Noob seeks advice on possibly buggered W210 slushbox

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New Member
Jan 26, 2009
In a luxurious Northern palace.....(!)
91 W124 C230, 04 W639 Vito, 59 Cadillac Coupe, 89 Peugeot 205 Cti, 99 BMW 525i touring, 01 BMW 530d
Ey up! As us gritty Northern folks like to say whilst juggling whippets, clogs and flat caps.

If one of you Ladies or gentlemen would either proffer advice or point me to another thread then it'd be very much appreciated.

Now I've perused these forums before and just lurked whilst gleaning valuable advice on various Benz issues, saving many many pounds and costing me mere skin and blood and the occasional pint afterwards whilst I looked back on my mid job sweariness.....

After the first couple of occasions re-attaching the oily serpentine belt in torrential rain without a diagram, I'd like to think I could probably do it in my sleep.

Anyroad, if you can be bothered reading about my woes then I'll be happy to proceed.

Last Tuesday my (our) W210 E280 (1998, 196K, V6 petrol) decided it was at last going to play silly beggars, cutting out randomly then restarting after a couple of minutes. Now due to you helpful lot I've deduced that it's the crankshaft position sensor. I decided to do it last Saturday after being told by my regular supplier that they didn't have a decent one in stock (didn't want a happy shopper item...) BUT I didn't quite get around to it as on Friday whilst I was enjoying a lovely waft through the sunny Lancashire country lanes......NO DRIVE! None forward - none reverse.

Fortunately I was only about half a mile from Cure towers but it still took me 40 minutes to nurse it home after much gnashing of teeth, switching off and on and withering glances from smug kia drivers with their 7 year warranties.

Anyway, I've read that it might be low ATF so I bought some of the magic mixture this morning and carefully sloshed 4 litres of it down the gearbox dipstick hole but still the same - drive for 100 yards then nothing. The question is this: is it completely goosed (in which case it'll get binned) or do I need to do a proper job as per Olly's superb instructions?

It might be frillier than a pair of Anne Summers finest undies around the edges but for the past 2 years since I got it (for an ebay steal) it's been delectible.

Please bear in mind that I'm a confirmed bodger/tinkerer/useless old fool and I do have a tendancy to at first seem to cause more harm than good but get there in the end.

I've tried looking back for threads on this subject and can't find one, or at least one where there was a post confirming a positive outcome.

Also please be aware that like most, I'm utterly skint.

Now the car's not THAT bad, the last time it was MOT's the tester remarked upon how low the emissions were and how solid it was underneath, and the genuine MB exhaust system being some testimony as to whether the previous keepers had lavished love, attention and cash on it or just mended it with bailer twine and gaffer tape (usually my preferred method).

One last thing, I do have a penchance for slinging it around as often as I can and I do tend to use the 'box like a manual item, holding it in gear and changing up and down a' la tiptronic (which it isn't) like the fool that I am. Have I knackered it?

That's before I even get to the problems with my Vito W639......:D

Any ideas chaps? You will be kept informed with my day to day tinkering should any cheap solutions be successful!

Sorry for waffling too.....
Well i'm knackered after reading all that !!!!! Firstly ,welcome to the forum,you are right that there is a wealth of knowledge on here. Now then your transmission. did you check the fluid level first or did you just add 4 litres? if you did just pour it in then it could cause a lot of damage .
For you to just lose drive in the way you described it does sound like fluid level but it could also be the electronic plate in the trans which has gone south. Appreciate that money is tight (it is for us all) but if you find a good indy or transmission specialist for proper diagnosis it could save you a lot of money and grief.
To me at least the innards of a slushbox are akin to a Swiss watch. Best not to poke around in them.

In any given area there will be one, perhaps two, bona fide auto gearbox repairers that all the other garages use for major repairs and re-furb, incl the indies. They will be best to diagnose and either repair or fit a re-furb box.

You may have over-filled the box now.

Sorry I didn't mention (see? Told you I went on a bit.....) that being a confirmed bodger I fabricated an impromptu dipstick for yonder gearbox by using a 1500mm length of curtain wire.

