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Mercedes Transmission Problems, Limp Mode, No Shifting: Troubleshooting Tips

Mercedes-Benz Transmission Problems

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mercedes _transmissionIn this article, we discuss the most common Mercedes-Benz transmission problems and how you can fix some of them. This troubleshooting guide will help you narrow down the transmission problem and teach you how to perform some of the repairs.

If your transmission is stuck in limp mode, DON’T PANIC.  The majority of the time, the problem is not as grave as you may think.  

If your transmission is stuck in gear and you are far away from home, try this:

  1. Pull over and turn the car off. Remove the key.
  2. Do not press the gas pedal or any other buttons on the car.
  3. Wait 20 seconds.
  4. Start the car and drive to see if it is out of limp mode.

Your transmission may be back to normal but there may be underlying issues that you need to address. If you ignore them, the car will start going into the limp mode more frequently. Don’t forget that first warning! You need to find the reason your transmission is going into limp mode or not shifting.

You would be surprised to know that the majority of the transmissions problems such as hard shifting and no shifting issues come from incorrect transmission fluid level or the infamous transmission 13 pin connector plug O-ring. These are easy fixes that you can even tackle yourself. Mercedes-Benz transmissions are very solid, and whole transmission replacement is very rarely needed.  The 5-speed transmission that was used between 1995 up to 2008 is one of the best transmission ever built. Now let’s see if we can help you troubleshoot your transmission.

By continuing to read this article you agree to use this information at your own risk.

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Top 5 Mercedes-Benz Transmission Problems.

  1. Low Transmission Fluid
  2. Transmission wire harness 13-pin (O-ring) connector oil leak/contamination
  3. Valve body or conductor plate defective
  4. Won’t come out of Park gear due to a defective brake light switch. (DIY How to replace the Brake Light Switch)
  5. Defective Shifter Module

Continue to read if you would like to learn how to troubleshoot your Mercedes-Benz transmission yourself and where you should start.

Transmission Troubleshooting Guide Step-by-Step

1. Check Fluid Level

You want to start with the most common and least expensive problem. That is verifying that the fluid level is not low. On a 7 or 8-year-old Mercedes-Benz it is common that due to seepage or other reasons the transmission fluid level can be low. The car will go into limp mode as soon as it detects low level. The car doesn’t come with a dipstick to check the transmission level but you can order one online for under $20. You will need Dipstick Tool for 722.6 722.9 Mercedes-Benz Transmission for measuring fluid level.  Watch the video below to learn how to check the transmission fluid level on your Mercedes-Benz.

2. Read and Clear Transmission Control Unit Fault Codes

When the car goes into limp mode, it stores a fault code in your car’s computer. Specific codes related to the transmission are stored in the TCU (Transmission Control Unit) and come generic codes such as P0705 are stored in ECU (Engine Control Unit). You don’t need to pay anyone to read the codes; you can retrieve them yourself in a couple of minutes with the right OBD II scanner. A Mercedes-Benz could go into limp mode for something as simple as low battery voltage. If that is your case replace your battery and use an OBD-2 scanner capable of clearing the fault codes from the transmission control unit. More on this latter.

In the video below we show you how to use a diagnostic scanner to troubleshoot your transmission, read and clear fault codes.

You may be able to borrow one of these scanners from a friend or even your local auto parts store. Your other option is to get one from Amazon, but you need to know what works on Mercedes-Benz cars. These scanners will cost you about the same as a diagnostic at a repair shop would, except you get to use it over and over again. Here are two of our favorite scanners that will read and erase trouble codes from transmission control unit on Mercedes-Benz cars. Note that these work on 1996 and newer MB cars. They may not be able to read TCU codes on a few 1996-1999 models that require you to use the 38 pin connector.

OBD-2 Scanners that can read and erase MB Transmission Control Unit
icarsoft mb ii
  1. iCarsoft MB II for Benz/Sprint/Smart

Full MB control unit diagnostics. Including Engine, Transmission, ABS, Airbag, SRS, SBC Brakes, ESP, EPS, Air Suspension and more.

In depth troubleshooting, but only works on MB cars.

Troublshooting mercedes benz limp no shifting problem 2. Launch Creader X431 VII works in European, Asian and Domestic Cars. 

ECU, TCU, AirBag / SRS, Transmission only.

Only can read and clear codes of the four systems mentioned. Works on most cars and models including Honda, Toyota, BMW, Lexus etc.

Either one of these two scanners would get the job done. An advanced diagnostic scanner such as the iCarsoft or the Launch Creader listed here are a must for do-it-yourself Mercedes-Benz repair. They are affordable and can access most of the systems on your Mercedes-Benz including Airbag, EPS, ETS, Transmission, Engine, front and rear SAM, SRS, brakes and a lot more.

3. Replace 13 Pin Connector Adapter Plug O-ring

transmission o plug 722.6You scan the car, and you may get fault codes that point you to communication problems with the valve body or incorrect gear ratios and similar. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a new valve body  (will talk more about the valve body in the next step) replace the Mercedes Transmission 13-Pin Connector Adapter Plug + O-rings. The O-ring plug leaks oil and disrupts the communication between the TCU and the valve body. The O-ring is very easy to replace.  Mechanics who are not familiar with Mercedes-Benz transmission suggest replacing the whole transmissions when the root of the problem in the O-ring plug. Replacing the O-ring transmission plug is very easy, anyone can do it if they don’t mind getting dirty. Here are the instructions on how to change the O-ring plug. Once you replace the transmission O-ring plug you will need an OBD-II diagnostic scanner to erase the fault codes.

4. Replace Valve Body

If you are still having issues with the car going into limp mode and the scanner pointed you in the direction of the valve body then you may want to consider replacing it. The valve body is inside the transmission. The transmission does not need to be removed. Replacing the valve body can per perform with the transmission in place. A new valve body at the dealer can cost between $500 and $1000.

Luckily for you, the transmission does not need to be removed. Which means you can do this repair yourself if you are willing to get under the car. A new valve body at the dealer can cost between $500 and $1000. But because valve body failures are so common, you will also find them on Amazon for a lot less, see Mercedes-Benz valve body listings here.

If your Mercedes-Benz is equipped with the 722.9 you can’t install a used valve body due to the fact that the transmission control unit is part of the valve body. You will either need to get a new valve body which gets expensive considering that it will also require programming. An alternative solution is to try a Mercedes-Benz 7G 722.9 conductor plate repair service. These are independent shops that will take your old 722.9 transmission control module and try to repair it.

5. Failed Transmission

Very few Mercedes-Benz cars have had complete transmission failure and require transmission replacement. We see these transmission fail in rare cases when water enters the transmission via the oil cooling lines or the radiator on cars equipped with Valeo radiators. The top part of the radiator on your Mercedes-Benz contains the chamber for the engine coolant/antifreeze while the bottom part contains the chamber for the transmission oil cooling. If cracks develop between the two chambers, coolant will mix with transmission oil and it will destroy the transmission. This has been a well-documented issue for Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with the Valeo radiators.

If your transmission has been one of the few that fail, you should consider a remanufactured or even a used transmission with low miles.

Before you rush into replacing the transmission always read the fault codes from the transmission control unit using a scanner such as the iCarsoft MB II  and go from there.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Limp Mode?

Known as the limp / fail safe / emergency mode is when your transmission is stuck in one gear and doesn’t shift. In this condition, you only get speeds up to 30 mph max.

Why does this happen?

When the sensor input values from the different sensors inside the transmission, in the valve body, MAF sensor and other parameters are outside the normal operation range, the car could go into the limp mode, go home mode. The reason it was designed this way is to protect the transmission from further damage. Don’t panic! Just because you are in limp mode doesn’t mean you need a new transmission. You may also get a check engine light if your transmission goes into limp mode. When a Mercedes-Benz goes into limp mode, it only operates in second gear and reverse only. When you put it in gear, you may also feel a bang as transmission engages. The first thing you should try is to check the transmission fluid level. The transmission has a dipstick tube but with no dipstick in it.  You will need this special dipstick though to measure it correctly.

