Stoopid things I shoulds known!!

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder

This may have value for Sprinter owners. AP/vic

From a Sprinter book:

The High-Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) diesel engine should emit very little smoke. White smoke is not considered normal. The different types of exhaust smoke indicate different problems. Following is a brief discussion of black, blue, and white exhaust smoke.

Black Smoke

Black smoke is created by incomplete combustion. The reason for the fuel being only partially burned often relates to one of the following problems:
• Excess fuel in the combustion chamber
• Insufficient air supply (clogged air filter, kinked hoses, faulty turbo)
• Advanced injection timing due to poor diesel fuel quality not recommended being used in the vehicle. Black smoke is caused by too much fuel or poor fuel quality and not enough air or time to burn the fuel. Black smoke is not considered normal and is often
related to low power or poor fuel economy problems.

Blue Smoke

Blue smoke is an indication of engine oil burning in the combustion chamber. Blue smoke is usually accompanied by excessive oil consumption. Any of the following con­ditions can cause excessive oil consumption:
• Overfilled crankcase
• Worn piston rings
• Failed valve stem seals
• Failed turbocharger seals

White Smoke

White smoke is caused by particles of fuel passing through the combustion chamber without burning and exiting with the exhaust gas. Fuel not burning is often related to low combustion chamber temperature. At light loads, the temperature in the combus­tion chamber may drop to 260°C (500°F). The lower temperature delays combustion, causing some fuel to be partially burned and
blown out with the exhaust gas.


When diagnosing diesel driveability concerns in the absence of codes, use the symp­tom-based diagnostic tables in the Service Information. Always follow the Six-Step Diagnostic Process when diagnosing a customer concern.

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Auxiliary, Boost Heater and REST Description of Operation

Search: Auxiliary Auxilliary Aux Booster Espar Heater REST function operation

As I was originally confused about the Booster Heater, Auxiliary Heater, and REST functions. I'll outline what I THINK I know for those who may not be up to speed. Edit: What I include here is basically correct. There is a fixed time heater switch option left out along with some other small exclusions in my notes. I'm too lazy to edit/correct this entire first post.


The circulation pump on my 2004 is mounted on the firewall to the left of the battery above the EGR. One hose goes to the EGR valve. The other from the Booster Heater via a steel coolant line. The direction of coolant flow is from the EGR to the Espar heater. I'm certain that varies with year or if you don't have a booster heater (Edit: REALLY???....:doh: should be and when you don't have a booster heater).

With my 2004 the coolant circulation pump runs for 2 seconds or so after the engine is turned off. Mine has a bit of a noticeable hum. It seems normal as there has been no problems other than the brushes wearing out.

Often the pump motor brushes can be replaced DIY to avoid the purchase of a $100.00+ pump assembly. Links:

Apparently there is also a VW -Bosch(?)- branded circulation pump that is identical except for the electrical connector for a bit less cost.

The REST function is a timed operation of the electric circulation pump which scavenges heat from the engine by running the circulation pump and the cabin fan after the engine is shut down. On mine the blower fan runs at low speed with REST on. The rest function and LED cycle off if the engine is running. Per MB you can extract heat for about 30 minutes. The REST function does not operate the Booster Heater (unless modified).

The Booster Heater function is a diesel fired heater located below the battery in the T1N Sprinters. It is most easily accessed by removing the grill and headlight pod. The Booster Heater operates with the engine running to add heat to the heater core for the cabin heater. The OEM Booster Heater will not operate with the engine off unless the controls are modified for constant operation. The engine coolant pump will circulate coolant through the booster heater at low vehicle speed and engine RPM. The electric circulating pump on the firewall is not needed for the Booster Heater to operate when the engine is running under specific operating conditions (coolant temp, vehicle speed, +).

Edit: The Booster Heater can be wired to run with the engine off.

REST/Booster Engine Pre-heat with DPDT Switch Modification

The OEM Auxiliary Heater is mounted in the same location as the Booster Heater in the T1N Sprinters. The Auxiliary Heater has an OEM digital control panel which allow the Auxiliary Heater to be operated when the engine is not running. It includes additional timers and controls not included with the OEM Booster Heater. The Aux Heater can be used to pre-warm the engine before starting. It will also perform the same as a Booster Heater with the engine running.
Added: There is another less common OEM Auxiliary Heater version which has a simple dash switch for control/operation.

Some 2004 Espar Heater Notes


2010/12/06 edit: A more formal description. Thanks goes to bc339 Bruce.
To add to Vic's explanation, trying to prevent further confusion, I copied this description in the service manual for the supplemental heater:

Vehicles equipped with the optional diesel engine are also equipped with a supplemental heater unit. This unit is mounted under the vehicle and operates similar to an oil fired furnace. The heater burns small amounts of fuel to provide additional heat to the coolant. Coolant is routed from the engine, to the supplemental heater, and then to the front heater core. This provides additional heat to the passenger compartment. The system is interfaced to the vehicles on-board computer systems and DRBIIIt diagnostics. The supplemental heater unit has an electronic control module that monitors the heat output of the heater. The heater operates at full load (5 kW), half load or idle mode (no additional heat) depending on coolant temperature.
The supplemental heater is activated via the temperature control on the heater-A/C control. The heater is activated when the temperature control is set to/or above the upper set point. The supplemental heater can operate in a full or partial load range as well as an idle mode, all dependent on the engine coolant temperature. The heater unit will also turn off if the temperature control is set to less than the lower set point. The supplemental heater can take up to three minutes to completely shut down when either the heater temperature is set below the lower set point or the vehicle ignition is turned off. The supplemental heater only operates when the engine is running, the mileage exceeds 8 kilometer (5 mph) and the fuel tank volume exceeds 1/8 of a tank. The heater should start if the coolant temperature is below 40° C
(104° F).

