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Old 10-21-2019, 07:52 AM   #1
EUG
 
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Default Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questions!

This forum has been very helpful over the last couple months. I've read so many threads for research for my purchase, and not that I've finally bought the Sprinter, I have new questions. I'm hoping I can just put all my questions in one thread and get answers all at once. I've done more searching, but it seems the info is either dated (maybe better products since the thread was posted?) or I'm having to dig through too many threads and my head feels like it's going to explode.

I remember in high school, my friends with diesel trucks would leave their truck on when running into the store (while I wait) because they said it was better for the engine and/or uses more gas to turn off and start up again. Is this a thing of a past or was never true in the first place? LOL Do I just treat my Sprinter like a gas Sprinter? Or at what point is it worth turning off? Idling more than 5 minutes?

I've probably read every page on the 3.0 vs 2.1 debates. I still bought a 3.0 after driving both. It seems the info on here is very biased, with people even saying the 2.1 tows better. However, all the posts about the need to manually down shift is concerning. Is this with all 3.0's or are there issues with certain years or a few bad apples? I see this posted everywhere and I'm wondering if people are just posting this without ever having driven one? After a week of driving I haven't noticed a problem. I'm wondering if I need to purchase the Scan Gauge II or just not worry about it if I haven't noticed anything unusual. A part of me thinks if it it's a problem with all 3.0's over the years, the engineers at MB would have known before these vans made it to dealer lots.

Is the backup cam kit from Mid City Engineering the best option to use the factory deck?

I have a 2016 Passenger model that I will be using for my business and as a weekend family van. I have the AC unit on top (can I paint that?), which is great for when the van is moving. Is there a way to mod it so that it works as just a ceiling fan (no AC) for camping? Is the Epar still the best diesel heater to go with?

Is there a full length cargo mat that works with the passenger chairs?

Lastly, does anyone go up to Whistler in a RWD Sprinter? I'm hoping to go this winter but haven't tried in a RWD vehicle before. My friend said he tried before in his RWD RV and doesn't want to try again. I have a wife and 2 kids so I don't want to try anything stupid. LOL.

Sorry for the long post! Any and all replies will be appreciated!
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Our 2014 is used as a Daily driver. We shut it off at every stop. Just make sure you wait for the beeps to stop before starting. I don't think any harm will come from the engine being started, stopped and restarted once warm. I think you could paint the plastic roof AC cover but I would take it off to paint it and use the paint that is meant for plastic (clean it well then wipe down with rubbing alcohol. Cant really help with the other questions.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
I remember in high school, my friends with diesel trucks would leave their truck on when running into the store (while I wait) because they said it was better for the engine and/or uses more gas to turn off and start up again. Is this a thing of a past or was never true in the first place? LOL Do I just treat my Sprinter like a gas Sprinter? Or at what point is it worth turning off? Idling more than 5 minutes?
If you are idling in traffic, idle away. Shift into neutral if you want to save fuel; the van maintains a certain RPM at idle and it takes more fuel to do it while stopped/in gear than in neutral.

If you are at the store, waiting in a driveway, etc. for more than about a couple of minutes go ahead and kill the engine. It's not going to use more fuel to stop it then start it again, and unnecessary idling is not the friend of the modern diesel engine. I'm sure you have read about the need to run it at speed every so often as well if your normal driving mode is more city than highway - that seems to be the case from my own experience and what I read from others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
I've probably read every page on the 3.0 vs 2.1 debates. I still bought a 3.0 after driving both. It seems the info on here is very biased, with people even saying the 2.1 tows better. However, all the posts about the need to manually down shift is concerning. Is this with all 3.0's or are there issues with certain years or a few bad apples? I see this posted everywhere and I'm wondering if people are just posting this without ever having driven one? After a week of driving I haven't noticed a problem. I'm wondering if I need to purchase the Scan Gauge II or just not worry about it if I haven't noticed anything unusual. A part of me thinks if it it's a problem with all 3.0's over the years, the engineers at MB would have known before these vans made it to dealer lots.
Opinions are like noses, everybody has one. I have the V6 with the NAG1 (5 speed). In terms of drivability, it is fine except that it is reluctant to downshift when you need light to medium acceleration and don't put your foot into it to force it to kick down. In those situations I think you can get a bit better performance/efficiency with a manual downshift, but it is not like you have to row it like a 6-speed street bike with a 500 cc motor. You don't need a ScanGauge just to get a little more drivability out of it - it is pretty obvious when the RPMs are below 2,000 and its kind of mushy but won't downshift. (But the ScanGauge is a nice-to-have for monitoring all kinds of engine parameters and pulling codes if you need to.) When it lugs a bit, you can touch the shift to the left, watch the revs pop up to the mid to upper 2,000s and feel it accelerate/get a bit more responsive without a change in throttle position. I think its basic performance is the same across the NCV3 model years (at least no ones made a case for it being just one or two model years that I've seen).

I have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (2 door long wheelbase) with a 4-speed auto transmission with shift points that suck a lot more - made even worse if you run even slightly oversize tires. It seems like sometimes the engineers put the time in on matching the engine/auto transmission, sometimes they don't, and it may be a clash between some manufacturer efficiency goal and drivability as well. My wife has a BMW MINI with the "S" tuned turbo engine/auto transmission, and it has some awesome shift point programming for upshifts and downshifts in both "normal" and in "sport" mode. You can put it in a manual-only shift regime as well, but I usually don't bother because auto is so good. The BMW MINI engineers had different priorities than the Sprinter ones.

By many accounts the Sprinter 4-cyl/7-speed is better matched up and has more "auto" drivability, and by virtually all accounts it gets better fuel efficiency. The drivability difference seems not critical, and I calculated the fuel efficiency benefit to be a couple $k over a 100,000+ mile lifetime so not enough to worry me overmuch that I made the wrong choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
Is the Epar still the best diesel heater to go with?
I think the Espar (Eberspacher) Airtronic D2 (old version)/S2 (new version) is the best diesel heater to put in as an add-on assuming you are looking mainly for cabin heat when stopped and not a block pre-heat/super cold weather boost heater (in that case there are Eberspacher Hydronic heaters you can add on if you didn't get one from the factory). Some folks have saved money with off-brand/knock-offs but I was ok with the Eberspacher cost for the reliability reputation given the length of time/frequency with which I intend to use it (10+ years).
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Old 10-21-2019, 04:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Quote:
Originally Posted by elemental View Post
If you are idling in traffic, idle away. Shift into neutral if you want to save fuel; the van maintains a certain RPM at idle and it takes more fuel to do it while stopped/in gear than in neutral.

If you are at the store, waiting in a driveway, etc. for more than about a couple of minutes go ahead and kill the engine. It's not going to use more fuel to stop it then start it again, and unnecessary idling is not the friend of the modern diesel engine. I'm sure you have read about the need to run it at speed every so often as well if your normal driving mode is more city than highway - that seems to be the case from my own experience and what I read from others.



Opinions are like noses, everybody has one. I have the V6 with the NAG1 (5 speed). In terms of drivability, it is fine except that it is reluctant to downshift when you need light to medium acceleration and don't put your foot into it to force it to kick down. In those situations I think you can get a bit better performance/efficiency with a manual downshift, but it is not like you have to row it like a 6-speed street bike with a 500 cc motor. You don't need a ScanGauge just to get a little more drivability out of it - it is pretty obvious when the RPMs are below 2,000 and its kind of mushy but won't downshift. (But the ScanGauge is a nice-to-have for monitoring all kinds of engine parameters and pulling codes if you need to.) When it lugs a bit, you can touch the shift to the left, watch the revs pop up to the mid to upper 2,000s and feel it accelerate/get a bit more responsive without a change in throttle position. I think its basic performance is the same across the NCV3 model years (at least no ones made a case for it being just one or two model years that I've seen).

I have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (2 door long wheelbase) with a 4-speed auto transmission with shift points that suck a lot more - made even worse if you run even slightly oversize tires. It seems like sometimes the engineers put the time in on matching the engine/auto transmission, sometimes they don't, and it may be a clash between some manufacturer efficiency goal and drivability as well. My wife has a BMW MINI with the "S" tuned turbo engine/auto transmission, and it has some awesome shift point programming for upshifts and downshifts in both "normal" and in "sport" mode. You can put it in a manual-only shift regime as well, but I usually don't bother because auto is so good. The BMW MINI engineers had different priorities than the Sprinter ones.

By many accounts the Sprinter 4-cyl/7-speed is better matched up and has more "auto" drivability, and by virtually all accounts it gets better fuel efficiency. The drivability difference seems not critical, and I calculated the fuel efficiency benefit to be a couple $k over a 100,000+ mile lifetime so not enough to worry me overmuch that I made the wrong choice.



