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Old 06-05-2019, 02:31 AM   #1
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Default Sprinter repair recommendations

Hi All,
When traveling, I'm concerned about getting competent, honest service in case my Roadtrek Adventurous 2008 needs repair. We can help each other out by referring others to our local shops. It would be great to travel with a list of reliable vendors.
I'll start this out by recommending "Project 12" in Novato, CA (415) 879-5182. Mark Washington is a prince. He is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and fair.
Hope this helps all of us. Please post your local shops.
Thanks -David
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:23 PM   #2
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Not local to me, but helped me out in a pinch last year as I was en route from Houston to Nova Scotia, and has been my consulting mechanic ever since:

Joel Sell, Million Mile Sprinter in Philadelphia. As far as I can tell, he is one of the top T1N Sprinter experts in the country.

His cohorts are also top notch - his other Sprinter allies in other states. I don't know who they are, but their Instagram posts often riff.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:47 PM   #3
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Default Good idea...an online database system would be great, don't know how someone do that?

My mechanic in Los Angeles has been taking care of all my vehicles for 20 years.... once you've found a really honest person...you don't need to shop this out...

AH Automotive, Mission Hills, call David @ 818-895-7425

Call ahead.,it's a small shop and he gets busy.

You're going to save money over the dealership and you will not be disappointed by his service.

As for "incidents" on the road.... my best advice is get your vehicle throughly checked out just before you leave.... things still happen... especially on a vehicle as complex as an RV...RV can certainly mean "ruined vacation"....

Listen, we've had all sorts of experiences, good and bad, with our trips. Being proactive is the best way to avoid any failures, but, it can happen with either the vehicle or the "house"... Try to remember that the mishaps are the punctuation points of your trip and you're likely to remember those and they will be the source of endless stories you'll be telling people later.

Good luck.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:13 PM   #4
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My mechanic in Los Angeles has been taking care of all my vehicles for 20 years.... once you've found a really honest person...you don't need to shop this out....
Is this the same "trusted mechanic" who tells you to do oil changes twice as often as the manufacturer recommends, and who says to do transmission services every other oil change? If so, others might want to do their own evaluation of the "really honest" part.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:27 PM   #5
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Default NO..... that was the Mercedes Benz dealership

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Is this the same "trusted mechanic" who tells you to do oil changes twice as often as the manufacturer recommends, and who says to do transmission services every other oil change? If so, others might want to do their own evaluation of the "really honest" part.
Do you see how fast I answered your question?
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:52 PM   #6
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Do you see how fast I answered your question?
Context:

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...html#post78603
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:59 PM   #7
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Default Avanti....see below

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Thanks.

Let me clarify this for you...

On oil changes, every year or 10,000 miles for my 2011.

On transmission, once every 20,000 miles..

Doesn't matter what you do.... Your vehicle is a newer model.. .

And, what I decide has absolutely nothing to do with my mechanic ..
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:32 PM   #8
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Default Columbus/Dayton (Ohio)

Can anyone recommend a trustworthy Sprinter mechanic in the Dayton/Columbus (Ohio) area? Much appreciated!
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:21 PM   #9
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Driving a Sprinter Diesel with blu-tek is like playing Russian Roulette. My 2013 has been less than reliable on long trips with 4 instances of "ten starts left" on 8 trips (over 4000 miles). Finding a Sprinter dealer in an emergency can be challenging....Finding a Sprinter dealer that can see you in less than 2 weeks is more of a challenge! Try arriving in the UP of Michigan around Mackinac Island and getting "ten starts left" on a Friday. Your choices are Minneapolis or Green Bay! I have been on 8 trips and have visited over 8 different dealerships while on "vacation". Always emissions issues and usually NOx sensors. With blu-tek, it's not a question of IF; but, when will you need a repair place....IMO. Hopefully your 2008 is lacking this technology. If you come to the East....Sun Motors in PA. Once, we booked Sprinter appointments in 6 States out west, as a precaution along with our itinerary of campsites. Used 2 of them and canceled 4. Only time we had piece of mind.
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:37 PM   #10
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Default What's your DEF usage?

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Driving a Sprinter Diesel with blu-tek is like playing Russian Roulette. My 2013 has been less than reliable on long trips with 4 instances of "ten starts left" on 8 trips (over 4000 miles). Finding a Sprinter dealer in an emergency can be challenging....Finding a Sprinter dealer that can see you in less than 2 weeks is more of a challenge! Try arriving in the UP of Michigan around Mackinac Island and getting "ten starts left" on a Friday. Your choices are Minneapolis or Green Bay! I have been on 8 trips and have visited over 8 different dealerships while on "vacation". Always emissions issues and usually NOx sensors. With blu-tek, it's not a question of IF; but, when will you need a repair place....IMO. Hopefully your 2008 is lacking this technology. If you come to the East....Sun Motors in PA. Once, we booked Sprinter appointments in 6 States out west, as a precaution along with our itinerary of campsites. Used 2 of them and canceled 4. Only time we had piece of mind.
Are you using an excessive amount of DEF?

