Mercedes-Benz 722.6 Transmission FAQ - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:10 PM
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Post Mercedes-Benz 722.6 Transmission FAQ

This is the first draft and attempt to put all the common 722.6 related questions/answers in one thread.

If you have corrections, suggestions, and extra information, please post in this thread.

Table of Content

What Is The 722.6 Transmission?

Is The Transmission “Sealed For Life?”

What Fluid Can I Use For The 722.6 Transmission?

How do I Check the Transmission Fluid Level?

How Do I Change The Fluid/Filter?


What is Limp Home?

What Are The Common Fluid Leaks of The 722.6 Transmission?

What Are The Common Problems of The 722.6 Transmission?

What Should I Do If My Transmission Has Problem(s)?
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#2 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:11 PM
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What Is The 722.6 Transmission?

What Is The 722.6 Transmission?

The Mercedes-Benz 722.6 transmission, also known as the NAG 1 (New Automatic Gearbox 1st Version) or 5G-Tronic, is an electronically controlled (shift by wire) transmission. For the W210 E-Class, it is used in the 1997 – 2003 models. The transmission has five (5) forward speeds and two (2) reverse speeds for those with the S (Standard) and W (Winter) switch at the console.

The 722.6 lines of transmission are designated by W5A XXX, where the XXX is the maximum input torque value (in newton-meters) the transmission can safely handle. Most of the W210s use the W5A 330 version although some are equipped with W5A 300 or W5A 580 versions. Each version has many different models such as 722.605, 722.664, etc.

Only the “P”, “R”, “N”, and “D” shifting are mechanical via linkages (there are also electric signals to the CAN BUS) and the rest (4, 3, 2, and 1) are purely electronic (using switches).

In general, models after the year 2000 have updated (better) parts (but lack the torque converter drain plug). The major changes are in the valve body, software, and also mechanical parts in the transmission internals.

The gear ratios for the 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds are as follows.
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#3 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:13 PM
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Is The Transmission “Sealed For Life?”

Is The Transmission “Sealed For Life?”

Well, it depends on who is answering this question.

According to Mercedes, the transmission used in our W210 from 1997 – 2003 are “sealed for life.” In another word, there is no fluid/filter change interval. If you contact MBUSA and ask if you need to change the transmission fluid in your car, say a 2001 E320, you will most likely receive the same response, i.e., there is no service schedule for the transmission.

Here is an email reply from MBUSA to “Musikmann”:

<<
Dear Mr. xxxxxxxxx,

Thank you for your recent internet inquiry.

Any Mercedes-Benz vehicles model year 1998-2005 are not required a transmission service.
If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to e-mail us again or call us at 1-800-FOR-MERCedes (1-800-367-6372).

Sincerely,

Elizabeth W.
Consumer Promotions
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.
>>

However, MBUSA has changed the “sealed for life” recommendation gradually by adding more frequent service in later model years.

In late 2004, MB published an article (AP00.20-U-1208IB) calling for the “once at 39k mi” transmission fluid/filter service for the 722.6 transmission (see the picture below).

The 2006 “Maintenance Booklet 2006 Passenger Cars” has the following:

Recommended additional maintenance checks for high-mileage vehicles at 143,000 miles
Check if all fluid levels and changes are updated
Transmission

The “once at 39k mi” service did not officially get into the “Maintenance Booklet 2007 Passenger Cars” until the 2007 model year.

In the 2009 model year, MBUSA started the every 40k mi transmission fluid/filter service.

So you see this gradual decrease from “sealed for life” to “once at 39k mi” to “every 40k mi.”

To be fair and clear, many late models use the 7-speed, 722.9 (NAG 2) transmissions. However, some 4Matic and 4 cylinder models after 2005 are still equipped with the 722.6 transmissions (although different models). For example, the 2006/7 E350 4Matic still use the 722.6 transmission and MBUSA essentially has three different recommendations for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 models.

Most people would recommend that the transmission fluid/filter in the W210 should be changed at 40k – 60k mi intervals.
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#4 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:19 PM
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What Fluid Can I Use For The 722.6 Transmission?

What Fluid Can I Use For The 722.6 Transmission?

Well, there is a short answer, an intermediate answer, and a long answer.

The short answer is that you just use the genuine Mercedes ATF for the 722.6 or the 722.9 transmissions. You will not lose any sleep during the night and there are three different fluids you can use in the W210 722.6 transmission. (These fluids cost approximately $12 - 15 per liter).

