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Old 04-07-2014, 03:26 PM   #15
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30 days until my track season starts and 90 days until I depart for my 48 day cross country jaunt. In both instances I will be towing a trailer. For track season a 900lb aluminum trailer with a 3600lb car. For the XC trip a 1050lb tear drop trailer.

In prep for those specific needs, I started researching functional upgrades that will make those tasks easier for the Interstate and more comfortable for the driver/passengers.

Easier for the interstate – power upgrade, transmission temp cooling strategies, chassis stability enhancements
Easier for the driver / passengers – chassis stability measures

What does that mean?
Power Upgrade – Renntech or Diesel Power software
Transmission – aux trans fluid cooler
Chassis Stability – suspension (shocks, anti-roll bar)

One big thing that I took away from racing cars was to make one change at a time so that if that one change it doesn’t provide you with the expected result you can undo it and so you can attribute any positive or negative data to that one change. I am using that mind set to initiate the non-electrical part of my development program for the Airstream.

I researched most of the power enhancement options for the 3.0L V6 diesel. Based on positive feedback and anecdotes garnished from various sprinter based sites, my first call was to Renntech. Unfortunately, they were not able to assist me as my Sprinter build date was past their development limit of their software. My chassis build date is 2/27/12. It appears that their software can only accommodate models up to 12/11. That was disappointing news but it is what it is.

I then called the sprinter store and asked for their feedback. They sell the European made 2 channel Diesel Power product which is an add on tuning module rather than an ECM re-flash. The Diesel Power Module is very German by design and quality. Interestingly, the plastic tubing that is used to protect the wire loom is made by the same company whose products my company sells stateside but for industrial purposes rather than automotive. The tubing is also OEM to BMW, Mercedes, AUDI and Ferarri

While the Renntech product claims some amazing power (188 -> 260+ HP) the diesel power solution is a lot more conservative but also manually adjustable in in 1.5% increments up to 25%. ( 0-37+ HP.) Diesel power achieves their gains by manipulating fuel rail pressure and turbo boost (up to a max of 2psi over stock). The idea is not to build max power but to increase useable torque. The module has 16 different power levels. I set mine 2 clicks from max, so 22%.

Now, I have read accounts that the Renntech product yields a blatantly obvious performance increase. The Diesel Power unit does yield benefits but is a lot more subtle in nature.

The install took less than 30 minutes. This afternoon I took my Sprinter for a 16 mile back road loop that featured level and undulating roads followed by some steep uphill climbs up the Sourland Mountain Range here in Central NJ.

From a sand still to road speed (0-45 mph) first gear felt unchanged up to about 2k RPM, then as my speed increased and the Sprinter started shifting through its gears I could feel a lot more midrange torque from 1800 RPM all the way to 3000RPM. I did a few standstill starts up hills and thoroughly enjoyed more torque in the aforementioned range. The Sprinter definitely powers up hills with more authority. On 0 – 45 mph accelerations on level roads the sprinter got up to speed much quicker. That easy going, I get there when I get there feeling was replaced with a brisker and authoritative response.The torque just builds and keeps building until you are way past the allowed speed limit. Good stuff.

I then replaced the stock Mercedes air filter with a high flow one from AFE, also bought from the sprinter store. The feel of that mod was not as noticeable but I sensed a bitty bit better throttle response and an increase in intake noise as well as blow off noise.

These two mods combined do yield a noticeable but subtle increase in power which feels very factory and is well worth the price that is 30% less than the Renntech product. Not having any other proven, conservative power upgrades available for my build date Sprinter I am very pleased.

Another benefit of having an overall lesser expenditure in engine management enhancements is that the difference between the Diesel Power product and Renntech paid for the air filter and rear shocks. J I love stretching mod bucks.
Great write up. Does this mod negate the MB engine warranty or adversely affect the warranty??
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Old 04-13-2014, 08:35 PM   #16
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Tiato, I'm curious how things are working out with your tuning module. I have replaced the air intake gasket on my AI, cleared the code and still got another check engine light. I then installed the block/plug that is supposed to convert the tuning module back to factory settings. I then cleared the code once again and haven't seen the light yet but need to put on a few more miles to be sure, but at this point I'm rather sure that the unit is either not compatible with the 2013 Sprinter or I have a faulty unit. That is why I'm curious as to how you are getting along with yours. I like the module and am hoping they will send me another one and all will be well.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:44 PM   #17
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Interesting thread...I have an SOB 2013 class B on an MB 3500 chassis and towed one of my Hot Rods to a tour last month in AZ and took my wife's Porsche to Albuququre last week to have both vehicles serviced. Worst mileage was 13.1 and best was 15.9. Trailer is an aluminum H&H 20' tilt bed with a tool box and winch. Based on my experience, I see no need for modifications to the engine/CPU. I might install some air bags under the rear end from a handling standpoint. The towing capacity is 5000 pounds with a 500 pound tongue weight.

