Sprinter brain aneurism

HoloHolo

'19/18 LTV Unity(MB)
First, it is stunning to me that 2019/20 MB electronic control modules would be less water-resistant than current cellphones. To Bobtuba and others looking to keep humidity low, while stored on shorepower you could run the heat pump at a low setting. Heat pump and dehumidifier are same technology. Without shorepower use a lot of Damp-Rid-type desiccants. I saw on FB thread that one new Unity owner had water in side airbags and mold. Now, that's a horse of a different color. Did LTV have some chassis awaiting up-fitting stored in an unprotected area? I had "chassis-envy," at first, after buying a gently used 2019 on a 2018 chassis. Now, commiserating with owners of the new rigs, but thankful - hopefully - this is one issue I won't have to confront.
 

alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
First, it is stunning to me that 2019/20 MB electronic control modules would be less water-resistant than current cellphones. To Bobtuba and others looking to keep humidity low, while stored on shorepower you could run the heat pump at a low setting. Heat pump and dehumidifier are same technology. Without shorepower use a lot of Damp-Rid-type desiccants. I saw on FB thread that one new Unity owner had water in side airbags and mold. Now, that's a horse of a different color. Did LTV have some chassis awaiting up-fitting stored in an unprotected area? I had "chassis-envy," at first, after buying a gently used 2019 on a 2018 chassis. Now, commiserating with owners of the new rigs, but thankful - hopefully - this is one issue I won't have to confront.
You might want to do some homework on the AC units in use here - they do NOT have dehumidifier capabilities at all. I do use my heat pump in campgrounds with shore power right up until bedtime but shut it off in favor of propane to keep the noise levels down. I have learned not to expect any level of relief from condensation on the windshield. Like SSTraveler I have been using a reflectix shield on my windshield for the past 5 years now. I am a winter season camper mostly out along the Pacific coastline so am used to a lot of condensation on my windshield since this is our rainy season. I use a squeegee on inside of the windshield with a towel held underneath it to catch the water that literally pours off. I can completely soak a typically hand towel to the extent it needs to be wrung out.

I rarely stay in place during the day since I don't have a toad so I do use my cab AC to dry the air out to the extent I can before parking again for the night. The cab AC will dehumidify the interior air and does a pretty good job of it.
 

Meeks

Member
Wanted to chime in one more time about cracking a window and skylight. When humans breathe and, hence, exhale in a small enclosed space, such as an RV, the amount of condensation that is produced is tremendous.

For those who camp, or have camped, in tents you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t unzip a window, for old-school tents, you will wake up in your own dripping rainforest in the morning in certain weather conditions.

Following the first couple nights we used our previous Airstream trailer we awoke to condensation dripping down the windows and aluminum inside the trailer. I knew something had to change or we would be damaging the trailer. Searching online told me that this is a common occurrence. And that the solution was an easy one. Air flow.

Again, I don’t know if this is what led to the OP’s Sprinter mechanical failure.


2020 Unity FX/2019 Chassis (March 2020 delivery)
 

Meeks

Member
“...I rarely stay in place during the day since I don't have a toad so I do use my cab AC to dry the air out to the extent I can before parking again for the night. The cab AC will dehumidify the interior air and does a pretty good job of it.”



Big plus with a motor home is that ability to use the cab A/C to help dehumidify the air. Didn’t even think of that. Thanks for mentioning.


2020 Unity FX/2019 Chassis (March 2020 delivery)
 

geds

2018 Serenity
Interesting discussion here! I open the vent over the shower each night in my 2018 Serenity and have never had a condensation problem. I have over 26K miles and have camped in it all over the US except Florida and New England in conditions from snow to rain to desert.
 

HoloHolo

'19/18 LTV Unity(MB)
You might want to do some homework on the AC units in use here - they do NOT have dehumidifier capabilities at all.
Upon further consideration, alichty is partially correct. As the condenser coils in an A/C (or heat pump) move heat from one side of an enclosure to the other the condenser chills and draws humidity from the air. With a dehumidifier, both the condenser and evaporator coils are within the enclosure, so the dehumidifier blows heated air out the top while the condenser, facing the catch basin, condenses humidity and it drips into the basin. When our Dometic heat pumps are in A/C mode, the condenser faces the enclosure and removes humidity just as a dehumidifier would. However, in heat pump mode the condenser faces the exterior of the coach and does not contribute to dehumidification.