MB 236.10 sheet - ATF 3403, aka 722.6 fluid (MB Part # 001-989-21-03-10)
MB 236.12 sheet - ATF 3353, aka 722.9 fluid (MB Part # 001-989-45-03-10)
MB 236.14 sheet - ATF 134 or 4134, aka "new" 722.9 fluid (MB Part # 001-989-68-03-10)

Mercedes always recommends the latest fluid for the 722.6 transmission but there is nothing wrong to use the older fluids (your car came with the 236.10 fluid).

The intermediate answer is that you can also use whatever is on the official Mercedes approved list for each spec sheet. However these fluids are not easy to find in the USA, although more vendors are starting to carry them now. Here are the ones on the (current) official approved list for each spec sheet: (These fluids can be found as low as around $10 - 12 per liter).

MB 236.10 sheet

MB 236.10 Flüssigkeitsgetriebeöl (ATF) A 001 989 21 03 Daimler AG
Mercedes-Benz Getriebeöl Blatt 236.10 Daimler AG
Shell ATF 3403-M 115

(So there is only one non-Mercedes fluid on this current list).

MB 236.12 sheet

Aral Getriebeol ATF M12
Fuchs Titan ATF 3353 Fuchs
MB 236.12 ATF 3353 A 001 989 45 03 Daimler AG
Mercedes-Benz Automatik-Getriebeöl Blatt 236.12 Daimler AG
Mobil ATF 3353
Shell ATF 3353

(So there are four non-Mercedes fluids on this current list).

MB 236.14 sheet

Fuchs TITAN ATF 4134
Fuchs TITAN EG ATF 134
MB 236.14 ATF NAG2VSport A 001 989 68 03 Daimler AG
Mercedes-Benz Automatik-Getriebeöl Blatt 236.14 Daimler AG
Mercedes-Benz Getriebeöl Blatt 236.14 Daimler AG
Mobil ATF 134
Shell ATF134

(So there are four non-Mercedes fluids on this current list).

Then finally here is the long answer.

There is a host of other fluids claiming to meet the MB 236.10 or ATF 3403 specs (some were even on Mercedes training documents and carry the Mercedes part number on the bottle). For various reasons (some are business reasons), they are not on the current 236.10 sheet approved list (Shell 3403 is the only non-Mercedes fluid that is on the current 236.10 list).

These include fluids made by Febi-Bilstein, Meyle, Valvoline (Maxlife ATF), BG, Pentosin, and others. The Febi fluid is a popular one but its price is almost the same as the fluids mentioned in the short and intermediate answers. The Maxlife ATF, being the only one widely available in the USA, is the cheapest ($3 - 5 per quart). The two pictures below show the Febi fluid carrying the Mercedes part number and the Valvoline Maxlife ATF on the Mercedes training material. Note that the Febi fluid (not on the Mercedes approved list) carries the Mercedes part number.


Valvoline MaxLife ATF in Mercedes training material (fine print)

The picture below is the bottom of the Febi fluid, which carries the Mercedes part number but is not on the current 236.10 sheet approved list.

However, you are the one who will make the final decision as what to use. (I have personally used the Valvoline MaxLife ATF in my 1997 E320.)
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#5 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:22 PM
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How Do I Check the Transmission Fluid Level?

How Do I Check the Transmission Fluid Level?

Because the transmission was initially marketed as “sealed for life”, it does not come with a dipstick. However, there is a dipstick tube (don’t to try to find one in the 722.9 transmissions). To check the fluid level, you either need to buy a special dipstick or use a flexible wire and then check with the dimensions of the dipstick measurement. The dipstick measures from the bottom up so you need to insert the dipstick or flexible wire all the way down until it hits the bottom and then read the fluid level from the bottom of the dipstick. The dipstick measures almost 4 feet long.

You need to break the lock pin on top of the dipstick tube. The original color is black and replacement lock pins are red. Once you break the top part of the lock pin, you can use a small screw driver to push the rest downward and catch it below. Then you can remove the cover/plug on the dipstick tube.

The fluid level is very dependent on temperature so make sure you check with the fluid fully warmed up (80 degrees Celsius). Here is a picture of the dipstick dimension and also the graph for various temperatures.


Dipstick dimension with temperature graph
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#6 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:23 PM
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How Do I Change The Fluid/Filter?

How Do I Change The Fluid/Filter?

If you decide to commit a crime against humanity by ignoring the Mercedes “sealed for life” recommendation and change the fluid/filter, then there are many different methods/options, depending on your models.

If your W210 is a 1997, 1998 and 1999 (some models), then there is a drain plug on the torque converter. You can drain the fluid from the oil pan and the torque converter, drop the oil pan, and replace the filter. You can change almost 7.5 liters of the fluid in the system.