When I was troubleshooting my coolant pump failure last year, this explanation helped me figure out why my Heater Booster would work, but not the Aux Heater.
My Sprinter is configured with the supplemental heater located behind the left headlight - controlled by the Heater Booster Switch (below the A/C switch), REST feature and the Auxiliary Heater, controlled by the 7 day timer.
The Heater Booster and Auxiliary Heater use the same heater unit, but are not controlled or operate the same. The REST feature is totally separate.

2010/05/09 edit:
Both the REST and Booster Heater are controlled by pressing the round knob like segments on the right of the dash in NAFTA Sprinters. With the engine running, the Booster Heater is operated by pressing the Bacon Bowtie switch. An LED will light for the function that is enabled.

2010/02/07 edit:
A recent thread about the booster heater. "Works while idling in 'Park' on my 2006 2500. Booster fires up almost immediately after starting the engine." Matt/Smoky pond
Additional info from Bill Drescher "houndsofheaven" on Sprintervan:
correct - my diagnosis of an inop coolant pump was made because the Esapar worked fine with the engine running [Add - The main belt driven coolant pump was operating. - vic], but shut off quickly when the engine was not running (Auxiliary Heater)

Another comment added by Bill:
and can be used to keep the engine/cab warm when you go into a store. It is one of life's great pleasures !
Some additional comments 2010/08/16. Thanks goes to Douglas.
Some heaters come with a duct for hot/warm air. I have a dsl fired auxilary heater for my 2005. It is an option I sspecial ordered. It is mounted behind the left headlite. My heater control is in the lower center of the dash panel. I push the button with the red squiggly lines, holding it down until I hear the to dosing pump click. Dosing is a fancy, expensive way to say fuel pump. If the driver's door is open, you can hear the aux heater come on, it sounds like a jet engine. The exhaust pipe exits by the left front wheel. The heater heats the engine coolant, which is circulated by a 12V pump. There is a thermostat someplace. If you have a diesel fired heater, no matter the location, run it for 10 minutes a month. The DAD is thought to diagnose heater problems.

Some heaters are mounted in the cargo/passenger area. In my 2003, we added a heater there. It is diesel fired, thermostatically controlled and forces hot air into the rear compartment. Some vans may have had that heater installed at the factory.

There is also another heater, the REST. It uses [scavenges] residual heat from the engine to keep the cab warm. Push the lower button to operate the REST when leaving the van for a few minutes. It will run w/o the key, for about 20 minutes, at least in my van.

Heaters are another mystery in our vans. No one, except Dr A understands all of the options in the Sprinter. There are rumors MB calls him for help.
20100918 edit - A recent thread which includes pictures of the various control panels for heaters. Rick found someone had replaced his Aux Heater control panel with an incorrect unit that didn't have the wavy lines. Thanks goes to Rock Auto and Ricksan.

Note: This is an unusual situation. A booster heater (basically runs when the engine is running) can be changed to an aux heater (will run as set by the controls), but it is not as easy as just changing the control panel over. A search will provide more information on the steps necessary.

New owner 2005 3500 158

2010/10/24 edit: A recent thread over at Yahoo sprintervan which has some good information from members.

2010/12/28 edit:
That list of options left out the T1N's rear cabin heat exchanger option: H13.

More info about the rear heater thanks to autostaretx (Dick) is in this post.

2010/11/04 edit: A thread about the NCV3 heaters complete with pics of the controls. Thanks goes to all contributors.

NCV3 Heater Systems

REST/Booster Engine Pre-heat with DPDT Switch Modification

A recent discussion regarding the different OEM MB control schemes for the Espar heater.
I think I found a heater booster, but no switch

Please feel free to correct any errors or add information. I hope this does some good. AP/vic

Program Timer

I found this guy's comments helped me to easily operate and program my 2006 Espar timer.
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A Dad owner with a '03
Thanks for the clarifaction Vic. I'm just starting to somewhat understand the difference in these heaters. I have a booster heater (I think) and it seems to be controlled by the right most switch on the control panel. I haven't been able to tell any difference when its been on. :rant: Good news is we don't need it too often here. :thumbup:



The REST feature is timed for only 15 minutes. By that time the air blowing out of the vents is already
cold, but if you are a delivery driver it could be the perfect thing.

Auxiliary, Boost Heater and REST Description of Operation

Search: Auxiliary Auxilliary Aux Booster Heater REST function operation

As I was originally confused about the Booster Heater, Auxiliary Heater, and REST functions I'll outline what I THINK I know for those who may not be up to speed.

