About to buy a 2020 4x4. Want to understand the quirks.

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
Hey gang, I'm about to take my maiden voyage and procure my first Mercedes Sprinter 4x4. Will be a 2020. Having read bits and pieces here and there on the forum and various FB groups, there appear to be several quirks, or "things I wish knew". Was hoping I could lean on the expertise in this group to help me better understand the quirks, problems, things you encountered along with the way with your VS30 that will hopefully make my journey a bit more smooth. Also, please help me understand how to solve or fix the issue at hand. Excited to jump in. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 
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colin509

New member
One quirk to know about is the 4wd engagement/dis-engagement requires you to either be stopped or rolling straight under 5mph. Many have experiened a "clunk" with engagement and there is a known fix for that that the dealership will need to do under warranty if you experience it.
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
One quirk to know about is the 4wd engagement/dis-engagement requires you to either be stopped or rolling straight under 5mph. Many have experiened a "clunk" with engagement and there is a known fix for that that the dealership will need to do under warranty if you experience it.
Thank you. this is exactly the kind of stuff i'm hoping to learn.
 

TheBob

BrainVan2020
One quirk to know about is the 4wd engagement/dis-engagement requires you to either be stopped or rolling straight under 5mph. Many have experiened a "clunk" with engagement and there is a known fix for that that the dealership will need to do under warranty if you experience it.
I bought a 2020 4x4 van this summer. The first time I actually wanted 4WD was in October in Utah (Comb Ridge road). And it wouldn't engage. That was after about 100 miles on pavement. Then the next morning, no problem. So now I try to remember to use 4WD every month or so, even on dry pavement, just to keep the mechanism not socially distanced from me. And because of the requirement to engage it while rolling slowly, I follow someone's advice and engage it as soon as I get to a non-paved road -- because if I wait until I feel I need 4WD, it will be too late.

The van body is higher than the 2WD version, so you'll probably want some side steps to get in and out more easily. These are easily added (by yourself or at lots of shops) afterwards.
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
I bought a 2020 4x4 van this summer. The first time I actually wanted 4WD was in October in Utah (Comb Ridge road). And it wouldn't engage. That was after about 100 miles on pavement. Then the next morning, no problem. So now I try to remember to use 4WD every month or so, even on dry pavement, just to keep the mechanism not socially distanced from me. And because of the requirement to engage it while rolling slowly, I follow someone's advice and engage it as soon as I get to a non-paved road -- because if I wait until I feel I need 4WD, it will be too late.

The van body is higher than the 2WD version, so you'll probably want some side steps to get in and out more easily. These are easily added (by yourself or at lots of shops) afterwards.
Thanks TheBob. I'm curious if others found that they need to engage the 4x4 once and a bit to ensure it works when they need it. That seems like a deeper issue with the 4x4. Side note, TheBob, I was on the sandy, Comb Ridge road in October as well. Subaru Outback though, and it did just fine. Fun place.
 

