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C200 1997 model
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks,

I have a C200 1997 model bought roughly 4 years ago imported into Zambia from Singapore. It has roughly 80,000Km on the clock. It was a very nice car to own until about a year ago. The first thing that began to go wrong is that in the mornings the transmission would stick in 1st gear and refuse to change. I had to pull off the road, switch the ignition on then off. After doing this the gears would begin to change and the car would work normally. It was serviced regularly and after each service this problem would disappear.....then reappear until finally the car remained stuck in first gear (all the other gears reverse etc would work). Interestingly enough, when the transmission error codes were cleared the car would work perfectly for a week and a few days then lock into 1st gear again (limp mode).

I sent the car to the local gearbox experts who took it in and worked on it for a pretty sum. They told me they serviced it, replaced solenoids and so on; that the gbox was now perfectly fine. Indeed, when I picked it up the car was changing gears like a dream. I drove the car for a week or so and the problem came back. I took the car back. They worked on it again and the very same thing happened when I collected the car. At this point I couldn't help but feel that maybe all they had really done is change the tranny fluid and clear the error codes. There was this knot in my stomache that I'd been had. Though quite a bit of money had been spent on these guys and their gearbox fixing centre I painfully decided to cut my losses and move on.

On advice from a friend I decided to have the gbox removed. Contacted MB in South Africa and had a gbox repairer recommended. Sent the gearbox off. They opened it up said a number of things were wrong with it, said they had fixed it and sent the same gbox back. This cost a sizeable amount of cash to have done. When the gbox was remounted to the vehicle nothing had changed, in fact it was now worse. Even after using the computer to clear codes the transmission would remain stuck in first (limp mode). The car was taken to the MB dealership in Zambia, placed on their computer and placed through a barrage of tests, reprogrammed, codes were cleared again. Nothing changed.

The repairer in SA asked me to send the gbox back, which I did. This time they took my gbox and swopped it for a reconditioned one of the same make and model and this alternate gbox was sent back to me. I thought, well, now that this is a completely different gbox this must be the end of this mbenz nightmare. The new gbox was fitted. At the moment of truth, the car was stuck in one then suddenly shifted very roughly into two and stayed there permanently. Switched the ignition off and on and it remained in stuck in one.. The nightmare persisted. I went to the MB dship in Zambia where they repaired a leak from the transmission and ran diagnostics again. These were the error codes:

Error codes:
55 - The gear comparison is negative or the target gear is not reached: status: stored.
126 - The altitude factor of the engine system is sporadically implausible. status:stored.
151 The gear comparison is sporadically negative or the target gear has sporadically not been achieved. status: stored.
035 Lambda control is at rich stop:Mixture is too lean. status:stored.
084 Short-time self adaptation at idle speed: Part load is exceeded.status:stored.
158 CAN bus: Brake information is implausible.status:current.
c1200 S9/1 (Stop lamp switch): Plausability. status:current.
C1025-002 Fault in CAN communication with component S9/1 (Stop lamp switch) If no customer complaint exists, the fault can be erased.status:currenct.
B1231 - B11/4 (Coolant temperature sensor).status:stored.

I asked the MB dship technician if any of these error codes were enough to prevent the gear from shifting i.e. put the car in limp mode. I was told no, none of these should cause the car to go into limp mode. I said ok, then what the bleep is wrong with it? I was told well we dont know - maybe get another gbox. I said but you already know the gbox in this car was replaced. Surely there must be something else wrong with it, can you tell me whats wrong with this car so I know what to have worked on. They said ok leave the vehicle with us for thorough examination. I left the car there for more than a week and returned. I asked what had they found was wrong with the car to make it not change gears properly. They said - we don't know. I said well if "you" the people who manufacture this car can't tell me whats wrong with it then who the bleep is supposed to figure it out? At this point you can understand my frustration, if the MB dship can't tell you whats wrong with a car after inspecting it for more than a week and running diagnostics, its like the inventer of the wheel telling you he doesn't know why it turns round. As I drove away I saw row upon row of MB cars parked gathering dust at dship and I couldn't help but wonder if these cars were facing the same fate.

