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Thread: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

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    New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Hello Guys,

    I recently bough very nice 95' E420 with only 55k miles in beautiful condition. Now that I have it I want to do simple tune ups to it. I changed oil and filter, and air filers last weekend, and next I want to change transmission fluid.

    Which one to get is my main question. I am in FL and summers are going to be very hot. I see DEX lll is what should be in there and I also see suggestions for RedLine ATF D4. Which one is better, or is there another one I should consider, OEM, M1?

    I wanted 500e so bad but since I am not too familiar with them I figured I can start with E420 first. Car rides amazing. I am sure down the road I will get 500E too...

    Thx!

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Any Dexron III fluid is fine, that was the original factory spec. Synthetics like Red Line D4 and Mobil-1 ATF are both Dex-III equivalents, either would be fine. In a hot climate I'd prefer a synthetic ATF to help deal with the temperatures. Remember you will need ~8.5 quarts total after draining the pan and converter, and have to fill it partway then start the engine before filling the rest, etc...

    Some additional reading:

    http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=640

    http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6209

    BTW, welcome to the forum!

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    1997 E420 (Bugeyes)
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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

    aka, Redline Racing ATF is you want the GoodGood.

    but that's just me...
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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    LOL - yes, Jono is right, if you want quick/firm shifts... Type F will do that. (Red Line Racing is their high-temp viscosity in a Type F formula, without any friction modifiers.) If you switch to Type F, you might need to fiddle with the vacuum modulator adjustment afterwards.


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Yea I saw bunch of post how to do the change and most useful on this forum, mainly the first one you posted gsxr and there was another one with pics.

    I want to switch to a good one but I do not want mess with vacuum modulator since I am not sure how, so I might just stick to D4. I don't drive the car every day nor I drive it hard so I am sure D4 or M1 will be fine. Which one is better really? I know I can get M1 in stores probably but D4 I got to order online.

    Thx for the fast reply guys!

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Can you even get straight D3 or D4 anymore? When I go to the store, they have only a Dextron/mercon universal stuff. Works, but it's a different range.

    I don't think you can go wrong with any red-trans fluid in these cars as long as it's fresh. New to the car? Do the diff fluid, PS, coolant(G5) and brake fluid (DOT4) too.


    Michael

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    M1 and D4 are both good products. I'd not hesitate to use either one.

    M1 will be easier to source locally, and may be cheaper. I personally haven't been happy with Mobil since they quietly switched most of their engine oil product line to cheaper Group III base stocks about 10-12 years ago, while keeping the price the same (and then increasing the price). So, I prefer to pay more to buy from a company that doesn't pull that kind of shenanigans. Again, M-1 ATF is still a good product! And most FLAPS / McParts will carry it on the shelf.

    Red Line is more expensive (about $12/qt) and you'd probably have to order online. I've been buying from Summit Racing, they have free shipping on orders over $99, which you'd hit buying 9 or 10 quarts. You may want to buy 2 gallon jugs and then another 1-2 quarts. The gallon jugs are more convenient than quart bottles. It's harder to find local vendors that carry Red Line on the shelf.

    Amsoil Signature Series Multi-Vehicle ATF is also good stuff, if you don't mind dealing with their funky marketing scheme. Unless you buy the "preferred customer" membership, the price is on the high side, similar to Red Line.


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Yes that was my plan, to change all the fluids. Already have Motul 5.1 and PS filter. Now in search for good PS fluid for the car too ...I used G-05 in my Saab and its amazing. Should I try the newest Benz coolant in this one? I didn't look into diff oil but that's a good idea, I will do that too. I also want to change the original harness even though it looks amazing. So some fun times are ahead of me, but I enjoy doing it. Maybe the car will be little more aggressive after all those changes since its seems little sluggish to me (but that's probably because I am used to smaller sportier cars)

    Ok, I will look for D4 or M1, but just like you said, I am leaning toward D4 because I don't like what M1 did either. And it looks like it will be from Summit Racing unless I can find a better deal. I heard Amsol is good too, but its harder to get too and I never used it for anything so idk...I will do some research and choose soon.

    Thx again for all the help, this forum is awesome!

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Use Zerex G-05, mixed 50-50 with water, in your E500. You can get it at any O'Reilly Auto Parts in either pre-mixed 50-50 or full-strength gallons. Don't bother with the current-spec MB coolant. Use the stuff that was originally spec'd for our cars.

    As for lubes, I'd use RedLine over Amsoil any day. It's easy enough to get any RedLine product via on-line (Amazon, Summit, JEGS, etc.) sources, or if you look hard enough and live in a city/suburb, you can find it locally.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Ok, RedLine it is ...

