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How to change transmision fluid

(2005 Mercedes-Benz ML500)
in Visalia, CA on June 07, 2010
i was told by dealer to replace fluid every 100,000 miles, they replaced at 50,000,(and charge me an arm and a leg ) how can i change the fluid my self ?
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Popular Answer
on June 07, 2010
I recommend having the dealership do this service for you for many reasons. First, the car does not have a transmission dipstick, the technician has a special tool to check the fluid level. Second, there are a few specialty tools needed besides the one to check the fluid level. Third, the dealership can perform a complete fluid exchange instead of just draining the 4 quarts that are in the trans pan. Finally, transmissions are delicate and should only be serviced by a professional. As far as the dealership charging you an arm and a leg; the labor cost should be around an hour. The fluid on, on the other hand, is very expensive and Mercedes-Benz fluid needs to be used for the trans to function properly.
on June 07, 2010
Thank you for your prompt advise, the big question here is that i will have to find a honest and reputable dealer, the 3rd. time i took my car to change the motor oil, i chequed le hood 24 hrs later and found out that the oil had not been change, it was very dark and smelly like the old oil, i lost confidence since then, they take the car way inside and you can not see nothing, you reallyu have to rely on their honesty and that is a rare comodity nowdays, i just need to find out a trusted dealer, thank you for your advise, it makes a lot of sense.
on February 23, 2011
I have a 1999 C230 compressor. I changed the fluid at 99,000, 123,000, and 152,000. Get a big 16 quart pan to hold all the drained fluid. You need to measure the removed fluid by filling quart cans, bottles of empty tranny fluid containers. one at a time to figure out how much you have drained. Notice where a full can is filled to on a new can to get the correct "fill" level in the empty container. You'll also need a funnel to pour from the big pan to the smaller containers. Now you are ready to drain the fluid. jack up the car and put safety blocks under the frame. Remove lower engine cover to gain access to the tranny. Remove the tranny bottom cover plug to drain the fluid. Drain all you can. Then lousen all tranny pan cover bolts and allow some fluid to come out into the pan to avoid a mess. If your converter has a drain plug, rotate the converter until the drain plug is aligned with the access hole (if present) drain the converter into the pan. ( you can pry the engine flywheel around with a good strong screwdriver.) Remove the tranny bottom cover, clean it, remove any filter in the tranny, clean and reinstall. Add a few thin magnets in the tranny pan to catch metallic particles, get a new tran pan gasket, and/or new filter. Install those. replace the converter plug, Buy a three foolt length of 1/4 inch plastic tubing at the hardware store. Use it to make a tranny fluid dipstick. total cost $ 1.20. Trim one end of the tube at a 45 degree angle so it will go down past the metal interface between the tranny dipstick tube hole and the pan. Remove the top plug of the dipstick tube in the engine compartment. slide the plastic tube down the dipstick tube and see where it comes out in the tranny case. Observe how the tube clears the interface between the dipstick tube and the tranny case. It usually hangs up there. Thus the 45 degree cut to allow it past that point. Now replace the tranny pan. Mark the point of the plastic tube at the top when it is all the way in. Buy enough tranny fluid to replace what you took out. Remove your new "dipstick" and replace quart for quart what you took out. I researched ATF fluid and used Valvoline MERCON V. Six bucks a quart versus 18 plus for the MBZ fluid. Start your car and let it idle. get the ATF fluid circulating, shift thru all gears while on the blocks. hold the brake do not rev the engine. You should have normal gear shifts from park, drive, 1 to reverse and into neurtral. Put it in Park. Shut off the engine, get the car off the blocks and on a level surface. Start the car and leave in park, parking brake on. and let it idle till the ATF is warmed up 15-20 minutes. Now put your New dipstick stick in a measure the fluid level in park idling. Mark it as full. A hack saw can make a nice mark on the plastic tube. Test drive your car and check all gears. I drove mine on a 400 mile round trip to clean out the tranny from the old 99,000 mile used fluid. Then i repeated the drain and used new MERCON V fluid again. then again I did a four quart change at 123,00 and an 8 quart change at 152,000. Yesterday the alternator died. But the tranny is still going! Happy shade tree mechanicing. Jay Shade tree mech since 1955. Ps this assumes you had no fluid leaks and the tranny was full when you started. iF NOT FILL WITH THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF FLUID FOR YOUR TRANNY.
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