Archive | March, 2015

Inside Line: Remy

Sprinter racks typically fail where gaiters have split and road dirt is allowed into the rack causing leaks.  High mileage also results in heavy pinion wear. There are two rack versions, the early version being fitted with a one-way valve, and the latter not fitted with the valve. Provided the valve is present in the early version both racks are interchangeable.

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Inside Line: Schaeffler

LuK Clutch

When changing the clutch and Concentric Slave Cylinder (CSC) on these vehicles check for any signs of oil contamination from inside the gearbox. Any leaks should then be rectified before the new clutch and CSC are fitted. This vehicle is also fitted with a Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF) and this should also be checked for wear. LuK has now introduced an App for this available from Google play and iTunes.

INA Belt drive systems

Every Sprinter with a petrol or diesel engine has an OAP fitted. When replacing the (FEAD) auxiliary belt it is advisable to check to operation of the alternator pulley (OAP) and FEAD tensioner at the same time. The new belt should have a like-for-like belt length to ensure correct operation of the FEAD tensioner.

FAG Wheel Bearings

FAG now offers a repair solution for the front wheel bearing. It is now possible to replace the bearing without having to replace the entire wheel knuckle assembly, in contrast to the repair method suggested by the vehicle manufacturer; the advantages being that it is not necessary to do the mandatory wheel alignment reset meaning a reduced downtime of the vehicle in the workshop.

A special tool is required to ensure correct fitment. FAG provides detailed instructions and DVD with the special tool.

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Inside Line: Autoelectro

Our Technical team have advised me that a stretched or worn alternator belt can cause premature failure of the alternator pulley, and that it is important to check the OE numbers for the alternator as there are quite a few outputs and stop start options on both starter motor and alternators fitted to later vehicles.

The starter motor can fail prematurely due to excessive cranking caused by a worn ignition switch that keeps the starter motor engaged when started.

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Inside Line: Dayco

Despite being subject to inevitable wear and tear during the lifespan of the engine, the front end auxiliary drive (FEAD) system has not traditionally been subject to any particular maintenance or replacement schedule. However, some vehicle manufacturers are now beginning to introduce FEAD system maintenance into their service schedules, which opens the door for the independent sector to apply similar service principles to the auxiliary belt and the associated components, such as tensioners and idlers, that together make up the FEAD system and take advantage of a genuinely new revenue opportunity.

There are a number of very important reasons why technicians should examine the FEAD system. These include the fact that although it is not directly a safety critical component, the auxiliary belt in the Mercedes Sprinter drives so many vital components – alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, vacuum pumps etc. – and even if its failure does not directly stop the vehicle, it could certainly leave the driver without power to some parts of the vehicle that could make it in effect, un-driveable.

Dayco provides a small tool named the ‘a-WEAR-ness gauge’ with which technicians can quickly and accurately carry out three visual checks (wear in both the profile and the depth of the belt groves, plus any cracks in the belt) that will clearly reveal the condition of the belt.

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Inside Line: Forté

Mercedes Sprinter diesel engines can suffer with contaminated injectors resulting in running faults and poor performance. Forté have developed its latest product, Diesel Specialist Injector Cleaner, specifically formulated to clean and restore diesel injectors.

To cure these faults Forté recommend using Diesel Specialist Injector Cleaner at service intervals or when a fault has occurred in conjunction with Forté Advanced Formula Diesel Treatment to clean and restore injector spray patterns, clean the fuel system restoring vehicle performance, emissions and response.

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Inside Line: RMI

218 CDi 3.0-litre: Bad to start with low fuel pressure fault codes – lazy starter causing low cranking speed cause’s the fuel pressure code to appear.

311 CDi 2.1-litre: Engine goes in limp mode with a boost pressure fault code – turbo actuator failure.

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Inside Line: First Line

Steering and Suspension

The Mercedes Sprinter is a light commercial workhorse and therefore high mileage or excessively loaded examples are particularly susceptible to increased wear of the front suspension arm ball joints and stabiliser links, which can lead to the premature failure of the component.

In addition, when replacing any of these items, FLG recommends they are changed in pairs as it likely that the corresponding component on the opposite side will have also suffered a similar amount of wear. The result of replacing just one side at a time can sometimes cause increased pressure and wear on the opposite hand and the subsequent risk of unpredictable handling characteristics.


Again, due to the nature of the work they generally undertake and the mileages they cover, the Sprinter has a healthy appetite for both brake pads and discs.

To reduce the effects of excessive wear to these components, FLG recommend technicians fit Borg & Beck BECKTEC coated discs. Incorporating the latest innovative technology, BECKTEC utilises a water based zinc and aluminium flake to increase the corrosion protection of the entire brake disc, including the braking surface and the inner vein structure. As well as its excellent corrosion resistance, the coating also improves the efficiency of the thermal exchange properties within the braking cycle, which means they deliver improved braking performance.


Technicians often overlook the cabin filter when servicing the Sprinter. Symptoms of a blocked filter include the windows misting up on the inside and poor performance from the interior heating/ventilation system, which is why FLG recommends the filter is replaced every 12 months.


Bearings can be another issue with the Sprinter with high mileage and high load examples requiring more regular wheel bearing replacement than average. The front wheel bearings are a Type 2.1 design bearing, which means they require special tooling to remove and refit.

