Engine Oil MB 229.51 or 229.52 best for T1N's?

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
MB 229.51 and MB 229.52 are said to be backward compatible for T1N engines, but even ignoring the generally higher price point is it the best choice?

Ravenol Oil published an overview of the MB specs/tests. Thanks goes to Boatworksjon. :thumbup:

Some selected quotes.

Ravenol Newsletter said:
MB 229.52 Multigrade service engine oil Low SPAsh

Engine oil with low sulphur,
phosphorus and sulphated ash content
- Low SPAsh.
The specification MB 229.52 is
based on the standard MB 229.51,
although it has higher requirements for
oxidation stability and fuel consumption
reduction . 229 .52 is primarily
tailored to the new BLUETEC engines.

MB 229.51 Multigrade service engine oil Low SPAsh

Engine oil with low sulphur, phosphorus
and sulphated ash content - Low
All engine oils with this approval are
so-called "Low SPAsh" multigrade
engine oils. They all have a lower
proportion of sulphur (S), phosphorus
(P) and sulphated ash (SA). Diesel
engines with a particulate filter (DPF)
primarily require these low-ash engine
oils. In addition, MB 229.51 promises
better fuel consumption compared
with MB 229.5.
The following engines are compatible
with MB 229.51:
Petrol engines: M 156 (only SAE 0W-
40 or 5W-40), M 132 (ROW), M 266,
Diesel engines without a particulate
filter: OM 640, 642, 646, 611 in
BR9xx (Sprinter), 660.
Diesel engines without a particulate
filter: OM 629, 640, 642, 646,
660 (EU3/EU4 with unregulated
particulate filters).

Ravenol VMS SAE 5W-30 COMPACT:

* Compared with 229.1/229.3/229.5: lower sulphur, phosphorous and ash forming content, better compatibility with DPF.
* Compared with 229.1/229.3: more environmentally friendly, increased potential fuel savings.
* 229.52 backwards compatible with 229.51, backwards compatible with 229.31: in each case the requirements are more stringent compared with older specifications 229.1/229.3/229.5
* 229.52/229.51/229.31 are therefore not backwards compatible with 229.5/229.3/229.1
* 229.52: currently has the most stringent requirements
* The engines are installed in vehicles including the current ML and GL models, as well as R, S, and G class vehicles.
Does better fuel economy come with the price of lesser T1N engine service life?

Note that Ravenol didn't include the OM612 or OM647 engines under MB229.51. Interestingly they did include the Sprinter OM611 engine (also an early 4 cyl CDI design).

The complete Ravenol MB testing information.

View attachment oil.pdf

Ravenol Newsletter said:
* 229.52/229.51/229.31 are therefore not backwards compatible with 229.5/229.3/229.1
What oil does a Mercedes dealership put in your T1N?

I have my thoughts, but there should be enough information for others to decide.

:cheers: vic


I find that Lubrizol is a good general information source for engine oils. This link has info about some of the newer emissions regulations as relates to oil.


Lubrizol has some great pages on the ACEA oil specifications.

This E9 overview has some info about SAPS "Note 1 : SAPS refers to Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur, the levels of which are often restricted in the latest performance specifications."

And the C3 spec (which includes MB229.51?)

Mercedes BeVo Specification Listing



When it comes to the older 903 and 904's [T1N 5 cylinder] we simply fill with 10 [1.0?... 9.5 is a T1N fill] quart jugs of Rotella T6 [5w-40 Full Synthetic Blue Jug] or Valvoline Blue [15w-40], same as our policy on Cummins fills using exclusively Valvoline.
For the same reasons MB folk like seeing MB bottles and labels !

... Dennis
Added 20180726

Actually Shell Rotella T6 5w-40 Full Synthetic (blue jug) has a good TBN. I don't know where it may be lacking except that MB BeVo takes off T1N points because it is MB228.31 spec. Which is interesting because MB says that the MB229.51, .52 which lacks some of the same properties is fine.
My latest opinion for T1N engine oil.

