Is the NCV3 as problematic as it sounds?

hepcat

Just an old guy...
I have an '04 T1N Class B moho. I've recently found a '14 Great West Vans moho that is set up exactly the way I want a B-Van to be. It's got low mileage, 37k, and the price is right at $68k.

I've been reading nothing but horror stories about the NCV3's smog equipment and sensors and the exhorbitant (at least exhorbitant to me) repair costs... $1300 here, $1800 there...

So, perception checking here... Am I just in a theater where the horror movie is playing, and as soon as I walk out into the light of day everything returns to normal in the real world, and these failures, while real, are only an occasional issue and only to occasional owners? Or can I EXPECT exhaust pipe failures, sensor failures, and the host of issues with the BlueTec and Adblue systems that I read about with regularity?

How unreliable and expensive are these systems, REALLY?

Thanks for your opinions!
 

Flagster

Member
Has it been serviced regularly at specified intervals. I think by '14 or '15 on most systems have been refined and updated to the point that they are pretty reliable. If I was shopping used I would go '15 or'16 on...dry climate, and would prefer one driven hot and long at highway miles...our '15 has been flawless averaging 17.5K a year...almost at 4 years since new at 66K miles and nothing more than routine service (which costs us at MBZ dealer in Tucson about $1-1.5 thousand/year). I do fluid changes more often than the 20K interval (oil/diffs/tcase/etc)

You hear a lot of horror stories but I have run into plenty of people on the road with over 300K miles on their NCV3 with nothing more than routine maintenance...We were at a Starbucks in Post Falls, ID last year and a guy I got to talking to had sprinters for his painting business in northern Idaho...over 450K on one and 350K on the other...his tip "good oil often"...
 

showkey

Active member
It depends on how and where you look..............

Best example, you go to hospital, if you take that one data point.........you conclude everyone is very sick or dying. Most ( almost all) discussion forums are problem based.


There are many post on their exact topic:
Pretty much everyone will agree:
MB can be very expensive to maintain and service compared to many other vehicles. Many on the forum will complete DIY maintenance and repairs to control the cost.

2014 depending on where you live will be out of Emissions warranty. Many of the problems are emissions related and can will get costly if and when they fail. DEF system and NOX sensor are a huge concern. Think newer than ‘16-17 or older than ‘10 are better bet.

I am on trip as we speak, we were having discussion last night around the fire. Our next RV, I said, ours will very likely not be diesel.
 
Last edited:

irvingj

2015 RT SS Agile (3.0L)
I have to admit I cross my fingers every time we take a trip... but less so these days!

Now have 6 good long trips under our collective belt, 41K showing on the odo, and all is still well. It seems that once we got out of the earlier-than-version-5 NOx sensors, it has been behaving beautifully.

As a bonus, I'm beginning to remember how a rear-wheel drive car handles, and have been nothing but impressed at how our 2015 Roadtrek SS Agile handles on smaller, curvy roads. Wow -- shades of the old '61 Chrysler Newport I set land speed records with back in the 60s! (When I was young & stupid....)

So I sincerely hope it keeps up, but the last 30K or so have been a real pleasure. Still one of the most comfortable "cars" I've ever driven for long-distance trips.
 

mikey1152

New member
I have an '04 T1N Class B moho. I've recently found a '14 Great West Vans moho that is set up exactly the way I want a B-Van to be. It's got low mileage, 37k, and the price is right at $68k.



I've been reading nothing but horror stories about the NCV3's smog equipment and sensors and the exhorbitant (at least exhorbitant to me) repair costs... $1300 here, $1800 there...



So, perception checking here... Am I just in a theater where the horror movie is playing, and as soon as I walk out into the light of day everything returns to normal in the real world, and these failures, while real, are only an occasional issue and only to occasional owners? Or can I EXPECT exhaust pipe failures, sensor failures, and the host of issues with the BlueTec and Adblue systems that I read about with regularity?



How unreliable and expensive are these systems, REALLY?



Thanks for your opinions!


