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Sprinter losing power / limp mode.

Sprinter Limp Mode or Power Loss? 


Sprinter vans as with all newer diesels have to adhere to strict new EPA emissions guidelines for diesels. Many of these systems cause the turbocharger to be switched off when there is a problem causing the Sprinter to lose much of its power. Even though limp mode always turns off the turbo, most of the time it is not directly related to it. Switching the turbo off & causing power loss forced the customer to bring the Sprinter in & have the emission system serviced. Limp mode in Sprinters is commonly caused by faulty EGR valve, swirl flap motor, turbo actuator, leaking inter-cooler hoses & turbo resonators. Unfortunately, we have seen/heard of many instances where the entire turbo was replaced when it had nothing to do with the lack of power. (Some paid over $6,000!) This is why it is imperative that you bring your Sprinter van to us to have it properly diagnosed. Many shops just don't care or understand these systems & it will end up costing you time, lost business & $$$


Problem Description

If you experience a loss of power while driving, and after restarting the car the power comes back – that means your car experiencing Limp Mode. 
A Limp Mode is a safety feature in Sprinter that protects the engine from damage. It may be activated if you push the engine to the limit. 
If you notice the Check Engine Light is flashing on your dashboard that is an indicator of Limp Mode. It tries to lower engine power to prevent worse scenarios. 
The Check Engine Light is one of the most frustrating warnings in your instrument panel because there is no explanation of possible internal malfunctions. The position of this light may vary by the vehicle, but in the majority of vehicles, it’s a dashboard warning light of yellow color in the form of an engine. Sometimes the word “check” is designed, sometimes - not.  A hidden problem behind “Check Engine Light” may turn out to be a minor issue or as a dramatic emission system, transmission or engine failure. Trouble may have occurred in sensors, a computer, fluids or wiring. 

Possible Signs of “Limp Home Mode” on Sprinter van:

  • Sudden loss of power without any visible signs of trouble

  • Driveability problems: can’t speed up a hill, decrease in power and acceleration, hard to start, black smoke from the exhaust

  • Still, you may be able to restart the car after waiting for 15 seconds

What to do if your “Check Engine Light” comes on while you are driving: 


If the engine light is flashing:

If the engine light is flashing it may be a sign of a serious misfire of the engine or system failure, that requires immediate attention and treatment. You need to call an auto technician to diagnose and repair the van to keep your Sprinter from further damage. At this moment it’s not recommended to continue driving if you have a long-distance ahead as it may not be safe.


If temperature gauge is higher than normal, then slow down the car, pull over to a safe area nearby, turn hazard lights on, call your road assistance plan and request a mechanic to perform a diagnosis. 


If the engine light is solid:

If the engine light is solid, it may indicate a less dramatic issue like a bad oxygen sensor. While you may be able to drive short distances with a solid engine light, the best choice is to pull over to a gas station and use an ODB2 scanner to read the vehicle’s trouble codes.

To prevent further vehicle damage, schedule an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible.

Why “Limp Mode” is Activated and Engine Lights come on Sprinter Van


Defective/ faulty oxygen sensor 

The oxygen sensor that is usually called O2 sensor, is a device in the exhaust system that monitors the content of the oxygen in the gases that come out of the engine. Information from the sensor is used to determine how much fuel is needed and the proper air-to-fuel ratio for an engine to run efficiently. Oxygen sensors can be faulty or give inaccurate data because of internal corrosion or if they are contaminated with oils or silicone. Call your van mechanic to diagnose and replace an oxygen sensor if required.

 Loose or damaged fuel cap

Fuel cap in your Sprinter helps to maintain the pressure inside the fuel tank. If a gas cap is damaged or loosen it will reduce your gas mileage and create more emissions from the van. If the yellow Check Engine Light turned on, immediately pull over and check your gas cup, if it is damaged then call to Sprinter Mechanic to replace a cap. If a cap is unbroken, try to tighten it up, continue driving, if yellow light is still turned on, schedule an appointment with Sprinter Repair service as soon as possible. 


Worn out a catalytic converter

If your Sprinter is not moving but the engine is running, a rattling sound underneath the vehicle may indicate a failure of the catalytic converter. Sometimes the substrate – internal part of the catalyst, can loosen inside the canister of the converter, replace that part immediately. Otherwise, the substrate can break down, shrink in its size and cover the outlet pipe that will cause a sudden loss of power.


Bad Mass Airflow Sensor 

MAF sensors measure the volume of air that is coming through the engine. If the sensor failed, a “Check Engine Light will be triggered, the engine will probably start to burn an excessive amount of fuel which will increase emissions and decrease gas mileage. Your vehicle may also experience misfires, loss of power, the van is stalling, fail to start. To prevent a drop in gas mileage and a frequent car stalling, diagnose and replace MAF sensor if needed as soon as possible by scheduling an appointment with Sprinter Repair service.  


