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1981 380SL
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423 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have no shifting issues, it smells fine, does not seem to be discolored, and the level is fine (though there is a slow leak somewhere). However, I’ve owned the vehicle for four years now, and have never changed it, but believe it was done right before I picked it up (no record of this, however).

I’m not sure of the type of fluid that is in there currently, and I’m not inclined to go to the trouble to dump the torque converter, (unless y’all recommend doing so) so what fluid would I use? Multipurpose ATF?
 

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2007 ML320CDI, 1959 220SE, 1971 280SL, 1982 380SL
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710 Posts
Yes. Change it.! It is not difficult nor expensive but can go a long ways in the life of the transmission
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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2,291 Posts
Yep, no brainer. I'd actually flush it twice, as Rick said it can only help.
 

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1981 380SL
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423 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Can I use GlueckAuf's excellent writeup in the EGv107 with my 380SL's 722.304 transmission? The writeup (here) uses a 560SL with a 722.313 transmission.
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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2,291 Posts
If all you do is replace the oil then it's quite simple - remove the plug drain the oil, remove remaining bolts, drop the pan, clean it, replace the filter and then put it back together. I'd recommend checking your oil level before you drain it, and if it's at the correct level then replace the amount you drain - this is the quickest way to get to the correct level, trust me. :)
 

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1981 380SL
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423 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, miko. I was thinking I would go so far as to measure the amount that I drained and replace it with that amount, plus a couple of ounces to account for slow leak and check the level. I've replaced my single row chain and guides, and done some pretty intense jobs (just replaced (rebuilt) the steering coupler yesterday), but never touched a transmission in my life!

I had a 98 W210 that experienced sudden failure of the transmission, and I think that experience has left me with a bit of an irrational fear :)
 

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73 450 SLC, 99 SL500
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169 Posts
If you did the steering coupler and the timing chain, you won't have any problem with the ATF change!
 

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'88 560SL, '19 AMG E53 Cpe, '19 Audi e-tron, '53 MG TD, '35 Ford Cpe and a few more
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261 Posts
Just be sure that the transmission is up to proper temperature when checking before and after levels. I'd always just assumed that 5-10 miles was enough to get things stabilized but I found that it takes a lot longer after driving the wife's car that shows ATF temp. I've been using a temperature probe on my DVM lately for actual temperatures and it can take awhile, even on a 90 deg day.
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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2,291 Posts
You're very well versed frazier mechanically, and trust me ATF is a piece of cake compared to the jobs you listed just as @4wdave noted. Just remember to check the level first so that you know if what your level is - the difference between low and high marks is like a 150-200ml if I recall correctly so it's easier to get it right first time.

@lkfoster is on the money, I also found that driving the car for 10 miles / 15 mins is not enough to get ATF to the correct temp. So after I replace the ATF I take the old girl for a proper spin and check the level after driving for at least 40-50 mins.
 

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1989 W124 260E
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2,025 Posts
Would this car have T/Converter drain plug ,,if so for a full service , then T./ C drain plug will need removing to drain it 99% .And you will never get all the old oil out .About to do this on my W124 722.4 auto box . Just ordered 7 litres of Castrol Dex II Multi Vehicle ATF fluid for my 1989 auto / box. this was the fluid that mb used back in 1989 - DEXII .
 

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'88 560SL, '19 AMG E53 Cpe, '19 Audi e-tron, '53 MG TD, '35 Ford Cpe and a few more
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261 Posts
'88s have a TC drain plug. It can take a bit of spinning the TC to find it.
 

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1981 380SL
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423 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Wait, so does 81 380 not have a TC drain plug?

Also, Which fluid to use seems to be debatable (it always is!).

Mobile 1 full synthetic atf is not cheap. Dex II is okay to use? I’m all about using the correct, quality fluid, but you reach a point at which you are paying for brand and “peace of mind”... IMO, of course.
 

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'88 560SL, '19 AMG E53 Cpe, '19 Audi e-tron, '53 MG TD, '35 Ford Cpe and a few more
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261 Posts
I just used Dextron (don't recall which one) when I rebuilt the MIL's as the car doesn't get driven much, let alone under extreme conditions. Typically I always use Mobil 1 for everything that it's available for.

I should add to the temperature discussion. While it takes a long time to get up to temperature, it takes even longer to cool down to the level where it's comfortable to have it dripping onto body parts. And it will continue to drip for some time with the pan off.
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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2,291 Posts
I used Fuchs Titan 4000 and so far so good, I got 10l as the system was pretty much fully drained - I used 5,5l to replenish to max level, drove the car for a while, drained another 3,5l and topped up to max again. I left the outstanding 1l as a backup in case I need to top up etc.
 
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