I think the Espar (Eberspacher) Airtronic D2 (old version)/S2 (new version) is the best diesel heater to put in as an add-on assuming you are looking mainly for cabin heat when stopped and not a block pre-heat/super cold weather boost heater (in that case there are Eberspacher Hydronic heaters you can add on if you didn't get one from the factory). Some folks have saved money with off-brand/knock-offs but I was ok with the Eberspacher cost for the reliability reputation given the length of time/frequency with which I intend to use it (10+ years).
Thanks for the reply! I guess I will drive it a bit more and see how it goes. Just a bit concerning when I see people post about the 3.0 being a "semi-automatic". LOL. I'm assuming this is mostly from 2.1 fanboys who have never even driven a 3.0 and just repeat what someone else may have posted (issue with all forums).

I have the factory auxillary heater. I see that people have modded this for overnight use (while parked). Is this safe? It seems loud in the YouTube videos, but it's hard to tell. I haven't even tried using mine yet. I have to figure out how to use it first. Would this mod be too noisy to use at camp sites?
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
...my friends with diesel trucks would leave their truck on when running into the store (while I wait) because they said it was better for the engine and/or uses more gas to turn off and start up again. Is this a thing of a past or was never true in the first place? LOL Do I just treat my Sprinter like a gas Sprinter? Or at what point is it worth turning off? Idling more than 5 minutes?
It was never true in the first place. The 'cool' factor was because truck drivers would leave their rigs idling to keep the heat or A/C running while they napped, but it is not good for a diesel engine to idle for long periods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
I bought a 3.0 after driving both. ...the posts about the need to manually down shift is concerning. Is this with all 3.0's or are there issues with certain years or a few bad apples? After a week of driving I haven't noticed a problem. I'm wondering if I need to purchase the Scan Gauge II or just not worry about it if I haven't noticed anything unusual.
I have a 2008 2500 high roof and I just spent two months driving a small RV on a 3500 chassis all day, every day. The need to downshift to avoid lugging while climbing seems to me to be a matter of personal preference. I suspect some of the folks who are emphatic about manually downshifting are equally OCD about other things - I have not found a lot of situations where the rig did not downshift appropriately due to load and throttle position, although after a while you get very good at varying the pressure applied to the throttle to get the transmission to shift where you want it to. I would not worry about it if I were you unless you're one of those people who look for things to worry about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
Is the Espar still the best diesel heater to go with?
IMHO, yes. If you're someone who likes a gamble and you're not concerned about the heater flaking on you some night when you're camping with the family, by all means buy one of the Asian knock-offs on ebay and keep us posted on your success with it. The Espar has worked well for me. I figure my peace of mind and my wife's warmth (and consequent happiness...) are worth the extra money.

As a retired firefighter, an appliance that utilizes combustion and therefore produces carbon monoxide should be produced to a standard of quality rather than to meet a low price point, but that's just me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
Lastly, does anyone go up to Whistler in a RWD Sprinter? I'm hoping to go this winter but haven't tried in a RWD vehicle before.
I have a lot of experience driving in snow and watching the antics (and inevitable outcomes) of other people driving in snow. Your tires and snow driving habits are much more important than whether you're driving a four-wheel drive vehicle or one with two-wheel drive: I'd be much happier driving a two-wheel drive with quality tires than a four-wheel drive with crappy tires.

Specific to the Sprinter, we live in snow country (Reno/Tahoe) and I'm still running the Toyo "Open Country" tires that were on my Sprinter when I bought it used. Although they're not purpose-designed snow tires, they have a complex tread pattern that works well in snow and they're wearing really well. If you plan to drive to Whistler a lot, running a winter-only, purpose-designed snow tire would be your best bet and would give you the confidence that your van is equipped as well as it can be for snow driving. Four-wheel drive is great, but a lot of people get really overconfident with four-wheel drive vehicles because of their additional acceleration on snow and forget that there's no particular benefit when braking or cornering - if you have good tires and good driving skills, you should be fine.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbansen View Post
It was never true in the first place. The 'cool' factor was because truck drivers would leave their rigs idling to keep the heat or A/C running while they napped, but it is not good for a diesel engine to idle for long periods.



I have a 2008 2500 high roof and I just spent two months driving a small RV on a 3500 chassis all day, every day. The need to downshift to avoid lugging while climbing seems to me to be a matter of personal preference. I suspect some of the folks who are emphatic about manually downshifting are equally OCD about other things - I have not found a lot of situations where the rig did not downshift appropriately due to load and throttle position, although after a while you get very good at varying the pressure applied to the throttle to get the transmission to shift where you want it to. I would not worry about it if I were you unless you're one of those people who look for things to worry about.



