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View Full Version : 2005 3500 loss of reverse power and then restored


Donphillipe
10-26-2016, 07:34 PM
Only had my used 2005 (2006 Navion 23J) a couple of months now and everything seemed normal until I started backing up some Lynx levers and I lost all power. About 200 miles from civilization, at 6200' elevation, backing into a camping spot on about a 10% downgrade this happened. I was short on the levers (think 3/4" tall Lego pieces) so I tried to roll up 2 levels which would have been about an inch and a half. Pressing the accelerator to near bottom gave me power like it was trying and then the power totally fell off to where the engine would no longer rev up other than a tiny bit to try to make it over those levers.

Despondent a 200 mile towing fee was eminent, I spent the night online searching for what to do when your transmission goes out in reverse, thinking this is what had happened. I read about only 2 others who had this issue and it was not exactly like my problem where the people actually had the failure while backing up. Disappointingly their problem never got resolved that I saw where the guy said he sold the vehicle on a trade-in. Some had commented that there was some type of transfer unit that the seals often went out on this model. So while I was ready to call the tow truck, I put it in Drive the next morning and tried to pull out of the spot. Same really weak pull forward situation where pressing the accelerator to the floor really did nothing much but allowed it to slowly ease off the levers. Then as I started rolling down the steep path I had taken up to the parking slot, I got up enough speed to where I was rolling downhill out of the campground and like a miracle the engine started responding to the accelerator again. (Note the transmission did not appear to be slipping, the engine just had now power and the response to accelerator press seemed to only increase torque about 10% of normal at this point)

I have now driven over 250 miles, gone up and down mountains from 500-6000 feet, and at 7-10% grades and I can't seem to find any failure in response again with the engine or transmission. I have not tried to back up a steep grade or over blocks again, however and have a little anxiety about trying it again, least I push too hard to repeat what I must have done previously.

There's no dipstick on this transmission, no evidence of any oil stains around it where it might be leaking or any other indicators that something is wrong. So any ideas? Shouldn't I be able to back up over a change in level of 1.5 inches without the engine/transmission stalling out? There were no dash indicator lights and the transmission didn't seem to be slipping because the engine would just not accelerate to any higher degree to get "over the hump".

What should I do? I am about go head way, way into the boonies and don't want to get stranded if I can do any PD to try to find what just happened and prevent it again.

Thanks!

2006 Navion 23J
3500 - 60K miles

GaryJ
10-26-2016, 08:31 PM
I can't help you with an answer to your problem but I do have a couple of comments. When we were driving our new 07 View (06 chassis) home from the factory to the west coast I had the same experience pulling out of an uphill campground, cold at 6000'. One minute of warm up and all was OK. That's the only time it ever happened to me, but its not the ony time I've heard of it.

Also, unless you have complete service records on your RV its very important to have the transmission fluid changed (not flushed) with MB fluid, or fluid that states on the bottle that its MB approved for your transmission. In a vehicle as heavy as yours (9000-10,000 lbs) the common wisdom is every 40K miles. This includes drop the pan, change the filter and drain the torque converter, which you must specify or you're only changing half the fluid.

Gary

NelsonSprinter
10-26-2016, 10:46 PM
I'd assume the downgrade angle changed oil levels at p/u, coupled with cold temps and low fluid level conspired to produce no power at that time due to slipping /lack of enough oil at that angle.
Travelling in the boonies? Always bring a dipstick, oils

BenJohnson
10-27-2016, 04:23 AM
I'd assume the downgrade angle changed oil levels at p/u, coupled with cold temps and low fluid level conspired to produce no power at that time due to slipping /lack of enough oil at that angle.
Travelling in the boonies? Always bring a dipstick, oils

Yep, I'd agree with that.

Donphillipe
11-03-2016, 04:30 PM
The failure is now permanent at my current parking spot. When the problem happened before (a couple of weeks ago) I let it rest overnight and it started working again the next day like nothing ever happened. Two days ago it was working so well, it pulled me fine over a 10180' pass in Colorado, running like a champ. But when I started it this morning (temp is 72 degrees) the problem has reappeared with a vengeance.

The vehicle won't move at all in either forward or reverse. The engine will rev up as normal and expected in park or neutral but put the stick in D or R and the RPM will only reach up to 1200 and go no further while the vehicle will not move at all. It will not even budge. I killed it for a while and let it cool down. I then put it in D and it moved forward about 20' and then stopped moving again. However, now when I press the acceleration, the engine revs up in D but the wheels don't roll.

In all vehicles I have owned before, low fluid shows slipping. Now this one is slipping but before the engine RPM would only reach fast idle when it would not accellerate any more. Now the sliipping. I don't think this sounds like fluid since two days ago it pulled up Wolf Pass in Colorado without so much as a hickup.

