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Discussion Starter #1
My life in my previous home state was a bit different. I was a career bachelor. I knew many people and where to get things done. Since moving, the birth of my first who had very bad digestive issues and then my second I have not, suffice it to say, made the inroads in my new home town. So here I sit. As I look at the forums I don't see a list of tested and reputable local repair shops. Realizing my 722.4 on my V140 needs a rebuild I need to perform a CBA before deciding if I will do the work (doubtful) AND how much it's going to cost IN MY AREA to get the job done. I'm not looking for estimates from people not in the twin cities are for this job. The cost of things here is inexplicably and quantifiably more expensive. My guess is that there isn't enough competition- more my feeling.
So I am starting this thread. I ask a person to post, if it's allowed, their experience and recommendations as well as service and cost.

SO long as one posts in X location (insert city) and fills in the rest of the above that will serve the purpose of this thread best.

Cheers.
 

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600 coupe, one of the very first built
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The shops that I found in the above forum link, which were in my area, were either ridiculously expensive, or, I didn't get a good vibe from talking to the owners, that I decided to man up, buy some tools and SDS, and learn how to work on my car. This includes transmission and minor engine work, as well as troubleshooting various w140 quirks

I am sorry that my response is not encouraging, but I don't like to sugar-coat things.

Good luck (I am very sympathetic to your situation since I am also a father of two young kids and relatively new to my small town)
 

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Discussion Starter #3

The shops that I found in the above forum link, which were in my area, were either ridiculously expensive, or, I didn't get a good vibe from talking to the owners, that I decided to man up, buy some tools and SDS, and learn how to work on my car. This includes transmission and minor engine work, as well as troubleshooting various w140 quirks

I am sorry that my response is not encouraging, but I don't like to sugar-coat things.

Good luck (I am very sympathetic to your situation since I am also a father of two young kids and relatively new to my small town)

Great reply! That's exactly the reason I started this string. Would you care to share the town and place of your experience?
 

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'99 S420 116K
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You didn't state exactly WHERE you are located, the year model of your V140, mileage on the vehicle, etc.
I'll tell you what may be helpful, however. I live in Sarasota, Fl. Down heah, you can expect $120/hr in labor costs, there are numerous "shops" specializing in repairs of German cars, they are knowledgeable, nice folks, and the work gets done properly.
I should say also that the "FIX" for many of these transmissions seems to be a thorough POWER flush with a machine that completely evacuates the fluid and replaces the fluid till it runs clear, so to speak, AND replacement of the conductor plates(they crack and malfunction). This procedure, although pricey, $600+ can save you from rebuilding the entire transmission in some cases. I've seen the machine, I've discussed this with folks that had this done, and I completely trust the man doing the work.
Good Luck! (y)
Al
 

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You didn't state exactly WHERE you are located, the year model of your V140, mileage on the vehicle, etc.
If one reads the OP closely, there is a sentence that says "Twin Cities"
Also, the transmission type is given as 722.4, which is the older style hydromatic and a strong indicator that the model is pre facelift

What is the engine and MY -- I had to look in the archives:

I'm not that familiar with the w140. This is a '95 S420. All my experience is on 107 and 126 chassis so I'm not as familiar with everything on the "great leap forward" that the 140 is.
Most "Euro"-shops have rates in the hundreds these days. For a tranny rebuild, this is easily $2500-3000 out of the door. Probably exceeds the "value" of the car.
 

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'99 S420 116K
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If one reads the OP closely, there is a sentence that says "Twin Cities"
Also, the transmission type is given as 722.4, which is the older style hydromatic and a strong indicator that the model is pre facelift

What is the engine and MY -- I had to look in the archives:



Most "Euro"-shops have rates in the hundreds these days. For a tranny rebuild, this is easily $2500-3000 out of the door. Probably exceeds the "value" of the car.
Twin Cities in my mind is "up yonder" somewhere near Canada, Minnesota?

My point was if you just wanna rebuild the tranny, or insert a rebuilt unit based on mileage, it may not be needed IF you seek an alternative repair plan. Having discussed this issue ad nauseum with several other enthusiasts I've concluded that $600-1000 for a one day repair beats a week or two in a shop and $2-3000 dollar repair, which, as you mentioned, may exceed the value of the car.

I don't know if this particular tranny is a candidate, and there may be some, like my NJ friend, Hamada, that wouldn't do a power flush, but I PERSONALLY was very impressed with what I've seen and discussed with the folks that did this.

