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Old 02-10-2021, 04:34 AM   #1
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Northern California MB Sprinter service (driveshaft?)

2009 MB Sprinter 2500, Winnebago ERA 170RL, ~66K miles. Looking for MB Sprinter dealer / mechanic recommendations in the San Francisco Bay Area or within 100 miles of Hayward, CA. Need to get a drivetrain noise issue conclusively diagnosed and serviced (pronounced warble/whine/whirr underneath, mid-vehicle, especially noticeable at low speeds, very noticeable under 10 mph, doesn't strictly follow wheel (ground) speed, doesn't follow engine speed at all, continues in neutral).

Just took it to a trustworthy mechanic near where it's stored; unfortunately their lift isn't RV-capable. They test-drove and checked underneath -- preliminary diagnosis = driveshaft ("propeller shaft"). Then took it to a Dodge dealer that services Dodge Sprinters and Promasters; they said they can't work on MB Sprinters, suggested contacting MB dealer. So here I am
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Old 02-10-2021, 07:35 AM   #2
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Sounds like the intermediate shaft bearing has failed. There was a recall on this on certain year models but I'm not sure if you would fall under that recall. I would find an independent Sprinter serviceman - unless you have really deep pockets and think Mercedes will do better.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:12 AM   #3
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Had an issue with my Jayco 3500 and went to MB of Sacramento. Worked with Dave Rose one of their Service writers and he did an outstanding job of taking care of the issue. I you can't find anyone local I highly recommend them. My issue fell under Warranty so there was no cost to me. Jayo replaced all four alloy wheels to finally get rid of the dreaded Sprinter shimmy. MB of Sac a great job of coordinating with Jayco to get it resolve.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:52 PM   #4
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This guy in sacramento does a good job worked on some other sprinter RV's and is way cheaper then the dealer and does quality work give him a call
https://www.germanmotors.co/?fbclid=...iq-fZDBCXSCnrY
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:39 PM   #5
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Driveshaft noise - solved

After reading many great Yelp reviews, I drove the Sprinter 90 minutes down US-101 to Salinas, to West Coast Sprinter & Auto. They test-drove it, confirmed what I was hearing (fortunately 100% repeatable), and concurred that it had to be aft of the transmission because the noise persisted in neutral.

They looked underneath and found that the rear transmission mount (a heavy rubber bushing inside a stout metal bracket) was on the verge of failing (the rubber had all but worn away around the central mount point). They replaced it, and also the forward carrier bearing (at the front "1/3" point of the driveshaft), which may have worn prematurely because of the excess play in the transmission mount.

Test drove it again -- the noise was still there! They then put it up on jacks, changed a setting to allow the rear wheels to spin with no load, and attached "Chassis Ears" microphones to the rear carrier bearing area and various points on the rear differential housing. The front-most mic on the diff housing heard the sound loud and clear, and it wasn't a diff sound. The noise (whir / whine / warble) -- what the owner Lino called a "crying sound" -- turned out to be some sort of resonance in the rear 1/3 of the driveshaft. Apparently the driveshaft has 3 segments, each a hollow tube filled with a composite material. Fortunately, WCS had parted out another Sprinter and had a good-condition driveshaft on the shelf with about 80K miles on it. They swapped its rear third for ours -- no more crying noise.

The guys at WCS live and breathe Sprinters, and were professional and personable. I would recommend them without hesitation.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/west-coast-...d-auto-salinas
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:37 AM   #6
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I love it when things end well. Sounds like you have found your "go to" Sprinter repairman now.

Charles
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:08 PM   #7
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Great job on the fix! Do you tow? Ive seen a lot of problems with folks that tow vs those of us that do not...glad you got it fixed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jciccare2453 View Post
After reading many great Yelp reviews, I drove the Sprinter 90 minutes down US-101 to Salinas, to West Coast Sprinter & Auto. They test-drove it, confirmed what I was hearing (fortunately 100% repeatable), and concurred that it had to be aft of the transmission because the noise persisted in neutral.

They looked underneath and found that the rear transmission mount (a heavy rubber bushing inside a stout metal bracket) was on the verge of failing (the rubber had all but worn away around the central mount point). They replaced it, and also the forward carrier bearing (at the front "1/3" point of the driveshaft), which may have worn prematurely because of the excess play in the transmission mount.

