Removing the electric step

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
I purchased my 2013 Sprinter to modify for transporting my wheelchair bound family. One thing that needed to be done was to remove the electric step under the sliding door on my van to make room for the wheelchair lift. Most of the job was pretty easy. The final step may involve a wallet cleaning at my local Sprinter dealer.

Here's the right (front of the van) side of the step. You can see two of the 8 torx screws across the front of the step, and the bracket at the back. The wiring for the step in on this side as well.
 

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
Here's another shot of the right (front) side showing the whole support bracket. There's one bolt at the top of the bracket that will need to come out.
 

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
One more shot of the right(front) side of the step, with a better view of the wiring. The connector at the top of the photo is for the step. You'll also need to cut all of the zip ties visible in this photo. I chose to separate the step from the bracket, then remove the bracket. So removing the two zip ties on the bracket is necessary. You also get a good view of the DEF tank.
 

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
Here's the front edge of the step - with the step extended - showing 4 of the 8 screws holding the outside edge of the step. These screws go into captive nuts attached to the seam along the bottom of the van.
 

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
The left (rearward) side of the step with it's bracket. This side of the step is much simpler.
 

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
With the above overview in mind, the removal process is pretty straightforward.

First, I took care of the wiring. Cut the zip ties and disconnected the connector.

Next, support the step. I used a floor jack so I could easily lower the step once all of the bolts were removed.

I took out the two bolts on each side attaching the step to the brackets, and the 8 bolts across the front edge of the step.

That frees the step. I lowered it on the jack and rolled it out.

With the step out of the way, removing the one bolt at the top of each support bracket is easy, and the brackets can be removed.

Lastly, I covered the electric connector with appropriate tape to keep water and dirt out of the connections.

The step itself isn't overly heavy, perhaps 70 or 80 pounds. But it is bulky. It was handy to have two people available to move it.

You can also see that Mercedes was pretty clever with the support brackets. They are identical, avoiding the issues and costs of making the brackets mirror images of each other.

There is one final step I haven't done yet. The van is not happy about having an appendage removed. When the sliding door is open, I get two different but simultaneous warning sounds. And when driving, the dash display lights up with a red warning about the electric step. Without the step attached, I'm sure the body control system is not getting the appropriate messages about the location of the step. The dash warning is undoubtedly a warning that the step isn't properly stowed for driving. I'm not sure why I get warnings when the van is stationary, but I know I didn't get them before removing the step.

There's a possibility the local Mercede$ dealer can reprogram things to reflect the missing step. But before I do that, I'll take a look at the step itself and see how it's wired. I'm hoping it's possible to easily simulate some switch or another to satisfy the van that the step is properly stowed for driving. I'll post a follow up to the thread on my findings.
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
I'm going to toss this here for my reference. Those of you who have been around a while probably know of it already. Here's a source for Sprinter wiring diagrams. http://www.revbase.com/BBBMotor/Wd It seems to be good for my 2013.

One thing I have learned is that the wire colors on the van side of my electric step connector do not match the wire colors on the step side. The above wiring diagrams show the van side colors.
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
In a small triumph of man over machine, I have managed to shut off one of the two warnings I was getting about the step. But first, let me share what I have learned about the factory step.

There are six wires going to the step. A careful reading of the wiring diagrams found at the link in the previous post taught me that two of those wires are power coming through relays (pink and violet), one is called the retracted switch (green), one the extended switch (blue), one is an anti-pinch switch (yellow), and the last is a ground (brown). The colors are those on the body wiring harness. The step itself has different colors (mine are black, white, blue, violet, green, and red, respectively.)

When retracted (or stowed) the retract switch is open and the extended switch is closed. These two reverse when the step is extended. I was not able to figure out how the anti-pinch switch works.

I'm almost certain that the pink and violet wires send power to the motor to extend and retract the step. One will run the motor to extend, and the other will retract. I didn't try to find out which is which. It didn't dawn on me to test that from the body side of things. You should be able to test for 12 volts on them with the sliding door open and closed.

The victory came from simulating the switches. When I stuck a jumper in the now empty connector in the van to simulate the closing of the extended switch, the van quit complaining about the step every time I started driving. I still get a warning when I open the sliding door, but even that can be cut down by pulling the fuses for the electric step (under the driver's seat, number 43 for the power and 45 for the controller).

I'm sure I saved a couple hundred dollars at the dealer to have them remove the step programming from the PCM. But the annoyance is down to a tolerable level, and I still have a little bit of incentive to figure out how to listen in on the CAN bus and perhaps learn how to reprogram the PCM myself. And I still have some dollars in my pocket to put toward an appropriate tool, rather than a one-time fix at the dealer.
 
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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
Here's a table of the wiring info I was able to figure out.

The electrical connector has the capacity for 8 pins, but only six are used.
 

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
So let's follow on with the problems here.

When you remove the step, the van is going to complain. You get a warning buzzer when the sliding door is opened, presumably to let you know that the step is extending. Then you get another buzzer and a warning on the dash every time you start moving to let you know the step is not properly stowed.

