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Old 09-12-2010, 11:53 AM   #1
Martin Duffy
 
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Default Sprinteshift warning message "F"

I have a 2003 313 that has a Sprintshift.

PROBLEM 1 Recently a "F" warning appeared where the gear number you are driving in or "A" for auto if in auto mode appears.

This stops the van in its tracks. One has to pull over, turn engine off, turn on and all is OK again.

Its happened 3 times in the past month.

A bit scary if it was to happen in traffic!

Any ideas out there on how to fix?

PROBLEM 2 Also when starting the van I have recently found I have to turn the key to the "ON" position 2-3 times before the van will actually start.

Its like the starter motor does not engage the 1st time up. Just a bit annoying this one. May be a battery issue?

Thanks

Martin
Australia.

Last edited by Martin Duffy; 09-12-2010 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sprinteshift warning message "F"

Hi Martin,

You're going to need a plug-in to resolve this issue, preferably somewhere with Star Diagnostic software which has a dedicated menu for Sprintshift transmissions ("SSG menu"). It is excellent at fault finding this type of transmission, and indeed is obligatory in the case of a clutch replacement when the both the transmission and the new clutch kit require initialisation post installation.

In my experience "F" either relates to a problem in the hydraulics or - very occasionally - when the shifting mechanism gets harrassed by hurried inputs at low speeds (you don't describe the driving circumstances when the fault has occurred). There is also a third possibility: clutch worn to excess.

The system is simple: a pump, a hydraulic valve block (in two parts), and an actuator. Your vehicle post dates the relay wiring recall on Sprintshift vehicles, so that almost certainly rules that out of the equation.

It might be interesting to discover if the vehicle has ever had a replacement hydraulic pump - if the current one dates from 2003 you're on borrowed time with that.

Also curious to know when it last had a clutch. Again, Star can assess the wear values of the clutch through a plug-in, so the transmission doesn't need pulling to find out. Quite a neat trick that!

These are the two most likely candidates, some laptop time will confirm. A pump isn't too spendy, a clutch is (because you'll be well advised to do the flywheel at the same time). If it is a tired pump on its way out be aware that there is a very real possibililty that you could find yourself totally stranded and unable to move the vehicle.

Whether your start issue is related is hard to know "through the ether".

Please post back with outcome once known - will be helpful for reference purposes.
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sprinteshift warning message "F"

Thanks so much for the information.

The van has had a hydrolic pump installed only 10,000KM ago so I think that rules that out. Cost around A$2,700 (US$2,400) to fix so it wasn't cheap. The van to date has just clocked up 140,000km's. A few more questions:


Q.I wonder how much would cost in comparison!
Q. Would a clutch out of a van with a manual gearbox do the trick?
[BQ. How many KM's can one expect from a Sprinter clutch?[/B]

It seems to always go into "F" mode at low speeds, like 1st or 2nd. I have also recently noticed the Sprintshift sometimes getting confused on when to change gears. This has only happened a couple of times but it did seem to hesitate a bit abnormally.

I will take it to the guys down the road who I know have the laptop and software with what must be the Star Diagnostic software you talk about.

I will print out this info and see what they come up with. I will report back soon.

I love driving with the Sprintshift it makes driving a pleasure but I can see they me be sometimes troublesome. Is this the reason Merc didtched them?

Thanks mate.

Martin
Hobart, Tasmania
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sprinteshift warning message "F"

Well the pump is only a few hundred pounds here, so maybe they also replaced both parts of the valve block too? That would add another five or six hundred quid in parts,

It's pretty low mileage for its age then isn't it? Was the pump replacement in a bid to rectify the shifting fault? Another thing might be to check when the fluid was last replaced.

Not sure what cost comparison you mean? The manual and Sprintshift clutch plate and flywheels are the same - Sprintshift is essentially a manual transmission remember. It does have a different release bearing though.

As far as durability goes, my last T1Ncan with Sprintshift was on its fourth clutch pack when I sold it. Mileage ~840,000. With the fourth of these fitted relatively late overall I can suggest a quarter of a million seemed to be a typical life. The second one didn't last as well as that though, something I now attribute to a power increase from an ECU remap. I restored the ECU to standard power and got excellent life from the third clutch.

