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deeptissue
03-31-2013, 07:10 PM
I've got a new 2013 144 low top sprinter. When the gas gauge its just below 1/4 of a tank, the refuel light goes on and it tells me I have about 60 miles left (so thats about 3 gallons left right?)... So I went to the gas station and it took 18.6 gallons... I think the tank is 26 gallons... so doesn't this mean that the gas gauge is correct, but when the "refuel" light comes on and tells me I only have 3 gallons left- it is wrong, and I have more like 9 gallons left?

Anybody have this experience and want to help me know what I can trust. I dont really want to run out of diesel, but I also dont want to refill at 1/4 all the time...

Thanks in advanced for any clarity... Here is a picture of what I am seeing...

- Sean

pfflyer
04-01-2013, 01:42 PM
Sounds like gauge not picking up the reserve tank. I assume the newer ones have a reserve. Is it still under warranty?

sailquik
04-01-2013, 02:23 PM
Sean,
Welcome to the world of MB Sprinters and some of the crazy things that the engineers have done "FOR" us!
Your fuel gauge (remember it a diesel so you might want to change to "fuel gauge" vs "gas gauge" when discussing anything Sprinter Diesel) is working just the
way that MB intended it to work.
The "Go to a fuel station" light does indeed come on with about 1/4 tank (6.5 gallons) left in the tank.
You can rant and rave at the dealers, you can ask MB Compliance Engineering in Ladson, SC, but it's not going to change.
So, you can normally and safely run about 100 miles further.
The low fuel light in my 2012 MB Sprinter 3500 normally comes on at between 350 miles and 395 miles. If 350 miles I can see I'm not getting very good mileage
on this tank. If > 400 miles I know I'm getting great mileage out of this tank of fuel.
The refill is normally 24-25 gallons so there is at least 1.4 gallons left in the tank after driving the additional 90-100 miles.
I was getting ~19 mpg (it got better as I'm nearing 10k miles and it's now ~20.0-20.5 MPG) so a quick calculation on 19 mpg x 6 gallons of fuel tells me that
I can safely go 114 miles before it runs out.
So, to be safe and a bit cautious (you are correct, you do not want to run a Sprinter OM-642 V6 diesel out of fuel) if the fuel light came on @ 380 miles (I write this number down on my trip sheet as soon as I see it) I know I can add 100 miles to that number safely. So, when I hit 480 miles I get fuel.
My longest range so far with the 2012 170" wb 3500 lightly loaded was 474.2 miles and it took 24.820 gallons to refill the tank to the max. (just before the fuel overflows the top of the fuel neck were the fuel cap screws on.
Your mileage may vary due to lots of different factors, so do the mileage runs, do the math and get comfortable as to how far you can go on a full tank of fuel,
always remembering that head winds, uphill grades, or additional loads in or behind your Sprinter can drop the mileage by 25-50%.
So it's important to see when the fuel light comes on (how many miles) and do a mental calculation about how much further you can go at the current mileage
rate.

Why is it this way?
No one has been able to adequately explain that to me.
It is....just the way it is.
Better to not get upset and just find out at what mileage your Sprinter's fuel light comes on most often and do the calculations to determine how much further you
can push it.
I also carry 5 gallons of diesel so if it runs out due to my bad calculations, I can get going again.
This also covers those times when you cannot find a diesel station open in the middle of the night in the middle of no where.
If you stay on the Interstates....usually not problem as there a plenty of travel centers/ truck stops.
Get off the beaten path in the middle of Alabama (happened to me in Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi) in the middle of the night and that 5 gallons of
reserve fuel will get you to somewhere that you can fill up.
Roger

deeptissue
04-01-2013, 03:24 PM
Wow! Thanks for the detailed and great answer! I really appreciate you giving me all that info. Tomorrow I'm going to Santa Fe NM on a 8 day road trip, so ill do the math while we're driving in the middle of the desert...

PTChambers
04-01-2013, 06:35 PM
My 2008 chassis short high top 2010 Roadtrek conversion fuel gauge is exactly repeatable. When it says empty, it has 6 gallons left. The gauge has digital marks (10 of them) and each one is worth 2 gallons. That issue caused me heart palpitations when I picked it up north of SF and had never been in a Sprinter before. The seller assured me I had enough fuel to make it home and I suddenly realized it said 0 fuel and the low fuel icon lit up while in stop and go on the Golden Gate Bridge. I was panicked until I got through town and found a station with Diesel. It took 20 gallons (I had read that it had a 26 gallon tank) and I received my first lesson in the vagaries of Sprinters.

I think I now appreciate that "helpfulness" but that first time was a bit nerve wracking.

gary 32
04-01-2013, 07:56 PM
Wow! Thanks for the detailed and great answer! I really appreciate you giving me all that info. Tomorrow I'm going to Santa Fe NM on a 8 day road trip, so ill do the math while we're driving in the middle of the desert...