Top reasons causing Transmission To Go Into Limp Mode:

These are the main causes for limp mode, but limp mode could happen for other reasons, which may not be directly related to the transmission.

How to troubleshoot my car that is not shifting? 

-First, determine if the car is in limp mode or if it is not moving at all. In limp mode, your car will drive in second gear.

– Get an OBD2/CAN scanner that also reads transmission codes and check the engine/transmission codes. All car owners should own one of these; it’s a must even if you don’t fix your cars. See our list of top recommended scanners here. You will get a fault code which will point you in the right direction. Write that code down, then go to our Mercedes-Benz custom search to search all the Mercedes Benz related pages, forums and website in one place.

– If your fluid level is OK, then listen for a whine. Do you hear one? Make sure to check the fluid level first and add if necessary. If the level is correct and you hear a whine, you may have serious transmission problems.  That means the fluid is not circulating in the transmission. This could be due to several issues such  bad a torque converter, bad transmission oil pump, water contamination in transmission.

 Understanding  Mercedes-Benz Transmissions models.

– The 5-speed transmission was introduced around 1994 and was used up to 2007 models. This was a bullet proof transmission, and you should be glad if your car has this transmission installed. This is designated as 722.6

– The 7-speed transmission was introduced in early 2000. It was first installed in some 2004 models. The 4matics were the last models that were changed from the 722.6 five-speed to the 722.9 seven speed. This transmission is known as 722.9 or 7G.

To find out which transmission your car is equipped with go to www.mercedesmedic.com/decode Use one the decoding options in that link to see the transmission code. It will say if you have a 722.6 (5 speed) or a 722.9 (7 speed).

How to get the car out of Limp Mode? 

You need to find and repair the problem that caused the car to go into limp mode first. Once you do that, in some cases the car will go out of limp mode right away. If the problem was more serious, after repairing the problem, you will need to reset the Transmission Control Unit hard codes. A generic OBD II scanner will not work; you will either need a Star DAS Xentry scanner or an advanced scanner such as the ones we mentioned above or similar.

Shifter stuck in park problem. 

If your Mercedes Benz is stuck in Park and it won’t come out then you could have a problem with:

– Shifter module. Could be defective.
– Brake Light Switch
– The connection between the ignition module and the shifter module. Some of the older models had cable used to unlock the car from park. After 2000 this is controlled by an electrical wire.

TIP: If this is your problem, look up in the owners manual. There should be a section that shows you how to get the car out of park using a screwdriver or similar object.

If you don’t have a manual download it here: Mercedesmedic.com/ownersmanual/

The car will not move at all, when in Drive or Reverse. 

Do you hear a whine? In that case, you may have serious transmission problems.  Some of the E-Classes and the CLK-Class and maybe other models had defective radiators. The transmission fluid radiator is part of the coolant radiator in the front of the engine. Even though the coolant and the transmission are running in the same radiator to be cooled they have separate chambers. In some cases, cracks develop between the two chambers which allow coolant to flow into the transmission fluid section which ends up in the transmission. The glycol entering the transmission will destroy it. This is happening primarily in cars with Valeo radiators.  If you had this problem and replaced the transmission, you MUST replace the radiator as well. You will need another transmission very soon otherwise.

Common transmission OBD-II Codes. 

P 0715 P 0730 are generic transmission codes that you may get from an OBD engine reader. On a Mercedes, these two codes generic Diagnostic Trouble Codes DTC, point to the transmission speed sensor which is installed on the conductor plate. You can just replace the conductor plate. Can be done with the transmission still in the car. You can get a conductor plate here for less than $200.

IMPORTANT

If you have a defective shifter, most model years 2000 and newer (with a few exceptions) you need a shifter model wich is “virgin” or new. The shifter module will need to be programmed to match the VIN of your car. The only exceptions when a used shifter may work are Mercedes model year 2000 and older plus:

  • W210/W208  up to 2003
  • R170 SLK up to 2004
  • W163 up to 2004

On models including 2000-up S-Class (such as W220), 2003-up E-Class (such as W211) and newer models you can’t install a used shifter. It needs to be virgin shifter module and needs programming.

Regardless of the information provided here, you are responsible for verifying if your shifter module needs programming. 

Conclusion

If your Mercedes is in limp mode, don’t panic. The chances that you will need a new transmission are slim. Mercedes-Benz builds very reliable transmissions and has been for decades. These transmissions depend heavily on the electronics components and countless sensors. That’s why it is so easy for the transmission to go into limp mode.

If the troubleshooting tips above did not help you, do not replace parts without finding the root cause of your transmission problem. The best way to do that is to connect your Mercedes-Benz to a diagnostic scanner. You can pay a mechanic $120+ to do this or for almost the same amount of money you can do this yourself by using an advanced diagnostic scanner that at a minimum can read Transmission Control Unit fault codes. Check out our article on Top 10 Best Diagnostic Scanners for Mercedes-Benz troubleshooting.

178 comments

  1. HELLO ALL

    I HAVE MERCEDES C220 96 MODEL AUTOMATIC
    I HAVE NO GEARS PRESSURE , OR REVERSE BUT IT HAPPENS SOMETIMES THE CAR DRIVE OR REVERSE SLOWLY I HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH OIL IN THE GEAR BOX THE CAR MOVE VERY SLOWLY OR NOT

  2. Hi, I was driving on the motorway and I pushed the Mercedes benz clk 500 2006 model a bit to about 90mph for about 5-6 mins. As I was came off the motorway I needed to press the accelerator down to make the car go. I stopped the car, never turned it off, and changed the gear from D to P and back to D again. The car went into ‘limp mode’ (I think) and was stuck in a low gear until I reached home.

    I took it to a MB specialist and he said it was the gear box electric plate. Which I agreed that he change.

    The car is running ok now (only driven it a further 5 miles), except now when coming to a stop, it seems like the gear changes down too soon and I feel a very slight jolt with downward gear changes.

  3. Hello,

    I have a 2002 E320 4Matic. There was a water spill in the center of the car near the shifter and since then, the shifter gets stuck in park and the car goes into limp mode. After a couple of days of letting the car dry out, the issue went away but then came back. The only way to get the car out of park is to use the release with a screw driver and now the car will not come out of limp mode.

    • Should I replace the shifter and can I buy a used shifter? I can buy one online for $149 used as apposed to $500 new.

      I didn’t actually see the water spill but I asked my wife if anything happened recently in the car that could have possible caused this issue with the shifter.

    • You need to replace the shifter.

  4. hello,

    i get my car w203 ,year 2001 stuck in limp mode , if i perform a gearbox factory reset it stucks once per month if not it stuck in limp every day.(battery and gearbox oil has been changed)

  5. I have an 06 C280 4Matic. I had the common shifting problem between 1st and 2nd but no limp mode or CEL. I changed the fluid, filter, 13 pin connector and checked the fluid level according to the instructions on this and other MB sites. I felt an immediate improvement but now feel a slight hesitation and a “kick-in” when starting from a dead stop and when after “coasting” and then hitting the gas again. Thanks.

  6. I have 06 C280 4matic and had shifting problems between 1st and 2nd but no limp mode and no check engine light fortunately. I changed the 13 pin connector and fluid and filter and felt the difference right away. Now I feel a slight hesitation from a dead stop sometimes or when I take my foot off the gas and coast and then accelerate while coasting.