As noted above, I managed to eliminate the warning while driving by sticking a jumper in the dangling plug to simulate the "step stowed" switch.

With a little thinking and a little research on the internet, I think I have a more elegant solution. It requires 3 relays. I'm attaching a schematic of how I think this would work.
IMG_3496a.jpg

We start with all three relays in their "at rest" position. I've drawn a line between pin 30 and 87a to show that resting state. This is how the van spends most of it's time, with the step stowed and the switch detecting the step stowed in the closed position.

The two switches I really want to control are in the upper right of the schematic.

It starts by using the power that would normally extend the step to instead drive a relay (bottom left). When the van tries to extend the step, the power intended for the step motor energizes the relay, which also connects pin 86 of the relay directly to the battery (through the relay at the bottom right). That also energizes the relay at the top right, opening the "step stowed" switch and closing the "step extended" switch. That should then cut the power meant to extend the step. But the relay at bottom left continues to be energized through itself and the relay at bottom right.

When the door is closed, the van would apply power to retract the step. That power energizes the relay at bottom right and interrupts the power to the other two relays, de-energizing them both. That closes the "step stowed" switch and the van will stop sending power to retract the step. And we're back at rest in the initial condition.

Feel free to pick apart my schematic, as that will keep me from zapping myself and/or damaging my car.
 

Rkent

New member
Are you saying that in the above case you would jump the blue wire with either the pinky or violet wire?

Thanks
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
Are you saying that in the above case you would jump the blue wire with either the pinky or violet wire?
I'm not sure what you're wanting to do, but whatever it is you're wanting to accomplish DO NOT MAKE THE CONNECTIONS YOU SUGGEST. You're going to short something out, blow fuses, and/or destroy some electronic modules.

So what are you wanting to do?
 

Rkent

New member
I have removed my electric step for running boards. I just want to turn off the red dash warning message
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
I am just not clear which wires you are jumping to solve this issue
I connected the blue and brown wires to stop the red warning message on my dash.
 

Silver144

New member
i have the exact same problem. Did this work 100% without fail. It looks like this was a few months ago. If you have some feedback now that time has gone by that would be GREAT. Thanks in advance.
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
i have the exact same problem. Did this work 100% without fail. It looks like this was a few months ago. If you have some feedback now that time has gone by that would be GREAT. Thanks in advance.
I'm not sure what you mean by "did this work?"

Did the step removal work? Yes. It's still removed. No sign of it trying to put itself back on. :thumbup:

Did the jumper work? Yes. It's still working. No red warning on the dash while driving, but an annoying sound for about 2 minutes after opening the sliding door.
 

Silver144

New member
I removed my step a few days ago as well. Same situation as you had.
I would love to:
1. Get the beeping to stop when I open the door
2. Get the red warning off the dash.

If i summarize what I think happened for you, you did this.

you said
"I connected the blue and brown wires to stop the red warning message on my dash"
Im assuming this stopped the warning message on the dash.

Do you have any ideas on how to successfully get the beeping to end?
have you tried to trace back the wires and unplug the harness where they go under the seat?
any other ideas, the beeping is the most annoying part for me.
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
I removed my step a few days ago as well. Same situation as you had.
I would love to:
1. Get the beeping to stop when I open the door
2. Get the red warning off the dash.
I'd love to do both as well. I am only able to accomplish one at a time. I chose to eliminate the dash message and live with the beeping when the door is open.

you said
"I connected the blue and brown wires to stop the red warning message on my dash"
Im assuming this stopped the warning message on the dash.
Yep. That's what happened.

Do you have any ideas on how to successfully get the beeping to end?
Sure. Connect the green and brown wires at the plug which remains in the van. That will eliminate the beeping when the door is open.

The problem is that I am not brave enough to try both of these fixes at the same time. Doing so would effectively connect the green and blue wires together, which is something that would never happen in normal operation with the step installed. That could lead to unintended consequences, up to and including destroying expensive electronic components in the van. I'm not willing to take that risk.

have you tried to trace back the wires and unplug the harness where they go under the seat?
Unplugging the harness at some other point will make no difference. The wires eventually lead back to the PSM located under the driver's seat. That module controls the operation of the step (and likely sends the warning messages to the dash and operates the beepers).

any other ideas, the beeping is the most annoying part for me.
You could use a jumper as noted above to eliminate the beeping. That will leave you with the warning message on the dash. You could try both jumpers, but if that fries the electronics in the van, that's a big problem. I wouldn't recommend it.

As to other ideas - I posted a schematic earlier in the thread for using some relays to simulate the operation of the step. I think this should work, but I haven't had the time to test it yet.

A more certain solution is to talk to a Sprinter dealer and see if they can reprogram the van to remove the step. I don't know if they will (or can, although I pretty sure it's possible in theory). And I would expect it to cost something, and wouldn't be surprised if it's a few hundred dollars.
 

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