The OP didn't discuss what specific issues he is experiencing, but I assume he knows what he's talking about and is capable of wrenching the vehicle himself. It is MY UNDERSTANDING that the complete rebuilds are often unnecessary, and that the internal valving is what goes bad, more so than the bands/gearing.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OP here-
722.4 in a W140, which I think I posted this but with the update to the forum I could be mistaken, began with the W140 and ended in M/Y 1996.
This is a 1995 S420 (you are correct).
Twin Cities- I guess there is more than one. I have heard Tampa/ St. Pete called that (once in my over 2 decades of association with that area) so I am referring to the Canada Minnesota one! MSP (Minneapolis St. Paul).
Great information all! Especially the "don't do a power flush". NOT TO GET INTO THAT HERE ON THIS THREAD because I am hoping that we can stick to the "what was wrong with my car, who fixed it, how much and good or bad" string theory. ;) BUT I think that can be said a million times and still not be enough! SO don't power flush and old transmission! It could remove stuff that holding stuff together and create bigger problems.
LOVE SARASOTA! It was a retirement/ farming community for a very long time- has grown up nicely. (reverse that for earlier years)

My car never had reverse. B3 brake band...ish... without tearing it down.

I can and DO wrench but have never gotten into the planetary gears- in my mind that task is from another planet entirely. I know I probably CAN do it but would need (more) correct tools and a clean space to do the work. C L E A N. Internals like a transmission are funny about debris. I would want to be able to start the job and finish it in one go- not have to come back to it. My current full time gig (safety, security and education of my offspring) is my priority and nudges it's cute head in the middle of everything these days. I figure sense I'm in my 5th decade I might as well and enjoy this ride.

I WOULD LOVE for US to able to share with confidence the shops we have had the pleasure of using. I'm interested in the work meaning "did they do a good job" AND NOT where they someone you'd have coffee with. Many mechanics did not win the "most popular" contest in high school. My dad did and started his Toyota Lexus service center in 1977 and I know for sure that many people didn't find him too popular- but his work was irreplaceable.

All of you have written excellently. Not that I'm grading here but I do want to stick to the aforementioned. My apologies if I was not specific enough or to ones liking in my OP. I believe and hope I've correct that here to satisfaction.

My dad had a slogan painted on his building (by me)- "Satisfaction Guaranteed". That was a sign of the times and one could not write that today- you'd get sued. It did not carry over to the new location BUT is the premise to this thread: WHERE YOU SATISFIED?

FOR ME PERSONALLY: I fixed my no shift from 2nd issue by draining the cooler (disconnecting the cooler line on the send side to the lower part of the trans- for those that don't know what that means), turning the engine with a 27mm socket and finding the 5mm hex bolt to the torque converter (by looking through the peep hole standing at under the trans. pan looking towards the engine as the TC rotated clockwise), drained the trans fluid and replaced the filter. THE SHARDS of soft metal I found in my filter tell me RESOUNDINGLY that I will need a rebuild soon!

I have not found a place to have work done here. In fact I have found only 1 place with ample supply what is needed to continue the life of these cars. I realize as typing this I need to share that- here'goes.

FOR THE BETTER PART OF 4 YEARS I searched for a replacement to the parts resources I had in Las Vegas, NV. I was continually disappointed. Then one day I found a place 45 minutes away. It is an entire yard of European cars. I was happy. My initial experience was one of utter glee. The product was good (I pulled it) and the price was fair. But as I continued going the prices changed. I found I would ask about a price and would not be quoted one until a seemingly extensive internet search was complete. The prices jumped exponentially. I found I was buying things that I could find on the internet for the same price. I realize there are a lot of comments that can be made about the decision to buy local so please refrain from that. It is not my point here. My point is that I continued to shop there. Finally I needed a windshield for a W126. I selected on with a Mercedes logo on it. They pulled it. They brought it to my car and I found that the $100.00 was fair. They gauranteed the part from defect (easy because it's glass) with a full refund backing. When my installer came to inspect he told me, "It's delaminating here in the corner and will be a problem in the future." In addition I found that the glass was of the Guardian brand and not Mercedes. I was told that there would be few mm difference in thickness and "could" create air leak issues. I called the yard. I was told by the person that sold and guaranteed the product that they "would not take it back" and would not give me a refund. I asked to speak to the manager. The owner, Brian, eventually called me back and reiterated that statement. He lamented about the fact that he pulled the window his self and would not be offering a new one because "It would open up another car to the elements". I was flabbergasted. I pointed out that I have 8 other cars from '73 -'91 and will be spending a lot MORE money. He replied to that statement of fact with a cynically sarcastic, "Yeah. Can you put that in writing?" - a further astonishment to me. Finally he offered a refund but a 20% restocking fee- which was new to this agreement but would not offer a replacement. I hung up and decided to never do business with them, to include the 1 1/2 hour round trip to return the window to loose 20 bucks. I also refrained from posting about my experience BECAUSE it is a small business. I did read yelp comments and there were not any at the time that where negative. I read 2 comments this week that are more inline with my experience.
The above are incontrovertible facts. They are absolute. I have excluded as much personal conjecture as possible. This is my experience at Hans Import Auto with the staff to include their owner, Brian.
 

