View Full Version : My journey home

02-13-2010, 09:40 AM
I have learned alot from everyone at this site for the past year or so wanted to share my latest journey. It started a little over a year ago when I purchased my first Sprinter(140 Cargo SHC). It had 165k when I bought it but ran great. I owned it for a little over a year before selling it. After selling it, I had planned to buy a small pickup to get me by for a while. Not being able to stay away for long, I started checking out the passenger models on various online sites. Dissapointed by the high cost I thought I might have to put this idea on hold for a while. I kept an eye on the classifieds but didn't figure I could ever afford one at this time. Lo and behold, a decent candidate became available. There was a 2003 140 Passenger SHC for sale on ebay. I knew there were a few problems associated with this year but decided to go for it anyway. It had everything I wanted except for the color. It had spent its life as the shuttle van for the Holiday Inn hotels. Being the constant behavoral analyst that I am. I tried to think of all of the worst scenarios that this van could have possible gone through. From shuttle drivers that didn't wait for glow plugs to warm up as they forced the engine to redline, to unsupervised children drawing circles in the fabric of the interior. Not wanting to lose the bid, I clicked the buy it now. The next day, I was contacted by the selling party(Holiday Inn Mgt.) and tried to ask the smartest questions. Having a pretty good feeling about the situation, I sent a deposit over and booked a flight to the east coast. At that point, I figured the worst that could happen is two flights and a couple wasted days. Upon arrival at the Buffalo NY airport, I was greeted by the holiday inn staff but the sprinter was not the shuttle vehicle. He mentioned that the Sprinter was having starting problems and that a new battery would be installed the next day and I would be on my way.The next day turned into 4 days, and they still had not figured it out. The hotel staff was nice enough to let me stay rent free for the week, and I didn't want to go back to work, life, responsability anyway. Turns out, it was a bad alternator and there wasn't a 150 amp replacent anywhere except for the dealer($900). I opted for the next best thing(120amp). I had the alternator installed and all was well again. With the sprinter running well I went to the nearest DMV and picked up a transport tag and hit the road.I had to be in Cincinnati asap to pick up a trailer to bring back with me. I knew the vehicle had the towing package and figured hook up would be a snap. I got to Cincinnati and found the nearest U haul. We pulled the trailer harness from under the vehicle only to find the factory harness corroded and the two of the wires barely hanging on. I figured we could just cut the plug off and splice a new plug to match the corresponding 7 way round on the trailer. After testing and retesting the wires I could only find a hot lead and running lights. I decided that because I wasnt towing anything on the trailer, and the fact that the car trailer was so low that I could probably get by without the rest of the wiring. Not legal I know, but at least all of the running lights were illuminated and the back of the sprinter was clearly visible when I did have to brake or use my signals. I hooked up the trailer and was on my way. By this time It had been a long day and I figured I would stop at the nearest town and grab a hotel and rest. Shortly after getting on the highway the check engine light came on. Not noticing any loss of power or anything else out of the ordinary I kept driving but closely analyzed the way the vehicle sounded/drove. When I reached the hotel I hopped out to check the room rates and noticed that the reverse lights were illuminated along with the rest of the running lights. Weird? . Thinking back, when the trailer lights didn't work back at the u haul dealer we had checked the fuses and found a couple of them were blown. The gentleman that was helping me had moved a couple of the fuses to what I thought was the wrong slots, so I rechecked them all and found that a there were some that were switched. I put everything back to what I thought was in order. With a CEL light on and funky trailer lighting I wasn't very happy about the thought of driving the next 3000 miles. I got up early the next morning and hit the road. I traveled roughly 600 miles that day covering the next couple states. Nothing was out of the ordinary until the next day. I was on Hwy70 headed east when all of a sudden I heard a loud bang from the drivers side of the engine compartment and the engine struggled to keep the 55 mph cruise. I quickly pulled off at the closest exit only to find that the upper water line had become seperated from the remote resevoir. after attaching the hose and tightening the hose clamp I fired up the engine. Everything back to normal. The next 3 days of travel were pretty uneventful. I kept the sprinter at 55mph and tried to balance the slow speed by longer driving days. It wasn't intil I got into Nevada that i noticed the CEL turning off and then on again a few monutes later. I noticed a slight noise that sounded like an aspiration shudder every minute or so. Almost like the ECU was checking itself and then retarding the motor by just a bit. I only had another 400 miles to go and not alot of ideas of how to fix the problem. I knew that if I didn't press on, Iwould't make it over the summit and would be stuck in Reno until the storm passed. I would soon learn that the next couple of hours would be a huge headache. Everything was ok until I got a couple of miles west of Reno. The amber alert was notifying truckers that a chain check was in order. The snow started to fall as I approached the summit. By the time I was at the top of the summit the weather was getting bad. The slew of cars that had been driving behind me were now becoming farther and farther away. I typically use the other big rig drivers as a guage of how fast I should be traveling, but there was no one around. THe snow was falling so fast that the wipers werent helping at all. It was difficlult to tell how slick the surface of the road was due to the loud road noise from many years of heavy plowing. I came up behind a small car that was almost paralyzed as it carefully/slowly drove in the middle of the lanes. Not wanting to cause an accident, I carefully passed. At one point It was so bad that I couldn't tell if I was comin or goin. I finally made it over the summit with very few cars in sight. I got home about an hour after that. Glad to be home. Was it worth it? Yes. It cost me a bit of time, and couple worries, but in the end I had a sprinter with all of the bells and whistles with 55k on the odometer. I had the sprinter checked out today to find a MAF sensor that had failed. Other than that, I have a glow plug that is most likely not firing. THanks for listening-Marc

02-13-2010, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the story Marc. Glad you made it home without any major difficulties. :thumbup:

02-13-2010, 01:04 PM
Yep marcrunner...............life's moments are camp fire stories..............or should that be Sprinter stories...:clapping: