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Dodge Sprinter



  • Hi All,
    I read the last 5 pages of this forum, seems like a good group. My wife and I are preparing to purchase a Sprinter, probably new, from a dealer. We live in SoCal and my little beat up '86 Toyota pickup, though fine for a commuter to work, needs to go.
    We've decided on a 118" standard height: my wife's an artist and some of the canvases she buys/paints/sells are too big to haul in her car. As a hobby I restore vintage European scooters- some have ended up in museums or at shows, and we don't want to buy an enclosed truck can't handle the GW and neither can her TDI Jetta. Also, I'm in the military, and the less crap I have to haul around the country the better!!
    So: anyone have any suggestions about the purchase process? Frahm Dodge has about 50 Sprinters, and it's about 100 miles North of us (we're in San Diego). I'd like to take advantage of the '07 arrivals- nothing like floorplan pressures to get a dealer to drop prices a little on last year's vehicles. We'll buy before the end of the year.

  • nescosmonescosmo Posts: 453
    Trashboy.... make sure that if you park the van in your house you do not have any restriction on the height and the wheels. find out first before you invest in to a white elephant. If you get it for about 26 or 27 with speed control and power window etc is a good price; if is higher then wait for the 07..... wish you the best.
    PS. 07 will come in gasoline version too.

  • nescosmonescosmo Posts: 453
    KenB..... what a difference a van makes my at 9 1/2 is right on the money. When i first put the oil is at 1/2 mark and when i drive it to normal temp is at full mark.

    Ken have you have any experience with the new ULSD fuel, my van seems to work fine with the trash LSD that the US sell and some give me better mileage than others. I use power service diesel Kleen as additive and truck run very smooth also i use chevron delo 400 15w-40 oil dino with very good results. What do you use and how is your van perform, sometimes on my i hear a knocking, service manager said is normal. I will like to know were i can buy a dip stick for my tranny i will like to know where my oil is, let me know if you know were to buy one. Thanks.......

  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    I thought you knew me better...

    Oklahoma does not yet have ULSD, but we are getting the new '07 diesels from other truck and car lines (no Sprinters obviously). Our "trash LSD", as you call it, is OK from high-volume fuel stations, we avoid suspected low-volume locations. Being an area (OKLA.) that has lots of farm and oil-field activity, even the small towns have some pretty hih-volume dealers of diesel fuel.

    My dad and I have both been using Power Service Diesel additive (white bottle/red lettering). His Ford 7+ liter diesel is getting 19+ MPG and runs better on the P.S. My Sprinter (@19,000 miles) still gets 20 MPG all of the time, in or out of town. I discovered the Power Service web site and discovered that we should be using the P.S. Silver bottle (Diesel Kleen (Sp?)) because it has higher cetane boost and we don't need the anti-gelling until later in the fall.

    I used the recommended Mobil 1 full synthetic 0W-40 meeting the MB 229.51 (exceeds 228.5 required for 2004 US Sprinter). It was exactly 1 quart low with 9 quarts (up to temp) after running to fill the filter that was changed of course. After the other quart was added, the level is full (SLIGHTLY down when cold, nowhere near 1/2 quart low reading). Hot, drained down, wiped off, inserted and left for 5 seconds, and then removed carefully... the level is full... never over. 0W-40 has the wide heat/cold range that will work in Oklahoma year round. I have not been able yet to find the downside to this oil that you expect, and a diesel engine oil is specifically NOT required by MB or DC.

    I frankly cannot fathom an engine that would show 1/2 quart low until hot and then show full. To my mind, I would think that the engine would have to have an expansion capsule (like an altitude or temp. compensation bellows) in the pan to achieve such a huge volume change.

    Van performance is good, great in traffic, loaded is slightly slower, running both A/C units is the biggest drain on power of all. Have not pulled trailer yet. Runs very smooth, not very much on the rattles diesel can be prone to.

    Lookup the big Dodge dealer near Houston I think (Berry Dodge is the name), they sell the (Miller) dipstick service tool and the new clips to re-seal the transmission dip tube when you are finished checking (sometimes the parts are on Ebay). No one has yet admitted to selling a dipstick that you can leave in place.

    Thinking of changing to AMSOIL certified to highest level of MB and european oil standards (including the C4+) as well as very low wear and boil-off much lower than most.
    Also, the price is the same or less than Mobil-1. The AMSOIL will probably be 5-30 or 10-40, either is good for all but the very lowest temps I have ever seen growing up here in OK. The winters are warmer than when I was a kid.

