Lemon Law Sprinter Van?

Duranutan

2018 Sprinter 170 4X4
Dennis, (All)

I do understand where you are coming from. You are realistic and pragmatic. I can and do appreciate it! I also do not want to sound like I am walking around in rose-colored glasses, thinking, "I have a Mercedes and should be treated as such." My other cars are Toyota and Ford. Both more reliable, BTW. I have a Sprinter because if you want to have a "vanlife" RV, Sprinter has a corner on that market. And good for them.

My issue is the lack of congruency. On one hand, MB says, "were the best!", "German engineering" and all that 'fluff.' But the reality does not match the messaging. This gap between what they say and what they do is incongruent, also defined as a lack of integrity. Granted, there are what 5 of us on this thread? This is my telling the world (the 5 of you) who MB is. 😊


Jim
The van in question:
20200801_162514 Small.jpg
 

Bobnoxious

GONE FISHING
If the manufacturer claims their product is the "Best or Nothing, why not back-up the claim with a vehicle lifetime warranty?
 

4wheeldog

2018 144" Tall Revel
Dennis,


I would agree that ten pages is a long letter, typically – though not when it comes to MB issues. What you do not know is the entire context of the situation. I cannot get into all of it here, so I will address just a few of your points.

During the winding road of our story, MBUSA got involved. Their words were, "This is the worst service experience I have ever witnessed, especially from an owner of an MB dealer," “This does not represent our brand!" and "We need to do something for you to make this right." After three months of hell and what we thought was an understanding Customer Advocacy Rep, we were offered two free oil changes.

Regarding their slogan you call “marketing fluff” … This is Mercedes-Bebz, this is their brand identity, not just fluff. Forget about Sprinter, a G-Wagon costs $220,000, and this is the quality of service a G-Wagon customer should expect? They would be better off with a Lexus or Toyota. Toyota actually stands behind its products and gives better service. We had a 2009 Camry, was way out of warranty, 110K miles. Toyota contacted us and said, “Hey, we have had issues with the journal bearings and want to replace the bottom half of your engine for free.” Why? Apparently, Toyota has integrity, a desire to do right by its customers when they realize it is their fault (this was not a recall). Mercedes-Benz lacks these qualities.

At one point, we were 50 miles from home when the alternator went out – this was after spending three days at the dealer in Denver. It meant MB would be on the hook for a tow of 6.5 hours for an alternator (MB Parts Dept price is $1,900 – maybe it comes in a Louis Vuitton box?). Rather than tow it, after all the aggravation we had been through, we asked MBUSA to let us get it repaired locally (labor would be less than $200). The cost for a brand new (not rebuilt) alternator is $330 from the same company that makes MB alternators, Valeo. Fixing it locally under warranty is unusual, but with all our extenuating circumstances, exceptions could have been made. It would have made us, the customer, happy and would have saved MB a few thousand dollars. They would not cover the alternator unless we had them tow the Sprinter to Denver, not to mention we then must figure out how to get there and drive back. I replaced the alternator myself in 45 minutes. I just accepted that I would have to pay out of pocket.

After three months of various phone calls to MBUSA, multiple dealers, advisors, and technicians – having been told how terrible our experience and treatment was … they offered us two oil changes?! Imagine going to a fine steak house, everyone at the table orders an 8oz filet, medium rare, and all are served well done steaks. Should I expect more from a “fine steak house?” The maître d’ agrees your meal was not what it should have been and offers to comp your Cokes. I guess, "fine steak house" is just “marketing fluff?” I guess I should have known better and gone to McDonald's.
I will simply say this, pertaining to the Albuquerque MB dealership.......My single visit to them with warranty issues was so bad, from top to bottom, that I will never darken their door again.
I had an 8am appointment for which I arrived at 7:45. They did not touch my van until after noon. And then they told me there was nothing wrong after spending 5 minutes looking at it. One of my issues was that the power steering hose had come off. They told me that by my putting in back together, it was no longer MB’s problem. The fact that it blew off in 105 degree weather, hundreds of miles from a dealer not to mention that we were out of cell range fell on deaf ears. It was truly a fix it myself or risk dying, literally. Anyway, stay wide of Albuquerque MB if at all possible.
 

lindenengineering

Well-known member
From a past post!
Bob/Guys
Its might come as a surprise but ALL manufacturers strive to avoid the Vincent Motorcycle trap...They are in business to make money!--Its called profit and its not a dirty word!

Planned obsolescence is the name of the game. The mantra is build in true reliability for a set period to get customer loyalty, and sell them (the customer) a new one.

Toyota is at the top of the pile on this having the best customer loyalty in the business and that is worldwide! So no mean feat by any measure!

