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Sun Valley Mercedes Rebuilt Trans Problem

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kiev

Active member
Kiev, were there any symptoms prior to losing the upshift from 2nd gear? Or had the tranny been shifting perfectly up to that point?

:runexe:
When the transmission was rebuild (December 2015, 105k mi odo ), it was super smooth for the first 2-3 weeks, but then on occasion, I would get a soft kick between 2-3 shifts. I could never replicate it on purpose, but If I drove for 30-40 minutes, it would happen, on average, once.

As soon as I moved to VA (March 2018, 109k mi) - of course - it has gotten a bit more frequent. Once I've changed ATF (May 2018) it has gotten even more frequent with a bigger kick. I could avoid it 90% by modulating throttle and then in February/March 2018, 112k mi odo, it became a jerk-kick, developed a flare here and there and thumps and thunks. And on March 27th, 2018 no more shifting into 3rd.

That’s sort of the conversation I’ve been waiting to hear about... what Marc@SunValley says about it.

maw
I've spoken to Mark last Friday. He told me to remove it and ship it to him and he'll fix it for free. Removal and re-install, by the book, is 14.5 hours - about$1,700. Plus out of my pocket shipping cost - about $250. So about $2k. Local shop said based on how bad internal situation is: $2,500 - $4,150 (removal, rebuilt, reinstall, fluids).

I took a gamble, based on the fact that innards should be new (only about 7k miles on them), so therefore the issue should not be big. I also wanted:
1. less downtime: 3-4 business days to rebuilt locally vs cross-country round-trip of 10 business days + time at Marc's shop, as I have to drive a rental all this time.
2. Given my shaken confidence in SV, the idea of having a possible issue again down the road and having to remove and ship transmission all over again, for the 3rd time would have been too much for my psychological health :slosh:

I'm guessing this was not rebuilt where you think it was, or at all.
I was living in LA at that time and took the car to SV myself. I've met Mark.

Why hasn't anyone called me on this issue? This transmission should do an easy 100K.
Just so you know, We will pick up and rebuild this unit at no charge (assuming it is ours).
Call me at 818 7822300
Marc
Hi Mark. I'm Alexander. We've spoken last Friday and earlier this week on the phone. I've connected you with Hampton from County Transmissions, with whom you also spoke. Since that conversation Hampton opened up transmission. He said he'll give you a call and will relate his findings to you. Thank you for being responsive and sympathetic to my issue despite warranty expiration. While my situation sucks and has a keto diet effect on my wallet, I understand that sometimes even Akela misses :sniper::)
 

atg

Active member
It's great if you took the car to SV yourself. But why does the first post say "supposedly" fully rebuilt by them? I should think there would be no doubt. It makes it sound like you bought the car from someone with a story, but no proof.

What was wrong with the transmission the first ti.e it went out?

Here's hoping your current shop is proficient.
 

Duh_Vinci

Active member
Picture with red circles are of a drum. It should be flush in its housing around the perimeter, like in the 1st picture. It's not.
Kiev, just noticed something, this B3 assembly... look at the b&w image attached, it is designed with the variance in thickness at the side of one of those "wings" - see the 1st top arrow vs 2nd arrow, that "window" is recessed deeper. So it would naturally seat flush at the base, but only at one window between those wings openings (if it makes sense?)

47548316331_3eb975d64c_z.jpg722.3_b3 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

The rest of the lip perimeter is higher, and will not/should not be flush with the lower portion of this assembly (2nd attached picure of my B3 assembled less the teflons)

43483321840_6748996d11_z.jpgPA130385 by Duh_Vinci, on Flickr

Regards,
D
 
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jftu105

Active member
While I have zero experience in rebuilding transmissions, I do know the inner working and mechanisms of automatic transmission. Equations are worth nothing for this situation, however. From the pictures, it seems that the clutch packs are all worn out after only 7000 miles with abrasive particles all over the filter casing. This might have been related to the "super smooth" shifting initially. The shifting should have a slight kick when the clutches engage. If it is super smooth, not even a slight kick, then the clutch packs are gliding over each other before finally engage. The later symptoms of big kicks (from super smooth) are all consistent with worn clutches. I don't think transmission fluid was a factor for this situation although I am no fans of Dexron III, which is a yesterday fluid promoted as the only fluid for "our" transmissions. I don't use it.