  7. Oh, and car did not go into limp mode fortunately..

  8. I have 06 C280 4matic. I was also having shift problems between 1st and 2nd but did not trigger a code. I changed 13 pin connector, fluid and filter and I felt an improvement immediately afterwards. Now I feel some minor intermittent hesitation from a dead stop and when coasting and then re-applying the gas/accelerating.

  9. Hi Mercedes Medic!

    I hope that you are still monitoring this page and this reply list. I have a 2003 C240 4Matic wagon. I bought this car with the transmission in limp home mode. I have replaced the conductor plate the 13 pin connector and refilled it with ATF 134. At your suggestion I also bought the icarsoft MB II scan tool. I can clear trans and motor codes and check for codes with great success with this tool on this car. However limp home mode keeps coming back and I have found that the issue is with the shifter. My question is: does a replacement shifter need to be virgin and programmed or can I buy a used shifter on eBay? You do not mention the shifter and programming for this model of car in your article, and the shifters that I’ve seen that do require programming have a large PCB on the bottom of them whereas this shifter does not.

    Thanks for your help and all this great information. I appreciate it

    • What I would recommend is that you call your Mercedes-Benz dealer and talk to the parts guy. Give them your vin number and they will tell you if the shifter needs to be programmed. I believe it does on that model.

      • Ok, Thanks for your input Mercedes Medic!

      • As a follow-up for those that can make use of this info:
        I have fixed the limp home mode issue with my 2003 W203 C240 4matic wagon. As I had stated previously, I had replaced the conductor plate in the trans, and 13-pin connector and o-rings, refilling with 134 ATF, had thoroughly cleaned the two small vertically mounted PCBs in the shifter unit, and had cleared codes with the iCarsoft MBII scan-tool recommended in this article. Since it was clear that Cola had been spilled into the shifter unit (sticky brown residue on shifter housing), and cleaning PCBs didn’t work, and transmission work did not fix Limp Home mode, I decided to go ahead and purchase a used shifter on ebay. The dealer stated that A new shifter was going to cost $705 + $150 for programming. I didn’t do that. I bought the used one. It was the exact same part number of the shifter in my car, and it works! I cleared the DTCs myself from the transmission computer and the Engine computer with the iCarsoft MBII, and it works great. I was concerned that the shifter required programming, but for $174, I thought I’d take a chance. THere was NO PROGRAMMING required for this repair. I repeat: NO PROGRAMMING. Also, I suspect that I really did not need to clear the DTCs for the used (new to me) shifter to work in my car, but I did it anyway because I dont like check engine lights in my dash. Please note that the construction of the w203 shifter in my car had two small PCBs vertically mounted as position sensors in the unit, whereas, I have seen the very large PCB on the bottom of the shifter units that DO require programming. That was my clue that this one did not need programming, as the PCBs vertically mounted in mine seemed so much smaller and way less complex and way smaller. I hope this info helps other W203 owners out there!

    • Hi,

      My C200 is going to limp mode and when a stop and turn off it normal

  10. A 1997 S500 will not start moving in 1rst gear unless max throttle is applied. It wants to start in 2nd gear same as if the EPS switch was applied. A local repair shop had the trans pan off to fix a leak.That is when the 1rst gear problem appeared. If the trans oil is changed and the connector has new “O” rings, would that be a good way to attempt a repair?

  11. A Mercedes When you enter the key in the lock you turn and no start or ignition for so you turn off and retry the car may start after 4 times
    this problem comes after i change the lock and configure it for this car

  12. Excellent article, very helpful! I have an 07 W221 S600 V12 with a 722.6 trans. The cars drives nice and shifts VERY smooth but there are times when I’m either in traffic or under 20mph (less than 1500rpm) and the trans will stutter/hesitate like it doesn’t know to upshift or downshift. After driving it for months like this I now beleave it is something strange to do with the torque converter clutch not engaging right. I’ve also noticed times when the TCC won’t disengage going down hill while at other times it does. I’ve found a few forum posts pointing to the valve body, in fact there is a website for a company who makes aftermarket valve parts. Do you think it could be the TCC or what would you recommend I check? Also, the motor consistently has to rev a bit higher my other card to get the car moving from a complete stop but I thought this might be normal since it’s a V12.

  13. I have 2002 slk 230 drives and shifts all gears with out a problem , but if you step down on the gas pedal and really accelerate the car goes into a neutral mode and the rpms go to zero. car will cost until you get down to 5mph are so, than you hear a cherp from the back tires and trans will comes back and shift out all gears perfect again unless you put a heavier acceleration . it does this at high speed or low speed . Any ideals.

    no codes showing

  14. Hello! My 1997 slk230 is stuck on limp mode. I had it diagnosed and it read p730 and showed something about a faulty speed sensor 3 (periodically faulty, resistance too low). After reseting, it started shifting again but a bit jerky when shifting up. After a day it got back on the limp mode.

  15. I own a 2004 CLK SE 1.8 with a manual 6 speed gearbox. More recently I have had the fluid changed by a mercedes specialist.
    The main issue is selecting first gear. The car is reluctant to go into first from a standing position. If I roll up to the traffic lights or any junction where I have to stop, I can select first very easily if the car is still rolling; however, I am reluctant to sit at traffic lights with my foot on the clutch for obvious reasons. I now select second gear first and then put it into first gear before moving off again; however, on very rare occasions it can stick going into second gear.

    Kindest regards
    Alex

  16. Upon driving our brand new Mercedes Forest River R.V. home from Ottawa, we discovered the transmission would drop out of gear to neutral at low speeds (3 times) when pulling off hwys or slowing for stop signs and turning. Slip to neutral and back to drive would re engage the transmission. We have a long awaited appt. with Mercedes dealership back in Ottawa and it is quite a distance (5 hrs.) away. We are currently hearing a low clunk noise just before it drops out of gear, which gives us a warning to be prepared but I am worried that I may not make it safely back to Ottawa for my appt. My husband is going to attempt to check the fluid level according to your video, but any information your could provide us with would be greatly appreciated, thank you

  17. Hi I have 2007 350 c se coupe.
    Car goes into limp mode once pulled away.
    It appears to stay in either 2nd or 4th gear.
    I have to turn off and on numerous times to re-set and get out of limp mode.

  18. Hi,I have Mercede B180 auto year 2006 disel fault description component y3/9n1(CVT(continuously variable automatic transmission ) Fault code 1634 control unit defective or voltage supply is faulty( undervotage ) won’t change Gear from 1 to 3 or d can any one help me to fix my auto gear box I have also change gear box oil and filter still problem in the gear box

  19. Hello Sir,

    I have a 2005 e320 4Matic (gas) 356,000 klms…mostly highway. Original ATF. No codes.

    At cold start there is a slightly hard shift from first to second. Slightly rough downshifting as well.

    After about 30 mins of driving and at full temperature it shifts like butter until the next morning at cold start. Been driving it like that for 4 years…finally decided to ask…

    Point me in the right direction…

    ATF level is good. It almost seems like the valves or solenoids are gummed up…

    I am planning to replace the connector, valve body, filter, AFT… and perhaps the solenoids…???

  20. Hi, Wondering if there is a way to determine if the whining transmission noise is due to torque converter, bad transmission oil pump, or water contamination in the transmission? A specific code or place to look?

    • Water contamination destroys the clutches inside the transmission. They fall apart and clog the oil filter. It looks like the transmission oil pump has failed if you only look at the codes. It is easy to misdiagnose this issue as a bad transmission oil pump. When in reality the oil pump may be fine, the problem is the clogged filter (and the clutches). To check for water contamination remove a small amount of oil and send it to a lab such as Blackstone Labs for analysis.

      • Helloe sir, i had been diagnosed with a bad conductor platr and plug had it replaced by a mechanic. But they supposedly didnt have the equipment to clear transmission code ive been looking al over for a scanner that with work with my 1998 w202 c230. Do you know of a scanner that definitively works with that year?

