles another inspection point.

I still would have the computer scanned for codes, it may have some stored ones.
The TCU needs to be inspected as well for fluid infiltration. B
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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In addition to Bmeister's excellent post above on possible causes, I would also look at the 13-pin connector BEFORE going ahead to change the conductor plate which houses all the RPM speed sensors.

If the 13-pin connector is filled with oil, I would change that FIRST before the conductor plate because it is USUALLY the culprit and it's cheaper (about $7 at and easier to change than the conductor plate costing $178 (also at AutohausAZ).
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would change both, #5 and #6.

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one."
- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one."
- Winston Churchill, in response.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Date registered: Aug 2008
Vehicle: 1999 c280
Location: Torrance, California
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i know this may sound really stupid, but if you have no already, press the summer and winter mode button back and forth. My car would always go into limp mode and i had no idea and even thought it was the tranny. Even the MB mechanic did! i spent hundreds of dollars trying to fix a problem that required me pressing a dumb button!

after playing with the summer and winter mode, my car has not gone into limp mode since. hope all goes well.
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