The circulation pump on my 2004 is mounted on the firewall to the left of the battery above the EGR. One hose goes to the EGR valve. The other from the Booster Heater via a steel coolant line. I'm certain that varies with year or if you don't have a booster heater.

Often the pump motor brushes can be replaced DIY to avoid the purchase of a $100.00 pump assembly. Links:

The REST function is a timed operation of the electric circulation pump which scavenges heat from the engine by running the circulation pump and the fan after the engine is shut down. On mine the blower fan runs at lower speeds only with REST on. The rest function and LED stay off if the engine is running. I think I read somewhere that you can extract heat from a fully warm engine for about 1 hour. The REST function does not operate the Booster Heater.

The Booster Heater function is a diesel fired heater located below the battery in the T1N Sprinters. It is most easily accessed by removing the headlight pod. The Booster Heater operates with the engine running to add heat to the heater core for the cabin heater. I believe the OEM Booster Heater will not operate with the engine off unless the controls are modified for constant operation. The engine coolant pump will circulate coolant through the booster heater, although on my 2004 the electric circulation pump seems to run whenever the engine is operating. I'm quite certain the electric circulating pump on the firewall is not needed for the Booster Heater to operate when the engine is running?

Additional info from Bill Drescher "houndsofheaven" on Sprintervan:
correct - my diagnosis of an inop coolant pump was made because the Esapar worked fine with the engine running, but shut off quickly when the engine was not running (Auxiliary Heater)

The OEM Auxiliary Heater is mounted in the same location as the Booster Heater in the T1N Sprinters. The Auxiliary Heater has OEM controls which allow the Auxiliary Heater to be operated when the engine is not running. It includes additional timers and controls not found on the OEM Booster Heater. The Aux Heater can be used to pre-warm the engine before starting. It will also perform the same as a Booster Heater with the engine running.

Another comment added by Bill:
and can be used to keep the engine/cab warm when you go into a store. It is one of life's great pleasures !

Please feel free to correct any errors or add information. I hope this does some
good. AP/vic

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Transmission Dipstick Use

Doktor A posted a good description of the OEM transmission dipstick and the way it bottoms out on "stop ears". I unabashedly steal this from Yahoo Sprintervan including the dipstick diagram link. Thanks to Doktor A and the Yahoo Sprintervan forum.

Transmission service dipsticks do not 'hit bottom'. They do protrude from the
fill tube (at the handle end - added for clarification, AP) in the engine compartment and the amount of protrusion depends on the
model year, pre-'03-post'02.

While working on RSN, I spent a lot of time with the insides of the NAG1. I did notice something I had not payed attention to in the past during valve bodies removal for cleaning procedures.

The electric circuit board panel on top of the valve body has a plastic guide tube adjacent to the socket connector. It mates to the metal exterior fill tube. This plastic guide tube is the actual end point for transmission dip stick travel.

A diamond shaped step near the top of the MBenz service dipstick's plastic tip end, engages the funnel shaped step at the top of the plastic guide tube. Measurements reveal that the dipstick's plastic end NEVER CONTACTS THE BOTTOM OF THE SUMP.

The tip of the dipstick's end stops approximately 13mm from the sump bottom at full dipstick insertion effort. The tip CANNOT flex and bend with excess insertion effort because it is restrained by its step (at the top of its tip) by the upper step in this plastic tube.

This may be important info for people fabricating their DIY service dipsticks. Measurements on the dipstick are occurring 13mm from bottom of sump, NOT FROM THE SUMP BOTTOM. The service manual chart shows height in mm on dipstick. This apparently is not to be confused with actual depth of fluid in the sump.

Further info for people with the Miller Tools service dipstick-Do NOT use tool #9336 in the German NAG1. It could become jammed under that valve body plastic guide tube because it lacks a limit step. The correct Miller Tool number to use is the #8863B which will correctly fit and stop in the guide tube as does the OEM MBenz service tool. Doktor A

20120107 Edit: Some pictures of the Stop Tube Andy decribed above.




The stop ears on one style of dip stick


20110827 edit: A recent thread in which I post pictures of my latest DIY dipstick.

To view the following links you need to join the Yahoo Sprintervan forum. It's another great resource for Sprinters.

Doktor A's post:

A diagram of the transmission dipstick end thanks to Stan. Note that the "stop ears" are not shown on this diagram:

View attachment ATF_Level.pdf

A recent problem with a dip stick. Unresolved as of this edit.
NAG-1 Trans Service Dipstick Kit

2011/02/17 edit:
My interpretation of the marks needed for a DIY dipstick which bottoms out. The thread I was replying to is here.
Maybe... depending upon your transmission temperature.

Going by the dimensions in this pdf diagram over at Yahoo...

