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Issues and Breakdowns: Defective Control Module for Heating and AC Fails to Open Internal Baffles

Last updated 2018-06-25 - Send Feedback
Related: Mercedes Sprinter

Photographer and cyclist and Mac expert and software engineer Lloyd Chambers is available for consulting on general Sprinter considerations at his usual consulting rates via phone, or in person in the Palo Alto, CA area. Save yourself hours and mistakes by discussing issues up-front. More about Lloyd....

I bought the 2017 Mercedes Sprinter because of its excellent feature set, but also its reputation for sterling reliability. Less than a year into it, I can sadly say that the 2017 Mercedes Sprinter is not nearly as reliable as I had hoped. Maybe my situation is unusual; it’s kind of irrelevant less than one year in for a design that has been around for a decade. It’s unacceptable.

This page discusses the first significant issue with the 2017 Mercedes Sprinter 2500.

At about 13000 miles and less than 8 months into service.

Defective Control Module for Heating and AC Fails to Open Internal Baffles

Driving to Death Valley down I5 but heading first to ADF Sprinters for some battery work, the A/C stopped working, or put correctly, the A/C continued to work, but became useless.

Whether A/C or heating, when the Sprinter is started, some control module checks various internal baffles. Sometimes this process fails, and a critical baffle fails to open. When this happens, the A/C can be going full blast, but cold air will dribble out barely there, because the key internal baffle is blocking nearly all airflow.

My daughter and I enjoyed the lovely experience of roasting in the sun in a 90°F interior. We had stopped at a rest stop, having had A/C working just fine prior to that, but as we began to feel like frogs in slowly heated pot, I realized that there was very little cold air coming out of the vents. Indeed no settings (I tried everything) could produce more than a dribble of airflow. I even tried turning off the A/C and turning the heat on high—same airflow dribble.

The temporary workaround is to stop and restart the vehicle. If the control module succeeds, the key internal baffles open up. But we did not know that on our trip, so we sweltered for 200 miles.

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Fixed, but not fixed

Our trip was delayed; we had to stay overnight in order to get the problem looked at. Mercedes of Valencia got us in right away at 8 AM the next morning, and we were out of there at about 10:30 along with a freshly washed van. The blower motor was deemed the cause and it was replaced. Kudos to Mercedes of Valencia, but effectively a day of our trip wasted.

Problem is, the control module must have bad software because the failure began occuring a few thousand miles later, again (as of June 2018, unresolved).

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