View Full Version : Where to get ATF fluid and a BUNCH of other 170,000 mi maintenance

11-22-2013, 07:26 AM
Hi all,
Bought my 2004 158” long tall in July with 166,616 mi on her. :thumbup:
I have a series of questions :idunno: about items people might think is a good idea to service or replace. I have access to base auto craft shops with bays, lifts and just about every tool imaginable. Looking for :2cents: feedback or confirmation, :professor: I’ve read so much here for so long it begins to all run together and gets garbled up in my head. :wtf:

My tour will be over in April/May, and I will be returning to FL spending 4-5 weeks traveling with my wife :hugs: over to Yellow Stone, Grand Tetons, then down towards the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, then back up to Mt Rushmore, then to MN/WI to visit relatives, then down TN and stop by my 30 acres in the Mountains, and finally home in So. FL.

#1. Where does everyone get their ATF? :idunno: I found it on line for $6.77, but then you add in shipping and it comes to @$10, so about $75. Called Shell and they told me of a distributer in Seattle where I can only buy it by the case for about $75.00 for 12 bottles. Only need 8, but would like an extra so make it 9. But I really don’t need 3 extra quarts laying around or traveling back home to FL via the Grand Canyon, Black Hills etc. with me this summer. Called 4 dealers, boy that was a joke $25-$30 :crazy: a quart. I told the last guy he was crazy. Can’t understand why there isn’t someplace we can just go to the store and get Shell 134 ATF????:thinking:

#2. So I get occasional codes, 380, 671 & 672. Glow Plugs #1 & #2. But it was 22 degrees this morning and she started up just fine. The glow plug indicator comes on, stays on for what would be a normal warm up period, then goes out like it should, and she starts right away. I only get the codes occasionally. I know I need to do a short and open test, but with it being only occasionally, what if they check out okay? :hmmm: I plan on doing the external fuse mod, but right now, I just use my Scangage to clear them. Any ideas or suggestions?

Planning some interior modes, convertible RV stuff. Wife wants one of those upright refrigerators freezers, so looking at adding propane & electric, but I’ll ask those questions in the RV conversion section.

#3. So here’s the biggie. Just got in the Bosch 150 AMP ALTERNATOR, so planning the whole, pull everything out of the way in the nose. Thinking about replacing the SERPENTINE BELT and TENSIONER, 2 IDLER PULLEYS, & WATER PUMP. Just reread the HARMONIC BALANCER deal, and I guess Andy Bidener suggested replacing that @ 80,000 mi. So I’m double past that, so figuring being I’m there, why not that now too?

#4. Figure I’ll do the FUEL FILTER while I’m there. WHICH FUEL FILTER THOUGH? Seems I’ve read people have had problems with the OEM water separator drain ones, and I seem to recall they ended up having to order a different one WITHOUT the water drain valve? What about ordering and replacing the FUEL HOSES & CLAMPS that you have to mess with while doing that?

#5. While we’re on hoses, what about replacing all of the RADIATOR HOSES, or just inspect? Any other hoses I ought to be considering looking closely at or replacing? What about TURBO HOSES? I have the new improved resonator, saw the number while laying on my back with a flashlight.

Carfax indicates that at 155,294, 7/12 Air and Cabin filters were replaced/cleaned. I’m leaning towards replacing the AIR FILTER with the “heavy duty” one, I guess it has an extra fiber part added. I think the cabin filter is fine for now, unless being I’m already ordering enough things already the extra cost of the cabin filter wouldn’t make that big of a difference. I’m not so sure about those cabin filters making that big of a difference anyway, any feedback?

Carfax also says the Differential fluid was flushed/changed, and that the Brake fluid was flushed/changed at the same time 155,294, 7/12.

Cooling system hasn’t been done. Should I do something special other than drain and replace the coolant when I replace the water pump?

#6. I plan on draining and replacing the tranny fluid, as I think I have a bit of RSN. I wanted to get the mod kit from Andy, but he seemed to be trying to steer me away from that??? I figured why not, seemed everyone that has done his mod are happy with the improvement of the shifting, on top of doing away with the RSN. Plan on replacing the tranny filter and replacing that little white thingy. Think I will get his XMSN dip stick w/instruction on how to check the level.

