NCV3 Cheap Tricks - Y'all need 'em too!

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
As I was getting ready to list some additional posts in my Cheap Tricks

I realized they were more related to NCV3, but there wasn't a place that made sense to post them in NCV3 write-ups. Well, here it is. Your own area to record the cheaper NCV3 specific repairs that are discovered.

I do have one request. Please also add to the original T1N Cheap Tricks if you post something here that relates to both models. Hope this does some good. AP/vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Tail lights on, turn signal on all the time

Here's a post related to trailer light modules and rear tail/brake lights.


Edit: My "Cheap Trick" recommendation is to check the drain holes that were found plugged before they ruin your modules and cause problems.
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Brakes not good. Engine power loss

This vacuum line post is related to brake pedal pressure gradually getting worse. It may also affect the DPF regeneration if you have a NCV3. I supply the link rather than quoting from it because the info available may expand as members add comments to the thread.

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Rear Air Conditioner replacement operation

This is not so much a cheap trick, but it has some good information that can save you money if you need to have A/C repairs done. The originating thread title would not cause you to go there for A/C information. A search probably would.

First a great thumbnail A/C operation description by Qualityair.

The originating thread is here:

Thanks to qualityair for the input. AP/vic

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Some info about EGR cleaning and operation from Sprintguy, Carl. It sounds like cheap DIY cleaning will work. Thanks goes to Carl.

Re: Engine miss on light acceleration post #177

As always you can go to the original thread by clicking the upper right corner.

Some more recent information about cleaning the NCV3 EGR system.

Engine light -- code P2457

There are tips as the thread progresses. Thanks goes to all posters.

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Remove Tail light lens - Replacement Clip Studs

This isn't so much a cheap trick.... well, I guess it is if it saves breaking the clips. I figure most owners will remove a tail light lens sometime. The parts likely to break are listed.

Video is here.

Link is here.

the part number for the plastic clip/stud kit

Edit: Even more details for removal here:

Thanks goes to big_d, Sprinteruk (Chris), Bikergar and VanVaz. AP/vic


Some tips from Deancm. :thumbup:
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Fuel Filter Fragile Plastic Tab

This is not a Cheap Trick proper, but may avoid costly repair. There is a plastic tab on the fuel filter related parts which can be broken during change/installation. He also describes a repair technique using cable ties for securing fuel lines that I know works. I have employed it to jump out bad lines by joining hose on the cut off good tubing stubs which doesn't have the keeper bump. Without some restraint method the pressure can slide the hose down the smooth tubing if it doesn't have that keeper bump. (Yep, even when the clamps are tight.) Thanks to Fishermunn for the heads up.

20121123 edit: A fuel filter change procedure is here. Thanks goes to Kat.

A few more details here:

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
First let me encourage all NCV3 owners to post anything you might have yourself, or read elsewhere, here to help fellow NCV3 owners. Perhaps people don't agree, but I started these type threads because I feel the search engines don't always find comments buried under different originating thread headings. Whatever.....

Scangauge 2 11 code P040D DIY cleaning procedure

Sprintguy Carl outlines an exhaust sensor cleaning procedure in this thread. Thanks goes to Carl.


Gary : have all 4 exhaust gas temp sensors cleaned , most likely built up with soot


Single post here:
As always the original thread (in this case which contains more details) is available in the upper right corner.


Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Front bumper bracket collision repair replace

This not necessarily a Cheap Trick, but I thought it is worth keeping in mind. There is a replacement frame extension part available for front end bumper damage. The first thread leads to another with more complete PDF's. Thanks goes to 72chevy4x4 and HappyFamilyVan.


Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Battery Low Voltage Hard Start Low Charge

This is not a Cheap Trick as such, but may save multiple trips to the shop and unnecessary repairs if you have low charging or voltage problems.

There are some cables and connections which seem prone to problems. The large in-line fuse connection seems to be a common theme.

