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Old 12-20-2016, 06:52 PM   #1
Rok
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Default More Battery Information WOW, what a rathole!

So, I just went down a rabbit-hole of research (perhaps calling it a rat-hole might be more appropriate) about replacing the chassis (i.e. Mercedes) battery in our 2013 Great West Legend SE. The base unit is a 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van.

Background: Our battery went dead and we couldn't even jump the van to get it started. It was unseasonably cold here in the Seattle area, which really isn't that cold at all (just under freezing), but that might have prompted the change in the battery. About 5 months ago we had an upgrade done on our security system so that might be causing it as well. We have had some #23 fuse blowing problems that seem to be because of the new security setup.

Anyway the battery was, and still is fairly dead, whether from the cold or another reason.

Now it has warmed up a bit, and I thought I might just go get a trickle charger and see if I can get the battery charged up enough to drive it to someplace to have the battery replaced. (The fellow who was supposed to come out and fix it on-site has not followed up as promised.)

So, I researched getting a battery charger. Bottom line, there are a number of different types of batteries, and if you get the wrong charger it can damage the battery and the charging system. BLEECH!

So I called our local MB (Mercedes Benz) Dealer and they said that it was a Group 49 sized battery and they had them readily available for $200. He said that we SHOULDN'T use the higher rated AGM batteries or any of the "gel" batteries on the market because the computer in the Sprinter is geared to understand lead-acid batteries and the differences in the newer style batteries throw off the computer in the Sprinter.

I don't know if that is good information or BS to get me to buy a battery from them.

So, I'm back to square one. I would prefer a stronger battery with better rebound properties (like the AGMs) if their use is appropriate for the vehicle. But, I don't know if I should just get a cheap lead-acid battery and swap it out every few years.

Does anyone have additional information that would help me make a decision on what to do?

Thanks in advance.

..........Rocky
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:12 PM   #2
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.

Why start a new thread?


Do you know what kind of battery you have inside the Sprinter?
I would be surprised if it is a flooded cell lead acid battery;
hardly anybody uses them anymore.
But you never know.


Can you go to your RV and take a picture of the battery?
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:08 PM   #3
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BBQ:

I started a new thread because of all the new information I found and I'm back to the beginning.

What you say about the "flooded cell battery" makes me even more suspicious about what I was told by the parts dept. at my local Mercedes Dealership. He said that I should make sure that the cells are full of water. That sure sounds like the flooded cell tech doesn't it?

I strongly suspect that the tale I was told about the computer not recognizing "gel" batteries was some sort of a sales tactic, but I was hoping someone here could confirm or refute it.

We mostly just drive our vehicles and leave the fixing of them up to others. But that doesn't seem to be prudent when dealing with RVs.

I could take a photo of the top of the battery, but try as I might, I haven't been able to upload photos to this site, so it probably wouldn't do much good.


........Rocky
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:26 PM   #4
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1.) a trickle charger or "battery tender" is meant to maintain a charged battery which is in good condition

2.) a battery charger is meant to charge a battery


the lower current of the trickle charger is akin to trickling into a bucket with a hole in the bottom- you gotta be able to dump electrons in faster than they are flowing out.


I'd guess your MB dealer is making a recommendation based on making a sale.


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Old 12-20-2016, 10:03 PM   #5
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O.K., So I took some photos of the battery and managed to get them on my computer. Let's see if I can upload them here:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 161220 Battery All.jpg (254.5 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg 161220 Battery Info.jpg (147.5 KB, 20 views)
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:06 PM   #6
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Wow, it actually worked! Anyway that is my battery. And it is Dead, Completely Dead.

I have a couple of other photos I can upload, unfortunately I have to go to the Dentist. Believe me, I'd much rather upload photos.

........Rocky
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:07 PM   #7
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.

You are talking to people who try to make a mountain out of a mole hill.


Most of the battery charger have a maintenance mode.
eg. 20A/2A
where 2A is the trickle charge battery tender.

Most of the battery chargers on the market are good for flooded cell, gel and AGM.
Get a smart charger if you are concerned.


The only time you need will a different charger is for lithium batteries.
Because they have different charging profile.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:07 PM   #8
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OK, here's an interesting link:

https://www.mbwholesaleparts.com/ser...Batteries.aspx

According to this (actual MBUSA) source: "Genuine Mercedes-Benz Batteries feature both lead-calcium-silver and absorbent glass mat (AGM) technology."

I have heard many conflicting claims about Sprinter starting batteries. This appears to be nearly definitive.