SV's unblemished image is taking a beating here even though Marc of SV is offering a free repair. The mistake could be just a wrong gap setting of the clutch packs. I am also surprised that the first fluid change a few months ago did not reveal those abrasive particles. I wonder what is that long slender piece in the pictures, a broken spring or a bolt?. Once something was broken loose inside the transmission, it could set off a chain reaction to destroy many other parts.

The OP has not done anything wrong but now has to stare down almost 4 grands. Tough! I might just give up the car and buy another with that money.

Sorry for the mess. Hopefully, it would be all resolved.

jftu105
 

svmt

E500E Newbie
When the transmission was rebuild (December 2015, 105k mi odo ), it was super smooth for the first 2-3 weeks, but then on occasion, I would get a soft kick between 2-3 shifts. I could never replicate it on purpose, but If I drove for 30-40 minutes, it would happen, on average, once.

As soon as I moved to VA (March 2018, 109k mi) - of course - it has gotten a bit more frequent. Once I've changed ATF (May 2018) it has gotten even more frequent with a bigger kick. I could avoid it 90% by modulating throttle and then in February/March 2018, 112k mi odo, it became a jerk-kick, developed a flare here and there and thumps and thunks. And on March 27th, 2018 no more shifting into 3rd.



I've spoken to Mark last Friday. He told me to remove it and ship it to him and he'll fix it for free. Removal and re-install, by the book, is 14.5 hours - about$1,700. Plus out of my pocket shipping cost - about $250. So about $2k. Local shop said based on how bad internal situation is: $2,500 - $4,150 (removal, rebuilt, reinstall, fluids).

I took a gamble, based on the fact that innards should be new (only about 7k miles on them), so therefore the issue should not be big. I also wanted:
1. less downtime: 3-4 business days to rebuilt locally vs cross-country round-trip of 10 business days + time at Marc's shop, as I have to drive a rental all this time.
2. Given my shaken confidence in SV, the idea of having a possible issue again down the road and having to remove and ship transmission all over again, for the 3rd time would have been too much for my psychological health :slosh:



I was living in LA at that time and took the car to SV myself. I've met Mark.



Hi Mark. I'm Alexander. We've spoken last Friday and earlier this week on the phone. I've connected you with Hampton from County Transmissions, with whom you also spoke. Since that conversation Hampton opened up transmission. He said he'll give you a call and will relate his findings to you. Thank you for being responsive and sympathetic to my issue despite warranty expiration. While my situation sucks and has a keto diet effect on my wallet, I understand that sometimes even Akela misses :sniper::)
Alexander
My recollection of phone conversations do not reflect this thread. From now on, EMail is the way to go. You have my permission to post my EMail responses. I disagree with your comments on this thread and with the assessment of our transmission rebuild as depicted by Hampton.

sunvalleymercedes@gmail.com
Marc
 

jftu105

Active member
Or well, I am not under any gag order.

So, I will provide my own experience of a NON-SV rebuilt transmission. My green E320, 1994, which I bought for $1500 with a blown head gasket and a "rebuilt" transmission by a local transmission shop near Raleigh, NC, about eight years ago. The "rebuilt" transmission did not run right with a substantial flare between 2 and 3 when I got it. Sometimes, it had a big kick when it kicked down to lower gears. I replaced the K1 springs with parts from the dealership for less than $10, which is the only part from dealer at a great price. The 2-3 flair improved significantly. I also adjust the vacuum to make the shifting more crispy. Before I did this, I called the transmission shop to inquire the rebuilt history, but the shop blew me off and told me that they only responded to the original owner who did the transmission rebuilt with them. The receipt shows that the rebuilt cost was $1200 in April 2011. It supposedly carries a 18 months warrarnty with unlimited miles. I got it in 2012. The previous owner paid $150 for the first installment and had a 500 miles checkup and then he paid the rest later on.

The mileage was about 110,000 miles when the transmission was rebuilt and now it has about 165,000 miles. The reverse was the reason for the initial rebuilt.

About five years ago, I switched to Dexron VI and the transmission is happier than ever. People can opt for Mercon V if they feel more comfortable with a higher viscosity. In my opinion, it is silly to stay with Dexron III, the yesterday fluid. GM went for a lower viscosity fluid as Dexron VI, while Ford went for a similar viscosity fluid as Mercon V, both with much better fluid base and much better retention of viscosity when the temperature goes up. It also stays good longer than the old Dexon III.

