Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans are popular vehicles for many businesses in New York City. They offer very large cargo capacity, reasonably good fuel economy from their turbo diesel engines, and they handle well for such large vans in narrow New York streets as they are tall and narrow. They are great vans for plumbers, contractors, and delivery companies. They see many hard miles as they are work trucks and usually part of fleets for various companies. This causes accelerated wear and tear which also causes common pattern failures on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Vans.
Sprinter Van Broken Flex Pipe
With the Sprinter Vans being driven for thousands of miles every year we commonly see broken exhaust flex pipes. The exhaust in every car is made out of rigid steel, but as the engine revs and compresses the engine mounts, the exhaust also needs some movement. That is why there are flex sections in every automobile’s exhaust that allows this movement. Sprinter vans have turbo diesel engines that see much higher temperatures than gasoline engines which also helps the flex joints in the exhaust fail sooner. Having and exhaust leak is not that big of a deal except that there is wiring routed near the flex pipe sections that can melt and cause a series of other electrical problems. That is why it will save you money and time to get the flex pipe replaced when you can start to hear the exhaust leak.
Sprinter Van Glow Plug Failure
Diesel Engines don’t use spark plugs like traditional gasoline engines. They use glow plugs named after the fact that they get so hot they glow. They work by drastically increasing cylinder temperature enough to make the diesel fuel combust under mechanical pressure and heat inside the cylinder. After thousand of miles of use, glow plugs tend to fail and then unfortunately get stuck in the head making removing the glow plugs labor intensive.
Sprinter Van Oil Cooler Leak
Sprinter Vans have an oil cooler gasket that is prone to leaking. It is a common oil leak location on the Sprinter and getting to the the gasket to change it is a challenge. The top end of the engine needs to be disassembled to reach the oil cooler gasket. Oil cooler gaskets of upgraded materials are now available to make this repair much more long lasting and to prevent this type of leak in the future.
Sprinter Van Rumble Strip Sound
When driving at highway speeds there is a thrumming sound that can be heard and felt throughout the Sprinter Van. This can be caused by not having enough transmission fluid or having a failing torque converter lock clutch. For low transmission simply we top it off and inspect for leaks. For a failing torque converter lock up clutch the transmission has to come out and rebuilt. In automatic transmissions you have a torque converter that transfers power from the engine to the transmission which on turn transfers power to the wheels. Torque converters are designed to have a certain amount of slip in them so your engine can continue to spin even though the car is sitting still in traffic or at a red light. At highway speeds the torque converter locks up to improve fuel economy. It uses an internal clutch to lock the engine output to the transmission. This clutch can wear out over time. When the clutch fails there is no longer enough material for it to grab and lock causing the rumble strip feeling in the Sprinter Vans.
Sprinter Van Turbo Issues
Sprinter Vans use smaller diesel engines to improve fuel economy, but also require turbos to give the vans enough pep to carry heavy loads and have passing power. With the turbos there is also added complexity from intercooler tubes and intake tubes that over time can leak. Once a leak becomes bad enough it can trigger a “Limp Mode” and the engine will lose significant power output. Then the computer will bypass the turbos and the Sprinter will need to be diagnosed and serviced to work as intended. The added complexity of the turbo system can make some repairs complicated or other repairs simple. That is why it is best to choose a shop that has experience diagnosing and serving Sprinters.
Sprinter Van Emissions Equipment Issues
Diesel powered cars can get great fuel economy, but as a downside they are loaded with extra emissions equipment that can wear out as well. The Sprinter has a Diesel Particulate Filter “DPF” that can clog. Mercedes also uses a Diesel Exhaust Fluid “DEF“. It is a mix of urea and water that gets injected into your exhaust for environmental reasons. If you are about to run out of the DEF or there is any problem with the system you will get some dash warning and finally a count down to the number of starts your Sprinter van has until it refuses to restart as without DEF the truck is no longer emissions compliant.
Sprinters have become incredibly popular work trucks and can be regularly seen sporting Amazon logos as Amazon famously bought tens of thousands of Sprinters to help deliver their packages throughout the United States. We at S-LineAuto, have serviced and diagnosed many of these Sprinter work vans and have grown comfortable with their quirks and features. If you are experiencing an sort of issues with a Sprinter and would like an experienced shop to diagnose and service it please feel free to Contact Us with any questions.