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Continuous DEF Problems with Sprinters

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

  1. RatDog

    RatDog Rookie Expediter

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    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.
     
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  2. xiggi

    xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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    I have not had the problem but know several people who do.
     
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    • bikerpaul

      bikerpaul Expert Expediter

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      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.
       
    • xiggi

      xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      They are good vehicles overall that's why many have owned more than one. It is nice to have choices now
       
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    • DollarSign
      Wisdomatic

      DollarSign Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      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
       
    • Treadmill
      Caffeine Fix

      Treadmill Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      I've always used the def in the back and no problems at all and I have over 251,000 on my 2012.
       
    • Moot
      Confused

      Moot Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      Or the waitress.
       
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    • greasytshirt
      Dr Pepper Addict

      greasytshirt Moderator Staff Member Mechanic

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      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.
       
    • golfournut

      golfournut Veteran Expediter

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      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.
       
    • skyraider

      skyraider Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter US Navy

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      I have never had a problem,,but then again, I dont own one..
       
    • OntarioVanMan
      Thinking

      OntarioVanMan Retired Expediter Owner/Operator

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      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:
       
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    • FlyingVan
      Barefooter

      FlyingVan Moderator Staff Member Owner/Operator

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      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.
       
    • coalminer

      coalminer Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      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.
       
    • xiggi

      xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      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.
       
    • coalminer

      coalminer Veteran Expediter Retired Expediter

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      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.
       
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    • xiggi

      xiggi Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      It is more than coincidence, Mercedes has an issue with the Def system they haven't figured out. Ask any sprinter mechanic.
       
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    • golfournut

      golfournut Veteran Expediter

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      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
    • RatDog

      RatDog Rookie Expediter

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      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.
       
    • geo
      Bashful

      geo Veteran Expediter Charter Member Owner/Operator US Navy

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      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
       
    • fenderbender

      fenderbender Rookie Expediter

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      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.
       
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