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Old 02-02-2018, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default Mercedes BlueTec Diesel Article

The mechanic who wrote this says he worked for MB for 50 years. I liked the article because instead of saying "these engines are crap" he says "this is what can go wrong and this is how you can prevent it."

Since I'm not a mechanic and since I elected to go with a gas engine in my van, I have no idea whether what he says is reasonable or not. I'm just providing it as a bit of information for those who have or are considering a MB diesel.

Mercedes-Benz & Sprinter BlueTec Diesel Issues/Problems | Stephens Service Center - Sacramento's Best Mercedes-Benz Service & Repairs
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:51 PM   #2
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"I liked the article because instead of saying "these engines are crap"

I wonder Phoebe3 since:

"I would love to own a Sprinter. If I didn’t know what I know, I would buy one."

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Old 02-02-2018, 03:20 PM   #3
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The mechanic who wrote this says he worked for MB for 50 years. I liked the article because instead of saying "these engines are crap" he says "this is what can go wrong and this is how you can prevent it."
I would like it even more if wasn't filled with gross inaccuracies and "just so" claims. There are real issues with MB engines (just as there are with those of all of their competitors), but that rant is not the place to learn about them.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:12 PM   #4
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That is a long read, but pretty interesting, I think. His style and attitude kind of remind me of Handybob, and detracts from the substance of what he is trying to say.

This is mostly a rant about the oil requirements and availabilities for the MB diesels, it appears, and in that respect most of what he has to say is quite good IMO.

* The comments about the 5w-30 oil make perfect sense and there were similar questions when the gas engines were switching to it or even to 5W20 oil. I think the Chevy gas vans and several other engines had actually gone to 5W20 and then moved back up to 5W30 when they had problems. As he mentions, the 5W30 has no room for dilution from fuel without going too thin, which happens in diesels, and also will get get too thin from excessive temps, especially if the viscosity index isn't very good. The reductions of the additives sulphur, phosphorus, and zinc happened in gas engines quite a while ago and caused a lot of issues in engines not designed for it (non rollerized valvetrains in particular). Those additives are what protect the metals against scuffing if they go metal to metal, which happens in all engines, especially at cold starts and if at very high temps so low oil viscosity. In the gas engines the oil pumps and timing chains and gears are the major areas of potential wear now. The timing chain wear he mentions makes absolute sense with low additives and 5W30 oil.

* His recommendation to use motorcycle oil is an interesting one, and is something that many of us have been doing for years in tough applications like high output turbo gas engines, small engines that run hot like some lawn tractors, 4 wheelers, etc. Most, but not all as he indicates, still have the full additive package to protect against scuffing, and come in high viscosity grades. 10K+ rpm crotch rockets are very hard on oil, so it has to be good stuff. The downside in using it in a diesel is that you give up the soot carrying capacity of the designed diesel oils, so it would need to be changed more often, as he mentions.

* The recommendation to use ester based oils is a good one, if his assessment of how hot the MB diesels run is correct. Ester based is also referred to as a "group 5" synthetic some places. Ester based gives the oil higher temp handling characteristics and a very good VI without as many diluting additives. Redline and Motul are both very good oils in the ester category. I don't think any of the Mobil or Amsoil oils are ester, with Amsoil being group 4 and most of the Mobil being group 3, IIRC. I have used a lot of Redline in aircooled and turbo engines, and it is amazing how clean the heads and turbo oil areas are at teardown. The areas that normally would normally have cooked oil on them don't have it.

This is just a sidebar for those with gas engines, especially if you are prone to run hot due to mountains or towing. As far as I have been able to find out, and am pretty sure of, the Redline "normal" oils that are "recommended" for SM and SN (reduced additive) oil applications called out for most current gas engines actually still has the older full additive package in it. They do not have the actual SM or SN rating, as it would not pass because of the additives which are limited in SM and SN, and even SL, but it would easily pass all the other requirements. Note that the manufacturers don't want you to use full additive oils in gas engines because of potential catalytic converter fouling, but from what I have seen over the years you won't have any issues unless you have an engine that has started using quite a bit of oil and is near the end of it's life. If we are going to very hot areas or mountains I always try to make sure I have Redline 5W30 in our Chevy.

* He mentions turbo heat getting the point of glowing red, which used to be pretty common if run hard, but not since the water cooled turbos showed up. Without a pump to move the oil through a glowing turbo at shutdown, you will cook any oil that is being used in the engine. Ester oil will help, but not prevent it. With gasser turbo engines we would always let them idle for 5 minutes after a hard run to cool them off, or have a post lube oil pump on them or they would fail much faster.

* His oil change intervals are pretty extreme, but I can see it if the oil is getting overheated and diluted, so makes sense.

