Intermittent trans shift problem

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Moopere
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Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Thu 15 Oct, 2015 2:24 pm

Hello All,

Over the last 6 months or so I've been suffering a quite intermittent trans shifting problem with my 2008 CLC (W203). First manifest itself as not engaging reverse when I tried to park, then, when I couldn't drive backwards I tried to move forwards but drive didn't work either .... had to put it into park, wait for a moment, then both reverse and drive seemed to work again.

I've not since had this funny reverse problem, but have several times found the trans 'clunking' from 1st into second and occasionally it will then lock itself in second and won't change up (or down) until the car is turned off.

Within the same week as the first problem I got a 'speedtronic' problem reported on the dash when I tried to engage cruise control. Once speedtronic fails you can't use cruise control again until you turn the car off and on again, then it will work fine for a few weeks before failing again.

I've taken it to the dealer who put it on the machine but nothing conclusive has arisen. The speedtronic issue was deemed to be a 'switch' (cant remember the exact name) with an asking of about $750, the trans could be a valve body or some other problem, no price noted, but given the sad face I received I suspect its a pretty expensive fix.

Having a stuff about on the net I've come across two schools of thought that are based upon reports from owners of the older C200 coupe (still W203). These are essentially the same car as the CLC from what I can see, the CLC just had some body panels reshaped to look more like the contemporary W203 sedan of the time.

One of the thoughts that seems popular is coming out of the USA where there appears to be a strong conviction that the 'change once for life' at 60,000km for the trans fluid is baloney and that in fact owners of these cars really need to change the fluid _every_ 60,000km (39,000 miles). There is a bit of anecdotal evidence that changing the fluid is 'fixing' these transmissions that previously were displaying similar problems to mine, however, along with these reports its seems to be 'normal' that some of the seals leak, the fluid level is down and even sometimes presents as 'burnt'. My trans is clean, fluid level is full and the fluid itself looks fine, however, though I did change the fluid at 60,000 as recommended, its now done just under 140,000. There also doesn't appear to be any coincidental reports of any speedtronic issues.

The other school is coming from a battery angle. Bizarrely, there are anecdotal reports that ageing batteries can throw bizarre fault codes and indeed some of these reports are saying that speed sensor issues (speedtronic? Not specifically mentioned ... but....) and trans shifting issues are being fixed by replacing aging batteries with new - then the observed problems are going away. My battery is the as-fitted when new one. I took the car on in APR 2009, but it was manufactured Nov 2008 which makes the battery at least 7, probably 8 or more years old. Last B service I was told that they battery no longer passes capacity test but at $700 for a new one I passed up the opportunity to replace as the car starts first go without any hint of a problem ... perhaps this was the wrong call?

Anyone got any opinions? I imagine that these symptoms should correlate across pretty much any W203 with the 5 speed trans, not only the coupe style cars.

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Tony From West Oz
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Tony From West Oz » Thu 15 Oct, 2015 9:56 pm

Obviously the quote for a new battery was from the $tealer$hip.
I assume it is a DIN88 battery which you should be able to source for under $200.
Check the yellow pages for battery suppliers and ask around for the best price.

I don't know if this will have any impact on your other issues, but at 8 years, you should give the car a birthday and surprise it with a new battery.

Regards,
Tony
Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.

'83 W123 300D 325000km (Wife's car Josephine - sold).
'84 W123 300D replaced good OM617 912 with OM617 952 and enjoyed having good acceleration for the first time since first driving a 300D in 2002 - became engine and trans donor for 300CD Turbodiesel conversion. Now parted out.
'86 W124 300D sold (Wife's old car - sold )
'85 W123 300CD, 275 000km (Fatmobile) rebuilt turbodiesel from previous Fatmobile transplanted into 280CE (SOLD)
'99 W202 C250 Turbodiesel (my darling Wife's car - Sold)
'98 W202 C250 Turbodiesel (my car - Sold)
'06 Ssanyong Musso Crew Cab 2WD Ute (OM662 diesel and Auto Transmission)

