Towing, No Power LHM.

Not Really sure where to post this, but here goes. I own a 2017 Jayco Melbourne 24L which is based on a Sprinter 3500 with a 3L v6 Diesel and auto transmission. I tow a 2012 Mini Cooper as our toad/dinghy. The Sprinter is a 2016 model and is under warranty with about 2200 miles on it. I have a lot of background to put here, so please be patient. Most of our outings to date have been close to home (less than 100 miles). Recently we decided to take the RV from our home in Cherry Hill NJ to Williamsburg VA for the William and Mary University graduation. We traveled via I295 to Delaware and then US 13 to VA across the Chesapeake bay bridge and up I 64 (rush hour traffic) to Williamsburg. Most of the trip was either heavy traffic of 55 mile speed limits. no problems.
The return trip was a different story. We left early on a Monday morning and drove about 50 miles at 60-65 miles per hours and had the unit go into LHM (check engine light came on, etc...) in the middle of the Chesapeake bay bridge. I called MB Roadside assistance and the unit was towed back to Merceds Benz of Virginia Beach. All this was excellent and I left the unit there for a week while they worked on it. They said they had multiple codes and ended up replacing the entire Throttle Body assembly and the EGR valve. Their words, not mine. I think this unit has direct injection, not throttle body injection. Anyway I drove the Mini back on a Friday Night and hooked up the unit on Saturday Morning and started my trip home. I decided to take US 13 across the Bay bridge and then 313 through MD and DE because there are fewer small towns and associated traffic lights to deal with, and the speed limit is higher. Nice morning, no problems until I got onto 313 and kicked the unit up to about 65. A few miles at that speed (maybe 15 miles) and the until went int LHM again. Called MB Roadside and the unit was towed to a local MB sprinter service center in Delaware. This experience was NOT as pleasant or efficient as the first, but I drove my Mini home and spoke with the service department several times over the next week.
They finally told me that the unit was definitely in LHM and they had cleared that (?) and they were unable to reproduce the problem. They told me that MB (??) had worked with them and that they determined that I was overloading the engine by towing my car. We had several lengthy discussions about Curb weight, towed car weight, total vehicle weight, etc.... I contacted Jayco and we reviewed the numbers. No sense in going over all that. Simply the Mini has a curb weight of 2500 lbs and the towing capacity of the RV is 5000 lb. The RV is maybe 200 lbs over the curb weight and the total is several thousand short of the total vehicle weight limit.

After reading this and other forums I noted that many people comment on kicking the trans into a lower gear when towing. The Sprinter Operator's manual alludes to this, but does not talk about engine load or max towing speeds. Not wanting to resort to calling the service guy a complete idiot, I decided that maybe he had something, even if he could not explain it beyond "You are overloading the engine.". I was absolutely convinced he was wrong, but one can be absolutely convinced and absolutely wrong.....

My wife and I drove down to middle Delaware and picked the unit up. Armed with the key sequence to clear the LHM condition, we hooked up the Mini and started on an "experimental" trip. We headed up US 13 to US 313 keeping the speed under 60 MPH. We drove to Dover DE without any problems and kicked the speed up to 65 and within a mile or so... no power and could not maintain 35 MPH, although no CEL/MEI came on. Pulled over and shut down and restarted. The problem went away. I drove to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, keeping the speed under 60 with no problems. I was concerned that the unit would overload on the bridge (pretty steep and long). I set the cruise control for 60 and headed up the bridge. The unit kicked into a lower gear and we passed everyone going up the bridge and sailed down the other side. I drove about 25 miles at 60 with no problems. I kicked the speed up to 65 and within a couple of minutes LHM came back. Pulled over, shut down, restarted and drove home without further incident.
I have since found that my scan tool has a real time load monitor and I will try and reproduce all this while recording the real time engine load. Hopefully I can learn something from that.

ASSUMING this otherwise wonderful engine has a load issue as I have defined it, I have tried to find out the specs on this engine... mainly what is the power range and what is the best RPM when towing a load? To consider towing this mini a load is laughable. This UNIT doesn't even seem to know it exists..... LHM excepted of course.

Has anyone else run into anything like this? I read something about LHM and no power when towing with a Sprinter van (not RV) but was not sure it was related to my issue. Does anyone have any suggestions or guidance?
 

NelsonSprinter

Former Nelson BC Sprinter
Just from experience you want the LOD around 80 max then downshift.
I use 3200 RPM at 5% grade to 4000RPM at 12% grade when van is at Maximum weight to keep fuel efficiency and engine temp and transmission temp under control. You are near Max weight plus pulling a car, plus a non-ideal aerodynamic build causing extra wind resistance .
 

showkey

Well-known member
It’s not the towing and not your driving technique causing the issues..........