I've noted that there MAY even be a commonality of operations such as simply changing out a battery which disturbs the cables/connections and causes a poor connection to get worse. I have no data.

There is a no start thread here.
No crank no start compilation

Eric Experience as some tips.
Click no start- some tips.

Read this first. Thanks goes to Dennis Linden Engineering. :thumbup::thumbup:

This cable is my opinion a source of lots of threshold voltage problems and DPF/DEF issues.
Least that's from where I am sitting in my shop office!

I have seen no fewer than 5 Sprinters this month (years 2007 to 2011) ALL with alternator charge issues that in every case was traced back to that cable and the in line fusible link.

The cable as posted previously is cheaper from the Mopar system list is $86. Its the same even for the MB 2011 model version. MB parts system wants $250ish for the same part.

This is not to be taken lightly, a new 200 Amp alternator is about $600 retail and if you have a twin A/C set up there is about 4.5 hours of labor to R'n R it, so its worth taking some care about "watts go'n on"! (or Amp 'n Volts in this case).:rolleyes:

Now threshold voltages are important because I have seen alot of vehicles roll through the shop with DPF and DEF issues all with limp or reduced power modes. Get the voltage up to at least 13.98v and codes will clear and stay out, with a reduction to 12.95 and the supply through a defective cable won't balance the consumption.

The "penny drop for me" didn't drop until yesterday when I cleared out multiple codes on a 2010 model with cable/charging issues. Lurking as a soft code was cat regeneration!
Blasted voltage problems!

Equally I have a lady owner up in the mountains that keeps threatening to bring in her 2008 model in with DPF issues. I asked her if she had changed her alternator recently--The answer came back yes by a local shop!
I am sure if I get to look at that cable it will be burnt and the insulation melted off!

Check yours because if it degenerates sufficently you might get a short down and your alternator will be sweating bullets !
A cable like that will have lot of smoke built into it--Don't let the smoke out! :rolleyes:
More on this later.
December 2017 comment.
It should be mentioned that 2007-2010 Sprinters seem to have the most Y cable issues. The design was revised several times until they came up with one that wasn't so failure prone.

As OP has a 2007 it is definitely a prime suspect..
20150408 edit:
A recent thread with some tips for changing the cable.

More details here:

This is from the NCV3 section, but may have commonality with all NAFTA models.

20101212 edit:
Some recent threads about cable problems.

Here is a DIY solder repair method which seems to have good success.

Weird charging problem

Battery/charging/starter cables

2011/03/07 edit:

Another recent post that traced to a bad cable. The symptoms vary a bit on these problems. Thanks goes to michaeljeffery for the picture and all posters for the info.

Battery not holding charge.

20110623 edti:

There's been a few recent threads which may be helpful.

no-start condition after many warnings

Intermittent starting problem

Another jump starting caution.
Batt/Alt cable fuse
(Thanks goes to Plummer.)

As with all single posts the original thread can be accessed by using the link in the upper right corner.

Thanks goes to all contributors to the above threads.


Edit: Some NCV3 Alternator Information

This thread is actually in the For Sale section, but VanFan and others did some research so there is good general application information in the thread. :thumbup:

Thanks goes to VanFan and all contributors. vic

A recent comment with some additional detail. Thanks goes to John.

Check the battery/alternator cable at the starter. The cable comes from the alternator and goes to the starter. At the starter, the cable splits and goes to the engine start battery and another cable runs up to the quick jump start assembly at the air filter assembly. Where the cable splits, we have seen internal (hidden) corrosion at that connection. Corrosion at that connection will lower the voltage and amperage to the starter and act like a bad starter solenoid. This is another version of the corrosion and voltage drop we see in the fuse link of the alternator cable. Hope this helps.

Thank you, John
Sprinter Store
A division of Upscale Automotive, Inc.
19460 SW 89th Ave.
Tualatin, OR 97062
Advice on No Start Testing

Some very good advice from Autostarex Dick and Showkey for starter testing. Be very careful when when working around batteries and jumping the heavy terminals. Remove rings and metal jewelry. If metal gets across the battery supply source serious burns can result.