We have a 2012 RS....so, it's really a 2011 Mercedes....it's very likely that yours is a 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter and you have the 3 litre V6?

In December 2017 with only 39,000 miles, my Sprinter emissions system failed and Mercedes Benz dealership replaced the entire system and updated my software. . Since then the DEF fluid consumption is about one quart every 1,000 miles.... A real big difference from before.

I would advise you to get in touch with Mercedes Benz as soon as possible.... there's a federal government warranty on the emissions system... but don't wait....it's 7 or 8 years or 80,000 miles.... good luck.
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:49 PM   #11
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If you carry a normal OBD2 reader (as opposed to a very expensive MB one) is it possible to reset that number of starts left counter in order to keep going if you cannot find local service, or can only an MB draler do that? Any idea?

Haven't had any problems yet with our 2018 Sprinter bought last Sept - got maybe 7,000 miles on it now. I do keep teh DEF topped up due to issues I have read about.

Brian.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:29 PM   #12
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Default You shouldn't have problems with a 2018....

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If you carry a normal OBD2 reader (as opposed to a very expensive MB one) is it possible to reset that number of starts left counter in order to keep going if you cannot find local service, or can only an MB draler do that? Any idea?

Haven't had any problems yet with our 2018 Sprinter bought last Sept - got maybe 7,000 miles on it now. I do keep teh DEF topped up due to issues I have read about.

Brian.
Brian, I don't know if it is possible? My personal mechanic says that Mercedes Benz dealership only has the proprietary instructions and the tools to accomplish this....he says that he can't justify the cost to purchase them..... they really have an exclusive on this....

I was using a as much as 1/2 gallon of DEF every 500 miles.....now it's 1 quart every 1,000 miles.

If you are using excessive amounts of DEF something is wrong with your system.

I've been told conflicting information about keeping it topped off... some people say that you should and others say let it go for a while.....and refill when the light or indicator says to refill...... their reasoning is by refilling early the system gets "confused" and won't operate properly....

Having to go back to Mercedes Benz dealership for a reset is a pain in the butt.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by <<B-Guy>> View Post
If you carry a normal OBD2 reader (as opposed to a very expensive MB one) is it possible to reset that number of starts left counter in order to keep going if you cannot find local service, or can only an MB draler do that? Any idea?

Haven't had any problems yet with our 2018 Sprinter bought last Sept - got maybe 7,000 miles on it now. I do keep teh DEF topped up due to issues I have read about.

Brian.
No, you can't reset the n-starts remaining state with a scanner--not even with the expensive MB one. It takes a dealer or Sprinter-specific shop with an expensive subscription from Mercedes. With a laptop with the Star diagnostics system, you CAN add five starts to let you limp a bit further. They claim that you can only do it once, but I don't know exactly what that means. After having my share of DEF-related nightmares, I bought a Chinese clone Star system. Steep learning curve, but you can do many things. I haven't had a no-start condition since then, so I have no first hand experience with the "add 5" feature. Looks straightforward, though.

Sprinter reliability really is disgraceful. Those who say otherwise have their heads in the sand. I would NEVER buy another Sprinter diesel if I had any reasonable alternative. I am just back from the dealer where they replaced my THIRD rear speed sensor (which is sometimes a limp-home problem). Really disgraceful. I will never be able to fully trust this vehicle again after so many issues. This is the very end of my warranty coverage, so things are going to get expensive going forward.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:02 PM   #14
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Default Stop complaining and do something about it.

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No, you can't reset the n-starts remaining state with a scanner--not even with the expensive MB one. It takes a dealer or Sprinter-specific shop with an expensive subscription from Mercedes. With a laptop with the Star diagnostics system, you CAN add five starts to let you limp a bit further. They claim that you can only do it once, but I don't know exactly what that means. After having my share of DEF-related nightmares, I bought a Chinese clone Star system. Steep learning curve, but you can do many things. I haven't had a no-start condition since then, so I have no first hand experience with the "add 5" feature. Looks straightforward, though.

