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Thread: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

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    E500E Guru texas993's Avatar
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    HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    ADMIN EDIT: The factory procedure for VB R&R is at this link, also attached at the bottom of this post.

    There has been much discussion on the 500E and second gear starts. While several options exist to achieve permanent and temporary first-gear-starts, I am describing replacing the valve body to achieve permanent first-gear-starts.

    I used a valve body from a E420 or 400E obtained by Honcho at a Houston pick-n-pull, pictured below.

    IMG_3629.jpg

    First I elevated my car by placing the car on 4 Esco jack stands. This simply cannot be done with the car on the ground. Locate the transmission pan pictured below. I suggest that you cover the floor with cardboard, an old blanket, newspaper, etc as transmission fluid can get messy - particularly when you remove the pan. I used large pieces of cardboard.

    IMG_3631.jpgIMG_3630.jpg

    NOTE: All of my pictures are taken from the passenger side. The right side of the photos faces the front of the car. (See crossover pipe above for orientation.)

    I suggest that you clean the area of any sand or dirt that could make its way into the transmission. Mine was fairly clean, but I wiped it down a bit.

    Next drain the fluid. This would be a great time to change the fluid if needed, including the filter and pan gasket. My car's fluid was fresh as I changed it recently. I re-used my fluid.

    Locate the drain plug on the transmission pan. You will need a 5 mm hex to loosen the drain plug.

    IMG_3633.jpg

    Loosen the plug and drain the fluid. If you are re-using the fluid, make sure you drain it into a hospital-clean container. I used brakleen to clean the 5 gallon bucket that I used.

    IMG_3634.jpg

    IMG_3635.jpg

    Allow the fluid to drain for a few minutes until it just drips. I reinstalled the plug loosely and prepared for the removal of the transmission pan. I moved my drain bucket to the side.

    In some cases, you will need to remove the crossover exhaust pipe in order to remove the pan. I have plenty of clearance and did not need to remove it.

    Next you will need to remove the transmission pan by removing 6 bolts. You will need a 13mm socket for these bolts. Carefully remove the bolts and keep track of where the bolts were located. You will need to put them back in the exact same order. I understand that the bolts are different lengths. I like to remove the bolts in the front of the car, the rear of the car, then remove the middle bolts last as they are easiest to access. [Edit: It is suggested to make a cardboard template of the pan, then stick the bolts in the appropriate spots on the cardboard. I did this. But be careful that you don't get any cardboard fuzz on the bolt that will get into the transmission. (Thanks Ron for the suggestion.)]

    Carefully place the unbolted pan on the floor below to catch the drips. It will drip for days - so get ready to get messy.

    IMG_3637.jpg

    This is what you will see with the pan removed.

    IMG_3636.jpg

    On the left you will see the filter - change it if you are doing that. The valve body is on the right. It is held in with 15 10mm bolts. Notice that the three bolts closest to you are gold in color - this is different than the other 12 which are black. Those 12 are all the same length. Remove the bolts and the valve body will come right out. Be careful - it is heavier than you think.

    Put the old valve body in a clean place - but be careful as it is full of fluid.

    This is the point where I couldn't take more pictures as my hands were drenched in transmission fluid - so bare with me.

    Now you need to install your new valve body. It quite simply bolts back in as easily as the old valve body came out. BUT THERE IS ONE VERY IMPORTANT STEP! You need to make sure the connection is made with a little part on the transmission and the white, plastic part on the edge of the valve body. See it at the top right side on the pic below. (Honcho, can you correctly label these parts?)

    IMG_3629.jpg

    Once that is properly aligned, reinstall the 15 bolts. Rember to place the gold colored bolts in the correct place. I tightened these firmly - but did not torque them to a specific value.

    Next you will need to carefully re-install the transmission pan. If you are doing the full service, install the new gasket. Loosely tighten all 6 bolts in the appropriate order. ANOTHER IMPORTANT STEP: DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THESE BOLTS. These bolts should be only be tightened to 8NM. That isn't much! I tighten in a criss-cross pattern and repeat it several times.

    Re-installed pan with a nice coating of trans fluid.

    IMG_3638.jpg

    Don't forget to tighten that drain plug!

    Refill your transmission fluid. I filtered the fluid and added it back to the transmission through the dipstick. Be careful and add the fluid slowly.