I can cite many examples but the most glaring I have at the moment was the pneumocyclic transmission in a Leyland bus. Quite capable of 1,000,000 miles on stop and go downtown ten stops per mile and not need any real intervention type service.
Now this was a true engineers design and the internal running train revolved on expensive bronze bushes.
In the 1980's it struck sometime in a high place that the company was making no money on these Wilson gearboxes, something had to change, and it did !

The bronze bushes were tossed out for inferior alum bushes and plastic operating pistons on new bus production.
Well the answer was as expected! Service life dropped to about 250,000 miles. At that mileage enough wear had not only destroyed the bushes but half the annulli and eppicyclic gears in the pack!
Suddenly it became easier just to install a new exchange unit!
Profits went up on Wilson gearbox sales and parts worldwide.

Now this didn't go noticed by the bus operators worldwide who had become accustomed to bullet proof transmissions. So eventually due to fierce customer resistance the bronze bush transmission was reintroduced but with a 2500 UK pound surcharge (about $4000/units)
Someone had obviously calculated what was the loss of revenue on these types of transmissions in the bean counter department.
Now if for one minute you think that MB doesn't practice this type of pricing and tech /engineering policies you will be sorely mistaken.
Dennis
 

Duranutan

2018 Sprinter 170 4X4
Dennis,

Your point is to the extreme end. In my case, 28,000 miles with all my problems. Look, I dont expect to get a million miles out of a Sprinter, but 30,000 would be nice.

The motors in a Tesla, designed life or obselesence, depending on your viewpoint. - 1 million miles! - Brakes, they get done somewhere between 300,000 miles to 400,000 miles. MB has just announced no further money into internal combustion engine R&D. Electric next. Wonder how they will design them down to implode at 100,000 miles, and still call then the Best?

My earlier post says it better. If you say your the Best, then act like it. - Toyota as you have pointed out has done a fine job! And it's paid off hansomly. Now if we can just get Toyota to build a Sprinter/Transit style van. Not thats a good dream for us Dreamers... :)
 

Bobnoxious

GONE FISHING
Well, I always dream on until my dreams come true.

 

126v8

Member
From a past post!
Bob/Guys
Its might come as a surprise but ALL manufacturers strive to avoid the Vincent Motorcycle trap...They are in business to make money!--Its called profit and its not a dirty word!

Planned obsolescence is the name of the game. The mantra is build in true reliability for a set period to get customer loyalty, and sell them (the customer) a new one.

Toyota is at the top of the pile on this having the best customer loyalty in the business and that is worldwide! So no mean feat by any measure!

I can cite many examples but the most glaring I have at the moment was the pneumocyclic transmission in a Leyland bus. Quite capable of 1,000,000 miles on stop and go downtown ten stops per mile and not need any real intervention type service.
Now this was a true engineers design and the internal running train revolved on expensive bronze bushes.
In the 1980's it struck sometime in a high place that the company was making no money on these Wilson gearboxes, something had to change, and it did !

The bronze bushes were tossed out for inferior alum bushes and plastic operating pistons on new bus production.
Well the answer was as expected! Service life dropped to about 250,000 miles. At that mileage enough wear had not only destroyed the bushes but half the annulli and eppicyclic gears in the pack!
Suddenly it became easier just to install a new exchange unit!
Profits went up on Wilson gearbox sales and parts worldwide.

Now this didn't go noticed by the bus operators worldwide who had become accustomed to bullet proof transmissions. So eventually due to fierce customer resistance the bronze bush transmission was reintroduced but with a 2500 UK pound surcharge (about $4000/units)
Someone had obviously calculated what was the loss of revenue on these types of transmissions in the bean counter department.
Now if for one minute you think that MB doesn't practice this type of pricing and tech /engineering policies you will be sorely mistaken.
Dennis
Mercedes WAS like that until they said their cars were ’over engineered’.That was when they decided to delete the oil pressure gauge from the cluster.Early to mid nineties I think.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
W124 did not have oil pressure gauge in 1987 and I think it started with W210 in 1996, when oil pressure sensor got deleted on some engines.
But than SL of that era had pressure gauge.
 

lindenengineering

Well-known member
Dennis,

Your point is to the extreme end. In my case, 28,000 miles with all my problems. Look, I dont expect to get a million miles out of a Sprinter, but 30,000 would be nice.

The motors in a Tesla, designed life or obselesence, depending on your viewpoint. - 1 million miles! - Brakes, they get done somewhere between 300,000 miles to 400,000 miles. MB has just announced no further money into internal combustion engine R&D. Electric next. Wonder how they will design them down to implode at 100,000 miles, and still call then the Best?