I just paid $2400 for a DPF Bracket and a SCR Cat. The Cat was the pricey part at $1600. The DEF System is a very intricate and expensive system. I have a 2013 with 189k miles.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Rob S

2008 Navion J on 2007 V6
Bought my 2008/2007 in 2013 with 138,000 kms on it - ex rental unit.

Had to do some initial maintenance including tranny, belts, glow controller, fluids and filters, etc.

Now have 185.000 on it including some towing of a 2000 lb trailer, with some gravel backroads included as well, We have had no repairs other than normal maintenance since then.

Tires and brakes had been done about 10,000 kms before I bought it, and those are currently at around 50% worn. For an RV that is pretty good I think.

I do have the GDE tune on it. Currently it wants one glow plug replacement.
 

hepcat

Just an old guy...
Thanks to all for posting and your thoughts. I decided that even though the NCV3 moho I was interested in was a SCREAMIN' good deal, I just don't want to have to deal with the potential expense and hassle of the Bluetec and Adblue systems if they go south. I'm just going to keep using my T1N for now, and if I find a gasser-based B-van that suits me one day, I'll go for it.
 

lindenengineering

Well-known member
The Sprinter is NOT problematic!
It follows repair and service reliability experiences much like any other brand.

A model series becomes familiar to the dealer, repair trade , and then the DIY'r only to be replaced by the the successor which is more complicated and presents its own unique service problems.

I see it repeated time over time with the Sprinter van models and they in turn mirror similar experiences with say competitions like Ford, Chrysler vans' & then at the same time more luxury brands like Landrover/Jaguar, Audi, BMW et al.
Its seems just when you have overcome the service problematic issues unique with one series along comes another successor. That in turn throws you more repair curve balls for the dealer under warranty support, then the Independant, and the DIY to overcome as time goes by.

We have all read on these forums the service and repair difficulties with earlier 906 vans all associated with the CD14 engine and emission controls.
Then quickly followed up by the CD16 series and the Blurtech debacle.
(by the way that is still going on but a level of calm or wallet flushing acceptance has descended to a more sophisticated NOx sensor and SCR Cat. Read $$$$ more expensive.

Now we have the new model in the wings, with alternative petrol (gasoline) power packs , more complication and techno box innovations which will challenge everyone all the way down to the DIY'r. Definitely NOT your Granddad's Oldsmobile this engine!:rolleyes:

It will start with the NFF's & the NDF's at dealer warranty level, increased repair bill costs and of course inabilities to DIY the thing without specialist tools and info. Summed up, forum frustration posts and gripes !
I am waiting to read the first gripe --in fact breathless with anticipation!:laughing:

Life goes on ,it just a revolving door until the next model. and its challenges.
And to quote the late Walter Cronkite "and that's the way it is" !

Dennis
 

ENMeyer

Member
At 135k miles on my 2016 4 cylinder, I have $5,000 in repairs that I think are outside of normal maintenance (EGR bull$hit, two a/c compressors).

$5,000/135,000 miles is almost $0.04/mile. So, if it costs about $0.50/mile to operate a vehicle (depreciation, maintenance, fuel, tires, insurance, etc.), my "extra" 4 cents per mile is 8% of that cost. So, in my case, it costs 8% more to operate a Sprinter.

Now, on the other side of the equation, I get 23 mpg and probably have better resale than a Transit (maybe). I also get 90,000 miles out of a set of brakes. So, it's probably close to a wash, I'm thinking.
 

hepcat

Just an old guy...
The Sprinter is NOT problematic!
It follows repair and service reliability experiences much like any other brand.

We have all read on these forums the service and repair difficulties with earlier 906 vans all associated with the CD14 engine and emission controls.
Then quickly followed up by the CD16 series and the Blurtech debacle.
(by the way that is still going on but a level of calm or wallet flushing acceptance has descended to a more sophisticated NOx sensor and SCR Cat. Read $$$$ more expensive.