    Check your work, lower your car, and take it for a drive. I love the first gear start! And it worked perfectly right away. When you return from your drive, check your fluid again and check for leaks underneath.

    Well done and enjoy!
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    Last edited by texas993; 02-17-2015 at 05:56 AM.
    Patrick
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Thanks for the contribution. This valve body came out of a 400E.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Pretty simple DIY. The biggest issue is dealing with continuous fluid drip especially if you are doing this on your back without a lift.

    1992 500E
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    This is excellent ! Thank you.

    May I add the following small tips.
    1) Buy a new copper sealing washer and drain plug.
    2) Coat the drain plug with a little, very little, anti seize.
    3) Use the gasket to make a cardboard template to organize the bolts.
    4) Use the 124.036 trans filter. It is available ONLY from MB. It is different from the generic 124/722.3 filters. The 036 item has "swinging doors."
    5) Buy a trans magnet to put in the pan, it's only a few dollars. Use the older rectangular style NOT the superseded item that most parts counters will order. Have them order the old item with a DO NOT SUBSTITUTE note on the order form.

    Ron

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    wish a simple change like that could be done for the C126. Good stuff!

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron500E View Post
    4) Use the 124.036 trans filter. It is available ONLY from MB. It is different from the generic 124/722.3 filters. The 036 item has "swinging doors."
    Ron,

    Elring also makes the "swinging door" transmission filter for the .036 and R129 500SL models. I know because I have a spare one in my parts stock The MB part number is 129 277 01 95.

    It is available through AutohauZ at a significant discount from the factory unit. And, since it's Elring, it's on my "best of the best" aftermarket parts supplier brands, so it's absolutely safe to buy.

    Also, you can get away with running a "pedestrian" 722.3 transmission filter in your .036. It will work just fine and won't harm the transmission, as long as you don't do any high-G maneuvers or track the car. I know because I am running a "pedestrian" Mann 722.3 transmission filter in my .036 right now !! Same filter as my former wagon and my current 560SEC use.

    The link to the Elring .036 transmission filter is here: http://www.autohausaz.com/pn/1292770195

    Cheers,
    Gerry


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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I made a couple of edits to the original post. Gerry or Dave, are there more technical terms for the thingy-majig that connects the valve body to the transmission?

    I wish that I could have taken a pic of that, but I was up to my elbows in transmission fluid.
    Patrick
    1987 560SL (Current Project Car)
    1995 E300D, 2005 G500
    1997 Porsche 993 C2S, 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
    1993 500E Signal Red / Black SOLD

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Nice writeup, Patrick! Thanks for sharing! A few comments:

    1) In some cases, the trans pan will not easily come out with the exhaust crossover pipe in place. You were lucky that it wasn't an issue. Some people may need to remove the crossover pipe. It's not difficult, but it adds a little time to the job. Apply anti-seize liberally to the bolts which hold the pipe to the manifold, and if the bolts which connect the crossover to the main pipe are in sad shape, these can be replaced later with new copper nuts.

    2) In one case, after FGS VB installation the car would not shift out of 1st gear (or was it 2nd gear? can't remember, d'oh) until I accelerated to near redline. This apparently built up enough pressure to break free whatever piece of debris was blocking some passage, afterward that trans shifted fine. Just a warning that a VB swap can cause some weirdness. Keep the old VB clean and intact in case you are forced to swap it back in.

    3) Really anal types may want to remove each side plate on the VB to inspect for broken springs prior to installation, and/or clean out the gray powder/swarf which always is present inside used VB's. This is tedious work and in most cases shouldn't be necessary, but if you're bored, the additional inspection will help you sleep better at night.

    Dave M.
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    5) Buy a trans magnet to put in the pan, it's only a few dollars. Use the older rectangular style NOT the superseded item that most parts counters will order. Have them order the old item with a DO NOT SUBSTITUTE note on the order form.
    Ron,

    Is this a Mercedes part? If so, do you know the number?

    Thanks.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    Ron,

    Is this a Mercedes part? If so, do you know the number?