“G-AMG” posted the Photo DIY- 722.6XX Transmission Fluid Change that shows the pan drain, drop, and filter change.

Here is a picture showing how to locate the torque converter drain plug (by “bamabytes”)


If your transmission does not have a torque converter drain plug, then there are two different camps of doing the fluid/filter change. One is just to renew the fluid in the oil pan and change the filter. The above mentioned DIY by “G-AMG” does just that.

Some people want to renew more than what is in the pan and they either drain or flush the transmission fluid cooler lines.

“kaister” showed how to draining the transmission cooler lines.

“yumling” used a more complicated procedure to powerflush the Transmission fluid.
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#7 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:25 PM
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What Is Limp Home?

What Is Limp Home?

Well, that means, your car has lost a wheel so it is driving on three wheels to home.

Seriously, when the Electronic Transmission Control module (ETC) detects intermittent or active problems, it prohibits gear shifting, in order to avoid serious transmission damage.

There are two different types of Limp Home modes, depending how serious the problems are. The names of these two different Limp Home modes may sound counter-intuitive but that is what Mercedes used.

Mechanical-hydraulic emergency running mode
(This is the light duty Limp Home)

In this Limp Home mode, the transmission locks onto the 3rd gear or the last known “good” gear.

This particular Limp Home mode can be reset by turning the ignition off and then on.

This mode could set generic OBD II code and also intermittent code in the ETC.

Electric emergency running mode (This is the bad boy )

In this Limp Home mode, the gear engaged at that time is retained and the assigned fault code is stored. After a shutdown, wait for more than 10 seconds, and restart, the transmission is locked in the 2nd gear and reverse gear only. When the shifter is moved from “P” to “R” or “N” to “D”, there is a huge clunk.

The transmission will be in this mode until the codes are cleared from the ETC by Mercedes HHT (Hand Held Tester) or SDS (Star Diagnostic System) or some third party special scanners or even the reversely engineered ones. Generic OBD II scanners cannot clear these codes from the ETC (although they can clear the corresponding generic OBD II codes).

When the transmission is in this “electric” Limp Home mode, it feels like it is completely shot. Many times (actually I will go out the limb and say most of the time) you do not need a rebuilt transmission or a new ETC.

What to do if the transmission is in limp home mode?

The most useful thing to do is to have the ETC trouble codes read. This requires a Mercedes HHT (Hand Held Tester) or SDS (Star Diagnostic System) or some third party special scanners or even the reversely engineered ones. These codes are pretty accurate at pointing to the fault that caused the limp mode. For example, it may have codes for speed sensors or the shift module.

If no Mercedes scanners are available, at least try to read the codes using a generic OBD II scanner. The generic OBD II codes are not as precise as the proprietary Mercedes codes but they might shed enough light to have a good enough diagnosis. For example, if a code P0715 is read, then it is fairly certain that it is caused by the speed sensors.

After fixing the underlying cause of the (electric) Limp Home, the transmission would still not shift. The ETC has to be reset (codes cleared) before it will act normal again.

Without an ETC reset, people often (unnecessarily) replace the ETC. Of course, a new or working ETC will make the car shift again but all is needed to be done is to clear the codes in the ("bad") ETC. When the ETC goes into (electric) Limp Home, it shuts off all the power to the solenoids so the ETC will test "bad" because of this.

There are different versions of the ETC and certain ETCs can only work with certain valve bodies so exercise caution when replace either the ETC or valve body. It is a good idea to use the existing part numbers to find replacements.
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#8 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:26 PM
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What Are The Common Fluid Leaks Of The 722.6 Transmission?

What Are The Common Fluid Leaks Of The 722.6 Transmission?

The two most common fluid leaks from this transmission are the 13-pin electric connector/spacer (pilot Bushing) and the shifter mechanism bellow. Between the two, 99% of the leaks are from the 13-pin connector.

The 13-pin connector can leak either internally or externally. In some cases, the leaked fluid can even wick up to the Electronic Transmission Control module (ETC) through all the small openings in the wire bundle via capillary action. The purpose of the plug is to connect the ETC to the inside of the transmission (solenoids, sensors, etc). At the center of the plug, there is a 7-mm screw that screws into the conductor plate which is inside the transmission. It has a very low torque value (3 Nm) so do not strip the threads or you will need a new conductor plate.


Leak from the connector, which is on the top-left of the picture


This plug has been updated several times so make sure you get the latest part. The replacement is pretty simple and here is instruction on how to replace the connector from “Franasia”.

Here are a few additional items that you may to observe when replacing the plug connector.

Make sure the transmission fluid is below 50 deg C and examine the new connector to see the collar engagement and the 7-mm screw at the center.

