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Old 08-24-2012, 03:59 PM   #1
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Sprinter Break In Period Advice?


I am trying to anticipate picking up my Sprinter sometime in September so I thought I would try to get ahead of this issue.

I have never owned a diesel much less one with a turbocharger and much less a modern high-tech one. I drove an Isuzu diesel pick up for a delivery service in my youth but I think things may have changed a bit since then, I hope.

I read the Mercedes Owner's Manual and it essentially just says to take it easy for the first 1,000 miles. It also says to not put a full load on the engine but the thought of heading into the mountains with a vehicle that will likely weigh about 8,000 pounds kinds of encroaches on that warning, or does it?

I am used to breaking high performance motorcycles but this is the whole opposite end of the spectrum. The motorcycling boards has proven that there can be a lot different approaches, or should I say opinions?

Any words of wisdom from you all very experienced Sprinter drivers?

I apologize if this has been hashed out before but my search could not find where it has been done before.



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Old 08-24-2012, 04:20 PM   #2
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Re: Sprinter Break In?

my approach, though not a mechanic when breaking in our Sprinter last fall that we picked up in Reno to avoid $$$$ CA taxes and drove to AK:
1. engine: kept the speed under the recommended break in max. sped I let it run a couple of minutes before shut down if we were doing highway speeds for an extended period and needed to stop for some reason.
2. new tires are also an issue for break in so we avoided rough roads and kept the speed down for the same reason for the first 1K. The electronic readout on the tire pressure is pretty cool to avoid having to check all the time (checked it once and the readings matched the electronic readout.)

break in observation: The front mag wheels got really dirty fast from brake dust and had to get some special cleaner for that. Not as big a problem now that we have 7K on the rig since April.

PS: if you got the Kenwood GPS set up with rear camera, you will get third brake out warning messages after you back up. Apparently they have to cut the brake light signal to the third light during backups as the adjacent camera gets overwhelmed by the red light. Goes away once you clear it.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:04 PM   #3
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Re: Sprinter Break In?

I would tend to follow the manufacturer's recommendations on breakin. If that means you have to downshift and go over mountain passes at 45-50, so be it.

Read the manual and do what it says - Mercedes has an interest in making the vehicle last a long time, and they have experience with many more vans than all of us here combined.

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Old 09-09-2012, 01:30 PM   #4
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Re: Sprinter Break In?

Primary reason to take it easy during the "break-in" period is for the rear axle. Drive it too hard and the gears won't take a good set, and that can cause noise down the road.
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:59 PM   #5
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Re: Sprinter Break In?

We drove about 2000 miles bringing her home. We were advised just to drive easy and vary the engine speed. MB advises not to use the cruise control so we did not for the first 1000 miles.
Oh, by the way, you may be suprised about what you assume the van will weigh. Stop at the first closed weigh station you find (the scale will still be open). Our EB weighed in at 8120 lb with what I call a typical camping load but only 1/2 tank of fuel. Great for us as we still have over 400 lb of capacity.

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:51 PM   #6
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Re: Sprinter Break In?


Two things

One could you possibly edit your post to say something like "Sprinter Break In Period?"
Every time I see it I keep think oh no someone broke into his brand new van and them I remember you haven't even got it yet...

Two I don't have a Sprinter but I would follow the MB recommendations if you can. Meaning try to do what they say but if you have to break the rule do it for as short a time as possible. I have been around German cars at dealers all of my life and I know some people (myself included) just get in them and drive it however they drive and never have had any trouble. I would try to vary my speed at first no really long trips on flat roads with the cruise control on. They are thinking of the rear axle and transmission as well as the engine just so you know.

Good luck with your new van..I hope its great...

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Old 09-09-2012, 09:52 PM   #7
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Re: Sprinter Break In Period Advice?

The old, old saying, “Don’t beat it and don’t baby it”
But the real thing is to allow all the metal parts that rub together with just a thin coating of oil to polish the surfaces smooth and to work out any assembly lubes. The break in oil change is primarily to remove those contaminants.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:21 PM   #8
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Re: Sprinter Break In Period Advice?

I want to thank everyone for their advice.

I am so used to the gasoline engine break in routine that I am wondering how well it will work on a diesel. I straddle the line between babying it and driving it like you stole it. I take care and vary engine speeds regularly and treat the engine respectfully but then run it to higher RPMs once in a while after the first couple hundred miles to push the rings up against the walls. I just bought a new 3 cylinder motorcycle and the advice the salesman gave me was ride it like you would normally since everything is built to such fine tolerances these days that with the advanced metallurgy there is just no need to be concerned. I didn't buy it and babied it until I got home and read the manual where it reads the same as every other manual about break in. I have never had a problem with oil consumption after all of these years so my routine works for me.

But this Mercedes has a diesel engine, and a newfangled hightech one at that. This diesel is a "BlueTec" and it has diesel exhaust fluid. What the heck is "diesel exhaust fluid"? I read in the manual that if you drive in stop and go traffic a lot that at least every 300 miles you need to go and take it out on the highway to make it happy with itself again. What? It has fancy catalytic converters? On a diesel? I will break in the van per the manual so that I can sign any affidavits or take the polygraph tests required to get warranty work done. I have gone a lot of places and spoken to a lot of people about Mercedes. Apparently the company is the epitome of the perceived "Teutonic precise and controlling idiosyncratic" company that can be a "little" difficult to work with.

Okay, so I am having some fun here... but I will be very careful during break in as everyone has stated. I see no former Team Audi diesel racing rogue telling me to push it to the limits out the SMB shop door and chirp the tires at each shift cause it'll seat the rings better so I am going to be a good boy.

Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:54 PM   #9
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Re: Sprinter Break In Period Advice?

Here is advice I got for my F550 7.3L diesel, not just break-in, and probably good advice for the Sprinter:

Keep rpm below 2000 until it warms up.
Warm up quickly by driving, not idling.
Do not idle more than 10 minutes even when warm.
If you need to idle longer, raise the rpm to 1200 or so.
After driving hard, idle for a few minutes to let the turbo cool down.


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