Go Back   Sprinter-Forum > Regional Discussions > Mexico

Thread Tools Display Modes
Prev Previous Post   Next Post Next
Old 11-07-2016, 10:55 PM   #19
Jmolan's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bend Oregon/Alaska/Mexico
Posts: 335
Thanks: 95
Thanked 296 Times in 123 Posts
Default Re: Fuel in Mexico

I took my 2016 into Mexico. I did not put on the miles I thought I would (we got hit and had to get repaired) The few tanks I ran were no problem. I owned and ran a VW TDI for 10 years in Mexico, we have a winter home there, I never had a problem finding diesel. I would never trust a pump to have ULSD even if it says so, but I would not worry about it after all my research. But that is me, I cannot say the same, as it is a real individual thing. Interesting it is ONLY trucks, no diesel cars in Mexico. I did a bunch of reading, including a few very helpful guys who posted here, and actually ask the service dept. in Tucson if they have EVER had a van limp home. I figured they would see them if they were coming across the border. Here is his answer:

In the last couple weeks we have had 4 Sprinters returning home from Mexico, they only came in for services, no issues with dsl fuel at all, no DEF issues either, 2 came all the way from Cabo San Lucas in Baja
I would say have fun !
Eric Foster
Shop Foreman
Mercedes-Benz of Tucson
6350 E. Grant Rd.
Tucson, AZ. 85715
(520) 886-1311 xt. 5039

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

I tried to learn from only "those who have been there" it is so easy t get spooked by a guy saying he heard of a guy who ruined his engine and it got robbed by bandits and was left alongside the road....:)

Ted shot me this email before. I also gave him my findings when I returned: This guy is REALLY into it. Here is front page, feel free to email him.


Ted is a guy who logs and keeps track of all Vehicles going in and out of Mexico. This is his rather long email to me. From his advise I made sure to keep it "wound up" rather than dog it, trying to keep up the stack temps.

This will be a long reply to your questions about your 2016 Mercedes Sprinter.

First let me say that all of my usable data comes from people with first hand experience driving their own vehicles in Mexico, and not from opinions, theories, or third party horror stories. (I attempt to follow up on any and every "horror story" that crosses my desk and have almost always found them to be third party inaccurate or fabricated stories from folks who have often never been to Mexico and/or don't even own the type of vehicle being discussed).

Up until recently, my standard response to ALL Sprinter owners making enquiries was to say that LOTS of people bring Mercedes Sprinters in to Mexico and never have any sulfur-in-fuel related problems while using Mexican diesel fuel. This is because Sprinters, just like the big diesel pushers, have engines that are under constant load, in order to move a fully loaded vehicle along the highway. This typically keeps exhaust gas temperatures high enough (above 400 degs C) to prevent sulfur compounds from depositing in the DPF or DPF/SCR.

In the 8 years that I have been collecting data I had never received a report of a Sprinter, irrespective of model year or engine, suffering problems due to sulfur in the fuel until March of 2015. It was at that time that the owner of a 2014 Sprinter reported a bad experience with Mexican fuel. His situation may not necessarily apply to any other model years, and appears to have been a one-off situation, but should be kept in mind when owners of DEF equipped Sprinters consider taking their Sprinters in to Mexico.

Prior to traveling in to the Baja, this particular owner was told by his local Sprinter technician that he would have no problems with the higher sulfur Mexican diesel, but shortly after refueling in the Southern Baja the DEF warning light came on for a while. He was worried about that development, but a short time later the light went off again, which is consistent with the vehicle having completed a regeneration cycle. (The regeneration process would have burned the sulfur compounds out of the emissions system).

Around 600 miles later the DEF light came on again, and shortly after that the Check Engine light came on as well. Things then deteriorated to a warning message that he had 500 miles and 15 starts until limp mode speed restriction, progressing over time to just 9 starts left as he used the vehicle on the Baja.

He then began the trip north to the border, and by the time he reached Tecate he was seeing a warning of just 6 starts until limp mode. After crossing back in to the USA he headed for San Diego where he had to turn the engine off while stuck in traffic. The next time he turned the engine on all of the warnings disappeared and things were back to normal. (This is again consistent with the vehicle having completed a regeneration which burned the sulfur contaminants out of the emissions system).

Based on this owner's experience, there is an ongoing risk that owners of 2014 and later model Sprinters who bring their vehicles in to Mexico could find themselves in a similar situation, even though I have never received any further reports of problems from Sprinter owners.

I did have several exchanges of information with the Sprinter owner mentioned above, and I believe at this time that there is reasonable evidence that a Sprinter will not deteriorate to "limp mode". It seems very likely that a regeneration will always occur, resetting the emissions monitoring system to normal.

Yes, it could be a bit stressful, but the condition does appear to be self correcting. We won't know for sure until there is some more data available from late model Sprinter owners. In this regard, if you do decide to drive further in to Mexico I would greatly appreciate hearing about your experience. Sharing the knowledge helps owners to make good decisions.

As for the availability of ULSD in the areas you plan to visit, there is no ULSD except in Guadalajara, should you decide to go there from PV.

Bottom line, if it was my 2016 Sprinter, I would continue with my trip until a serious message such as 500 miles and 15 starts appeared. If that happened, I would immediately head back to the USA or the nearest source of ULSD, such as Guadalajara.

FYI, experiments I have run on several diesel pickup trucks indicates that a mixture of 50/50 ULSD and Mexican LSD never causes fault codes. Therefore, if you can occasionally use ULSD and/or a 50/50 mix I believe that there is good evidence that you will never see a check engine light or speed limitation warning due to sulfur in the fuel.

Over to you.

My Thirty Years in the Bering Sea
by Capt Jack Molan
Link: http://a.co/iirVaYU


2016 144 4x4 Crew Cab

Last edited by Jmolan; 11-07-2016 at 11:11 PM.
Jmolan is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Jmolan For This Useful Post:
bajaguy (11-08-2016), Holaday (01-21-2017), marc1 (01-05-2017), slem (12-09-2018)

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.