When will Mercedes start building Sprinters in the USA?

Sprinters at Mercedes assembly plant, North Charleston

Mercedes has to disassemble every cargo Sprinter van it ships to the USA, and then reassemble it over here. That’s to avoid the chicken tax.

They worked out it costs them around 7% more on the vehicle price to do this, but that’s still better than paying the 25% tax.

Now that there’s a large enough market in the USA for Sprinters, Mercedes is building a plant in Charleston to make them directly in the USA. Its opening will probably coincide with the introduction of an updated Sprinter model.

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What things really void your vehicle warranty?

Mercedes Sprinter extended warranty brochure cover crop

A while back we made a joke about voiding the warranty on the van by cutting a hole in the roof. Some people took it seriously and we still get questions about what really is OK to do on a van conversion without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

The short answer is, it’s completely up to your dealer and Mercedes what they say they will cover or not cover, but knowing what the manufacturer warranty claims to cover and knowing what the law states about warranties is a good starting point for any warranty-based claim you might need to make.

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Keeping conversion van weight under control

Sprinter Vehicle Identification Placard on driver's seat base

Its easy to get carried away with a van conversion and add all sorts of stuff. But the weight can add up much faster than you think, and soon you could be pushing up against the maximum vehicle weight.

If you’re using a long wheelbase 2500 crew van with a V6 engine and 4×4 transmission like we did, your payload weight isn’t very high at all.

Although 1-1/4 tons sounds like a lot, it soon disappears as you build out cabinets, a bed platform, a fridge, electrical system and some water tanks.

Add in a couple of people, a couple of mountain bikes, and some food, clothes, and water for a week’s getaway and things can get out of hand.

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DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) – the other engine fluid

DEF filler cap under hood

Along with oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and fuel, modern diesel engines also need DEF to run properly. All North American Sprinters built after 2010 have DEF tanks.

DEF helps with emissions control and the computer in your van will stop you from driving if it detects an empty DEF tank. But don’t panic if the DEF light on your dash comes on. You’ve got plenty of time to fill up.

So, what is DEF, why does your engine need it, and what’s the best way to fill the DEF tank?
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Using the Autel MaxiDiag Elite MD802 Code Reader on a Sprinter

Autel MaxiDiag Elite 802 diagnostic tool

The Autel MaxiDiag MD802 will read and reset OBDII diagnostic codes on Sprinters. The “All systems” version will reset ABS and SRS warnings and can help you do a brake bleed too.

Although this reader can’t change values like the more expensive Mercedes STAR system can, it is still a useful tool for diagnosing and understanding Sprinter issues.

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Showing km/h on the dash of a USA Sprinter

kilometers per hour in Sprinter dash display

If you ever drive “North of the border” into Canada with your US-specced Sprinter van, you’ll soon start to curse Mercedes’ decision not to put kilometer per hour markings on the speedometer.

Luckily, if you have the highline dash display (steering wheel with buttons) there’s a fix that lets you see your speed in Km/h in the status bar section in the lower half of the display, where you normally see the temperature.

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