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Old 11-20-2019, 02:08 PM   #11
MidwestB
 
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Default Re: Sprinter Newbie Needs Help for Oil & Coolant

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Originally Posted by 4wheeldog View Post
I also carry a couple of quarts of BEVO approved Mobil 1 ESP oil.
And I did add a quart, but only shortly after I had it serviced at the MB dealership.
I guess they save money by only putting 12 quarts in.
Never had to add between 10k OCIs when I did the change.


Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2019, 02:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sprinter Newbie Needs Help for Oil & Coolant

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Originally Posted by elemental View Post
Your factory manuals should have some information on Service A/Service B (the "minor" and "major" service visit types that Mercedes uses to roughly separate shorter-lived items from longer-lived items). The timing for them is variable; there is a monitoring system in the van that will prompt you for Service A (sometimes shown as one wrench) or Service B (two wrenches). You have a VS30 and I'm not familiar with how it shows you this info, but the NCV3 with the "pixel display" and steering wheel buttons let's you bring the miles/kilometers until the next service in the display.

A key driver of the interval between service visits is the oil change interval. Under certain conditions Mercedes would have you believe (on the NCV3, anyway) that the oil change interval can be as much as 20,000 miles. This would put your first Service A at 20,000 miles. If you read the forum a bit, you will see that the oil change interval is a contentious issue. Many who post about it believe that 20,000 is a bit long. I decided to use a 10,000 mile oil change interval myself (based on my typical driving), so I had my first Service A done at 10,000 miles; I now have about 17k miles on my van and will next have the oil changed at 20,000 miles but I'll wait until 30,000 miles for a full Service B visit.

So far with my van there are two new-to-me monitoring/maintenance issues with the Sprinter diesel engine systems:

(1) The Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system that reduces NOx gases in the exhaust uses Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). This fluid must be replenished at a rate much lower than filling the fuel tank but higher than typical service visits. This means that the owner/operator must monitor the DEF level and fill it up periodically. I have twice filled my DEf tank at 2-1/2 gallons per fill (out of a 5+ gallon tank), plus MB topped my van off at delivery to me and at my Service A at 10,000 miles. The rate at which DEF is consumed is variable depending on your driving and your "DEF mileage" may be different. Although there is a warning system in your vehicle for when the DEF is "low", waiting until you are warned has been associated by forum members with a greater risk of failure in the DEF delivery system. DEF crystallizes in air, and forum members suspect that letting elements of the DEF storage system that are normally submerged in DEF get exposed to air leads to crystallization of DEF on those elements, which causes them to fail.

The approaches to dealing with this special maintenance issue vary, in part due to the fact that DEF has a shelf life and storage conditions affect the shelf life, and in part due to concerns about the DEF level dropping "too low" before it is replenished. My approach is to monitor my DEF level (I check it when I fuel up and sometimes when I'm on the road), and when it gets near the 1/2 full level I buy name brand DEF from a high-turnover source (so that I don't get old stock) in a 2-1/2 gallon container. Once it hits the 1/2 level I carefully fill my DEF tank from the 2-1/2 gallon container (which is completely consumed) and dispose of the container.

Some people have found the 2-1/2 gallon containers to be unwieldy. Spilled DEF must be cleaned up immediately (flushed with a lot of water) so it is desirable to avoid spilling it. They use smaller DEF bottles with a spring-loaded valve that opens when the bottle is mated with the fill tube. Some top off their DEF more frequently; if one uses truck stops this can be accomplished using DEF pumps at the truck islands (DEF is used by large over-the-road diesel trucks as well) but bear in mind that these pumps may be co-located with diesel fuel pumps that have a much higher rate of fill than typical auto fuel pumps.

(2) The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) system captures solid particles (soot) and then periodically burns them off in a process called "regeneration". Regeneration is accomplished by adding diesel fuel to the exhaust where it then combusts in the DPF. The regen process takes something like 10 or 15 minutes. For regeneration to work correctly, the engine/exhaust system must remain above a certain operating temperature for the duration of the regen. Frequent short trips don't get the system to the right temperature, and/or interrupt the regeneration process before it is complete. This can lead to the DPF becoming more loaded with soot than it should, and (with interrupted regens) the engine lubricating oil taking on a higher unburnt fuel content than designed. [The Sprinter is the only vehicle I've had where the oil warning light triggers on too high a level as well as too low.]

The standard recommendation from Mercedes is to be sure to periodically (several hundred miles or so) operate the vehicle for at least 20 or 30 minutes "at load" (e.g. cruising at highway speeds) in order to let the regeneration process take place without interruption. Some forum members suggest that it is useful to monitor for the regeneration process so as to avoid shutdown while regeneration is taking place. This must be done with a 3rd-party OBD-II monitoring system like the ScanGauge II since Mercedes didn't see fit to include a "regen operating" indicator in the dash displays. Some monitors can be configured to display a "regen On/Off" indicator; others can show exhaust temperatures at critical points in the system (the regeneration process raises the exhaust gas temperatures from around 500 to 600 deg F in normal operation to close to 1200 deg F during regeneration).


The NCV3 was the generation of Sprinter where the SCR and DPF systems were introduced, and the early model years including these systems (2010-2014 or so) seemed to have a higher failure rate of SCR and DPF components (including sensors) than more recent models. However, their added complexity seems to bring increased risk of failures and expensive repairs (once out of warranty) even in recent model years. Being aware of how to maintain them properly, knowing how to spot possible problems with them, and being conscious of your warranty coverage rights are important "extra" concerns that you would not have with a standard automobile gasoline engine.

Really appreciate all your help!
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Old 11-20-2019, 07:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: Sprinter Newbie Needs Help for Oil & Coolant

MB Sprinter Dealer put van on rack and test drove... all checked out good... no problems.

Generator was source our noise and Dealership topped off coolant but found no problems.
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Old 11-20-2019, 07:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Sprinter Newbie Needs Help for Oil & Coolant

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Really appreciate all your help!
No worries. Note that you can use the "Thanks" button at the bottom of a post to recognize its value to you without posting a quote and writing in thanks. This may seem more impersonal, but the forum will use the "thanks" button to count coup; it shows the number of times people have been "thanked" (and have politely said "thanks") off to the left with each of their posts.
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