Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

Continuous DEF Problems with Sprinters

Discussion in 'Truck Talk' started by RatDog, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. RatDog

    RatDog Rookie Expediter

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    I have 3 2013 Sprinter 2500s. Each of them have been the shop multiple times for the same problems. Chk Eng/Chk DEF/10 Starts Remaining. Mercedes and Freightliner can not seem to solve the problems. They just throw parts at the problem and send you on your merry way, only to have the same problem occur a day/week/month later.

    I'm curious how many owners are having the same problems and if anyone has found a satisfactory solution?

    Most of the time the parts replaced are (in order) NOX Sensors, Upstream Temp Sensor, DEF Dosing Valve, SCR (catalytic converter) and an occasional EGR Valve. Of course, all of these problems start AFTER the emissions warranty has expired.

    I'm giving some thought to a class-action suit, but need to gather a lot of information from as many owners as I can before I could consider moving forward with it.

    I would appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. Post a reply or send me a PM. I would be happy to talk with anyone who is experiencing the same problems.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. xiggi

    xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    8,645
    Trophy Points:
    605
    Ratings:
    +4,932 / 4 / -1
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    I have not had the problem but know several people who do.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. bikerpaul

    bikerpaul Expert Expediter

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    85
    Ratings:
    +6 / 0 / -0
    If I got back into expediting, the last vehicle I would get would be a Sprinter. After so many O/Os post numerous problems with them, I can't image why anybody would waste their hard earned money on them.
     
  4. xiggi

    xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    8,645
    Trophy Points:
    605
    Ratings:
    +4,932 / 4 / -1
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    They are good vehicles overall that's why many have owned more than one. It is nice to have choices now
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. DollarSign
    Wisdomatic

    DollarSign Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,825
    Trophy Points:
    280
    Ratings:
    +1,747 / 4 / -0
    Carrier:
    Load One
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    Ive got a 2012 and have had no problems with mine. Now I dont know if its me or what but im feeling the take off is a bit sluggish. I change the fuel filter every 10k. Someone told me this about the DEF. Do not feel up your DEF up at the truck stop around back. Ive been doing that. Was told that you have to use the Peak Blue DEF. Its a higher grade and the stuff out of the pumps is a cheap lower grade and will clog up the system. Anyone knows about that please comment on that
     
  6. Treadmill
    Caffeine Fix

    Treadmill Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,960
    Trophy Points:
    430
    Ratings:
    +2,711 / 5 / -1
    Carrier:
    Load One
    Vehicle:
    2012 Sprinter
    I've always used the def in the back and no problems at all and I have over 251,000 on my 2012.
     
  7. Moot
    Confused

    Moot Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    10,181
    Trophy Points:
    1,005
    Ratings:
    +6,094 / 2 / -0
    Carrier:
    Panther
    Vehicle:
    Transit 350 Long/Tall Ecoblast
    Or the waitress.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. greasytshirt
    Dr Pepper Addict

    greasytshirt Moderator Staff Member Mechanic

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,996
    Trophy Points:
    200
    Ratings:
    +700 / 0 / -0
    The thing about DEF is that it degrades quickly if it's stored in a warm environment. The big containers might take a while to get emptied, so if it sits out in the sunlight for a month it's not really advisable to use. Better to buy it in small quantities and not let it hang around for very long.

    The other thing about getting it at a dispenser is the lack of cleanliness. Dust and crap collect on the nozzle, and it ends up in your vehicle. Fine silt makes it through the filter, and ends up inside the dosing unit or the injector itself. The injectors can withstand high temps, but that's about it. They cannot tolerate contaminants.

    Finally, if NOx sensor performance codes show up, it's better to replace them both. The outlet sensor's results are part of a calculation including input from the inlet sensor. If the inlet sensor is skewed, it'll foul up the ultimate results, making the outlet sensor look bad. The two work as a pair, and should be replaced as a pair, except for cases where one sensor completely bricks.
     
  9. golfournut

    golfournut Veteran Expediter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1,825
    Trophy Points:
    140
    Ratings:
    +204 / 0 / -0
    I haven't had any problems with the DEF system yet on a 2011.
    I ran in some heavy rain in the spring on my way to Thibodeaux LA. When I got there, it was flooded there. Delivered and went to Lake Charles to pick up heading to PA. Rain the whole time. I stopped at the Petro near Vance Al. for some breakfast. Came out started it up and check engine light came on but was not in limp mode. Went to the Mercedes dealer in Hoover AL. Turns out the front Nox sensor wasn't reading. Replaced both. $1400. According to the tech the plug to the wiring harness is water resistant, not water proof. Driving in the high water is probably what did it.
    He also said DEF fluid has a shelf life. I always bought the 2.5 gallon jugs at pilot or J. I did buy the last one at Walmart. He said probably about 6 months is the life. Next time I buy some I'll check the box for an expiration date or use by date.
     