Test drove it again -- the noise was still there! They then put it up on jacks, changed a setting to allow the rear wheels to spin with no load, and attached "Chassis Ears" microphones to the rear carrier bearing area and various points on the rear differential housing. The front-most mic on the diff housing heard the sound loud and clear, and it wasn't a diff sound. The noise (whir / whine / warble) -- what the owner Lino called a "crying sound" -- turned out to be some sort of resonance in the rear 1/3 of the driveshaft. Apparently the driveshaft has 3 segments, each a hollow tube filled with a composite material. Fortunately, WCS had parted out another Sprinter and had a good-condition driveshaft on the shelf with about 80K miles on it. They swapped its rear third for ours -- no more crying noise.

The guys at WCS live and breathe Sprinters, and were professional and personable. I would recommend them without hesitation.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/west-coast-...d-auto-salinas
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:34 PM   #8
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We're the 3rd owners. We don't tow (or plan to) and the 2nd owner (63K-66K miles) didn't tow; we don't know about the original owner (0-63K miles). The van has a 2" hitch receiver, but we're going to use that for a bike rack. I'm awaiting delivery of a RakAttach Large Passenger-Side 90-degree swing-away unit, into which we will be able to plug any 2" hitch receiver bike rack. I'm researching "2+2" designs (2-bike base unit, 2-bike add-on unit for a total of 4 bikes when we want to carry bikes for friends).
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Old 03-09-2021, 02:43 PM   #9
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I'm in Louisiana close to New Orleans, and I have an '06 "Dodge" 2500 Sprinter. My
problem is similar, in that I'm hearing/feeling a vibration at low speeds (25 to 35MPH)
that kind of sounds like when you hit a rumble strip. I'm suspicious of that center carrier on the drive shaft. I've asked the Dodge dealer close by but they don't have the vertical clearance at their lifts. We have an independent Mercedes repair shop nearby but they wont work on it. So I'm thinking of trying it myself. Any suggestions or clues?
Dudley Haycraft
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Old 03-10-2021, 03:13 PM   #10
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RE: Vibration at low speeds "like rumble strip"

Dudley, when you say "...I'm thinking of trying it myself", do you mean diagnosing, or repairing? I can't speak to repairing, but as for diagnosing you can give a mechanic several clues.

* Does the pitch of the noise vary with travel speed? With engine speed?

* Does it keep rising in pitch in a close/strict/linear relationship to either?

* Does it continue when you shift to neutral and keep rolling?

* When you're turning, including turning slowly and as sharply as possible, does it change in perceived location, pitch, character or severity?

I noted each of those as best I could from the driver seat (and also wandering up and down the aisle while my wife drove), and my total-newbie-with-an-engineering-background diagnosis of "driveshaft or differential" turned out to be in the right ballpark.

I found one YouTube video where a young owner and his mechanic friend put the Sprinter's rear end up on jack-stands and set some control to allow the vehicle's rear wheels to spin under no-load conditions. Then, while keeping body parts and clothing well clear of anything spinning (driveshaft, wheels, axle, bearings...) they could listen and observe as the engine was revved, shifter changed between drive and neutral, etc.

(I'd want to have damn good supports in place -- maybe redundant ones -- before getting under an RV. Makes me recall my grandfather's gas station, which had no lift but did have a service pit that a vehicle could sit above on sturdy wheel tracks so it could be inspected and worked on from below.)
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Old 03-17-2021, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudley do-right View Post
I'm in Louisiana close to New Orleans, and I have an '06 "Dodge" 2500 Sprinter. My
problem is similar, in that I'm hearing/feeling a vibration at low speeds (25 to 35MPH)
that kind of sounds like when you hit a rumble strip. I'm suspicious of that center carrier on the drive shaft. I've asked the Dodge dealer close by but they don't have the vertical clearance at their lifts. We have an independent Mercedes repair shop nearby but they wont work on it. So I'm thinking of trying it myself. Any suggestions or clues?
Dudley Haycraft
If you go to the Sprinter Source forum, the T1N forums, and do a search for "rumble strip noise" you will get tons of hits. Its a common problem on the T1N series and is in the transmission. Dr A came up with a mod that involved drilling out an orifice slightly to increase the fluid flow in one circuit and resolved the issue. Many owners found that changing the fluid fixed it for some time before it returned.

