This article is my personal opinion, based upon my experiences with Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans. Please understand that these vehicles are used in a commercial trucking application with annual average mileages exceeding 100, 000 miles, and that I am not an automotive or diesel expert. The majority, but not all of the problems occurring with these vehicles occurred after the initial 100, 000 miles. It is my belief that the problems I have experienced, will occur with a vast majority of every Sprinter as the mileage of each vehicle approaches 120, 000 miles. Only 3 vehicles have reached 150, 000 miles without serious charges for maintenance.to the EGR-DEF- exhaust system.
Over the past 7 years I have owned a total of 47 Sprinters. I own an expedited trucking company and keep detailed maintenance and repair records on every vehicle. These records are available to Mercedes Benz if desired. This article is being written to warn potential buyers of this vehicle of the fatal flaw hidden in each of these vehicles.
Prior to 2008, when the United States Government mandated diesel exhaust regulations, the Sprinter, manufactured by Mercedes Benz and sold as a Dodge was a real workhorse. These vehicles performed admirably, providing us with lifetime expected mileages of 500, 000 and more. The cost for maintaining these vehicles while slightly higher than their American made counterparts made up for these differences with their reliability and long term service.
Since 2008 Mercedes Benz developed an extremely complex and expensive exhaust system to comply with our government regulations. Prior to entering the exhaust system the fumes from the engine pass through an EGR valve. The exhaust system is comprised of a CDI (control unit) which monitors and actuates the sensors and valves in the exhaust system; a DEF pump. A DEF tank, a DEF temp sensor, a DEF level sensor and an SCR control unit with actuators and sensors. These items a located under the hood. The actual exhaust system has three major components; the OXI-Cat and DPF section and two SCR Cat sections. The OXI-Cat section has an oxygen sensor an exhaust temperature sensor and a backpressure sensor. There is a N0x sensor and a dosing valve between the OXI-Cat section and the first SCR Cat section. In the first SCR Cat section there is another temperature sensor, and the last SCR section has one more N0x sensor. Once the exhausted fumes and particles have passed through this area they are passed through a particulate filter.