The original thread is here. Not just for NCV3 models.

Sprinter not starting....

Thanks goes to all contributors.

Ah... an NCV3... there have been many reports of failure of the "Y cable" that connects the starter, alternator and battery together.
(there's even a fusible link in the alternator segment).

There are many things that can prevent starter cranking... dead solenoid, dead starter contacts in the ignition switch, and (in the NCV3) sick logic/relays in-between.

*do the following with the key OFF and out of the ignition*
You can test the solenoid (and Y-cable) by locating the starter and (carefully, with the tip of a big screwdriver and being VERY careful to avoid hitting any other metal on the Sprinter) bridging the gap between the two heavy wires on the solenoid (the little cylinder thing on the side of the starter... where the wires attach).
That should make the starter spin (but perhaps not engage).
Now jump from the battery feed wire to the *smallest* wire on the solenoid (avoiding the thicker goes-into-starter wire).
That should cause the solenoid to pull in, and the starter to engage with the flywheel and start cranking the engine.
(beware: this is a diesel.. if there's anyresidual fuel or oil in the cylinders it may fire a chuff or two)

OK... if the first crank (thick wire to thick wire) works but the 2nd didn't, it's the solenoid at fault.
If they both worked, then the ignition key's twist isn't getting electricity down to the solenoid. Look upstream.
If neither worked, and the 2nd (little wire) didn't make the solenoid go CLUNK, then suspect the Y cable.(or engine-to-battery ground connections)
If the solenoid went CLUNK but the starter didn't spin, it's the starter.

Basic Starter Diagnostics 101...

Voltage drop test all the battery and ground wires and would be looking for excessive voltage drop that would indicate the area with high resistance (poor connection, poor slice, corroded pinch eyelet or wire. Look for "green" copper at the splices and end under the insulation.

autostaretx drew out a perfect troubleshooting plan.......adding hit the starter body with a hammer.....old school back yard test, just moves the parts enough to temporarily fix a poor connection in the solenoid or brushes (similar to hitting a bump:hmmm::hmmm:)
The starter solenoid is available through Summit Racing. 50 bucks as of 2006/12/23.

You can also remove the starter and bench test it, it should take less than 30 minutes to remove the starter (it is not hard, easier removal than many other vehicles).
I bought my new solenoid from summit this year it worked great.
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Some reasons NCV3 OM642 Engine Oil is what it is

This thread started by Jon (JDCaples) gets into what I feel is some good discussion as to why the NCV3 oil needs to be what is recommended. It is a bit long, but I think worth reading. There are some less expensive brands of oil meeting the specs listed for those interested in reducing oil costs. Anyway, oil has been discussed ad nauseum here and everywhere on vehicle forums. I think this thread is worth reviewing. It is 9 pages as of this posting though.

Motor Oil, the OM642, Mobil 1 ESP, Standard MB 229.51

Thanks goes to all contributors. vic

2011/01/03 edit: Recent info

The oil discussion starts around post #13.
1st schedule service???

need help with type of oil

Some good general comments about MB229.51 oils
Valvoline Synpower 5w-40 VV966
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Key Barrel No Turn Rotate Move Stuck No Start??
It can be a bit complicated. This is not a Cheap Trick as such, but may save you time and aggravation on diagnosis. If a module fails the NCV3 key will not turn at all. (Unlike the older T1N model which will allow the key to turn, but gives a "Start error" message.)

Check your battery voltage. The key will not turn if the battery is dead. No meter? A quick test is to turn on the headlights. If they glow brightly then your battery is likely OK.

Start with this information from Doktor A:
The (NCV3) system is a 'bit' more complex than earlier (T1N) 5 cyl Sprinters.