View attachment ATF_Level.pdf

It shows that at 176F the level should be between 55 - 65 mm from the tip of the OEM dipstick with ears. Adding 13 mm to those numbers for the DIY stick puts you between 68 - 78 mm or between about 2.7 (2 3/4") to 3" from the tip of the DIY sticks. The transmission should be around 176F after you drive around to get the engine up to 180F by the gauge. The transmission pretty much follows the engine temperature under normal operation. There's about a 1 3/4" difference between the 77F and 176F readings. The 77F reading should be about 1 1/4" from the DIY tip.

I'd use the engine temp up to 180F range if it were me. You should double-check my interpretations.
This may save someone the expense of a dealer visit, or the effort needed to obtain the transmission temperature. It is also posted in my Stoopid Things thread.


HOT Check Procedure

Take your Sprinter for a drive until the engine temperature has been operating at around 180F for a time. That will assure that the drivetrain is up to a "Hot" operating range. Find a level area to park. You can then follow the MB transmission fluid level test instructions.

This will also work in lieu of the MB instructions. After warming as described above, idle your engine for a bit. Don't shutdown the engine. Without actually moving the vehicle shift into reverse for a bit, into drive for a bit and then back to Park. This assures that the fluid is distributed in the various sections and passages. Check your transmission level while the engine is running. If you are within the acceptable 176F Hi/Low (Max/Min) range on the dipstick then replace the dipstick cap (after over 80,000 Sprinter miles I know that the red seal is not necessary) and close the hood. If you think that the level needs to be at exactly the tip top then you should acquire the temperature information. FWIW. vic

DIY dipstick reading tip: A DIY dipstick may not show fluid level as clearly as the OEM $$$ unit. I find that if I wipe the stick well immediately before inserting it into the dipstick tube, carefully draw it out, and then press the end flat against a flat piece of paper towel the fluid is easily read by what wicks onto the paper towel. I also find that after filling the transmission via the dipstick tube it is best to wait for quite some time before doing a level check. Otherwise the fluid hanging in the inside of the tube gets on the DIY dipstick as it is pushed in which makes seeing the level on the stick more difficult.

As always clicking the blue arrow icon in the quote box will take you to the original thread/post for more detail about "Hot Check" .

2011/02/23 edit: A recent thread about measuring transmission fluid level.
Info on Dip Stick from Dealer!!
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
NAFTA Sprinter cargo model floor pans are different

The floor pan of an OEM passenger model Sprinter has different structure to accommodate the seat brackets. Cargo models do not have that structure so adding a rear seat(s) is not just a matter of bolting in the brackets.

Edit 20100216 I may have used incorrect terminology using "structure" above. The structure of the floor pans may very well be the same. The NAFTA cargo model floor does not come with accommodations to just bolt in OEM seat brackets ordered from MB. Proper fastening for the brackets must be added. In a crash situation the forces on the seat bracket fasteners can be enormous. I hope this makes it a bit clearer.

A bit more detail is here:

As with all single posts you can access the original thread in the upper right corner. AP/vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
How do I find Rear Speaker or Trailer Wiring?

This seems to come up occasionally so I figured I'd give newer owners the heads up to save them either searching the forum, or searching through their vehicle.

If your Sprinter didn't come with rear speakers, the trailer package or the wiring option wasn't ordered from the factory it is 99.9999999% certain that you don't have any rear speaker wires or trailer wires installed. In fact, it is likely that the OEM vehicle plug for the radio doesn't even contain the pins in the rear speaker position to connect to the radio rear speaker output. There is no easy plug in point provided for trailer wiring as in some vehicles.

MB doesn't use the USA manufacturers approach of installing a wire harness with everything included and then just using the wires they need for that specific vehicle. If it wasn't on the factory order, MB doesn't install it so don't expect other accessory wiring to automatically be there either. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Hope this does some good. AP/vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
OM 647 Engine Fuel pressure relief valve part# 5166878AA

Search words: driver side Humm hmmm vibration noise shutdown fuel line

Another obscure Sprinter part for the 2004 - 2006 OM 647 engine that your dealer may not be able to easily find listed.

Thread is here:

Thanks goes to Doktor A Andy and Sprintguy Carl.

Another recent related thread:
2004 Sprinter Truck Fuel Pump Loud?

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Some General Info about T1N Fuse Blocks, Fuses and Relays

There is fuse block and relay info included in the NAFTA Sprinter owners manual. The information in this post may make it a bit more clear.

Fuse Block #1 under the steering wheel


Fuse Block #1 Arrangement (Note: There have been reports of varied locations of some fuses between model years.)


Fuse Block #2 Under Driver Seat (NAFTA)


Fuse Block #2 includes Fuse/Relay Block

(Perhaps referred to as Fuse Block #3 in other manuals?)
20100813 edit. Apparently it is not a combination FB #2 & 3. Dick (autostaretx) thinks FB #3 is not on NAFTA models and provided a parts description in this post if you're interested. That seems correct.:thumbup:


Relay Block Under Driver Seat (NAFTA)


The method for removing the seat cushion (seat pan) for more access to the Relay Block is found here:

20100629 Edit:

There is some additional relay block info found here:

Relay Block List Map Diagram

and some more A/C Aux Fan info here deeper into the thread

ac fan doesn't run

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Some Cautions Regarding The Fuse and Relay Blocks

The NAFTA Sprinter fuse and relay blocks have some history of connections getting loose and causing intermittent contact or failure of the contacts completely.