  10. skyraider

    skyraider Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter US Navy

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Messages:
    6,687
    Trophy Points:
    355
    Ratings:
    +1,279 / 3 / -0
    I have never had a problem,,but then again, I dont own one..
     
  11. OntarioVanMan
    Thinking

    OntarioVanMan Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Messages:
    45,090
    Trophy Points:
    1,205
    Ratings:
    +30,419 / 25 / -2
    Carrier:
    Crossroads..now retired
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    One breakdown while under load in the 10 years of this life van 891,000 miles and it did not even result in a load service failure....problems? what problems?....:cool:
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. FlyingVan
    Barefooter

    FlyingVan Moderator Staff Member Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,406
    Trophy Points:
    280
    Ratings:
    +1,456 / 8 / -0
    Carrier:
    Load One
    Vehicle:
    Straight Truck
    Same here, but mine is a lot younger, only 645,000 miles. It was my mistake though, because 40k miles prior I replaced the belt tensioner with an aftermarket one that just locked up . I did not have a spare with me (first tensioner lasted about 300k, so I did not think I would need one that soon), so I had to give up the load. It only took me about 20 min to replace it in a parking lot the next day.

    My conclusion, it is not worth it in the long run to save a few bucks on aftermarket parts, especially these critical components like belt tensioners and water pumps.
     
  13. coalminer

    coalminer Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    801
    Trophy Points:
    140
    Ratings:
    +392 / 1 / -0
    Carrier:
    C & M Transport
    Vehicle:
    2010 Chevy 2500 2005 Hino 268
    I would start with the drivers and anyone who would have any reason to be under the hood, to have the same problems with all 3 sounds like someone is pouring something other that def in the def tank. It may or may not be intentional but it sounds like its costing you alot of money and downtime.
     
  14. xiggi

    xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    8,645
    Trophy Points:
    605
    Ratings:
    +4,932 / 4 / -1
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    It has nothing to do with putting the wrong thing in the Def tank. It's a problem for a number of people even single owners driving their own sprinter.
     
  15. coalminer

    coalminer Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    801
    Trophy Points:
    140
    Ratings:
    +392 / 1 / -0
    Carrier:
    C & M Transport
    Vehicle:
    2010 Chevy 2500 2005 Hino 268
    3 identical sprinters having the same issue? I think that is more than just coincidence.

    The company I used to work for rented a diesel truck from penske that had a def tank, when they picked it up, they told the driver that was just another fuel tank, thankfully the driver didnt put diesel in it as he didnt know what it was until I said something.
     
    • Bummer Bummer x 1
  16. xiggi

    xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    8,645
    Trophy Points:
    605
    Ratings:
    +4,932 / 4 / -1
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    It is more than coincidence, Mercedes has an issue with the Def system they haven't figured out. Ask any sprinter mechanic.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. golfournut

    golfournut Veteran Expediter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1,825
    Trophy Points:
    140
    Ratings:
    +204 / 0 / -0
    Could be a software issue also. There was an update about 3 or 4 months (maybe a little more) after I bought my 2011.
    It had to do with the EGR valve and DEF consumption rate.
    Before the update, I was getting about 7500 to 8200 miles per tank of DEF. Now I get close to 12000 miles. I never let it get low enough for the light to come on except 1 time. I add 2.5 gallons at about 6 to 7000 miles.
    I have never idled mine except when stuck in traffic. Even then if it isn't moving I shut it down. The manual says start it up and go, don't warm it up. That's what I do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  18. RatDog

    RatDog Rookie Expediter

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    xiggi is correct. These vans are never in the same location. They are expediters and go all over the lower 48. There isn't 1 person or group of persons who would have the type of access to contaminate the DEF system.
     
  19. geo
    Bashful

    geo Veteran Expediter Charter Member Owner/Operator US Navy

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 1999
    Messages:
    2,468
    Trophy Points:
    240
    Ratings:
    +665 / 3 / -1
    Carrier:
    ceva retired
    Vehicle:
    Sprinter
    adblu i only use mb brand and pick it up at tysingers in hampton va
    use bottle you screw down on tank and when it is full stops taking it
    and it is right spec for sprinter
     
  20. fenderbender

    fenderbender Rookie Expediter

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    Messages:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    20
    Ratings:
    +14 / 0 / -0
    I have a 2013 with 155K that I bought new. It is currently in the shop for the 4th time for the dreaded countdown mode. My dealer has a yard full of them with the same issue. They don't know how to fix them. They just clear the codes. Although, the dealer in Buffalo put in a new upstream temp and noX sensor. $1500. 500 miles later, same problem. I had a 2004 before this one. I got rid of it at 500K. I'm wishing now that i'd put a new motor and tans. in it, or bought a PM or Transit. I think I'm going to have to cut my losses on this one before it breaks me. I've been reading that PM diesel owners are having similar issues so, I will most likely buy a gasser. It's a shame.
     
Loading...

Share This Page