My earlier post says it better. If you say your the Best, then act like it. - Toyota as you have pointed out has done a fine job! And it's paid off hansomly. Now if we can just get Toyota to build a Sprinter/Transit style van. Not thats a good dream for us Dreamers... :)
Well if hybrids are anything to go by the electric motors MG1 & MG2 used in the Prius platform have an outstanding life.
OK, Gen1's had an armature issue early on, but these days the electric motors buried in the Ainsin transmission outlasts the car if maintained properly .
So too this myth about traction batteries.
Battery life is around 175,00 to 200,000 again if the car is maintained properly.

Without drifting too faraway from the topic of MB and its Sprinter van quality issues , especially when reading your narrative as a service support fiasco, it has all the of negative hallmark elements of one thing :-
CKD & PKD operations.
In short its very difficult to control absolute quality on CKD /PKD production, due to a huge number of possible assembly scenarios that come with it.

The Japanese perfected these advanced assembly line quality techniques in the 1960/70's. We in the West copied its finer points like "just in time delivery" & "On the job/production quality control techniques", during assembly of the final product. But some of these techniques get thrown out of the window to meet production schedules in CKD ops.

I ran "eventually" a CDK & mixed PKD operation in Iran during the Shah days.
Initially my brief was to improve end production quality as a manager due to haphazard assembly problems in two plants one in Tehran, the other in Tabriz .
After a short study the decision from O/Seas Manufacturing Div was :- " Get those effing local dealers nationwide FIRST to do their job and properly PDI the product before customer handover"
. Easier said than done of course , and I firmly believe most of your problems would have been caught " before handover" if a proper PDI was executed but these days dealers in the NA markets only do a cursory PDI as there is nothing it it for them. Besides the factories no matter what the brand pay diddly squat to PDI Techs to be diligent, and spend time checking everything they need to do to catch CKD /PKD build vagaries.
Judging by the all the latest Sprinters seen again I see build quality issues and no real attempt to catch it before customer hand over.
Dennis
 
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126v8

Member
Well if hybrids are anything to go by the electric motors MG1 & MG2 used in the Prius platform have an outstanding life.
OK, Gen1's had an armature issue early on, but these days the electric motors buried in the Ainsin transmission outlasts the car if maintained properly .
So too this myth about traction batteries.
Battery life is around 175,00 to 200,000 again if the car is maintained properly.

Without drifting too faraway from the topic of MB and its Sprinter van quality issues , especially when reading your narrative as a service support fiasco, it has all the of negative hallmark elements of one thing :-
CKD & PKD operations.
In short its very difficult to control absolute quality on CKD /PKD production, due to a huge number of possible assembly scenarios that come with it.

The Japanese perfected these advanced assembly line quality techniques in the 1960/70's. We in the West copied its finer points like "just in time delivery" & "On the job/production quality control techniques", during assembly of the final product. But some of these techniques get thrown out of the window to meet production schedules in CKD ops.

I ran "eventually" a CDK & mixed PKD operation in Iran during the Shah days.
Initially my brief was to improve end production quality as a manager due to haphazard assembly problems in two plants one in Tehran, the other in Tabriz .
After a short study the decision from O/Seas Manufacturing Div was :- " Get those effing local dealers nationwide FIRST to do their job and properly PDI the product before customer handover"
. Easier said than done of course , and I firmly believe most of your problems would have been caught " before handover" if a proper PDI was executed but these days dealers in the NA markets only do a cursory PDI as there is nothing it it for them. Besides the factories no matter what the brand pay diddly squat to PDI Techs to be diligent, and spend time checking everything they need to do to catch CKD /PKD build vagaries.
Judging by the all the latest Sprinters seen again I see build quality issues and no real attempt to catch it before customer hand over.
Dennis
Hmm so that’s why others apart from US really like Sprinters cos they came from the factory without CKD/PKD
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Dennis, (All)

I have a Sprinter because if you want to have a "vanlife" RV, Sprinter has a corner on that market. And good for them.


View attachment 157509
Disagree with your statement that you have to have a Sprinter for a Van life.

I had high respect for Mercedes and bought a 2008 Sprinter thinking a commercial vehicle used in light duty as a conversion would be bullet proof.

Found out I was mistaken. Sold it and bought a Transit. Painful because I had to do a second conversion.

Cut your losses and sell the Sprinter. Sprinters do have high resale value due to Mercedes marketing. There are more people that believe that a Mercedes is the "best" than those that know better. Transit has been reliable and Sprinter was not.
 

126v8

Member
Disagree with your statement that you have to have a Sprinter for a Van life.

