E320 1997: Transmission up-shifting delay trouble after parking a few hours - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-29-2007, 08:37 PM
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E320 1997: Transmission up-shifting delay trouble after parking a few hours

I purchased a Mercedes Benz E320 1997 two months ago. There are only 140k kilometres on it, but the transmission has a big up-shifting delay problem when it is cold (after parking for several hours or longer). The phenomenon is:
Everyday when I start to drive in the morning or after work, the car keeps at shift 1 (or shift 2 if with “W”-Winter mode) and low speed (<= 20km/hr) for a few minutes. During this period, if I step on the acceleration pedal hard, the engine would roar to about 2.5K+ RPM with noise, but the speed doesn’t change much; if I release the acceleration pedal, the speed would decrease dramatically to about 10mph. After being driven 400 meters or more, the transmission would suddenly shift to 2nd(or 3rd ), then to … till 5th gear, and everything becomes fine as long as I continue drive it.
The manual says up-shift delay happens when the engine is cold (<= 35 C degrees). However, for my car, it seems the transmission temperature is more critical. Its up-shifting still can not function properly by turning on the engine and letting it warm up for 10+ minutes before driving. The only way I may let it work is to walk the car/transmission (do not press gas pedal) for about 400 meters first, and then accelerate and go.
I sent the car to several transmission specialists for diagnosis. One said the transmission liquid was full but there was some pressure loss, and certain error codes were received even after warmed up; but the others could not find anything wrong.
It’s really annoying and frustrating. Should I abandon this car, or you have any good idea?
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 11:49 AM
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Need more information...

How many miles/kms on the vehicle? Has the transmission ever been serviced? What specially were the error codes detected?

Unfortunately, from your symptoms, it could be a number of issues...

Good luck.

JR
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#3 (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 12:01 PM
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hmm, well lets think about this.

1. If you jump in and go, it revs to 2.5k rpms and if you let off, speed drops quickly. This is because you are in first gear, and the engine braking will slow the car quickly.
2. If you just turn the engine on, and let it idle, not much is happening with the tranny. In park, the transmission shouldn't be turning. Since not much in the way of motion is occurring, the tranny fluid isn't really heating up.


This is pretty standard from what i've seen. Your tranny may have some wear on it, but as long as it shifts normally after a few minutes, I wouldn't be terribly concerned.

I would however, have the tranny fluid and filter replaced soon.
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 01:28 PM
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my car does the same thing...it's been like that since new.
I believe mb designed it that way,so the engine/tranny warms up faster during cold startup...because a cold engine produces more emmisions.
Once it warms up 2-3 minutes,shifts fine
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#5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by E-Class Owner View Post
How many miles/kms on the vehicle? Has the transmission ever been serviced? What specially were the error codes detected?

Unfortunately, from your symptoms, it could be a number of issues...

Good luck.

JR
Thank you so much! Seems your car doesn't have this problem.
Here are my answers:
1) 140k kms.
2) I didn't get the sevice records, and not yet have it serviced after I bought it.
3) The transmission guy wouldn't tell me, unless I paid $1900 for them rebuilding the transmission.

Last edited by Landson; 12-31-2007 at 03:19 PM.
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#6 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 07:36 PM
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I guess Canada is just too cold for the car to properly warm up. I would wait until summer to see if the problem still persists. That said, even in L.A., I would experience a 1st gear hold first thing in the morning if I don't warm up the car. The warm-up period depends on the season, maybe 1 to 2 minutes in summer and probably up to 3 minutes when it is really cold here (40F - 50F ). This applies to both my Benzes, and was even the case with my 1992 190E Mercedes (4 speed auto).
I would suggest to warm the engine up, then drive slowly in 1st (or 2nd gear using W mode). You'll find it will probably up-shift freely in less than a mile. (Mind you, being Canada, your tires will probably freeze solid in that time driving slowly.)
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#7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 07:54 PM
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It is the last time I am checking the Internet this year, so I don't have time to study whole thread, but delaying up-shifting on cold engine is Mercedes program design to speed up the engine warm up.
Is this what we have here?
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#8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 10:56 PM
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Personally, I would not wait until summer to see if it improves. While there is a delay to reduce emissions, this sounds excessive and if you don't have service records, you don't know if the transmission has been serviced. If not, you're well past the suggested interval (75,000 miles seems to be a general consensus). So were I in your shoes I'd have that done right away.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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#9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2008, 10:31 AM
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Change the ATF...

Hi, Landson:

You are correct, my car does not do anything remotely like what yours does in terms of an initial gear hold/delayed up-shift in cold weather;however, I live in a temperate climate, the car is a V8, thus have a different shift pattern and the ATF has been changed, twice so far during its 93K miles...

I can only stress what has been said above, if you do not know the service history on the transmission, have the ATF and filter changed; this is the least expensive thing to do. It needs to be done, and you can then see if the problem persists.

Also, if the tech that downloaded the codes won't discuss them with you, then you need to find another shop. Period. $1,900 is a fair piece of change to potentially throw away based upon the word of a tech who won't show you his hold cards; that is a gamble I personally would not take... My independent shop always discusses any diagnosis with me in detail and decisions are made based upon the full facts.

Good luck,

JR
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#10 (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by E-Class Owner View Post
Hi, Landson:

Also, if the tech that downloaded the codes won't discuss them with you, then you need to find another shop.
I agree - and I think I would not even trust him to just tell me the codes. I would insist on seeing the reading in action. Prevents him from just throwing any codes out of his head at you.
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