This excercise of trying to fix the C200 has proven so expensive I could not justify spending any more money on the car until someone could competenly say what needed fixing. It has been parked in the garage now for more than six months. To this day it starts up beautifully, goes into reverse perfectly, changes into first gear and drives neatly but will not change to a higher gear so its stays parked.

Could anyone tell me what's really wrong with this car?
 

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Zotye Auto 1.5T T600 2016
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C200 1997 model
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Eric.

I appreciate the advice and will have those two problems sorted out first.
 

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C200 1997 model
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Discussion Starter #4
I managed to get the brake switch for ZmK419,154.40 (US$90) and the temperature sensor for K353,452.00 (US$76) from the MB dealership here:eek:. These were changed quite easily. Fortunately the ABS lights that have been on in the dash went out after fitting them.:thumbsup: The level of transmission fluid was also checked and was found to be o.k.

I then had the gearbox fitted to a hand held diagnostic unit ( a Baum Tools D#2021 unit that seemed to work quite well) and the error codes were erased. When the car was on the road it would attempt to shift from 1 to 2 but would still fail to change gear.:confused:

The C200 was then taken on the road again, this time with the hand held diagnostic device (hdd) still connected to show what was going on in real-time. What the hdd showed while driving the car is that the Electronic Transmission Control (ETC) on the car would initiate a shift from 1 to 2. Onscreen the hdd would show the iniated gear:2 but the target 1 would fail to change, the failed attempt to shift gear could actually be felt in the car. The car would lurch back into 1st gear. If the setting beside the gear lever were changed from S to W the hdd screen would show the car start in 2nd gear then fail to change from 2nd to 3rd gear. This explains the 55 & 151 error codes, but not the 126 altitude factor error codes from the gbox.

We also cleared the codes and tried to use the gear lever to shift manually from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 but the same lurch and failure to change gear occurred.

the mechanics suggestion:

The mechanics suggestion was that it is likely it is not an electrical problem since the hdd shows the ETC instructing the gbox to change gear. He said it was likely to be the valve body. He says maybe the valves were moving but were not being engaged to their full position due to particles in the vbody. One of his conclusions was that the gearbox may simply have been taken from another vehicle and sent to me as is .i.e. without being reconditioned and therefore may have arrived with this problem. Consequently, having the gearboxes exchanged, though costly, may have done nothing to improve things. However, I was assured by the company in SA that the alternate gearbox sent to me, currently in the C200, has nothing wrong with it.

The mechanic has offered to remove the valve body, check it for faults, fix it and put it back for the equivalent of US$350.

I asked if the problem could be the clutches, he shrugged and said maybe, but from his knowledge he felt it was very unlikely it was the clutches.
The diagnostics cost US$65 a pop and the error codes that could possibly cause limp mode are now fixed. At this point it is understandable why I am hesitant about what to do next. Do I believe the company in SA which says the gbox is fine and look for some other fault other than the gbox or do I listen to the mechanic here in Lusaka and have the valve body worked on, which was the route taken with the 1st gbox– it feels like I’m going round in circles.

I am not sure what to do:

1.Should I take up the mechanics offer?

2.What other tests can be done to figure out what the problem is?

3.If the gbox is ok, between the ETC instructing the gbox to change
gear and the gbox failing to oblige what other factors could be at play to prevent the gbox from functioning properly mechanically?

4. Is there a way to test the valve body without opening up the gbox, e.g a vacuum test? (can the altitude error code be an indication of a problem to do with pressure which leads back to the vbody?)

5. Could the problem be the electric gear selector rather than the vbody?

From the information here can anyone provide some advice on the what is the best option to take next,

Thanks!
 

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C200 1997 model
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Discussion Starter #5
The gearbox is now fixed! The final solution was to have the valve body removed, thoroughly cleaned, serviced and put back in.
 