#7. I think all of the brake discs, pads and calipers have been replaced, and as I said, Carfax says the brake fluid was flushed/changed. But think I will remove the rear to inspect and clean the REAR SPEED SENSORS.

#8. What are people’s thoughts on the REAR AXEL BEARINGS and SEALS? I’m leaning on just listening to them and looking at them close while I have the rear end up off the ground while doing the rear speed sensors. Seems I’ve read you need special presses and stuff, and I’m not sure if that can be done by what regular normal auto shops might have??? Any ideas?

#9. What about FRONT WHEEL BEARINGS? I’ve repacked a few in my days. Just remove, clean, inspect, repack and reinstall? Anybody think I ought to do more than that?

#10. My horn doesn’t work, I think I’ve read about that, checked fuses, but I have to get out the test lights and start trouble shooting to see what’s good to where, or where it’s bad.

I’m sure you all have noticed the front brush/parking lot guard. Well it’s got a great set of Rigid LED wide angle and spot lights. I put yellow lens covers on the wide angle. I think I would like to try to wire the control for the spots through my Hi Beam relay or switch or something. Any ideas, or cautions or warning on that idea?

Hey I just thought of another question. Are there vents that blow hot air on your feet? I can’t seem to feel any, or can’t figure out how to make it blow down there. Gets cold when it’s 22 degrees. That’s Fahrenheit, I’m an American.

Guess I ought to clean my EGR valve, wish the by-pass worked on T1N’s. :shhh:
What about the O2 sensor? Lot of money outlay already, not sure I want to be just arbitrarily spending $$ on that and replacing it. I read about the teacup cleaning, but then it looked like the actual how to was withdrawn???

So anything else anyone can come up with?

Tires are good, just added the red Koni’s.
Leaning towards the Roadmaster Active suspension kit,
but much later, after I finish all of this other stuff and the RV conversion stuff.

I just thought of something else. Should I get her all warmed up and try removing the GLOW PLUGS, test them, and cleaning them up and coat with regular white (non-copper) anti-seize and reinstall? I'm thinking better now while I have access to the shop.

What about getting her all warmed up, and trying the INJECTORS? Mine look good now and no signs of "Black Death"
But I'm really feeling the urge to trying to pull them now, before signs start showing and while I have access to a shop, clean and coat with anti-seize, put in new copper seats and reinstall. If I get any stubborn ones, I'll either leave them, not mess with them, or cross that bridge when I get to them. I'm just thinking 170,000 mi, why not see if they'll pop out now, and maybe head something off before it gets too bad?

I appreciate any input to any part of this, other than getting lectured about the EGR By-pass. :dripsarcasm:
Doesn’t seem to work anyway.

Thanks All in advance

Cheers and hope everyone has a scrumptious Thanksgiving
A Merry CHRISTmas
or Happy Hanukah
And a Happy New Year

11-22-2013, 02:25 PM
When you replace the water pump. make sure that you either re-use the metal gasket that was on there, or get a Mercedes metal water pump gasket - the paper ones are not very reliable.

11-22-2013, 02:41 PM
Ebay for parts and Shell 134 tranny fluid.

11-22-2013, 03:08 PM
Just a point
Dealerships and parts outlets price products to make a profit, this is not a dirty word!

By buying in bulk and stocking it there has to be a mark up since capital is tied up having that item on the shelf for walk in customer supply convenience, otherwise you might as well just keep the money in the bank.

As you have seen/experienced you can buy the fluid cheaper if YOU buy in bulk as well. I too can get Mobil 1 ESP at cheaper prices if I buy it by the train load like Walmart; But my business is not Walmart so I buy it at about $0.85 to 1.25 a qrt lower than you can get it based upon my consumption rates and make a meager profit mark up on it.

As for the parts you have mentioned.
Since you only need a few items its probably wiser and more expedient to simply walk into you local MB/Dodge dealer and compare prices locally. Then selectively purchase and have it on hand right there and then. Conveience has it value sometimes.