The engine oil needed [for T1N's] isn't rocket science anymore. Modern small displacement turbo diesel engines are no longer a new special beast. There are many, many oil manufacturers that produce quality turbo diesel engine oil. Many don't submit to MB for their BeVo list official specification. Lacking a DPF and other more recent emissions controls as the T1N does, any good quality turbo diesel engine oil of the proper viscosity for your areas of operation will be fine.

I put my money where my mouth is. I've used many different brands of engine oil in my T1N. I look for MB spec and ACEA class on the labels, but the most important factor for me is viscosity. I look for 0w-40 or 5w-40 with 5w-40 being the more common that I find.

If my operation area allowed 15w-40 viscosity oil that would be included in my selections.

Actually I sometimes top off to 9 quarts with the 2 ea. gallon jugs of 5w-40 by using 1 quart of 15w-40 oil. Oh the humanity!

:2cents: vic
Worrying about draining the last little bits.
Broken record here.

Remember that if you maintain your fluid changes to the proper schedules the removed fluid is toxic waste per the EPA, but it is still good serviceable product for your vehicle. Worrying about getting the last drops out when you keep up on your maintenance is a complete waste of time and effort.

Generally the fluids need to be changed out to renew depleted ADDITIVES. The base fluid is still fine.

:2cents: vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Here's another person I'd bet wouldn't recommend using MB229.51 or MB229.52 spec oil in your T1N.


Thanks goes to Geriakt for posting the link in NCV3. :thumbup:

:cheers: vic

The above link is provided for general information only.

A point of clarification for the information link provided above.

First. It isn't what the manufacturer recommends. Following the oil selection guidelines provided by Stephens Service may void the warranty.

The claims of sludged up engines using MB recommended engine oil haven't been supported by posts/threads here on Sprinter-source. Perhaps the problems relate to other model Mercedes products?

:2cents: vic

P.S. - I personally do agree that Mother Mercedes is over protective of her babies with BeVo oil recommendations. There are diesel oils not found on the BeVo list that are good products.
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ktm 300

Re: MB 229.51 or 229.52 best for T1N's?

That great info, but what was the last and best mb spec # for a t1n in 06. Purchased Amsoil euro Car Formula w/MB approved spec 229.51.... Uneasy about using it due to low SAPs.


2008 3500 170"ext. 3.0 V6 OM642.993
Re: MB 229.51 or 229.52 best for T1N's?

That great info,
but what was the last and best mb spec # for a t1n in 06.
Purchased Amsoil euro Car Formula w/MB approved spec 229.51.... Uneasy about using it due to low SAPs.
the 229.5 spec # for the t1n .

For some perspective; the 229.5 spec is also used in hi-proformance engines that can exceed 7000rpm.
- Porsche, corvette, mustang.


Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
the 229.5 spec # for the t1n .

For some perspective; the 229.5 spec is also used in hi-proformance engines that can exceed 7000rpm.
- Porsche, corvette, mustang.

Most would agree with you, especially the people who favor brand name Mobil 1 0w - 40 Euro Formula. I don't disagree that MB229.5 is good oil. I use MB229.5 spec oil in my 2004 and 2006... but not exclusively. I have also used MB228.3, MB228.31, MB228.5, etc.

The vehicle engines cited above are petrol fueled. There have been oil discussions which suggest that MB228.3 and MB228.5 spec oils were specifically developed for diesel use so may be equal to or better than MB229.5 for our 2.7L 5 cylinder diesels. A search in the Aussie section should get those discussions.

The fact that MB doesn't recommend MB228.31 spec oil for our 2.7L engines kinda supports the thought of not using the newer formulation low SAP MB229.51 or MB229.52 oils in our T1N's. That said, Mercedes absolutely supports that MB229.51 and MB229.52 oil is fine for a T1N even though the emissions control specific design properties are not needed by the 2.7L diesel engines.

Many owners have reported using MB228.31 Shell Rotella T6 5w-40 fully synthetic (blue jug) with good results.

As I mentioned earlier, I have my thoughts. Others should decide based upon the information available.

:cheers: vic
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Well-known member
Re: MB 229.51 or 229.52 best for T1N's?