  21. Very helpful information. Thanks for your time!

  22. Hi, I own a 2000 MB W163 ML 320. I am having a problem with the Limp Mode. I have changed the following:

    – 13 Pin Plug on Transmission Base
    – MAF Sensor
    – Catalytic Converter (Burned by MAF Problem)
    – o2 Sensors
    – Fuel Pump
    – Fuel Regulator

    Apart from that, all fluids checked. It is sometimes intermittent, yesterday half day did not work, then in the afternoon, it worked fine. Today, it will not get out of Limp Mode. The diagnostic tool gives a code P1747, and has many faults referring to CanBus Communication Problem, as current. It refers directly to the Instrument Cluster. Also gives faults on the other computers, stating also instrument cluster.

    Should I change it? Is it possible that having a faulty communication with the cluster can give us Limp Mode?

    • On that model year even removing the cluster shouldn’t send the transmission in limp mode. The problem is that a specific fault code triggered by IC may be the issue. I would buy a used cheap IC and install it for testing purposes. If the problem goes away, then you know the cluster is the issue. I am assuming you have read all the codes with a multi-system scanner.

  23. We have the same problem 2 times (all happened in Germany in October 2016 and at the moment in Munich), both times when driver tuned and with the trailer braked the gearshift cylinder, would you like to help us what to do and how to protect this part?
    Sorry Mercedes Actros 1844

  24. Hi i have a 2003 E320 estate, it drives lovely but after a while it goes up the gearbox very quickly and then does not come down the gears without going into neutral, also when you put your foot on the gas pedal it wont pick up.
    Can you help Lesley

  25. Sir, my C180 Mercedes automatic transmission won’t shift from first gear to the second gear. What are the possible causes and how can it be repaired ?

  26. My MBA auto 1999 e240 is stuck in one gear. ..and showing (bas,srs)…can you assist. .it all started when l smelt something burning. I took off the battery. Looked for a technician. The car was cranking but no petrol coming through. He fixed the petrol issue. Now it’s in limp mode only

  27. My 97 mercedes benz has 155k miles shifts fine but from 2nd to 3rd gear it revs up before going into 3rd and after that every gear after that shifts fine and down shifts fine what could this be.

    • Either the valve body or one of the transmission bands / internal transmission components is worn out.

  28. Hi I have a clk 230 kompressor 2000 year. It doesn’t go into top gear. I’m having the gearbox oil changed but what could be the other options? The battery was dead when I bought the car.

    • Not a typical MB problem to be honest. I would check fluid level and see if there are any transmission codes.

  29. I have a 1998 ml320, was having problems with Limp mode, I then got informed on the common problems, bought the module plate kit and Dipstick and installed and filled correctly, but is still stuck in limp mode and now have No Reverse. Also connector plug still leaking.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Connector plug shouldn’t be leaking. Make sure that is dry. Next check the link between the shifter and valve body. Could be the reason why you have no R. Lastly, ensure that the transmission fluid is correct.

  30. Hi
    water from radiator entered my ml 320 2003 model, i have fixed the radiator, changed the 13pin connector , changed the conductor plate and cleared the error code p0720 i got initially but the car is still in limp mode . when i tried to read it again is showing me error code P0778. Pls kindly advice thw nwxt step i should take to take it out of limp mode

    • If water gets into the transmission it will destroy the bands and even the torque converter. In return your valve body ends up extremely dirty. Typically not a good experience.

  31. Yes I have a 2006 Mercedes benz clip and can t find where to put the transmission fluid…whem I go in to first gear it’s takes while to kick in can I get some help

    • It should be on the back of the engine. You will have to look down there. Make sure you don’t overfill. That can cause more problems than you think.

  32. hi guys
    i drive a 2000 merc c280 and has been stuck in limp mode for months now.Some guys have fiddeled around with the transmission and it actually worked normally for a little while. I get into what feels like 1st and reverse gear. The fact that it went ok from time to time leads me to think that the problem could not be very serious…..and yes.., getting into reverse and 1st goes with that thump each time. Any thouhts on this please?

    • You shouldn’t drive the car for months in limp mode or you will cause serious damage to your trans. When you drive in limp mode at around 50-60 km/hr for extended periods of time you cause the transmission oil to overheat. In turn you may be causing serious transmission damage.

      To answer your questions. Do you see the selected gear on the instrument cluster P/N/R/D? If not you most likely have a bad shifter module. Spilled any fluids on the center console? Also check the brake light switch. Check the 13 pin connector for oil contamination. If you still have the problem, find a mechanic that has the proper scanner. Good luck.

  33. Had to have the conductor plate fixed on c230 06 put back togather. Couple dayran almost perfect think it was litttle low on fluid. Then got up the next morning and start idles shifts all colum and the gears show in dash. .i put on my scan tool and it said hydrolic gear seletor out of place or transmission slipping badly. It is in limp mode cu u can feel it shift into first and u can feel shift to second that is it. But it still do t move it just catches .think it need more fluid and how much fluid does 722.9 take. Got 9qt in it now and it was blowing the fluid back out like t as full

    • These transmissions are very sensitive to the fluid level. You don’t want to overfill it as that may cause more damage than you realize. Get the oil dipstick tool and measure the transmission fluid level. Correct the level and clear the codes. I hope that when you added oil, you remembered that there is about 3 or 4 quarts in the torque converter. See if that fixes your problem. Btw, if you have the 722.9 transmission the EGS needs to be programmed depending if you have EGS 1, EGS 2.

  34. Hi Mercedes Medic,

    Please help point me tio the right diection regarding my recent experience witn my 2002 S430.

    It happened twice in one week. Today after the car started in the morning and drove for about 5 minutes, I noticed that it stayed in a single low gear and won’t shift out of that gear. Roughly 3800 rpm at 60 km/h on the high way. Guess it went into limp mode. Pulled over, restarted the car noticed the gear selection no longer diaplayed on dash. Car still drove in that one single gear. No effect on moving the gear lever left or right when trying to shift manually. Check-Engine light came on the dash. Drove in limb mode for anout 10 minutes. Parked the car for 15 minutes. Then started and run normally for a short trip. Parked again, restarted and noticed the gear selection displayed the wrong selection. Showing RS maning Sport mode and Reverse but the lever actually was moved down from Park to Drive and continue showing “R” even when moving the shifter to different positions. Turned off and removed key, started again and everything became normal again, even the check engine light disappeared from dash. So the limb mode seems to be connected with wrong gear selector display. No probelm shifting in reverse, N or D when in limb mode tho. Please kindly advise!

    • First of all, I don’t think you have a major issue (meaning I don’t think you need a new transmission). You need to perform a proper diagnostic. If I had that car, I would check the 13 pin connector first. If that checks out OK then you need to diagnose the shifter module. Good luck and come back update us once you fix the problem.

      • Thanks so much for your reply. Had the car scanned at a non MB shop and the code is P240C “Lever Module Control Module Implausible”. Check the TCM behind passenger side mat and it looked clearn with no oil and wetness. Replaced the battery and didn’t make any difference. Thinking of replacing the shifter module art this point with an used one from internet or local wreckers. Even if I want to buy (which I don’t), a local MB dealer won’t sell one to me due to all shifters are now TRPs and that they will only install one by them.

        Just another question. Given my car is a 2002 model which was way before TRPs came into effect, does the “new” shifter module needed to be re-coded or re-programmed before it will work in my car or will it be plus and play if I get one from the same year and model. I also heard that an used shift module cannot be re-programmed.

        Thank you again!

        Frank

        • You can not use an older shifter on W220 and newer MB models. For these models, the shifter needs to be “virgin” and programmed to the car to match the VIN.

          Please let us know if you have sorted this out already.