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Thu 15 Oct, 2015 10:37 pm

Tony From West Oz wrote:Obviously the quote for a new battery was from the $tealer$hip.
Yes, heh, I laughed a little on the inside. Surely no-one pays such an absurd figure for a battery.
Tony From West Oz wrote:I assume it is a DIN88 battery which you should be able to source for under $200.
I haven't looked yet but this is the sort of figure I was expecting to pay.
Tony From West Oz wrote: I don't know if this will have any impact on your other issues, but at 8 years, you should give the car a birthday and surprise it with a new battery.
Seems like a reasonable thing to start with doesn't it? I'm usually happy to replace batteries when they start to struggle a little to start the car on cold mornings. It never even occurred to me that it might be possible for an old battery to throw out weird and wonderful errors all over the place.

In any event, I should source one and get it fitted. I'm at about 6.5 years of ownership, its not a bad run. Get a new one, if things magically improve elsewhere then yay!! If not, well, not money wasted, new battery required sooner rather than later in any event.

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Ivanerrol
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Ivanerrol » Fri 16 Oct, 2015 12:50 pm

Every Battery deal Australia wide and sell good Varta batteries.
Bit more expensive than the power cranks or exides, but last longer.
Mercedes batteries are either Bosch or Varta depending on where the car was originally made.
W211 - E240
W204 - C280
Departed
W202 - C200, C180, C180
W126 - 380SE , 380SE (Ex SA Import), 560SEL
W124 - 300e, 260e (ex Japan)
W111 220s (Indonesia) 4 speed manual column shift
W123 230
W116 450SEL
W140 420SEL
W210 E240, E240
W209 CLK 240
W201 190e 2.6 (ex U.K.)

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Fri 16 Oct, 2015 3:55 pm

Thanks for the heads-up, I'll ask my indie to quote me a varta.

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Sat 28 Nov, 2015 12:26 pm

Whats the difference with the different Varta batteries? Anyone know? I went along to my local indie and he doesnt stock or source Varta, so I then wandered off to everybattery.com.au and they present me with three choices for the CLC

E11 'Blue', 680CCC, 24 months warranty, $255
E44 'Silver', 780CCC, 36 months warranty, $265
E39, 'AGM', 760CCC, 42 months warranty, $369

The last one, the AGM, mentioned stop-start technology vehicles which is not my CLC, so probably nothing for me there. The E11 and E44 appear similar on face value, CCC on either should be more than sufficient leaving warranty as the decider. $10 for an extra year? Seems worth it - but am I missing something obvious?

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Ivanerrol
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Ivanerrol » Sat 28 Nov, 2015 5:25 pm

W203's came with a DIN88 battery.
W204's and later CLC's with a DIN 66
The batteries your looking at are the DIN66 variety.

Have a look at your current battery and see what it is.

The higher DIN rating number the higher the CCC and ampere hour rating.

The W202's require a DIN95 battery. The reason being is to stabilise the voltage - the ECU's of the period being a little intolerant to voltage variations.
W211 - E240
W204 - C280
Departed
W202 - C200, C180, C180
W126 - 380SE , 380SE (Ex SA Import), 560SEL
W124 - 300e, 260e (ex Japan)
W111 220s (Indonesia) 4 speed manual column shift
W123 230
W116 450SEL
W140 420SEL
W210 E240, E240
W209 CLK 240
W201 190e 2.6 (ex U.K.)

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Sat 24 Sep, 2016 11:36 am

I ended up vacillating on this for ages. Struggled in the end to get a decent price on a high end brand (inc. freight to WA) so on an impulse one day while I was out I saw a deal for an exide and just went for that. Only 2 years warranty but $146 fitted.