Yes you can buy on line and then pay shipping for it often the total package price exceeds what you would have got the same for if you had purchased it locally.

I have to do this many times every day procuring parts for vehicles under repair. Supply chain logistics and expedient repair times don't always go hand in hand with repair delivery times. Nor do you always get the same quality of parts as the factory boxed stuff from the dealer. Something you must always bear in mind!

Besides on the whole for Sprinters fast mover parts pricing is very competitive if you compare it to some of the other makes I assure you.

Remember in this business you only get what you pay for, that I can assure you.
Cheers Dennis

11-22-2013, 04:13 PM
What's nice about the ebay offerings is that the tranny fluid, filter, gasket, o-rings, etc, are offered in a bundled kit; no need to hunt for each part. You WILL need a tranny fluid dipstick, though. Ones that actually work (with ears) can be had as low as $20.
Both the tranny fluid change kit and the dipstick that I bought were free shipping, and no sales tax for me because they came from outside CA.

Be a smart consumer, that doesn't always mean buying the cheapest or online. Get quality, not the cheapest, parts. Do your legwork.

11-22-2013, 10:48 PM
Some good replies so far


Yea, I've done the parts hunt thing before.
Sometimes paying more for an item if getting them from the same place might save on shipping and such.

Have to be careful and make sure you get what you think you are paying for on-line. OEM Bosch, verses replacement for OEM Bosch. Lots of times if the price seems way different, read the fine print, or make a call and ask.

Seems OEM is the way to go with this thing. My time is money, and the inconvenience of having to do it again, when weíre talking $25 more for OEM on a $175 item versus $159, I'll spend the 20 bucks just for that feeling of assurance and the increased odds itíll last longer.
I'm not beyond checking with the dealer, I just felt the difference between $6.77 + shipping coming to about $10 and $25-30/qt was a bit beyond the top. I have a quote from a local marine distributor for $75 a case of 12, and the dealer quoted me $270 for 8 1qt. bottles.

Iím driving my Bro-in-lawís Honda Element. The tranny shifted like crap, did some research, bought a case of OEM fluid, did the 3 drains/fills to get everything flushed out of the TC, and she drives like a dream. Own a John Deere Tractor, replaced all of the fluids with stuff in green bottles, and sheís smooth as glass. Buy the way, NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEER!, the others are just want-a-beeís.

Donít get me wrong, I donít think everything has to be OEM. But critical components, that require some major removal and installation, Iíll go OEM if itís not too out of hand. You hunt and peck and read a lot of different peopleís posts, and if you can remember certain details, youíll recall, didnít this guy go cheap discount 6 months ago?

There are some pretty smart guys here, that have successfully gone contrarian, using discount items or fluids when they can, usually I come away with they are way smarter than I am, or can dedicate much more time than I can doing the background specifics comparisons, and more power to em.

Does my list of items sound about right?

Iíll be honest, I looked a long time, and think I found exactly what I had in mind when I started looking. I enjoy working on stuffÖup to a point. Looking forward getting started on the RV conversion and my long trip home this summer, and my future retirement in a couple years and traveling around with my wife.

BUT, sailquickís new baby looks and sounds really sweet.

Iím now leaning towards reassessing my finances, to looking at getting one of those new 4-cylinder jobbies in a couple years. See how they percolate, and perform over the next couple years.

I think Iíll want ALL the bells and whistles!

11-23-2013, 01:50 PM
Just a word of caution, these vehicles are prone to electronic bugs, I would just work on one thing or area at a time to see if you throw codes etc.
I would try to make it so you don't have to redo anything but be careful not to disturb anything you don't need to.
Glow plugs make sense if they are not working.
Injectors would be a stretch if they are working good. Maybe try a leak off test and check for black death if your worried.
Definitely go with oem parts for the belt tensioner as others are prone to failure.


11-23-2013, 04:19 PM
#4. Your '04 fuel filter is not prone to air leaks, that is the '02-'03 design. replace yours with the regular one