    Thanks.
    220 271 00 98

    Around $5.00

    The images below are courtesy of MushroomCentral.com






    cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    220 271 00 98

    Around $5.00

    The images below are courtesy of MushroomCentral.com






    cheers,
    Gerry
    You will have to demand that one, and only that one, and you will probably have to order it. Like Patrick said, the box kickers are going to try to give you the round ones that go in the seven speed!
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Very cool. I didn't know that part was available separately. Thanks guys.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post

    The images below are courtesy of MushroomCentral.com
    Using the latest IT buzzword, shouldn't we now call it the "Mushroom Cloud" ?

    After all, Gixxer is the bomb...
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post
    shouldn't we now call it the "Mushroom Cloud" ?
    Given the topic area, I'd say that "Piston Cloud" would be more appropriate, wouldn't you?

    http://pistoncloud.com/

    Even a GSXR-style hipster on the home page.....

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Given the topic area, I'd say that "Piston Cloud" would be more appropriate, wouldn't you?

    http://pistoncloud.com/

    Even a GSXR-style hipster on the home page.....
    He's clean-cut enough that he is probably trying to run his mom's hand me down 210 diesel on fryer oil, lol, talk about piston clouds. Not quite grizzly enough to be even a 123 diesel hipster, much less a 115 or 110. You've got to be several decades older, and look a little more like a psycho killer if you're going to be a 110 diesel hipster. Just 'sayin...
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    Very cool. I didn't know that part was available separately. Thanks guys.
    Jon, the transmission pan magnets are a "must have" item, primarily for their ability to provide "magnetic" attraction to you by the ladies. They provide even more "pull" than the gray switches do, and yet are not so obvious.....

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Jon, the transmission pan magnets are a "must have" item, primarily for their ability to provide "magnetic" attraction to you by the ladies. They provide even more "pull" than the gray switches do, and yet are not so obvious.....
    Because after they've been in there about 30,000 miles, they turn 50 shades of gray...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    I wish I would have known about that magnet BEFORE I changed my fluid and filter in the M104.
    Trae
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Thanks for the write up.
    It would be nice to know the torque spec for the valve body bolts.
    By the way, the gold bolts go along passenger side of the valve body.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Trae View Post
    I wish I would have known about that magnet BEFORE I changed my fluid and filter in the M104.
    It's not the end of the world, Trae, it's just something people like to do.

    No magnets were ever actually installed in any of the automatic transmissions until after the 72.6 had been in production for a while, and even then it was largely there as a diagnostic aid, so that if a servicing technician sees a bunch of ferrous metal "hair" on the magnet, that indicated certain specific faults that were bad juju. And I do mean serious hair. If that magnet didn't look just like Don King's head, it was not considered indicative of anything requiring attention, and you'd better not submit a warranty claim...

    I don't have it in any of my cars that aren't running .6 or later transmissions. Here's why: MB is absolutely specific as to where those magnets are supposed to be placed in the transmissions for which they are applicable. I am imagining an accumulation of metallic debris at certain places in the valve body that may not be optimum. For example, do I really want metallic debris that is essentially microscopic, and passes right through without any harm, piling up inside a timing accumulator or control valve right over top of where I, not MB, have decided to place a magnet? No.

    Now, would I freak out, drain my fluid, and remove a magnet from my .0,1,2,3,4,5 pan if I had one in there? Hell no. Do I have any desire to put one in there? Not really, but if I did, I would keep it away from the valve body....
    Last edited by Klink; 02-16-2015 at 10:17 PM.
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Jon, the transmission pan magnets are a "must have" item, primarily for their ability to provide "magnetic" attraction to you by the ladies. They provide even more "pull" than the gray switches do, and yet are not so obvious.....
    I just checked a picture of my pan from the last oil change. Indeed, I'm magnetless on my '95. Considering Klink's post above, I'll have to do a balancing test to decide whether to install such a magnet. Like, how many ladies do you think it would attract?
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    1995 E420

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by emerydc8 View Post
    I just checked a picture of my pan from the last oil change. Indeed, I'm magnetless on my '95. Considering Klink's post above, I'll have to do a balancing test to decide whether to install such a magnet. Like, how many ladies do you think it would attract?
    I don't really think it's going to hurt anything. I would simply find a place towards the rear of the pan, away from the valve body. Yet, I wouldn't have it right under the filter, because I would not want to create an accumulation inside the filter, and I would also not want to risk compressing the filter shell, as they are very nearly touching the bottom of the pan.
    I would also make sure that I did not have it too close to the sliding valve element that is used on the.036 version filter, especially if the version filter I was using had a ferrous slide.

