2006 Sprinter won't move, no engine light, feels under load in drive / reverse, T1N

I have been working on my van for over 2 weeks and am desperate for help. I already missed high school best friends' bachelor's parties, and most likely will miss his wedding that's in a coming up real soon because I can't drive the 13 hours to get there.

Vehicle:
2006 Dodge sprinter 3500 cargo van

Symptoms:
- No Check Engine light
- In Park / Neutral RPM's normal
- If in Drive / Reverse and pushing on the gas this is what happens. The RPM's don't go over 1,000-1,500. The van feels like it's hindered when using the gas. I'm just a DIYer but I would guess this is what a sprinter van may sound like if it the wheels were cemented into the ground and could not turn.


What happened at the start (in short)
1. Did doctor a fix because of rumble, found stardust in fluid.
2. messed up on ATF fluid and didn't put enough which caused slipping in road test one.
3. Possibly messed up by following a recommendation to use the "right stuff" for a sealant on the 13-pin connector instead of buying a new 13-pin connector piece. I cleaned and put a new 13-pin connector from dealership after road test 1 went badly.
4. I swapped my valve body and plate with a my other working sprinter van. I also removed Doctor A fix with a new plate for road test 2
5. Again unknowingly messed up atf fluid level and didn't put enough and it slipped reallllllyyyy bad. van barely moved.
6. I bought a good priced used transmission. I knew something was wrong but also clutch(s) were going in my old transmission anyways
7. I realized my low fluid mistake before installing new transmission
8. Decide to test my old transmission with the right fluid levels before I installed new transmission. I used old atf fluid that might have a tiny bit of contamination with motor oil. But what the hell the transmission was going in the garbage anyway I have nothing to lose but the time it takes to test it.
9. With proper fluid level sprinter came back to life. but it would suddenly switch as if into netural then kick back into gear. I also heard a very terrible noise from the TC.
10. I decided that the TC was probably the main problem
- So I decided not to install the new/used transmission I bought.
- I decided to just swap the torque converter to see if that was the issue.
- I also swapped the valve body and conductor plate in case it was broken on my old transmission.
- I also put the doctor A rumble fix plate on the conductor plate
- I bought more atf fluid for the test. I always thought my transmission issues were the Torque convertor so I had a feeling this could very well fix all my issues.

THE VAN DROVE LIKE A DREAM
- No issues at all
- No rumble strip at all
- Smooth-shifting.

TIME FROM MY FIX TO CURRENT ISSUE
- Day 1 the van was fixed and did awesome on it's short test drive
- Day 2 we drove the van around city doing errands.
- Day 3 we packed up all our stuff for the long trip to my parent's place 13 hours away and were ready to go for the next day.
- Day 4 my lady started it and drove it about 30 meters/100 feet then it stopped working. It developed the symptoms that I listed at the very top of the post. I towed it to a shop.

THE SHOP EXPENSIVE DIAGNOSES DISASTOR
I brought it to a shop (euro works) After 3 days this is what they told me
- They told me their machine could not communicate with the TCM.
- They said "The technician went to unplug the connector and oil started leaking out requires cleaning of the plug. Requires replacement of megatronics sleeve" ( I believe that sleave is the 13-pin connector which i changed correctly 4 days ago with a dealership part)
- They said the ATF fluid was high.... It's possible I didn't want to underfill it so I added 8L but my funnel tipped over during the fill. so I probably had about 8-8.5L. I saw on a youtube t1n video that high fluid won't cause major issues.
- I didn't like the super high prices they were quoting me and something didn't feel right at the shop so I pulled my vehicle from them.

LAST INFO
- after the shop I check the TCM box for fluid and it was dry
- codes they gave me was P2514, P2209, P2211, P2210, P2153, P2227, P2225, all had a description of "active unknown fault". I recognize at least one of those codes as an old solved issue.
- I have had this van for less than a year but it's been doing great. done over 60,000km with it already.

BTW
the shop charged me 536 dollars for only 2.7 hours of diagnostic & 3 dollars in parts...
 

Brokecanadian

2005 Cargo 2500 SHC NA
Interesting that it works perfectly, until it doesn't. Kinda like mine; although turning van off and restarting lets me attempt to try and have it go thru the gears again.

What you describe sounds like when mine sticks in 3rd or 4th. Transmission isn't really "slipping" but obviously doesn't operate like it should.

First order of business if you're going to fix yourself: scan tool capable of reading what's wrong but more importantly capable of resetting TRANSMISSION limp mode (not saying that's what is wrong, but if you get stuck in second it is the only way to recover)

Visit the threads on scanners here. It has to be a Mercedes specific type, you can't access the transmission module with a normal OBD II type scanner. Which, makes me wonder about that shop you used...