    KenB :shades:
  • punter1punter1 Posts: 50
    You might be happier with the 2007.
    Some reasons are: 3 liter V6 cdi with more power but not more fuel consumption ; keyless entry and slide ; electric sunroof ; Nav System ; Adaptive ESP ; The new one is being reviewed very favorably compared to the old one. Do not buy one until you can compare , which will be about 2 or 3 months.
  • nescosmo,
    wow, I never thought about parking restrictions! I would be parking it on the street, like you stated. All the prices they have listed are $31K to $32K for the 118". I read that invoice is about $27.4K, so I need to get them down....

  • Hmmmm, sounds nicer. I'm also on a budget though, and would rather pay $27-28K than sticker for a new one. I'll probably wait around to see the new ones anyway.

  • nescosmonescosmo Posts: 453
    KenB.... Thanks for the info. Here in florida 15w-40 year round is the perfect oil for the van and is a c+4 oil; my oil only turn black at around 5k, before that is golden brown. the oil level perhaps you think that i am exaggerating but with the 9 1/2 quart that i put it does that. I have a Jeep Liberty diesel and i use Rotella synthetic 5w-40 and it work very good. price is low in the 4 gal container. You could consider that.
  • I read all this in August and bought my new 2500/140 inch hitop . It has 4200 miles now.

    The problem is finding a dealer with inventory that has the desirable options. There is a bewildering array of standard stuff and options. There are dealer codes that for me became quite confusing.

    I visited 2 dealers and learned the codes then I faxed my specs in dealer lingo to 5 dealers. It then became a matter of trade off to select the nearest to what I wanted.

    It ended up that the dealer with closest to what I wanted had a behind the seat partition that I didn't need. He kicked it in for free so I could take it out. He also had the best price but that was because hed didn't include some stuff the others did.

    I bought it over the phone, sight unseen with all the paper work including the financing and out of state registration via snail mail.

    I am pretty well pleased. At 70 mph on constant interstate cruise I get 22-23 mpg.... never less than 22.

    I couldn't get the windshield washer to work and assumed it was so sophisticated (mercedes ya know) I was not up to the task. I finally declared it defective. I took it to the selling dealer 100 miles away and learned he couldn't fix it..... no multifunction switch in stock. I took it back yesterday to learn that the new switch didn't fix the problem and the "sprinter technicnan" wasn't there and he was the only one really qualified to get into what must be a wiring problem.

    I drive a lot and find that I'm not nearly as tired after 200 miles as with my Acura Integra. The driver compartment space is awesome.
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    Why Delo in one diesel and Rotella in the other?

    Not sure whether you would exagerate or not... but you have to admit that 1/2 quart swing cold/hot in a motor is a lot of SWING.

    I just thought of one possible quirk on my oil change... if the Mobil 1 bottles were short by just 5%, the diffence in 10 quarts would be 1/2 quart... could the bottles be short?

    KenB :shades:
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    any luck with fixing? turbo, air sensor, or other trouble codes? tire size troubles? Any update would be appreciated.

    KenB :confuse:
  • bjd494bjd494 Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 140 Sprinter, where can I find the the European chassis number as built by Mercedes. I have a friend in Europe who will provide parts but he can't help with the Dodge VIN number. Thanks.
  • Thanks for all the epinion on this, I really appreciate your being direct. Is there any easy way to determine which Dodge dealers actually sell Sprinters? Going through the Dodge website it is not readily apparent. I agree about the options packages, yeesh! I spoke with a sales guy at Frahm Dodge in Norco, CA. He only sells Sprinters and orders the ones he has on the lot with a pre-set bunch of options, most of which seem reasonable (they are available to view on their website, nice). I actually like that partition option too- do you think it cuts down on road noise a bit?
  • nescosmonescosmo Posts: 453
    Kenb.... On the manual of the Sprinter is pemissible to use dino 15w-40 and it run better with it. On the CRD(liberty) only they recommend syn; I use 5w-40 because is as the 15w-40 rated at C+4. The 0w-40 is not.
  • bhmetbhmet Posts: 8
    I scheduled a dealer service, one - there is only one in the orange county of southern calif. that works on the sprinter and one in the far north of Los Angeles (Lancaster)- where we bought it. Two - about two days before the appointment, the check engine light went out and it started running like new - Go figure! I have a independent big rig shop do all the scheduled maintenance. If any other troubles develop I'll post them.

    bhmet. :confuse:
  • when that happened to me it was the seal on the intercooler that failed. take it out and run it hard on the highway and see if it slows down on you. if it dose it is the seal on intercooler where it comes off the turbo. it is a plastic piece that starts leaking. it would go good for a few miles then slow to about 60 mph. after shuting it down it would be good after restart. could not notice it to much in town. it took me 3 days before they could look at it and on the way to the dealer it broke apart so i was in limp mode to the dealer. my engine light came on the first day and when i started the next morning it was out and did not come on again.
  • Regarding dealers, I know a plumber who bought 5 sprinters. He was my paper boy years ago and his son was in my Scout Troop for several years. I trust his opinion. He knew all the dealers, strengths and weaknesses. There are 3 within a hundred mile radius.

