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G - earbox

Manual Gearbox

since I purchased the G the manual gearbox wasn't working smoothly. After driving additional 40.000 KM with trailer and off-road the gearbox called again. First I couldn't disengage the 5th gear, now it makes sounds when accelerating. I had to take it out.


Manual Gearboxes are have basically no advantages over automatic ones. Especially when driving off- road uphill or with trailer - changing a gear can be done without disconnecting the engine. Manual gearboxes have to disconnect the engine with the clutch. The 300GE have been standard equipped with manual gearboxes up to model year 1993. After that mercedes decided to build them just with automatic gearboxes. Manual gearboxes have a bad reputation, since they are notchy, sometime shifting is not smoothly possible. The only advantage of the manual gearbox is the weight

Harald has a good overview on his site about the different gearboxes that were installed in a G!

My 300GE has a 717.439 (GL76/27). Other uses the 717.436 which comes with a shorter ratio. Both are 5 speed gearboxes.

  1. Problem 2002: sometimes the first gear cannot been selected at the first time. Shifting into the 3rd gear and again into the 1.st gear will solve that problem. I have talked to the dealer and they told me a replacement gearbox will cost 1600 Euro. The told me tolerance problems often causes this kind of problem, It is a known problem at Mercedes. Looking at the cost I can live with that kind of Problem.

  2. Problem 2004: the 5th gear cannot been disengaged. Gearbox removed, on the bench no problem at all. Gearbox opened, oil changed no problem at all.

  3. Problem beginning 2005: the first gear disengaged itself. I adjusted the connection to the shift lever - no big improvement. When load changes the shift lever moves. Hopefully the gearbox is OK. At driveaway the clutch seems to squeak. Diagnosis Clutch and Gearbox bearing

  4. Problem September 2005: The first gear still get out, it disengages itself. The Clutch sound is getting louder. I need to change it.

removed gearbox:

disconnect the battery, driveshaft removed, 8 screws of the bell housing removed + 2 screws of the starter removed. Gearbox bridge removed, Clutch cylinder removed, gearbox vent removed. You will see something like this.

Gearbox oil let off, and the the typical swarf at the oil removal screw.

What to do? I called around for a replacement gearbox, but even in Germany there are no free gearboxes easy to find. Somebody offered me a gearbox from a W201 - a Mercedes 190E with a 2,6 L engine. It was low cost but everybody told me not to do. They told me passenger car gearboxes are not as strong as the gearboxes from the G! Is that statement right? How come? I couldn't belief so I swapped the gearbox into my G. How did I do it? Continue.

I've got a 717.432 (GL 76/27) from the W201 (190er 2,6 L) for low. The giver car had a mileage of 150.000. Crash!

My G has a 717.439. It is also a GL76/27, but what does it mean ? GL stands for Getrag -a gearbox manufacturer. The 76 stands for the distance of the driveaxle and the parallel drive axle, the 27 stands for the max. torque of 270Nm. My G can have max. a torque of 235Nm. That should work.

After I had purchased the gearbox both were lying next to each other on the bench:

On the lower end of the bell housing you'll see the first difference. The passenger car breathes the clutch compartment over the small hole at the lower end of the bell housing. The G has no opening there- it breathes over a small vent on the top side of the housing (#3).

Also the driveshaft is different.

G - driveshaft connection and here the connection of the passenger car gearbox

Another change: The breather of the gearbox over pipe (G) and with a cover on the passenger car gearbox.

Geländewagen with breather (clutch) on the bell housing

passenger car with closed opening at the bell housing

When looking at the gearbox ends, the passenger car gearbox contains a speedometer drive. The G has no speedo drive here since he has it at the transfer case.

If you open both rear housings you'll find on the passenger car gearbox a gearwheel for the speedo drive. You'll find that the passenger car has a longer output shaft. It has as well a larger shift lever for selecting the 5th and reverse gear. That shows that the passenger car gearboxes doesn't have to be lower equipped.

Geländewagen: short driveshaft passenger car longer shaft

What is next:

First of all remove the drive shaft adapters. Remove the gearbox oil and the the rear housing. The passenger car gearbox is now the base for repair.

at both rear housings remove the screw 66 and get the axles 67 out. After that remove the sliding collar 58 with the shift lever 61 and the shift arm and assemble in the other rear housings. At the passenger car gearbox the speedo drive is still on the driveshaft. Remove it.
After that install the rear housings back together Don't worry, it is not too complicated, but may take some time. Replace the paper sealing and if needed the rear driveshaft sealing ring 86.
Close the opening at the passenger car gearbox. we have used coldmetal "kaltmetall" .
Than drill a hole in the passenger car gearbox bell housing with a 9,5mm driller. Here the breather nipple of the Geländewagen will be inserted. We used Loctite to glue it in.
shorten the driveshaft with an angle grinder.
Done! Here you see the change. The rear end is Geländewagen, the front is from the passenger car.  
  1,5 L oil to be filled in and then it goes back into the G!



717.439 - Geländewagen according WIS

717.432 - passenger car according DC

1. Gear 3,856
2. Gear 2,182
3. Gear 1,365 1,376
4. Gear 1
5. Gear 0,799
Reverse 4,218 4,218

It should work out perfectly. After the installation the the test drive. Gear changes perfectly. The ration is the same, but the G seems to be accelerating faster -wishful thinking.


  • used gearbox 250 Euro
  • gearbox oil 15 Euro
  • sealing's 20 Euro
  • clutch 300 Euro complete
  • gearbox supports 50 Euro
  • special tools 6,80
  • Misc 20 Euro

Sum = 620 Euro and 12 h work! In the 12 h are the change of the right Engine support included. The Vibration in the 2nd gear is gone. When I will open the old gearbox, the next page will be generated....for sure.

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