There is a rubber isolator in the driveshaft at one of the mounts, the early driveshafts are not repairable however.

How many miles do you have on the fluid? Is it a motorhome (class C like a View) or simply a van (or class B like an Airstream).

First order of business would be a fluid change. There are only a few different fluids you can use in the Sprinter, and the cheapest of these is Shell ATF134. You will have to locate a Shell Distributor to source it.

https://www.shell.us/business-custom...r-locator.html

Another common fluid is Fuchs 4134. You can find that on Amazon and a number of other sources.

Most of the fluids listed as approved in the MB list are not available in the US. Your owners manual will list spec 236.10 or 236.12 however that has been upgraded to 236.14 when the 7 speed was introduced, for commonality. It takes 9 or 10 qts for a stock pan. You need a seal for the torque converter drain and there are two sizes of that plug. One you buy just the seal, the other, you get a plug/seal combination. My '06 chassis was built about May of '06 and I think it used the smaller of the two. I don't recall now.

Its a little bit of a hassle bumping the engine around to get the converter drain in the opening, but NEVER, EVER, use the crank center bolt to turn the engine, NEVER, EVER.

You also need a dipstick, a good one. The real cheap ones tend to lose the ends in the transmission, NOT GOOD! I suggest either of these.

https://www.autohausaz.com/catalog/c...ick?s=d&page=1

Never insert the dipstick in the transmission unless the plastic end is perfectly straight. If it is bent or has a curve from being rolled up, lay it out and even use a hair dryer to warm it a little and work it straight. If it is bent or curved it will jam in the transmission and the end pulls off, even the good dipsticks.

For the fill tube cap you need locks as you break them when you remove them.

https://www.autohausaz.com/catalog/c...pin?s=d&page=1

These locks can be found on Amazon in packs of five from Dorman for cheap also.

When you pull the cap after breaking the lock, keep your fingers wrapped around under it to catch the o-ring that may stick to the top of the tube, so you don't lose it, It should stay on the cap but many times they don't.

https://www.autohausaz.com/catalog/c...eal?s=d&page=1

Rumble strip noise is common and you need to read up on it.

Charles
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Old 03-19-2021, 03:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jciccare2453 View Post
Dudley, when you say "...I'm thinking of trying it myself", do you mean diagnosing, or repairing? I can't speak to repairing, but as for diagnosing you can give a mechanic several clues.

* Does the pitch of the noise vary with travel speed? With engine speed?

* Does it keep rising in pitch in a close/strict/linear relationship to either?

* Does it continue when you shift to neutral and keep rolling?

* When you're turning, including turning slowly and as sharply as possible, does it change in perceived location, pitch, character or severity?

I noted each of those as best I could from the driver seat (and also wandering up and down the aisle while my wife drove), and my total-newbie-with-an-engineering-background diagnosis of "driveshaft or differential" turned out to be in the right ballpark.

I found one YouTube video where a young owner and his mechanic friend put the Sprinter's rear end up on jack-stands and set some control to allow the vehicle's rear wheels to spin under no-load conditions. Then, while keeping body parts and clothing well clear of anything spinning (driveshaft, wheels, axle, bearings...) they could listen and observe as the engine was revved, shifter changed between drive and neutral, etc.

(I'd want to have damn good supports in place -- maybe redundant ones -- before getting under an RV. Makes me recall my grandfather's gas station, which had no lift but did have a service pit that a vehicle could sit above on sturdy wheel tracks so it could be inspected and worked on from below.)
In ans. to your questions, the ans. is "no" to all. Vibr. occurs between 25&35,then goes away. Also, does not happen consistently. Just happens on the upshift. Not an RV, just a well cared for work truck. Bought from a friend. Has 88,000 mi. of city driving.no towing well maintained. I haven't seriously persued the problem yet, and if the problem appears obvious, will repair myself, but all advice appreciated.
Dudley Do-Right, member of Alpine MH group
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