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Transmission

The gearbox is now fixed! The final solution was to have the valve body removed, thoroughly cleaned, serviced and put back in.
Hi Mike

I admire your determination to get the transmission fixed. I am in Singapore and also having an issue with my transmission as well : )

Do you by any chance taken photos of the things that were done on your trans ? ie value body, stop light switch, etc ? Thot I would be a good reference with photos

Cheers:bowdown:
 

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Mercedez Benz C200
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I managed to get the brake switch for ZmK419,154.40 (US$90) and the temperature sensor for K353,452.00 (US$76) from the MB dealership here:eek:. These were changed quite easily. Fortunately the ABS lights that have been on in the dash went out after fitting them.:thumbsup: The level of transmission fluid was also checked and was found to be o.k.

I then had the gearbox fitted to a hand held diagnostic unit ( a Baum Tools D#2021 unit that seemed to work quite well) and the error codes were erased. When the car was on the road it would attempt to shift from 1 to 2 but would still fail to change gear.:confused:

The C200 was then taken on the road again, this time with the hand held diagnostic device (hdd) still connected to show what was going on in real-time. What the hdd showed while driving the car is that the Electronic Transmission Control (ETC) on the car would initiate a shift from 1 to 2. Onscreen the hdd would show the iniated gear:2 but the target 1 would fail to change, the failed attempt to shift gear could actually be felt in the car. The car would lurch back into 1st gear. If the setting beside the gear lever were changed from S to W the hdd screen would show the car start in 2nd gear then fail to change from 2nd to 3rd gear. This explains the 55 & 151 error codes, but not the 126 altitude factor error codes from the gbox.

We also cleared the codes and tried to use the gear lever to shift manually from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 but the same lurch and failure to change gear occurred.

the mechanics suggestion:

The mechanics suggestion was that it is likely it is not an electrical problem since the hdd shows the ETC instructing the gbox to change gear. He said it was likely to be the valve body. He says maybe the valves were moving but were not being engaged to their full position due to particles in the vbody. One of his conclusions was that the gearbox may simply have been taken from another vehicle and sent to me as is .i.e. without being reconditioned and therefore may have arrived with this problem. Consequently, having the gearboxes exchanged, though costly, may have done nothing to improve things. However, I was assured by the company in SA that the alternate gearbox sent to me, currently in the C200, has nothing wrong with it.

The mechanic has offered to remove the valve body, check it for faults, fix it and put it back for the equivalent of US$350.

I asked if the problem could be the clutches, he shrugged and said maybe, but from his knowledge he felt it was very unlikely it was the clutches.
The diagnostics cost US$65 a pop and the error codes that could possibly cause limp mode are now fixed. At this point it is understandable why I am hesitant about what to do next. Do I believe the company in SA which says the gbox is fine and look for some other fault other than the gbox or do I listen to the mechanic here in Lusaka and have the valve body worked on, which was the route taken with the 1st gbox– it feels like I’m going round in circles.

I am not sure what to do:

1.Should I take up the mechanics offer?

2.What other tests can be done to figure out what the problem is?

3.If the gbox is ok, between the ETC instructing the gbox to change
gear and the gbox failing to oblige what other factors could be at play to prevent the gbox from functioning properly mechanically?

4. Is there a way to test the valve body without opening up the gbox, e.g a vacuum test? (can the altitude error code be an indication of a problem to do with pressure which leads back to the vbody?)

5. Could the problem be the electric gear selector rather than the vbody?

From the information here can anyone provide some advice on the what is the best option to take next,

Thanks!
HI MIKE
I HAVE A SIMILAR PROBLEM. AM ALSO IN ZAMBIA LUSAKA TO BE SPECIFIC. HOW CAN I MEET YOU SO I LEARN FROM YOU? MY LINE IS +260 977 478995. I WILL APPRECIATE?
BEST,
KENNEDY
 
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