    Thx, I think coolant flush will be little challenging because of the exact amount of coolant used in the system. I read somewhere here, I think, I should add 6l or 6q of coolant and rest water (I always put distilled). So I will do that probably last since next to amount of fluid there are 2 drains and a petcock, plus I like to flush it by warming the car up till the fan kicks in so I flush everything, and I do that few times with distilled water. But I will stick to G-05, it did work well for me in the past.

    And last one, what PS fluid should I get? MB one? If so what's the part #?

    Thx!
    Last edited by Alex89; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:56 AM.

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Can't go wrong with MB fluids, my dealer is almost an hour away so I buy the equivalent febi for both sls and ps:
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    1994 E500
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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    Yes that was my plan, to change all the fluids. Already have Motul 5.1 and PS filter.
    Remember that pressure bleeding is required if the car has ASR (follow FSM procedure!), and still highly recommended even if you don't have ASR.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    Now in search for good PS fluid for the car too
    No search required. Use OE MB dealer PS fluid. It's not expensive, and there's no aftermarket stuff that offers any significant advantages.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    ...I used G-05 in my Saab and its amazing. Should I try the newest Benz coolant in this one?
    Nope. Stick with G-05. Make sure to open both block drains. Pre-mix to 50/50 (or your favorite blend) and pour in pre-mix only! The claimed system capacity of 16+ quarts may be wrong, I believe it's closer to 12-3 quarts. You'll only drain out around 9-10 quarts from radiator and block. Fill the block via upper radiator hose first, then fill the radiator via the plastic reservoir (replace the reservoir if it's old / yellow / cracked). Lots of older threads on this topic, search the forum...


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    I didn't look into diff oil but that's a good idea, I will do that too.
    Yes it's a good idea, any 75W-90 or 80W-90 will work. Synthetic may or may not be a good idea; if you get any leaks it could require dropping the diff to re-seal. Red Line, M-1, Amsoil are all fine. I like Motul Gear 300 because it pours like water at room temp, making the fill process easier... but Gear 300 is almost $20/liter and you need 1.3 liters. Fresh dino lube is probably better than the old stuff though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    I also want to change the original harness even though it looks amazing. So some fun times are ahead of me, but I enjoy doing it.
    Check the date code, it may have already been changed. Replacing a late-datecode harness would be a waste of money. If it's not causing problems, focus on other items first. The lower harness to starter / alternator is NLA, if this is in bad shape you'll need to talk to Jono at Blue Ridge in Hotlanta about a rebuilt harness.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    Maybe the car will be little more aggressive after all those changes since its seems little sluggish to me (but that's probably because I am used to smaller sportier cars)
    The 2.24 gears make it feel sluggish at lower speeds. Some Italian tune-up wouldn't hurt. If you think it's underperforming, check the speedo accuracy with GPS, then clock it from 0-60 (or higher) via stopwatch. Better yet visit a local dragstrip. It should pull smoothly to the 6000rpm redline at each full-throttle upshift.

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Just get the MB power steering fluid. You can get it at AutohauZ.

    See this link, for the non-synthetic fluid. It's $10 a quart for the Genuine stuff. Just pick up 2-3 quarts and you're good.

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    Can't go wrong with MB fluids, my dealer is almost an hour away so I buy the equivalent febi for both sls and ps:
    Just to clarify... the USA-spec 400E/E420 generally does not have SLS. It was not offered in USA but was available via special order, possibly with Euro delivery. I've seen one, as in a single, .034 in USA with a VIN confirmed to have SLS.

    And, the PS and SLS fluids are different. Don't use SLS fluid in the PS system, or vice-versa...


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Great info again. I will use MB genuine PS fluid for sure.

    I don't have ASR and was planning on manual bleeding. But will look into pressure bleeding too. I manually bled breaks over 5-6 times and never had problems so that's why I feel little more confident about not pressure bleeding haha

    I already checked my harness and its from 92', but with such a low miles and car being pampered so much I don't think its bad and it doesn't look bad at all. I will change it eventually just for a piece of mind but you make a good point, I will do all this tune ups first.

    Ok, I will prob look for 80W-90 diff oil since I am in FL.

    True, car is sluggish in low rpms but at like 60mph it can move fast. I haven't done WOT yet since I don't know the car and I want to change all the fluids before I put a 22 year old car through that "stress" . Guy I bought it from didn't almost drive it all, but to church, so I want it to be a smooth transition for the car ...After everything is changed and tuned up,I might look into the tune and LH WOT module for sure. I am not familiar with Italian tune you speak of but I know LH is pretty cheap tune.

    I know I said it few times already, but I really appreciate all the help guys. This will keep me busy for few weeks (since I can only work on my car over the weekends ).


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Pressure bleeding is sooo much faster and easier. You can buy a kit for $50 or so, like the Motive Euro bleeder.

