1997 E420 INTERMITTENT Hard Shifts - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Old 12-09-2012, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: Jul 2007
Vehicle: 1997 E420; 1985 300TDT
Location: Florida
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1997 E420 INTERMITTENT Hard Shifts

97 E420 80K Miles.
Finally got around to replacing the "connector" on my trans after tiring of cleaning up the trans fluid on the driveway. I used a MB part and the job was easy. Lost maybe 3 cups of fluid and replaced that after driving for 30 minutes. I cleaned the connector well with electronic no residue cleaning fluid before reconnecting and no leaks anymore.
The car now has a rather hard 2-3 upshift when cold. Rest of gear changes are smooth. After driving about 5 miles....the car shifts smoothly in every gear....most of the time
I can drive around town for hours and the car will shift perfectly under easy or hard acceleration; then, a hard 2-3 shift will happen again. Doesnt happen much but its there. I checked the TCM and it is perfectly dry and clean. Did an adaptive reset and still have the same issue. Always happens when cold and occasionally happens after car is warmed up{5 miles or more}. I hate intermittent problems....any ideas? What am I missing?
Thanks
John

Last edited by Jareb; 12-09-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jareb View Post
97 E420 80K Miles.
Finally got around to replacing the "connector" on my trans after tiring of cleaning up the trans fluid on the driveway. I used a MB part and the job was easy. Lost maybe 3 cups of fluid and replaced that after driving for 30 minutes. I cleaned the connector well with electronic no residue cleaning fluid before reconnecting and no leaks anymore.
The car now has a rather hard 2-3 upshift when cold. Rest of gear changes are smooth. After driving about 5 miles....the car shifts smoothly in every gear....most of the time
I can drive around town for hours and the car will shift perfectly under easy or hard acceleration; then, a hard 2-3 shift will happen again. Doesnt happen much but its there. I checked the TCM and it is perfectly dry and clean. Did an adaptive reset and still have the same issue. Always happens when cold and occasionally happens after car is warmed up{5 miles or more}. I hate intermittent problems....any ideas? What am I missing?
Thanks
John
good chance you have the classic "broken spring" symptom. Had similar situation. replaced spring and conductor plate and everything was back to normal. My spring was in 3 pieces!
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My E200k have the same problem. After driving about 1 hour car very hard to accelerate. Just feel like turbo lag. I had changed the new TCM and etc. But the problem still there? Any thought? What is the broken spring you mention?
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had a hard shift problem a few years back and took it in to the dealer, they identified it as low voltage from the battery. Replaced the battery and it was gone. A couple of months ago, I got the same problem and again replaced the battery. Problem went away.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I had a similar problem years ago with our E420. Turned out to be a valve body problem. Mine was repeatable if you knew exactly how to give it a very light lifting throttle during the 2-3 upshift.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I tried doing the adaptive reset a few times but still get the hard shifts. If I accelerate gently and let the car shift at about 1800-2000 rpms; then its smooth.

Question:
How do you tell if it is the conductor plate or the spring that is causing the issue? My take from reading many posts is that a bad conductor plate will cause flaring between shifts and also will show fault codes on an OBDII scanner?
A bad spring will cause hard shifts and not necessarily any codes?

Is this correct??

My car has no codes showing at present.
Thanks
John
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Occasionally, going from "N" to "D" on my 97 E420 feels like a smashing kick in the ass!

With 139,000 miles, overall it shift fairly smooth for its age, not silky smooth as when it only had 50,000 miles but its OK.

Except once in a while, when I'm sitting at a RED light and I put it in "N"
light turns green and I put it back in "D"
Most of the time, nothing out of ordinary,
but about 1% of the times, you get such a HARD shift that honestly without exaggeration, it feels like someone just rear-ended me then it gets moving and all other gears shift just fine.
If I do it again and again it won't happen until the next time when it occurs out of the blue.
The engine idles smooth at normal rpm when gear is in "N"

I've had dealer service trans & Torque conv once at 60,000 miles then again at 90,000
and 120,000
no problems found and they can't reproduce the neck jarring kick in the ass.

Anyone else felt this?
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Finally got around to changing out the conductor plate and spring this morning and happy to report that the car shifts silky smooth now. The spring was in one piece and actually measured exactly but I changed it anyway since I was in there. Job took about 3 hours start to finish{amateur mechanic}. Great DIY posts on this job here on the forum if anyone else is contemplating doing this.
John
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Good advice for potential causes of hard shifting.

Just one more potential cause to add for the symptom of hard shifting - marginally low ATF level. When the ATF heats up with engine temperature, the fluid expands, level rises, and the symptoms cease temporarily under this scenario.

A 722.6xx troubleshooting guide is attached.

Last - 3hrs to change a conductor plate and spring start to finish is a very good time.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Transmission Troubleshooting Guide.pdf (78.4 KB, 71 views)
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmsmshr View Post
Good advice for potential causes of hard shifting.

Just one more potential cause to add for the symptom of hard shifting - marginally low ATF level. When the ATF heats up with engine temperature, the fluid expands, level rises, and the symptoms cease temporarily under this scenario.

A 722.6xx troubleshooting guide is attached.

Last - 3hrs to change a conductor plate and spring start to finish is a very good time.
Thanks for the link....excellent information.
It only took me 3 hours because I memorized the DIY on this forum and I had a "helper" {wife} who reluctantly stood by and handed me tools as requested. Basically I didnt have to come out from under the car until time to attach new conductor plate and replace spring. The job was much easier than I thought it would be.
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