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Discussion Starter #1
I'd value your opinions and experiences about this. I recently got very lucky and found the proverbial "little old lady" creampuff w210 - an all original, well maintained 2002 E320 with only 83,000 miles on it. I'll keep this car forever, or at least until some numb-nuts idiot hits me while he's texting. (Or perhaps in the future, if some self-driving wheezing little sh*tbox pod goes all HAL 2000 homicide-mode on me.)

Anyways, in addition to changing out every fluid and filter, plus spark plugs, valve cover gaskets, and a few other pre-emptive measures such as a new crank position sensor and "pilot bushing" / transmission connector, I'm wondering about the transmission conductor plate. I want to make this car is as bulletproof as possible in anticipation of cross country road trips. So I'm wondering if you think I should replace the conductor plate as a precautionary measure. It's relatively low mileage, but it's 18 years old. What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance!
 

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2002 E55 AMG Sedan
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I dont think anyone is going to be able to give the answer that you are looking for. The conductor plate fails at random times. There's not really a certain mileage or age for it to happen.
 

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1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG
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Hard to say. I've seen plates fail as early as 28k, and as late as 220k. Just drive until you experience symptoms, then swap.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. In retrospect, it seems like it was a dumb question - nobody has a crystal ball. However, being that you've seen them fail so early, it's probably a good idea for me to just do it. I really don't want to have it start acting up in the middle of some endless expanse of highway in the middle of nowhere.

And since I'm dropping the pan anyways, I may as well succumb to the "while I'm in there" syndrome...
 

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Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG
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The ones that failed so early was a garage queen. Grandma would drive 0.8 mile to the church and then the store and back, and even then only on saturdays and sundays.

All these heat cycles are brutal on the car, which may have accelerated the wear.

Plus there's the bell curve -- the most common failure you'd see is at the beginning of production, and at the end when the product reaches the end of MTTF. Since granny never drove it, the problem didn't manifest until decades later.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yep, very logical; that makes a lot of sense. There's a massive difference in thermal expansion between the plastic body and the metal electrical traces and/or the speed sensors. I imagine that tiny cracks form, taking out continuity?

Being that this is also literally a 'grandma' car, it's probably had a ton of heat cycles despite the low mileage. So now the question is where to source an aftermarket conductor plate that will be a good one... not a piece of junk. Or do I just go to the dealer, bend over, and "assume the position"? :(
 

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Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG
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OEM plates are cheap as balls. $200 from dealer. So if you shop around, typically on Amazon or ebay, you can find sellers selling the complete kit, gasket, filter, pilot bushing, bolts, plate, all genuine for way less. I've managed to score a complete kit for like $180.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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I used to have 1997 E class, what was the 1st year of 5G transmission in USA.
The car had 240,000 miles on it and my conclusion was that it was first time anybody open the pan since car left the factory. Old fluid was pretty thick and new fluid soften gear changes.
Here is the topic. My take on "lifetime transmission fluid"
Buying on ebay and other non-dealer places, beware that there is lot of scams and cheap parts can be a fake.
Husker is official MB dealer and to date they always beat anybody's price on OE parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was shocked to discover the conductor plates available at the dealerships are now REBUILT units! The part number ends with an additional "80", which a lot of you already know indicates a remanufactured part. The box itself says "reman transmiss". (See pics below.) The dealership charges a core charge too. They actually want the old units back. Apparently MBZ is doing that with a lot of parts nowadays. The parts guy says that MBZ is playing games by wanting the old parts "off the street" to avoid things from being rebuilt by 3rd parties. It seems pointless to do that with conductor plates because there are tons of knockoff parts already floating around. He also said that the techs are telling him the conductor plates are actually new, not rebuilt. So I found a date stamp on it, showing a recent date. I don't know if that proves anything because they can easily re-stamp the plastic. This entire thing is a bit bizarre.

I used to have 1997 E class, what was the 1st year of 5G transmission in USA. The car had 240,000 miles on it and my conclusion was that it was first time anybody open the pan since car left the factory. Old fluid was pretty thick...

Buying on ebay and other non-dealer places, beware that there is lot of scams and cheap parts can be a fake.
When I bought my 2001 sedan it was stuck in limp mode at 220,000 miles. I bought it dirt cheap and took a risk that the conductor plate was the only problem. When I dropped the pan, there was a thick layer of gray goo on the bottom, and the fluid was the worst I've ever seen. A fair amount of particles were stuck on the solenoids, but no big chunks of metal in the pan. Probably never been serviced in it's entire life. I put it back together, reset the adaptations, and been driving it ever since... with no problems at all. Being that yours was an early trans, I'm even more impressed.

2621994



2621995


2621996
 

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I was shocked to discover the conductor plates available at the dealerships are now REBUILT units! The part number ends with an additional "80", which a lot of you already know indicates a remanufactured part.
Not really. All that means is that engineering department wants old shit back to examine. I have bought several water pumps with 80 suffix that were brand new.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Memories... back in the 80's MBZ supplied rebuilt water pumps for the M116's & M117's that were far better than any aftermarket ones. And believe it or not, cheaper too!

It seems that doing an autopsy on those old conductor plates would have made sense a long time ago, but now? They did make several revisions during the years. If your hypothesis is correct, could it be that MBZ is just using the "rebuilt item, core return necessary" as a ploy to get old ones back for analysis?

I'm really curious to know if the one's they are selling are truly rebuilds, or if they're new. I"m not inherently against refurbished items, but I do hope that this will be more reliable than a $65 flea-bay special... or a supposedly OEM one from some fly-by-night source.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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I've been informed by dealer's sale person that MB sells new parts as rebuilds only in order to get used one from the market.
Have seen few of those and they were absolutely new parts.
Actually friend bought "rebuild" alternator for his Chrysler minivan and I spend few minutes to find indication it was rebuild and not- the part was brand new in every aspect.
Considering labor cost in US and low labour education, I don't think rebuilding conductor plate can happen here.
Alternators are pretty primitive comparing and lot of US buyers (for other brands) report rebuilds failing at alarming rate.
 
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