When installing the new connector, put a tiny bit of ATF on the O rings.

The bellow is to facilitate the connection of the shifter mechanism to the inside of the transmission. It rarely leaks but there have been several reports of the bellow failure.


Item 45 is the bellow


“Carolina new be” from the W163 forum took some nice pictures showing how to replace this bellow.
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#9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:28 PM
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What Are The Common Problems of The 722.6 Transmission?

What Are The Common Problems of The 722.6 Transmission?

Although the 722.6 transmission on the W210 can have mechanical problems (especially those on the pre-2000 models), the majority of the problems are actually small or electric, especially if the transmission has fewer than 150k mi.

If a transmission has major mechanical problem, then the only options are to rebuild the transmission or to install a used/new transmission. The typical mechanical problems are noise and/or metal in the oil pan or filter.

The pre-2000 model years tend to have more mechanical problems than the post-2000 models. This is primarily due to some upgrades in shaft bearing and valve body in the post-200 models.

To rebuild the transmission or install an already rebuilt transmission, the existing transmission has to be removed first. "nhmercracer" posted a procedure to remove the 722.6 transmission.

Rebuilding transmission is above the average DIYer and should be handled by special transmission shops or dealers so this FAQ stops the major mechanical problem discussion here.

The shifter bushing is a minor mechanical problem that is easy to fix. Again “G-AMG” posted this Photo DIY: Shifter Bushing Replacement.

The three most common problems that a DIY can repair are

1) Pressure Regulator Valve Spring (This applies only to 1997, 1998, and 1999 models)



This spring affects the shifting from 2 <--> 3 and 3 <--> 4. If your transmission has rough shifting in these gears, then chances are this spring is either collapsed or completely broken. Here is a spring replacement DIY by “JRS”.

2) Electrics Kit, aka, Conductor Plate or Electric Plate (This affects all models)


722.6 Conductor Plate

The conductor plate is on top of the valve body and houses six solenoids and two sensors, a few other things. Common failures are the two speed sensors, which cannot be replaced separately so the entire conductor plate has to be replaced. This part has also received multiple updates so make sure you get the latest part.

When the speed sensors fail, the ETC does not know the input/output shaft speeds so it does not know what gear the transmission is in. If the failure is intermittent, then the ETC will go into “Mechanical-hydraulic” limp home mode. If the problem is more severe, then the ETC triggers the “electric” Limp Home mode.

Typical symptoms of speed sensor failure are erratic shifting or no shifting at all. The best diagnosis is to read the codes in the ETC using special scanners. If there are 012 (108) or 013 (109) codes, then the problems are likely the speed sensors.

If no special scanners are available, then at east read the codes using a generic OBD II scanner. Chances are the Check Engine Light (CEL) is on. If the codes are P0715 or P0720, again, the problems are likely due to the speed sensors. I said likely because the generic P0715 is mapped to several Mercedes codes. However, based on what has been seen, P0715 is a pretty reliable indicator of speed sensor failure.

Yours truly replaced the conductor plate on a 1997 E320 and you can find the instructions here.

3) Shift Module
(This affects all models, especially when you . . . )


Shift Module

This is sometimes called the “liquefied module” problem. Mercedes puts the cup holder near the shifter (for a reason) so you can spill your favorite drink into the shift module. Since the 722.6 is an electronic transmission and the shift module sits right below the shifter, unprotected and ready to receive your favorite drink, the favorite drink will cause the electronic parts in the module go crazy. The transmission could go into Limp Home mode and the CEL could turn on. If you check the codes, there could be some generic OBD II codes such as P0705, etc.

When this happens, you can try to take out the shift module and clean it thoroughly with electric contact cleaner and clear the codes in the ETC. If that does not work, you need a new shift module or a (working) used module.

Member “covinsky” detailed the procedure to remove the shift module.


P.S. "G-AMG" posted a combined Photo DIY- 722.6 Conductor Plate and Regulator Valve Spring R/R DIY.
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#10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:29 PM
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What Should I Do If My Transmission Has problem?

What Should I Do If My Transmission Has problem?

1) Do not panic but do pray that your transmission does not have major mechanical problems.

2) Read the codes from the ETC using the Mercedes scanner or equivalent.

3) If 2) is not possible, read the codes using a generic OBD II scanner for stored and also pending codes.

4) Come to Benzworld and sign up for Premium Membership.

5) Read all the Transmission stickies, along with this FAQ.

6) Search the forum for items related to your problem, such as “conductor plate”, “shift module”. “P0715”, etc.

7) Start a thread for help if the above does not address your problem. You may be liquefied if there are already 497 threads of the same problem you have.

Good Luck.
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