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Old 06-03-2015, 12:11 AM   #1
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Default Low DEF False Alarm & Another Really Bad Mercedes Dealer

Hi All,

We took delivery of our 12th Sprinter (since 2004) in February. It's at about 12k miles now.

We had an interesting situation today.

Our Sprinters run about five 300 mile trips each week. Each trip involves turning the engine off and restarting it about 16 times. We top off the DEF tank weekly, and also at 5k and 10k service, so that our drivers never, ever have to mess with DEF.

When DEF supply is exhausted, the computer freaks out and gives the driver a certain number of engine starts before it will refuse to start. That's pretty unnerving, especially when you get down to the last start. The only time that has happened to us (before yesterday) was when a vehicle was malfunctioning. The DEF tank was full all along, but the Sprinter started freaking out. It took the good dealer we work with several days and much gnashing of teeth to diagnose and repair the problem.

Yesterday, our new Sprinter threw a low DEF warning as driver was nearing the end of his 300 mile trip. He advised our mechanic, who was only able to add about a quart of DEF before the filler neck overflowed. So clearly we were not low on DEF. The driver and the mechanic both stated that there was no countdown message on the dash.

We have a Mercedes Sprinter dealer very close to our garage, Parkhill Imports. We were really excited when they first started handling Sprinters a year or two ago, because it meant we could get repairs done locally instead of driving 110 miles to Stoops Freightliner in Indianapolis.

But we quickly learned that Parkhill does not have the experience or expertise to quickly diagnose and fix Sprinter problems, and we found their customer service skills sorely lacking. For instance, it was not uncommon for the service manager, Mike Lawson, to dodge calls and not call back. Also, getting repairs done quickly is clearly not a priority for them. We'd make an appointment for service, take the Sprinter there, and see it parked on their lot for days before they'd attempt a diagnosis.

Nevertheless, we continued to allow them to attempt warranty repairs now and then, because we figured the downside was limited: If they screwed up the repair over and over, they'd foot the bill, not us.

We took our new Sprinter there today around 9 am. By 10 am, they had the "repair" completed. When I went there to pick it up, they stated that the repair is not covered by warranty and demanded $220 for the repair. Their shop rate is $110/hr, so that's 2 hours of labor for a vehicle they had in their possession for about an hour.

I spoke with Service Manger Mike Larson about the bill. His position is that if the DEF tank is run dry (not the case here), the customer is responsible for resetting the alarm. I explained that there is no chance that the DEF tank ran dry. He *claimed* that the dashboard countdown was active and said that proved that the DEF tank had been dry.

If the countdown had been active during the prior trip, there would have been enough starts during that trip and/or the final trip (about 16 starts per trip, remember) to beach Sprinter. Since Sprinter could therefore have not run low on the prior trip, it would have had to run low on the final trip. But it only took a quart to top off the tank after the final trip.

Clearly, this guy can't imagine that DEF level sensor, computer, or something else could fail. But sensors and other stuff fails on our Sprinters all the f-ing time.

Anyhow, my main reason for coming here is to find out two things:

1) # of starts permitted after start countdown timer begins counting.

2) How long the delay is between low DEF dashboard light and beginning of countdown.

3) Exact capacity of DEF tank on a 2015 Sprinter 2500 with V6.

I'd like to have this information in order to argue this matter more effectively.

Thanks in advance for any information y'all can provide.

Since we purchase something like $2,000 in parts/supplies from them each month, I also tried to get the parts guy, Bill, to straighten out Mike for us. We asked Bill if he likes having our parts volume and told him that we'd like him to help us solve the service problem. Bill didn't give a rat's ass about the parts volume and refused to discuss the matter. Wow. What a nice dealership!

If you ever break down in Central, IL, don't coast into Parkhill Imports. Head for Stoops Freightliner in Indianapolis.

Here's the invoice


And a video

Last edited by big_d; 06-03-2015 at 04:31 AM.
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