I have put 26.2 gallons in the tank before.

My son borrowed my van and almost ran it dry, pretty sure 26.4 is tank plus reserve.
My instant dash display will give you a miles left in tank calculation based on fuel in tank and current mpg, do not rely on this, I watched it go from 28 to 0 in less than a mile.

If you ever do run it dry the fuel system is self priming, turn key to second click and wait for the pump to stop cycling, audible. When I was having low pressure fuel pump issues it was this simple, but remember the rule about free information...

Walter Clark
04-01-2013, 10:10 PM
My 2008 chassis short high top 2010 Roadtrek conversion fuel gauge is exactly repeatable. When it says empty, it has 6 gallons left. The gauge has digital marks (10 of them) and each one is worth 2 gallons. That issue caused me heart palpitations when I picked it up north of SF and had never been in a Sprinter before. The seller assured me I had enough fuel to make it home and I suddenly realized it said 0 fuel and the low fuel icon lit up while in stop and go on the Golden Gate Bridge. I was panicked until I got through town and found a station with Diesel. It took 20 gallons (I had read that it had a 26 gallon tank) and I received my first lesson in the vagaries of Sprinters.

I think I now appreciate that "helpfulness" but that first time was a bit nerve wracking.

Exactly the same thing happened with me and my first trip. When I left there should have been plenty for the round trip and then some but half way home and in an unfamiliar area the gauge quite suddenly went from 2 bars to 0 in a matter of a few miles and was flashing fuel lights at me!! I was SURE I was going to end up along side the road out of fuel before I finally found a station with Diesel. Put about 20 gal. in and it was full. F*#@!!! That was one of the longest 10 miles of my life.

Old Crows
04-07-2013, 01:24 AM
FWIW.... coming back from San Antone today.... 358 miles on the trip meter and the fuel gauge's two bars disappeared ... in the blink of an eye... Fuel warning light came on & I drove to 380 miles before filling with 20.68 gallons.

The two bars become one with a "0" parked above it and the yellow warning 'diesel man' warning light is on. I'll read that as 'ON RESERVE" and that last bar represents 5 usable gallons. Usable is relative.... I'd probably not want to go too far into that reserve.... maybe 75 miles at the very most at my average consumption of 18.4 mpg.

TQUIN45
07-06-2013, 02:01 PM
Hi- I have the same problem with my 2013 Sprinter. please let me know what you have learned. Getting help from Mercedes seems very difficult.
Thank you
Tom Quinn TQUIN45@aol.com

TQUIN45
07-06-2013, 02:17 PM
The 2'ndary problem is my Sprinter has a Winnebago body on it. Winnebago feeds the diesel generator from the main tank but leaves 1/4 of a tank to run the vehicle on. My problem is if the tank reads empty (low fuel light is on) how do we know while running the generator how much fuel is available??? Sure looks like Winnebago and Mercedes did not speak to each other. I am trying to determine who is responsible -Winnebago or Mercedes. The fuel gauge is no help if you are low on fuel which is the most important time to know how fuel you have.

mean_in_green
07-06-2013, 03:20 PM
Another tip on this topic: if you scroll to the range reading using 'wheel buttons the value cannot be read once it dips below twenty miles remaining. In other words you need fuel imminently if it won't give you a range distance.

mean_in_green
07-06-2013, 03:30 PM
The 2'ndary problem is my Sprinter has a Winnebago body on it. Winnebago feeds the diesel generator from the main tank but leaves 1/4 of a tank to run the vehicle on. My problem is if the tank reads empty (low fuel light is on) how do we know while running the generator how much fuel is available??? Sure looks like Winnebago and Mercedes did not speak to each other. I am trying to determine who is responsible -Winnebago or Mercedes. The fuel gauge is no help if you are low on fuel which is the most important time to know how fuel you have.

There's a swirl pot in the body of the fuel sender, it holds no more a couple of litres. You need to establish if the generator is feeding fuel through a standpipe or not, that's the only way the swirl pot can remain untouched. A standpipe can be cut to ensure it doesn't empty the tank too - one of the main advantages after maintaining the integrity of the engine's fuel lines.

deeptissue
07-06-2013, 04:10 PM
I started this post initially, and since then it, we have taken a couple of long trips (to tahoe and to Santa Fe from Santa Barbara). I dont think it really matters around home, I just go get gas when the light comes on. On long trips, however, we are much more conservative since often we are traveling places where gas stops are far between. The light comes when the "range" screen reads about 60-70 miles left... so thats about 3-4 gallons, and it comes on a little below the 1/4 line. The 1/4 line should be 6.5 gallons, right (26 gallon tank?) so that means a little below= 4 or 5, so its only a gallon or two off. It just means our range isn't quite as good as we would like.
I think mercedes is just very conservative when the computer is telling you to get more gas, and after almost running out of fuel in my old eurovan in the middle of the desert, I think being conservative is probably ok.