I'm sure some will chime in about possible mechanical problems, but the fact that it CAN work well makes me think: modules and wiring

Try and eliminate (like you have been) the usual stuff, but I'll be writing an article here about the use of an oscilloscope to diagnose these problems as soon as it gets here from China. That's my guess, wiring or module (in my case I see the canbus error messages)


Edit: over 400,000 miles of delivery on my original 2005 transmission. I like the idea of you figuring out the original problem, but having a spare

In my case, I could swap the entire transmission and the new one would stick in gear and stop shifting too. I suspect the module on the ABS unit, but I'm done parts swapping without knowing for sure. The oscilloscope should let me watch the modules talk, and if there's something up with a module, the signal would correct after the bad one is unplugged. Lots of YouTube vids on this. I'll also be able to verify wheel speed sensors, which the TCM depends on

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Brokecanadian

2005 Cargo 2500 SHC NA
Almost forgot: my rpms do the same with engine bucking and jerking, if I hook up all 4 wheel speed sensors. I can overcome with full throttle but it's a horrible ride. I literally yanked my back left wheel speed sensor wire to get it to stop, and put up with the 3 lights on dash and 2/3 times I drive, getting stuck in gear...but no throttle limitation like van thinks I'm taking off on ice...module for sure, just not sure which one
 

Brokecanadian

2005 Cargo 2500 SHC NA
I found this other forum with very similar issues


https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62661


His was the conductor plate was bad. I'm going to try and replace my conductor plate with the other one I have and see if that solves the problem. But the other forum has other possible issues listed as well for anyone else trying to solve this problem and it's not the conductor plate.
Good info, but I know you already swapped the valve body and conductor plate. Few months ago I did the same, and no difference in symptoms
 

Patrick of M

2005 T1N 2500 (NA spec)
What does Your scanner say is wrong?
Did you ever replace the plug/oring on the transmission end?
Just because oil hasn’t made its way up to the TCM doesn’t mean it isn’t having communication problems because of a oily plug at the other end.
Of course if you scan it communication errors will show up.....see top.
p.s. get/make a trans dipstick, fluid level seems to be a major error point for you.
 

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
Before you run down the rabbit hole. Does your scanner report the brake switch as been pressed? If the TCM/ECM sees the brake applied, you will have almost no power, and the engine won't get over 1500rpm.

A faulty brake switch, tail housing wiring, etc can cause this.

The brake switch may need adjusted if it was bumped. Check the service manual.

The brake switch has 2 circuits. So it can fail without abnormal brake light behavior.
 

Trick

New member
I hope you fix this and update. It sounds very similar to the issue I'm currently having.
 
Interesting that it works perfectly, until it doesn't. Kinda like mine; although turning van off and restarting lets me attempt to try and have it go thru the gears again.

What you describe sounds like when mine sticks in 3rd or 4th. Transmission isn't really "slipping" but obviously doesn't operate like it should.

First order of business if you're going to fix yourself: scan tool capable of reading what's wrong but more importantly capable of resetting TRANSMISSION limp mode (not saying that's what is wrong, but if you get stuck in second it is the only way to recover)

Visit the threads on scanners here. It has to be a Mercedes specific type, you can't access the transmission module with a normal OBD II type scanner. Which, makes me wonder about that shop you used...

I'm sure some will chime in about possible mechanical problems, but the fact that it CAN work well makes me think: modules and wiring

Try and eliminate (like you have been) the usual stuff, but I'll be writing an article here about the use of an oscilloscope to diagnose these problems as soon as it gets here from China. That's my guess, wiring or module (in my case I see the canbus error messages)


Edit: over 400,000 miles of delivery on my original 2005 transmission. I like the idea of you figuring out the original problem, but having a spare

In my case, I could swap the entire transmission and the new one would stick in gear and stop shifting too. I suspect the module on the ABS unit, but I'm done parts swapping without knowing for sure. The oscilloscope should let me watch the modules talk, and if there's something up with a module, the signal would correct after the bad one is unplugged. Lots of YouTube vids on this. I'll also be able to verify wheel speed sensors, which the TCM depends on

Sent from my SM-A705W using Tapatalk
I'm thinking of buying an icarsoft mb II, or Autel MD802 (full system not four systems), or MB Star c3 china clone. I'm just assuming I won't have the opportunity to buy a DAD. Any suggestions?

Major consideration is once this is fixed I will drive all the way from Calgary, AB to Manitoba MB. over 13-hour drive. So I have the problem of where to send the scanner. Also I'm desperate to get this fixed fast because I have a limited time to Reno the one van into a RV for the tourist season... Me and my wife are already very stressed out because we are broke/debt and time is ticking. I'm hoping I get this fixed and can send the scanner to Manitoba for future issues.