Many owners have reported using MB228.31 Shell Rotella T6 5w-40 fully synthetic (blue jug) with good results.
Frito has 115k miles on nothing but Rotella T6. :thumbup:
Mobil 1 difficult to source here. :idunno:
I have 100 000 miles in my sprinter 2006 with mobil delvac 1300 super, 15w-40 and i have no problems. This oil is 229.31. the next oil change i will use a syntetic oil but here in Mexico i can not find variety of oils. Here we only have options like Pentosin and Febi. Here in the south of Mexico we a very hot weather.

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Thicker oil eg. - 5w-40 vs 5w-30 may not be as critical as making certain the oil is thin enough at cold start.

An interesting comment from Blackstone Labs as to thin oil.

Thanks goes to Geob for the PDF. :thumbup:

View attachment Feb_17_Engine_Newsletter.pdf



The point of posting the Blackstone information is to make people aware that proper MB spec Xw-30 weight oil can be a fine choice, not that Xw-40 oil is bad.

Where is this going?

One article by an oil testing professional doesn't negate all of the testing Mercedes Benz has done over decades. Everyone loves to quote the Operator Manuals and BeVo if someone suggests straying from the doctrines. Is that to change?

So now some comments by one person have the forum questioning the MB recommended oils that have given multiple hundreds of thousands miles engine life. It isn't like our Sprinter engines are grenading.

What I got from the article.

If your manufacturer recommends thinner oil than what you may be comfortable with, don't sweat it. The thin oils work fine.

What I didn't get from the article.

Do not use the 5w-40 MB proper spec oil anymore because it will ruin your engine. (It has been fine for the life of many, many vans.)

:cheers: vic

P.S. - To be clear, my comments above are about viscosity, not additives. I still don't feel MB229.51 or MB229.52 oil is the best choice for my T1N, but that's an additive package thing.
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I have ben using Shell Rotella T 15 w 40. Wally world has it .


New member
I use old bacon grease mixed with diesel and tranny fluid and have over 400k trouble free miles.

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Everyone easy please. This is a sticky.


Good old Lubrizol for information again. This PDF explains some of the "Why's" of oil formulation.

View attachment Lubrizol{HCWMKHZLZP-225201116126-KLLVSPEMSF}.pdf

Note that page 7 indicates MB229.3 spec oil uses ACEA base ratings with MB adding additional testing criteria (6 tests for MB229.3). I suspect that applies similarly to other MB specs. ACEA as base, + X additional MB specific parameters.

How important is a complete drain during oil change?

Bit of a silly question, but since my preferred oil change location is not flat is there any harm, or benefit, to having the van at a slight tilt? If slant is ok/beneficial then nose up/down, listing to port/starboard? Looks to me that a slight tilt towards the driver's side could be ok or even a good thing...
It may have some effect, but my personal opinion is that the net result is in an area of diminishing returns.

Many people seem to view leftover used oil in a crankcase like it is toxic acid or completely detrimental to the next fluid being added. If a proper OCI schedule is being followed the drained oil is actually good serviceable product.

Think about it.

:2cents: vic

Added for clarity:
But this thread is not about oil quality. Take that discussion somewhere else.

If a proper OCI is used the oil is drained long before it no longer is within spec. A cup of old oil left here and there in the engine is not toxic. Assuming no evidence of sludge is found in the pan/sump, I feel that any methods employed to try and flush, wash, or otherwise fully remove the leftover oil (except extra drain time) has more potential for engine harm than does leaving a bit of leftover old oil.

Just my opinion. I have no data. Copy and paste to another thread if you wish to discuss/refute.

Some references I've used along with BeVo.

https://www.lubrizol.com/en/Lubricant and Fuel Additives/Engine Oil Additives/ACEA

View attachment Ravenol N-GB-New_ACEA.pdf

This is an older version which goes to MB229.5 spec. A newer version is available $$.
View attachment Ethyl oil rating.pdf

And of course BITOG
(Maybe 15w-40 MB228.3 ain't so bad?)
BITOG Thread said:
In general terms a 15/40 will last longer than a 5/40 if they both use similar base stocks (Amsoil make a fully synthetic 15/40), but in pure oil film strength terms the oil engineer is correct, which is why the best type of oil for use in very hot deserts is listed by Volvo for TDI engines as a 15/40 even for an engine that has an 0/40 approved.
The bad news is that nearly all 15/40's are designed for trucks and that means they have to be cheap, so the quality of their add packs is not so good and not many are true long life oils as a result.

