CLK320 W208 1997 Auto Gear Box


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Apr 24, 2007
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My problem has been fixed without major expense. I had lumpy gear changing / indecisive changing and reports of iron filings in the gear oil following a major gear oil loss from the wiring entry into the gear box. I was initially told the oil on the garage floor was air conditioning discharge, so I ignored it and over several months most of the oil leaked out and gradually the gear changing played up. I had third gear lock and whinning noise. I changed garage and an enthusiastic non specialist eventually found and fixed the oil leak, but not before the oil loss appeared to cause oil burning and iron filings. The local garage told me filings were terminal news for the gearbox. Specialists told me the same, it might run on for a week, a month, ten years – who knows? I rang a few transmission specialists and had a similar story. Granted none of them saw the car, much less ran a diagnostic. With conflicting stories from an amature motoracing nut Father-in-law telling me filings were pretty much par for the course with automatics, to professionals who said fillings were the death knell for the gear box, I didn’t know where to go.

I’d had a Porsche 964 for a couple of years finding a great variety of garages – interested but basically ignorant to outright sharks and thankfully eventually an honest, extremely knowledgeable and basically well priced chap on the Dorset coast (Oak Tree Garage – Crispin Manners) who put the car straight, so I knew there were people out there with the right attitude.

I searched the website and thought I was getting somewhere, but frankly there were more grey areas than black and white sound advice. Then I found the Mercedes Benz Owners club website and Television in particular. MBS in Exeter are the best independent in the south west he had encountered. I sent them a detailed explanation of what was wrong, including stuff like the failure of the cruise control to engage over 50pmh which I thought just might be related. Peter rang back. Mercedes issued a bulletin about filings in gear boxes. Small filings are not a problem they said, and tyre wear can cause the cruise control to fail. Oh! I said, the garage persuaded me to change the profile of the rear tyres – obviously that’s why the cruise control doesn’t work. As for the news on the filings I knew I was talking to the right people, although the filings might not be small?

I have just got back from MBS. A kind of extended family business with committed enthusiasts in all departments. And a huge knowledge, which their website barely gives any impression of. They ran the diagnostic. No gear box faults. They dipped the gear oil – clean and the right level, no sign of filings but the oil should be changed, a new filter fitted and the electronic plate washed out to check it isn’t affected. They ran the diagnostic for the engine; a string of faults pointing to the air mass sensor. A few tests and sure enough the AMS was hard up against the limits of its adjustment. Reset it failed to work. A new AMS was fitted and like magic I have a perfectly running car, at fraction of the £1400 I was faced with at the specialists – mind you they might also have identified the AMS, but I don’t think they were going to let me stop worrying about the filings.

I know where my servicing will be carried out henceforth!

Thank you Television, and thank you to the members who keep the website going.
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