1986 Mercedes 300e Transmission Leak - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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1986 Mercedes 300e Transmission Leak

Since buying my first wonderful car about six months ago I have noticed a considerable puddle of transmission fluid is forming under my car and my local Mercedes specialist refuses to work on transmissions. I am scared that repair costs may skyrocket above what I am willing to pay as I also need a new giubo, something is up with the climate control, alignment, oil pan gasket, and more minor bits. Before I get an estimate from a mechanic next week, what do you think is about the ball park for such a repair?if it gets into the thousands then I may have to bail on driving one of the best cars ever made and go down the Bug route. Thanks for your interest and time. Into The Great Wide Open wallet...
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 08:39 AM
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If you have not had a chance to look at recommended repair shops, take a look at this:

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/u-s-west/index4.html

I cannot speak to the specifics of the work you need done.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 12:17 PM
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if this transmission fluid leak is from the output shaft seal, thats not /that/ bad to do, most anything else will require removing and reinstalling the transmission, and thats $1000 labor before you get to fixing anything.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 10:49 AM
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1) Is your avatar a picture of Jeff Lynne?

2) I've said forever that the transmission is the Achilles heel of the 124 Benz. Even when the car is new the lack of overdrive causes the engine to rev too high (which it is quite happy to do) at highway speeds but it just kills any hope of good fuel economy. The transmission will last 10 years/100,000 miles no problem but when the car reaches relatively cheap transportation price levels a transmission problem that requires overhaul is so expensive that it sends teh car to the junkyard. Of the 5 or 6 124s I've driven over the past 17 years every single one has required transmission replacement. Sometimes I had to do that and sometimes the PO had it done.

My red 260E/300E had leaks from several places and I addressed them one by one. The output shaft radial oil seal developed age cracks and made a mess. I replaced that with the car on a friend's hoist so it wasn't too bad. I had leaks from a side cover that hid the secondary oil pump. I had to disconnect the exhaust system, remove the trans crossmember, and tip the trans rear end down far enough to remove and install that cover. I fixed the leak but soon thereafter the trans failed. I still don't know if I caused the failure or if it was going to happen anyway at that mileage. The blue 91 coupe I bought last year has a bad trans. The white 88 300E I bought 3 years ago had a bad trans, the black 91 300TE 4MATIC I bought as a parts car a few years back had (you guessed it) a bad trans. I could go on.

If you're dealing with only a leak from the pan or the output shaft you're in luck. After that things get ugly. But at least you're fairly close to Sun Valley transmissions, a well respected rebuilder. Well you're a lot closer than I am anyway...

I just thought of something else that's an easy fix. The kickdown solenoid is externally mounted on the transmission and the plastic housing of that part cracks with age. It will cause a moderate nuisance oil leak but can be fixed easily and cheaply with a new solenoid.
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Last edited by augapfel; 07-27-2019 at 10:57 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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1) Yep it’s Jeff Lynne and my username is also a reference to the song Last Train to London

2) I am hopefully going to take it in on Tuesday to get the verdict. It really has been a great car outside of those minor issues. A relaxing cruiser that is fast enough that speed can get away from me pretty quick. Hoping for the best.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-28-2019, 09:05 AM
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As Pete said, that kickdown solenoid is a real leaker......been down that road on two cars...wore the T shirt. You can buy the composite body that cracks for about $80 and put the guts back in with new O-rings.

These transmissions have about a 150,000 mile service life. Sun Valley puts stronger springs in the clutch plate assembly....a design problem with the OE units. These transmissions love to leak also. Someone used silicone on my tranny pan and I cursed them for it. But even though I used a new OE gasket, I had a leak at the seal too. The pan has those ears that stick down which makes it nearly impossible to check true-ness like on a piece of glass. I put my pan back with hylomar sealant....stay away from silicone and RTV sealant. If the pan isn't warped, it should seal without sealant.

I got 230,000 miles on my original TE tranny until I lost reverse and then drove it another 40,000 miles with no reverse. That's certainly way above and beyond the usual service life of the transmission. It would be great to get some long-term feedback from members that have used Sun Valley....but I don't think anyone on here has that kinda mileage yet after their rebuild.

Always figure and plan that you're gonna need a rebuild around 150,000 miles.

Kevin
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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So I got a estimate for the car over at Alex’s Garage! The total is in the 400$ range not including that I need two tires. I was extremely impressed by the service and overall experience at Alex’s Garage. I learned that the car pulls to the right, vibrates at the front, pan seal, governer seal, 3 dollar bulb replaced, and a few others bit and bobs. After a long talk with my mother I will not be replacing the whip with a W114, Mk2 Golf, or a Bug. I am extremely pleased by everything at Alex’s Garage very highly recommended.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:56 PM
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Mine is leaking from the front pump seal. I have to just live with it. Good thing is it only leaks when running.
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