    I found several dealers on the internet and knew of 2 and he recommended another. I sent faxes to those he mentioned an one fairly near on the internet.

    They all provided prices and I was able to speak with the best three. I visited 2 of the 3 during the process and actually saw and drove a Sprinter. I was not too hung up on pricing as it was similar and a few hundred was not going to break the deal. It finally boiled down to dealing with the man that had a Sprinter nearest to my specifications.

    Regarding the partition, It turns out to be good. It has a window fully across the width and provides good visibility on the blind side through the sliding door window. The main feature is temperature. It cools down very quick and ditto heat. I had always considered a partition but wanted one with a sliding panel. I had visions of adding standard partition and replacing the door with a plexiglas sliding panel. I don'r think I am going to that trouble now hoewver.

    Interesting factoid..... a van is fully depreciable if among other things it has a partition. There are several criteria to depreciate beyond $25k and a partition is one. That is the whole $35k is depreciable.

    For the general record.....

    My Sprinter is a little over 2 months old and passed 5,000 miles yesterday. It has used no oil. I checked the computer and it shows 6,800 miles to oil change. I drive on cruise at 65 0r 70 mph 98% of the time on the interstate. The last tank got 23 mpg.
  • Hi everyone, only shows the 2006 sprinter. Here is a link to what I believe is the 2007 but does anyone know if dealerships already have these in. I figure people would have made a big deal about the 07s coming out but maybe not.
    Any thoughts?
    "> cedes_Benz_Spinter.html
  • Hey steve If you look at the photos of the new van the antenna comes out lower on the front of the van just above the windshield
  • Thanks quickdropmarc. To me the picture on the website in the bwillis2006 post looks like a tall Sprinter. I took another look at the German brochure for the 2007 Sprinter and right on the cover is what looks like a standard height Sprinter, and the antenna looks like it extends well above the roof line. I guess I'll just have to wait and see when they're available in the US.

    My local Sprinter dealer said back in May that I could order a 2007 Sprinter in September. Well, September has come and gone. Not holding my breath ...
  • I was driving up the Sierras to do some work yesterday, and I had a noticable drop in power and when the van was stopped and idling (700-800 rpm), the vibration from the engine caused the whole van to shake; like a poorly tuned gas engine that's "loping". No warning lights came on, though. It didn't go into limp-mode, as I was able to drive over 60mph when needed, it just didn't have the power that it had before. After parking it for a few hours while I worked, it ran just fine all the way home (200 miles). I noticed in the previous week that the motor noise seemed louder when I started it in the morning, and it was idling. I'll take it to the dealer for a checkup tomorrow, and get the tire valves replaced, and the fog lights/headlight levelers fixed (no power to switches). Anyone else have this problem with the power loss? I checked the turbo intake for cracks....

    2003 140SHC 2500, 27,000.
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    I would have to guess that a sensor/computer interface is experience-based and dials itsself into your normal driving conditions and driving habits (including shift points, key engine parameters, normal levels of temperature, etc.).

    When you go up into the mountains, these key data points are no longer valid and the system may have to re-learn some of what it knows, especially at the extremes of operation (idle and full power, for example).

    Some problems with MAS sensors are common in some 2002/2003 models. Mass Air Sensors are sensitive to the volume of air flowing into the engine differently for changes in altitude due to the changes in barometric pressure (air density). Some hot wires in the sensor are cooled by the air flowing over them and the change is calculated.

    More air, colder air, higher density air: they all cause a bigger change. Less air, warmer air and less density all cause less of a change in the heat (resistance) of the wires. The temperature sensor on the intake side helps the computer to reduce the air temperature's effect on the MAS sensor calculations, so this sensor is also critical.

    The engine computers in place until very recently almost always assume that mid-band RPM and power levels are OK and adjust very little in that range. At full power and at idle, the conventional engine computer had a more vital role in the control of the engine. This was the big claim to fame of some of the "tuners" and "tuning chips". The more complex chips could maintain computer control throughout the power band. All chips should now have enough on-board intelligence and memory/mapping to cover all the range of engine RPM/power/etc.

    The range limits continue to be those areas that challenge the computer the most (very few RPMs= fewer data points for engine timing info to work with; higher RPMs = more data points, but also rapidly changing temps and pressures to work with).