* Belly pans and shields will make engines run warmer most of the time, especially if they are designed to do just that as he implies. The pans are good for a 4 cylinder in Minnesota winters, but can be a problem in the heat.

* I am not sure how the plugged air cleaner gives higher pressure, but if it does, it certainly will blow out seals and make a mess of oil leaks. That is a very short change interval that he mentions for modern systems.

* I liked the EGR cleaning idea, very simple if it works well.

What he doesn't mention is if the MB has any way built in to monitor the oil temps (like with a Scangauge), which I think would be very, very, useful to back up his overheated oil argument. Adding a gauge might be a good idea.

He also doesn't back up any of his oil dilution, viscosity shear loss, sludged oil from heat, claims with any used oil analysis. I would think this would be the first place you would start if you were recommending different oil types, viscosities, etc, and a big omission on his part IMO.

I think he needs to get together with Handybob for a "rant off" competition.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:54 PM   #5
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I would like it even more if wasn't filled with gross inaccuracies and "just so" claims. There are real issues with MB engines (just as there are with those of all of their competitors), but that rant is not the place to learn about them.
It takes some patience to read his yarn, I don't have it.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:59 PM   #6
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This is just a sidebar for those with gas engines, especially if you are prone to run hot due to mountains or towing. As far as I have been able to find out, and am pretty sure of, the Redline "normal" oils that are "recommended" for SM and SN (reduced additive) oil applications called out for most current gas engines actually still has the older full additive package in it. They do not have the actual SM or SN rating, as it would not pass because of the additives which are limited in SM and SN, and even SL, but it would easily pass all the other requirements. Note that the manufacturers don't want you to use full additive oils in gas engines because of potential catalytic converter fouling, but from what I have seen over the years you won't have any issues unless you have an engine that has started using quite a bit of oil and is near the end of it's life. If we are going to very hot areas or mountains I always try to make sure I have Redline 5W30 in our Chevy.
Our Crossfit has a 3.7L engine (very small, in my world) pulling around a pretty heavy van up and down hot, Western US mountains. Since it is new, we plan on taking it to the Ford dealership for oil changes every 4,000-5,000 miles. Ford recommends every 3,000-10,000 miles, depending on load and driving conditions so maybe we should plan on getting it changed more often. I have no idea what oil they put in it, but figured if I needed to make a warranty claim, it would be a good idea to have had it serviced by Ford. Any recommendations?
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:17 PM   #7
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Our Crossfit has a 3.7L engine (very small, in my world) pulling around a pretty heavy van up and down hot, Western US mountains. Since it is new, we plan on taking it to the Ford dealership for oil changes every 4,000-5,000 miles. Ford recommends every 3,000-10,000 miles, depending on load and driving conditions so maybe we should plan on getting it changed more often. I have no idea what oil they put in it, but figured if I needed to make a warranty claim, it would be a good idea to have had it serviced by Ford. Any recommendations?
Warranty and oil changes have bounced around for years, I think. I remember back when you had to bring in receipts for any oil you bought to do it yourself, and a service log (done yourself) of the changes. I don't think it is that bad now, but who knows what what any individual dealer will say.

It appears the 3.7 manual says 5W20 API SN rated oil, which is not all that surprising. In a heavy vehicle, heat, mountains, etc, I would much prefer to see 5W30 in. I doubt that would do anything to the warranty, but as long as you are going to get it done at the dealer, it would pay to ask them to put in the 5w30, due to the heavy duty use.
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:05 PM   #8
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it takes some patience to read his yarn, i don't have it.
l o l

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Old 02-02-2018, 07:28 PM   #9
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I would like it even more if wasn't filled with gross inaccuracies and "just so" claims.
I'm not really much of a mechanic, so I'd be interested in hearing what the gross inaccuracies were.

I thought the article was interesting and I might be tempted to do some of the things he recommends, particularly after reading booster's analysis and opinions. So I'd be interested in hearing different views.

What was the reason behind the re-specification of 229.51 to 229.52 anyway?
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:56 PM   #10
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there is NOT anything wrong with diesel engines.

THERE ARE ISSUES with diesel emmissions sytems.

starting in 2007 this is the culprit.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:19 PM   #11
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there is NOT anything wrong with diesel engines.