Some links:

To help visualize the fuse block design Sikwan has a bunch of great pictures in his Headlight Modification thread here which are worth reviewing:

The ATC fuses used in the NAFTA Sprinter are common in automobile service. They basically look like this.


The blades of the fuses and relays slide into contact assemblies like this. (Credit Sikwan for this picture)
You can see by the set of contacts to the left of my blue arrow that they have added structure to try and improve the spring contact pressure on select sets. Perhaps if they had done that to all of them...

fuse block with text.jpg

I have seen similar contact design to these in some power extension cords.

Here is my post comment on power extension cords.

What I don't like about the design is that it depends upon the strength and spring characteristics of the metal from the base of the two "pins" to maintain pressure to keep good connection on the fuse or relay blade. There is no give in the design as there is in more traditional contacts so any twisting or turning can easily open the distance between the pins and begin loosening the contacts.

This is a more typical traditional blade fuse contact. The spring contacts are less prone to metal fatique.


Doktor A cautions against using "fuse tap" type multipliers to add a circuit to the NAFTA Sprinter fuse blocks. I'm certain some of the reasons he says this are:
Many of the fuse tap units have a thicker blade where the tap comes off. Once that thicker blade bends open the fuse block contact it will never properly work for a standard fuse.
Anything which extends out from the fuse block adds leverage and increases the the risk of bending and loosening the fuse block connections.

Here is one style which isn't so bad for forcing open the contacts, but may cause extra side or twisting pressure on the fuse block contacts and force them open.


This one is worse because it forces open the fuse panel contacts by having a thicker blade.


I would not use fuse multipliers or fuse taps of any kind with the Sprinter fuse blocks (as Andy has stated).
20100405 edit: Apparently fuse clips can be purchased to use open spaces in the fuse block for expansion.

"For fuse blocks in driver's seat box under driver's seat part # for terminal ends for fuse connections is A-008-545-7926" Pistol Pete
To help keep the fuse and relay connections working properly I recommend carefully keeping only straight force while removing or inserting the fuses and relays. Using the fuse puller which comes in many fuse packs is one way to accomplish this. Another method is to use a rocking motion end to end to help loosen the fuse. Any twisting motion may spread the fuse block contacts and create future connection problems. Hope this does some good. vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Do not use starting fluid with your diesel engine.

The thread is here thanks to Noelski asking the question.

My reply to the question:
As nobody else has stepped forward I will try to answer your starting fluid question.

As opposed to the gasoline powered internal combustion engines you are probably familiar with, the general consensus among diesel mechanics is that the use of starting fluid on a diesel has a far greater chance of being fatal. Starting fluid can cause things like pistons and crankshafts to break. You really should try to resolve your engine problem before the starting fluid makes that deci$$$ion for you.
There's more specific information included in the thread. Hope this does some good. vic


New member
I've heard of using WD-40 instead of starting fluid. It's less volitile. I also believe in correcting the problem first, but in a pinch (cold soaked engine, -40C, no aux heat) it may help. Thoughts?
Thanks for the comment. I copied and pasted your comment to a post in the original thread so people can comment there and keep the continuity. Thanks, vic
2010/05/22 Edit:
Another thread indicates that WD-40 will not work as starter fluid. Again, use of starting fluid of any type on a Sprinter diesel is quite risky and may cause very expen$$ive damage.
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Techauthority Manuals and sprintertekinfo On-line Alldata Info

I believe Jon JDCaples has posted this resource in other places, but I figure it doesn't hurt to repeat.

Techauthority has manuals and other information available for Dodge and Chrysler products.

In the Product Search drop down click on "Service Manuals" and highlight the year you're interested in. They have pages of manuals which include Sprinter.

They also have a feature in which you can join for on-line searches.
From the website:
Tech Authority On-line provides service, diagnostic, wiring and training information, as well as, purchase instructions for diagnostic tools... subsequent model year Chrysler vehicles. Other models years are available in hardcopy only.

If you would like to register, click the button below. Registering will be required to purchase a subscription. Subscription costs: 24-hours/$20.00: 30-days/$200.00: 1-Year/$1500.00

There's some great information to be found. Sprinter listings often seem to be in Special Vehicles. When you open lists always check to see if there are more pages. Have fun. vic

20100418 Edit

Per JD Caples.
Jon recently posted:
"I recommend you subscribe to That's where you'll find the best NAFTA Sprinter service info available for now. has better integration with the MB parts catalog than has with MOPAR parts catalog."

20111222 edit:
I recently purchased an Alldata subscription. The thread and comments are here:
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Cruise Control not working Brake Switch Adjust

It was a toss-up whether to put this here in Stoopid Things or in Cheap Tricks as cost avoidance. It's not really Stoopid, but here it is. It's copied from this post.

