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Old 06-30-2017, 11:36 AM   #1
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Vacation trip is ending up terrible

We started out from Florida in late May in our new LTV Serenity, taking a southern route through Texas and travelling north through Colorado with Yellowstone and Glacier as destinations. Everything was going good until we were on a long grade on a state road in Colorado. An oil seal blew on the engine (about 10,000 miles on odometer). We called Mercedes roadside service and they wanted us to drive it Albuquerque, provided it would drive. That was a few hours away. We made it into Montrose, CO but could find no truck repair place that would look at it for several days. There was a Jiffy lube in town who let me pull it into their bay. The guys there were great and they found that the oil filter seal had disintegrated and they replaced the oil filter and said to try driving it. They made no promises that it was fixed, but I agreed to give it a try. After careful monitoring, I determined the leak was fixed, although oil dripped for several days off the engine and body.

After this, the alternator went out on the toad in Lander, Wyoming. Toyota said it would be about 5 days to get an alternator from CA, but I found a local NAPA store that could overnight one and have it Saturday morning. No mechanic would take it in, so I bought some tools and replaced it behind their store (I was a part time mechanic in another life ).

We made it to the Tetons and Yellowstone by mid June and had a great time there. Then we started heading north to Glacier, and outside of Butte, the Serenity started losing power and ran slower and slower until it just died on the side of the road. We were headed to Lewis and Clark State Park and while we were stalled out, wouldn't know it, a travel trailer passed us and got the last camping spot in the State Park. We did get the Serenity started again and limped it toward Butte, Montana. We ended up in a National Forest primitive campground that night. There was no cell phone service to call anyone. Not a good situation, but we had the toad. We were so tired and stressed that we just went to sleep.

The next day, the Serenity started and we started up I 90 toward Missoula where there is a Mercedes dealer. We almost got killed on this section as we started up a mountain pass and the Interstate right lane and shoulder was closed and the RV started acting up again, losing power and eventually slowing to 15 MPH with the pedal floored. (story to be continued since dealer needs to talk to me)
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:23 PM   #2
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Wow .... you've had quite the journey. Were most of the problems fixed under warranty. I thought the Mercedes was mostly bullet proof. It goes to show that new, old and everything in between can fail without notice. It sounds like you made the best of it and can hopefully look back and laugh someday. You've been through a decade or two worth of problems in only one month. Looks like your next trip should be smooth sailing.
If I had you MH I would be tempted to not tow anything. (We don't tow with our 1996 Tioga) I guess there's another reason to tow ...... in case you break down.
Good luck with the current problem!
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:31 PM   #3
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Fuel filter clean?? Sounds like that could be starving the engine of fuel since it just gradually slowed and then would restart. Not enough fuel getting through the filter under power. Had a similar issue with my class A.
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:24 PM   #4
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We've had a trip like that so I feel your pain.
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:51 PM   #5
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I had an LTV Unity and experinced the loss of power. It was the Sprinter setting the Limp Home Mode (LHM) condition. It my case it was a a valve dealing with the emissions. It was an easy fix by the dealer. Below is a little more information on the Limp Home Mode. In any case it's important to get the Sprinter to a dealer to be fixed.

Limp Home Mode (LHM) Possible Causes

Limp Home Mode or Limp-in is an operating condition set by the Sprinter computer(s). Technicians may refer to the vehicle computer as the ECU Engine Control Unit, ECM engine control module, or PCM power-train control module. The ECM or TCM transmission control module both have the capability of setting a LHM state. LHM limp home mode is a programmed response for the computer recognizing abnormal operation of your engine/drive-train. The intent is that it limits the power available and therefore will allow you to operate the engine and keep driving, but limit any damage to your engine and drive train.

There are various levels of LHM possible. The most severe is the transmission limited to one forward gear (usually 2nd gear) and reverse, with engine power reduced. LHM is not really a symptom as such, it is more a normal pre-programmed response to the recognized problem. The MIL Malfunction Indicator Light, or sometimes called the CEL Check Engine Light may or may not be lit when the computer calls for LHM.

