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Dealer says ATF change not required!!

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E-Class (W211) 2003-2009

Dealer says ATF change not required!!

 
Old 05-13-2014, 03:29 PM
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2004 E-500
Dealer says ATF change not required!!

What a surprise. I have a 2004 E500 with 105000 miles on it. Some on this forum said if I don't change Automatic transmission oil, I will have to look forward to replacing it soon.

So when Service F was called for, I took it to dealer and asked about ATF change. To my surprise the service technician (at Palo Alto CA) told me that since I have not changed it at 40k and 80k, I should not change it now!! I am baffled. He says, in his experience, when ATF is changed on trannys with 105k miles on it and has not had ATF oil change before, the transmission may have slipping problem after changing to new oil and that I am better off not changing it.

What are my options? Is he saying it because the dealership does not have trained professionals to do the job or is it possible they dont have the fluid in stock?

I also see in forum posts, that the ATF oil is good for "life", the dealer did not say it though. Is it true?

Please advice.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:14 PM
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i've heard the same. The viscosity with all the carbon in the oil is thicker and when you switch to the new slippery thin oil, the clutch disks and plates slip.

You're taking a chance either way.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:22 PM
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The rumor gets started because MOST people who do a high mileage fluid change after skipping the early ones do so because they have started noticing "something" different about the trans.
Then when the "something" becomes serious, they blame the fluid change.


If the fluid is old/bad it is doing the transmission no good being in there.
If the fluid is still OK, it will do no harm changing it.


If you think old gummed up fluid with lots if clutch material is actually better to keep the clutches from slipping, what do you think it is doing to the bearings, gear surfaces and all the valves and solenoids?


Change the fluid BEFORE you notice anything even the slightest bit wrong.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:27 PM
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2004 E-500
If at 40k, ATF change was due, MB Free maintenance should have told me about it (even if it required me to pay for it).

Since it was never brought up I never thought about it, at 40 or 80k. Only when I was reading about some other unrelated post someone mentioned about changing the ATF and I realized I may have to change it soon.

I dont have any problem with the transmission now, when the vehicle was brand new, the transmission used to give the notorious thudding problem many have reported, especially when up/down shifting 2nd/3rd gear. Dealer changed some kind of computer module at that time (and I had just 2000 miles on the car). I would not say my transmission shifted smooth but it was not that bad after that service. I have always had a slight jerky shifting once in a while all these years and I have learned to live with it.

Believe it or not, to others it may seem like a 100k mile car, to me it just does not feel that way. I dont think it is as smooth as it used to be on bumpy roads (although I have changed the engine mounts, balljoints, control rods, all DIY) but to me it still feels like a new car My only concern is I am not emotionally prepared to covert the car into a junk by changing the ATF (if what the dealer says is true). At the same time, I dont want to become the idiot who spent $5000 on a transmission replacement for a car that is worth just 9k.

Next car will definitely not be a Benz. It is not worth it for the money or its hyped up name. Looking at all these issues, the dilemma and the choices you have to make (as if you dont have any other problems in life), I think leasing an American car for 3 years is the best thing to do, at least you wont be "bag holding" an old car thinking it is still new in your mind.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:55 AM
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Change the oil and filter with MB oil and filter.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:09 AM
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The dealer is an idiot. Fluid & filter should be changed every 60K Km's or 39K miles for long life of the transmission. The fluid is hammered at this mileage. Changing the fluid adopting clean practices will always be the best possible thing you can do.

If a transmission fails after a fluid change it would have failed anyway.

I am disgusted at dealers that perpetuate this myth & pass on irresponsible advice.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:12 AM
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I had my ATF changed at 40K miles per dealer recommendation. Maybe because I have a 5 speed E550?
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:20 AM
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MBUSA is the only affiliate in the world that claimed this "filled for life" BS. Benz has a tiny market share in the US & Canada & guess what. They have the highest rate of transmission trouble & failures of anywhere in the world. I wonder why ~ Dummies.

My advice applies equally to the 722.6 & 722.9's. The 7 speed works it's fluid harder due to number of extra range changes

Only use fluid approved against 236.14 unless you have a 722.9 Plus which does not apply to W211
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:48 AM
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I had transmission issues (hard downshift issue) even with the 40K oil changes...

Originally Posted by Glyn M Ruck View Post
MBUSA is the only affiliate in the world that claimed this "filled for life" BS. Benz has a tiny market share in the US & Canada & guess what. They have the highest rate of transmission trouble & failures of anywhere in the world. I wonder why ~ Dummies.

My advice applies equally to the 722.6 & 722.9's. The 7 speed works it's fluid harder due to number of extra range changes

Only use fluid approved against 236.14 unless you have a 722.9 Plus which does not apply to W211
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Glyn M Ruck View Post
I am disgusted at dealers that perpetuate this myth & pass on irresponsible advice.
There are erroneous myths and legends spread by "experts" in every field.
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:35 PM
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MB stepped back from the "sealed for life" claim. What they are is "sealed from consumer access". MB now says at 40k, bring 'em in for a one time change. Kent has some words of wisdom:

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Old 05-14-2014, 03:55 PM
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Good video. Benz engineers in Stuttgart never condoned filled for life or even change once. That is MBUSA BS. ROW has always been 60K Km change. Even in countries like Vietnam.