Perhaps T1N RV owners who often change their oil based upon time (too few miles per year) should be using 15w-40 MB228.3 spec oil? Some RV's can be fairly heavily loaded and often see only warm, or hot ambient temperature operation.
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I feel more power in the engine and less noise with a 5-40 febi oil. It is a sintetic oil. Last years i was using mobil 15-40 1300 super delvac.I'll stay with synthetic oil from now on. I think having the parts of the engine slipping better will have fuel savings and lengthen the life of the turbo and the engine shafts. Febi is 229.3.

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Has anyone used this stuff from chevron? It is on sale this month at Costco.
It has been MB BeVo approved for T1N Sprinters for some time.

It appears that they are on the same track as many formerly approved MB228.3 *only* 15w-40 engine oils. It has been changed to a lower ash formulation to work for vehicles with DPF.

The question for those who want to strictly follow the MB specifications is if the Delo is approved for both MB228.31 AND still maintains MB228.3 spec. [See the Delo 400 LE comment below.] Technically MB228.31 only is not approved for the T1N 5 cylinder diesels.

Personally I would use, and have used a MB228.31 spec oil and not worry about it. Many have been doing so.

Frito has 115k miles on nothing but Rotella T6 [5w-40 full synthetic in the blue jug MB228.31 approved only]. :thumbup:
Mobil 1 difficult to source here. :idunno:
(Some have maybe not noticed that their 15w-40 oil of choice has changed from MB228.3 to MB228.31 over the years.)

"Chevron Delo 400 LE, which already meets MB 228.3, was approved for the new specification without reformulation. MB 228.31 approval requires running the full suite of API CJ-4 tests, plus passing two additional engine tests developed by Mercedes Benz; MB OM611 and OM441LA."

The OM611 and OM441LA refers to Mercedes standard test engines. ACEA uses the same test engines.

"Without reformulation" hints that the MB228.3 is still valid.

Another diesel engine oil with MB228.3 and MB228.31 on the label. (Not necessarily on the BeVo list.)

Gulf Synthetic Super Duty Plus Diesel Engine Oil, SAE 5W-40
View attachment gulf_synthetic_super_duty_plus_5w-40_pds.pdf

Added: It seems that the Gulf oil above is more common across the pond, not the USA. I have no idea why, or where my supplier gets it, but I snap it up whenever it shows on the shelf.

:2cents: vic
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I had my oil changed once at a dealer in Tennessee and they put LiquiMoly Leichtauf 5w-40. Been usin it sense, good thing?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
From a recent thread.


When it comes to the older 903 and 904's [T1N 5 cylinder] we simply fill with 10 quart jugs of Rotella T6 [5w-40 Full Synthetic Blue Jug] or Valvoline Blue [15w-40], same as our policy on Cummins fills using exclusively Valvoline.
For the same reasons MB folk like seeing MB bottles and labels !

... Dennis


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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Some additional information as to why low SAP oil probably isn't the best choice for a T1N or any diesel without a DPF.

The quotes are for the information which they contain. They are not for support of any particular brand oil.

Amsoil said:
What is SAPS?

SAPS stands for sulfated ash, phosphorus and sulfur.
They comprise a significant portion of a motor oil’s additive content. Sulfated ash is not added to oil; it is the result of additives in the oil burning and creating ash. The additives that can produce ash are most commonly used for total base number (TBN), but also help in other areas, like antioxidancy, anti-wear, cleanliness and soot handling. Phosphorus provides anti-wear properties and further antioxidancy, while sulfur contributes antioxidancy, anti-wear properties and engine cleanliness.

SAPS Levels

Given the beneficial properties these additives impart, it’s easy to assume a higher concentration equals a better oil. But higher SAPS levels can be a detriment to expensive exhaust devices, such as diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and catalysts. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) realized the importance of using motor oil formulated with precise SAPS levels, and lower limits were established in 2010.

