There are a number of Sprinter Van common problems The Sprinter Van is renowned globally as one of the most versatile and prolific modern vans. With varied uses from delivery vans, cargo and work vans, to full RV conversions, the Sprinter Van is the 9th best-selling van in the world. Now in its third generation, the Sprinter Van continues in its popularity. Known to last well over 200,000 miles, 300,000+ for some diesel models, as well as for having a few common problems. Some of these Sprinter Van issues are exclusive to the diesel models, while others are universal.
Injector Issue AKA “Black Death”
The copper injector seal in the cylinder head can deteriorate thus allowing gasses from the engine to escape. These gasses leave a black tar like substance to eventually build up on the injectors. Incorrectly installed seals or not replacing these seals when servicing the injectors are the leading causes of this issue. If left unchecked, the “black death” can lead to very costly repair bills.
Glow Plug and Module Failure
Glow plugs are normal wear parts in a diesel engine and will eventually need replacing. If you are in a cold climate you will feel the effect right away. Sometimes the old plug can break in the cylinder head, requiring use of specialized tools.
Exhaust Flex Pipe Leaks
Exhaust flex pipe leaks are a fairly common issue for Sprinter Vans. Leaking, extremely hot exhaust gasses can wreak havoc on any heat sensitive parts in the gasses path. Depending on the location of the leak it can be very hard to spot until the pipe eventually breaks completely.
DEF Heater Failure
The DEF Heater keeps the Diesel Emission Fluid from freezing. This can lead to the “No Start Countdown” issue even if you are in a warm climate year round.
Part of the emissions and soot control systems on diesel Sprinter Vans, the Diesel Particulate Filter will eventually need to be replaced. The ECU will increase the temp of the DPF to over 1200 degrees in order to burn off build up in the filter. The ECU runs this procedure during longer stints at freeway speeds. This issue is often seen in local delivery vans from not engaging the burn off mode and also from using the wrong oil.
Oil Cooler Leaks
The oil cooler gasket is know to fail on V6 engine models. Notoriously difficult to reach, this is an example of an inexpensive part with a comparatively expensive labor charge.
Reduced Power / Limp Home Mode
Limp home mode is a safety feature to protect your Sprinter Van from experiencing further damage. Many of the issues here will lead to activating limp home mode.
No Start Countdown
This is an issue exclusive to diesel model Sprinter Vans. Most often caused by the NOX oxygen sensor or DEF system failures. When the countdown reaches “0” the Sprinter Van will basically be undriveable. It is of the utmost importance to get to a service center before reaching “0” to save on preventable repair bills.
Intercooler Hose Leaks
As with all hoses, eventually the flexible material of the hose can breakdown and fail. Intercooler hose leaks will eventually activate limp home mode. The hoses often fail at the metallic fitting and can be caught during routine inspections from a technician that knows what to look for.
Torque Converter Noises
The Torque Converter can start making a sound that resembles driving on a rumble strip. This is often caused by using the wrong transmission fluid as well as low fluid levels. Routine maintenance and inspections can help reduce the chances of this common Sprinter Van issue.
This issue is mostly found in the first generation of the Sprinter Van. Often mistakenly referred to as a turbo oil leak, it is actually an air leak that can eventually activate limp home mode. This is a simple fix that can easily be avoided by routine maintenance of your Sprinter Van.
At European Import Service, our certified technicians have the training and tools to be able to diagnose these issues before the can spiral into very costly and avoidable repair bills. We offer special fleet pricing as well for delivery and work fleets. Give us a call or schedule an appointment to see how we can be your Sprinter Van service partners today.