NOW I know you're all going to call me a thick eejit but after I'd stuffed most of it down th' ole as far as it would go there was a very small bit of ATF on the bottom of it. Now I presume in my daft way that my 'dipstick' was too long anyway, so in reality if I'd have put the MB dipstick in there then it wouldn't have even registered.

Also the car still does the same - I engaged drive and took it only about another 100 yards before the fun began again.

My neighbours are very understanding. Well, I think they are as they're always waving at me. Funy how many folk have lost 3 of their fingers on their hands though.........
You need to measure 65mm from the end of the home made dipstick..
That is the HOT level..
When I say hot I mean the car should have been driven 10 miles or so..
ATF expands a surprising amount when its hot.. The Low level is quite a bit lower (I cant be bothered to go and measure my official Mercedes dipstick)..
Cheers Simon, I assume that then the level should be 1435mm long in relation to my home made 1500mm item?

I'm aware that the gearbox oil needs to be I think 80 degrees but the problem is that it won't drive so I can't get it to temp.

The think that's puzzling me is that on Friday it still drove fine if there's no ATF in it now then surely there was very little in it on Friday?

I think I'll follow Olly's ATF and filter swap advice and see what happens there. I suppose at least then I'll know that the filter's clean and the correct amount of ATF is in there.......

I have a very good motor factor friend who does me 5 litres of ATF at £25 including VAT.
Make sure the ATF is suitable for Mercedes boxes as the wrong fluid will destroy the internals. I used to rebuild auto boxes and most that failed were because the wrong fluid had been put in which causes the clutch plates to strip.
Cureforinsanity, nicely posted! Good luck (am sorry, I cant be of any help).
Welcome to the forum.

Now there is a Lancashire Lad lives round the corner from me with a Yank Tank on his drive. I know 'cos I made a wrong turning once. If you're any where near a PR6 postcode. Gimme a shout on the forum and I can at least come and take the pi ss out of your 210 (being a 124 boy) I'm only an armchair mechanic but two heads is better than one. Plus there is loads of help on this here forum. Its a good place to be.

Hope your slushbox recovers from its ills soon.

Thanks for that John......I think! ;) I'm in M46 so a bit away, might get up to Preston cruise again this summer if funds time and bodgery allow.....

If it's any consolation I'm a fan of 124s too. Well, in fact most of them but you can't get a decent 124 for cheap money anymore as it always goes!

In fact, 210's are my least favourite as I always thought they looked like they'd always be the kid who got chosen last for the football team but at least I suppose you don't have to look at it when you're driving it....

Saying that, we have 4 or 5 scrappies around here pretty local to me and as soon as I bought it I thought I'd better have a recce and a firtle around to see what I could luck, as the scrapyard owners say that unless they get a trashed one they don't see 210's as they basically never go wrong......

Maybe I'm the exception?

The ATF I gor for it btw is Eurosyn ATF D111-MV fully synthetic. Direct replacement for (draws breath):

Shell ATF3403/m115, Shell ATF3353, Fuchs Titan ATF3353, MB part number 001989210310.

I'm just wondering what I'm going to forget tomorrow as all this knowledge and numbers are sure to push some of my memories out of my brain.....

And TDE1? If it's any comfort to you I am also a dyed in the polyester Beemer fan too, though from E21, 30 and 36 including the E36 M3 'vert the wife made me get rid of because it was 'too small' then bemoans the lack of a convertible now. And there was an 850Ci which I regret selling it but was making me so paranoid I should've called it Garfield....
Probably worth trying the oil change, I got a 2000 CLK 320 with 190k which dropped out of 5th, usually to 4th but some times 3rd when cruising at 60 mph, changing the oil and filter cured it. Took about 8 litres.
Cheers Spike, it's nice to know that maybe I'm not being overly paranoid thinking putting 4 litres in should cure it!

Synchronise watches, operation BIG commences Saturday 0900 hours

I'll keep you posted.

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