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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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Discussion Starter #1
The plot thickens! I drove the car cold this morning for the first time and had some things come up. This is the same 95 E320 Wagon I posted on earlier regarding (175,000 miles with wiring harness just replaced, MAF sensor replaced, pretty good condition overall). The transmission seemed to be slipping a bit. Going from gear to gear There was definitely some slippage going on. But then, after the car was warm, the slipping went away almost completely. I took the dipstick out and smelled the fluid and it definitely smelled burnt. The thing is, the trans fluid looks newer and so I think the smell may be from some of the older fluid that mixed in with the new. In either case, the level was down about a quart. Could that cause the transmission to slip like this only being down a quart? Also, I figured out the wiper fluid does not come out (I don't even hear the motor going, is this common to go out?) and when I turned on the wiper blade it went for a few swipes and then just completely quit working. Checked fuses and they all look good. So, probably looking at replacing the wiper motor as well which is $100 plus a few hours labor that I don't mind putting in.

But...the Mercedes mechanics I spoke with said the following about the transmission issue:
"you can probably get another 3 years out of this transmission if we flush out all the fluid and put in some new fluid in with a conditioner"

Does this sound right to you folks? 175,000 miles on the original transmission. What exactly inside these transmissions fails?

In light of the fact I will probably have to replace or rebuild the transmission in the next 3 years, do you still think $3000 is reasonable given the condition of the rest of the car? Thanks you guys, you have been extremely helpful and I really do appreciate it.
 

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Ooooh, I'll tell yuh what, if it were me, I'd pass.

In January, I purchased a '95 E320 to replace an '89 420 SEL. Even knowing about the potential problems with reverse on the 124 chassis, I still didn't feel it, and I'm a gearhead. The timing on how warm the car is, when you're searching for the rough/hesitant engagement, was the key.

Had I known reverse was even remotely questionable, even this one, with 153K miles, a good aftermarket stereo, an extra-clean interior, and surprisingly clean exterior (for a D/FW-driven city car), I'd have passed. Mine has a new radiator, new wiring harness, and a few other things which I'd not expect to find on a 'beater'.

I'm going to drive it until reverse finally keels over, or the forward gears die, and go from there. If the car proves it is worth keeping, I'll put in a rebuilt one or have the one in there rebuilt. If the car shows other major issues, then it's off to the $500 section of Craigslist and I'll find a different ride.
 

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Depends on the week
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Use the transmission to your advantage then. If he gave you the car to drive for a few days, then he must be a very motivated seller.

I would offer him $2200 and negotiate from there. The transmission can go out tomorrow, or it can go out in 3 years. If the car checks out in every other aspect, then by all means, go for it. If the transmission goes tomorrow, get it rebuilt or get one from the junkyard for $70 and move on. The transmission in my 300CE has trouble going into reverse. My dealer mechanic friend estimated that it has had this reverse problem for the past 6-7 years. I'll get it fixed when I need to, but I'll do it right.

In the long run, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how your car is still on the road while others are ending their journeys in the junkyards. These cars were built to last forever. I'd wager the engines last longer then the car itself does.

Best of luck to you.
 

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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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594 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
If the transmission goes tomorrow, get it rebuilt or get one from the junkyard for $70 and move on.
Best of luck to you.
How much is reasonable for a transmission rebuild? What specifically goes wrong inside the transmission to cause the reverse issue? Does anyone know? My wife wants me to march back and take the car for $3,000, she absolutely loves it and doesn't care if we have to invest money into over the next year to get it how we want it.
 

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Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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imo, $1800, or walk. "I like the car but may have to spend $2000 w no warning to r&r transmission. Can't have muh'lady getting stuck without car unexpectedly."

Better deals are out there w a little patience. This one, if an evaporator goes, you are into $4500 in repairs, still driving a great car, but a bit sore where you sit. Patience in these cars will save you literally thousands.
 

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How much is reasonable for a transmission rebuild? What specifically goes wrong inside the transmission to cause the reverse issue? Does anyone know? My wife wants me to march back and take the car for $3,000, she absolutely loves it and doesn't care if we have to invest money into over the next year to get it how we want it.
The reverse piston, I think it's the B2 piston, cracks, 'cause it's plastic...for some illogical reason, and over time, it just ages.

The bad part is, to replace the piston, the transmission needs to come out. Pistons are accessible via the valve body 99.9% of the time. This one is the 0.1%.

From the shopping I've done, 'reasonable', which is new clutches throughout, new metal piston, and whatnot, is around $1800. This is in D/FW, Texas, FWIW, at least until we secede. :rolleyes:

I've heard everything from $1200 to over $3K. I'd swear it depends on if there is a boat payment due or if the guy who owns the joint is in a bad mood that day...
 
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