That said, any heat source (heat pump or furnace) will reduce the relative humidity, allowing the air to hold more moisture. When warm air hits a cold windshield, though, the windshield condenses that moisture. I agree with others who open a roof vent slightly since the warm, humidity-laden air will rise and find its way outside.

We've had good success with a windshield cover designed for the OUTSIDE of the windshield and side windows. While we got it to minimize heat penetration, I found that the dead air space created between the cover and glass did a pretty dramatic job of reducing condensation. I also close the vents on the top of the dash at night to reduce drafts. In the morning, turn up the heat, turn bathroom vent fan on low and open the dash vents. Any residual humidity clears within a short time.
 
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alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
Upon further consideration, alichty is partially correct. As the condenser coils in an A/C (or heat pump) move heat from one side of an enclosure to the other the condenser chills and draws humidity from the air. With a dehumidifier, both the condenser and evaporator coils are within the enclosure, so the dehumidifier blows heated air out the top while the condenser, facing the catch basin, condenses humidity and it drips into the basin. When our Dometic heat pumps are in A/C mode, the condenser faces the enclosure and removes humidity just as a dehumidifier would. However, in heat pump mode the condenser faces the exterior of the coach and does not contribute to dehumidification.

That said, any heat source (heat pump or furnace) will reduce the relative humidity, allowing the air to hold more moisture. When warm air hits a cold windshield, though, the windshield condendes that moisture. I agree with others who open a roof vent slightly since the warm, humidity-laden air will rise and find its way outside.

We've had good success with a windshield cover designed for the OUTSIDE of the windshield and side windows. While we got it to minimize heat penetration, I found that the dead air space created between the cover and glass did a pretty dramatic job of reducing condensation. I also close the vents on the top of the dash at night to reduce drafts. In the morning, turn up the heat, turn bathroom vent fan on low and open the dash vents. Any residual humidity clears within a short time.
This is correct - our Dometic units do remove humidity in AC mode but the cooling coils get bypassed with the heat pump activated. It sure would be nice if that wasn't true because I'd love a way to wring more moisture out of the air on a cold rainy and windy day along the Pacific coast besides driving. I am seriously eyeballing some of the dehumidifier units on the market for that use case.

I originally thought the heat pump could dehumidify the interior until I figured out the units we have really work.

I have only used the AC a few times even after owning my TB for what will be 6 years in April since I put my RV in storage between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. I bring it back out the weekend after Labor Day and use it through the winter.
 

geds

2018 Serenity
I've been thinking about this some more and it stands to reason the Serenity (and rear sleeping areas of Unity's) should have less condensation with the bathroom vent open. I suspect those with the biggest problems are forward sleeping units (Murphy Bed) models because the moisture causing the condensation is from the exhaling of the sleepers. A bathroom vent is probably too far away to do much good for those with the Murphy Bed - or at least it would not vent the moisture as well as with a rear sleeping coach.

Therefore, opening the kitchen vent would do the most good, except the rain sensor frequently closes it during the night - even a heavy dew will trip my rain sensor. So, opening the bathroom vent and adding a fan to move the airflow might just do the trick. And now that I think about it, I usually have a fan on year-round for white noise and to drown out the campground noise.
 

glsBigSky

2019/2018 Unity IB
Remember that the Fantastic Fan can be opened manually. First turn the fan speed to off then pull the knob down to disengage the motor. Then by turning the knob you can manually open the vent cover as much as you like. I normally open both the bath and main cabin vents just slightly so there is cross ventilation. That is the best way to keep condensation in check.
 

bobtuba

2020 LTV Unity MB
Update: The rig is back home, and the only part replaced was the aforementioned ignition module. Everything appears to be in order, leak check also performed with negative results... but we already suspected that. I was warned that I will have to cycle all the spare keys through the lower slot to re-pair them to the vehicle. No other epiphanies.
Future camping trips will find us being much more careful about condensation water.
 

Meeks

Member
Thanks so much for the update. Let us hope it was one and done for the rig!

Enjoy!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

TJLee089

2013 Itasca Reyo 25R
There have been a number of misleading statements in this thread, which can cause confusion, some of which have been commented on.

