W124 E280 doesn't like reverse gear

tim124

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W124 E280 Estate/1995/2.8
My 1995 E280 (154k mileage) is having problems engaging reverse. The ATF and filter have been changed, and the forward gears are fine, but this hasn't solved the reverse gear problem. Selecting reverse, the drive-train eventually operates but it doesn't like having to go uphill without some momentum (putting it into reverse when nose downwards on a slope results in forward rather than backward motion: I'm obliged to hold it with the foot/parking brake until it seems to have engaged reverse, not an ideal scenario in traffic). Is a rebuild or replacement the likely solution?
 

LostKiwi

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'93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
If you're very lucky you may have a bad seal on the reverse gear actuator piston but its far more likely to be the reverse gear friction clutches are worn as well (the failing seal causes slippage of the clutches). Not uncommon in 124s apparently. That will be a rebuild.
The good news is that if you are half handy with spanners its a DIY proposition.

Edit - can you confirm the gearbox your car has?
It should be something like 722.3xx or 722.4xx or 722.5xx - It may make a difference.
 
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brianbrian

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w124 250D, SL129-deisel
I would say it is a gbox change, I have a low mileage gbox for 100 pounds which I would gaurantee, as would not want to get a bad name on the forum.
 

LostKiwi

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I would say it is a gbox change, I have a low mileage gbox for 100 pounds which I would gaurantee, as would not want to get a bad name on the forum.
We need to identify which box he has first. They need to be replaced like for like - especially hydraulic controlled gearboxes.
 
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tim124

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Thanks for comments - it does sound as though a rebuild is needed (beyond my DIY capabilities, and workshop facilities, alas). Luckily I have a very good W124 expert nearby so will refer it to him. I'll let you know the outcome.
 

LostKiwi

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If you can get a positive ID of the box it may be something more easily sorted but without knowing the exact variant its hard to give accurate advice.
 
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tim124

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Car now with the garage, awaiting gearbox rebuild.
 
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tim124

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Update: gearbox rebuilt (required a 'rebuild kit' and a 'reverse drum') by first-class local garage (W124 specialist), took a long time because parts had to be ordered from Germany. Worth the money and the time taken because the gear change is now very smooth (and the car goes backwards once more). New bushes for the gear-lever were also installed and this has eliminated the squeaking noise that was occurring (see separate Forum thread).
 

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