Merc 200d Manual Transmission Needs Help!

Hey,
My father bought a used Merc (a 200d, the papers say 1976, I think its a 1970) and I've been eyeing it for a bit. Without getting too technical, I'll describe some of the problems I had.
Firstly, the transmission is rogered. When I downshift to second, the plates (or something) grind. It _does_ downshift but it causes lots of wincing and ruins an otherwise beautiful drive. What could the problem be?
Secondly, i've been thinking of replacing the transmission altogether and going auto. I know i'll be sacrificing power but I don't really need that much where I live. 80-100 kmh is more than enough for me and an auto transmission would make doing other things and driving at the same time (don't look at me that way!) much easier. How much would an auto transmission kit cost (roughly) and would a normal mechanic be able to install it? We don't have no MB Service fellows here.
Thats about it. . the car didn't come with a manual and I know I'm not finding one anytime soon so I don't know what half the knobs and switches on the dash do. The AC works fine and the car is virtually untouched by any weathering or rust. Its also been repainted (from sky blue) to jet black and it has that beige/brown interior (the seats that is).
Anyway, can anyone help out with the transmission problems?
Thanks in advance.
Sheryar Hyatt
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It could be worn out, BUT... sometimes it is just the rubber bushings in the shift linkage levers needing replacement.
Bill Ditmire Ditmire Motorworks,Inc. 425 White Horse Pike Absecon,NJ 08201 http://www.ditmire.com 609-641-3392
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or a loose centre bolt on a linkage lever... that's what happened on my 190E. couldn't put it in 1st gear...

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