    I have had two Astro/Safari vans, and each one would periodically just forget how to idle or run... restart the system a few minutes later (same temp/conditions) and the darned things continued to run great for YEARS with out any failure. In fact, I never have had a major failure from either of them beyond 100K miles (but not far past :P ).

    When you take it in, make sure they allow for a diagnostic download of these symptoms you've been having... It may cost since your's is a 2003... If you are still in waranty, it should not cost to have the codes checked.

  • Looking for a work van (140 high top) and based on a recommendation here I was hoping to find a 2004 or later. The weeks run on though and I see an '02 with only 60k miles.
    So, question is if the sensor, doors refusing to lock, etc. issues with early vans now have appropriate fixes available or if I should really avoid an early van.

  • I've put 6000 miles on my 2006, 2500 140 high top and my only beef with it is the heat control. Its got a grand 270 degrees of movement but in 1/8th of an inch it goes from cold to quite hot.
    Personal use vehicle converted to RV and I'm trilled to get 28+ mph. I put the propane where the spare tire had rested and gave it the available fitted rack. I don't like that I disabled a very well designed system and will redue that next year.
    As a point for people who have not had the link between engine and turbo breakdown could posters give a little bit more info to validate their problem so that we might become a 'class' to deal with DC rarther than as individuals.
    thanks , paul
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I noticed that with my heat control, too. I thought something was broken, but when Iturned it all the way down, and gradually turned it up, I found the happy medium.

    2003 140 SHC 2500
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    My Peeve for Sprinter cabin comfort is certainly the air control system over-all. In the past, european cars were not particularly well known for heat/air comfort. I have been in Volvo station wagon that made huge fan sounds and could not even ripple your hair staring straight into the vents...

    back to the Sprinter.

    Turning on the windshield or foot air flow, or both, does nothing else to the flow... You have to close off all of the "vents" in order to push the air up, down, or both with any meaningful force/volume.

    The two vents over the radio are always COLD (or outside) air if the outside air is open, they do not get air through the heater core. Of course the outside air keeps coming on again and again after stopping/resuming short trips, or running down the road more than about 30 minutes. the latter is bad for my wife's type of asthma if we are in traffic (like a trip to Dallas/FortWorth).

    I, too, originally noticed that the air from the vents always seemed to go straight from cold to HOT... except sometimes it could be modulated a bit. So, it occurred to me to let the two vents over the radio mix with the air from the HOT vents. This turns out to be part of the PROBLEM.

    If you close the vents over the radio, then ALL of the cooler air flows over the heater core, and the adjustment knob for temp is MORE effective, especially with cold (outside or A/C cooled) make-up air.

    Certainly you get better de-fogging of the windows with COLD/dry outside air which loses even more relative humidity percentage-wise when warmed, and/or with A/C cooled and de-humidified air. Keeping warm moist breath moving out (positive cabin air flow, from outside up front to out the rear cabin vents) is also very helpful.

    To conclude, I find that you should just barely turn on the heat to start with unless it is very COLD/foggy and you have to heat up quickly to warm up or to clear windows. If you ever turn the heat know on full at any temp over about 40, it will take a long time to get the heat back under control (heat lag is HUGE). Just cracking the heat on is enough until below 40 when the engine is hot.

    So, it seems the Mercedes engineers can still learn some tricks from their new partners in the US from Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep. Americans are certainly used to better heat/air controls in their vehicles.

    KenB :shades:
  • Thanks again and sorry for the delay- I'm a pilot in the Navy and just got back from a trip to the desert. Saw LOTS of vans everywhere we stopped, Ford, Opel, Seat, Fiat, and of course, MB....dang, I wish they'd import the 6 speed version.

    I can only find 1 dealer within a 100 mile radius of San Diego- that's what I get for living with a nat'l border directly to the South. As I expected, prices are getting more flexible as we approach the end of the year. I also agree with your opinion about a few hundred bucks: not as important as paying for the options I want. I will be looking for that partition, you talked me into it.

    As for the tax implications: before we even started down this road I contacted my tax consultant about a Sprinter. We will be taking advantage of this, since my we'll be using it almost exclusively for hauling her canvases and stuff around.

    What size Sprinter do you own? Do you have the ASSYST system option?
  • Has anyone had a Sprinter converted for use as a wheel-chair accessible vehicle? Did you do this with a rear-end wheelchair lift? If yes, please tell me where you got this conversion done, and how happy are you with the rear lift and with the Sprinter as a handicap vehicle. Please either post your reply or post contact information so we can discuss. Thanks!
  • you can go to
    then click on enter site
    next page at bottom click on wheelchair ramps.
    this shows the rear ramp but i think i seen a side ramp also.
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