Glycol in Gearbox

Muggee

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Jul 9, 2011
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Mercedes C220 estate
My 2003 Mercedes C220 has been tested positive for glycol in transmission oil by my local MB dealer. They say it's low range and submitted the Eskulab (goodwill) application to MB Maastricht. There's a small amount of goodwill on the parts but it will still cost me the earth to have the repair done by the dealer.

My key issue at the moment is that the repair MB recommends is replacement of radiator, torque converter and flushing the gearbox. I've spoken to a couple of independent transmission specialists who know the problem well. Both have concerns about leaving the existing gearbox untreated.

These are that that the flush would still leave a quantity of contaminated oil (approx 4 litres they say) in the gearbox that would immediately start to compromise the new torque converter, the teflon and rubber components will have swollen by the action of water, the clutch frictions would be contaminated and will be lifting etc etc. This is all BS according to the MB dealer for the level of glycol in there. But I wonder if MB won't publicly recognise the broader issue because adding gearbox replacement/rebuild to the job would give customers a heart attack!

As I say there is a small amount of goodwill forthcoming on parts if I have the job done by the MB dealer, but my concern is that to take advantage of it would result in a future problem though having an incomplete job done. In around 10K miles both specialists say!

Anyone have any experience/knowledge that would shed some light?
 

Stratman

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Welcome to the forums, pity it's under such circumstances.

Use the Search facility to look for "Valeo radiator" and you'll find a lot of information in the results.

Sadly, you'll have to bite the bullet and fork out a large wedge whatever happens. If you're anywhere near Hampshire give PCS a call. Ollie is a well respected member on here and will give you an honest appraisal and the likely costs.
 

grober

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FIRST QUESTION IS WHETHER THE CAR HAS A FULL MB SERVICE HISTORY. Unusual at that age but I have to ask. If it has then you are on stronger ground since the failure of the VALEO radiator is a known fault which should have been picked up on more quickly. If the car has been outside the MB franchise then your case for more compensation is much weaker unfortunately. Its really difficult to say if the gearbox has sustained permanent damage if there are only traces of glycol in the trans fluid. Why was this test done? If the gearbox was exhibiting strange symptoms I'm with the transmission specialists that it may be damaged also. The age, mileage and general condition of the car probably dictates how to proceed. The labour cost will be considerable at an MB dealer and unless you can get more goodwill out of the deal you may well be a lot cheaper going to an independent specialist and getting a complete recon gearbox --with a warranty of course if the rest of the car warrants it.
 

Dieselman

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The repair won't leave old ATF in due to the torque converter being changed. The remaining ATF is because the 'verter doesn't have a drain so it can't be drained.

Technically the gearbox specialists are correct, but only time will really tell how much damage the gearbox has suffered and whether it will eventually show itself.
 

Vlad

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Talking to my local gearbox specialist some time ago about this issue, they stated that flushing the system fixes it for a period of time, but that the damage tends to already have been done and in most cases the customer comes back needing a new box.
 
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Muggee

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Jul 9, 2011
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Mercedes C220 estate
Car was bought from Mercedes Direct at 11K miles and has full MB service history. Car showed judder at certain revs and was stalling at start up. Told this to MB servicing when car went in for recent B service. They came back with observation "slight torque converter judder" and suggested the transmission would benefit from a flush. Took it away to have done at reasonable cost and specialist recommended glycol test which - surprise, surprise - was +ve. Test was eventually repeated at MB dealer, then the Eskulab etc etc.

Apart from the judder, stalling and some jerkiness when starting off after the transmission has warmed up I guess, there's nothing else I've noticed. I'm not driving it a lot...

The car has done 68K miles.

So far MB have offered 25% off parts if job is done at the dealer. I'm concerned it's not the best way to go, however - hence the posting
 
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grober

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Have you discussed the known VALEO radiator issue with the dealer? Have they or you contacted MB UK on the issue? Frankly 25% of the parts is not much goodwill for a known fault but perhaps the age of the car would count against it. Remind them it has a full MB service history. If they won't budge on balance I would be inclined to go for a transmission specialist's lower labour rates and a full reconned box.
 
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Muggee

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Yes, topic of Valeo radiator fully discussed with dealer, and in communications with MB Maastricht. You make a very good point about MB UK of which Mercedes Direct is a part - I bought it from them. I'll follow that up.
 

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