Of course, when I announced that I was going to switch fluid to Dexron VI in the Benzworld forum, those trolls laughed at me and told me that my transmission would fail instantly. Five years later, they still insist that the failure would be just around the corner. I provide once a year updates for my four E320, 1994-5, all on Dexron VI (Maxlife red box, to be more precisely) on that forum to annoy them. Science is not religion, but I am always surprised how people with no science skill can speak with definitive tones to predict the future. Yes, the world is ending in 12 years.

My experience with a rebuilt transmission shows, at least for a sample of one, that rebuilding 722.3 is not a SV-only practice. Many transmission shops can do the job with various degrees of success. SV, as good as they are, can also have issues, at least for the case of this thread.

jftu105
 

Duh_Vinci

Active member
...I announced that I was going to switch fluid to Dexron VI in the Benzworld forum, those trolls laughed at me and told me that my transmission would fail instantly. Five years later, they still insist that the failure would be just around the corner. I provide once a year updates for my four E320, 1994-5, all on Dexron VI (Maxlife red box, to be more precisely) on that forum to annoy them. Science is not religion, but I am always surprised how people with no science skill can speak with definitive tones to predict the future...
Are you talking about this Maxlife fluid https://www.valvoline.com/our-products/automatic-transmission-products/maxlife-multi-vehicle-atf ? MAXLIFE-DECMERC-ATF.jpg
MAVA (Martin, since we are talking about benzworld) who rebuilds transmissions - that is his "go to" ATF for all 722.3/4/5/ boxes without second guessing from what I recall (for the reasons of "it is approved, it works, affordable and readily available"...) I have it in my (now sold to my brother) 1995 SL320 with very happy shifting transmission for many years and for those very same reasons.

Regards,
D
 

kiev

Active member
She's back. Only drove it 15 miles, but thus far all is good with the shifting. Keeping fingers crossed. 36 months/150k mi warranty adds peace of mind. With rental and uber, about $4,200. Ouch

Per print out from the County Transmissions:

* Valve body was bad. Most valves were stuck. Rebuild guy spent 3 hours on it and usually it's about 1 hour
* All of the clutches were burnt except B3 clutch pack
* K1 clutch pack had major damage to clutches and steel plates
* Both bands were burnt
* Several other parts damaged, burnt, etc

Something was not right from the get-go with the previous rebuild. The shop can't say what the cause is.
Mark, if you're reading this, I understand that it's impossible to have 100% perfect record. I just got unlucky, it sucks, but it is what it is. I appreciate you caring

Car also received 2 new SGF flex discs. The rear had cracks on one side, the front had no cracks. I now have low frequency vibration starting at around 50 mph, so will be looking into that on Monday
 

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LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
Car also received 2 new SGF flex discs. Th rear had cracks on one side, the front had no cracks. I now have low frequency vibration starting at around 50 mph, so will be looking into that on Monday
Glad you got things sorted. Vibration sounds like a bum driveshaft center bearing.

Dan
 

jftu105

Active member
Yes, that is the maxlife red box I am talking about. Over that Blah Blah Land, they told you that you shall not use the red box, only the blue box, the official approved one. You can get a 4 qt jar for about $18 from Walmart online.

Glad that you have good experience with it. In fact, I know several people have the same experience but they don't dare to announce it at the Blah Blah Land to avoid being attached.

jftu105
 
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jftu105

Active member
Glad that you get the car back. If I try to guess what had happened, I would say that the transmission was probably rebuilt properly, but no attention was done to the valve body which doomed it. As the valve body was in bad shape, the shifting and clutch engagements were incorrect, leading to excessive wear. Once the abrasive particles are produced in volume, it is an avalanche process, leading to nearly all clutch wear. I cannot believe a rebuilt could be this bad to get all clutches wrong.

Isn't valve body a part of the SV rebuilding deal?

jftu105
 

kiev

Active member
Yes, that is the maxlife red box I am talking about. Over that Blah Blah Land, they told you that you shall not use the red box, only the blue box, the official approved one. You can get a 4 qt jar for about $18 from Walmart online.

Glad that you have good experience with it. In fact, I know several people have the same experience but they don't dre to announce it at the Blah Blah Land to avoid being attached.

jftu105
Jftu105, local shop put Coastal full synthetic atf. It has Mercedes 236.10, 236.3, 236.5, 236.7, 236.9, 236.15 approvals on it. By Warren Oil. I assume it's not a dexron III but a much newer fluid (I could be wrong). They are willing to put 36 months/150k mi warranty on it

As to valve body rebuild by SV - I don't know. I'm smarter now. Back then I only drove leased cars. I assume they must have inspected it. Hard to believe they could be thorough on rebuilt, but omit valve body inspection...
 