          • Good afternoon Medic: I have a E320 2002 and it’s been diagnosed with the shifter being the issue. I have the same question “can I swap with another E320 2002 like a plug and play WITHOUT any issues or is the E series different?” The mechanic is telling me I must purchase a new shifter and he will program it and I’m wondering if that’s accurate and he just wants an extra $250 programming fee.

          • Mercedes Medic

            Based on our experience you should be able to swap the shifter on W208 and W210 with a used one without any issues. Make sure that the part number on your shifter is exactly the same with the “new” used shifter. Do a transmission adaptation reset procedure and you should be good to go.

            This does not apply to W220.

      • Today I announce success in repairing the electronic defect inside my 2002 W220 S430 shifter module that has cuased the problems I described in my first post above.

        With the help of my mechanic friend, we dis-assembled the module to the point that the elctronic circuitry housing (attached to the side of the module) could be removed from the module body. Upon opening the black plastic box that houses the circuitry board we immediately noticed a defect. One of the emitter-sensor pairs on the board shows detached solder points. Re-soldered and reinstalled. Everything works so far. Keeping my fingers crossed that was the extend of the problem. Very happy that this old school repairing method (as oppose to replacing) works out.

        • Glad to hear you solved your problem without spending a fortune. MB transmission are generally bulletproof with the exception of a few minor issues. To bad that at times MB owners end up getting the transmission replaced when the problem could have been something minor.

        • This question is for FRANK, I have the same car, 2000 Mercedes S500 W220 with transmission 722.633 (5-speed) with shifter problems.
          I opened 4 times the shifter module, cleaned the oil and corrosion with electronics parts cleaner, double check solders and capacitors, etc. Codes point straight to the shifter failure.
          Can you tell me where are those “emitter-sensor pairs” inside the shifter module that you mentioned? What do they look like?
          I even have pictures of the electronics board. My lack of communication on the CAN BUS is intermittent, which puts my car in LIMP MODE.
          Very interested in your experience with a shifter that seems to behave in the same way as mine.
          Thank you in advance for your reply.

      • Hi Mercedes Medic,

        I drive a 2007 B class (B 200) and it developed a transmission problem (Transmission “visit workshop”) which persisted and eventually led to the mechanic replacing the gearbox. Since then, the “ABS/ESP inoperative” message has never gone away. Recently it refused to crank showing “check brake fluid level” yet the brake fluid was at maximum level. What could the problem(s) be?

        • Hi Susan. A proper diagnosis should be performed to figure out this problem. It can many things. We would be guessing in this case if we told you to change this and that. Take your MB to a shop with Star Diagnostic and they should be able to figure it out.

  35. I have a 1993 300D 2.5 Turbo I inherited it and would love to keep it running. My transmission died and it would only move in reverse. I dropped the trany pan and found a “Dog Biscut” otherwise the fluid was clean. Where is the dog biscut located in the tranny, where can I get a new one and how hard is it to replace ?
    Thank you

  36. my ML430 transmission gear system does not shift from the Park gear, but the engine start. 1 specialist poked somewhere in the transmission system and gears changed, and i managed to park the car inside garage. however, he insisted that i replace the system. How is that possible if the car moved into the garage?

    • He probably used the manual shifter release. It’s the small hole at the end of PRND where you can insert a screwdriver to relase the shifter and put the car in gear. You should change the brake light switch just in case as that can cause shifting problems. Shifter stuck in P. It may also be the shifter module itself.

  37. Good evening, thanks for a very informative article.
    Please help? My 2008 A-class 170 Auto (88,000km) recently gone into limp mode. It happens occasionally, not all the time. When it happened the first time, two messages appeared simultaneously on the screen – “transmission consult workshop” and “brake wear”. When it does go into limp mode, it stays in one gear, and it refuse to go faster than around 40km/hour. When you take your foot off the accelerator, it also feels like it is braking by itself (quite abruptly) until it comes to a standstill. Much appreciated. Anton

  38. Thanks for a very informative article. I own a 2008 A-class (A170 auto) and it has done 88,000 km. It has recently started to go into Limp mode. It does not happen all the time, only occasionally. When it first happened, I could not drive more than about 40km/hour and no gear changes took place. Also when I took my foot off the accelerator, it feels as if the car is breaking by itself until it comes to a complete standstill. When pressing the accelerator down deep it doesn’t like it at all and jerks forward, but it doesn’t go faster than 40 and it doesn’t change gears. Of late two messages also appeared (at the same time) on the small screen. One being, “transmission consult workshop”; and the other being ” Brake wear”.

    Much appreciated

  39. Also, check for corrosion of ABS unit connection/wiring loom plug. Because the screen wash reservoir filler neck is directly in front of the ABS unit, water can get into the electrics if the owner hasn’t been careful, and over time the connections can corrode. Ask me how I know… 🙁

  40. Michael J Nugent

    Thanks for this great article. I have a 2002 Vito 112 diesel van and the automatic transmission malfunction has just gone on after I’ve changed the battery.

    Would these troubleshooting steps still work for my van?

    Thanks again

  41. Hi to all
    I have a cls320 and just some 4 days ago I changed the battery in the boot. Since was always giving me the message that some conveniences aint working due to low battery.
    So decided to change and since then this message stopped coming up. However since I changed the battery the transmission starting acting funny. One time i put it drive and stayed on neutral gear. On clock it showed D but car still won’t go. Switch off engine and start again.. all back to normal. Gave her a transmission reset same as I saw on YouTube- all fine.
    Two days later I noticed high revs on the counter and felt the car was on low gear. Stop, switch off and start again and all is back in place. So I suppose this means transmission is going in limb mode. Am I correct? Okay if so would you think it’s because of the new battery? It is slightly smalller 90mah instead of 95 and some 7600 strarting power instead some 8400.
    What do you think guys?
    Thanks
    Warren

  42. Hi, have c200 kompressor petrol model 2003. Had a problem with the gearbox stuck in D and Neutral position. Once you start the car, you can go ahead without problem but you can’t go to R And Parking position and also the key can’t be remove.so, the car is parked. What can be the problem. Please help

  43. Hi,was driving. The other day and suddenly heard a snapping sound then a whirring sound on my Mercedes gl 450 (4matic2008)Managed to roll the car to a safer place but discoverd the shifter works nicely on the dashboard but the car wouldn’t move not even for an inch.When I try to shift it to park it makes some weird noise and still rolls down (parked on a steep ) please what could have gone wrong -I find the snapping sound very disturbing

  44. 2006 E320CDI, 71K miles. Transmission fluid changed at approx. 35K. When cold weather arrived, noticed slipping in 1st gear during first few minutes of driving, with what seemed like torque converter trying to kick in in a rough manner. After 5 minutes all seems fine. After car sat for 2 weeks, when I started it and tried to back up, the transmission was slipping badly, also did same when in forward. Engine would rev but car would not move. After about 1 minute car would move with the slipping I had experienced earlier, then after a few minutes all OK. I will take to shop but appreciate any advice on potential issues. Thanks

    • Does not seem to have gone into limp mode, and no check engine lights.

      • Turns out it was the 13 point plug leaking, was about 3 quarts low on fluid. Replaced the plug, car ran fine but I just noticed it is still leaking.

        • Turns out it was not still leaking. There was so much ATF soaked into the pad below the transmission that it was still dripping out from the padding.