The three different SAPS levels of European motor oils can be confusing, especially when considering the same viscosity motor oil (5W-40) is available in mid- and full-SAPS AMSOIL European Car Formula options.
AMSOIL European Car Formula 5W-40 Full-SAPS Synthetic Motor Oil (EFM) is recommended for European gasoline or diesel vehicles requiring any of the following performance specifications:

ACEA A3/B3, A3/B4
GM/Opel LL-B-025
Mercedes-Benz 229.3, 229.5
Porsche A40
Renault 0710, 0700
Volkswagen 502.00, 505.00

http://www.synforce.com.au said:
ASTM D 874 Test Parameters

These additives usually contain one or more of the following metals:

These elements can be present in combined form:

The sample is ignited and burned until only ash and carbon remain.

After cooling, the residue is treated with sulphuric acid and heated to 775C until carbon oxidation is complete. The ash is then cooled, retreated with sulphuric acid, and heated to 775C to constant weight. The sulphated ash can be used to indicate the concentration of known metal-containing additives in new oils. The result to the nearest 0.001 mass% for samples below 0.02 mass% and to the nearest 0.01 mass% for higher levels are reported as the sulphated ash.

The additives which leave ash after the above tests can help to extend your engine service life. Without a DPF there is no reason to limit those additives.

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
For those who drain their oil conventionally using the drain plug vs sucking out.

There has been some recent discussion about sludge building up in the oil sump possibly to the point of interfering with proper oil supply. Our T1N Sprinters are not getting any younger.

Last oil changes I formed a small rake using iron wire to insert into the drain hole and help verify whether sludge is a problem. I didn't find any evidence of problem in my Sprinters. Over 320,000 miles on my 2004 typically a 14,000 mile OCI, 160,000+ for the 2006 - no real OCI history on that.

Not necessarily a very scientific test, but I feel better.

:2cents: vic

Many, many T1N owners have achieved multiple hundred thousand miles using the ASSYST maintenance prompt for oil changes. Typically for me the ASSYST OCI Oil Change Interval has been 14 - 16,000 miles. That includes many miles towing my sailboat. The 2004 now has over 325,000 miles original drive train.

My opinion, supported by my ASSYST history and MB recommendations.

Changing the oil filter and even the oil at a 5000 mile OCI is a waste of money and resources.

My fuel filter change goal is every 2nd oil change. Using my typical ASSYST OCI that works out to around 30,000 miles. Anecdotal information from other owners suggests that a 20,000 mile fuel filter change is conservative. Further supporting documentation would be that MB has raised the fuel filter change interval to 20,000 miles on newer Sprinter models. The T1N and NCV3 fuel filters are similar in design and size.

My recommendation to those who want to spend money and obsess about all things Sprinter. Put your concerns and spare money into properly maintaining your cooling system. Don't believe the MB myth that any engine temperatures up to 250F are ok. Except under extreme circumstances, a properly cooling Sprinter engine will not approach 250F, and certainly you should not be seeing over 235F regularly.

Very few Sprinter engines have been ruined by extended OCI. Many more have been undone by poor cooling.

:2cents: vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
NCV3 information. It may give a reason to avoid extended oil changes. (Newer NCV3 Sprinters suggest a 20,000 mile OCI.)

A response in a V6 OM642 timing chain failure thread.

Thanks goes to Dennis for his continued input. :thumbup:
No belt just a twin row timing chain.
Yes it does stretch and made worse by infrequent spec oil or irregular oil changes. Again carbon abrasives in the oil causes a "chain" wear reaction, excuse the pun.
When it lets go it does some serious damage , but then the same can be said of all similar engines including BMW 4,4 gasoline and Ford/ Landrover/Jag 5 litre AJ series engines .
A chain breakage on one of these beauties starts at $8000 up.
I have 5 engines to fix like this at the moment. In fact I have been knee deep in one (5 litre AJ) all day today!
The OM642 Sprinter complete drop in exchange is $10,400 plus labor is a great deal!
I've always advocated the ASSYST oil change interval. For my T1N service that is usually a 12 - 14,000 OCI. T1N timing chain failure is not rampant in ASSYST T1N Sprinters. In my opinion the tried and true 10,000 mile OCI is conservative and works for all but a few Sprinters which may truly under severe service. Certainly the 10K OCI easily applies to most owner's non-commercial mixed city/highway driving service.

:cheers: vic
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