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It was fun while it lasted
2002 ML320, 2005 S430 4MATIC RIP, 2010 F150 Crew Cab
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11,143 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm wanting to change my transmission fluid, mainly because most everyone I have discussed this with says it should be done regardless of Mercedes' claims that the tranny on my ML 430 is maintainence free! Now I'm hearing from a few that it could cause the transmission to fail since the dirty fluid allows the transmission to have more friction to pull than with clean fluid. I have 128,000 miles on it and I'm experiencing no problems with the performance. But after seeing the fluid in my transfer case, I'd really like to change it before I take my next trip! Opinions please!! Has anyone had a failure after a fluid change?
 

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98 ML320
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97 Posts
I'd really like to change it before I take my next trip! Opinions please!! Has anyone had a failure after a fluid change?

I definitely think you should change the oil. One thing to remember, even if you drain the pan and the converter, as I did, you get about 7 quarts out. You will be leaving 4-5 quarts of old oil in the system. This may soften the shock of changing the oil. I plan to change it again with 30,000 miles on the oil.

I changed my 98 ML320's fluid and filter at 123,800 because it was shifting sluggishly, and a couple times did not even go down to first gear. I found a few small metal shavings in the pan and I cut open the filter and found some more. Probably 10ml or less solids. The oil didn't look too bad but how do you estimate shear strength and other oil qualities?

I used the factory filter and Mobil 1 ATF (about half the price of MB synthetic). That was 12,000 miles and 9 months ago. The trans is working perfectly and hasn't missed a shift that I know of.

I didn't have a dipstick so I weighed the oil I drained out and put in the same amount. As an afterthought, I should have just used any engine dipstick after normalizing the trans temperature, make a mark where the level was, and return the oil level to that mark.

I say do it!

Jim in Phoenix
 

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2000 ML430
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657 Posts
cmitchprint - 4/14/2005 11:06 PM

I'm wanting to change my transmission fluid, mainly because most everyone I have discussed this with says it should be done regardless of Mercedes' claims that the tranny on my ML 430 is maintainence free! Now I'm hearing from a few that it could cause the transmission to fail since the dirty fluid allows the transmission to have more friction to pull than with clean fluid. I have 128,000 miles on it and I'm experiencing no problems with the performance. But after seeing the fluid in my transfer case, I'd really like to change it before I take my next trip! Opinions please!! Has anyone had a failure after a fluid change?
I say change it. I had my dealer change mine at 100K miles. I have driven about 4000K miles and no problems.
 

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04G55AMG,08R320CDI
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371 Posts
I had the dealer change the transmission fluid and diff fluid (I would have done the Tcase but it was changed when they replaced the Tcase). They changed my Trans and diff at 172,000KM. It shifted noticeably smoother after the change. I have put on about 17,000KM since the change no problems.

I would say go for it
 

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It was fun while it lasted
2002 ML320, 2005 S430 4MATIC RIP, 2010 F150 Crew Cab
Joined
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11,143 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
To: jFreezn, BULLDOG and Swizzles,
Thanks for your replies[:)] I feel a whole lot better knowing you have all had good luck with your fluid changes. I'll give it a swing and hope for the best.
One question for jFreezn:
How did you get the fluid back in after putting the filter and pan on? Isn't the fill plug too close to the underbody of the vehicle to get a funnel or nozzle bottle in it?
 

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'05 ML350 & '08 E350
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82 Posts
I recently had all fluids (trans, f & r diffs, transfer case, brake, coolant, engine oil) changed at 68K as part of my "B" service. I also had a magnet installed in the trans pan. 3K later all is good and smooth. With a total bill of $925, IMHO this is very inexpensive insurance.
 

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98 ML320
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97 Posts
cmitchprint - 4/15/2005 7:56 PM

One question for jFreezn:
How did you get the fluid back in after putting the filter and pan on? Isn't the fill plug too close to the underbody of the vehicle to get a funnel or nozzle bottle in it?
The dipstick tube is well away from the firewall on my 98 ML 320. No problem using a small funnel I made from cutting off one end of an old metal fuel filter. The 3/8" barbed connector fit perfectly in the dipstick tube.

Jim In Phoenix
 

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Mercedes "M32"
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961 Posts
I'm getting mine done on Tues .. $225 for everything. I hope it all works out !!
 
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