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Sprinter Repairs - Ouch!

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  • Sprinter Repairs - Ouch!

    I took my Sprinter in for repair because there is a short somewhere keeping it from starting up. Have had to jump it each time I want to start it. (Battery is brand new). They haven't determined the cause yet but they think it may have something to do with the radio drawing power. (Doubt that's it but I don't know what else to tell them to do to figure it out. Anyway... at the same time the acceleration had been dragging a bit so I had them diagnose what was causing it and they told me the EGR valve, Turbo and Turbo sensor are bad and they have to replace them. AT THE COST OF $3000! OMG! The parts alone are $1930 and labor plus diagnosis another $1000. I have got to find someplace to have this Sprinter repaired that is not going to cost me this kind of money every time I need something done! Can anyone give me some education about what this EGR valve, Turbo and Turbo sensor are and what is involved in replacing these items? Are these things something I can have someone other than the dealer replace? Can I order these parts on my own from somewhere and take them to someone to do the work for me? Anyone have any idea what might cause a short? Hubby and I disconnected wires one at a time to try to diagnose ourselves but couldnt figure it out.

  • #2
    Electrical problems are a pain. My husband's an electrician and car nut and he even dreads dealing with automotive wiring. (he's restoring a hot rod) The expensive from the parts is because they are all really mercedes and therefore parts are shipped from Germany and/or cost $$$ as you've found out. The turbo provides thrust when you press the accelator, hence it helps you speed up. I don't know much about the Sprinters turbos, but when we have a 300Z I know each one was about $1500 and a pain to put in. I'd leave anything like that to the pros. Do you have a warranty on your van? Our's have one and most of the time it covers our repairs. I know it covered a reconnect to a turbo, a sensor for a coolant system and a bearing in the steering.


    • #3
      What year is your Sprinter? The turbo resonator is a KNOWN problem and should fall under any warranty. Through 2006 models this was common and we had to have it replaced on ours as well.

      Did you take it to a Dodge dealership? Make sure they have a Sprinter "Specialist" on staff as well. I purchased a used Sprinter and my dealership sold me an extended warranty (I bought it from a private person) for $250 to fix the issues that would have been almost 2k.


      • #4
        omg! Have you taken it any place else for an estimate? Is this normal for Sprinter repairs? Ugh, so much for saving with the mpg they advertise. Hope you can find a lower estimate.


        • #5
          Sprinters are very expensive to have repaired. For one, I believe they have to buy the mercedes benz parts and for two, not a lot of places will work on them. I had looked at buying a sprinter to convert, but when I realized how much more the repairs would be vs a Ford I went with the Ford. I wish I had better news. I know near me there is a garage that advertises it is certified to work on the Dodge Sprinters. I'm no expert, just know what I have read from others here on the board. I know they are fabulous vans, use very little diesel, but when they need repair they sure are pricey.
          What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


          • #6
            We had a 1990 Ford Aerostar not start, couldn't figure it out, hubby couldn't figure it out. Took it to a mechanic & he couldn't figure it out. Hubby finally found the problem when everytime I tried to start it with hubby watching the engine the switch over the brake fluid started smoking. It was the pressure switch for the automatic braking system. Who would have even thought to look there.

            I always heard Sprinters were spendy to fix. Maybe have them check the braking system.

            The Soapy Puppy


            • #7
              HOld on just a second. If any of the turbo system or EGR valve is bad it would show up with a check engine light and throw a code. If that was not on they might be trying to take you to the cleaners.

              EGR is the Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve. Its part of the emissions system. It will definitely show a code if its bad.

              The turbo valve is most like the boost sensor that controls the turbo and how much boost is being driven into the cylinders.

              The turbo is the piece that is attached on the exhaust manifold. As engine exhaust gases are expelled from the cylinder they spin the turbo forcing compressed air into the engine cylinders to up the engines compression ratio and to give you that extra power boost you need to make that 6000 lb beast move down the road.

              As far as the engine not starting with out being jumped it sounds like a starter relay.


              • #8
                Is your sprinter a diesel? I don't know if all of them are. I know the EGR valve on, say my old pontiac, my husband could replace. I don't know about anything else. I had quite a few learning experiences with my diesel never owning one before. I had a bad glow plug and relay which made it hard for me to start. Then it wasn't starting and found my brand new batteries, one was defective. I have a Ford and know how expensive it has been for me, I could only imagine if I'd had all these problems with a Sprinter the cost. Of course, mine is also old enough to legally drink now! I'm assuming your Sprinter is passed it's warranty time. Everything always goes wrong after the warranty is up!
                What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


                • #9
                  I too had a problem with starting my new WGT van, and rare as it was, they found a bad cell in the battery. Then I had problems with my gate opener, once again, it was diagnosed with a bad cell in the battery. I guess, since batteries are now made "over seas" the chances of a bad cell is no longer a rarity.

                  Happy Purchasing China products

                  Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC


                  • #10
                    Repairing a Sprinter is very expensive. They charge $130 an hour for labor at my dealership. You might want to look into a Service Contract. Mine is 7 years/70,000 miles. I just had the heater fan replaced in my Sprinter. The repair was $1,000 but I only had to pay the $100 deductible. That's $900 I didn't have to pay. I did write a blog about this if you want to take a peek. I bought my Service Contract online. I am so glad I have it. Although you have to buy it, in the long run it can save you a ton of money.

