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1987 300D
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone!

I own a 1987 300d with some transmission issues.

It all started with a clunking from the backend after acceleration. Any comments on what this might be? I took it to a transmission shop at that point and they told me it was something normal in the older Benz. I told him that it wasn't doing it the week before but he just looked at me like I had no clue what I was talking about. I was thinking it had something to do with a vacuum line. Any comments??? :confused:

Next, the shifting became an issue. When it came time for the tranny to shift, sometimes it wouldn't and when it did, it would really hard. Then, when say you are driving at 60mph, all of a sudden it would (slip) back into a lower gear or into neutral. I thought it was because I was a cute blond driving a cool older Mercedes that people were staring but maybe it was because everybody and their grandmother were passing me as I try and get my tranny to engage!

So off to the shop to get an evaluation. They pulled the pan and said that there were small shavings in the pan...probably from clutch pieces I was told. They were happy to price out a new tranny for me at $2800.

Okay, now being a single mom, $2800. is no easy feat! So hear are my questions:

  • Has anyone else had similar problems and how did you fix it?
  • Is there a clutch pac (?) I can replace...heard about something like that so I was curious.

    • Also, are the transmissions compatible between a 1987 300E and 1987 300D? I have a parts car and I wasn't sure if they were different.
Any and all comments are appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

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2008 E350 4M, 2016 Audi Allroad, 2019 Audi Q5
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5,447 Posts
How many miles on the car?
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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17,400 Posts
Clunking from the back could be caused by worn out differential mounts.

As far as the slipping/erratic shifting, what is the service history on this transmission/how many miles, how long ago did these symptoms start???

I believe the '87 300E & '87 300D use the same 722.3 transmission.
 

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money pits of various forms
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5,885 Posts
The output flange will be different. I have a 87 300d trans that was pulled recently. I will consider single mother discounts having been raised by one myself. I believe greyhound shipping is economical enough as well.
 

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1987 300D
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick replies. I forgot a few critical points.

My car has 182k on it.

I've only owned it for two months so I don't have the complete mechanical history.

Another crucial bit of information that I forgot, was the fact that when they pulled the pan, it has fingernail size pieces of what I was told was clutch material. The tranny fluid in the pan did not smell burnt and there were no metal shaving. The mechanic did tell me that was a good sign.
 

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1987 300D
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the offer! Would you have a price and where would you be shipping from Winmutt?

Is the output flange something that could be changed?
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD/'90 300D/'94 Quattro/'89 Vanagon TDI/'01 EV Weekender VR6
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52,233 Posts
Whereabouts are you located here in the PNW? It sounds like you're in for a trans swap fo sho. I've heard that it might be possible to swap the valve body from the D to the E trans, but I'm not entirely sure about that. I have a couple spare D trannies if nothing else pans out.
 

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1987 300D
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'll do a bit of research on your valve body comment and see what I can find out.

I'm located west of Seattle on the Straits of Juan de Fuca...but will travel to get what I need to fix my car.

If you have a couple of spare trannies...could you tell me about them? Price, condition...etc. etc.

I love this website!!
 

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2013 E350 sedan, 2013 E350 cab, 1993 400E sold,1999 ML320
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2,436 Posts
Clunking I would have someone check the flex disc first, and the drive shaft carrier bearing. Not too many transmission clunk in 124's so Ive seen the either work or go with a whimper and just stop. I have seen from many that the connection between the transmission and the rear end causes clunking or like already mentioned subframe mounts for it, even the transmission mounts themselves and engine mounts. If none of them have ever been changed it you can do a search and see some people say metal to meatl when motor mounts fail causes clunking also.
 

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2,043 Posts
check your fluid level, i honestly only trust dealer's at this point.if your lucky the fluids low. a lot of mechanics are out of work (atleast in cincinnati), i found an ASE certified craigslist who did my shocks for $40 a piece and i know a few months ago a guy posted saying he was ase certified and could do rebuild transmissions for $1400.
 