Text from that here:
Brake Lights On Light Switch Repair Slip Adjust Adjustment Replace No Cruise Control

I was doing a search to try and help out Spagthorpe with his inability to move the shifter here:

I had remembered that there was a brake switch adjustment procedure, but none of my search words brought results easily. Turns out it probably wouldn't help his situation anyway. I am re-posting this in Write-ups to provide more search word hits. Hope this does some good. AP

Original thread (post #13) for brake switch:

Maybe the brake light switch? Just guessing here, but some others have had a similar problem. Here's a procedure I read to reset the brake light switch. It's from the yahoo sprintervan forum:

"Well Mike S and everyone who wrote in an attempt to help me, I say thank you. As has happened so often, I picked up the phone this morning for more specific help from none other than Herr Doktor A. Bittenbinder. First, I gave him new information that I had not passed to the group because I only got it just before I called him. The brake lights were on and wouldn't go off (with the key on). He diagnosed the problem immediately as I'm sure many of you would have had I given that info initially.

Andy gave me explicit instructions on how to fix the problem or to discover that I needed a new brake switch. As luck would have it, it was OK and I fixed it. I will try to explain it as simply as Andy did for me.

Lying on the floor (you might want to cover the seat runners/rails - I tore my shirt - but just an old T-shirt - you might be wearing something better) looking up into the underdash area where the brake parts are located you will first see the brake pedal then connected several inches higher, the rod going to the master cylinder then just above that by a couple of inches the brake pedal pivot/mounting point - just above that is the end of the pedal lever - you will find the brake switch that touches the end of the pedal to activate the brake lights and deactivate the cruise control. It is a small white plastic square with a "plunger" coming out of it to touch the end of the brake lever. With the engine running, press the brake pedal down as far as it will go and grab the "plunger" and pull it toward the end of the brake. It will come out from the switch and make a sound like very fine comb teeth being brushed across a piece of hard plastic. That is self adjusting teeth in the plunger that obviously did not self adjust. I actually did this a couple of times because I kept going to the back to see if the brake lights had gone out - they had not so I thought the fix had not worked. Not the case ....the brakes just had to "recycle" or clear it's throat. The cruise was once again working and the brake lights were out except when they should be on."

Don't know if this will solve your problem, but might be worth a shot.

The engine RPM dropping unexpectedly can also be related to the brake switch adjustment or switch failure. There are two sets of contacts in the switch. One for the brake lights, another set is for the ABS module and engine control. The ECM knows when the brakes are applied and it reduces power. That can cause a "power loss". The DRBIII and DAD can monitor/check the switch operation.


My Dodge OEM new switch wouldn't go in either. I finally used clippers and a small file to trim the tab areas to allow the new one to fit in to turn.

When trying to remove the existing switch, don't make the mistake of twisting it the wrong way. It will not come out, but will get stuck to the point that it adds many minutes and much frustration to the job to just get it back to the original position. Don't ask me how I know this. :bash:

Accessibility is a real b*tch.

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
The "Thou Shalt Not Jack a Sprinter Differential" Myth

Almost anyone who followed my "Thou Shalt Not jack the differential" thread hijack over at Yahoo Sprintervan should have seen this coming.

First let me say that this is in no way intended to suggest that people can just jack up their vehicles willy-nilly. It is also not intended as an instruction on proper jacking. Anytime you jack up any vehicle you need to be certain you understand what is involved to safely raise and stabilize your vehicle. This can include, but is not limited to, such things as choosing a suitable level surface, blocking the wheels, choosing a proper jack, using jack stands so as to not rely on your hydraulic jack components to hold a vehicle up and other standard industry practices.

Short Version:

After doing some questioning and a bit of searching I see no reason why a Sprinter can't be lifted using a rolling floor jack under the differential housing (pumpkin). (I do recommend padding the lift cup.) I strongly believe that the entire "Thou Shalt Not" jack the Sprinter differential came from erroneously applying the operating manual instructions to all jacking ever. Those instructions were intended specifically for the OEM single point tire change bottle jack provided as standard equipment.

2004 operating manual caution Section 6, Pg 293.

Do not position the [OEM tire change] jack at the leaf spring or the
differential housing."

I think the main reason the "Caution" about the jacking on the differential is in the operator's manual is because if you jack on any vehicle with any type single point bottle jack, the pivot rotation as the vehicle rises causes the jack to angle and the jack can kick out. This is very evident if you watch the roll around floor jack wheels as you lift a differential. As the vehicle raises the jack rolls and compensates for the change in position. Much of the movement is related to the scissors action of the floor jack, but some is because the differential is pivoting in an arc from the front wheels.

The operator manual caution was not intended to indicate that the structure of the differential housing was sub-standard to others in the industry. There is no reason that you cannot lift a Sprinter with a rolling floor jack any more than any other vehicle. I'm convinced that the "Thou Shalt Not jack the differential ever" is a misinterpretation of the intent of the operators manual.

20100422 Edit: I will add that if the caution about the differential housing was important why isn't it repeated verbatim in the service manuals?

If anyone would like to debate my conclusions please start a thread such as "Vic is full of it... again" or something similar. I will gladly post that link here for people to access.

Do with my opinion what you will.... vic

A pricey floor jack that will reach the unibody frame rails. I would probably use a plywood pad with the jack.
Less expensive, but appears lighter duty.