  45. Please help! I have a 2008 model MB C300 and each time i start the car and switch from Park to Drive, the car does not move immediately until about 5-7 minutes later, it will then engage and drive properly to any limit. The next day it will do the same thing. Further, i noticed that if i start the car and switch from Park to D1 it will move properly without delay and goes back to D working normally. Is this normal? or what could the problem? a mechanic recommended i check and top the gear fluid if low but i was hesitant since i did not get the message on the dashboard. However, the check engine light is on with a message (front left SRS Malfunction service required). Are they related? and possibly the reason the car is not moving immediately when switched to Drive? Once again please help!!! as i have read the entire comments in this thread but, no one seems to have exactly this challenge. Thanks

    • SRS code is not related to the transmission. My guess would be that the shifter module is the issue. You will need a good technician to troubleshoot your problem. Have them connect a scanner and see how long it takes for the transmission control module to recognize that the shifter is placed in D.

  46. Hi doc.. i have a b180 2010 with 45000km on the clock.. car drives awesome.. recently the car went in limp mode.. transmission visit workshop.. i did code came up speed sensor.. we reset it. This morning it happe again. I switch the car off.. start it again no problems smooth.. however if i press the brake pedal when i start the car it happens.. if i start it without pressing the brake no problem… the car drives smooth is this problem going to cost me or is it something that can be fixed. I am in south africa waiting your reply

  47. Hello,
    My 1998 E200 W210 seems to go into limp mode whenever the BAS/ESP warning light shows up on the cluster. The mechanic is of the opinion that we need to change the BAS module. I’m a little hesitant. Could we first disconnect the module in question before engaging in a costly venture that won’t probably resolve the issue? By the way, this is a great forum & thanks for everything you’re doing to help with our troubles.

  48. I have a 2009 ML 350 once it got cold outside it would go into limp mode only when I would start it up but after the car warms up it drives fine . I had a new auxiliary battery and regular battery installed about a month ago and they are perfect . Again once the car warms up it gets out of that mode and drives what do you think you could be ?

  49. Hy..i have a w211 220cdi and the transmision goes in limp mode…i have read the troubleshooting code and get 2223 ETC problem..somebody says to me that mean be the shift selector from inside..can be these??

  50. Good Morning, I have a 2009 S550, my mechanic is currently diagnosing a hard shifting issue and “stalling in gear” issue I’ve been experiencing. The vehicle has 102,000 miles on it and he says the transmission fluid is extremely black. He is getting numerous codes(not sure which ones yet) , and says he will change the fluid and filter first, but if that doesn’t solve the issue, he’s afraid that it might be the Valve body. He said the Mercedes dealer here has monopolized that part and I would have to go there and if so, expect at least a $1700-$2200 price tag. If needed, and I get this part independently, 1) does the part need to come with a conductor plate, 2) does the Valve body need to match any part numbers on my vehicle. What should I be aware of if purchasing online?

  51. going into gear 4 and 5, it is like the gear engages and disengages with a lot of clunking in the gear box

  52. Hi,
    I have E240, it had ATF leak, so I bought the sumple gasket and the 13 pin plug connector. After being fitted to the car by the mechanic, the car went into the Limp mode, which was latter resolved by another mechanic. I drove the car for 30 minutes everything seemed perfect. After parking, I started driving and noticed a very strange behaviour. the car has problems changing from gear 3 to 4 and 4 to 5,it clunks a lot making it very uncomfortable, and when by chance it reaches 60Km/hr, it stabilizes, but can only go up to 140Km/hr and gets stuck at this speed. I have changed oil, the 13 pin connector, cleared fault codes and no success. It continously shows fault code B 1021. What could be the problem and how can it resolved?

  53. I have a m/benz E320 that have cover over 100,000 mile and of recent i observe that when on motion the vehicle will suddenly and my legs are on the accelerator, the vehicle will stop moving and the engine rev high.

    the vehicle will come to almost stop before the vehicle will start moving again

    • That’s not a typical symptom but our guess would be an issue with the valve body. Get the fault codes from the transmission control unit.

  54. hello
    my S class 500 2000 is giving me problems i am in cameroon the car comes on well every other thing moves will but the accelerator pedall is not responding i cant accelerate please some one tell me what to do

  55. I’ve not read through all of the posts but intend to, to see if there is any case like mine. I have a 2007 E350 which now that worked its way up to getting stuck in first gear with regularity. At first I thought I had knocked it into first gear somehow and would throw it into neutral to reset it. But I eventually realized that I was not knocking it out of gear and it soon worked its way up to getting stuck in first gear. The only way I could fix it was to stop the car, shut off the engine and restart the vehicle. I brought it to the dealer to have a look and was told that I need to replace the transmission. I just authorized a rebuilt @ $6,100. Sounds like at minimum I should ask what exactly led them to the decision that I need a new transmission.

  56. A200 auto hatchback not selecting gears ,not moving. Need help! Please.

  57. I have Mercedes Benz model 2007 E280- E- class, Elegance . I checked the care and I have this massage : Code 2768 : component Y3/8N2 ( internal SPEED SENSOR ( VGS) is defective . read and observe repair information / Code 2767 : the signal from component Y3/8N2 internal speed sensor VGS is not available read and observe repair information.

    WDBUF54X07B036871

    Please I need your advice if I should replace the transmission Plate

    Transmission Plate No 0002702600

  58. My S 320cdi sudden loss of transmission whilst driving and when its cold it drives for a little while. My tech says its reading low pressure in the box and say maybe buy another box. Any clues appreciated prior to major spend model year 2007

  59. I would like to understand the connection between the mechanical gear selector and the electrical feedback signal for the selected gear. SUV is 1999 ML320. In colder weather, truck does not like to go into D properly. I can tell usually with the lights on as the gear indicator illuminates. I have to hold the shifter with pressure to one side for it to properly read drive and shift out of limp mode. (D illuminates). Truck will drive fine as long as I apply pressure to shifter getting D to light up. Once up to temp the need for applied pressure goes away and truck is fine.

  60. Hello doc
    I have a 2000 Clk w208 avangarde bva and I can feel bump when it shift from 2d to 3rd or 3rd to 2d can you tell me what I need to fix?
    Thanks for your great job on this website bye
    Best regards from France

  61. Hi, I have a 1999 W202 C43 that is in limp mode and throwing code P0715. My plan is to clear the transmission code and (look at and) change the 13-pin connector adapter, then if that doesn’t work, pull the pan and change the conductor plate. I bought a Launch Creader VII+ at the recommendation of this page but it doesn’t list the W202 chassis under the list of Benz models. Do you know if there is another chassis I should choose that would work? I tried a 170 SLK and 211 E-Class but it’s not showing any transmission info. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Alex

  62. I have a 2001 Mercedes Benz c320 for about 2 weeks I had to get a new battery and alternator for my car because it kept going dead every eight hours also turned into every 30 minutes.. Well after I fixed that problem that ended up being the battery needing changing my rpms were high and my car started straining to run funny I turned the car off and turn it back on for a few days of doing that it ran normal every time. Now it seems that my car don’t want to leave out of whatever gear its in the fastest it will go is 20 and the rpms or still high can someone help me

  63. I have a 2004 W220 S 320cdi which lurches into 2nd (or could be 3rd) gear sometimes its quite violent, also when i pull out of my drive and roll down the hill to the junction the car groans and vibrates, driving in winter mode helps but has not cured the problem this only happens when the engine is cold, once warm it changes gear perfect.
    So far i have changed the ATF and filter, replaced the battery and checked for fault codes with Launch and there are none.
    Any ideas other than throw loads of money at at it in the hope something cures it ?

    • Sounds like a valve body issue.

    • I’ve had a second gear lurch problem in my 1999 E430 for 15 years. It’s a computer boot-up/initialization problem, and I’m told they all do it.

      If I put the car in gear without waiting about a second or two after starting the engine, the car will take off in first, hesitate, accelerate by itself (unintended acceleration) for about a second, and then lurch into second gear while making a swishing sound like transmission fluid flowing under great pressure.

      So try waiting a second or two before putting it in gear.

      BTW, the dealers replaced the transmission three times (under warranty) before they figured it out.