Duh_Vinci

Active member
Indeed, Kiev, glad you have your car back, drive it and enjoy it!

Glad that you get the car back. If I try to guess what had happened, I would say that the transmission was probably rebuilt properly, but no attention was done to the valve body which doomed it. As the valve body was in bad shape, the shifting and clutch engagements were incorrect, leading to excessive wear. ...
With my limited knowledge of these automatic gear boxes, but having one studied and rebuilt (successfully), I have to agree with jftu105, the valve body could be the culprit. Its amazing how much havoc one of these valve bodies could cause. Even with fully cleaned up unit (I tore my apart completely), cleaned every orifice, tested every spring and piston for functionality), replaced k1 and k2 with in it - still had issues with my fully rebuild transmission (until I swapped out for another valve body). As Dave mentioned in one of his responses while back, wonder how many of these valve bodies are the actual reason for failing transmissions?

No one I know is able to find the part numbers (during my quest) to have these units rebuild other than K1 and K2 pieces, that is why MB sells just a complete valve body to replace the factory supplied one, too many variables?

Its almost like a snowball effect, once the vb starting to fail, excessive wear starts, the abrasive particles are introduced, get trapped in those passages, then more, and more, and more... then internal components of the gearbox start to fail.

When mine started with flare-ups, 3-4, only on occasion, the fluid I drained was fairly clean and clear (guessing just the beginning of overall failure), then darker, 2nd time, and sediment with clutch material before I took the tranny out of the car, all the steels, every friction was affected, and signs of K2 drum overheated due to improper engagement...

Anyway, enjoy your car, you deserve it!

Regards,
D
 

jftu105

Active member
Coastal ATF: Viscosity @ 40°C, cSt 32.6 @ 100°C, cSt 7.32 Viscosity Index 200 - Mercon V specs
Valvoline Maxlife, Redbox: Viscosity @ 40°C, cSt 28.82 @ 100°C, cSt 5.91 Viscosity Index 156 - Dexron VI specs

As I said, Ford went with Mercon V which has a viscosity similar to Dexron III with a better oil base, while GM went to Dexron VI, with a lower viscosity. Many people over at the Blah Blah Wasteland (BWorld) freaked out and swore that the viscosity of Dexron VI is too low. They swear that your transmission will die instantly when you put in Dexron VI. Go over there and read what they said in my Dexron VI threads there (search jftu105 and Dexron VI).

Higher viscosity leads to higher loss and higher temperature, while high temperature leads to lower viscosity. Viscosity is important to protect gears but not good for clutches. There is where the friction modifier comes into picture to reduce clutch wear.

After five years of using Dexron VI, I did not find any metal shaving when I changed fluids, indicating the viscosity is adequate to protect gears.

One thing with a higher viscosity is potentially smoother running of the torque converter at idling, because turbulent flow can be avoided better with a higher viscosity, but the difference will be little if your engine mounts and transmission mount are good.

jftu105
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
Of course, when I announced that I was going to switch fluid to Dexron VI in the Benzworld forum, those trolls laughed at me and told me that my transmission would fail instantly. Five years later, they still insist that the failure would be just around the corner. I provide once a year updates for my four E320, 1994-5, all on Dexron VI (Maxlife red box, to be more precisely) on that forum to annoy them.
I don't even know why people even hang out over there -- anyone with any level of knowledge or expertise that doesn't fit the "conventional wisdom" tends to get flamed and shunned. The good folks who have their heads screwed on correctly just leave for greener pastures. I've seen this exact thing happen with dozens of people in the 126 and 124 forums.
 

LWB250

"But - but - he'll see the big board!!!"
I don't even know why people even hang out over there -- anyone with any level of knowledge or expertise that doesn't fit the "conventional wisdom" tends to get flamed and shunned. The good folks who have their heads screwed on correctly just leave for greener pastures. I've seen this exact thing happen with dozens of people in the 126 and 124 forums.
The vintage section is actually pretty good, albeit quiet. I will say that I had some idiot suggest that my 1965 220SEb would be "perfect" with a turbo the other day, but the locals ignored them. Otherwise, most of the vintage people are like-minded and not total idiots such as the ones you seem to come across in the other forums. I don't frequent any of the other areas over there any more. Don't have the time nor inclination to deal with the drama.

