Last post on Dec 10, 2013 at 6:59 PM
You are in the Dodge Sprinter
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Dodge Sprinter, Dodge Sprinter Cargo, Van
#5 of 14 Your Sprinter Just Might Kill You
Aug 14, 2009 (8:48 pm)
I bought a new 2004 Sprinter and have regretted it every day since. The idea of a big box powered by a small efficient diesel is great but the Sprinter is a mechanical nightmare. A partial list of repairs. Transmission ($7,600), complete front end ($2,800), 4 blown Bosch fuel injectors ($1,200 each), Heater fan ($300) (you'll freeze in it at any temp below 40 degrees F), I gave up on the electric locks after spending $900 in "repairs", they still don't work. I've been unable to find a Sprinter dealer that is either honest or technically proficient. I've contacted the people that make these things in Germany and it's like talking to a GM factory Rep. circa 1970 (It's a Benz, it's the best, so go screw yourself). But here is the worst part. The OEM steel wheels have a nasty habit of breaking along the spokes (space in between the circles formed in the wheels). You almost need a microscope to see the cracks in the steel until the cracks travel 1/2 way around the wheel and the wheel is moments from flying off. I've contacted the NHTSA about this (no response other than the automated E-mail receipt of complaint) and my representative in the US Congress Mr. James Oberstar (Transportation), also no response (he's taken ton's of campaign contributions from the people in the car business). Don't buy a Sprinter, it just might kill you or someone else in the car behind you.
#6 of 14 Re: Should I buy one? [stush]
Oct 20, 2009 (8:35 am)
Well here is my two cents. I'm a FedEx Express vehicle tech, I have been working on these since they came out in 2002. Some of the posts here are correct in that there are a few weak points in the Sprinter. I have 30 of these in my fleet and can count the transmissions replaced on less than one hand. Some of my trucks have over 300k miles on them. Most all have over 100k, I have only had to change one water pump and these engine just do not leak oil! See how a Cummins stands up to that. Starters very seldom go out and believe me my guys do a lot of starting, 150 starts a day. I have yet to change a power steering pump or alternator, they just do not go bad. The 2002 had some weak differential issues which they have now fixed. The automatic door locks are a weak point but usually caused by a gorilla slamming the door so hard it breaks wires off switches. They get fantastic fuel mileage, some of mine hit 30 mpg with 200k on them. Daimler had some injector problems with the early models. The engines internally are really bulletproof. The brakes are small but if you buy your parts from Johnson Industries and take it to an independent shop instead of a dealer it shouldnt cost you that much. Did I mention that this engine does not leak oil! Buy a 2005 or later, change your fuel filter every other oil change and you will be fine.
#7 of 14 Re: Should I buy one? [sprinterguru]
Oct 29, 2009 (10:11 pm)
I've wanted a sprinter since I first heard about them in 2001. Reading this thread almost convinced me not to buy one, but after a lot of research, I recently bought a 2002 with 315,000 miles. After replacing the EGR valve and changing some fluids and filters, I have $8,800 in it altogether. Its a really nice van, I can stand up in it, it drives like a mini van, I get 25 mpg, and I just love it.
I think most of the problems people have are problems with the dealers.
So Roy, where are you located?
#8 of 14 Re: Should I buy one? [sprinterguru]
Oct 30, 2009 (12:23 pm)
Thanks Roy for the most indepth responce. I still have my big Chevy P30 Grumman. What can I say, the whole body is aluminum, it's huge but rides and drives like a beast!! I think why most people are complaining about the reliability of the Sprinter is because they keep taking it back to the Dodge dealer for warranty repair. I'm no piston head but I know enough that there is a huge difference between diesel and gas engine. The techs aren't qualified to work on them. Therefore, you get poor service. Plus the fact it was a poorly run company. I paid $5000.00 for a 1991 P30 van with 54,000 miles on it back in 2004. To go and spend $40,000 on a new van is just wrong in my book. Going used is the best way but since the beast is running fine now, I can't see the justification of going for the Sprinter right now. Maybe someday I'll opt for the Sprinter. I love the P30 except for the gas mileage,but we don't live in a perfect world and I'm just too cheap!!!!
#10 of 14 Too much trouble!
Feb 02, 2010 (9:48 am)
I have a 2004 loaded high top with 78,000 miles purchased new. If I had Roy working on my truck I would be happy. Roy has to answer to his boss if his trucks have problems, so he does things right. I am sure that he has the right computer for reading codes and trans temp. required to check fluid level ($6000.00). Finding a Roy is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I am repairing the third leak on my tranny. First two done under warranty. Same problem and is common on Sprinters. I love the design of the Sprinter but would never buy another. I owned a Chevy P30 with grumman box when I worked on the job. Never had a problem and service was easy. I have never done better than 18 MPG on my Sprinter.
#11 of 14 It's been a nightmare
Mar 05, 2010 (10:52 am)
We have a 2006, 2500 model Sprinter.
Bought brand new.
Had lots of trouble of many major parts incuding the engine that went out at 115,000 and cost $14,500 to replace.
Be very careful.
We wanted so badly for this vehicle to work for us, but it has failed us so many times.
We have spent almost $30,000 in repairs and related expenses, making this a $70,000 investment.
#12 of 14 Re: Should I buy one? [sprinterguru]
Feb 05, 2013 (12:17 am)
I bought a 2005 new from the dealer and have had very few problems with mine in over 125,000 miles. The turbo resonator went bad (they all do) so I put in an aftermarket aluminum one. I had a glow plug go out that I replaced myself. I've gone through 2 turbo intake hoses. Sprinterguru is right!! The engine does not leak oil!!! This has been the most reliable work van that I have ever driven in over 18 years of being a locksmith running several emergency calls day and night. It gets 20 MPG fully loaded with my machines and inventory. It does go through a lot of brake pads and rotors, so I went to aftermarket pads. It now takes nearly twice as long to stop, but my pads are lasting 3 times as long. I put Koni shocks on it last year and it rides like a dream.
#13 of 14 Re: Should I buy one? [sprinterguru]
Nov 07, 2013 (10:10 am)
I'd be interested in an update from sprinterguru or anyone else who sees a lot of these. Are there some years worse or better than others? Does FedEx still use these? They don't seem to in my area.
#14 of 14 Re: It's been a nightmare [touringband]
Dec 10, 2013 (6:59 pm)
May I ask which motor oil you used before the engine was destroyed?
Any other time I've heard of an engine problem was when the mechanic didn't use one of the very few oils with MB approval #228.5, 229.3 or 229.5, such as Castrol Edge 5W40 or Mobil 1 Euro 0W40.