Dennis
Dennis, I appreciate your insight and experience. The issue for me is that there is a dearth of MB repair shops in my area; particularly those with enough experience with the Bluetec and Adblue systems to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about being able to properly deal with issues as they arise. Topping that off with your "Read $$$$ more expensive." quote and I've just decided that an NCV3 isn't a good fit for me.

I don't have the kind of cash lying around to deal with the repairs required for "that level of sophication."

I'll continue supporting my T1N until I find a gasser that can reasonably succeed it whether that's a year or five years... so far it's a good, solid driver and I have no reason to believe it won't continue to be.

ON EDIT: Dennis... a couple of quick questions... so on the '14 Sprinter with the 3.0L (which is what the one I'm interested in has in it) with 37k miles on it, presuming it's been properly maintained since new... what could I reasonbly expect to have to do to it service-wise? What are the failure points on the '14 Bluetec motor/emissions system? Is is generally held to be more or less reliable than my '04 T1N?

As you can probably tell, I'm just gunshy here after reading about Bluetec and Adblue systems failures and the out-of-warranty repair costs.
 
Last edited:

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
The Sprinter is NOT problematic!
It follows repair and service reliability experiences much like any other brand.

A model series becomes familiar to the dealer, repair trade , and then the DIY'r only to be replaced by the the successor which is more complicated and presents its own unique service problems.

I see it repeated time over time with the Sprinter van models and they in turn mirror similar experiences with say competitions like Ford, Chrysler vans' & then at the same time more luxury brands like Landrover/Jaguar, Audi, BMW et al.
Its seems just when you have overcome the service problematic issues unique with one series along comes another successor. That in turn throws you more repair curve balls for the dealer under warranty support, then the Independant, and the DIY to overcome as time goes by.

We have all read on these forums the service and repair difficulties with earlier 906 vans all associated with the CD14 engine and emission controls.
Then quickly followed up by the CD16 series and the Blurtech debacle.
(by the way that is still going on but a level of calm or wallet flushing acceptance has descended to a more sophisticated NOx sensor and SCR Cat. Read $$$$ more expensive.
All of the above is true, but none of it addresses the question of whether "The Sprinter is problematic". In qualitative terms, OF COURSE all new technologies go through a learning curve. But that tells us nothing about the relative reliability of one technology over another. You yourself are fond of using the term "blurtech", and rightly so. The "debacle" that you reference is simply not business as usual. It is a bad technology, poorly implemented, and inadequately supported. THIS is what OP is rightfully afraid of.

It is a false assumption that more complexity equates to less reliability. Cars in general are FAR more complex than ever before, but are nonetheless statistically also far more reliable than ever before. Toyota and Honda have shown us the levels of reliability that are achievable in highly-complex modern vehicles. By this standard, the Sprinter is arguably "problematic", or at any rate, the Sprinter DEF-equippped diesel powertrain is problematic, to say the least.

Complexity DOES equate to difficulties for the DIYer and other non-specialist, but that is a different matter.

IMO, OP has made a fine decision.
 
i would have to admit they are more problematic than any other van iv owned,that being said i like it more than any van iv ever ran.iv had several over the years fords and mostly chevys all striped down service vans.but if im honest with myself iv had three chevys all three made 300,000 miles with little issues water pumps,plugs and ignition coils.being able to stand up in my sprinter van makes all the difference in the world,and for the size of the thing it handles well.But my 08 sprinter in 150,000 miles has cost me well over 6,000.00 in repairs not including maint.I did buy it used.all i could afford.also nice to get 18 mpg pushing the hell out of it.
 

cvo

Member
I am own my third Sprinter, only problem has been 1 set of NOX sensors and EGR over nine years.
 

showkey

Active member
I am own my third Sprinter, only problem has been 1 set of NOX sensors and EGR over nine years.
If you swap Sprinters every 3 years.........your never out of 3/36 warranty and 5/100 emissions warranty. That’s the best way to own a Sprinter or any German vehicle:thumbup:

Play your cards just right:

You might never have to do a brake job, transmission service or tires.
 
