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.