    If the considerations that I have just mentioned "rule out" any good installation position near the rear, go ahead and cut the magnet into a couple of manageable pieces. They cut easily, and you could always find a suitable position for smaller pieces if you needed to...
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    I think I will continue "magnetless" with my future changes.
    Just don't trust myself to keep it away from all the places Klink talks about above.
    Trae
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    texas993,

    Were you able to remove and reinstall the pan without removing the exhaust crossover pipe? I could get the pan off but could not get it back on without messing up the pan gasket until I removed the exhaust crossover pipe.

    1992 500E
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Maui View Post
    texas993,

    Were you able to remove and reinstall the pan without removing the exhaust crossover pipe? I could get the pan off but could not get it back on without messing up the pan gasket until I removed the exhaust crossover pipe.
    Typically been my experience as well, both with my own car, as well as removing pans on several .034 models. On my car, I can't easily remove the pan without the crossover pipe taken off, and installing the pan is a no-go with crossover pipe installed.

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Maui View Post
    texas993,

    Were you able to remove and reinstall the pan without removing the exhaust crossover pipe? I could get the pan off but could not get it back on without messing up the pan gasket until I removed the exhaust crossover pipe.
    I really had no problem. The crossover pipe was a bit of an obstacle, but it took two seconds to work around it. If I recall, I was able to drain the torque converter without removing it. Maybe it is my excellent mechanical skills with years of experience working on Porsches with very small spaces!
    Patrick
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    The crossover pipe can be in slightly different positions on different cars, due to tolerance stack. May be no problem for one car, and a major obstacle on another. It only adds 15 minutes total to the job, and the whole job is much easier with it out of the way... particularly if you are fiddling with the K1 springs while you're in there.


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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by texas993 View Post
    ... I tightened these firmly - but did not torque them to a specific value.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevester 500E View Post
    It would be nice to know the torque spec for the valve body bolts.
    Torque to 8Nm as stated in the 27-400 Removing, installing, dismantling and assembling shift valve body document & the 27.51 Automatic Transmission document.


    Quote Originally Posted by texas993 View Post
    ...BUT THERE IS ONE VERY IMPORTANT STEP! You need to make sure the connection is made with a little part on the transmission and the white, plastic part on the edge of the valve body.
    The white, plastic part on the edge of the valve body is the Range Selector Lever & the little part on the transmission is the Detent Plate Follower.

    This connection is the most important of the Valve Body Replacement procedure. It ensures transmission gear engagement.
    " Destination ???, It's the ride that takes you there! "
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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    new copper sealing washer and drain plug.
    pan gasket

    I will be using Redline trans fluid a total of 9 quarts with torque converter drain ?

    what are the mb part numbers for these

    Thanks !

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Quote Originally Posted by Benz View Post
    new copper sealing washer and drain plug.
    pan gasket

    I will be using Redline trans fluid a total of 9 quarts with torque converter drain ?

    what are the mb part numbers for these

    Thanks !
    Pan Gasket = 126-271-11-80
    Drain Plug = 000000-000884
    Washer = 007603-010112
    Torque Converter washer = 007603-010100
    Torque Converter Drain Plug = 000000-000884

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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    You'll use 8 quarts when refilling... don't forget to only put in 4-5 qts, start engine & move shift lever through tears, then put in the other 3-4 quarts.

    Then after driving to get the trans fully hot, check the level and add 1/4 quart (8 oz) at a time until the level is at MAX when fully hot. Not warm, not almost hot, fully hot. This may take several days to get the level correct. Generally end up putting in ~8.5 quarts total.


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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    Ill make sure to do that.
    So I ordered the filter that was suggested by Gerry the 129 277 01 95 Erling
    is this one ok ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    You'll use 8 quarts when refilling... don't forget to only put in 4-5 qts, start engine & move shift lever through tears, then put in the other 3-4 quarts.

    Then after driving to get the trans fully hot, check the level and add 1/4 quart (8 oz) at a time until the level is at MAX when fully hot. Not warm, not almost hot, fully hot. This may take several days to get the level correct. Generally end up putting in ~8.5 quarts total.


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    Re: HOW-TO: Replacing Transmission Valve Body with First Gear Start Valve Body

    That's the correct trans filter for the E500E.


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