                    Sorry to hear about the big bill. That is a stinker! As Gracy Rose said, you can look around for someone else to service your Sprinter but be careful. They should be certified. You don't want someone messing around in there if they don't know what they're doing.


                    • #11
                      Hubby checks in:

                      1. If you own a Sprinter, remember it is NOT a Dodge, and it is NOT a Freightliner. It is a Mercedes-Benz. The vans are assembled in Dusseldorf, Germany, then partially disassembled for shipment to the United States and reassembly in South Carolina. Why? Avoiding import duties. So you don't own a cheap Dodge. You own a Mercedes-Benz. You can even get the parts to put a Mercedes grill and badges on the van, and they will snap right in. Your maintenance budget should allow for imported parts and rare mechanics who are actually trained in working on your van.

                      2. Your mechanics are barking up the wrong tree. The EXACT same problem showed up in our Ford E-350. The dealership had it for a week, and their CERTIFIED diesel mechanic traced it to loose and corroded connections on the main battery cable. If your Sprinter was bought used like our Ford was, it is possible the previous owner spliced into the battery cable to install accessories. When the van was traded in, making sure the accessories that were removed properly by fixing those splices were probably not worth the time to the owner. He was trading it in, remember. Make it someone else's problem. Check the batteries (yes, there are two) all connections, and the cable itself for corrosion.

                      3. It sounds like your dealer does not have a clue. The EGR system will throw a code, but unless your turbocharger has completely failed, it should not require replacement. Once you get the van started, does it run normally? If it does, then your turbo is functioning correctly. If it doesn't generate enough power to get out of its own way and drives like there is an anchor attached, then the turbo has problems. It MAY need CLEANING, maybe, especially if the engine is used for A/C and water heating when you are grooming and the engine idles. In spite of what some converter companies will tell you, prolonged idling is NOT good for a diesel engine, and causes problems like coking and wet stacking, which build up carbon deposits that can affect things like your turbocharger.

                      If there is a known problem with the turbo resonator, it's a WARRANTY issue.
                      The EGR circuit can even be disconnected if the sensor goes bad. Our dealer disconnected ours (it surprised both of us when the service manager documented the disconnected EGR on the service order)

                      If the radio is drawing power, disconnect the radio fuses. There will be two. One is on the ignition circuit and is hot when the key is on or in accessory mode. The other is ALWAYS hot, and keeps the memory circuits alive in the radio when the ignition is off. If it is drawing so much power as to disable your batteries, it probably would have set the van on fire by now.

                      Sounds like you need someone with Sprinter experience instead of the three men that are working on your van now, Larry, Moe, and Curly.


                      I now return the post to my lovely wife Laura.

                      Hope this helps!

                      "With God's help, all things are possible!"
                      Laura Lee Ray
                      I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on


                      • #12
                        Do you have a warranty on your van? If you do, you have to go to the dealer that deals with the warranty. In our town, actually around our areas (central Il), there is only one dealer that has a mechanic who knows Sprinter. I had to replace all of the fuse injuctions not that long ago. It took him almost 4 weeks to fix the problem. It just died on me. I am not sure if it is going to be easy to find someone else besides the dealer to fix Sprinters. Mercedes mechanics do not work on Sprinters, you have to Dodge.


                        • #13
                          Here we go again!

                          This time it's the glow plugs. My preheater indicator lamp keeps going on. I have now had to take my van back to the Dodge dealership SEVEN (yes, I said 7) times to get this fixed. They replaced 2 of the 6 glow plugs (which they finally figured out after visit #5) and now they tell me glow plug number 3 has to be replaced. I told them at visit #1 that glow plug(s) needed to be replaced. This is all in the course of about 6 weeks total. I'm so fed up with the runaround that this Dodge dealership is giving me but there isn't another dealership in my area. The next closest is an hour away and since I have a warranty specifically from Chrysler I have no choice but to use a Dodge/Chrsyler dealership. Why can't these people figure out the issues in the first visit? I even knew what the problem was but they insist they must do a full diagnosis each and every time and it's always a wrong diagnosis costing me a fortune. They have even made me fix things in the past that have not even caused the initial problem to begin with. They have one Sprinter tech that works on every Sprinter that comes in. Today the tech shows me a glow plug and tells me that these Sprinters just keep having all kinds of problems with them and that "Mercedes builders are not as smart as they think they are". You can just imagine what I was thinking when he said that. To make a long story shorter, I am going back tomorrow for visit#8 to get this glow plug switched out again. Why do these things keep blowing out so quickly? Does it possibly have something to do with idling? I bet the dealership is going to try to tell me it has something to do with my conversion and that they won't cover it under my warranty. I think it's time to call Mercedes or maybe even the big Dodge dealership in the sky. What do you think?


                          • #14
                            So today I got the answer to my glow plug problem from a gentlemen that used to run one of the largest Mercedes dealership's maintenance departments in the city. P.M. me if you would like to know the answer. I dont want to post it because i dont want my dealership reading this post & telling me they will not cover my glow plug repairs. :P


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LaunderDog View Post
                              I am going back tomorrow for visit#8 to get this glow plug switched out again. Why do these things keep blowing out so quickly?
                              When you start your Sprinter van, do you turn the key to the on position so that the dashboard eluminates the "coil" light and then wait for that coil light to go out before turning the key to turn on the engine. If you don't on a regular basis you could be burning out the glow plugs.