When you insert your coded key into the ign switch, the Electronic Ignition Switch/ Central Gateway (EIS/CGW) Module reads the key.

If the correct key is inserted the EIS/CGW unlocks the lock cylinder allowing rotation of the key. A message is then sent to the Electronic Steering Lock Control to actuate and unlock the steering column and allowing steering wheel rotation.

Faults in these modules require reading of the appropriate fault codes. Doktor A
Armed with that information, you may now proceed to the original thread which has a few basic things to try. Don't be surprised if they don't work.

Key wont turn need help

Another more recent thread with additional information.

Old keys refuse to work - can't start van

Can't turn key - 2007, 2008 Sprinters (yahoo group repost)

Just a reminder for NVC3 owners:

If you remove the ignition key while the front wheels are on full lock in either direction you may end up with the ignition key refusing to turn. :doh: :thinking:

In my haste I made this mistake the other day and it took quite a bit of wrenching the steering wheel back and forth while removing and inserting the key before that "Click" sound was heard and the key turned. :bash:

All is well again :bow:
Thanks goes to all contributors. vic
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Air Hose Warning!!!

"While changing my air filter, I pulled on the air hose to find it quite easily dropped off! So being an inquisitive type, I also pulled on the air hose that is on the turbo end from the air filter and voila, the same! Quite a bit of dirt was around the turbo intake so there has been a significant amount of input air that has not gone through the filter.

Turns out that our friends at Freightliner, who assemble Sprinters here in the US, put on the hose, but did not tighten either of the clamps." LivingtheDream

Thanks goes to LivingtheDream.

Thread is here:

Cheap and worth checking. vic

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Shift Lock Stuck Won't Move Release

Some good information regarding NCV3 shifter problems and added aftermarket electronics. Thanks goes to Danthewolf007 and all contributors.


if you get your shifter locking up check the #7 fuse pin under the driver seat which is where the wire ends at after going from the shifter to the big fuse block under the left side of the dash then over to the right side wheel to a relay then..(deep breath)...back over and under to the driver seat."


The original thread is here:

Malfunctioning Shift Lock


Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
DEF Information

There's been some discussion about DEF diesel exhaust fluid used in the newer NAFTA NCV3 Sprinters. As it is new to many owners I figured I'd post something here to make finding the DEF discussions a bit easier.

This outlines my thoughts from a Yahoo Sprintervan thread FWIW. Oh, and to keep this a Cheap Trick. The general consensus is that all DEF from quality suppliers is created equal. The DEF juice is generally cheaper in places other than dealerships. vic

It appears that shelf life may not be the only factor in determining when to add DEF. A recent post.

Apparently experience is showing that it is best to keep the DEF system topped up.

I thought I would pass along a recommendation my Sprinter Service Manager shared with me. He said he's now recommending to his customers to keep the DEF tank full to the cap. He said the DEF crystallization issues in partially filled tanks are causing problems particularly as the vehicles get older. While he acknowledges that a constantly refilled tank could eventually have issues from mixing old and new DEF ....he said that's only a warning light that can easily resolved with siphoning and refilling.

He says he's seen a lot of issues this summer caused by crystallized DEF in partially filled tanks that could have been avoided if the DEF tanks stayed completely full. He said this is particurally true of RV based Sprinters that might be driven less frequently than other Sprinters.

It's just an opinion that I thought I would share. Makes a lot of sense to me ....and I intend to follow through with his suggestion

Being a T1N owner I don't have a dog in this fight. I do have a question though. Why would anyone be concerned with keeping the tank completely full? By accounts here a full tank gives anywhere from 7500 - 10,000 mile range. That's a heck of alot of time for most owners. Am I correct that DEF has a shelf life? (Yes. See ** Below.) Why not just add a 2 1/2 gallon jug when the light comes on? The advantages are that you don't need to worry about leftover juice, the juice stays fresher and you won't overfill the tank on topoff. 2 1/2 gallons should yield 3,500 - 5,000 mile range. That's many months of travel in my situation.