I am on completely flat ground at this point with the vehicle imobilized, luckily in a relative's driveway. I don't have a dipstick because I was on the road up until parking this morning and therefore could not order on online since I thing this is the only place you can get one. Assuming the transmission is gone, anyone know a good repair shop in the N Dallas, TX area?

Donphillipe
11-03-2016, 04:40 PM
After 20 minutes cool down time (the engine was only luke warm not even operating temperature), the transmission now performs normally. WTF?

Donphillipe
11-03-2016, 04:42 PM
Starting it again, the problem is now back, will only reach up to around 1200 RPM and in D or P and the car won't move at all. No warning lights at all on the dash.

GaryJ
11-03-2016, 05:05 PM
If it were mine I'd get it on a factory level scanner and see what codes are indicated. This may involve a tow to the nearest MB dealer. The average mechanic's scanner can't read all the MB codes unless they specialize in Sprinter service and have the specific diagnostics.

Gary

Midwestdrifter
11-03-2016, 05:23 PM
Transmission errors don't always sent a check engine light. They can be read by a suitable scanner. For example my Autel MD 802 can.read transmission codes. Sounds like you may have intermittent power supply issue to the transmission control module or some type of wiring issue. For example the common issue with transmission fluid wicking up the cables to the TCM under the driver seat. A transmission specific code scan should reveal the cause of the issue as a stored code.

Donphillipe
11-03-2016, 11:29 PM
Thanks so much ... tow truck is on the way.

Donphillipe
11-05-2016, 06:25 PM
Transmission filter was clogged with iron filings, the pan magnet looked like a Christmas tree and thus I am having to be out for a full rebuild. The torque converter was the culprit and laced the entire unit with shavings.

I am upgrading by installing a Porsche racing clutch kit and a "blue solenoid" shifter enhancement. Wish me luck!

Donphillipe
11-05-2016, 06:29 PM
Also I will be adding a 4 quart deeper transmission pan with heat sink cooling fins. This is because the options for adding a transmission cooler to this model (no secure location or firm way to mount it in the air path in front of the radiator. The kits we could find were zip-tie mounted and I really didn't want anything bouncing around rubbing on the radiator while on the rough roads I am about to encounter with it.

Donphillipe
11-05-2016, 06:31 PM
And the reason it would run for a while and then stop, is the massive mess of debris would drop down off the bottom of the filter when the engine was killed. The reason it ran for a while before (surprisingly for around 500 miles) was apparently the mass moved away from directly under the filter for a while. Then when I parked it again on a slight incline and because the mass had grown over days of driving, it sucked up into the filter to a point it stayed under there, which meant you could only move about 20' once the car was put in D and before the junk got sucked back up into the filter and clogged it again.

Donphillipe
11-05-2016, 06:37 PM
And the reason that the motor would only rev up to 1200 RPM when the filter was clogged is there is some safeguard in the computer which could detect the transmission filter clog that would not allow the engine to rev up to engage the transmission with an advancing throttle.

Goofy foot
11-06-2016, 05:05 AM
Hi. I'm interested in who diagnosed your transmission problem and what specific codes were shown. Was it a MB delaership, or....? Thanks ! and glad you are getting it sorted.

Donphillipe
11-06-2016, 05:17 AM
I am working with Steve at Fix Euro, in Dallas http://fixeurotransmission.com/ . He diagnosed mine by driving it, pulled the pan and we found it full of shavings. On the side his hobby is rebuilding these NAG1 transmissions for people who race Porches and he puts in a special kit with extra clutches but it costs more to rebuild with the additional clutches. I don't have the part number or description other than watching him work on it in the shop. Joe at Fix Euro will allow you to watch the entire rebuild at your desire. I watched for about 2 hours of the process. He had laid out all the new parts and the old parts and had the entire transmission where he showed me each set of bearings, clutches, etc. he was replacing. He gave the option to put it back factory or to add an upgrade of extra clutches and improved shifting solenoid set.

GaryJ
11-06-2016, 04:41 PM
I am working with Steve at Fix Euro, in Dallas http://fixeurotransmission.com/ . He diagnosed mine by driving it, pulled the pan and we found it full of shavings. On the side his hobby is rebuilding these NAG1 transmissions for people who race Porches and he puts in a special kit with extra clutches but it costs more to rebuild with the additional clutches. I don't have the part number or description other than watching him work on it in the shop. Joe at Fix Euro will allow you to watch the entire rebuild at your desire. I watched for about 2 hours of the process. He had laid out all the new parts and the old parts and had the entire transmission where he showed me each set of bearings, clutches, etc. he was replacing. He gave the option to put it back factory or to add an upgrade of extra clutches and improved shifting solenoid set.