Sprinter reliability really is disgraceful. Those who say otherwise have their heads in the sand. I would NEVER buy another Sprinter diesel if I had any reasonable alternative. I am just back from the dealer where they replaced my THIRD rear speed sensor (which is sometimes a limp-home problem). Really disgraceful. I will never be able to fully trust this vehicle again after so many issues. This is the very end of my warranty coverage, so things are going to get expensive going forward.
I'm really getting tired of listening to people such as yourself who just complain about how unreliable Sprinters are.....

Just look around and see the fleet of Federal Express Sprinters on the road.... they are everywhere...... AND, I've met people who have gone 800,000 kilometers... that's about 500,000 miles....on their diesel engine....

Maybe the "extended" service intervals you've been advocating is not as good as you think....by the way, that 20,000 miles oil change is still only good for 1 year..... you really drive 20,000 miles per year???

Again, my vehicle is designed for one year or 10,000 miles which seems perfectly reasonable to me... I would never do 20,000 miles in one year. .. that is like driving the van too many hours per day..... kinda like taxi driver... yuck.

Yeah, you're out of warranty.... get rid of it and purchase a gasoline van.....

I do agree that there's less "drama" with the gasoline engine, but, the performance and economy of the diesel is really fantastic. I wouldn't say it's disgraceful... but, it is a little more challenging.. you have to be right on top of everything..... I've had a few issues ....

What's bad is that the network for getting these fixed could be better... I agree with that.

Where you will really notice a difference is on climbing mountain passes... the diesel is so much better than the gasoline engine.....

It's definitely a choice.....
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:14 PM   #15
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Maybe the "extended" service intervals you've been advocating is not as good as you think....
Except that NONE of the many failures I have experienced has had anything whatsoever to do with any vehicle system that is affected in any way by the routine service regimen. You can change you oil all you like, but it is not going to extend the life of your rear speed sensors or NoX sensors. And, I do NOT recommend "extended" service intervals--I recommend exactly following the OEM requirements.

Quote:
by the way, that 20,000 miles oil change is still only good for 1 year.....
Completely false for my model year.

It is getting increasingly hard to understand what you gain by constantly telling us how great everything you own is, while willfully rejecting any information from others that happens to conflict with your preconceptions.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:29 PM   #16
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Default What's your oil change interval?

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Except that NONE of the many failures I have experienced has had anything whatsoever to do with any vehicle system that is affected in any way by the routine service regimen. You can change you oil all you like, but it is not going to extend the life of your rear speed sensors or NoX sensors. And, I do NOT recommend "extended" service intervals--I recommend exactly following the OEM requirements.

Completely false for my model year.

It is getting increasingly hard to understand what you gain by constantly telling us how great everything you own is, while willfully rejecting any information from others that happens to conflict with your preconceptions.
NO, completely wrong AGAIN... I never said anything about how great my situation was.... I've had many problems with my Sprinter..... stuck several times visiting the Mercedes Benz dealership... twice in Flagstaff Arizona...

Look... didn't you say that your oil change is way over 10,000 miles per year?

By having a 10,000 miles interval, the chance to spot something is better.. nothing is guaranteed.

All I'm saying is this...if you are completely dissatisfied, sell the Mercedes Benz Sprinter and move on.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:36 PM   #17
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\All I'm saying is this...if you are completely dissatisfied, sell the Mercedes Benz Sprinter and move on.
I would do that in a heartbeat, except for the very substantial investment of time and money in our highly-customized coach and its accompanying systems. Our rig is nearly perfect for our needs. Very frankly, though, our inability to count on the chassis' reliability is casting an increasing pall on every trip. I am sorry if my saying this makes you feel bad, but prospective buyers need to hear the realities of Sprinter ownership.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:54 PM   #18
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"the performance and economy of the diesel is really fantastic"

BS, the sprinter diesel costs more, period. The performance suffers next to every other van in a drag race, entering an interstate,........... and top speed? (all 3 vans, I'm not sure).

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Old 06-13-2019, 08:21 PM   #19
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"I'm really getting tired of listening to people such as yourself who just complain about how unreliable Sprinters are....."

Next post:

"NO, completely wrong AGAIN... I never said anything about how great my situation was.... I've had many problems with my Sprinter..... stuck several times visiting the Mercedes Benz dealership... twice in Flagstaff Arizona........ "
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:23 PM   #20
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By having a 10,000 miles interval, the chance to spot something is better.
Does your famous "trusted mechanic" test all the electronic sensors during those 10,000 mile oil changes in order to predict failures? If so, please share with us how these prognostics are done. Has he or she ever successfully predicted a sensor or DEF-related failure? If not, how does it help prevent these (non-mechanical) failures?
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