There’s still an issue with one or more of the emissions devices.........likely EGR, DEF, NOX sensor or DPF.

On the second dealer “adventure”.........codes were they written on the RO ?

If they continue with this towing non sense..........drive several 100 to 1000 miles with out towing........very very likely the codes and LIMP will return.

Many of us tow with class C and 3000-5000 pounds ( trailer or toads).
 
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I think this unit has direct injection, not throttle body injection.
Yes. Diesels are direct-injected, not throttle body injected.

ASSUMING this otherwise wonderful engine has a load issue as I have defined it, I have tried to find out the specs on this engine... mainly what is the power range and what is the best RPM when towing a load?
I seriously doubt that the way you're driving it plays any role in the problems that you are experiencing.

But to answer your question, Mercedes rates the 3.0 V6 turbodiesel at only 188 horsepower, so it's gonna be pretty gutless no matter what you do, the horsepower peak is listed as being at 3,800 rpm, so if you're trying to get maximum pull out of it, that's where you'd want to be.
 

Old Crows

Calypso 2014 View Profile
Point of order: "3.0-liter turbocharged diesel, V-6 engine; 188 hp, 325 lb-ft; 5-speed automatic transmission " .... it is hardly "gutless" ... (sorry, GT!) The 5 speed is a wide ratio box vs the 7 speed close ratio box with the 4 cylinder. You can 'stir' it if you wish but 99% of the time I've not found that necessary. It will choose the correct gear for the load....with the understanding that it has wide ratios and it will seem like it should be revving higher when it is actually laying on more boost for more torque.

Torque rules! It is pulling power....

It would appear (no data here...) that you are having a problem similar to that which happens when there is a leak in the pressure side of the induction system. Low power and a pachinko game dash. I'd reach out to Sailquick and ask where he gets his van(s) serviced in the VA / NOVA area. You need a service department with experience and ability to diagnose problems.

We're running about 10,400ish lbs in a View Profile. No road. It has plenty of power ... even over 7500'. When those behemoth Class As pass us on the flats at 70+ and we're making a comfy 63-65....we just smile.... Sooner or later that guy is hitting a grade about 2 or 3 miles ahead and begins to bog down....eventually ending in the right lane flashers blinking at 40mph & rolling coal like a WW2 destroyer laying a smoke screen. We just motor on at the same 63-65 and eventually close on these dudes. No downshifting, no drama, other than putting the AC on RECIC to avoid killing ourselves and the Doggos with diesel exhaust fumes!

The Sprinter just hunkers down and the engine management computers dump in more fuel and tweak the variable vane turbo to give the max boost and torque for the situation. As we shuffle on by we give a cheery toot of horn and friendly wave to the now foundering big "A"s Captain and crew. "Good luck Mate!"

Once you get the issue sorted you are going to love it...
 
Point of order: "3.0-liter turbocharged diesel, V-6 engine; 188 hp, 325 lb-ft; 5-speed automatic transmission " .... it is hardly "gutless" ... (sorry, GT!).
No worries- "gutless" is a relative term. 188 horsepower is not a lot of power to haul around a box of the weight and frontal area of a Sprinter, especially when it's built out, loaded down, and/or towing something else.

The 5 speed is a wide ratio box vs the 7 speed close ratio box with the 4 cylinder.
Well, prior to 2019 the Sprinter had a 5-speed wide-ratio with the V6 diesel, and apparently the 4-cylinder diesel had the 7-speed. But from 2019 on, the V6 diesel gets the 7-speed, and the 4-cylinder GAS engine gets the 9-speed close-ratio gearbox.

...it has wide ratios and it will seem like it should be revving higher when it is actually laying on more boost for more torque.

Torque rules! It is pulling power....
That's a common misconception. Torque is not power. Power is power.

And when you're stuck in the wrong gear (like with the wide-ratio 5-speed gearbox), there is no "more" boost- boost doesn't go up to 11 (see the following Spinal Tap video). The boost stays the same at WOT once the turbo spools up, and if the engine is below it's 3,800 rpm power peak...it's making less power than it could be making.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xgx4k83zzc

I'd reach out to Sailquick and ask where he gets his van(s) serviced in the VA / NOVA area. You need a service department with experience and ability to diagnose problems.
That sounds like some good advice there... :thumbup:
 
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showkey

Well-known member
Grand tour...........do you actually own a Sprinter???
............have you actually towed witha Sprinter ???


