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2002 C230k Coupe
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Hi guys,

Needed help again! Some of you may remember me from a while ago... on this thread:
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w203-c-class/1635257-2002-c230k-transmission-problem.html

Summary: Basically Girlfriend's C230k had transmission problem. Dealer said $7000 rebuild. I changed ATF and everything back to 100% normal. Had drove it for about 1,400 miles, everything silky smooth. Plan to replace the radiator at some point just to be safe.

So, yesterday the girlfriend decided to take the car to the dealership and get a quote... (after all my work to fix it, she now wants to sell it...) she got a price, picked the car back up, and less than 30 miles later the engine started having this painful whining sound. She asked me to look into it, and as soon as I pull the the car into the garage a big puddle of ATF fluid formed on the floor. It's not dripping, it's pouring out. Something is definitely wrong. Stopped the vehicle, jacked it up, remove panel, and found this. (see attached images.)

Couple other observations:

1. ATF level suddenly seems ridiculously high... I've checked it a few times since I changed the ATF, it has always been a tag high but within the "80c" block. Tonight, it was WAY over... The level actually got pass the plastic part of the dipstick, into the metal coil portion. And I am pretty sure the fluid isn't anywhere near 80c... All I did was drive to the next block and come back. Like 200 yards if that. The engine might had ran for 3-4 minutes.

2. Coolant level seems normal; can't remember exactly where it was but there was no "drastic" change.

3. Whining noise seems to be synchronous with engine speed, tested with the tranny at neutral.

4. No leak around the Tranny pan gasket. Double checked it.

5. This is the same dealership that told us we need a transmission rebuild. She originally thought the quote would be quick, but was told the service department need to give it a "thorough inspection". They had her vehicle for close to an hour.

So... what's that rubber cap with a small hole that her ATF is gushing out? Any recommendation what to check first? I hate to be wearing tin-foil hats but this just feels too much of a coincident...

Thanks!!



Wallace
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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That is an access opening for the the torque converter drain plug. Some torque converters have a drain plug (you do have to rotate the driveshaft so you can line up the plug with this access opening). If this is transmission fluid and not oil, my guess is that the pilot bearing seal where the torque converter attaches to the shaft has failed. The reason for the high fluid level on the dipstick is because it is foaming. This is often accompanied by pump failure and a few other internal parts that pretty much end up being "catastrophic".
 

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2002 C230k Coupe
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Discussion Starter #4
That is an access opening for the the torque converter drain plug. Some torque converters have a drain plug (you do have to rotate the driveshaft so you can line up the plug with this access opening). If this is transmission fluid and not oil, my guess is that the pilot bearing seal where the torque converter attaches to the shaft has failed. The reason for the high fluid level on the dipstick is because it is foaming. This is often accompanied by pump failure and a few other internal parts that pretty much end up being "catastrophic".
Ohhhh crap... I take that this is going to be a pricy repair and not one that I can DIY?

It is almost certainly transmission fluid, it's red and smells like ATF. (After having ATF dumped all over my face changing her ATF, I have a distinct memory of it... In fact my hair probably still smells like ATF right now.)
 

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2010 C200 CGI /W203/SLK230/W202/230E/280SE
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Just a thought before you trip off to the dealer for a wallet enema, could it be that the torque converter drain plug is either leaking or dropped out? - it's a long shot (your model may not even have a drain plug) - I'm guessing that if the drain plug is out you would lose all the fluid in about 1 minute.

I often had bad dreams about the possibility of that drain plug loosening every time I did an ATF change on my old SLK

Good luck

Oberoi
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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^^^ +1

The TQ drain plug was deleted, but I can't remember when. I am pretty sure the late 1990's model 722.6 transmission still had the drain, but I am thinking my 2001 W163 didn't have it. It's worth a shot - remove the plastic cover on the access port so you can see the TQ, then rotate the engine all the way around to check for the drain plug (it's tiny - about the diameter of a pencil). The best way to do this is lie on your back, with your feet toward the rear of the car and your head under the access port, eyes looking at the TQ. You should be able to reach the front of the engine with your arms extended over your head, and using a socket wrench on the main driveshaft pulley, gently rotate the engine, in the operating direction. Some people will remove the spark plugs, but with a long enough wrench, you should be fine. (Of course all caveats apply - be careful working under the vehicle!)
 

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The T/C plug disappeared on the SLKs about mid 2000 when the facelift model came out - I thought I'd read somewhere that it may have been re instated at some point? (or would that be too good to be true!!!!)

Oberoi
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I kind'a doubt a leaking plug would drip that fast; the amount of fluid coming out is astonishing - just rough guess, I can fill a coffee mug in about 2 minutes with the engine running. Also there is that whining sound... here is a video posted in response to my other thread (on MBWorld.org), it's is pretty much exactly how mine sounds:


New T/C? How much would it cost and what's the chance I can DIY?

Actually, the big question right now is fix or scrap... the vehicle is worth maybe $5k "running", dealer will pay $1000 as-is. 79,000 miles. If this is going to be a money pit, we may be better off towing it to a junk yard. Right now I've only sink about $500 into the car, we can still walk away without (her wallet) getting hurt...



W.
 

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@oberoi - the plug came back on the 722.9. I am not sure of it ever cam back on the 722.6

@WallaceLau - it does sound like the seal (and probably the pump) has failed. I'd still check - just in case - to see if it has a TQ drain plug. While that plug doesn't seem like it could leak a lot, keep in mind that the TQ is spinning at engine RPM, so the centrifugal force can rally push oil out of a small leak. But again, that noise, and the leak is typical of the bearing seal failure.
 
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