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Premium Member
2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe
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9,992 Posts
Here is what I would do if I were you, and I did this myself last year.

You will need to do a little hunting. Prowl the junkyards in your area (though you do not specify what city) and try and find the same car that you have now, or close, that still has the tranny in it. Check the mileage and try and find one with relatively low miles on it. (Mine had 82k, low for a A/T). Then there are usually lot guys that crawl the lot looking for work. Teutone knew a couple of guys in my yard so it was easy. The JY charged me $90.00 for the used tranny with a ten day exchange policy. The guys only wanted $70.00 to pull it out, but I have them a hundred because they had it out in like 30 minutes.

Then, take it to your guy and ask him how much just to do the swap. Make sure you get the Torque Converter also when you get the tranny. My mechanic charged me $300.00 for the swap and had it done in four hours. If he doesn't want to do it for a reasonable price, start poking around for someone else. A tranny swap is not that hard if you have a lift and the tools. Most mechanics can do it competently, you just need to find someone that can meet your price.

Total for the job was less than $500.00. Now, some caveats. It's a used tranny with a ten day warranty, so... Chance there. Mine has been solid for 14 months. Second is trying to find the right one. We are in SoCal and have a good supply here of Benzes so it only took about an hour to find one. You may take more time.

But, this is a good temporary solution for a Mom in your situation if you can pull that off.

Also, if you want the service manuals, PM me your email and I will point you to them.

Just a thought.... I went down this exact road last year because I knew my motor was going to be replaced with a high HP motor, but I did not have the right specs yet because I was going to have a tranny built up to spec. But the tranny had other ideas. Now I am going to rebuild this one that's in the car now myself and do a DIY on it.
 

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1989 560 SEC - V-8 Kompressor - 95 E320 Estate
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2,006 Posts
I live in Woodinville,Wa and know of a tranny out of a 300E (89') that was recently rebuilt and then the car was totalled by the insurance company. The price for the tranny is $500. Don't know anything about if it would work on a 300D. I can get the part # of the tranny if there is any interest. Mike
 

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1987 300D
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again for all the replies!

I'll keep the tranny in mind Mike, especially if I find out if the 300e and 300d are compatible.

Does anyone know if the 300e and 300d (1987) transmission are compatible in any way??

I live in a pretty remote area in the PNW so I'll have to make a trip o in order to cff the peninsula to check wrecking yards but that's a great idea! The internet is a great place to start.
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD/'90 300D/'94 Quattro/'89 Vanagon TDI/'01 EV Weekender VR6
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52,233 Posts
You might try Aurora Auto wrecking, Campbell Nelson or Absolute German Auto wrecking in Seattle. The nice thing about them is that they can offer a guarantee.

I'm in Olympia. I have two of these trannies. One is the original from my '87 300TD and it shifted reasonably well, but it had about a 5 sec delay when shifting into reverse, which typically is a sign that it's on the way out. That one would only be useful as a "buy you time" bridge to a better version. The other one I bought 4 years ago off of a guy in Spokane. That one supposedly came from an '87 300D with around 150k. Completely unknown condition. I've been keeping it as a spare for the crappy 722.4 tranny in my '90 300D --> which leads me to the topic of appropriate years/models.

You have very limited options for this trans, as it was only available on the '86/'87 300SDL* (W126) and '87 300D/TD (124)--that's it, so don't let anybody try to convince you to use a 722.4 trans from a '90-'93 300D or '95 E300D. It still remains to be seen whether the 722.3 trans from a 6 cyl gasser can be used, but I think that's a longshot.


*The rear tail section would need to be swapped over from your trans, as the 126 uses an electronic speedometer pickup versus a mechanical gear.

[edit]I think there are a couple more options: The '90-'91 350SDL (W126) and '92-'95 350SD (W140) might also use the 722.3 trans, but the above note about swapping the tail section applies.
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe
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