    Italian tuneup: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_tuneup


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    let alone risk the master cylinder rebuild potential. Pressure bleed all the way.
    1994 E500
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    1991 560 SEC
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    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Haha "Italian tuneup"... I like it, its free.

    Ok, I will look into the pressure bleeding...I should probably do it the "right" way and eliminate as much risk as possible. I just didn't feel like spending $50

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Alex - it will pay for itself after the second use. And, FWIW the most expensive car you will ever own is a cheap Mercedes.... especially if you give a rip about it, and I can tell that you have a pride of ownership. It costs a bit more, but its worth it.
    1994 E500
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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    1993 500E
    1994 E320 cabriolet

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dario View Post
    Nope, he said 1995 E420 w/ 55kmi, the link above is for a 1993 400E with 56kmi. Almost the same miles though!


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    No, I got this one...
    Ooooo. That looks like 009, Sapphire Black! Beautiful color. Very rare, at least in USA.


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Nope, he said 1995 E420 w/ 55kmi, the link above is for a 1993 400E with 56kmi. Almost the same miles though!

    My mistake i saw same mileage and both locations in Florida and assumed lesson learned
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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?



    Basically, it comes down to how much money you want to spend on fluid. As GSXR says, the RedLine D4 is a great fluid, and one that I have been using in a couple of my vehicles. You can comfortably go with a long(er) drain interval with a synthetic fluid.

    Other cars, I have used and use the Dex III-compatible Castrol TransMax fluid, which is available at any common auto parts store in gallon jugs and quarts. I have also found this fluid to be just fine, although I would recommend as a safety margin to replace it at a 25,000-mile interval rather than the factory's 30K mile ATF change interval.

    Always change the transmission filter and drain the torque converter when doing ATF -- don't just drain the pan alone.

    I have not noticed any degradation in performance here in Southeast Texas in using either "dino" (TransMax) or quality Synthetic (RedLine D4) ATFs. The main thing is that they are changed at appropriate intervals.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Yes, I think I will go with D4 and not worry about it for a long time and of course get OEM filter.

    Car was actually repainted because his cat scratched the trunk and the roof. Original color was 199. New paint looks pretty good and is metallic so I don't mind it at all.

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    So I was changing trans fluid yesterday and everything went smooth but I could not get to the TC screw for the life of me. I tried allen key in so many different ways as well as the hex bit but with the crossover pipe its almost impossible. Tried taking the pipe out but the bolts were soo rusted out as soon as I put some torque on them they rounded...I was so disappointed. I put some PB blaster, heated them too but nothing...

    So at the end i only took about a gallon out and put fresh gallon in. Since I dont want to mess with the exhaust I was thinking about draining a gallon again and putting new one in, that ill change about 75% of the fluid...Was thinking about taking it to the exhaust shop so they can just change those bolts and clamps so I can work on it after that, but I am aftaid it will go wrong and will end up being like $500 trans fluid change

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Work on getting the exhaust bolts out. The lower bolts are easy and can be cut off if necessary. The upper ones may require a "rounded bolt head" extractor but should come out without excessive problems. If you can get the upper bolts out, you should be all set. The bottom 'gasket' can be re-used if it breaks. The lower bolts are nothing special but should be used with the factory copper nuts (cheap aftermarket). The upper bolts (to the exhaust manifold) must come from MB.

    Buy new ones so you have them ready to install. Make sure to apply anti-seize on the new bolts when installing.

    Others have been able to get the converter drain out with the pipe in place (making an unholy mess while draining) so maybe those folks can chime in with tips & tricks...

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Yea I read ppl were able to access the TC screw with the pipe in place but I wasnt, I probably lost 1h trying to do it...I think that maybe a cut 5mm allen key would fit in with the shorter side but I didnt have anything to cut it and it woulds till be questionable...

    What do you mean by upper bolts? I need to take them off of exhaust manifold? I know there are 2 literally around the crossover pipe, and there were other 2 kinda close to it holding the exhaust...

    This is the one around the crossover pipe...

    20170715_152903[785].jpg

    Thx for the pic, next time I get to it I will prob change them all than...

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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex89 View Post
    What do you mean by upper bolts? I need to take them off of exhaust manifold? I know there are 2 literally around the crossover pipe, and there were other 2 kinda close to it holding the exhaust...
    The crossover pipe must be removed. There is an upper fitting with 2 bolts at the exhaust manifold (hard to see without flashlight, need socket with extensions to access) and another 2 bolts at the lower end, shown in your photo. The ones in your photo are not a problem, just cut them off if seized, replace with new. I've never had a problem with the upper bolts but make sure to use a 6-pt socket of the proper size to avoid rounding the head.


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    Re: New Owner, Transmission Fluid Type Question?

    Ok thx. I will have to look for those upper 2 bolts next time.

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