How Often Does Your T1N Break Down?

JCMiller23

'05 Dodge 2500 T1N (fedex)
What is the year of your van and how many miles are on it?
How long have you owned it?
How many times has it broken down on you (i.e. stopped running while driving so you weren't able to drive it back home to repair it)?
 

JCMiller23

'05 Dodge 2500 T1N (fedex)
Background: I've had my 2005 for 3 years, it's had one problem after another and I'm doubting if I should continue to sink more money into it. I talked to Dr. A about it and he told me, first that with the amount of rust on my van, it's definitely prone to do so and also that it's possible to find a t1n that is well-cared for and does not break down often. I'm wondering how few and far between these vans are. I'm trying to find a suitable van to make into an RV and I can't be doing any repairs caused by break-downs when I'm away from home.

Qualifiers: Even with t1n vans that do break down every so often, the overall cost of ownership is still much cheaper than any other van; with gas milage, and how it maintains its value, replacement parts are still much cheaper than sinking $40k into a new one, especially with how they depreciate. So a van that breaks down a couple times a year can still be a good purchase, just not one that will work for gallivanting around the world.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
2004 approx 335,000 miles
2006 approx. 180,000 miles.

12 years.
4 years.

Zero times stopped working. At least in my recollection.
One LHM event while towing during a vacation. Temporary repair to the upper turbo hose got me going in about 15 minutes. Temp repair changed to tire tube patch with cable tie over wrap. Still werkin'.

I do keep up with maintenance (mostly). I am not obsessive about it.

YMMV.

Oops. I did have a battery die on me once. The restaurant owner moved his Jeep over for a power jump. Battery replaced. All good.

vic
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
About 3 or 4 years ago, friends (after a couple of months of searching) found a CraigsList 2005 Sprinter, 96000 miles, rooftop AC, no rust. $12,500 if i recall correctly. (Portland Oregon area) They had it checked out by a mechanic (or Freightliner, i forget which ... i think an independent). They then spent 5 months doing interior RV conversion (and removed the rooftop AC). And then they drove it across the US, shipped to Buenos Aires, and spent over a year driving around South America. They had a few sessions requiring mechanics' assistance, plus parts brought from the US by friends visiting them (so: nice parts to have, but not dead-on-road for lack thereof).
They've since returned and are still driving it.

Part of the game of finding "a good one" is the area you're hunting in. Portland was "home" to Freightliner, and Portland Freightliner (company-owned at the time) really pushed to get them "on the streets" in that area. So there are a goodly number of them, and it's a relatively rust-free zone.
Back in the late 1970's, i had friends fly in from the Boston area to buy used cars in Washington, Oregon and California, since the same vintage/models in New England were rust held together by the paint.

--dick
 

Patrick of M

2005 T1N 2500 (NA spec)
Any 15+ yr old vehicle used for intercity travel/long distance excursions should have some tools on board as well as a decent diy mechanic. Any person with an older RV has even more on their plate as the house systems also require tools and a diy person.
I have personally maintained my van for 3 yrs and used and worked on it on and off for 7. In that time it has always gotten me where I needed to go without a tow, but i did need to get dirty a few times making that happen.
7 yrs:
1x conductor plate in transmission
1x O2 sensor
(1x rebuild gasket set for Espar
1x new aux waterpump)
1x emergency removal of valve body to free up solenoids
1x broken wiper arm
1x harness short to lighting
I wont include my MFS as I am back to the original one.

Everything else has just been PM
The PM list kept me out of trouble:
waterpump,
pulleys
Tensioner
serpentine belt.
Regular oil filter changes,
Fuel filter
Air filter
New GPs

On my to do list re PM
New shocks
New pads and rotors
 

trc.rhubarb

Active member
Owned my 2003 close to 3 years - 212,000 miles and it was a PoS when i bought it. Worse than neglected, it had been quickly gone over by a sketchy mechanic to make it look ok. I've got brain issues and make questionable decisions at times... as i did then.

So, its had its share of issues but has never left me stranded... (now where's that wood to knock on) but it has left me in a less than desirable position.
For example, i have a fuel injector that started overfueling on me while at a friend's cabin at 7600' and 7 hours from home.
It doesn't run so great and smokes a bit but i'll get home tomorrow. The new injector will be there tomorrow night.
That's completely my fault as I was being cheap... i've replaced 3, so i ordered the other 2. Not sure why i thought 3 would go bad but the other 2 would stay fine. Sort of like replacing one headlight bulb.

I try to take a good solid look at it at least every couple weeks just to ensure there are no new visible issues or audible for that matter.
I'll hit it with the scanner a couple weeks before a long trip to ensure all looks well so i have time to order parts/make fixes if needed.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
... In that time it has always gotten me where I needed to go without a tow, but i did need to get dirty a few times making that happen.
...
I've gotten dirty too, but that was during maintenance/repairs at home.