The Sprinter tows 5000-7500 pounds far better than the Ford class C RV Chassis 350/450......absolutely hands down.

Not to mention while towing 4000 pounds the Sprinter (3.0L 5 speed auto trans ) will get consistently get 13-14 mpg.
 
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Moto Vita

Member
Grand tour...........do you actually own a Sprinter???
............have you actually towed witha Sprinter ???


The Sprinter tows 5000-7500 pounds far better than the Ford class C RV Chassis 350/450......absolutely hands down.

Not to mention while towing 4000 pounds the Sprinter (3.0L 5 speed auto trans ) will get consistently get 13-14 mpg.
Maybe you can explain your idea of "better" for us? 188 hp with a 5 speed doesn't compare well to a 400 hp with a 6 speed for towing in my book.

BTW my Sprinter gets about 12 mpg pulling a 3500# trailer.
 
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Maybe you can explain your idea of "better" for us? 188 hp with a 5 speed doesn't compare well to a 400 hp with a 6 speed for towing in my book.

BTW my Sprinter gets about 12 mpg pulling a 3500# trailer.
Maybe showkey is just not good at math or something...
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
From the symptoms, i'd vote for a (slight) leak in the air plumbing between the turbo charger(s) and the intake manifolds.
It can be as simple as a (ever so slightly) split hose ... which doesn't kick into being a "visible" problem until you exceed a certain pressure in the plumbing.
(mine used to drop out at 27 psi, whereas it should be able to reach over 32 psi). At 65 mph "on the flat".
Once you turn off the engine, the fault resets, and you can drive off again ... until you exceed the trip-pressure.

Gadgets like a ScanGauge let you monitor that "manifold absolute pressure" as you're driving.

If the Sprinter notices the leak, it will cease even trying to use the turbo ... which removes half the power of the engine.
(it becomes "normally aspirated" instead of "turbo charged" ... with less air it has to burn less fuel hence less power).

Look around the engine compartment for traces of oil splattered upon the panels, other hoses, whatever ... the turbo air stream has some entrapped oil in it (that's normal), and the splatter can help locate the actual leak point that sprayed it there.

--dick
 

showkey

Well-known member
Maybe you can explain your idea of "better" for us? 188 hp with a 5 speed doesn't compare well to a 400 hp with a 6 speed for towing in my book.

BTW my Sprinter gets about 12 mpg pulling a 3500# trailer.
We are talking about class C RV Chassis......so 400 HP is off the table.
My idea of better........
The Ford Chassis gas V10 I owned were in the 4-8 MPG towing a 4000#
My Sprinter consistently gets 13.5-15 MPG with the same trailer.

Next we can talk about handling, road feel, steering slop and wonder of the Ford Chassis is another thread.
Then transition to road and engine noise while trying to pull that trailer and maintain speed.

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The GM 2500HD with the 6.6 turbodiesel has 445 horsepower, 910 pound-feet of torque, a 10-speed transmission, and a max trailer tow weight rating of 18,500 pounds, and that's just a single rear wheel 3/4 ton pickup. The 3500HD duallie can tow up to 35,500 pounds.
 
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4wheeldog

2018 144" Tall Revel
The GM 2500HD with the 6.6 turbodiesel has 445 horsepower, 910 pound-feet of torque, a 10-speed transmission, and a max trailer tow weight rating of 18,500 pounds, and that's just a single rear wheel 3/4 ton pickup. The 3500HD duallie can tow up to 35,500 pounds.
So......Clearly you DO NOT own a Sprinter. It really does explain so much.
 

hoosierrun

Active member
Nothing I could add to the technical discussion, but we tow a 3800# RAV4 and have towed it all over the Country and lots of Canada. Towing mileage is now about 40,000 miles and it is 2016 Sprinter 3500 with a fiberglass LTV Serenity motorhome built on it. We have none of the problems you describe. There have been a few times where I noticed our speed was 80 MPH on the Interstate (not really intentional, but caught in traffic... and they were still passing us). I would say there is definitely something wrong with your unit. Fuel filter ever been changed? How about the engine air cleaner?
 

showkey

Well-known member
The GM 2500HD with the 6.6 turbodiesel has 445 horsepower, 910 pound-feet of torque, a 10-speed transmission, and a max trailer tow weight rating of 18,500 pounds, and that's just a single rear wheel 3/4 ton pickup. The 3500HD duallie can tow up to 35,500 pounds.
That’s really nice.......perfect rig for towing a huge Air Stream travel trailer .........but........Has absolutely nothing to do with the OP Sprinter issue and Class C RV.
 
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