Tom Tint

Active member
Some really annoying ...."features"... The active lane keeping assist sucks. ...Really sucks and you need to shut it off every time you restart the truck. The audio system is on par with a 1978 Sanyo setup ...Maybe not even as good. Many of them howl on the highway at 70mph until you heavily insulate and soundproof the inside. The driveline is clunky switching in and out of park. Im not a fan of the little electronic P.R.N think that took the place of a real shifter. Primarily because you have to push to in for park, and I have several Fords that have column shifters.. more than once I have pushed the button on the ford, which is the tow/haul button..then thought I put it in park, only to have the truck roll forward, ...Muscle memory and repetition from the sprinter. The cup holders are terrible.. someone at MB decided it was a good idea to make them pitch back at a angle....so a full cup can leak and fill the cup holder itself with whatever was originally in the cup. The door panel arm rest is still awful..and painful after driving for any length of time. The tow capability is terrible at 5k pounds, Adding a remote start is almost impossible, They no longer have the rear door catches to stop them from flying open on a windy day should you be loading / unloading. ... With all that said.. I have a 2020 loaded cargo that I'm going to be getting rid of, ...Any interest ?
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
Some really annoying ...."features"... The active lane keeping assist sucks. ...Really sucks and you need to shut it off every time you restart the truck. The audio system is on par with a 1978 Sanyo setup ...Maybe not even as good. Many of them howl on the highway at 70mph until you heavily insulate and soundproof the inside. The driveline is clunky switching in and out of park. Im not a fan of the little electronic P.R.N think that took the place of a real shifter. Primarily because you have to push to in for park, and I have several Fords that have column shifters.. more than once I have pushed the button on the ford, which is the tow/haul button..then thought I put it in park, only to have the truck roll forward, ...Muscle memory and repetition from the sprinter. The cup holders are terrible.. someone at MB decided it was a good idea to make them pitch back at a angle....so a full cup can leak and fill the cup holder itself with whatever was originally in the cup. The door panel arm rest is still awful..and painful after driving for any length of time. The tow capability is terrible at 5k pounds, Adding a remote start is almost impossible, They no longer have the rear door catches to stop them from flying open on a windy day should you be loading / unloading. ... With all that said.. I have a 2020 loaded cargo that I'm going to be getting rid of, ...Any interest ?
hahaha. sounds like quite the list there. thanks for sharing. i'm interested in more info on a couple points... are you suggesting that if the van is insulated it will help to reduce the road noise? standard, 3M weather / noise insulation would work I suppose? regarding muscle memory, I understand, I leave my wifes car running all the time with the key in the ignition as i'm used to my fob and push start. with that said, any mechanical issues or challenges with the park system? things I should be aware of, and any fixes for it? and last, what are the particular issues with the lane keeping? too sensitive, something wrong when it just starts up? last, do you have. your van listed on here somewhere and can you send me a link?
 

Tom Tint

Active member
hahaha. sounds like quite the list there. thanks for sharing. i'm interested in more info on a couple points... are you suggesting that if the van is insulated it will help to reduce the road noise? standard, 3M weather / noise insulation would work I suppose? regarding muscle memory, I understand, I leave my wifes car running all the time with the key in the ignition as i'm used to my fob and push start. with that said, any mechanical issues or challenges with the park system? things I should be aware of, and any fixes for it? and last, what are the particular issues with the lane keeping? too sensitive, something wrong when it just starts up? last, do you have. your van listed on here somewhere and can you send me a link?
I have a loaded ..$62800.00 MSRP cargo van, I have heard that other vans like crew or passenger vans are not as susceptible to the loud drone noise at 70 mph. Neither my 14 or 16 crew 144s did it.. My 2020 did until I put a factory MB crew van headliner in the back and then a padded and moulded carpet kit on the floor to kill it. Without those measures it was incredibly annoying to drive on the highway. The LKA is just flat out dangerous. It will jack on the brakes and cause the vehicle to jump back into a lane you may not want to be in. IMO, a person should be able to select LKA if they want it on..Not have to select they want to shut it off. Van is not listed here but if you want it, 55k gets you a 2200 mile Black 2020 with every option available.
 

GRC

New member
Hey gang, I'm about to take my maiden voyage and procure my first Mercedes Sprinter 4x4. Will be a 2020. Having read bits and pieces here and there on the forum and various FB groups, there appear to be several quirks, or "things I wish knew". Was hoping I could lean on the expertise in this group to help me better understand the quirks, problems, things you encountered along with the way with your VS30 that will hopefully make my journey a bit more smooth. Also, please help me understand how to solve or fix the issue at hand. Excited to jump in. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
I have had my 2019 144 4wd since August. It is a passenger van with some modifications, 265 BFG's on Sport Terrain Wheels, Fiamma awning, Goal Zero, Dometic cooler, etc.

