Considering buying a 2008 2500 170. Needs Swirl Valve Service

INeedHelp

Member
Hi everyone! New here and considering buying a 2008 2500 170 for a conversion.
It only has 108,000 miles and some rust. The main issue is that it needs swirl valve service. I'm not sure what that means, but from what I've read it looks like I'll need to replace the intake manifold. I'd be willing to do it myself (no experience in mechanics, but time and can read the internet). Just wondering what the communities thoughts were.
 

INeedHelp

Member
Another option is a 2010 that has 170,000 miles, but has been very well maintained. However, it also has rust, it's $5,000 more, and about 700 miles away. So, really hoping to be able to workout a solution that'll make this van reliable for less than 5k, unless you folks think I should go for the 2010.
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Replacing the manifolds is not a trivial nor inexpensive operation, expensive parts and a lot of labor hours involved (and definitely not a job for an inexperienced mechanic), and you'll still have the potential of the poorly-designed EKAS system causing more problems in the future. As long as the valves are stuck in the open position (most often they are) then another alternative would be a GDE ECU tune that would result in the swirl valve faults simply being ignored (there is no significant functional problem in disabling the swirl valves as long as they are open.) You can install the tune in your driveway in about ten minutes, do not even need to open the hood. Search for GDE or Green Diesel Engineering on the forum and you will have plenty of reading.

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INeedHelp

Member
Thanks, I’ll be going to look at it again on Thursday and I’ll check to see if they’re open, if I can find them.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
Swirl valves are a big expensive repair as mentioned. Not a DIY job.

Based only on your description, I would go for the 2008. The GDE tune is not available for 2010 and later.

Tell us about the rust. Where is it, and how bad?
 

edfrompa

2008 ROADTREK on F/L 2500
Rust is rust...no rocket science involved.

IMHO, a far greater concern is maintenance history and a current print out of current/historic fault codes.

All in all, the 2008 should be less problematic with regard to emissions system. Also, I believe you can take the 2008 to Dodge, Freightliner or MB for service.

Just my $0.02, others may see it differently.
Good luck///Ed M.
 

INeedHelp

Member
One other thing about the van is that it took awhile (around 30 secs) to turn over, even after running a minute before. Not sure if this is normal, due to the swirl valve, or something else.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
One other thing about the van is that it took awhile (around 30 secs) to turn over, even after running a minute before. Not sure if this is normal, due to the swirl valve, or something else.
That's concerning and not normal. My 2008 starts within about 1/2 second of turning the key..

At a minimum you should plug in an OBD2 scanner and check for codes. A better idea would be to use a scanner that can read Sprinter specific codes such as the Autel MD802.
 

INeedHelp

Member
It had been sitting out of use for a very long time though and the diesel was really old. Could that cause this? I’ll definetly get the scanner, just not sure I’ll have it in time.

That's concerning and not normal. My 2008 starts within about 1/2 second of turning the key..

At a minimum you should plug in an OBD2 scanner and check for codes. A better idea would be to use a scanner that can read Sprinter specific codes such as the Autel MD802.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
It had been sitting out of use for a very long time though and the diesel was really old. Could that cause this? I’ll definetly get the scanner, just not sure I’ll have it in time.
You're saying the starter cranked and cranked without the engine starting, correct?

How long is a very long time.. since 2008?

An added caution.. There is a tendency to think of diesels as being simple, bulletproof, million mile engines.. and there may have been some truth to that in the past, but with the recent increases in complexity- largely driven by emissions, it is no longer reality. As a potential buyer you should be aware that the Sprinter is a complex, expensive, easily damaged, heavily computerized machine..

Owning one is a bit like owning a home with some serious defect (aluminum wiring?). There's always some risk of problems down the road, so as a prudent owner you try to keep an eye on things, and deal with any conditions early on. In medicine this might be called condition management.. take your pills (maintenance), do your exercises, and hope for the best.

However if you buy a particular vehicle that is already exhibiting problems you are asking for trouble, like buying a home with black burn marks around the outlets. Only do this if you are 1) fully aware of which problems exist, and 2) educated or experienced in the resolution of those specific issues. :2cents:
 

INeedHelp

Member
You're saying the starter cranked and cranked without the engine starting, correct?

How long is a very long time.. since 2008?
It cranked for about 30 seconds before starting.

It sat for about 6 months.

As long as the repairs stay under 5k to make it run smooth, I’ll be satisfied. Definitely nervous about buying a money pit though.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
It cranked for about 30 seconds before starting.

It sat for about 6 months.

As long as the repairs stay under 5k to make it run smooth, I’ll be satisfied. Definitely nervous about buying a money pit though.
Do you have a shop in mind to make these repairs? Most independent shops are reluctant and ill-equipped to work on Sprinters, and dealerships are famous for the "wallet flush". That leaves you with few (if any) options, certainly not inexpensive ones.

If so, you should arrange with the seller to bring the van to the shop for a pre-purchase inspection and repair estimate. I remember reading this suggestion before buying my van and thinking it sounded like a hassle but especially in the case of a vehicle with known issues it is simply sound advice.

You're rolling the dice to keep repairs under $5k. The previous owner handed me a stack of receipts for $18k in repairs over his 8 year period of ownership.. swirl valves, a new transmission, glow plug replacement, among other things. My van runs great, but it really sank in that these are not cheap or easy vehicles to fix.
 

Bendsprinter

New member
The only thing I would add is that I have an '08 w/ 80k miles and have always been surprised about how quickly it starts up even after sitting for a while (2+ weeks). Glow plug light off, turn key and within 2 seconds it is running smoothly.

My limited experience is that EVERYTHING on these is expensive and if you aren't doing it yourself its worse. My advice would be well maintained trumps a good deal on these.
 

INeedHelp

Member
Do you have a shop in mind to make these repairs? Most independent shops are reluctant and ill-equipped to work on Sprinters, and dealerships are famous for the "wallet flush". That leaves you with few (if any) options, certainly not inexpensive ones
I’m planning on doing all the repairs myself. I have ample time to research and do the work. Just concerned with expensive equipment. The fact that the GDE tuner should solve the swirl valve issue, if they’re open, is very enticing.

The other vehicle (2010 MB 3500 Dually 170” w/ 170,000) was serviced 100% through Mercedes and had everything tended to. What’s holding me back is the extra $5,000, time (it’s 700 miles away), and the fact that I can’t do the GDE fix, if a swirl valve issue arises.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
I can't emphasize enough how advisable it is to identify the specific issues present, ideally prior to purchase when you can still negotiate on the price..

I'd be willing to do it myself (no experience in mechanics, but time and can read the internet).
I’m planning on doing all the repairs myself. I have ample time to research and do the work. Just concerned with expensive equipment.
:popcorn:
 

Rob S

2008 Navion J on 2007 V6
The slow start may be glow plug problems, which in turn can lead to a plugged DPF because it won't regen without glo-plugs.

If it has a good battery in it, it should start almost instantly warm or cold, as long as you wait for the glow plug light to go out before cranking, which should go out in about 1-2 seconds.

I would try and get an inspection at an MB or other qualified sprinter dealer before passing cash.
 

Grizzly

New member
I'd stay clear of that '08. You'll can easily burn through $5K+ trying to fix it. Find another one ...
Year models '07-'09 are a different series of van than 2010 & later. Also, one van is a dually & one is not. IMO it shouldn't be a choice between one or the other. What are your needs? Do you need a dually or not? You have much reading to do before you plunk down serious cash! Also a 2010 can be tuned .. just not by GDE. There are performance shops that will tune them.
btw .. I have 597K mi on my '08 ...
 

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