I'm bettin' the tank was sized by MB with the intent of selling DEF to owners at the 10,000 mile oil change. I guess the people obsessed with keeping their motor oil to the top won't agree here. Does my idea make sense to others? vic

** Q. What is the shelf life of DEF? A. The shelf life of DEF is directly related to the ambient storage temperature. DEF will degrade over time depending on temperature and exposure to sun light. If stored between 10 and 90 deg F, shelf life will easily be one year. However, if the maximum temperature does not exceed approximately 75 deg F for an extended period of time, the shelf life will be two years.

Sailquik reply (a concerned fastidious and informed NCV3 owner).

Hi AP,
In the future, I may just put in 2.5 gal.
Since this was the first time I'd seen the message...(as a
former T1N owner/driver I find the "mesages" feature a bit
annoying as I have to get out the Operator's manual and figure
out what the message really means)... I just reacted (because
others have suggested that if you let the DEF get too low, the
Sprinter will tell you how many starts you have left. If you
use up all the "starts" the computer will allow, find a tow truck
or rollback as you are going to the dealer for a reset and refill
of the DEF tank!)
So, I stopped at the first auto parts store I found (NAPA in Nags Head, NC) and
they had gallon jugs of the Peak BlueDEF fluid.
I bought one and a funnel and poured the DEF in the DEF fill tube
at the LH side (facing the back of the van) of the radiator.
I then read further in the manual and it says you have to add a min.
of 2 gallons to get the DEF system to reset itself if you have seen the message.
It took exactly 2 start cycles for the DEF to reset.
I'm not sure if 2.5 gallons will fit if you "react" immediately to the
ominous "DEF" message.
I too would have thought that MB would have put in a DEF tank that would get you
past the 10K service interval.
I guess I could have kept on driving (there is supposed to be 800-1200 miles
reserve DEF in the tank) but I don't like "messages" and
reminders in my mileage readout all the time + every time I restart the van.
Enough said!
My reply.
Thanks for the reply. Your information should help other owners new to DEF. I
have not searched info on DEF because it really doesn't affect me. I didn't
remember the "reset quantity", but I now saw that you did put that into an
earlier post.

As to the 2.5 gallons fitting in when the light goes on... I wouldn't think
that's a problem. Per info here and Sprinter-source:
Tank sized for 10,000 miles.
The light comes on with 1000 miles, after that the 9 starts warning kicks in.
(per KMDE).

So figure 2000 miles conservatively at first light on or 20%.
Using miles again, 2.5 gallons should be 5,000 miles or 50%.

That leaves 30% before overfill worries. I think adding the 2.5 gallons should
be fine when the light comes on. If an owner identifies where 2.5 gallons can be
purchased I see no reason to even worry about having it on hand for most
situations. When the light comes on you have at least 1000 miles to get some
juice. As I said though, I don't have a dog in this race so FWIW. vic

Edit: Has anyone seen the actual published Sprinter DEF tank capacity?


A recent Sprinter-source thread.

DEF Question for 2010 Blue Efficiency Sprinter Owners

Yahoo Sprintervan thread

2010 MB/Freightliner Sprinters only....@ how many miles does your DE

20130625 edit

A video showing how to use the steering wheel button to check for messages.

Add DEF videoes

OEM Container with spout.

General description.

More detail using a funnel.
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Fuel Filter WIF Clip Broken? A DIY fix is here.

Apparently the water in fuel hold down can break while changing the fuel filter. A metal clamp piece can be fairly readily fabricated. A "U" shaped clip is shown. It looks like a great idea and design. I'm thinkin' a single leg clip of a bit thicker metal would work and take a bit less precise metal fabricating skill because the top leg could be bent untill it applied proper pressure. (I haven't tried it.) The clip shown in the post is a positive solution though.

Thanks goes to sailsailor.

His post is here.

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