These observations relate to an extra long / fairly heavy cargo variant.

I really rate Sprintshift. In theory it combines the best features of a manual and an automatic. It was much berated, wrongly in my view. Annual fluid changes are key. I rarely had problems with mine, and any I did have were wear and tear related (clutches and pumps). It did leave me stranded once when the relay burnt out (less than six months old!) but in taken in context of an often hard nine year life in commercial use it performed admirably. To this day the transmission case has never been opened.

If I had to criticise the system perhaps the engineering could have been implemented in a more robust fashion? Whilst in normal use it's durabilty was fine it didn't do well if abused. I do miss the Sprintshift - it's the van's best feature.

Hope it gives some insight anyway. Whatever's going on with yours it's unlikey to be terminal however much of a pain it is right now. Let us know what develops?
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sprinteshift warning message "F"

Just thinking about this a little more...

When I was describing how Star can electronically assess clutch wear, the test range values are 0 to 300 - I.e. 300 is maximum / worn out.

If you get on well with the workshop maybe they could check it out for you?

On the face of things though it would seem premature if it needs a clutch.
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sprinteshift warning message "F"

I try to remain mostly on topic but can't resist here. My Ford E150 (gasoline) has 210,000 miles on it. In Sprinter terms, that's about 135% (where 250,000 KM = 155342.798 MI) of the mileage of one Sprinter clutch pack! It's humbling to be on this forum.

MIG wrote: "As far as durability goes, my last T1Ncan with Sprintshift was on its fourth clutch pack when I sold it. Mileage ~840,000. With the fourth of these fitted relatively late overall I can suggest a quarter of a million seemed to be a typical life. The second one didn't last as well as that though, something I now attribute to a power increase from an ECU remap. I restored the ECU to standard power and got excellent life from the third clutch."
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sprinteshift warning message "F"

Quote:
Originally Posted by psalm66 View Post
I try to remain mostly on topic but can't resist here. My Ford E150 (gasoline) has 210,000 miles on it. In Sprinter terms, that's about 135% (where 250,000 KM = 155342.798 MI) of the mileage of one Sprinter clutch pack! It's humbling to be on this forum.

MIG wrote: "As far as durability goes, my last T1Ncan with Sprintshift was on its fourth clutch pack when I sold it. Mileage ~840,000. With the fourth of these fitted relatively late overall I can suggest a quarter of a million seemed to be a typical life. The second one didn't last as well as that though, something I now attribute to a power increase from an ECU remap. I restored the ECU to standard power and got excellent life from the third clutch."
Good point but your talking H/D clutch Chrysler used triple clutch packs back in the sixty's and early seventies on the 318 fire ball engines and they blew out at 24 thousand miles continually without exception.

The solution was to fit a F100 H/D clutch as Fords and Chrysler shared the same transmission by Borg Warner.no problems after that.

Manuals on the sprinter are dam near bullet proof apart from the gear cabling, and they only fail because of a dam cranky driver's hell bent on busting the van just to get the day off..

On a manual 316 the few I have seen and the 313 cdi seem to go forever but the Sprinters with the low HP 308/9/11 engines tend to bow our sooner under maximum loadings.
In saying this I found by changing gearbox fluids with the correct MB fluids; they don't seem to give a problem unless a lesser hypoid gear oil is placed in the transmission like Castrol which takes longer for the viscosty to get up to temp. Gears tend to be stffer on Castrol oils for some reason.

Sprinters can be contagious at the best of times. Yet with care and servicing to a correct schedule they have proven to go the Golden mile.10 year old sprinters with very few issues are more than common rather than the exception.
True fuel pumps blew out but that was fuel quality. as for glow plugs well they have a use by date/nothing lasts for ever, and injectors followed by the infamous Black Yogurt! Again Fuel related. not everyone had the good fuel to place in a Sprinters tank. Even Mig went close on that one but I think he got 800 thousand out of it before he swapped over engines his old one hadn't died either
Just my Good dead thoughts of Our Sprinters Today.
Richard
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