If more than 17-tonnes of force is required to remove the old bearing, the knuckle must also be replaced. Once the bearing has been removed the technician must check the knuckle carefully to make sure there is no damage to the bore. On fitting the bearing, care must be taken to ensure the locking ring is fully located into the knuckle.

Turbo Hoses

As with any rubber product, the material naturally degrades over time, but as turbo hoses are constantly exposed to large changes in temperature and pressure and can suffer from the effects of engine over-boosting and failing turbo oil seals, they are subject to high levels of stress, which along with contamination from oil and other common automotive chemicals, means they will eventually fail and need replacing.

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Inside Line: Meyle

Sven Nielsen, Technical Director from MEYLE, says the following difficulties may arise with the Mercedes Sprinter:

Damaged shock absorbers


Many car drivers lack awareness of the vital role shock absorbers play for overall car safety. The parts wear away gradually, many defects are not visible at first glance, but their impact on the overall car system is dramatic. Properly functioning shock absorbers reduce braking distances, ensure excellent road holding when cornering and trouble-free operation of state-of-the-art driver assistance systems such as ABS, ESP or TCS.

MEYLE solution:

With high-quality shock absorbers from MEYLE for the Mercedes Sprinter, independent workshops are well equipped for the repair of these safety-critical components.

Damaged water pumps





Worn out ball joints


Ball joints fail prematurely due to heavy load and a high dynamic strain, especially a high surface pressure that wears on the tie rod end.

MEYLE solution:

The recommendation of Meyle is while changing the ball joint also to check and replace the rubber bushings in the control arms. If the ball joint failed the rubber bushings may also be worn out.

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Inside Line: Comma

A few notes about the Mercedes Sprinter (2006 onwards):

Engine Oil

For this particularly model, Mercedes list a number of specifications for engine oil which should be covered by Comma Syner-G 5W40 or Syner Z 5W30. Be aware that there are a huge number of variants of this model.

With service intervals varying according to the use of the vehicle, oil top up between services can be critical. Supplying the customer with a top up pack and reminding them that they should be checking the engine oil regularly (see handbook for guidance) might also be prudent here particularly if you have noticed that the oil needed topping up when it was brought in. A quick check before you change might be a good way of reinforcing the importance of top up to the customer. Combined with longer service intervals and the increased use of sensitive components like turbochargers, checking your oil is more critical than ever before.

Brake Fluid

Mercedes use one or two specifications for brake fluid for this era of Sprinter. Most people don’t think of brake fluid as a service item however, as with many manufacturers, Mercedes specify a change interval of 24 months for this model. Brake fluid degrades over time by absorbing water from the atmosphere, which lowers its boiling point. Boiling point is a critical factor in brake fluid performance because of the amount of heat generated during braking. If the boiling point of the fluid is too low then continuous or hard braking may cause the brake fluid to vaporise which in turn can result in a loss of hydraulic pressure within the system. The message here is that brake fluid is a safety critical item so check and change when specified – don’t assume that it will just be OK.

Power Steering Fluid

Mercedes use one or two specifications for power steering fluid for the Sprinter.


Xstream G48 is the recommended product for this era of Sprinter, as it is for most recent Mercedes vehicles.


For this particular model, Mercedes use a range of transmissions that includes manuals but also automatic alternatives. There are 4×4 versions as well with various different differentials. As well as different fluid requirements, change intervals and capacities will vary depending on the type of transmission so we would advise you to consult the handbook to ensure that you get the right product for the vehicle you are servicing.

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Inside Line: Cambiare

Reverse lights not illuminating when the reverse gear is engaged is likely to be the result of failure of the reverse light switch. However, Cambiare suggests that the bulbs should be checked prior to replacing the switch as it has normally been experienced that vibration and voltage fluctuations cause the filament to fail.

Poor starting might be the result of a failing crankshaft sensor. Cambiare advises that technicians looking to diagnose poor starting, cutting out or poor performance should bear this part in mind during diagnosis and further mentions that monitoring the output from the sensor with a diagnostic scanner is the best way to identify this fault.

Cambiare also mentions that poor hot or cold starting in a Mercedes Sprinter could be the result of a failing engine management temperature sensor. If the engine turns over and struggles to fire, it could be the result of the ECU not receiving the correct temperature reading from the sensor, thereby supplying the wrong fuel system information to the injectors.

Hesitation and/or poor hot or cold starting could also be the result of a failed camshaft sensor. So, Cambiare recommends technicians to take live data readings from the sensor as part of their diagnostic routine to prevent incorrect replacement of the sensor.

It has been found that misfires could be the result of a failing mushroom coil, a popular-selling Cambiare part for this van. Coil problems are indicated by fault codes between P0350 and P0362. Some models are fitted with plug leads and a failing lead could also be the cause of misfire and so, it should be checked for physical and electrical condition before being replaced.

Illumination of the engine management light might be the result of lambda sensor failure. Cambiare advises, however, that a fault code relating to a lambda sensor is only an indication that it has registered a value outside of what the system considers acceptable. This may have been caused by an air or exhaust leak which should be ruled out before the lambda sensor is replaced.

Technicians diagnosing the intermittent operation of the fuel pump should be aware that poor contact at the fuel pump relay and relay module unit can cause the fuel pump to not run. Cambiare points out that the failure to ensure the existence of a good contact here may lead to the unnecessary replacement of the fuel pump, leading to subsequent poor running/breakdown.

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