Dan
 

maw1124

E500E Enthusiast
As to valve body rebuild by SV - I don't know. I'm smarter now. Back then I only drove leased cars. I assume they must have inspected it. Hard to believe they could be thorough on rebuilt, but omit valve body inspection...
Before you keep badmouthing SV, you should check to see if they even looked at the VB. A transmission rebuild is not a VB rebuild. Full stop. When I got my FGS VB from SV, it was an extra, specifically because SV doesn’t like to do fiddly VBs, especially not for free. My guess is you only paid for, and only got, a transmission rebuild. And no, the VB isn’t included.

Either way, glad you got your car back, with a rebuilt transmission and VB. Did you get first gear start, or did your shop not mention it?

maw
 

jftu105

Active member
The lesson learned here is that if a transmission rebuilt does not include at least an inspection of the valve body, it is like getting a new computer with an old CPU. Why bother?

It is not about badmouthing SV, but to know what's included and what's not. If I have to cough up $4200 after spending over $2000 with SV, after only 7000 miles, I will do more than just badmouthing.

jftu105
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
This thread is starting to go south, and I don't appreciate it. Thus, I am closing it off.

If folks want to bad-mouth Sun Valley and/or other vendors, go do it on Benzworld or somewhere else, but not here.

Or better yet, take your beef up directly with the vendor. If you want to know what a vendor does and doesn't do for the price they charge, SIMPLY ASK THEM.
 

gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
By the way, I visited Sun Valley almost 5 years ago. Got my run of the place.

Details here: https://www.500eboard.co/forums/index.php?threads/a-visit-to-sun-valley-transmission-van-nuys-ca.5453/

One thing you nay-sayers need to know is that SV has (had?) two transmission test stands in their shop. Every rebuilt transmission is tested on one of these stands before it leaves their shop. I documented this when I was there in the photos.

This is for QA and to ensure that issues show up before the rebuilt unit is sent to a customer.
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
... viscosity similar to Dexron III with a better oil base, while GM went to Dexron VI, with a lower viscosity. Many people over at the Blah Blah Wasteland (BWorld) freaked out and swore that the viscosity of Dexron VI is too low. They swear that your transmission will die instantly when you put in Dexron VI. Go over there and read what they said in my Dexron VI threads there (search jftu105 and Dexron VI).
Dex-VI (or equivalent) is fine for the 722.3 transmission, and even MB specs show it's acceptable. HOWEVER, you may need to adjust modulator pressure after switching to the thinner fluid, particularly on a high-mileage transmission. BT, DT. No, it will not cause your transmission to die instantly, but if the thinner fluid causes flaring that you don't notice, it actually can cause premature wear/failure over time. Not everyone is Jono or Klink and able to discern flaring or shift slippage via butt dyno. Various sources generally agree that the Dex-VI is fine for a fresh rebuild and may actually be preferred on a trans with all new internals. YMMV, etc.


Higher viscosity leads to higher loss and higher temperature, while high temperature leads to lower viscosity. Viscosity is important to protect gears but not good for clutches. There is where the friction modifier comes into picture to reduce clutch wear.
This gets into a separate can of worms. Racing fluids are generally Type F, which is essentially the same as a Dex-III but without the friction modifiers. And some are even higher viscosity (thicker), for example Red Line Racing. I personally use this in one of my 722.3's behind a 6L M119 for drag race use, and it works fine. I know Jono uses Red Line Racing ATF in his track rat as well. I've also used Red Line High Temp (which is basically a thicker Dex-III) in two other 500E's, both with higher-mile transmissions. Again, zero issues. Thick, thin, or medium viscosity are all fine in the 722.3 if used for the appropriate application. Keep in mind that one of the main reasons thinner fluid exists is for meeting government fuel economy regulations. Yes, the thin fluid can have some other benefits, but it's not automatically 'better' for every application, just like super-thin engine oil isn't automatically 'better' because most new engines use it.

There is a long, detailed thread elsewhere on the forum which goes into more detail on ATF. Further discussion belongs over there, not on this SV rebuild thread.

:grouphug:
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
As to valve body rebuild by SV - I don't know. I'm smarter now. Back then I only drove leased cars. I assume they must have inspected it. Hard to believe they could be thorough on rebuilt, but omit valve body inspection...
I don't know their normal procedure, but I assume the VB's at least get a general inspection... but may not receive a full teardown (MANY hours labor needed for this).

My keyboard diagnosis / guess is the VB issues caused the abnormal clutch+band wear. The unknown part is if the VB was working ok when it left SV. At any rate, glad to hear it's all back together and running well now!

:3gears:
 
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