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Discussion Starter #1
We have lot discussions about fluid replacement. Everybody has his personal preferences. Those who read my replies could figure out, that I am one of the guys, who prefers using the vehicles instead of washing and waxing them.
So my family has Mercedes vehicles with 240,000, 172,000 and 80,000 miles. Having lot of mechanical toys, I tend to neglect the recommended maintenance and prizing dry California weather I am getting away with it. My boat, motorhome, tractor gets oil changes on average 5 years intervals. Brake fluids work for 10 years without a problem. I continue experiment with keeping 30+ years old COMMERCIAL tire on my motorhome.
So getting to the point there are several ways owner deal with transmission fluid refreshing. Some drain 2 qt from the pan, what is about 25% and are happy with it. Some go for flushing, what doesn't change the filter and doesn't clean the bottom of the pan.
I was thinking about it, till Harbor Freight Tools had fluid exchangers for the price I could not refuse.
My general policy is "if you finally do it, do it right" so I went the route with dropping the pan, wiping it clean, changing the filter, putting fresh fluid in it and than do the flushing.
I tried to vacuum some fluid to avoid big splash, but the tube was just gargling. The plug in the pan was overtightened and didn't want to force it too much, since I was doing the job on the edge of my swimming pool, that I filled up last year, so some splash on the dirt wasn't any issue.
I will use this server for pictures, so it might take few steps to go thru all of them.
The pan had some nasty stuff in it. The bottom had fluid, that remind me more of 80-90 oils coming from differentials, than light tranny fluid. Look at the white towel soaked in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hooking up the machine was quite easy. After dropping the lower shields, all it took was disconnecting the radiator hose, screwing #6 connectors from the machine and attach hoses. There were just few drops of fluid coming from disconnected hoses, so not a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
FINAL CONCLUSIONS?

Does the car work better? The non-turbo diesel is still sluggish ;)
Transmission shift differently, what is not necessary better. The converter has much more noticeable slip on it, what makes cold morning shifting slightly smoother. I am driving lot in the mountains, using transmission for braking. Now braking is less efficient. I was satisfy with transmission work before and no change here.
The old filter come pretty clean. I am planning to cut it later for closer inspection. The way I did it seems to be quite efficient (I was a bit skeptic about pushing old fluid with new one without mixing both together). Now the dipstick show quite clear fluid.
IMHO I don't think the hassle of dropping the pan and changing the filter is worth it. Changing the fluid with the machine is easy job and quite efficient. I will probably do the filter on the car with 172k, since I already purchased it, but will probably do just the flush on ML with 80k. ... next year that is.
For proper flushing you need more fluid, than the transmission capacity. Machine eat some for the lines and filter. I used total of 12 qt for 8 qt transmission. Could use probably more, since I stopped machine because it run out of new fluid, while the one on return line wasn't totally clean yet.
 

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The gunk in the pan is consistant with what you would expect to find in a transmission that was causing no problems but had a lot of miles on it. The heavy stuff is worn material from the clutch packs that actually accomplish the actual gear changes. Since the transmission clutches are cooled by fluid rather than air like a manual gearbox the clutch "dust" has to go somewhere.

Although there should be sufficient fluid reserves to handle the particle build up well past the point the clutch packs wear out I still believe you will get a better service life out of the transmission if you flush that junk out before it starts to affect the quality of the gear shifting due to changes in the viscosity of the fluid from the foreign particle build-up.
 

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Kajtek - not that you are wrong and I'm right, but I personally would never run a flush machine through any transmission that has a drain on the torque converter. I feel that in order to properly drain the transmission fluid, you must change the filter and inspect and clean the bottom of the pan. If you are going to go that far, then one more drain plug on the torque converter and you're done. Now if I had a car with no torque converter drain, I might consider using a flush machine, but I'd still change the filter and clean the pan. Maybe I'm too old school, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

BTW, you didn't say anything about adding a pan magnet to your pan. Your car didn't come with one and it would be a good idea to add one. They only cost a couple of bucks.

I also believe that someone, either you or the next owner, is going to pay for the deferred maintenace on your vehicles, whether it be rusted out brake components due to old fluid, failing brakes or a blown tire at the most inopportune time, etc.

Len
 

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Hooking up the machine was quite easy. After dropping the lower shields, all it took was disconnecting the radiator hose, screwing #6 connectors from the machine and attach hoses. There were just few drops of fluid coming from disconnected hoses, so not a big deal.
KAJTEK1; Always look forward to your postings.
Looks like it all worked out for you.
For me? I did a Tranny Oil Change and noticed an Immediate improvement.
I will do it every 2-3 years, NTE 24,000 Miles.
It's for MY peace of mind. I keep a logbook on repairs on my Cars, Bikes, Boats etc and learn what is called for in Factory Maintenance.
I go one better than Factory, either in Quality of Components or the Mileage
point of Scheduled Maintenance.

If your OK with it; heck; i'm OK with it too!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now if I had a car with no torque converter drain, I might consider using a flush machine, but I'd still change the filter and clean the pan. Maybe I'm too old school, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

BTW, you didn't say anything about adding a pan magnet to your pan. Your car didn't come with one and it would be a good idea to add one. They only cost a couple of bucks.

I also believe that someone, either you or the next owner, is going to pay for the deferred maintenace on your vehicles, whether it be rusted out brake components due to old fluid, failing brakes or a blown tire at the most inopportune time, etc.