Interestingly, Wikipedia claims that silver-calcium batteries require a higher charging voltage (14.4 to 14.8 V) than other lead-acid batteries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_calcium_battery
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok View Post
We have had some #23 fuse blowing problems that seem to be because of the new security setup.
I went to the Mercedes site and downloaded the manual for that year. Fuse #23 is for: "12 V socket rear left, cargo compartment/passenger compartment/non-MB body electrics."
If you want to download the official owner's manual for your Sprinter, go to: Owner Manuals | Mercedes-Benz Vans
They have them for each year, 2010-2016.

When you get there, click on the blue button below the year to download the Owner Manual.

Anyway, it sounds like the security system installer connected the system to this circuit. The fuse should not blow on it's own unless there's a short circuit or unless that particular circuit is overloaded. Replacing the fuse (or even the battery) won't fix the original cause of the problem that's causing the fuse to blow. Get this checked out and fixed ASAP if you haven't already.

As to dealing with BS from mechanics or anybody else, I'm getting in the habit of politely asking, "Which part of your paycheck does NOT come from customers?" It usually stops folks dead in their tracks.
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Old 12-21-2016, 12:35 AM   #10
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.




Most of the battery chargers on the market are good for flooded cell, gel and AGM. Get a smart charger if you are concerned.
Some of the smart chargers on the market are too damn smart for their own good. They sample the battery voltage and if it depleted below a certain level, abandon the charge, tell you it's a bad battery and give you directions to the nearest Costco. I use NOCO chargers that have an override feature that will at least attempt to resuscitate a battery regardless of its level of discharge.
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Old 12-21-2016, 05:14 AM   #11
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SiennaGuy:

I just checked the manual for our van and fuse #23 is for the starter motor there.

The tech who installed the Alarm system referenced a couple of Official Memos from Mercedes to their techs that when the temperature dropped real low that fuse #23 would blow. The recommendation if this happens is to replace the 20A fuse with a 25 Amp fuse. I plan to do that once I get the Dead Battery issue resolved.

The starter circuit had to be part of the installation of the new security system because one of the new features is that I can start the van remotely (a really nice feature, I've found, by the way).

My guess is that the Fuse #23 circuit is a bit weak and a slight extra draw either from cold weather or the auto-starter blows the circuit.

......Rocky
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Old 12-21-2016, 05:22 AM   #12
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Thanks to everyone who has responded. It is an interesting subject.

But here is a very pointed question:

Has anyone else replaced their Sprinter Chassis battery? If so, what did you replace it with?

At this point, I'm almost ready to attempt to remove the damn thing myself and go get a new OEM battery from our dealership. I'm pretty sure that if I get the AAA battery guy out here he won't have OEM Mercedes batteries. I've seen a couple of places that the OEM batteries are better than aftermarket batteries. I'm used to cars that the OEM parts just cost more, but are actually lower quality than the aftermarket parts.

Thanks again everyone.

.......Rocky
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Old 12-21-2016, 06:28 AM   #13
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the "memo" referenced could be a TSB- Technical Service Bulletin- these are akin to a soft recall, where the manufacturer will repair/replace or service IF the customer asks, but otherwise will just let it go.

this is where you ask if there are any open recalls or TSB's on your vehicle.

substituting a higher value fuse is not an unusual fix- given documentation.
a decision to do this without (meaning an individual tech decides to tin foil the fuse or exceed ratings) if not a good course of action
( BTW the .22 long rifle bullet will fit in the fuse holder of a '67 Ford Ranger)

so I'd ask for official sanction of this,
my 1995 Harley had similar where the main breaker was swapped from 50 amp to 60 amp..because the mounting location was in proximity to the exhaust and the heat made the breaker trip before reaching it's rated load.
I had the documentation for this change


2.) fuses- on a fuse which is overloaded, the fuse material will heat up, soften, sag and part...this takes some time so the device may work for a short while.

if there is a short- the fuse material will explode and spatter, there will be scorch marks inside the fuse. and this will happen as some as the switch is turned on, or as soon as the rubbed through wires contact on a bump kind of thing

knowing this helps figure out why a fuse "blew"


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Old 12-21-2016, 12:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok View Post
Thanks to everyone who has responded. It is an interesting subject.

But here is a very pointed question:

Has anyone else replaced their Sprinter Chassis battery? If so, what did you replace it with?

At this point, I'm almost ready to attempt to remove the damn thing myself and go get a new OEM battery from our dealership. I'm pretty sure that if I get the AAA battery guy out here he won't have OEM Mercedes batteries. I've seen a couple of places that the OEM batteries are better than aftermarket batteries. I'm used to cars that the OEM parts just cost more, but are actually lower quality than the aftermarket parts.