1. Running the furnace (or heat pump) does not cause or contribute to condensation on the inside of cold windows (SSTraveler, 1/23). The rise in interior moisture is caused mainly by bodies in a confined space and to a lesser extent by cooking, showering.

2. A heat pump in heating mode does not act as a dehumidifier (HoloHolo, 1/24). Moisture is removed only when operating in cooling mode.

3. Heating does reduce relative humidity (HoloHolo, 1/25), but does not reduce absolute humidity, which is the actual amount of moisture per unit (CF) of air. Thus, heating has little or no effect on condensation which is governed by the temperature at the window surface.

4. A heat pump in heating mode does not bypass the cooling coils (Alichty, 1/25). The cooling coils in cooling mode become the heating coils in heating mode, as the output from the compressor is sent to the inside coils instead of the outside coils.

Ventilation (exchange of inside air with outside air) will reduce condensation at the cost of more heating needed to heat the incoming, cooler outside air. This cost would be "free" when using the heat pump or electric space heater at a campsite with electric hookup; not so with furnace running on propane.
 

KlaatuGort

New member
Bob, I'm sorry to hear about all your problems. But, my experience with my 2020 Unity TB, seems close to the problems you encountered. I took delivery of my unit mid-November. I didn't immediately start having the delayed start problem until after about 5 starts. It got to the point that I could count to 5 before it started. We didn't camp in our unit until late January heading to Florida. So, what I want to establish is that we didn't create much condensation because we weren't in the unit enough for that to develop. Another fact, after the first 2 starts, right after taking delivery, it started requiring that the Fob be placed in the holder. At first, it probably required that about 50% of the time, but ultimately, it ended up being 100% of the time. From my understanding of the MB owner's manual, having to place the Fob in the slot is considered and "emergency" start procedure? So, on this first real camping trip, we came back late one night, and found that the Fob would not open the house door. Not a big deal, except the following morning, the engine would not start, tried jumping it to no avail. Not only did it not start, but none of the dashboard lights were on, and courtesy lights didn't even come on. We were situated in our camp site so decided to wait until Monday to call for Roadside Assistance. Fortunately, Sunday night, I tried starting the engine and it started up after the usual 5-6 second delay. Drove to MB Sprinter dealership, they checked and said there were no Fault codes, mentioned delayed starting to MB service manager, his comment, "that's normal for the new 2019 Sprinter chassis". After camping for the next couple of weeks in cold weather, we did have some condensation on the windshield, which we wiped up every morning. The condensation was certainly not literally dripping. However, that's when our real problem manifested itself. We got a dashboard message of "Auxiliary Battery malfunction", along with the fact that none of the Driver assistance functions were no longer operational. I then encountered all the problems you described, engine wouldn't shut off, had to repeatedly try the start the engine, no driver assist. Was able to get it to the MB Sprinter dealership. Their prognosis was water entry/moisture traces, removed driver side kick panel to access ignition control module and found control units EZS and CPC with corrosion at pin connectors and wiring harness. Dealership referenced
Service Bulletin L154.21-N-069524. My question, is it reasonable to expect corrosion to take place in such a short period of time when the unit was not being subject to much continued condensation? It seems more reasonable, that the unit was compromised prior to delivery. MB dealership did the repair and it seems to be working properly (no delay in starting). However, the dealership did not cover this repair under warranty, even though I only had the unit 2 months, mid-November, 2019 to January, 2020, when this all started to occur. During that time, as I previously indicated, we weren't using the Unity. Bob, did your MB dealership cover the repair under warranty? When did you take delivery of your Unity TB?
 

bobtuba

2020 LTV Unity MB
Klaatu, we took delivery in October 2019. As mentioned, the only problem they found was the aforementioned ignition module. It was covered under warranty. I agree that corroding that quickly doesn’t seem right, and there could be some funny stuff going on with the chassis even before LTV puts the coach on it. But in my case, there was definitely a lot of condensation water. I don’t allow that to happen anymore, but if you ask me, there seems to be an engineering / design issue if water from above drips directly onto an apparently unprotected electronic module that kills the vehicle.
 
I would be pretty mad if a no start situation on a new vehicle was not covered by the warranty, unless there was some obvious owner abuse. I would try to get LTV to reimburse you if Mercedes won't. I think we would all like to hear how you are treated for this incident.
 