MBUSA is a loose cannon in the MB empire.

EDIT: BTW the main cause of fluid oxidation is high temperature. Not water vapour.

Last edited by Glyn M Ruck; 05-14-2014 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:56 PM
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late 2009 CLK 350 Coupe Elegance, '65 Jaguar S Type wires
Originally Posted by WEBSRFR View Post
I had transmission issues (hard downshift issue) even with the 40K oil changes...
Do you have the latest software flash?

Last edited by Glyn M Ruck; 05-14-2014 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Glyn M Ruck View Post
...MBUSA is a loose cannon in the MB empire...
Isnt MBUSA a wholly owned subsidiary of MB in Germany?
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:30 PM
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late 2009 CLK 350 Coupe Elegance, '65 Jaguar S Type wires
Yes, but they frequently defy the mothership.
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Old 05-15-2014, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Glyn M Ruck View Post
Do you have the latest software flash?
Yes but this was a mechanical issue. They replaced the transmission plate I think to fix this. This and the engine balance sprocket issues would have been 2 huge repairs if not for the warranty...
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:47 AM
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OK. Sounds like you got one of those bad cars. Benz had issues at that time & they know it.
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:13 AM
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FWIW, I've heard this claim about transmission fluid changes from other people on other marques. Basically, either maintain the thing properly (fluid changes every 30K) or just leave it alone. Doing the first fluid change past 60K miles or so can cause issues. So they say.

Hey, I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

Fortunately, I bought my car used from an M-B dealer and it went through the CPO process even though I chose not to purchase the CPO warranty, so the fluid was changed at 40K.

Last edited by beemer guy; 05-19-2014 at 08:13 AM. Reason: spelllling
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:55 AM
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Changing the fluid will always be the best thing you can do. You need to sort the wheat from the chaff on the internet.
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:31 PM
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With my w203 2001 C320 It had its first transmission oil change at 100,000 miles and then every 39k all the way up to its current 214,000 miles without any issues. That is a 722.6 btw
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:00 AM
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2004 E-500
So I pulled the trigger and changed ATF

Two stealerships (Sunnyvale and Fremont) refused to change my E's ATF. After pondering for more than 6 months and moving to Texas (from CA) I pulled the trigger and did the ATF change (722.9). The cost was $435. I have driven it about only 20 miles since oil change but I do not think my E is experiencing the "oil shock" as the stealership at Fremont said.

I could certainly feel the big difference the new oil made (in a good way) and I am glad I did it. Though stealers are stealers, North Houston MB gave me a good overall experience, must give credit where it is due. Oh but they did quote me $920 for front battery and relay replacement, another $950 for valve gasket.
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:41 PM
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C320 2004
Question Conflicting Answers about Tranny Service

I am new to the Forum although I have viewed posts which provide help, there is no one clear message on this question. I called the Dealership and asked when does my C320 (2004) need its next Tranny Fluid change?

My Dad gave the car to me at 65K and I had them change (drain) the Tranny Fluid and do the Filter at around 85K. Now I am at 125K and I called at first they gave me the standard line every 39K, I asked them to pull it by my VIN and then they said if I had done it already then I never need to do it again. This makes no sense to me especially since this is not covered in the Owner's Manual.

I get the idea of clean is better, but is it 39K, or 100K or never? Also the indicated that season has nothing to do with when I would think to change it, winter is coming! Please someone set me straight or provide a Benz 800 number to call. Thanks!!

Last edited by Brettyoung1; 12-04-2014 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:48 PM
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$920 seems very high for a battery, unclear how much the relay costs. I bought a new batterry from MB service for 300 and they gave me 50 back for the core, so about 250 plus tax. Granted it was heavy and took 2 people to place it inside correctly. Make sure if you DIY that you shut the windows first. When I did mine the computer had to be reset since it thought down windows were up.
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:53 PM
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Transmission Fluid
1) Clean is better than dirty; New . . . Old . . . or anywhere in between.
2) Fluid both gets dirty and wears out slowly over its life (no magic numbers)
3) First fill gets dirty (with clutch material wearing in) sooner than subsequent fills.
4) Old fluid accelerated wear
5) Hard driving, high loads (towing, etc.) and high temps shorten fluid life
6) There is NOTHING old fluid does better than new fluid.
7) New fluid will not hurt a good transmission no matter how old the current fluid is.

Big Round Numbers;
First change 30K to 50K,
Each change after 50K to 80K
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by N_Jay View Post
...
7) New fluid will not hurt a good transmission no matter how old the current fluid is.

Big Round Numbers;
First change 30K to 50K,
Each change after 50K to 80K
I'm going to agree with the latter part of N_Jay's post for big round numbers, but disagree with #7. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that with BMWs, if you let it get past 60, 70K or so without a fluid flush, you're better off just leaving it alone.

Granted that's a Bimmer, not a Merc, so your mileage may vary. The best thing to do is to change it every 30K or so, consistently, for the life of the car. If you get Daddy's hand-me-down all the better, because you know how it was treated and maintained.
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