Len
Believe me I was thinking about pulling the plug on the converter, but first it is a hassle and doing that in dirt pit is not the most convenient, second I wanted to test the machine I was using first time in my life. I have other cars with no plug, so this is testing for the future as well. As I mention, I am satisfy with the efficiency of the flush and as I tried to prove on the pictures, there is no real need for the magnet.
As for "paying for the deferred maintenance in the future". My motorhome is 36 years old. All I am expecting from it is another 20 years. And frankly I don't care if somebody is going to have problems with it after that. The 30+ year old tire is on lift-able tag axle, so even if it blows, all I need is a push of the button to lift it and continue on my way.
Actually I just purchased vintage Airstream trailer with original 1965 tires. I inflated them to 80 psi for test and they hold. Will give them a test drive, before disposing split rims.
 

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Back to the original topic, what is your take on lifetime tranny fluid? Leave it alone and transmission sealed up?
 

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I'd like to hear what Kajtek1 says is his final conclusion too. One of his posts had the subject "FINAL CONCLUSIONS?" which to me (due to the ?) means he has not come to any final conclusion.

For me, and if we plan to keep our cars past 100,000 or so, I think a transmission service of some kind is better than nothing at all. People have written on other threads that even the dealers have changed their minds, but I think are advising a service at differing mileages. MB will never officially change their policy because that would expose them (I assume in the form of a class action suit) to paying for a lot of new or rebuilt transmissions for customers who "followed the rules" and did not service their trannys.
 

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this has been a question for the ages, I have 68k on my mb and think its too soon to change the fluid, maybe at 100k but I want to have a backup plan like trading it in on another MB if things go south after the fluid change
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I probably won't get solid conclusion till I do the 172k transmission.
So following up on the 240k. As far as I can say the transmission was never serviced.
I followed up and cut the filter open. It shows some metal shavings, but they are non-ferrous -magnet is not picking them up. Looks like aluminum. The filter on the picture is pretty clean. I just let the oil drip from it so what you see is what it originally collected what is very little dirt. The next picture shows the new fluid after 100 miles. Evidently new fluid washed some dirt from hidden places in transmission on longer drive, since after just a test drive the fluid was way cleaner. Also the exchange had to come with lot of air bubbles that took some time to clear out. I had to add fluid 3 times on the first 20 miles.
At this point my satisfaction with the exchange dropped. The new fluid doesn't look much better than the old one. One more prove that you can't judge oil by its look. I like the result of putting lower-viscosity fluid, what makes the lower power diesel picking up faster, but other than lower viscosity, I don't see why the change would be needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The results were one of the posts on my "Email from MBUSA about transmission service".
How DARE you send me on the search in 250 replies topic ;)
It is on page 9.
Your results showed some metal in the fluid as well as overheating and blow by. Viscosity was tested normal. My visual inspection after 240k shows viscosity change, while very little mechanical residues. Don't think overheating and blow by applies to my car. Regardless recommendation for replacement, your fluid was showing contaminations well below universal averages on most of the points.
I still might send my sample, since the fluid is still in recycle bottles, but I already changed it, so what would be the point?
 

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Thank you Kajtek1

How DARE you send me on the search in 250 replies topic ;)
It is on page 9.
Your results showed some metal in the fluid as well as overheating and blow by. Viscosity was tested normal. My visual inspection after 240k shows viscosity change, while very little mechanical residues. Don't think overheating and blow by applies to my car. Regardless recommendation for replacement, your fluid was showing contaminations well below universal averages on most of the points.
I still might send my sample, since the fluid is still in recycle bottles, but I already changed it, so what would be the point?
LOL, sorry! I thought after posting that I should have copy/pasted a link to that one post. Thanks for looking it up, and giving us the page number. :)

I think you are correct with "what would be the point?" I wanted to know what my numbers were and as someone on that thread pointed out, Blackstone measures in PPM, and parts per million is a pretty darn small unit. We also agree that my numbers were not bad for 58,000 miles. It will cost you $20 plus shipping to Indiana but I thought that was worth it. On next oil change, I'm going to send a sample of that to them too, because you might remember my car uses oil so I want to look at metal content to see if rings or cylinder walls might be going bad . I don't know if they can evaluate valves based on metal content or other particulates.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Every test is subject to evaluation. I used Blackstone for testing oil on my motorhome.
With 26 quarts we are talking different kind of money here. It come with "no problems" evaluation, so I just spend money to confirm what I already knew ;)
Testing oils can be very helpful when they find silica (sand) in your oil, what will tell you that you have leaks in the air filtering system.
Than you didn't notify Blackstone what MB requirements are for the oil, so their opinion is based on comparing what.... exactly ???
 

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...Than you didn't notify Blackstone what MB requirements are for the oil, so their opinion is based on comparing what.... exactly ???

I talked to the lab tech who personally ran my sample but I cannot remember touching on the answer to your question. I think they compare your sample with all of the other samples they have run, and if they are doing their job correctly, should have obtained some parameters directly from Daimler.

However, remember we are dealing with a murky issue here: MBUSA continues to state that we do not need to service the 722.6 transmissions so what numbers are they willing to provide an independent lab, if they are willing to give them anything?

If you are referring to motor oil, MBUSA should be very willing to provide those paramters until they decide our motor oil is lifetime too ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Their sample bottles only hold I think 4 oz. but I think they require 2 oz. for testing.
Making fun of me???
When replacing big amount of oil you will be willing much faster to spend $25 on oil testing, than while replacing $40 of oil. Big engines like in ships change the oil based on testing only. With thousands of $$$ cost that is the only making sense. MB engines in our cars supposable have oil testing sensor. I am skeptic about it, but that is what the hotline says.
What I was getting at test evaluation to was, that the Blackstone recommendation for fluid change was based on higher than "usual" insolubles. But they based their averages on all fluids they test and have no idea what MB requirements are. Maybe MB have a feature allowing much more insolubles than other cars? Judging from their lifetime recommendation they definitely have some edge here.
Bottom line, you wouldn't take advice from Chevy, or Jeep owner how to drive your Mercedes, would you?
 
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