View Full Version : Torque Converter nightmare-All is well that ends well

05-09-2013, 05:22 PM
A couple of months ago I posted on this Forum that I was having an intermittent toilet smell problem. I received some great fix recommendationsn, but none them worked. Soon after the engine light went on. I visited a local Mercedes dealer who said they do not work in Sprinters, go to Sprinter dealer 3 hrs away in Mobile, Al. I visited a local Dodge dealer with much the same response. "we don't work on sprinters". I made an appointment for a 21,000 mile service call, and advised them of the engine light (torque converter code). Turned keys over to Mercedes service manager, who said to come back later in the day as they would most likely be finished with their Executive Maintenance Service. (Although I told them about the toilet smell, I did not think they would be interested in my plumbing problem of my 2010Winne ERA, 2008 Dodge Sprinter. $800+ dollars later I received an explanation that all was working and they suspected there was something wrong with the Torque Converter switch, but it appeared to be working ok after a reset. I should return home and insist the Dodge dealer check this out if any further problems, as it would be under warranty. We left Mobile, Al late afternoon. Made it to the I-10 Mobile Bay bridge when the transmission gave out! I immediately pulled over, on the narrow bridge, as traffic flew by us. I was able to creep a couple of miles to off ramp.

I called Mercedes Service Manager and told him what happened. We decided that I would creep back (Seems my 1st or 2nd gear was still working). After a freightful drive we limped into the Mercedes Service carport. The Service manager, immediately apologized and said he would get to the bottom of this. It took about 20 minutes to examine our Sprinter.. We were told the "sewer" smell was actually coming from the from the transmission vent and it appeared the transmission was "fried". The did not open up to see the actual problem.

The Mercedes manager got on phone and called the Mobile Dodge service manager who agreed to check us out if we could get Sprinter to his shop about 2 miles away. They were about to close. We limped down the road to the Dodge dealer about 20 minutes later. Since it was closing time, the manager could not get the appropriate mechanic to take a look at such a late hour.

The Dodge Service manager phoned Enterprise and had them deliver a rental car to us. We drove home, waited about 4 days before the Dodge manager called me. He said the Transmission Torque Converter was damaged and needed to be replaced. The transmission was ok and they would replace all the gaskets etc and rebuild. I was told that if the repair was under 70% of total cost the warranty from Dodge, they would agree to repair it, not replace it. Anohter week went by and now we have our Sprinter back home...Like new transmission and all is in working order.

All work was done under the Dodge warranty. I was also told by the Mercedes Service manager that he would refund $250 of the $800 I paid for the Executive tune-up since they apparently missed the problem. Yes, there are people to blame, myself included. I was extremely happy with the service I received from both Mercedes & Dodge. Now I will try to recover my $560 rental car expense from my own insurance. I am happy now and thankful that we were not on our planned 7,000 mile to Canada and Central USA.

05-11-2013, 04:20 AM
I posted about my 2008 Sprinter transmission problem. Mine was not the torque converter, but it does appear that the transmission is a vulnerability in these vans.

05-11-2013, 04:52 AM
What makes you conclude that?

Its a very simple tranny to fix from a mech's point of view.
I have some customers with 2005/06 Tin 3500 box trucks that do heavy cargo transport lift (mostly auto parts) out of Denver to Western Colorado over the Continental Divide (Silverthorne/Grand Junction 11,600 ft ) and Eastern Colorado (Sterling and Ogallala) every day.

I could think of some of the tripe found in some vehicles that wouldn't stand up to the abuse these box trucks get dished out on a daily basis!

For me they are a two thumbs up! :thumbup::thumbup:
Its all about service/maintenance.
Cheers Dennis