I had high respect for Mercedes and bought a 2008 Sprinter thinking a commercial vehicle used in light duty as a conversion would be bullet proof.

Found out I was mistaken. Sold it and bought a Transit. Painful because I had to do a second conversion.

Cut your losses and sell the Sprinter. Sprinters do have high resale value due to Mercedes marketing. There are more people that believe that a Mercedes is the "best" than those that know better. Transit has been reliable and Sprinter was not.
Yes but the Sprinter is properly ‘ long’ wheelbase ie 170 instead of 148 with added length behind the rear wheels(the Ford looks funny,contrived)
and the Sprinter has more legroom,a very crucial detail some of us need.
Legroom and proper seats!!!
 

Bobnoxious

GONE FISHING
Yes but the Sprinter is properly ‘ long’ wheelbase ie 170 instead of 148 with added length behind the rear wheels(the Ford looks funny,contrived)
and the Sprinter has more legroom,a very crucial detail some of us need.
Legroom and proper seats!!!
I am 6'5" and very much enjoy a Sprinter's colossal legroom.
 

elemental

Wherever you go, there you are.
I ran "eventually" a CDK & mixed PKD operation in Iran during the Shah days.
Initially my brief was to improve end production quality as a manager due to haphazard assembly problems in two plants one in Tehran, the other in Tabriz .
After a short study the decision from O/Seas Manufacturing Div was :- " Get those effing local dealers nationwide FIRST to do their job and properly PDI the product before customer handover"
. Easier said than done of course , and I firmly believe most of your problems would have been caught " before handover" if a proper PDI was executed but these days dealers in the NA markets only do a cursory PDI as there is nothing it it for them. Besides the factories no matter what the brand pay diddly squat to PDI Techs to be diligent, and spend time checking everything they need to do to catch CKD /PKD build vagaries.
Judging by the all the latest Sprinters seen again I see build quality issues and no real attempt to catch it before customer hand over.
Systems Engineering theory says that trying to "inspect in" quality is a loosing losing game. Quality should be designed in as part of the production process. So the re-assembly of any knock-down kit should be done in a manner that ensures the correct level of quality is present. Pushing off the quality check/correction to a pre-delivery inspection at the dealer level won't have the right feedback to fix quality problems being introduced in the re-assembly stage.

[Edit: Change "loosing" to "losing" after cringing when I re-read it.]
 
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lindenengineering

Well-known member
Yes absolutely
That I discovered trying to improve the dealer input in Iran as was directed from upon high.
Result was limited for the effort put in ! Not a disaster but a dismal level of expected improvement.

It was at one point I/We decided locally to concentrate efforts within the plants against some really stiff push back or resistance to change against long established practices & quality control regimens .

Some practices were targeted immediately and SOME grave expensive root accepted problems were simply discovered by circumstances (happenstance ). In some areas the senior management both locally & located in the UK was met by a lot of pushback. It was fierce some at times , (corporate positions etc) and others just shelved reports in "Bin13" all citing areas of drastic improvement that were needed.
That is how I ended up running the CKD /PKD production instead of futile attempts at changing errant dealers activities who just wanted to shift product and collect a commission .
I learned at a latter date, a senior director wanted me fired & recalled on the spot for standing on his toes!

Overall I learned a lot from the experience and it came in very useful when I ran my own show in Caracas re-building buses many years later away from the corporate world .
Dennis .
 
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Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Yes but the Sprinter is properly ‘ long’ wheelbase ie 170 instead of 148 with added length behind the rear wheels(the Ford looks funny,contrived)
and the Sprinter has more legroom,a very crucial detail some of us need.
Legroom and proper seats!!!
Agree if you need the 170" WB. Then you have to accept the Sprinter issues. Agree the Sprinter exterior looks better.

At 5'-10" I never noticed a difference between the 2008 Sprinter and the 2015 Transit as far as leg room. Transit seats are fine. Or at least I never noticed a difference.

There is a big difference between the Sprinter and the Transit on access to/from the driver seat to the back. Not too difficult in Transit from the seat to the back but from the back to the seat requires a technique. At 82 I have learned the process. Due to the Transit seat location further away from the driver door the Transit is much easier to enter/exit from the van through the driver door.

The other differences are important to me. Transit is faster and handles better. Transit is quieter. I do appreciate the considerably less expensive service costs, the lower failures, the availability of service (if needed) in every other town, lack of DEF and emission issues.

The Sprinter has much better miles/gallon compared to the Transit.

As I have said before there are advantages and disadvantages to each vehicle. Select based on what is important to you.

For me the loss of confidence the Sprinter would get me to my destination was the deciding factor. Very hard to get that back after several failures.
 

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