Last edited:

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
If you swap Sprinters every 3 years.........your never out of 3/36 warranty and 5/100 emissions warranty. That’s the best way to own a Sprinter or any German vehicle:thumbup:

Play your cards just right:

You might never have to do a brake job, transmission service or tires.
That is true. Plus, you and your family will still likely have many happy days during your vacation travels munching biscotti while collecting your "free" NoX and/or wheel speed sensors. :dripsarcasm:
 

ENMeyer

Member
If you swap Sprinters every 3 years.........your never out of 3/36 warranty and 5/100 emissions warranty. That’s the best way to own a Sprinter or any German vehicle:thumbup:
I would actually do this, but the built out costs too much time and money to make this plausible.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
One should compare the reliability of different van brands. All are more complex than older vehicles but some seem to be more reliable than others. Since they are no longer DIY vehicles, then it is also important how many locations that have the proper skills/tools are available to do the repairs.

The reliability of current diesel engines vs a gas engine should be considered.
 
Last edited:

hepcat

Just an old guy...
If you swap Sprinters every 3 years.........your never out of 3/36 warranty and 5/100 emissions warranty. That’s the best way to own a Sprinter or any German vehicle:thumbup:

Play your cards just right:

You might never have to do a brake job, transmission service or tires.
There’s a significant cost-of-ownership difference between a cargo Sprinter and one built out as a B-Van as well... and depreciation over three years figures heavily into that. You can pretty easily lose $50k-$70 on a B-van build in three years... to maintain that cycle takes a pretty deep wallet.

That’s why I’m looking at used... well, honestly I’m not really looking at all... it’s just that this Great West is such a good buy I didn’t want to pass it up if the maintenance expenses really weren’t as onerous as they seem to be from posts here. BUT... it appears that the potential maintenance expenses on any given five year old NCV3 might in fact be as onerous as one would be led to believe following the forums.

Frankly I’m disappointed. I like the looks of the NCV3, and I like EVERYTHING about the coach I had spotted, including the price. I thought I’d found THE van. But I’m not willing to accept that it might require $10k in routine maintenance just on the Bluetec and Adblue systems alone sometime during the next five years. I only put $3k into a twenty-year old Coachmen Ford e250 in the four years I had it and that was inclusive maintenance including TWO sets of tires. And it’s still out there doing road trips.
 

showkey

Active member
I would actually do this, but the built out costs too much time and money to make this plausible.

This came up in our recent around the camp fire discussion...........if we were going to do a North American tour :

Buy a new B RV
Run the North American tour for 3 years 90,000 miles
Maintenance by the book 4 oil changes, 1 or 2 transmission service, 3 air filter. One set of tires.*
Sell the van at the end of the tour :clapping:

Walk away:thumbup:

*Maybe even prebuy the MB service plan.
Highway miles might get by with original brakes.

:hmmm:Costly........probably :crazy:yes

:hmmm:Compared to a 3-5 year old used with maintenance or :shhh:possible break downs? Out of warranty.
:hmmm:Do you feel lucky ?
 

Streams

Member
I love my 2014 4cyl Sprinter itself. Most things about it are great, the fuel mileage, the size, the ride, etc. etc.

But I would never buy it again, and I am going to sell it way prematurely just to get rid of it. The 3 reasons:

1) The diesel regulations and systems required. Too much to go wrong, too expensive to fix. I could see those costs easily cancelling out the savings in fuel.

2) The stupidly overcomplicated systems. More details below.

3) The super expensive repairs. There is no shop around that specializes in German vehicles like this, so I have to take it to the dealer, who has charged me almost $500 for an oil change and tire rotation and a bunch of "checks". I want to be able to go to the dozens of good shops around me that can all work on a Ford for a reasonable price.

Here is an example of what I meant about the overcomplicated systems. I wanted to install a rear back up camera with monitor to replace my rear view mirror since I have the cargo van with no back windows. In any normal vehicle I would take power from the dome light that is located right there. But I read on this forum that taking power from that dome light can cause an issue with the computer when it sense the extra current being pulled and could put the van into limp mode.

That is just craziness. I don't need that garbage.
 

Top Bottom