THERE ARE ISSUES with diesel emmissions sytems.

starting in 2007 this is the culprit.
As I understand it, his contention is that to comply with the emissions requirements, the engines are designed to operate at excessively high temperatures, and specifying low-viscosity oil that can meet emission requirements compromises long-term engine health. So the root cause is not just the emissions systems, but the overall system design and operating procedures in order to meet the emissions requirements.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:25 PM   #12
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As I understand it, his contention is that to comply with the emissions requirements, the engines are designed to operate at excessively high temperatures, and specifying low-viscosity oil that can meet emission requirements compromises long-term engine health. So the root cause is not just the emissions systems, but the overall system design and operating procedures in order to meet the emissions requirements.

isn't that what i said
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:49 PM   #13
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Warranty and oil changes have bounced around for years, I think. I remember back when you had to bring in receipts for any oil you bought to do it yourself, and a service log (done yourself) of the changes. I don't think it is that bad now, but who knows what what any individual dealer will say.
Nothing you can do to your vehicle will affect the warranty in any way. Federal law guarantees this. You can use Mazola oil in your engine if you want to. It is just that any damage caused by your failure to use oil that does not meet MB specs is not (and never has been) covered by the warranty.

Note also that the burden of proof in such a case is on the warrantor, not on you. They cannot demand receipts or service logs. This, of course, does not mean that such records are not a good idea. They can be very important if push comes to shove.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:12 PM   #14
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I'm not really much of a mechanic, so I'd be interested in hearing what the gross inaccuracies were.

I thought the article was interesting and I might be tempted to do some of the things he recommends, particularly after reading booster's analysis and opinions. So I'd be interested in hearing different views.

What was the reason behind the re-specification of 229.51 to 229.52 anyway?
I wouldn't know where to start. This is well covered over at Sprinter-Source. The vast majority of his claims are simply made up, and some of them are downright dangerous. In particular, using ANYTHING other than MB-spec'd oil in a BlueTec Sprinter is crazy talk.

If you choose to follow the utterly unsupported advice of Some Guy On The Internet rather than the carefully-developed specifications of the folks who designed and built your Sprinter, then good luck to you.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:22 PM   #15
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It is interesting how folks compare internet wisdom with MB engineering and choose. Risk is huge, my Sprinter has 2 MB oil specs, older (circa 2013) and a newer one and I used both, older one was higher viscosity. I critical oil factor for diesel engines with modern pollution control is minimum soot generation which could impact longevity of some components, is it possible to extract this factor from The Internet wisdom? I donít think so.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:28 PM   #16
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I critical oil factor for diesel engines with modern pollution control is minimum soot generation which could impact longevity of some components, is it possible to extract this factor from The Internet wisdom? I donít think so.
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If you choose to follow the utterly unsupported advice of Some Guy On The Internet rather than the carefully-developed specifications of the folks who designed and built your Sprinter, then good luck to you.
And yet I seek advice from the members of this forum all the time.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:34 PM   #17
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And yet I seek advice from the members of this forum all the time.
Hahahah

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Old 02-02-2018, 10:35 PM   #18
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there is NOT anything wrong with diesel engines.

THERE ARE ISSUES with diesel emmissions sytems.

starting in 2007 this is the culprit.
I think it could be said that the emissions are what is wrong with the diesels, and they haven't figured out how to get them reduced without causing lot of other issues.

Running them hot to reduce emissions and then getting sludged up oil is very remindful of the Toyota/Lexus engines that would sludge up the drain back holes in the heads and be destroyed. It was because they increased the running temps of the heads higher to reduce emissions and get better economy, per many experts. The cure was the best oil you could get and more frequent oil changes, very similar to what is recommended in the article.

Diesels are going through what gas engines did in the late 70s and 80s when they had to address emissions. Gas engines have been on a steady increase in longevity and economy for quite a while since so they have a big head start on the diesels on the road to maximization.

Time will tell if the diesels will have enough time and investment to catch up before electric or some other power source gets rid of both gas and diesel.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:36 PM   #19
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And yet I seek advice from the members of this forum all the time.
……and we all do, in areas we know, life in a camper, mileage performance, highway handling, toilettes even cassettes, we would not engage MB engeneering to discuss best ways for black tank disposal, they likely have no clue as we have no clue about sophisticated inners of diesel engines and pollution control.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:46 PM   #20
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.........................
Diesels are going through what gas engines did in the late 70s and 80s when they had to address emissions. Gas engines have been on a steady increase in longevity and economy for quite a while since so they have a big head start on the diesels on the road to maximization.

Time will tell if the diesels will have enough time and investment to catch up before electric or some other power source gets rid of both gas and diesel.
I remember those days; my 75 Toyota Celica had a rotary positive displacement air pump to pump air into the catalytic converter. It was a disaster, finely dealer under the warranty left the pump but removed the troublesome squeaking vanes.

Europe will keep diesel for a while due to very high cost of fuel ($6-8/gal), but in NA diesel in passenger cars will end, semis will have diesel/lpg combo, and with the trucks, who knows.
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