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Super Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,224 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well my wife drives the ML 95% of the time. So tonight I take it for a spin
because next week I get to use the rack at the shop for 4-5 days.
I am doing a few critical items and have the parts for them, but now a
new shifter issue she claims she did not even know about.

The shifter goes from R to N to D just fine. It will not go go to the left of D
when pushed left and go into 4 and obviously 3,2,1. I can not find a reason
for this. Nothing shows up on the SDS scan I just ran.

Is it just a worn linkage issue? If so I can get the parts at a local dealer overnight
so I can get it fixed while it is on the rack.

Just looking for opinions as to possible causes so I am prepared for the worst
as long as I am doing the other stuff.

Things being done are center support drive shaft bearing, right rear wheel
bearing, trans flush, oil change, OEM sunroof air deflector, timing cover
update and new gasket, and D pillar trim replacement.
I have all the parts I need for the items listed, I am hoping it is just a worn
linkage bushing or something like it for the shifter issue.
Seeing as the SDS came back clean I doubt it is an internal problem, but one
never knows with these things. I really need it working in the snow here.
I use low range and drop it into 1st gear to bully the truck through some
of the 2-3' drifts we get here, I don't want it in D while in low range and
have shift to 2nd gear which will induce wheel spin and make it much harder to
cut through the drifts.
Thanks
 

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Premium Member
02 ML320 06 ML500
Joined
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17,154 Posts
Read the pdf and you will get a better understanding of the system. You are going to have to remove the shifter mechanism.
 

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Super Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,224 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Ouch. That looks like no fun at all.

Care to venture a guess which item failed from the second PDF?
66 Gearshift rod
68a Intermediate lever
68b Locking lever
68c Cylindrical pin
68d Cylindrical pin

I am on EPC net trying to find the parts right now.
Thank you for the help.
 

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Super Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,224 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Okay looked up some procedures. I have never had to take the console apart, but it
looks like it is going to have to come apart to get the shifter out.
So I remove the plastic shifter surround. Take apart the console much like doing window
switches and remove the wood trim to expose the shifter. Then remove the fasteners from
the top and then the linkages at the bottom and I will have the shifter out.
I can't tell if I have to mess around with the interlock cables and remove them or if they
are just in the trans.
I do see I have to remove the electronic gear selector wire clip from the trans.

It is the D-4 lockout and I have to tear apart a lot of the shifter I may opt to just
get a new shifter which is about $300. Time is crucial and if that will save me 2-3 hours
then I may just do that and adjust the linkages to fit the new one then keep the old one for
spare parts.

I hate these surprises, but at 12 model years old and over 234k miles I know they will
pop up. I am comfortable doing all the other stuff listed, but there are a lot of parts
in that shifter and I have no experience with them. I might as well be trying to clean
a Rolex watch. If I have a dealer do it I am screwed. The labor would go past the price
of the shifter.
 

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Premium Member
02 ML320 06 ML500
Joined
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17,154 Posts
Ouch. That looks like no fun at all.

Care to venture a guess which item failed from the second PDF?
66 Gearshift rod
68a Intermediate lever
68b Locking lever
68c Cylindrical pin
68d Cylindrical pin

I am on EPC net trying to find the parts right now.
Thank you for the help.
Noodles, who knows what it is. The object of the exercise is to remove the shifter and see why it isn't working. Maybe it is frozen (not seized) in place from non use.
 

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Super Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,224 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Point taken. It has been months since I used the shifter from D-4.
I can get the parts over night so I will look at it first and make it the first task
on the list seeing as the others are fairly routine.
 

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Premium Member
02 ML320 06 ML500
Joined
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17,154 Posts
Point taken. It has been months since I used the shifter from D-4.
I can get the parts over night so I will look at it first and make it the first task
on the list seeing as the others are fairly routine.
You can put the shifter back and leave the console off and still use the truck., while awaiting parts.
 

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Super Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,224 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I will do that if it comes to that.

I emailed the list to my wholesale parts person at the dealership and luckily all of them
are in Chicago and will come next day in a regular order if placed before 1pm. That is
if I need any. I am hoping your theory that it may just need to be freed up is all it is.
After reading the posts in the W210 section about the shifter I am much more comfortable
doing this job.
I will post back the resolution of the problem and what if any parts failed.
Thanks again, I am grateful for all you do in the W163 forum.
 

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Super Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,224 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to 43 the fix was simple and no parts needed.

Did not even have to remove the shifter. The sub zero temps were part of the issue.
We noticed it was almost freed up after warming up on the lift for a few hours.
So we popped the console and then for giggles I tried to move it to 4. It almost went in.
So we used a safe spray lube and shot some in there. It was then working. Added a bit
more for good measure and it is like new again.
 
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