The good thing is a back yard mechanic lives 4 min from us and he just bought a very expensive scanner. He is honest and says he doesn't know how to use it, but perhaps he can reset my limp mode if I can get it fixed... Is this a hard thing for a shop scanner to do? I maybe dead wrong on my next line so please correct me if I'm wrong. That perhaps there is two types of limp mode, like a soft and hard. the soft can be reset and the hard is locked into the TCM. If so can a regular shop machine reset the "hard" limp mode. I know a guy on youtube that was reseting some kind of "hard" limp mode for people's tcm with a china MB star c3 .
 
Almost forgot: my rpms do the same with engine bucking and jerking, if I hook up all 4 wheel speed sensors. I can overcome with full throttle but it's a horrible ride. I literally yanked my back left wheel speed sensor wire to get it to stop, and put up with the 3 lights on dash and 2/3 times I drive, getting stuck in gear...but no throttle limitation like van thinks I'm taking off on ice...module for sure, just not sure which one
I didn't want to "push" my van to hard with the gas when the RPM's were not going up. But I did read on another forum of some guy who had a similar issue. He would floored the gas and after 30 seconds the van slowly started to move and in a little bit the van would drive normal, except the odd red light would cause some acceleration resistance.

I did for 30 seconds feeling very uncomfortable with doing it. I was so uncomfortable with it I'm not even sure if I had the gas "floored" the whole time. My van didn't move, no bucking or anything. But I think I heard a slightly higher sound coming from below. It sounded like it could easily be very normal sound transmission working and in use. I put my head under the van after the 30 seconds and there was a very very slight burnt smell, it was there then gone.

I take this as a test I should not have done.
 
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Almost forgot: my rpms do the same with engine bucking and jerking, if I hook up all 4 wheel speed sensors. I can overcome with full throttle but it's a horrible ride. I literally yanked my back left wheel speed sensor wire to get it to stop, and put up with the 3 lights on dash and 2/3 times I drive, getting stuck in gear...but no throttle limitation like van thinks I'm taking off on ice...module for sure, just not sure which one
Mine has zero lights on the dash when the van is running.
 
Good info, but I know you already swapped the valve body and conductor plate. Few months ago I did the same, and no difference in symptoms
I swapped the valve body, plate, and TC all at the same time. They were all used parts that I never used. Swapping these parts allowed my van to drive normal for a full day and some. I'm pretty sure it worked properly because the TC swapped. The old TC was making horrendous noise, and after the swap it made no noise. But perhaps the Plate went afterwards.... I know it sounds odd. But that is exactly what happened to that other guy which I posed a link too. He went into his transmission did some stuff then put it back. Then his plate went.
 

Brokecanadian

2005 Cargo 2500 SHC NA
I was really hoping that someone with experiences on possible mechanical failures would chime in. I've never been past the valve body in the 722.6

My oscilloscope is in customs, soon to be on my doorstep - I'll post my exploits, hopefully it will be a kind of breakthrough in fixing all the ailing sprinters on the forum. You can get an oscilloscope for under $100 that connects to a laptop, but nobody uses them.

99% of the time, in my experience, it isn't a mechanical failure. Obviously it isn't in my case, I've put 200,000 miles on the trans taking off in the wrong gear and having to "reboot" the computer with the key

Doing everything you can to figure it out yourself is time well spent, considering the thousands it will cost for a shop to rebuild. Shops almost always go the full rebuild for any problems, not just because of the profit, but because if something else fails, they don't want the comeback



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Also hoping you used Shell 134 or equivalent for trans

8 quarts only with tc drain
I used Valvoline Maxlife.
- Same fluid that Zimaleta used/uses on the 2006 t1n transmission he got over 1 million miles. (Zimaleta is a youtube t1n DIY fixer guy)
- Also, the same fluid that lots of other forum members use.
- Same fluid I have been using all spring, summer, and part of fall. Lots of kms.
- I have called Valvoline to ask about the fluid. They currently recommend a one of their other fluids for the transmission. That being said the guy I talk to worked a lot of years there and said that they use to recommend Maxlife for the transmission but MB updated their fluid specs to match the newer transmission and they had to legally change their recommendation because of it.

In conclusion, I'm very certain ATF fluid type is not the issue.


As for overfilling it. I believe it was slightly overfilled here is why
- I was measuring out 8L but my funnel tipped over, 1L funnel. So I put a bit extra in to make sure I had 8L. I'm guessing transmission had around 8.25L 8.5 Max.
- The shop said it was overfilled

I don't think Overfilling it is the cause of my issue and here is why
- I read of a case of guy who had the 722.6 transmissions that was really overfilled and the guy drove a crazy amount of miles on it before he realized. He bought the vehicle with it overfilled. He did an ATF fluid swap and the transmission just worked better. He didn't get any major issues from it.
- One of Zimaleta's videos he talked about overfilling it and what would happen and that it won't be that bad. maybe ATF would go into the wire. When looking for a second van to buy I personally saw 4 vans that had ATF fluid in the 13-pin connector, just dripping wet. All were not in limp mode and driving.
 