IMHO, yes. If you're someone who likes a gamble and you're not concerned about the heater flaking on you some night when you're camping with the family, by all means buy one of the Asian knock-offs on ebay and keep us posted on your success with it. The Espar has worked well for me. I figure my peace of mind and my wife's warmth (and consequent happiness...) are worth the extra money.

As a retired firefighter, an appliance that utilizes combustion and therefore produces carbon monoxide should be produced to a standard of quality rather than to meet a low price point, but that's just me.



I have a lot of experience driving in snow and watching the antics (and inevitable outcomes) of other people driving in snow. Your tires and snow driving habits are much more important than whether you're driving a four-wheel drive vehicle or one with two-wheel drive: I'd be much happier driving a two-wheel drive with quality tires than a four-wheel drive with crappy tires.

Specific to the Sprinter, we live in snow country (Reno/Tahoe) and I'm still running the Toyo "Open Country" tires that were on my Sprinter when I bought it used. Although they're not purpose-designed snow tires, they have a complex tread pattern that works well in snow and they're wearing really well. If you plan to drive to Whistler a lot, running a winter-only, purpose-designed snow tire would be your best bet and would give you the confidence that your van is equipped as well as it can be for snow driving. Four-wheel drive is great, but a lot of people get really overconfident with four-wheel drive vehicles because of their additional acceleration on snow and forget that there's no particular benefit when braking or cornering - if you have good tires and good driving skills, you should be fine.

Thanks!

I've played with the manual shifting over the last couple days and I'm wondering if you tap left the first time (while in auto), will it always show 4th gear? Seems like I can't trust the gear indicator. I feel like it's frequently showing the incorrect gear when switching to auto. None of my other vehicles with "auto-stick" would do this. They would always show the correct gear when first switching to manual mode.
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Congratulations

Mercedes Service Information document for your consideration.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/at...3&d=1478031874

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Originally Posted by lindenengineering View Post
Bob
My dear Watson!
First thanks for going the last mile to post this document!


Now I must confess its not really new to me as a revelation; I have seen it before!--well something like it from Isuzu and the NPR.
When they brought out the new exhaust pollution control systems on their medium duty trucks a similar bulletin was floated about among us wheel tapper and shunter folk. In other words ("thems that get grubby fut livin')!

The same basic mantra in the text applied then and that was for NAS trucks not them Latinos down south!

So to conclude I have always been skeptical of 20K mile service interval claims that are to be exercised across the board.
Simply put & because Joe Blow Uncle Tom Cobbly uses his van different than neighbor Dan Steward and all thems that drive their Sprinters in the Floral Dance there can be no real norm.
Everyone one should be doing oil analysis!
All the best
Dennis
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

My '07 shifts perfectly well since I fixed or replaced everything that was causing LHM. I was raised with standard shifts and once blew an engine at 8,888 miles by keeping the reves up, a new but crappy 3 main bearing Triumph Spitfire. As I told the factory rep that was OKing the warranty "if the engine is not good for 5500 rpm, why did you put the red line there?" It may not have been a real sports car but it had a red Italian designed sports looking car body. Unfortunately, that is where the similarity ended. As a 22-year-old, I thought is was a cool car. I traded it for a 1965 1/2 Volvo 122S. Went faster and got less tickets.

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Old 10-26-2019, 07:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUG View Post
I've played with the manual shifting over the last couple days and I'm wondering if you tap left the first time (while in auto), will it always show 4th gear? Seems like I can't trust the gear indicator. I feel like it's frequently showing the incorrect gear when switching to auto. None of my other vehicles with "auto-stick" would do this. They would always show the correct gear when first switching to manual mode.
The gear display in the Sprinter that you see change when you manually shift the automatic transmission isn't there to display the current gear. It displays the gear that you have set to be the highest available gear for the transmission to use when shifting automatically. Your observation isn't a problem with trust on your part, just a minor misunderstanding of the information being provided.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Just bought my first Sprinter (and first diesel vehicle) and have lots of questio

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The gear display in the Sprinter that you see change when you manually shift the automatic transmission isn't there to display the current gear. It displays the gear that you have set to be the highest available gear for the transmission to use when shifting automatically. Your observation isn't a problem with trust on your part, just a minor misunderstanding of the information being provided.
Thank you, that makes much more sense now!
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