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Well written, OP!
You seem to have a handle on this matter, good to hear. Not your 1st rodeo, eh?(Canadian exclamation added for color).

Mechanics tend to run arrogant and salty, often with that junkyard rudeness you described in your windshield experience."I know what I know, and if YOU know anything different then YOU are wrong!" Ha, ha, ha. You may also see some of that in these forums, too.

Over in the W124 forum they rave about a California tranny rebuilder, sends your rebuilt, you send your core back... around $2k. God save the Queen, but it's up to us to save these W140's.

Good Luck!
Al, from Sarasota where it's unbearably hot, mosquito infested, alligators eating old ppl, small children, and white dogs, red tide year around, flesh eating bacteria everywhere, unbearable traffic, rude visitors from every corner of the planet... don't move down heah, you will hate it!.(Just kidding, no hate mail please!).:cool:
 

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As mentioned above per @LogicalPosition, I considered the Sun Valley rebuild option when I was having issues with losing reverse in my W201/190e few years ago, then I found a low mileage transmission online and my local mechanic charged me $400 to remove the old unit and install the new one, total cost was around $1200 including fluids.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
To restate: The reason for the string is to state affirmatively the experience we each have had with local repair shops. That is different than the above string. That string seems to simply state local shops.
 

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Thank you Hamada128! I have "heard of" Sun Valley. Thank you more for the personal experience sharing! $1200.00 is reasonable... unless you're comparing to other makes! ;) Cheers!

As mentioned above per @LogicalPosition, I considered the Sun Valley rebuild option when I was having issues with losing reverse in my W201/190e few years ago, then I found a low mileage transmission online and my local mechanic charged me $400 to remove the old unit and install the new one, total cost was around $1200 including fluids.

 

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To restate: The reason for the string is to state affirmatively the experience we each have had with local repair shops. That is different than the above string. That string seems to simply state local shops.
True but the y have been recommended by Benz owners.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah. We all know that. Please stop redirecting this string to something it is not about. If you have a personal experience with a shop you can share post that. Otherwise you're getting off point- something that is done all to often in forums. Thanks.
 

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if the trans is not slipping, don't rebuild it.
if it IS slipping, change fluid/filter and pan gasket.
if it still has issues, source a used transmission from a junkyard.
if you do find one, it may only be in the 250-500 range, and may last a long, long time.
keep the original trans, when you eventually find a good shop, take it to them as a "bench rebuild" job
then save it as a spare bullet, if the other one starts acting up
if you have friends, have them help you switch it out.
 

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Agreed on the advice. Although the purpose of this thread is to list work down, by whom and what the experience the input is welcomed. Do read the the purpose of this thread.
The trans in this car has not had reverse since I've owned it. I will stress here DO NOT FLUSH YOUR TRANSMISSION on an old transmission as it could make things much worse. No slipping. Did find shards in filter and fluid. Drained cooler and TC as well. ALSO OF NOTE: this also fixed the cruise control intermittent failure.
 

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when I was a young man, any older car I owned, or a customer's car I'd be working on, the transmission would be sent out to a local trans rebuild shop, as a matter of course, during any major engine teardown or rebuild. if the car had over 100,000 miles on it that was just the thing to do, budgets permitting.
flushing a trans is a "hail mary" move done by the transmission specialty chains, it also generates a good deal of revenue for an otherwise useless procedure. the theory behind it is, if a piece of dirt or metal or clutch lining is stuck somewhere in the valve body or lines, flushing it will push it out. considering the very tight clearances inside a valve body, there is almost a zero percentage chance of this actually working.
if reverse it not working, either a clutch pack, servo, drum seal, band, valve in valve body, etc. is defective, stuck, or broken, etc. a trans repair technician would find it almost instantly once the trans was torn down. all the mystery would disappear. the trans is disassembled until it's an empty shell you can see through like a tunnel, and all the parts cleaned, laid out on a table, and closely visually inspected. there it is, plain as day, burned clutch discs, torn or deteriorated seals, a valve in the valve body stuck fast or burred, valve body fill with metal or dirt, etc. occasionally they will find what's called a "hard part" damaged, and have to buy it separately, as these don't come in the regular trans rebuild kit. sometimes those hard parts are discontinued, and they must buy another complete junk trans, just to get a drum, input/output shaft, front pump, etc.
the fact of the matter is, at this point you rebuild the entire transmission, because "you're already in there". return it to like new specs. bite the bullet and pay up. the downside is, the cost. think of it as a surgeon doing open heart on a patient, notices the gall bladder is diseased, and removes the gall bladder before stitching the patient back up. (that happened to my uncle btw)
a good secondary approach is, chuck a used trans in there that is still working, from a wreck or rusted out or otherwise abandoned vehicle.
 
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