300E sluggish starting...

I test drove a 1987 300E with the automatic V6 3.0 the other day and notice right away the car was really sluggish when starting from a stop position. It seems almost as if there is
something wrong with the transmission. I would stomp on the gas and the car slowly speeds up (very unlike my current GM). So I spoke with the salesman afterwards and he says the 300E are all like that.
Is he telling the truth or just trying to sell me the car?
Suppose the car end up in my possesion and there is really transmission problems, how much does transmission fix cost?
thanks, Orc
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but as soon as it changes gears, get outta the way!
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I have the same problem on my 89 300E. It isn't the tranny though. It sometimes acts like the engine is starving for fuel or flooding. I suspect it could eiter be my Oxygen sensor or some other item.
The car is sluggish, but not all the time. Many times it is with the AC on.
Thom
Orc General wrote:

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These cars were set by Mercedes for the tranny to start in 2nd gear when the shifter is in "D". When you come to a stop, shift into the lowest range for a second and then back to "D". Then when you start, the tranny will be in 1st gear. It will quickly shift to 2nd and then on to 3rd and 4th.
If it is really a sluggish as you say, the engine probably needs a little maintenance. Get a full tune-up and check to see if the valve stem seals have been replaced. If not, they are probably brittle and not sealing the valve stems well. When I had this done on my '88 260E, I could not believe the difference in performance. It is only a $300-$500 job.
BTW, the 300E series only came with the inline six engine - not a V6. Good luck.
Rick in Raleigh

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Probably the oxygen sensor - mine went and was repaired for 100.
It should not be sluggish - mine on Sport mode certainly isn't and I make use of the full power. The salesman's not telling the truth - a fully working 300 will shift - I've seen sub 8 seconds 0-60 and 145 top speed.
David
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The person who said "These cars were set by Mercedes for the tranny to start in 2nd gear when the shifter is in "D". " is correct. I have an 89 300E and it runs the same way. Nice thing is when you are cruising along at 65 mph and decide you want to go faster, hold on cause it will jump out ahead of the pack quick and you wont even feel it in the ride.

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Starting out in second is no issue, as long as my 300E is cold. When it is warm, you can feel the engine stumble, then it kicks in. But, I wouldn't give up my 239K mile ride (With no engine or Tranny overhaul/rebuild) for anything.
Thom
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These 300Es were ALL sluggish from a dead stop, up until the bigger engines in '92. They had low torque until you reached highway speeds...then they were nice cruisers. But don't expect neck-snapping off-the-line power.
I think it was Consumer Reports (or Consumer Guide? can't remember which) that rated their performance as "tepid to adequate."
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My 1990 300E was a great car. Extremely solid, exceptionally quiet and a genuine pleasure to drive. But that second-gear startout drove me crazy. I thought it was the inline six cylinder engine at first, until I later discovered that MB designed the transmission to start out in second gear, maybe for a smoother takeoff?
The later models had an S/W switch added (Standard or Winter), which gave the driver the choice of starting out in first gear (Standard) or second gear (Winter) for a slower, more controlled start on wet or slippery roads.
There is an aftermarket product that can be added to enable first-gear startout on the pre-S/W switch models. If you were to drive the car again, I'd suggest pressing the pedal all the way to the floor on startout (or manually shift down) to get a sense of what a first gear startout adapter would do for the car. I later wondered whether hardwiring the kickdown switch under the accelerator pedal would engage the first-gear startout, but then realized it would affect all other shifting as well -- the transmission would think it was being asked to shift down for all driving at all speeds.
Here's one provider of a bypass module:
http://bergwerks.com/control_module.jsp

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