Your comments did tweak my memory.

The 2004 windshield wiper mechanicals did fail during a trip down south. RainX and a JB Weld repair in the motel parking lot kept us from being stopped dead.

The 2006 MFS switch failed and affected the low beam aka dipped beam headlight operation. A Walmart parking lot fix kept us going.

So I would need to agree that as our beloved T1N's get older they do need some TLC.

DON'T GET INTO A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH A T1N UNLESS YOU ARE READY TO FULLY COMMIT.

Added:
Why do those problems always surface when I'm towing the boat. :bash:

:2cents: vic
 

BrennWagon

He’s just this guy, you know?
I’ve had my 2006 2500 passenger wagon for three years, only had to have it towed twice, both times for electrical issues with a cheap and easy fix once further troubleshooting was done (ecu fuse and ground strap). I’ve definitely had to do plenty of maintenance, but for a 15 year old vehicle with a little over 200K, and no maintenance records, that’s to be expected. I consider my T1N to be a great value and easy to keep after, especially compared to comparably priced American vans. But there will be gremlins
 

kkanuck

LUV my T1N
I have owned my 2004 Passenger for almost 14 years and have 150K miles on her.

I have had a total of 2 breakdowns, and both times I was able to resolve it myself without a tow. !st incident was the upper turbo hose like what Vic described, and I was able to use rescue tape to mend the hole, and I finished the remaining 1000 miles of my journey with the bandaid. I then ordered a new hose and fixed it. The second time was a failed crank shaft sensor, engine died on the highway gong 70 mph. I pulled over, read the code, saw the sensor issue, and due to beauty of this forum and countless hours of reading, I had with me both the tools and the a new OEM replacement crank sensor. I found a curb I could jump up on with the front wheels to give me more clearance underneath, and was able to roadside change it and was back on the road within the hour! So basically, I have never, knock on wood, been stranded with no good options on the side of the road to date!
 

glasseye

Well-known member
Most reliable,useful, fun-to-drive two-wheeled vehicle I've owned in nearly 60 years on the road, including a dozen other vans of lesser heritage.

My only on-the-road failure was a burst charge air hose on a high-temp, mid-summer mountain pass in BC. I stopped, re-started and continued on my way home. (only five more passes to go) I diagnosed the problem with my Ultraguage and made it home without issue. I never even got out of the driver's seat.

(vehicle not exactly as shown)
20061215144110 Texaco New Mexico Lo Res Quadtone copy.jpg
 

Nautamaran

2004 140” HRC 2500 (Crewed)
2004, bought in January 2017 @ 150,000 miles. Now @ 205,000.

Spent a few months catching up on deferred items: sliding door rollers, central lock wiring, windshield rust, leaking injector seal (1st of two).
Reworked weak anchors on 2nd row bench (it’s a cargo chassis dressed up as a wagon... factory side and rear windows, no factory floor anchors).

I have never been left on the roadside, though did have a limp when a boost hose tore open. Patched it parked at an auto-parts store... now I carry silicone repair tape.

I did have a close-to-home episode with my rad fan puncturing my radiator core and dropping coolant on the street, but I don’t blame the van for this as either something got up inside the shroud and broke the fan, or I may have cracked it while I was turning the engine to change my transmission fluid?

I pulled the rattling balance ring off my crank pulley at 200,000 miles and drove for another month before replacing it.

I carry a scanner and a quart of oil under the passenger seat, and a socket/torx/e-torx set, and spare belt, crank sensor, and cam sensor in the back.

In three years I’ve replaced the starter motor (dead at purchase), two injector seals, five glow plugs (a sixth is due), brake rotors and pads, fan clutch (required), fan and radiator (rock?), belt tensioner and idlers (preventative), the dash fan motor, resistor, and dial switch, and all three sliding door pulleys (required). I’ve repaired the central lock wiring on all three rear door lock pins and at the driver’s door hinge. I’ve fixed roof leaks, and seem to be constantly chasing body rust.
I have replaced all the fluids except power steering. I’ll perhaps put new winter tires on come fall, and I’m overdue for new shocks.

It’s my daily driver and our family’s getaway enabler. We’ve all made some great memories with it, and (touch wood...) it hasn’t caused us any nightmares. We plan to keep it for several more years.