KlaatuGort

New member
Update: Needless to say, I was very upset about the situation. I was 1,000 miles away from home and had a new vehicle that was essentially inoperative. It was suggested by MB dealership that I could try driving all the way home without stopping, literally not stopping the engine, even while fueling up. That was obviously nonsense. So, my only option was to pay the MB dealership so that I could get home. I talked to LTV, they were definitely on my side. The LTV marketing rep talked to his MB contact about the situation. The RV dealership where I purchased the unit strongly encouraged me to call Mercedes to see about reimbursement for the repair. That was about 5 weeks ago, I was told they would reimburse me for the repair and also the expense incurred staying at a nearby motel for 3 nights, and car rental. Trip interruption is normally not covered but as a gesture of goodwill, MB would cover that. That being said, it has been 5 weeks and still no check, reason given is the MB USA is having to negotiate how much each should cover concerning the repair. I'm a little confused about what needs to take place between MB and the dealership, but I would think they would make things right with the customer and do what is necessary on their end regarding the dealership. BTW, we are not talking about a small amount of money for the repair.
 

Paul&Nancy

New member
I’ve been following this problem on this forum, the facebook LTV enthusiasts forum and the VS30 forum since January. US federal law requires vehicle manufactures to provide copies of notices they send to their dealers concerning safety issues or defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the NHTSA is required to make them available to the public in a searchable form.

On February 16th a Mercedes ‘Manufacture Communication’ was posted to the NHTSA web page that describes the failure of electronics modules from water intrusion problems:
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2020/MC-10172698-9999.pdf
It includes a list of possible sources of the water that can cause the damage. My favorite in that list is ‘Beverage spilled in cup holder’.

The NHTSA web page has been flakey over the last few weeks. Sometimes I can do a normal search of their document database and other times the search doesn’t work and nothing is returned. One can pull up the home page at https://www.nhtsa.gov/ and on the right side there is a white box where I enter ‘2019 Mercedes Sprinter 3500’. I think that you may find it useful to read through the list of safety recalls and defect reports on your Sprinter. There have been 21 safety recalls so far that include some 2019 Sprinters.

I talked to Dean Corrigal at the Portland RV show in March about the water damage caused electronics failures that disabled over a dozen LTV motorhomes from October 2019 to February 2020. His response was that it is a Mercedes problem that was caused by water leaking in through the exposed rear of the cab during shipping. He said that they had documented the leakage with a video that they had sent to Mercedes but Mercedes had not responded. LTV is now inspecting chassis for water damage before they start the build.

I am skeptical of Dean’s explanation. Some of the LTV motorhomes experiencing the problem were build in the Spring of 2019 and were used throughout the summer and fall of 2019. The problem seems to have only occurred in the late fall and winter when condensation in the motorhomes increased. The occurrences reported in the VS30 forum were reported as being caused by condensation and those vans did not have the opening at the rear of the cab where water might leak into the cab walls.

We haven’t been able to travel to the dealer and pick up our new Unity. I am planning on inspecting the electronics for evidence of water damage before taking delivery. We are going to try and control the humidity in the motorhome to reduce that as a possible source of water in the electronics.
 

KlaatuGort

New member
As I had mentioned in my post, "Dealership referenced Service Bulletin L154.21-N-069524. My question, is it reasonable to expect corrosion to take place in such a short period of time when the unit was not being subject to much continued condensation? It seems more reasonable, that the unit was compromised prior to delivery. MB dealership did the repair and it seems to be working properly (no delay in starting). However, the dealership did not cover this repair under warranty, even though I only had the unit 2 months, mid-November, 2019 to January, 2020, when this all started to occur. During that time, as I previously indicated, we weren't using the Unity."

My experience would lead me believe Dean Corrigal's assessment that water leakage compromised the electronics prior to LTV receiving the chassis. Prior to our purchase of the LTV Unity, we owned a 2016 Winnebago View for 4 years, and experienced no problems. We didn't change our living habits, i.e., possible excess condensation, due to our use of the unit. So, I can only conclude that the problem lies with either the location of the compromised parts in the 2019 MB Sprinter chassis, or water penetration prior to delivery. I would be curious as to the location of these parts in the 2016 Winnebago View and any measures that may have been taken to prevent any moisture/corrosion issues.
 

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