When I did the Valve Body (VB), Valve Body Plate (VBP), and TC swap I realized that there was atf in my 13-pin connector (the sleeve part that connects the VB to the Wire). I went and bought a new one from the dodge dealership so I would have the latest updated model of that part.

I installed it the correct with the correct torque.
- I torque to 2.5Nm
- I have a little box machine you put to between your wrench and extension and set to whatever torque you want. it beeps when you are getting close and does a solid beep when you got it to the right torque.
- I realized during installation that you don't put the part far enough in that the little bolt in the middle can't grip the conductor plate. So I'm pretty certain that It was in all the way if I could get any connection to the valve body plate.

WHAT IS STRANGE
- I read on the forums of this issue and check it mid-summer and found ATF fluid in it and replaced it with a new one, to correct torque.
- That I just found the fluid in it again when swapping the parts at which point I made sure to switch it with the dealership on so I can have the latest version.
- That the shop said they found it dripping wet.... The shop is either lying, which I don't think so. they have 4.5/5 stars with 263 reviews on google maps. Or perhaps fluid is just coming back down the wire. I just changed it out a couple days ago.... perhaps over time the fluid is just coming back down the wire. Or something else is wrong.
 

Brokecanadian

2005 Cargo 2500 SHC NA
On trying to overcome with the throttle:

(Rear wheel sensors plugged in)
I heard thumping as the brakes were rapidly engaging, and the dash lights were going crazy. Hitting ASR off changed the behavior but it didn't stop the loss of power or abs engagement. Violent, noisy, and I got honked at starting from a traffic light

Wrong gear, overcome with throttle:

Feeling of transmission slip. No acceleration. When pushed, van will hit about 2000 rpm and stay there like a CVT until speed of van "catches up" with gear. After this, it may or may not shift according to its own whim. Probably bad for trans, but trans is in safe mode as confirmed by scanner. Dash shows D and can't be manually shifted. Trouble lights for ABS ESP and the third one I can't remember right now on, but when I had my rear wheel sensors hooked up, there were NO trouble lights. Engine light would come on after 1 or 2 driving attempts with wheel sensors attached, and also the triad of yellow lights. I would then cycle the key, or clear ABS module and TCM to extinguish the lights

The big deal to me: whatever the cause, the Sprinter habit of getting stuck in the wrong gear has caused countless needless rebuilds over the years, whether the cause is a module, wiring, 13 pin connector, oil contamination at the module, faulty conductor plate, etc etc etc.

I'm not saying something isn't mechanically wrong with your trans.

If you really want to know, try swapping the whole trans. If it's a known good one, and the same thing happens to the new trans, you'll know it was one of the above problems, if it works, problem fixed

What a colossal waste of time and energy if it's not....Which is why I finally got an oscilloscope

I plan on watching the communications between all the modules. Scope I bought will also act as a DMM, test wheel sensor output visually, crank or cam sensor, injectors, and apparently even compression somehow. I can verify the resistance in the canbus (which is something you might want to do anyway with a multimeter now) but I can finally know for sure what's going on.

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Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
There are only two possible issues that I am aware of.

1: The TCM/ECU is limiting the RPMs. A faulty brake switch signal is about the only cause I can think of currently.

2: The torque converter has failed. I believe a broken one-way clutch in the stator hub? You should still be able to drive, you just won't have any torque multiplication function for taking off from a dead stop.

When you step on the throttle, does the engine build any boost? If not, does it built any boost in neutral if you rev the engine?
 
I have a dip stick. Why I messed up my original fluid levels is because of 3 possible reasons.
- I might of not put it through the gears before measuring the levels. I don't know.
- That I measured the level before I allowed the TC to fill up which then would bring the level lower.
- I read someone not to trust the dipsticks cold temperature which is what I was doing.

I normally drain everything then refill 8L then drive it until it's at temp then check. I did it wrong those two times because I was just doing the doctor A fix and didn't drain the TC so didn't know how many L into the van. That's why I used the cold measurement for the first time and messed it up.

The last time I filled it up and it was working great I did the 8L+ a bit because I tipped my funnel the one time. I talked about in a pre post why I don't think that is an issue. The days were a bit colder up here in Canada so the motor can't get to operating temp just idling. So I did not check it. I figure I was pretty close to 8L not under.
 
My OBII scanner says nothing. I posted all the codes that the shop gave me that I sent it to. I sent it there purely because I didn't have a machine and figured they could pull some useful codes and deal with the limp mode.

The shop was an MB dealership. I sent it there to make sure that they had the right machine.
 

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