Thanks again everyone.

.......Rocky

Replacing the battery yourself is not difficult.

There are youtube video for DIY.

You need to follow the proper sequence to detach/attaching the two wires.


Have you bought a charger yet?
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Old 12-21-2016, 01:17 PM   #15
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Replace the 20a fuse with a 25a fuse and you just might the battery was never dead. I've been through that drill and if you search here you might find where I mentioned this here. As a matter of practice I carry spare fuses with a puller tool in my tool box. You can buy them at any auto store. The fuse is in the bank of fuses under the dash on the driver side. Replacing it is extremely simple. You can verify if it is the problem with a fuse tester on the pulled 20a fuse.

Also, do yourself a favor if the battery is dead. It is a Group 49 AGM battery. Go to MB and buy one and install it yourself. Forget the aftermarket for this battery. After market playing around is for house batteries, IMO.

Get yourself a battery charger. Charging is easy. You connect the red connector to the red positive connection under the hood (explained in owner's manual) and the black to the chassis. Set the charger to 12v charge and turn it on. You may not have to do this either after replacing the fuse.

I will say this. Trik-L-Start is the best thing you can have if in cold weather or long storage and plugged into shore power so your house battery can maintain your chassis battery. I started my MB diesel engine up at -22F Sunday morning immediately. I was impressed.
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Old 12-21-2016, 03:22 PM   #16
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Davydd:

Thanks for the information about your experiences in this area. Your comments resonate with the information I've gleaned so far. Using an OEM battery seems prudent.

According to the parts guy at our local MB shop, the electrical systems, computers, and batteries are pretty finely tuned to one another. Additionally he said that sometimes when the system detects a low battery it will shut off and give a warning light. So, there is a possibility of the battery still being good, as you say.

However: We did jump the vehicle and left it hooked up for 15 full minutes to see if the battery would crank the starter. Not enough to start the rig. According to the same parts guy, that would be an indication that the battery was shot (or something else was seriously wrong).

I may or may not try buying a charger and attempting to charge the battery. On one hand, having a charger would be good because occasionally the wife will run a battery down on one of our cars. On the other hand, it is the holidays and there are a lot of demands on our time so just getting the motorhome back in shape might be the best thing--one more thing off the plate so-to-speak.

BTW: Congrats on your new house. I've been following the progress on FBook and it looks like things are progressing splendidly. We've been trying to build another unit (a sprinter garage w/a MIL on top) on our property and it's been roadblocks all the way so we really haven't even started.)

........Rocky
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Old 12-21-2016, 04:04 PM   #17
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I permanently mounted a small smart charger on the van's battery and have it on a timer to keep it maintained & topped off. I think it cost less than $30 for both. It will increase the battery's life and less strain on the starter in cold weather by having maximum voltage to operate. Add a battery heat pad for even more efficiency when starting.
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Old 12-21-2016, 04:38 PM   #18
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If you have a Freightliner Sprinter dealer nearby check their price for the OEM battery, you may find they have lower prices for the same parts as the Mercedes dealer.
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:41 PM   #19
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Buy one on amazon, no core charge and delivered to your door.
https://www.amazon.com/ACDelco-49AGM...49+AGM+battery
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:13 AM   #20
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So we removed the battery from our Sprinter RV today and then went to our local MB dealership and bought a replacement battery. We brought it back home and installed it.

The new one went back in a lot faster and easier than the old one came out. We did get some advice from a tech at the dealership that really helped.

The van started right up and I drove it around for a bit and then it wouldn't start again. Checked fuse #23 and it was blown, so I replaced it with a 25 amper and it again started right up.

Drove home, turned it off, then did the auto start feature and it started up again.

So, it appears to be fixed for now.

We didn't try to re-use the old battery for a number of reasons. (1) It would have taken a day to recharge it in addition to the cost of the charger and the time to go get it. (2) We know the old battery had been abused. One repair shop had let it go completely dead. God only knows how well it was treated while at Great West and at the Dealership they bought it from. (3) We were told that if we took it in for service at the MB Dealership the first thing they would do is install a new battery. They said that any diagnostics start with that step.

However, I believe that Davydd might have been right that the old one might have held a new charge.

We were able to see first hand why many dealerships don't want to work on Sprinters that have been converted to motorhomes. There was a lot of stuff hooked up to the battery that made it much more difficult to change out the battery. It probably took twice as long to remove the battery than from a stock Sprinter. Well maybe not quit that much additional, but there was definitely more work involved than a stock Sprinter.

Thanks once again to everyone who has commented on this thread. It all helped us make our decisions.

...........Rocky
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