The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is one of the most widely recognized utility vans on the market. Its distinguishable shape makes it easily recognized in garages and warehouses the world over.
With workhouse vans like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, routine maintenance and repairs could be a little more challenging than with the traditional C300s or sedans. Parts typically cost more due to a lack of locally sourced parts. US diesel regulations over the past 10 years also changed the way Sprinters are manufactured, converting it to a cleaner vehicle.
Common Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Turbo Problems and Symptoms
Defective Sprinter Turbo Actuator Spring
Your turbo actuator is responsible for controlling your turbo's boost output by controlling the flow of exhaust gas away from your turbine wheel, helping it control its speed. At times, excess wear and tear can affect your turbo actuator's spring, resulting in lower boost pressure, loss of power, and a flashing engine management light. If left unattended, it could cause permanent damage to your engine.
Sprinter Turbo Hose Failure
Your Sprinter's turbo hose is responsible for regulating and optimizing compressed air, connecting your air intake system and turbocharger. Over time, it could develop wear and tear due to excessive heat and pressure, especially with standard EPDM rubber instead of silicone. If you experience limp mode or loss of power, you may have a defective turbocharger hose.
Sprinter Turbo Oil Leak
The oil inside your turbocharger can be subject to leaks due to drain-blocking between the oil drain life and engine sump. Any blocking causes your oil to accumulate and leaks out into your turbine or compressor housing. Another cause is with defective clogged crankcase ventilation systems, where excess pressure build-up can prevent oil from reaching your crankcase. Like turbo hose and defective actuator springs, the most common symptom is a loss of power and limp mode.
Sprinter Resonator Leak
Your Sprinter's resonator is responsible for moderating your vehicle's exhaust system, muffling engine sounds. If you notice excess, high-frequency buzzing, or a strange smell coming from your exhaust system, it may be a sign of a bad resonator. Other symptoms include a check engine light, stalled engine, and loss of power.
Loss of Power
New diesel equipped Mercedes-Benz Sprinter turbos may turn off based on EPA emissions, which causes it to lose power. This is also referred to as "limp mode."
Loss of power with your Mercedes-Benz Sprinter's turbo could be caused by several factors, including a faulty EFR valve, leaking inter-cooler hoses, or a faulty turbo actuator. If you notice your vehicle struggling to accelerate, it may be an indication it is time to look into your Sprinter's turbocharger.
A proper diagnosis by a certified Mercedes-Benz technician/dealership will be able to determine if it is an emissions issue or a parts related issue. A standard dealer may misinterpret a faulty part as an emissions issue, resulting in a more costly replacement or repair of your turbocharger.
How To Fix Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Turbo Problems
There are several steps you can take to check for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Turbo problems.
First, it is important to check for symptoms. Is your engine stalling when climbing uphill? Do you notice leaking engine oil under the hood? Do you hear vibration and noises coming from your sliding doors while driving?
Even leaking oil from oil coolers is not as easy as it appears to be. Oil coolers are hard to reach and may require the removal of your turbocharger and intake manifold to access. An extensive process of replacing the actual oil and a thorough test drive is required to assess driving conditions.
All in all, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter turbo problems can be easily handled by paying attention to driving conditions. If you are uneasy troubleshooting and fixing the issue yourself, seek the help of a licensed Mercedes-Benz technician/dealer. Turbochargers with loss of power can be due to several factors. For example, limp mode (loss of power) could be caused by a faulty EFR valve or leaking inter-cooler hoses, all of which may require eventual replacement with OEM parts. You can find replacement parts here on the Mercedes-Benz National Parts Store.