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Hi from yet another newbie. This time from South Africa. My 1999 ML320 (160k Kilometres) won't change gears (auto), but this seems to be only in cold weather and first time in the morning. After driving slowly for a while, the gear shifts change as normal. Possibly the belts need adjustment? Transmission fluid? Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
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I think you need to check the transmission fluid to make sure it is at the correct level. Also check that you don't have a problem with the battery. It is possible that a faulty battery can cause many problems with the transmission. If these things are both ok then I would get the error codes read on a MB Star machine that can drill down deep into the gearbox and diagnose the problem. Basic code reading devices can not get codes deep inside the gearbox
Hi Tony, thanks for the reply. Apologies, but the fluid level cover has no dipstick and says "workshop only" on the cover. So, how to check level? The battery seems fine. The car starts easily. Once it's warm the transmission changes fine, but I think it might be slipping a bit. I guess I should take it to the agents for a check (?), but I'd like to give them something to go on when I do. Rgds, Jacques
You can buy a workshop dipstick to test the fluid level with Sealey make one that is readily available online from lots of places. The dipstick gives you 2 levels on marked 20'C and the other 86'C . All you need to do is drive around and get the transmission and engine up to the nornal operating temperture then remove the cap off the top of the dipstick tube labelled for workshop use (probably a plastic clip locking it in place that can be removed) and use the dipstick to check the level whilst the engine is running. If you don't want to buy a dipstick then alot of people have made there own using a length of curtain wire using a marker pen to put the appropriate markings on. If you do a search on the different Mercedes forums you will see pictures and measurements describing how to make your own dipstick. If you find you fluid level is low then you need to find out were the fluid as leaked. The most common leak is from the pilot bush ( a connector block that joins the electrics to the gear box). Lots of info available about this problem. The fluid can leak at the pilot bush and wick up the wiring loom causing many gear box problems. The valve body and electro plate in the gear box can also cause issues. Hope this gives you a few things to think about
Last edited by ForcedInduction; 04-28-2011 at 11:56 AM.
I did post some links to other sites discussing these issues and pictures how to make your own dipstick but these appear to have been removed/edited out by the site! This is a pity since you would have found the information extreamly useful
If you don't know the history of this vehicle, just for your own piece of mind, have the transmission fluid replaced because it is not a "lifetime" fill.
I made my dipstick from flexible lown mower cable before I bought the original.
Here are the measurements for you, if you wish to make one.
At 25 deg.C the levels are 10mm minimum and 21mm maximum.
At 80 deg.C the levels are 54mm minimum and 65mm maximum.
Your problem sounds like low fluid level since warming up the fluid will expand it and reach the minimum level for correct pressure and valume build up needed for ****ing valves.
1999 ML320 211K miles
2003 Lexus GX470 272K miles
1999 Chrysler LHS 86K miles
2001 Chrysler Concorde 71K miles
1980 280SE EURO W126 156K miles 142mph top speed SOLD
1984 300D TURBO DIESEL W123 SOLD
This morning my 2000 ML320 (175k) was fine to. After a pit stop at KFC, she seems to be stuck in 2nd gear. Did you find the problem on yours Jacques? My nearest dealer is 80km's away, and I do not want to drive it all the way there in 2nd. If it is low fluid, as suggested, do I just top it up with regular ATF, or what is your advice?
Thanks for all the advice so far guys. But, the ATF level is fine, so no problem there. In desperation I have booked it into the dealer to check on May 31 and will post the result afterward. Meanwhile, Gerhard, this might help you. I've found that if it sticks in 2nd when you pull away, stop the car, wait 30 seconds, restart it, and pull away in 2nd. If it changes from 1st to 2nd, wait a while and shift to 3rd. If it changes, shift to 4th. After that, it's fine. Let me know if it works for you. rgds, Jacques