I made quite a few assumptions and did very little research before purchasing this van. I searched and searched, found one I liked and just kind of jumped in. The MB Sprinter VS30 is quirky for sure. There are definitely some things that could be better, stereo, ride quality, road noise, etc. In my opinion these are small inconveniences to deal with in order to have something that is pretty unique and has a definite "cool" factor. If you want something low maintenance, straight forward and more common/ordinary then there is always the Ford Transit or Dodge which work well for a lot of people. But, I really, really like my VS30. I too had the clunk in the drive train and had that fixed under warranty at my dealer. I also had a small oil leak that was coming out of the turbo silencer and that was fixed at the same time with just replacing some o-rings. I have experienced the grinding and no power in reverse but have always had a bike rack on the back and also have a tire carrier with ladder that sets off the sensors. I have come to believe that this is the cause of the grinding in my vehicle as I now turn that sensor off as I start to back up and have not experienced the problem since. Fingers crossed that this is the issue. So, yes, I have had some issues with mine and that's been a little disappointing after having shelled out so much money but things are rarely perfect and I have to remind my self that this is basically a work van with an interior and windows and is really not a luxury vehicle.

I have had very little issue engaging and disengaging 4wd. Only once did it not engage on the first attempt but then shifted right in on the second attempt.

We just drove our van on a 2000 mile trip over Thanksgiving with my wife, two kids and our dog. It really is a great way to travel, there is so much space for everyone and you can take a bunch of stuff you really don't need. The ride is a little noisy but is certainly bearable and is hardly noticable to me since I have always driven 4wd vehicles with mud tires. The ride can be a little harsh at times but if you are loaded down the van rides pretty dang smooth, remember, it's really a work van and is designed to carry heavy loads. I do plan on upgrading the suspension at some point but that may be in a few years. I just ordered a MOAB Bed for mine and plan on getting some wheel well storage built in to enable me to switch from passenger mode to camper van when I need to.

The MB Sprinter Vans are certainly not for everyone, especially the 4wd models, but for some of us they are absolutely fantastic and serve their purpose very well.
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
I have experienced the grinding and no power in reverse but have always had a bike rack on the back and also have a tire carrier with ladder that sets off the sensors. I have come to believe that this is the cause of the grinding in my vehicle as I now turn that sensor off as I start to back up and have not experienced the problem since. Fingers crossed that this is the issue.
Yes, this is the kind of stuff I am hoping to understand. @GRC I'd like to understand more about the grinding related to the back up sensor. I'm not quite sure what you mean. Where is the grinding coming from? It sounds like if the back up sensor detects something, it disengages and won't allow you to back up? And somehow that is creating a grinding noise. Any extra info you have, or anyone from the group has about this is great. Thanks again.
 

GRC

New member
Yes, this is the kind of stuff I am hoping to understand. @GRC I'd like to understand more about the grinding related to the back up sensor. I'm not quite sure what you mean. Where is the grinding coming from? It sounds like if the back up sensor detects something, it disengages and won't allow you to back up? And somehow that is creating a grinding noise. Any extra info you have, or anyone from the group has about this is great. Thanks again.
First off, this forum and its members have been very beneficial to me. I found the fix for the clunk in my drive train, learned more about DEF and have gotten a LOT of good information. This forum has also scared me just a little bit at times into thinking that I might have made a poor decision regarding the purchase of a MB Sprinter. Like I said in the previous post, things aren't always perfect and problems get brought up and discussed far more than when things just go along smoothly. I have a buddy that purchased a 2019 MB Sprinter 4wd Cargo van and has had ZERO issues with his. My brother purchased a brand new Chevrolet Silverado and has had all kinds of problems since the first 1000 miles. After so many issues the dealership eventually replaced his whole engine! So, yeah, if he got on a forum and posted his experience everyone that read his story would be scared as hell to buy a Chevy. So if you have already made the purchase of your van I think you can rest assured you have a great vehicle. If you have not then you can take a lot of information on this forum to help you make an informed decision about whether this is the right vehicle for your intended use. Ok, back to the grinding.

