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E430 sport
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Discussion Starter #1
Purchased a 1999 E430 in August, 100,000 miles. Now that it is cold, it doesn't seem to want to shift out of 1st gear until car is extremely warm. Took it to a Mercedes dealer and no engine codes come up. At a loss as to what direction I should head. I plan on having the transmission drained and flushed. Any other thoughts?
 

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'99 E320 Wagon, ‘71 280SL, '97 SL500, '96 E300D, ’11 E350D
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how cold is it? it would be easier for us to know if you put your info under your profile!

has it ever had transmission service? i bet once you get new fluid in there that will likely solve your problem.
 

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I think all you need is to get that old fluid out and put some new stuff in there. And I must say, do it NOW before it becomes a costly, actually, very costly problem.
 

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E430 sport
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick info. The car is going to a shop tomorrow and hopefully changing the fluid will do the trick. Temperatures here have been in the 20 - 30 degree mark for two weeks. We hope that no damage has been done.
 

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Thanks for the quick info. The car is going to a shop tomorrow and hopefully changing the fluid will do the trick. Temperatures here have been in the 20 - 30 degree mark for two weeks. We hope that no damage has been done.
Now I'm beginning to wonder! 20-30F shouldn't bother these trannies at all. Have the fluid changed anyway because the new MB memo calls for 60K changes. Please let us know how it performs after the fluid change.
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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Flushing might not be the best idea. If you're lucky your car has a torque converter drain plug so just have a gravity drain and see what that does. 100,000 miles is past due for fluid refreshment but you are not that far off. Good luck.
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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Purchased a 1999 E430 in August, 100,000 miles. Now that it is cold, it doesn't seem to want to shift out of 1st gear until car is extremely warm.
do you mean it will shift out of first gear in higher rpm's (3000+) than when it's warm, or it doesn't shift at all after first gear even if rpm's go close to redline? first gear change is always in higher rpm's when it's cold and it seems it doesn;t want to change gear. once the cats are warmed up the gear change is smoother. i think this feature is more noticeable in first years 722.6 trannies (97-99).
 

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2001 E320 Wagon
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Welcome to the club. A number of us have this issue in cold weather and haven't been able to find a common resolution - other than letting the car warm up. I have a new MAF, Air Filter, CPS, new Tranny Fluids, all new Cats, and no resolution. Only happens in the winter - no fault codes and the dealer can't find anything wrong.

Quick edit - Are you able to get it into drive and it won't shift out of first? Or do you have to wait for the car to warm up before you can get it into gear? My car has to wait to warm up before I can shift out of park. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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1999 E430
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13 Posts
lwtmyers,

I had the same problem with same model and year. It took two day to finally get a code (135) from the transmission. Long story short it was a switch inside the shifter (part number 210 545 13 32). Haven't had a problem since and that was 1/2/09.

In the mean time try putting it in "w" mode. At least it will start out in second gear and make it a little more drivable till you can get it repaired.

Hope this helps,

Ron J
 

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Mercedes E320 1999
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47 Posts
lwtmyers,

I had the same problem with same model and year. It took two day to finally get a code (135) from the transmission. Long story short it was a switch inside the shifter (part number 210 545 13 32). Haven't had a problem since and that was 1/2/09.

In the mean time try putting it in "w" mode. At least it will start out in second gear and make it a little more drivable till you can get it repaired.

Hope this helps,

Ron J
that was my problem too. you can see if the D doesnt light up properly it means it wont be sending the transmission the proper gear to go into, so it ended up getting stuck in 1st. when I pushed down on the light, it engaged the contact and worked. cold weather made it more difficult to make contact.

i ordered the part , pulled out the gear selector and dug inside to get at the switch. theres some work to get to it but took me 2-3 hrs . I have heard the dealer or indys charging close to $1000 for this so it felt nice when I put it back and it worked properly
 

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E430 sport
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Discussion Starter #13
We have written down the information you provided about the switch for future reference. Today we had the AMT fluid changed, flushed, and new filter added. Seems to be working right now, but not sure if it is just warm from all the service. Keeping fingers crossed as to how it runs after the cold night tonight.
 

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Mercedes E320 1999
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We have written down the information you provided about the switch for future reference. Today we had the AMT fluid changed, flushed, and new filter added. Seems to be working right now, but not sure if it is just warm from all the service. Keeping fingers crossed as to how it runs after the cold night tonight.
if it doesnt work , and esp if its cold out , keep your eye on the D in the selector . make sure the light doesnt flicker or is not lit to indicate its on.

if so , theres your problem
 

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E430 sport
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Discussion Starter #16
The car shifted fine on the way home from the shop when it was already warm, but after being in the garage all night sub 40 degrees the problem is still there. Took it out for about 20 mins and it would not shift at all at first. Gradually more gears became available, but the shifting was sluggish and sometimes didn't work. However, once the trans warmed up everything worked fine.

I had noticed the D on the shifter not lighting up several times when I drove the car over the last month, but I have only driven at night a few times and it's hard to tell if it's on or not during the day.

If it is a problem with the switch, where would we start as far as replacing it? How do you access it?
 

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E430 sport
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Discussion Starter #17
It won't shift at all. Today it took about 25 minutes of driving after being in the garage all night, before it started shifting properly. Another posting talked about a switch that may have gone bad.
We aren't driving it fast in 1st gear and can only get it to go into second gear in the beginning of the drive by putting it into winter mode.
Had the transmission fluid and filter changed yesterday. Drove well last night, but same problem this morning after sitting all night.
It seems that the more it warms up, the more gears become available.
 

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99 E430, 01 E430 Sport, 00 SL500
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If it's the micro switch, it's contact problem.
Don't shift to "D". Try manually shift to "1", drive, as you speed up, work your hand, shift to "2", ..., then finally to "D".
 

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E430 sport
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Discussion Starter #19
Update on the problem. Drove the car around the block and was having the same problem. Came home and ran a hair dryer on the gear shift lever area for about 15 minutes. Once it was warm to the touch I took the car out again and there was no more shifting problem. Every gear worked like there had never been a problem. Problem seems to be with the temperature of the shift module. Is there another name for the part or am I just looking for a replacement shift module?
 
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