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5 Tips to Avoid Expensive Sprinter Repairs

Hey everybody, John with Owl. We work on Sprinters every day, and we adventure in them daily. If there's a problem to be had, we've probably experienced it.

Today, we're going to talk about 5 items that can save you a lot of money. They are little things, but if they go wrong, it will cost you big time. 


First and foremost, the windshield. 

If you have spent any time in a Sprinter van, you know that the windshield is "magnetic" for chips and dings. Anyone who owns a Sprinter has gone through replacing their window. In fact, I get so tired of it that I don't even bother anymore. I currently have a chip in my window, and I think this is the third windshield on this van. 

The pain about new vehicle windshield replacements is that they have to recalibrate the sensors and all this stuff, so it's not only costly but also time-consuming and can interrupt your trip. The key to windows and window chips is stopping them from cracking.

It’s a problem for Transits as well! 

Chips turn into cracks, so what you want to do is minimize the chance of that chip turning into a crack. How do we do that? We get it filled. You have a couple of options. This chip on my window was small, but I immediately had it filled. By "immediately," I mean I was on the freeway when it chipped. I literally looked up on my phone to find the nearest window glass replacement place. By the time I got off the freeway at the next exit where there was a Safelite, the window had cracked all the way across. If a crack is above six inches, it’s not repairable. 

If you get a chip, my advice is to pull over somewhere safely and remedy it yourself. 

This is the Rain-X Window Repair Kit. This is the first item I think you should carry with you because windows are thousands of dollars, and even if you have free window replacement in Arizona where we’re located, it’s still a pain because the van has to go in and they have to calibrate it. This doesn't take long. In my experience, it works quite well. Learn to deal with small chips in your window and hope they don't turn into cracks.

#2 DIESEL 911

This one might not be as costly, but it can be if you need a tow. That is - cold weather and diesel gelling. Anytime the temperature gets below 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to -12 degrees Celsius), your diesel can gel. If it gels, it won't run, and it can gel in the fuel system and the tank. 

This is Diesel 911. It’s not the only option, but it’s a popular one. This is an additive you can put into your diesel fuel if you're going skiing or going anywhere with cold weather. 

My opinion is that certain small things like this should be picked up and kept in the Owl box on the back of your van so that you always have them available. If you're going skiing or into the winter, you can put in some additives to keep your fuel from gelling. It’s an important item to have.


Rats love chewing wiring in vans. A lot of these vans, although you can drive them daily, don’t get daily driven because most people who have these vans also have a smaller car they use daily. 

So, when you're not using your van, you probably park it, and just about everywhere in the US, there are rats. 

They get into your engine bay, and the coating on the wiring has a bit of a sweet taste to it. Rats decide this wiring looks delicious. Anyone who knows anything about flood cars and wiring harness issues knows you can total out a vehicle very quickly if you destroy the wiring harness. The wiring runs underneath everything in these vehicles, and there's so much technology that if you get a wiring harness that's destroyed, it could total your van. So, you want to take some precautions against rodents if you park the van for a long period, including inside your garage.

There are lots of different options out there. I ordered these on Amazon; they are ultrasonic noise emitters. They have good reviews, and many people say they work well. The pack I bought comes with two, and they come with batteries, so you do have to replace the batteries from time to time.

See all these wires? They’re dinner to a rat. You can take these ultrasonic devices and zip tie them just about anywhere—drill into plastic, find any place to zip tie them. There are two of them, so I’d put one down low where the rats come in and another where your wiring is. Hopefully, that will stop any rodents from destroying your wiring harness and ruining your adventure.


You don't need to know much about differentials to understand this: the differentials on Mercedes-Benz vehicles have an issue. 

Most vehicles can be jacked up from the center of the diff, but this is not true for a Mercedes. The differential cover sticks out a bit from the differential housing. 

If you jack up a Mercedes from the differential, it will crinkle, and diff fluid will spill out. While you can pound it back into place, you’ll have to refill your diff fluid, which can cause issues. If this happens on the trail, it might ruin your day. 

This is why we highly recommend getting a diff skid plate. They’re not very expensive, but they are great insurance. If you don't have a diff skid plate, ensure that every time you take your van in for an oil change or tire rotation, notify them not to jack up the van on the diff. It will destroy your differential cover.


Finally, I want to talk about the rear shock bolt. 

Sprinters were designed as on-road vehicles, but we use them off-road, and that rear shock bolt wasn’t designed for that. 

The solution is to ensure the bolt doesn’t get loose, which is where this automotive paint marker pen comes in. Draw a line across the bolt and the surface behind it. If the lines become misaligned, the bolt has backed off and needs tightening.

Better than just marking the bolt is installing a double shear bracket, like the Baja bracket. It supports the bolt on both sides, preventing rotation. If the bolt snaps off in the unibody, it’s a time-consuming and costly repair that could end your adventure.

Even if you don’t upgrade your suspension, get a Baja bracket. It’s good insurance. It’s not about the installation; it’s how we use the vans. A double shear bracket ensures your bolt doesn’t fail. 

Hopefully, these items will help you avoid big repair bills and keep your Sprinter van running smoothly.

Full Video:

Remember, if you have any questions, we have our van experts standing by at all times. Give us a call at (866) 695-8267 and we'll be happy to help you.

No call centers, no out of state representatives - just our van experts at our HQ in Arizona.

More soon,
John Willenborg

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