  64. I have a ’94 C220, 96,000 miles. Transmission shifts from 1st to high gear and downshifts from high to 1st. I have been shifting manually (2nd, 3rd, “D”, etc.), and downshifting the same way to avoid the problems. Some of the shifting is quite abrupt. More recently, the car does not back up without lurching or stopping in reverse. It does not go into “limp” mode. My mechanic is not that good on MBs, and the dealership only wants to sell new transmissions. What is your advice on how to go about diagnosing this problem?

  65. I have a 94 C220 that shifts from 1st to high gear (presumably 4th or 5th [?]) then, when slowing down, from high gear back to 1st. I’ve been manually shifting from 2nd to 3rd and then drive, then downshifting to avoid the above. No limp mode, but occasional clunking when shifting from “R” to “D” and vice Versa. Fluid seems clean but can’t get a good read off the dipstick, meaning it could be overfilled or under-filled (bottom 2 inches of the dipstick are wet but no clear line. Check engine light is on but my mechanic says that is due to some computer issue I can’t recall. What do you suggest?

  66. Hi, I have a 639 115 Vito. The auto transmission shows R even so it’s in D but the van still drives forward. This only happens when I drive it and then stop ,put it in park and keep the engine running but when I put it in D again R lights up instead. It won’t Chang out of 1st. If I turn off engine it works again but it happens every time. Any ideas would be great.
    Cheers

  67. I have a 2001 S500 with only 59202 miles on it. Check engine light came on now the car is in limp mode. Fault code P205F and 0980 tried to reset the ECU but still no luck. Bought the car for my wife for a anniversary present….now it seems like a bad gift. Please Help

    • 59k miles. That’s great! Did you use a generic code reader? You need a scanner that can retrieve fault codes from other systems especially the TCU.

      • The mechanic that I use out here in Hawaii had a Snap on coder. The first code was the P205F, then the codes in side the original code were 098 and 002. I tried to look up the inside codes but having no luck. I m a Cummins tech with the United States Navy so I mess with ECM ‘s on a regular basis. So I m hoping that maybe it’s a bad module or it needs reflashing just not real sure

      • I have a 99 ml 430 had the conductor plate changed and pan gasket now filter /fluid now will not shift plz help

        • Hmmm, Did you add the correct amount of fluid? Make sure the 13 pin connector is not loose. Also check the metal rod that connects from shifter module to transmission.

    • So just some insight on my situation, my 2001 S500 would not shift…. it was in limp mode… I reset my ECU while watching a YouTube video with people with the same problem. Now it is shifting perfect….smh honestly they say you are supposed to do thus at least once a month. I ll keep you posted.

  68. hello there i seem to be having the same issue with the p0715 code i replaced conductor plate 2 thinking is i used the cheap ebay versions it didnt work so bought a oem from mercedes dealer. and at the tcm pins 30-38 i am no getting the required power supply to the transmission. i inspected harness and looks fine on top and bottom at both connectors. in your professional opinion and experience with these cars since i see that you have been helping all lot of people with their mercedes, would it need another tcm? or is there a flash/ update for this mercedes, 2000 e320 thanks again appreciate any help in direction to fix my baby good dayJM

    • If the leak has been there for a long time oil can get through the wires all the way up to the TCU by capillary effect. Look for oil at your TCU. Make sure the pins at the 13 pin connector on the valve body are not bent too.

      • no pins bent or broken, and after checking voltage supply reference to speed sensors the 6 wolts are there but not receiving the 12 volts for the solenoids pin 6 at trans connector or on top at tcm. referencing pin 30 to 38. and im stuck there, what can it be. also no oil in connetors at transmission connectoor or tcm,

      • no oi at tcm harness no bent pins, wires have continuity no shorts, was leaking from connector before i did overhaul thats why trans burnt out with the leak. replaced connector and conductor plate with no success. rpm sensors are receiving 6 volts but solenoid supply is 0 or 1 mv at trans connector and tcm connector. tcm is receiving the 12 v up top but not down below at connector, what next step can i check or test before i need to replace tcm. thanks for any help much appreciated

  69. Hi I have a 1998 w210 E 220 cdi.estate , I have watch the videos on changing the 13 pin socket .
    My Question is do you need to drain the transmission oil out , it appears to be above the level of the transmission
    Sump ….thank you ….mac

  70. Carlos Alberto Prado

    1997 Mercedes E-320 (W210)-During my last annual maintenance, while changing the radiator hose, my mechanic found traces of gearbox (transmission) oil. He worked on the valves, dried the area and got his scanner for the codes. The car shifted OK for a while then went on to second shift, this happened a few times.
    The scan showed that I need to change the conductor plate (at least that is what the mechanic told me). On my next trip to the USA (I live in Lima-Perú) I bought an original conductor plate, took it to my mechanic, got it install…and still the same problem; shifted to D and it went to second shift. After this the mechanic told me that it was the module, so I ordered a module and got it installed less than a week ago, and the problem remains.
    During the first shift of the day, shifting from P to D “kicks” a bit, after that there is no “kick” at all, it shifts from 1 to D, 2 to D, 3 to D, 4 to D, P to D, from N to D, or R to D.

  71. Hi, great article. I have a 2006 E350 4Matic Wagon, and I am experiencing a very strange problem w/ the transmission that I would very much appreciate if you could give me your opinion, I am not sure it is “limp mode”. This is what happens:

    -once in a while (seems totally random) when I stop the car my transmission won’t go past N, I can only put the shifter on D or N, but it’s stuck there and won’t let me move forward to R or P
    -if I wait for a while, sometimes 3 seconds, sometimes up to a minute or two, and try again a few times eventually the shifter always moves forward and lets me put the car into Park again
    -it’s been happening for several months, in both cold and hot weather
    -at times the car will go for several trips without having it happen, and others it will happen on every stop of my trip
    -I took the car to the Mercedes dealer twice. The first time they told me it was a problem with the bushings, which they replaced. The problem continued to happen. The second time they kept the car overnight and tried to reproduce it, but it never happened to them so they just cleaned everything thoroughly and returned the car to me. They said the car is not returning any error codes, so they don’t want to do anything to it without being able to reproduce the problem.
    -And so here I am with the problem still occasionally happening. Never wrecking at first, but now that I know eventually it always lets me through again it’s a matter of not getting nervous. But I would definitely like to get it fixed!

    Please kindly let me know if any thoughts.

    • Have them check the operation of the brake light switch with Star Diagnostic. Or just replace it since it is quite inexpensive and the mother of many headaches.

  72. Good afternoon, these post was very helpful to me. I have a 2003 Mercedes CLK 500 which for while was giving me problems but from this post I now know that it goes into limp mode. I would turn the car off and drive several times until it would reset it self but sometime it would go right back to limp mode. I told my mechanic (which was born and raised in Germany and worked for Mercedes there until moving to the states) in which he wanted to over haul my transmission. In the end theses steps were taking :

    1. Fluids were checked (ok)
    2. Diagnostics was done and fault codes cleared
    3. 13 pin connector plug O ring and valve body replaced

    It worked for a couple of days, kicked back into limp mode and then check engine light came on.
    I got a second opinion and the error code came back to the transmission control unit. I had it priced at the dealership which was very expensive for $1015. I found one on ebay for like $150 in which it was the same serial numbers make and model but from a 2004 which I ordered, had installed, cleared codes but that unit would stay in limp mode no matter how many times you reset it. These are my questions as follows:

    1. Can you use a used transmission control module from a working car?

    2.Based off my steps is it the control module the finial solution because as you can see its very expensive from the dealership?

    3.Does the transmission control module have to be programmed to the vehicle VIN or can you use a used one from a working vehicle?