The first time I heard the grinding I was in a parking space and facing slightly down hill. I stared the van, shifted into R to back up and the van did not move. I pressed the accelerator more and reluctantly the van began to move slowly in reverse at which time I heard this loud grinding/scraping noise from under the van. I thought I had pulled up too far on the curb and it was scraping coming off, I got out and looked but I was no where near the curb and the van sits too high for that to be an issue any way. I began to immediately think of something being wrong with the transfer case. This same scenario has occurred numerous time since, almost always when in soft grass, gravel or facing downhill in a parking lot. I can not explain or make any sense of this but it has made me very concerned about the transfer case, etc. My driveway slopes slightly toward the street and the van has NEVER done it backing out of my drive. I read another forum post that mentioned the sound that the brakes make when the sensors try to prevent you from backing into something, it was described as a scraping, grinding sound. My sensors constantly go off due to the bike rack and now tire carrier and ladder in the back. I have started to disable the sensors by pressing the little icon in the upper left part of the dash display prior to moving while in R. Since doing this I have not experienced the same issue with the grinding sound. Others have described a grinding sound going forward and shifting into and out of 4wd. I have not had this occur with the several times I have used the 4wd.

Needless to say, I will continue to monitor this issue and enable/disable the sensor to try and replicate the grinding and see if this is in fact the problem. I will report back on this forum with any useful information I have.
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
First off, this forum and its members have been very beneficial to me. I found the fix for the clunk in my drive train, learned more about DEF and have gotten a LOT of good information. This forum has also scared me just a little bit at times into thinking that I might have made a poor decision regarding the purchase of a MB Sprinter. Like I said in the previous post, things aren't always perfect and problems get brought up and discussed far more than when things just go along smoothly. I have a buddy that purchased a 2019 MB Sprinter 4wd Cargo van and has had ZERO issues with his. My brother purchased a brand new Chevrolet Silverado and has had all kinds of problems since the first 1000 miles. After so many issues the dealership eventually replaced his whole engine! So, yeah, if he got on a forum and posted his experience everyone that read his story would be scared as hell to buy a Chevy. So if you have already made the purchase of your van I think you can rest assured you have a great vehicle. If you have not then you can take a lot of information on this forum to help you make an informed decision about whether this is the right vehicle for your intended use. Ok, back to the grinding.
Yes. I think you are absolutely right. Every bad things is listed here in the forum. But like you said in your first post, I'm just trying to gain awareness of the quirks to better be equipped when I do buy one. And understanding these things gives me the confidence I need to move in that direction. So, scary, and not scary, I'm taking it all in with the expectation to be more informed as a new owner. Thanks for the info and realigning the reality of owning, the good and the bad.
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
I read a lot of comments about the DEF system but don't quite understand the challenges. I understand that DEF is there to help reduce the emissions, but don't understand the problems down the road. Like, only 5 starts left. Deleting DEF, etc. Anyone with insight want to explain to me what's happening there?
 

Roamers

2020 4X4 170 Crew
Refill def at 1/2 full and it is unlikely you will have issues. Deleting def: don't even think about it.
 

apartment15

2020 4x4 crew 144
Refill def at 1/2 full and it is unlikely you will have issues. Deleting def: don't even think about it.
thanks for the tip @Roamers. i'm also trying to understand the reasonings behind these thoughts. can you help me understand why people would want to "delete def" and why you don't think it's a good idea? thanks for the reply.
 

Roamers

2020 4X4 170 Crew
can you help me understand why people would want to "delete def" and why you don't think it's a good idea
T town hit it on the head. If one does it, they are not concerned about potentially be caught and fined or that they are doing more harm to the environment. Personally, I wish it was easier to catch the offenders, but I don't think a lot of states have periodic inspections.
 

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