This is the first time I've heard of a NAG1 being used in a race application. Do you have, or can you get more information for us regarding which vehicles and what type of racing? I've also never heard of a NAG1 in a Porsche so that adds to my curiosity.

Thanks, Gary

Donphillipe
11-06-2016, 04:47 PM
I will ask ..... here is a blurb on where the NAG1 has been used http://www.sonnax.com/articles/127-mercedes-722-6-daimler-w5-porsche-w5-jaguar-722-6
\

Donphillipe
11-08-2016, 07:03 AM
OK, each phone call to "Joe" at Fix Euro is a rapid education, spoken at the speed of light and told with the excitement of a mystery novel. And trust me, it's hard to get excited about automatic transmissions but these guys have actually made me a convert, LOL. There has to be some award somewhere for "mechanics outside the box" and these two guys certainly are. Joe at first seemed concerned on what my objectives were when I asked about his procedure for souping up a 722.6 transmission. When I explained what I wanted it for, to do a write-up here in the forum, he and Steve got together and came back with this.

They said their job is to rebuild transmissions and they feel they do it better than anyone else in the industry, that they never reuse a clutch, no matter if it is not marked and looks good. Joe also said that other transmission shops come by trying to buy their scrap because they know they take clutches out of transmissions and won't reuse them and that the other shops don't have a problem installing used stock if it "looks good" and they never reuse a clutch. He also says that Steve's decades of experience in building 722.6 Porsche 944 racing transmissions makes him what he feels is the undisputed expert in the rebuild process. He also guarantees me that I'll have the best performing transmission money can buy once they get done with it.

He described his market by saying there are those who prefer a new factory transmission from Mercedes when something unfortunate happens like happened to me and they go the route of a new factory transmission which to them he says, seems logical. He said then there are those who know the reputation of their business and also understand that they can save money by having he and Steve rebuild the transmission and they do a factory quality rebuild and the customers are always satisfied with it. Then he says, there are those in the racing field who want to run the Porche 944 in a racing capacity, driven by 1950HP engines and need a "little more" in the transmission department and these guys from the Porsche forums know to come to them to make it happen. He said and finally there are those like me who can't understand why a transmission that wasn't really designed to wag around an 11K lb load has gone south on me after only 50K miles and people who own the Sprinters that handle the heavy loads come to them looking as to "how can I make mine perform a little better", and Joe says, that is where we come in.

They say they have both their stock rebuild which they believe will beat the price of anyone else doing the job if you want a factory-level rebuild. He says but if you want their super enhancement package similar to the Proche 944 racers, they will do that for you too. (This is what I ordered and watched being installed.) First of all, he installs a series of clutches with 40% more surface area than stock. He replaces all the plates as well. He also keeps plates of varying thickness in stock and for example if a tolerance is 0.50mm to 0.80mm, he will ensure the plate with the tightest spacing is used which will greatly reduce slips. Then he sets the computer to where the transmission is on the tight end of a shift. He says that if you are driving a Lincoln to church on Sunday, you don't want to feel any shifts and the factory does you a favor by providing this by setting up the modulator for the transmission to slip during the shift process. He say that driving a family car, you can slip and still often get 100K miles out of a transmission. He says in all cases, smooth shifting means slipping clutches and if you are a Sunday driver this is generally the desire. He says, however, if you have an accelerator floored trying to get an 11,000 pound mass onto a freeway before getting creamed, a smooth shifting sequence is the least of your worries and while slipping would provide that, it's really something you shouldn't be that into".

Another upgrade they offer and one that I purchased also is adding the high performance "blue top" shift solenoids. He says with these there is no more uncertainty when your transmission is shifting, that the act becomes pronounced and with that, you are certain that your transmission is slipping at the very minimum and thus causing the least wear and tear on your clutches as possible. These "blue tops" he says, add a 25% quality improvement to the shifting process.

As a final tune with the performance upgrade, they go through all the computer tolerance settings and set the timings to the very minimum where the least "slip time" is allowed.

So - at this point it sounds like I am an infomercial, I know, and I say with total honesty that I don't have any ties with these guys other than watching them "have their way" with my box of bolts. I am anxious to take it for a spin and even more anxious to fulfill a mutual dream they have expressed, that we not see each other for a couple more years when I drop in for an oil and filter change.

Hope this answers your question. Good luck and I hope to never "slip up" again ;-)

Donphillipe
12-08-2016, 04:19 PM
The name of the Sprinter transmission repair/rebuild shop is FixEuro and not Fix Euro. Would an admin please make the correction to the above post, as I have lost the ability to edit my own post. Thank you.