Quite frankly, the M-B has exceeded my expectations as a tow rig.
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:50 PM   #18
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Tiato, I'm curious how things are working out with your tuning module. I have replaced the air intake gasket on my AI, cleared the code and still got another check engine light. I then installed the block/plug that is supposed to convert the tuning module back to factory settings. I then cleared the code once again and haven't seen the light yet but need to put on a few more miles to be sure, but at this point I'm rather sure that the unit is either not compatible with the 2013 Sprinter or I have a faulty unit. That is why I'm curious as to how you are getting along with yours. I like the module and am hoping they will send me another one and all will be well.
Jeff, to be honest it has been hit or miss. When installed at 2 clicks from Max, it drove fine for a my test run of 16 miles, which included a few steep uphill runs.

When I went for a extended drive to bring my interstate to get serviced at colonial airstream, 3 miles from my home it threw a check engine light and went into limp mode. Pulled over, turned it off, powered back on and was ok. Check engine never turned off but I knew it would reset itself after several on / off cycles.

Another run was to pick up my new aluminum car trailer. 3 miles out, the Sprinter went into limp mode. Disconnected the module and installed the endplug. No problems rest of the drive.

Later I set the module to 9 clicks and went for a 7 mile drive and it felt ok. Modest power increase where expected. Check engine light remained on despite a dozen or so on / off start cycles in the driveway.

Since then I have not had time to investigate further as I was traveling for business.

How do you reset the check engine light?
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:56 PM   #19
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How do you reset the check engine light?
You will need a good-quality OBDII reader that includes a reset feature. It plugs in near the under-dash fuse block. Before resetting the light, make a note of the error codes from the OBDII for reference.

Since my RennTech ECU tune isn't adjustable like the one you're using, I'm glad it's not giving me "check engine" lights. I've only put about 600 miles on it since getting the tune, but the engine has been very well-behaved in that distance.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:22 PM   #20
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Pro, gotcha. Love my scangauge but wish it could reset codes.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:47 PM   #21
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Tiato,


Thanks for the update, sounds like you're going to have to get a scan gauge to clear the codes so you can experiment a bit more. I ordered the one from Upscale auto, seems a bit low quality but it does the trick, and they sent a CD along with a listing of all the codes. I'm going to ask Upscale if they will send a new tuning module so I can try it. Mine must be defective since I am getting a code even when set to factory setting. But there's always the possibility that you are going to find the same with yours.


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Old 04-17-2014, 06:16 PM   #22
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Figured out how to clear the codes and get the check engine light off. Module set to 9.

Just came back from a local 17 mile , 30 minute loop encompassing flat to rolling terrain, highway and modest and steep uphills. Average speed of 24 mph.

Power increase at 9 is subtle. Definately there when one needs it. 2/3 through my loop I came to a complete stop, shut down the engine. Started and was off again. The first time I got a check engine light was the day after I initially installed the module. Tried to simulate it with that stop but stop may not have been enough. We'll see what happens over the next few test drives, perhaps tomorrow.

For the drive today, the vehicle behaved and did not throw any check engine lights or initiated limp mode.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:25 PM   #23
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Interesting. I'm currently working with Upscale auto to exchange mine, maybe just a faulty unit.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:29 PM   #24
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Took the Airstream out for another test run today. With a twist. Towing my track car on a trailer - combined weight 4600 lbs.

Took it on my usual and previously mentioned test route but added a few miles of highway driving at 60 mph.

Because I was towing I was changing gears manually trying to keep the engine load level to 75/80% (measured via scan gauge).

Figure test route was about 25 miles.

Test with the module set to 9 went flawlessly without any check engine shenanigans.

I was very impressed how well the interstate was able to handle the towing. Smooth. Enough power. Never missed a beat. The recently installed Konis really make their presence known with and without the trailer.

In a few days I will be installing the Sprinter store aux trans cooler to make sure the trans behaves long term.

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Old 04-19-2014, 04:46 PM   #25
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Did the Konis reduce the harsh, bouncy ride in the rear? Did you do all four?
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:13 PM   #26
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73, so far I only installed the rears.

Sprinter store set the shocks to 90% rebound.

What I noticed right off the bat was a immediate and noticeable reduction in rear chassis roll. I have not had any passengers in the rear so I have no feedback from what's happening back there now. In theory, the bigger Konis with their higher rebound should reduce or eliminate chatter over bumps.

I think I may reduce rear rebound by 10-20% to smooth the rear out. It feels a bit over damped.

I do sense that the ride is firmer back there. More controlled. However I feel that when upgrading the rears the front ones should follow soon. There is a distinct difference in the front and rear roll characteristics. When the rear stops rolling the front feels like it wants to tuck under. IOW the front keeps rolling and it feels like the chassis the twisting (torsion).

I will be ordering the front Konis soon. I suppose the front roll could be controlled with stock socks with aux springs such as sumo or timbren springs.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:32 PM   #27
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Did the Konis reduce the harsh, bouncy ride in the rear? Did you do all four?
I have Konis on all four and the handling is vastly improved. Body roll etc. almost completely gone. However the ride in the back still resembles that of a school bus or one of the attractions at Six Flags. Too bouncy to be usable. I am shopping for suspension enhancements but so far I have not come up with one I can afford or that will fit my 2013 AI.
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:03 PM   #28
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The handling I can live with but the rear ride is too bouncy and harsh. With a 1 1/4 ton suspension, not sure if it can be rectified short of carrying max load.

Let us know if you find a solution.
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