Something to be aware of with clearance on the differential cover.

I have been working on cars for over 40 years, I have lifted cars from the diff hundreds of times. I have 3 floor jacks and 2-6' high rolling cabinets of mechanics tools. It has never happened before [damage to cover/leaking], except for this time [2011 NCV3] and I wanted to find out why. I did find out, and if I can prevent it from happening to someone else that would be great.
Good information to have. Do you think a lobe on the jack cup was involved?

Added: The question was never answered. I suspect that a lobe or high part of the floor jack lift cup was involved in bending the differential cover.


March 2018.

Yes Sprinters are damaged by people using incorrect jacking methods.

Shock mounts are damaged, body metal gets damaged, front structures get bent/metal tearing by not using blocking, differential covers get bent to the point of leaking because proper pads aren't used, etc., etc. All that stuff happens because the correct locations are not selected and proper methods aren't applied.

I have yet to see any documentation where jacking a Sprinter up using a properly padded floor jack cup against the differential case has caused axle tube failures. Please provide the data if you have it.

Back in 2010 I searched for any documented axle tube failures related to jacking the differential case. I found none. I have been asking for some documented axle tube/differential failures since 2010. I have yet to have anyone produce any data. ...

A screengrab from a hoist lifting video.


The takeaway from your second screen grab should be that if using a floor jack with padded cup, the frame rails are perfectly fine to jack against to lift a Sprinter... not to imply that there aren't many other industry standard safe choices too.

To repeat.
Mercedes has a very specific list for where NOT TO jack a Sprinter when using a floor jack. Of course that list isn't all inclusive. They specify not jacking against axle tubes. If the differential case is a problem wouldn't it make sense for them to include that along with the axle tube comment? It is all the same assembly.

Jack as you wish. Carry on.

:cheers: vic
As always the original post/thread can be accessed by clicking the blue arrow within any quote box.

A recent post:

My first post heading down this road started over at Yahoo Sprintervan. Here is the link.

Re: sprinter lift location points

This is my initial hijack comment at Sprintervan.
A question about jacking the rear end of a Sprinter.

I posted this below.
"I know this is heresy, but I jack the back end of my 2004 2500
up with a floor jack by using the pumpkin all the time. I use a piece of 5/8"
plywood cushion between the jack cup and the bottom of the differential case."

I've heard many times that you can't jack up a Sprinter by using the rear end
housing (pumpkin). I searched through my 2004 manual and found this caution in Section 6, Page 293.

Do not position the jack at the leaf spring or the
differential housing."

That is in the section pertaining to using the OEM supplied tire changing jack. I understand completely that using the single point OEM hydraulic bottle style jack anywhere but in the designed locations is dangerous.

I then read/searched my Sprinter Service Manual CD for any warnings against jacking the differential housing. I didn't find anyplace where they specifically warned against that.

My questions:
Where does it specify not to raise the rear of a Sprinter up using a roll around floor jack under the differential housing (pumpkin)? Have people mistakenly transferred the cautions about using a OEM bottle jack under the differential housing into an erroneous "Thou Shalt Not" rule? Until someone supplies references otherwise, I'm thinkin' that's what has happened. vic
This is my conclusion.

Some of the posts leading up to why I arrived there can be found lower down.

I did some searching.

I did a Google search using "differential damage jack lift". No hits of damage.

I used "differential crack lift jack", no damage posts screaming at me.

I used "differential jack lift bent tubes" and got some negative comments from Sprinter posts, but no damage. (Were the negative comments Sprinter "Thou Shalt Not" inspired and not based upon fact??? I think so.)

Some select comments from my searches are included lower in this post if you're interested.

My conclusion is that if lifting vehicles by using the differential housing was causing damage the searches I used would have had hits describing jack damage screaming out at me. The only actual damage comment I found was about a differential that had an oil cooling line damaged.

I think the OEM operators manual OEM jack cautions are being applied incorrectly to using a rolling floor jack with a slightly padded cup. You may actually be putting yourself in more danger screwing around lifting one side at a time. Do with my opinion what you will.... vic

Searched "differential damage jack lift", select comments:

so what's the consensus about jacking a car up at the differential? seems to be about 50/50 from the searches. i ran across this pelican part technical page about jacking an e36 and they say:
" If you would like to raise just the rear of the car, there are a few methods that you can use. The most common one is to lift the entire car by the bottom of the rear differential. This will not damage the differential as it is very strong at this point...."

"SORRY GUYS I DONT KNOW WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK, but it is safe to lift a car by the differential, unless it is a car that has a diff cooler on it.Then you shouldn't,.cause it will damage it if you are not careful.

Yes i know i am talking against our Moderator but sorry to say, but it is just fine to lift it on the diff. Hey we get icbc cars in all the time with no wheels, so where are u going to put the jack? All diffs are connected to the subframe, which is bushinged to the body. And yes the diff has 3 bolts, but they are big enough to take the weight......Ok if you have aluminum diffs, they willl still take the weight, unless as i said do not do it with the diff coolers like on the AMG's - MeanGreen"

"Well, the pdf file makes it perfectly clear that MB recommends lifting from the differential. (Underline is mine. -vic) But common sense tells me not to. (Really???? Sarcasm is mine - vic) The differential is not designed to carry the weight of the car -- it's designed to withstand torsional twisting.

