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1999 E430
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64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background
The vehicle is a 99 E430, bought November 07 with 39,100 miles on the odometer. The car has been serviced by the local MB dealer prior to my purchase. Originally MB touted the transmission oil to be for the life of the car; however, in latter years MB had a reversal in their philosophy and recommended changing the oil around 80K miles. This certainly worried the owners, as many had already exceeded that mileage. In the interest of establishing a baseline, I have decided to use my car as a data point so:

On March 09, the transmission was serviced with the recommended 722.6x MB oil, along with an OEM filter and gasket, mileage was 53,457. Being a 99 model the converter oil was also drained and replaced.

Disposition
A small quantity of brownish transmission oil was collected and submitted to Blackstone for lab analysis. The oil didn’t contain any visible particulates or have a foul odor.

A copy of the lab report is enclosed for your review.

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=230260&stc=1&d=1238514893

Note that aluminum, lead and tin are high. As the lab analysis indicates, I would not be too concerned about the numbers because:

• First oil/filter change
• The aluminum level is likely the product of the aluminum components during their initial wear in process.
• The tin likewise comes from the load bearing components via the same process above.

Conclusion
• Based on my rotating machinery experience and the lab analysis there is little concern at this time.
• I will service the transmission again at 100K miles and compare the before and after results.

In the meantime I would suggest that those with 80K miles or beyond with the original transmission fluid to consider having the fluid and filter changed so as to insure the longevity of the unit. If you have $22.50 burning a hole in your pocket have Blackstone check the oil as well. It would be nice to have some oil with ~ 80K miles and some with ~ 125K miles as data points to evaluate the oil longevity and determine the most cost effective change schedule.

Any takers??
 

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1959 220S cabriolet, 1983 240D original owner, 1999 E300 turbo diesel, 1988 560SL, 2003 SLK320
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3,513 Posts
AFAIK Mercedes has never rescinded their "filled for life" edict on our transmissions. The newer cars recommend one change at 39,000 miles, but ours are still filled for life. I change mine every 50,000 miles and have had an oil analysis done on mine too each time. Both reports came back similar to yours.

Len
 

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1994 E320 Wagon,1999 E320 Wagon,2000 E 320 Wagon, MGB Track/Rally, ,1988 300E ,more....
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6,019 Posts
Not me

change it every 38k miles or 40k for easier record keeping.That is the TSB for the W211 trans which is the same.No test needed and 40k intervals for most drivers is every 3 years.Use mb spec fluid.
Nice job having it tested.But with all the variables it can't be an across the board base line.Suppose someone had a blocked thermostat and the car jumped into the red zone for 15 minutes.Since the trans is cooled through the radiator its fluid temp would rise just as high and 30f jump for 15 minutes would cut the life of the trans fluid significantly.
Change every 40k and change if you have over heated just to be safe.
Blackstone is only as accurate as the sample provided.Did you sent them 2 samples the base line new and the sample of the used?

Their statement that "the oil has never been changed,so it's not a surprise that wear is high"
is a clear indication that 80k miles would be very high.Especially if you did not give them a sample of virgin fluid to test for the comparison.

722.6 fluid appearance and smell are not good indicators for fluid life.It can be black from graphite wear and still have plenty of life.it could look normal and be cooked from above noted over heating and cause a transmission failure.

Where did you come up with the Mercedes recommended 80,000 miles change interval?
That's a new one to me:confused:
:thumbsup: work having it tested.
:bowdown:

Your conclusion based on your rotating machinery experience is at odds with their wear statement.So I would put more credence on their valuation of the fluid properties and not your gut feelings.What rotating machinery are you basing it on?And if it is not the internal working of a very sensitive to fluid issue Mercedes electronic controlled 722.6 trans it is of little value.
 

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97 E-420 (180K miles), 97 SL500, (93K miles) 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD CC/SB/4x4 Duramax(55K)
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4,445 Posts
Mine hadn't been changed in 100K miles when I bought mine from my brother. I changed it and also had blackstone do an analysis. My numbers where similar to yours, Al was slightly lower (40), Tin and lead basically same as yours, Iron, Copper were somewhat higher.

I plan on changing it again at 25K miles, then a 40K mile interval
 

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Premium Member
1999 E430
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64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ohlord,

Regarding the lab I only sent them the used oil sample oil as they indicated they had samples of the virgin MB oil. However, I will call them and verify such.

Actually a comparison of new (virgin) oil vs. the used one will not shed any new information, however, the next sample (say at 80K miles) will certainly yield more information as to the condition of the tranny and I would expect it to have significantly less contamination as the bedding in process has taken place.

My conclusion regarding wear and the post above do support Blackstone's findings, if you understood differently I might not have explained myself well.

I'm not a subject matter expert in Tribology, however, my work has me doing investigations in the area of lubrication amongst others to improve reliability of rotating equipment.

Regarding your last statement as gospel and I quote

And if it is not the internal working of a very sensitive to fluid issue Mercedes electronic controlled 722.6 trans it is of little value.
Can you share the validity on the sensitivity to fluid as you so state above based on your own personal experience, issues and numbers will do nicely.
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
I had mine partially changed on my 2001 E320 at 58,000 miles. Blackstone told me to do it again after 35,000 (I think) so I'll have it done again at 90,000. I posted my results in a thread I started called "Email from MBUSA regarding transmission service" or something very similar.

<edit> My sample showed elevated Aluminum, Iron, Lead and Manganese.
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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I had mine partially changed on my 2001 E320 at 58,000 miles. Blackstone told me to do it again after 35,000 (I think) so I'll have it done again at 90,000. I posted my results in a thread I started called "Email from MBUSA regarding transmission service" or something very similar.
Yeah, sure, like you're not subscribed to that thread. :)

One of the most viewed threads on BW, BTW. :bowdown:
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
Yeah, sure, like you're not subscribed to that thread. :)

One of the most viewed threads on BW, BTW. :bowdown:
Yeah Greg, I'm still proud to have started that thread; probably a bit before boxermania joined here. ;)
 
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