Just for the historical record here, it hasn't affected either the trans getting stuck in limp home nor the speedtronic cruise control intermittently not working problem. It has corrected the struggle that the car displayed a couple of times on particularly cold mornings to turn over :)

Next stop is probably the local indie to get the trans fluid changed ... see if theres anything in the web/anecdotal evidence that these transmissions should have their fluid done every 60K as opposed to what the manual says. Interestingly, last time I was at the dealer the CSR was adamant that this should happen every 60K - and the time before that a different and more senior CSR has mentioned that it was time for a service on the trans. I looked into this before and after a fair bit of back and forward determined that 'service' in this case means nothing more than a gasket and fluid. I found it strange and said so, as the merc manual for this car says 'once only at 60K'. Even the Australian addendum doesn't mention changing every 60K.

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Wed 22 Mar, 2017 3:37 am

Thought I'd come back to this old thread of mine.

1.5 years later and well, you know, life has got in the way, but problems like this with the trans don't seem to ever just-get-better by themselves hehe. Anyway, new battery didn't fix it, but was needed in any case.

Finally got my sorry self off to the local indie who confirmed that yes, the fluid change even after the "60K for life" was a good idea. To be fair, he did mention that 'for life' could mean anything depending on what your view of the lifespan of modern cars actually is :0 In Europe its apparently pretty common to change vehicles over, whereas in Australia we tend to keep ours running almost forever.

In any event, he felt that as the cruise control was faulting and could be read easily on the star machine we probably should tackle that first. Fair enough. Did that about a week ago, and yep, its fixed the speedtronic/cruise control failure - works well now. Its only been a week, so, caution, but so far at least, the transmission has also been behaving itself. No clunky changes, no limp-home. I'll run it for a month or so and report back again. Whether it faults or not I'll get the trans fluid changed at that point.

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Ivanerrol
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Ivanerrol » Thu 23 Mar, 2017 11:05 pm

Allegedly

The sealed for life myth was coined by the U.S. branch of Mercedes Benz marketing team.
It's alleged this term was coined to counter act the marketing promises by Lexus and Infinity.

M.B. Stuttgart has alleged that they never stated that the NAG+ transmissions were sealed for life.

M.B. Australia has a spotted history when anything such as overseas recalls or overseas marketing techniques are called out.

Whats is essential is the wiring seal into the transmission be checked. It should be changed at 60,000 or before.
I
W211 - E240
W204 - C280
Departed
W202 - C200, C180, C180
W126 - 380SE , 380SE (Ex SA Import), 560SEL
W124 - 300e, 260e (ex Japan)
W111 220s (Indonesia) 4 speed manual column shift
W123 230
W116 450SEL
W140 420SEL
W210 E240, E240
W209 CLK 240
W201 190e 2.6 (ex U.K.)

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Fri 24 Mar, 2017 1:44 pm

Ivanerrol wrote:Allegedly

The sealed for life myth was coined by the U.S. branch of Mercedes Benz marketing team.
It's alleged this term was coined to counter act the marketing promises by Lexus and Infinity.

M.B. Stuttgart has alleged that they never stated that the NAG+ transmissions were sealed for life.
Sealed for life, yes, I've heard this bouncing about.

The cars own manual, presumably duly authorised, states, change fluid once only at 60K/km. So, not sealed for life, but only needs to be changed once for the 'life' of the vehicle.

I took this at face value. However, after chatting with my indie I've thought about this some more. I mean, goodness me, once only -for-life- ... what if I keep this car running for 50 years? No fluid is going to last the distance, even if I never drive it. It seems a lot more likely that hidden somewhere in the volumes of documentation surrounding the design and marketing of modern vehicles that there will be a solid definition of such things and its probably orbiting a 'lease life' or standard expected on-road life of a vehicle somewhere in the world.

The engineering is just so damn good these days its sometimes frightening. As a product, this vehicle, an 'entry' level vehicle at its best, no doubt, kept itself together and looking great for probably 5-6 years. I did what needed doing and was stated for its upkeep, but little else.