It is important to note that all loss of power situations are not necessarily LHM set by the computer. Regular old problems like a plugged fuel filter, dirty air filter, mechanical turbo control linkage failures, plugged exhaust system, etc. may also cause a lack of power which is not computer set/related. The computer only sets LHM if it becomes aware of a problem, sometimes the sensors don't notice so it just doesn't know. It would be so much easier if MB included a "LHM Set" dash light indicator.
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierrun View Post
We started out from Florida in late May in our new LTV Serenity, taking a southern route through Texas and travelling north through Colorado with Yellowstone and Glacier as destinations. Everything was going good until we were on a long grade on a state road in Colorado. An oil seal blew on the engine (about 10,000 miles on odometer). We called Mercedes roadside service and they wanted us to drive it Albuquerque, provided it would drive. That was a few hours away. We made it into Montrose, CO but could find no truck repair place that would look at it for several days. There was a Jiffy lube in town who let me pull it into their bay. The guys there were great and they found that the oil filter seal had disintegrated and they replaced the oil filter and said to try driving it. They made no promises that it was fixed, but I agreed to give it a try. After careful monitoring, I determined the leak was fixed, although oil dripped for several days off the engine and body.

After this, the alternator went out on the toad in Lander, Wyoming. Toyota said it would be about 5 days to get an alternator from CA, but I found a local NAPA store that could overnight one and have it Saturday morning. No mechanic would take it in, so I bought some tools and replaced it behind their store (I was a part time mechanic in another life ).

We made it to the Tetons and Yellowstone by mid June and had a great time there. Then we started heading north to Glacier, and outside of Butte, the Serenity started losing power and ran slower and slower until it just died on the side of the road. We were headed to Lewis and Clark State Park and while we were stalled out, wouldn't know it, a travel trailer passed us and got the last camping spot in the State Park. We did get the Serenity started again and limped it toward Butte, Montana. We ended up in a National Forest primitive campground that night. There was no cell phone service to call anyone. Not a good situation, but we had the toad. We were so tired and stressed that we just went to sleep.

The next day, the Serenity started and we started up I 90 toward Missoula where there is a Mercedes dealer. We almost got killed on this section as we started up a mountain pass and the Interstate right lane and shoulder was closed and the RV started acting up again, losing power and eventually slowing to 15 MPH with the pedal floored. (story to be continued since dealer needs to talk to me)
Continued:
We eventually made it to the Mercedes dealer in Missoula, MT. The service dept. took the information on Tuesday afternoon and agreed to diagnose the problem on Wednesday at 8:00 AM. We were fortunate enough to get one of the last spots at the local KOA, and limped the RV over there for the night. The next day they got me in at 8:00 AM (after bumping some local customers 30 minutes or so). According to the technician, we had a bad/intermittent wiring harness to the fuel pressure sensor on the fuel rail. They ordered the part overnight delivery and said to come in on Friday (yesterday) at 8:30 AM for the repair. The diagnoses sounded reasonable to me. We were able to extend our stay at the KOA (a few hundred yards from the dealer), and the dealer let us limp it back over there. The KOA warned us that we must leave on Friday because they are booked up. In fact every private RV park in Missoula was booked. We kept our fingers crossed that the RV would be fixed. Thursday, we visited a few of the historical places around Missoula using the toad.(which now has a seeping upper radiator hose due to a cracked plastic Y fitting... another story).

So Friday we go to our appointment at the dealer and by 10:30 AM we are on the road headed toward Glacier. As you would expect, every place is booked solid, but we find a National Forest campground (Emery Bay) about 20 miles from the West Glacier park entrance. We had to drive down about 6 miles of a dusty dirty road, only to find that there is 1 spot left for Friday only. It seems that all the places are filled through this coming Tuesday, the 4th of July. We set up the RV, make a quick lunch, and head out to Road to the Sun in Glacier with the toad. It was absolutely beautiful and we hated to be so rushed. We made it back to the campsite about 10:00 PM, beat tired. At that time, we decided that it was time to start heading East, but we would try to make it to Custer, SD where we still had reservations that we had not cancelled yet.

This morning Saturday, July 1, we started heading east. We stopped outside Helena (Avon?) on a nice pull over which faced a big lake. As we slowed, the Mercedes engine quit. It would only re-start if you took the key out and put it back in. It did this 2 or 3 times at the pull over. Our hearts sank and stomachs ached with frustration. We were able to make it into Helena where we topped it off with fresh diesel. Upon pulling out of the station, the RV with toad connected, died crossways in the middle of the highway. We had half the highway blocked and were in panic mode trying to figure out what to do now. After about 5 minutes, we got it started and off the highway and eventually on a side road. We called Mercedes and they are supposed to tow it back to Missoula tomorrow, Sunday, July 2.