    4. Why is this issue so common?

    • 1. Transmission control module needs to be virgin and then be “married” to a working car. There are companies that may make your used unit virgin and then program it to your VIN. But you can’t just swap units from a used car.
      2. Hard to say. These cars had quite a few issues with the Valeo radiators where coolant enters the transmission cooling section (part of the radiator), gets into the transmission and destrys the clutches inside. The symptoms are the same as the ones that you describe.
      3. Yes a TCU need to be programmed to your vehicle VIN. You can’t easily program a used one though.
      4. It’s not really that common. Well unless it’s a CLK500 or E500 equipped with Valeo radiator.

  73. Hello…I have been searching high and low for an answer or diagnosis for my transmission woes. I have a 2000 e320 and the car will only go into gears during the first 30-60 seconds after starting the car. After that it does nothing as far as engaging gears forward nor reverse. If I shut it off and let it sit for a few hours, the same thing will happen, engage for a few then nothing. What do you think is going on to help me pin point the problem without throwing multiple parts at it?

    • I could be wrong but this is what I think is your problem. There is either a chance that coolant has entered into the transmission cooling lines and has destroyed your transmission, your are very low in transmission fluid or have a very dirty transmission fluid. Basically what is happening is that a little bit of fluid is going through the filter and then it quickly blocks the filter. You should drop the pan and inspect your filter and fluid.

      • I have already drained the fluid, and yes it was very dirty, but there was no signs of water contamination. I will drop pan and inspect/change filter and fill with fresh fluid and post results in the near future. Thanks

        • Inspect the transmission filter carefully. See if it is partially clogged.

          • Well dipped pan today and change filter….still operates the same. Any other suggestions? Pan had a small amount of clutch material on the bottom.

          • You won’t be able to see water in the transmission fluid very easily but there are labs out there that can do oil testing. That clutch material on the bottom really worries me. Can you check your radiator brand? Is it Valeo? Look for a stamp towards the bottom. Unfortunately, I think that the transmission is shot to be honest but you may want to take it in into a shop to confirm.

  74. hi there. i have a problem with my 722.6 gearbox. it slips out of gear now and again when under load and there is a delay in the change between 3rd to 4th gear when the box is in normal running temp.
    i have changed the oil and filter but still the same. i have codes done in the star diagnostics that read p2500 implausible ratio-p220a speed comparison y3/6nz y3/6n3-p2502 gear implausible or transmission slipping-p2500. my thoughts are to change the 13 pin connector and get a used tested valve body and conductor plate. if i do this would i have to get it coded to the vehicle?? cheers paul

    • You don’t need to code the valve body a used one would fit just fine but make sure you get it from the same transmission model. Not on the 5 speed transmission. Match the next two numbers after 722.6

  75. Hi, i am having problems with my W202 1994 model C200. After overhauling my 722.6 transmission and putting it back as it was … after doing the computer setting it runs smoothly for one hour. When i stop at the petrol station to buy petrol i off the engine. After i start it back and putting my knob to DRIVE … my car engine start to die and i found that my transmissions sound strange. I started it again and when i try to put the knob to DRIVE … my engine dies. Can anybody explain to me what is happening to my gear box ?

  76. How do I know which radiator I have in my 2003 CL500?

    • Look at the radiator it should have a stamp of the manufacturer. May need to look at the bottom of the radiator.

  77. Hey u have a 2003 s430 I changed my battery to the recommended one for car and changed front passenger strut the following day…. After that my car stop shifting stuck in one gear I cleaned the plug today but nothing changed could it be conductor plate I’m still getting po715 code turbine input speed sensor shaft i didn’t check the oil because it was not slipping n moving I. Reverse n 2nd kinda normal

    • Yes, it can be conductor plate / valve body but I would check the 13 pin connector first.

      • I cleaned the plug and took it apart from the tranny housing still the same so i guess I’ll start from the conductor plate kit with new plug n gasket n filter

      • Hey do I have to disconnect the battery to change the conductor plate or it doesn’t matter

        • It is safer to disconnect it.

          • Ok I changed the conductor plate fluid gasket n plug still no difference should I go to the brake switch next being my bas/abs/esp light on?
            The car jerks when moving from park to drive also.

          • I would look at the brake light switch or the shifter module. Does the P R or D show up on instrument cluster when you shift gears? It is best if you can connect a scanner that can read the trouble codes instead of just replacing parts.

          • Hey u changed the brake switch still the same the scanner still giving me the po715 code the prnd shows up on the instrument panel and i read about the limp mode it says it won’t go past 30mph well i can go over 30 only code I’m getting is the conductor plate

          • P0715 is transmission related but still a generic code. Your problem could be the valve body or the 13-pin connector leaking oil.

  78. Hello-

    Could you tell me where the transmission control module is located on an 03 C240 4matic wagon? And would it be a bad idea to replace the current one with a used one?
    Thank you !

    • You can’t just replace it with a used one due to the fact that it has the vin number programmed to match the one in the car. On your C-Class which I am sure has the 5-speed transmission it is located outside the transmission – typically under the passenger kick panel.

  79. after changing the conductor plate on my2003 mb c240 t.ihe problem is still there .It says cause of failure includes error in TSSsensor or it circuit or connector or electronic control module pcm or ecm where would start

    • Did you replace yours with a new one or old unit. Also check the cable to make sure it in soaked in oil. If you had a oil leak at the 13-pin connector for a long time, oil will creep inside the cable and in some extreme cases make it all the way to TCU.

  80. Hello I have a W220 S280 RHD, and it is suffering from hard shifting only on the second gear,

    Can you advise, as everyone is telling me i need a new transmission

    Regards

    • If it was me I would check some of the things you see in this article. Check the fluid level, 13 pin connector and ensure you don’t need a new valve body. Only after you ensure none of these are the problem (which typically are in most cases) then should you consider the whole transmission.

  81. Hei.I have a E220cdi 150hk.Sometimes the engine goes to a limb mode.Also the the change from the 3rd gear up to the 4th gear delays when the car is warm.If i give full gas from the 1st gear then the car doesn’t change gear.In both cases if i take the key out and in again the car is working again.At the workshop they can’t find what the problem is.Eny ideas?

  82. Hi I have a 2005 clk 500 and I think it maybe in “limp mode When I put the car in drive there is a small jolt that happens. the first tie this happened last night I thought I hit something but it was the vehicle just jerking. The rpm will keep going up and it won’t get into gear. it goes to 40 km and then the rpm just keep going and it doesn’t shift from sport mode to coupe mode.

    • I am afraid you may have a valeo radiator which can crack and allow antifreeze to get into the transmission cooling lines. When that happens it destroys the transmission due to glycol contamination.

  83. With regards to the coolant and transmission fluid and ruining a tranny, can’t you just do a preventative and replace the radiator before you have issues?

  84. Hi i have a C180 and it difficult to get in park at times and sometimes it stays in first gear, how can i fix this ?

    • It could be multiple things but here are two issues that come to mind.
      – Brake light switch (there is an article here about that)
      – Gear selector / shifter bushing

  85. This article is a great resource. My w211 was stuck in limp mode due to a bad 13 pin connector. Problem solved for less than $20

    • My E320, 2004 mercedes has just had its 84,000 mile work done. Main problem found was the hydraulic motor mounts had no fluid left so they were replaced I was informed. Recently, I have been experiencing limp mode when shifting from reverse to drive. and a kick when the transmission finally shifts up. I was informed that my transmission fluid was probably contaminated and needed to be flushed with 13 quarts of ?, and then refilled with new oil. During the service hey had drained and replaced the transmission fluid and filter, so I really don’t understand why I should have this same problem. Can you enlighten me? I have owned mercedes autos since 1994, and never had this happen.

      • Have the shop double check the transmission fluid level. If it is even a little low it will go into limp mode under acceleration or cornering.

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