Even if Wilhelm Maybach speaks to me from the grave -- telling me it's OK -- I'm still not going to jack my 201 from the differential.

Wilhelm Maybach

But, hey... that's just me. (Yep. Don't get confused by the facts. - vic)

Jeff Pierce"

Searched "differential crack lift jack" no hits worth mentioning.

Searched "differential jack lift bent tubes", select comments:
A 2007 discussion.
06-27-2007, 08:06 PM
Rear axle is okay (on the axle tube near the spring mounts), just not under the Differential Housing (or pumpkin). ("Thou Shalt Not" applied again?? - vic)
Here's from the '03 service manual.


When properly positioned, a floor jack can be used

to lift a vehicle. Support the vehicle in the raised

position with jack stands at the front and rear ends

of the frame rails.
vic edit: If you think they are telling you to only use the floor jack on the "front and rear ends of the frame rails" re-read the statement or we may then be on our way to another "Thou Shall" misinterpretation. They say "jack stands at the front and rear ends". If they are telling you to place the jack stands in those frame rail positions that means the floor jack needed to be positioned somewhere else to raise the vehicle so the jack stands could be installed in those positions. I'm thinkin' the differential would be a perfect place to raise the rear with a floor jack for this. You can't place the jack stands under the frame rails if the floor jack is already there in the way.
CAUTION: Do not lift vehicle with a floor jack positioned


An axle tube.

A body side sill.

A steering linkage component.

A drive shaft.

The engine or transmission oil pan.

The fuel tank.

A front suspension arm.
Note that the differential housing is not listed in the above MB list. If the differential was officially excluded, rather than Axle Tubes wouldn't the list specify "Differential Assembly"? - vic

Here is a T1N document thanks to autostaretx.

View attachment JackPointsT1N.pdf

20101103 edit:
Here is a NCV3 document thanks to JD Caples.

View attachment NAFTA-NCV3-Chrysler-Service-Info-Hoisting-Points.pdf
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Not Suitable w/220v Gen
There are pictures in showing hoisting locations. There's a picture of a floor jack under the pumpkin.



Not Suitable w/220v Gen
This picture... did it look anything like AP's avatar? :smirk:

Yeah, it does cost money to view that info.

It'd be nice if "owning a Sprinter" entitled you to view the service info with no further cost, but Daimler took a different path.


Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Transmission line split torn burst leak slit refill fill lost transmission fluid oil

It was a toss up whether to list this in Cheap Tricks or Stoopid Things. It can save time and money searching for the correct fluid (which you probably will never find anyway) in an emergency.

Most any transmission fluid will do in an emergency if your transmission fluid dumps catastrophically.

One commonly available transmission fluid is Valvoline MaxLife™ DEX/MERC ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) in the red jug. It is ATF III based and completely compatible with the MB approved fluid.

It is best to stick with MB approved fluid, but you can always drain and refill after the emergency is over.

Some discussion is here:

Automatic Transmission Does not Respond

Some text from post #14

A kinda typical Sprinter failure mode which causes lower hose damage is that the serpentine belt shreds and as it whips around it can damage other components like the transmission hoses. Did your serpentine belt shred to the point of whipping around and damaging hoses and wiring? It sounded to me more like it was still intact. It is possible the transmission hose failed first and sprayed fluid on the belt and components. At that time the belt would quickly lose traction and could slip to the point of not driving the water pump and alternator causing loss of charging and overheating. Again, this comment is made without ever seeing your vehicle.

For future reference to anyone finding this thread. Any good quality transmission fluid will work to get you back up and running if you catastrophically lose your fluid. (Edit - Shoot, even cheap stuff will work. Anything is better than having transmission components running dry.) Afterward you will need to drain and refill both the transmission sump (pan) and torque converter (TC) with approved fluid at your earliest convenience. Any special qualities that MB approved fluid may have do not matter for the short term to get you home. If you don't have a transmission dip stick I believe you can assume that an empty transmission sump (pan) needs 3 - 4 quarts so that amount should be safe to add without proper level information. My opinion and worth everything you'll pay for it. vic

This picture... did it look anything like AP's avatar? :smirk:
Yeah, it does cost money to view that info.

You guys.... It's a good thing I'm not thin skinned.:bounce: vic
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Mike Horton

New member
A few years ago I was driving our T1n full throttle. I started hearing stage noises and the alt light came on. I took the next exit and It stopped moving forward. Had it towed to the shop and they found the serpentine belt shredding and it had cut a hole in the transmission cooling line going to the radiator. They replaced the belt and the line and fluid and sent me on my way. A week latter our other driver took the Sprinter to Atlanta pulling our 16 foot trailer. Broke down in downtown Atlanta....tranny cooked! :professor: Important lessen. If you lose your tran fluid cut van off immediately! In other words, don't be a MORON like me and drive till it stops. I f you do what I do make sure you give the van to someone else and let it break on them!

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