Pelican Technical Article Mercedes Benz Automatic Transmission…

17 Feb 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Mercedes-Benz E 280 4-MATIC W210


One of the less common maintenance tasks that are performed on a car is changing the transmission fluid. Typically, you’ll want to change the fluid every 80,000 miles or so along with the filter in the transmission. In the 1990’s, there were more than a few major automobile manufacturers advertising that they had developed transmissions that required no fluid changes. The fluid inside was considered to be lifetime oil, meaning that it never needed to be changed. Over the years, it seems that this may have been an overly ambitious claim.

Originally, Mercedes specified that the 722.6 transmission was “sealed for life.” This means that Mercedes has not specified a fluid/filter change interval. However, it appears that Mercedes has changed the “sealed for life” recommendation gradually by adding more frequent service in later model years.

There seems to be a couple different schools of thought when it comes to lifetime oil. Some people have said that you don’t want to change the oil in the transmission because the increased viscosity of the new fluid can dislodge particles of dirt inside the transmission, clogging the new filter in a matter of miles. Other people will say that there are friction additives in the new fluid that are not compatible with the transmission.

In this article, we will go over the steps involved with draining out the old transmission fluid and adding new fluid. The first step is to jack the car up and secure it on jack stands. Please refer to our article on jacking up your car for more info. Next, slide underneath the car and locate the automatic transmission pan. This pan acts as a sump to hold the majority of the transmission fluid. You’ll see a 5mm drain plug in the bottom of the pan. Now before you remove the old drain plug, you’ll want to have a drain pan with a capacity of at least 11 quarts. It also helps to have plenty of paper towels on hand. This can be a messy job and it helps to have towels around to soak up the occasional spill.

NOTE: If you do not have the Mercedes special (dipstick) tool, you can still proceed with this DIY if you drain and very carefully measure the old fluid (write it down so you can’t forget). The 722.6xx transmission fluid level is critical, three to four ounces plus or minus and it will not function correctly. Put back in the exact amount removed, this will allow you to change the fluid, and worst case; drive to a local independent MB shop to top off the fluid level.

You’ll need to drain the fluid from both the transmission pan and the torque converter. On the bottom of the bell housing, you’ll see a square window. On cars up to 1999, this window allows you access to the bottom of the torque converter. The safe way to rotate the engine for torque converter drain plug access is by turning the 27mm bolt on the harmonic balancer/crankshaft pulley. You will have to remove the front splash shield/sound panel in order to access the pulley nut from below. The shield is held in place with six 8mm bolts. Remove them and set the shield aside.

Mercedes-Benz E 280 4-MATIC W210

When rotating the crankshaft by hand with a ratchet and a 27mm socket, always turn the crankshaft in the same direction in which the engine runs. In this case, if you are standing in front of the car looking towards the back, you turn the engine in a clockwise direction. Also, do not forget to remove the ratchet before starting your engine!

Now move the drain pan under the transmission to catch all the fluid. Remove the 5mm drain plug in the bottom of the transmission. Fluid will come pouring out of the transmission. You’ll probably also notice a strong burnt smell to the fluid. We certainly did with our project car. There’s no official word from Mercedes-Benz about the burnt smell, but from the mechanics and sources we have spoken to, the smell indicates that the fluid is past its useful life and should not be re-used. Once drained, remove the 5mm drain plug from the torque converter and let it drain. Allow the transmission and torque converter to drain for at least 15 minutes. Make sure you also have a large container on the ground to collect all the fluid. It also helps to wear a set of protective gloves and have a roll of paper towels nearby to clean up any spills.

Once all the fluid has drained from the transmission and torque converter, remove the old sealing washers from the drain plugs and fit the new sealing washers from the filter kit on the drain plugs. Now re-fit the plugs in both the transmission pan and torque converter. Tighten the torque converter oil drain plug to 14 NM = 124 inch pounds. Torque the transmission oil drain plug to 20 NM = 177 inch pounds.

Locate the clamps on the outside perimeter of the transmission pan. These clamps are held in place by a 5mm Torx bolt. On the front right driver’s side, one of the clamps is also held in place with an exhaust shield. Remove the clamps and you will be able to remove the transmission pan. Usually, it will just drop off the bottom of the transmission. In our case, it needed to be pried off. Once you remove the pan, you’ll see both the valve body for the transmission as well as the filter. The old filter just pulls out of the valve body. Make sure you have the drain pan handy as you pull the filter out. Residual fluid will likely come streaming out of both the filter and the mounting hole on the valve body. It’s a good idea to inspect the hole where it mounts and clean the mounting surfaces with a clean, lint-free rag. Take the new filter and place it in the mounting hole on the valve body. You’ll notice a mounting tab on the top of the filter that fits on to one of the ribs of the valve body. Just push it up into place.

Mercedes-Benz E 280 4-MATIC W210
Mercedes-Benz E 280 4-MATIC W210

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