-dave
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Most reliable,useful, fun-to-drive two-wheeled vehicle I've owned in nearly 60 years on the road,
...
Keeping just two wheels on the road with a Sprinter would decrease rolling resistance and save on tires. Must be hell feathering that throttle to maintain tow wheels only on the ground. :thumbup:

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

vic
 

JCMiller23

'05 Dodge 2500 T1N (fedex)
DON'T GET INTO A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH A T1N UNLESS YOU ARE READY TO FULLY COMMIT.
My ex gf's would love this thread. :LOL:

This precisely my issue, I bought a 190k mi sprinter for $4k knowing that it would have a ton of problems, but after sinking 100-200 hours and $4-6k into it, I wonder if there is any end to, or at least a point where it won't break down after running for a couple weeks. 4 breakdowns so far, transmission, fuel rod/injectors, grounding issue, and now fuse box 1. I don't want to sell it, and I've been able to fix everything so far, but I'm not mechanically minded enough to diagnose these things myself. I can follow directions well, but...

...I guess I'm not ready to fully commit to her until she shows me that she is up for daily rides before I have to buy her more things
 

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
I've been flogging my T1N over several continents for around 100k miles (200k currently on the Odo). Never been stranded. Have needed a handful of boost hose repairs roadside though. My van was unmolested though, very few PO hacks "repairs".

Given the price of used transits these days, I would be hard pressed to justify the T1N purchase nowadays, but back when we bought our van there wasn't much on the used market for high roof vans of any type under $25k.
 
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jrod5150

Active member
I'm a support system for probably 70+ T1Ns that ive sold and have had 6 known breakdowns. Of course theres a LHM with underboost codes from split resonators. In my breakdowns Ive had 2 Aux pumps outlet plastic pipes breaks, one heater hose T break, one return power steering hose bust, one torque converter bolts backed out, and a gross overloading of 6800 lbs pushing 85mph on a steep long incline which grenaded the bottom end. Technically the van wasnt stranded but I picked it up and limped it back to the shop. just to be clear this is a knock on wood post LOL
 
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glasseye

Well-known member
Keeping just two wheels on the road with a Sprinter would decrease rolling resistance and save on tires. Must be hell feathering that throttle to maintain tow wheels only on the ground. :thumbup:

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

vic
Oops! :doh: Meant to say "non two-wheeled" :idunno:

Might be an idea, though. Next time I'm on "The Loneliest Road in America", I should give that a try! :rad:
 

Colorado_Al

Well-known member
I've had my 03 T1N for 10 years.
I've had to have it towed 1 time in 130k miles. Ran over something and got 2 flat tires.
I have done many roadside and driveway repairs. Even replaced low pressure fuel pump o-rings in a Mercedes dealer lot in a rain storm the middle of Tennessee.
Some of the downtime is related to use of waste vegetable oil system that I installed, so that's on me not MB. But I've burned many thousands of gallons of recycled oil. On the order of about $15k-$18k worth in fuel. It has probably cost me a grand or 2 in parts and repairs that I wouldn't have needed otherwise, but they did not result in a stranding.

Also had a split boost hose on the road. Luckily I was carrying a spare.
Over-fueling injector replaced in a friend's driveway.
Replaced alternator in auto-parts lot.

And then there were the times that I stopped for safety. Driving a 22' x 9' sail in a 60 mph crosswind is not fun.
 
I bought my 05 MB Cruiser RV(on 04 Chassis) when she had 6,000 miles and now at 207,000 miles. After many hours of DIY and $32k(probably higher because I log all repairs for RV parts too) for parts including ECU and engine harness change, and new paint job, I was towed twice, one from home to dealer for Start Error(dealer changed out ECU) and one from Brianhead, UT at 10,000 feet in freezing weather for gelled up fuel (didn't have Diesel 911 and fuel filter and now I carry them all the time). This is my first diesel and didn't know diesel gells up in cold weather if not bought locally there. I only have two working glow plugs so replaced Espar heater and modified to work 30 min with REST before starting in cold weather. A couple LHM but fixed on the road with Rescue Tape. I think preventive maintenance is the key and I plan to change out the original fan and clutch soon although they work fine. I carry a spare thermostat just in case. Haven't changed out crankshaft and camshaft sensors yet. I have done RSN mode, changed out shocks, etc, etc... I plan to keep her until she dies which means I might go first^^
 

ECU

Well-known member
12 years and never been stuck. Repaired a lot of stuff.
 

ORsprinter

New member
2006, 250k miles, new to me 3 years ago after prior life as an HVAC vehicle.
Been stuck once on account of a bad part (CCV breather that I replaced). Stalled out once on account of operator error (didn't tighten the hose clamps enough after I changed the fuel filter).
I'm learning my way through maintenance thanks to this board, started with blower motor resistor (hey that's easy), last month was clutch fan, shocks and struts (well that took a lot longer than I thought it would). This month will be tracing a slight oil leak...
 

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