View Full Version : Difference in the 2001-2003 models?

05-03-2018, 01:45 AM
I’ve found a couple things that say the 2004-2006 models are better, but I can’t find any thing that tells what makes them better. Found a 2003 that looks really nice, 191k miles and says he has plenty of service records.

I’m in central Florida and almost all the T1N sprinters for sale are commercial ones that looks pretty rough and have 200k+ miles, but seems like every one says running great and usually has a couple things done like new brakes,tires, ect. They are around $7-11k and a couple for around $5k that may need a couple repairs.

05-03-2018, 08:42 AM
I recently acquired a 308 cdi 2002 T1n with 360k miles on the clock.Now looking at all the paperwork I was given it had been serviced regular and most of the time by the local main MB dealer as it was only down the road from the previous owner.I was a bit worried about the mileage but then my 312 had done over 200k miles so new these MB engines last well . Its cab is in superb condition for being 16 years old, and think it may have been garaged overnight or at least a cleaning schedule was kept to in it's past as so blinkin good still(The salt over here is a killer in the Winter time).I always change the oil at 4k mile intervals in my vehicles so hopefully this 308cdi will last me a few years.I did take the plastic cover off the injectors to see if the BLACK DEATH had set in, but to my surprise it looked the the injectors were new as it was so clean in there.....gave me a sigh of relief anyway.

05-03-2018, 01:34 PM
Yea the 2003 im looking at seems extremely clean. Im just trying. To find out what was changed that make the 2004-2006 models slightly better?

05-03-2018, 02:38 PM
So the fuel system delivery is pretty much the only "upgrade" that you can point to. In a nutshell, the '02-03 engines have a "sucker" fuel pump on the front of the engine that sucks fuel all the way from the fuel tank and keeps the fuel system under vacuum. This means that it will suck air bubbles into the fuel lines if there's a leak/crack in the lines or fittings. This makes for a no start situation. It also can make fuel filter changes particularly difficult.
Also, if there's an injector fault, the engine shuts itself down. This often happens when the driver is trying to zoom up a hill or pass someone on the highway. It can cause a scary/dangerous situation that I have personally experienced.
The 04-06 engines have a "pusher" fuel pump in the fuel tank that eliminates the air bubble issues and make fuel filter changes relatively easy. The fuel injectors will not shut the engine down if they malfunction.
I personally prefer an '04-06, but I there are others who prefer the '02-03s.
*bit of a horror story about sending an '02 to a non-sprinter mechanic:
Van wouldn't start, so it was diagnosed as having a bad fuel pump. The fuel tank was removed (OH NO!!!) and the mechanic couldn't find the fuel pump. Then the partially full tank was put in the back of the van and a tow truck brought it to me, three hours away. By the time all was said and done, the van reeked of diesel fuel in the back and the owner paid a very high price to replace a clogged fuel filter! (but he found a good mechanic, so there was a silver lining for him)

05-04-2018, 05:54 AM
With a 2003, you also get that fun/quirky vacuum turbo actuator controller, an egr with less moving parts... for better or worse, different sized intercooler hoses.

If you buy it, be sure to replace the rubber vacuum lines when doing the rest of your initial maintenance. It takes just a few minutes... ok, maybe 30 if you don't know how to remove the headlight but very easy.
The EGR is a bit harder to see if its valve is coked up, vs just a bunch of oil sludge, but if you open the valve by hand, you will tell soon enough.

I just got an 03 and love it but functionally it's the same, just a handful of different parts.

Almost forgot the notorious wiring harness, but frankly, with 200k miles on it, that was likely addressed a long time ago.

05-17-2018, 12:40 AM
Can anyone explain the coolant / fuel heater system on the 2003 model with the pre-pump fuel puller system? Can it fail and cause fuel flow problems? I live in a warm climate. Can it be removed to preclude problems? Is this same system used on the 2004-2006 models.