Bad Spark Plug 

Spark plug plays a crucial part in Sprinter’s system by turning the electricity from the ignition coil into a spark. If a spark plug has failed, the Check Engine Light can appear flashing or solid. Sprinter suddenly may fail to start, lose a power, decrease in gas mileage, the engine may vibrate and experience rough idling.

Turbo Hose Update for 2007 to 2010

2007 to roughly 2010 Sprinters 2500 3500 with 3.0 engines have a lower turbo hose that can fail with time. The driver’s side hose can fail at the hose end adapter. Sometimes they will fail at the bends as well. When they do fail they can be difficult to diagnose.

They also seem to fail while under high boost. You could experience a failure while climbing a steep hill, especially on the heavy class C model RV’s.  If your vehicle goes into limp mode, or you lose power under these conditions, you may have a blown turbo hose. Often you will get a check engine light with a low turbo boost code.

 The good news is that Mercedes-Benz has a replacement hose that appears to be redesigned. You can purchase this hose. These are usually not a warranty item. You will need to purchase one, but be thankful it will probably not happen again for a long time. Most Sprinter shops should only stock the updated design by now. If you lay the two hoses side by side, the updated hose will have much longer bends and will be noticeably different from the shorter older hose.

There is an aftermarket repair kit that replaces the hose adapter end. You will still have an old hose and it may now be shorter since the repair kit requires trimming and you could experience failure again as things flex and boost. The repair kit is a handy emergency repair, but do yourself a favor and replace the hose with the newer designed hose.  

It is fairly safe to keep driving with a blown hose. It will not cause additional damage to the turbo. You will have a severe loss in power, most likely be in limp mode, and probably experience a check engine light. As long as you don’t mind a line of traffic behind you as you travel 40 MPH, you can drive it to the next shop or safe place to stop for repair without damaging your vehicle.

Possible reasons on different Sprinter types:


If you have a Sprinter with the 4-cylinder engine

Problems can be in boost hose, swirl valve, EGR valves, air change cooler, temperature sensors, glow plug, turbo and in other places. To be confident while driving, diagnose your vehicle with our Sprinter Repair mechanic.


If you have Pre 2007 Sprinter:

If your vehicle operates normally for some time after a complete stop and restart but go into Limp Mode again then one of the possible reasons may be a broken or faulty Turbo Actuator (wastegate valve). Check with your van mechanic Air Intake Pressure and Charge Pressure sensors as well as the whole turbo system

Your local Sprinter Service & Repair Specialist in Vista, CA


Our mechanics have the diagnostic tools and experience to provide Sprinter Van repair, service, and maintenance on Mercedes, Freightliner, and Dodge Sprinter vans. We offer everything from oil changes to major service and repairs. We service all Sprinter vehicles: Passenger, Conversion, Cargo, Minibus, RV Motorhome, Cab-chassis models.


What to expect? 

If your Sprinter experience Limp Mode and “Check Engine Light” is solid or flashing, pull over to a safe place and give us a call right now at  +1(253) 846 2171

  1. Call to schedule an appointment ASAP

  2. Our professional Sprinter mechanic will read the codes using a scanner, interpret the codes, and provide a complete diagnosis 

  3. Our staff will provide you with a clear explanation of the problem and calculate an estimate and scope of work to repair the faulty part that causes Limp Mode. 

  4. Once you approve a cost estimation our Mechanic will clear the faulty code and let you drive for some time to see how your vehicle is performing. Multiple visits may be required to deal with 

  5. Get your Sprinter up and running! Good luck and happy traveling. We hope to see you on the road.

We stand for...


→  Mastery in Sprinter Repair 

In our Garage, we stand behind all the work we do. Whether you need your diesel engine repaired, DEF, DPF, any oil service or glow plugs replaced, we're on hand to offer you professional help. 


→  Honesty and Transparency

We value extensive knowledge and mastery in the Sprinter repair area that we accumulated by working with hundreds of different Sprinters. 

Our mechanics are not only performing a high level of work but explain very complicated information in very simple words so you can have confidence by exactly knowing where the problem is and decide on your next move. 

→  Real “Action Plan”

If the Mercedes dealer has set up an “Action Plan” please give us a call to discuss the plan and make an appointment for a second opinion, we are your #1 dealership alternative. Sometimes they impose a service that you DO NOT NEED. 

→  Fair Pricing

Our clients come back for Sprinter maintenance because they know we put a fair price tag on each service.

We are the affordable and best alternative to the dealership to service your Dodge Sprinter van & RV, Mercedes, and Freightliner Sprinter. We will beat any written estimate from the established Sprinter shop by 10%!

"Great Sprinter mechanics near me", "Best Sprinter Service & Repair near me" considered by many customers. Your Mercedes-Benz Sprinter RV van will be served in North San Diego in the best Sprinter shop. 

Elite Sprinter Repair for you

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