Right now we are in a Holiday Inn in Helena, trying to de-stress. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I'll try to update as we can. Right now, I'm thinking of seeking legal help.
When I talked to Mercedes about some travel interruption compensation, they told me that the Sprinter line is specifically excluded from their Customer Care/Concierge benefits. So much for Mercedes.... and the worst thing is having to listen to their own praises about customer care while you are on hold. Agggggg.
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:38 PM   #7
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Look at this way, at least it now at a Mercedes dealer or soon to be. I assume it's still under full warranty. I think I would put a little pressure on the warranty rep to cover your lodging while they try to fix your "new" Sprinter. I just wonder if this it a continuation of your wiring problem.

Back about 10 years ago I had a "funky" loss of power on my newer Toyota. Took them 3 weeks to trace the wire connector that was faulty. The bad connector was "in side" the transmission. Problem they couldn't order just that connector. They were trying to buy the whole wiring harness ($2500) just to get that one connector. I as fully under warranty. They even gave me a Tundra free for a free loaner I used for a trip.
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:49 PM   #8
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We camped in that same KOA in Missoula last June. You might check your MH insurance for 'trip cancellation' or some such coverage. Not right that you are having so much trouble. Has LTV offered any assistance? I've held the belief that they are a top-notch company-would hate to find out differently. Again, good luck to you!
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:58 PM   #9
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We camped in that same KOA in Missoula last June. You might check your MH insurance for 'trip cancellation' or some such coverage. Not right that you are having so much trouble. Has LTV offered any assistance? I've held the belief that they are a top-notch company-would hate to find out differently. Again, good luck to you!
Thanks. I actually talked to Brad Wall up at LTV, and he said it would be up to Mercedes to provide any compensation. I may try again on Monday and see what he says. He may not be too happy with me if I have to return the unit under Florida's lemon law. Right now, I want to get the unit fixed and don't plan to go with the lemon law unless I end up with more occurrences of this same intermittent problem. We really love the unit... that is when it works right.

Good tip on the MH insurance..... I'll check on that.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:07 PM   #10
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Our last long trip in 2015 was a bust. Bought the rig, drove it to Phoenix and back, about 2,500 miles total. 40 miles from home the engine dropped a valve in #6. Took 5 weeks (into June) to get it fixed and over $22,000 out of pocket expenses. Then the late DW was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Some trips are worse than others!
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:32 PM   #11
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Mercedes trouble

Sorry that you are having so much trouble. Be patient and assertive with the dealer. In my opinion, Mercedes is living on past glory. I was a Mercedes specialist for almost 25 years, 1977-2000, and quit when the new models appeared in 2001. They were not the vehicles of previous years. The Fed-Ex people drive their sprinters till they need a involved repair and junk them, as the cost is extreme. I also do not think the lemon law applies to the Sprinter, as it is a commercial vehicle. Which may explain their refusal to accommodate your added expenses. Stay on the dealer, and possibly call corporate.
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:31 PM   #12
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Our last long trip in 2015 was a bust. Bought the rig, drove it to Phoenix and back, about 2,500 miles total. 40 miles from home the engine dropped a valve in #6. Took 5 weeks (into June) to get it fixed and over $22,000 out of pocket expenses. Then the late DW was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Some trips are worse than others!
So sorry to hear this. I hope you are doing OK.
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Old 07-02-2017, 12:43 PM   #13
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We camped in that same KOA in Missoula last June. You might check your MH insurance for 'trip cancellation' or some such coverage. Not right that you are having so much trouble. Has LTV offered any assistance? I've held the belief that they are a top-notch company-would hate to find out differently. Again, good luck to you!
OK, I have a Safeco RV insurance policy with the RV ultra plan. I just talked to 'Claims' about my situation. Unfortunately, trip interruption compensation only applies to a collision or comprehensive incident. It does not apply to mechanical breakdown. We are still in the Helena, MT Holiday Inn on extended check out, awaiting a big rig tow truck. ETA is about 2 hours away. Missoula, MT is about 120 miles away. At least we are safe and have a motel reservation set up in Missoula for the next 3 days. It is pricey though for this holiday period.

It is uncertain if the dealer service will be open tomorrow since when we left there last week, they had a sign on the door saying closed on July 3 and 4.
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Old 07-02-2017, 12:57 PM   #14
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Here's to hoping you have luck with Mercedes getting some compensation but I fear the odds on that are long . . . I have never heard of a vehicle manufacturer's warranty covering those kind of expenses. Hopefully Mercedes will step up for you!!!!!
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