However, now in its ninth year since manufacture, to a noticeable extent, its fallen off a cliff. The paintwork is degrading rapidly, interior is now showing serious signs of wear and tear with button tops wearing off and upholstery starting to give way (only in a small way, but still).

None of this is a complaint, the car has done 160-170K and _is_ 9 years old after all - its not close to being new. But I am amazed at just how well it held up in the first half of its life.
Ivanerrol wrote: M.B. Australia has a spotted history when anything such as overseas recalls or overseas marketing techniques are called out.
Indeed yes.
Ivanerrol wrote: Whats is essential is the wiring seal into the transmission be checked. It should be changed at 60,000 or before.
Checking for fluid leaks that will lead to wicking I assume?

I'll mention it to the indie when I go back for the fluid change. He's not keen on changing out the conductor plate/etc just as a matter of course ... rather change what can be identified as actually needing change :) Fair enough.

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Moopere
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Moopere » Sat 28 Jul, 2018 2:24 pm

I thought I'd come back to this old thread.

After faffing around for literally years, about 6 months ago the transmission finally had enough and went into permanent limp-home mode. Huge drama as these things never happen at a convenient moment ... though to be perfectly fair, the car was complaining and warning me for years before I got to this point.

So I had the CLC towed to my local indie and it turned out to be the speed sensor electronics inside the transmission. I'd only had the trans oil/kit put through it a few months before ($500), but had to dump the oil again and get the board replaced. This cost me about $1200 all up and frankly I should have just bit the bullet much earlier.

The car is now performing as it should and is again a joy to drive - not having to constantly worry about the trans giving up on me has re-injected some real driving pleasure.

Now in its tenth year on the road, with almost 200K on the clock though, my mind wanders as to how long these 'modern' vehicles are really meant to last. As I have said elsewhere, for the first 5-7 years I did basically nothing to this vehicle aside from the regular scheduled servicing and replacements ... but this last year I've hit the wall. Sunroof mechanism is dead, drivers door armrest completely cracked and falling apart, the trans problem, steering wheel needs replacement as the padding/covering is coming apart (its not leather), original floor mats are worn through, button tops on the steering wheel and temperature controls are worn off, Mercedes road wheel logos have delaminated, paintwork is seriously degraded.

Compared to my 2005 SLK, which is a _much_ better finished car (with its own small issues though, sure), the, CLC seems to be signalling to me that its about done!

I need to get the road wheels repaired (kerb rash), $2000, new tyres ($1000), keytops for interior (?? 1000$??), sunroof (2500$), I've done the armrest and floor mats ($500), steering wheel (W204 type, flat bottom from ebay $500 + fitting). Repaint all the stone chips, which currently look like its been sandblasted ($3000). Its going to be about $10K to get the vehicle looking flash again .... or just buy say a 2012 SLK for $35K with 60K on the clock.

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Ivanerrol
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Re: Intermittent trans shift problem

Post by Ivanerrol » Sat 28 Jul, 2018 8:34 pm

I was looking at a 2011 E250coupe petrol with 50Km's for just on $30K. Immaculate.

Check around and take your time - there's plenty of cars around.

W203's 2008 should be good for more than 200,000 K's however your ongoing maintenance costs will probably negate going any further advantages in keeping it.
On the down side. Don't look for too many dollars when trying to sell this CLC. To a stealership, cars with more than 200,000K's are worth zero - near impossible to trade.... and dare I say it. CLC's are not the most popular car in the shed.
W211 - E240
W204 - C280
Departed
W202 - C200, C180, C180
W126 - 380SE , 380SE (Ex SA Import), 560SEL
W124 - 300e, 260e (ex Japan)
W111 220s (Indonesia) 4 speed manual column shift
W123 230
W116 450SEL
W140 420SEL
W210 E240, E240
W209 CLK 240
W201 190e 2.6 (ex U.K.)

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