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Old 11-23-2013, 08:36 AM   #1
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DEF Fluid

Ok, I think I screwed up.

I was told by the Airstream dealership I bought the 2013 IH 3500 (MB Sprinter 2012) that I needed to put 2 gallons of DEF every 4K miles. I have added DEF twice without issues, 2 gallons again every 4K miles. I am a first time diesel motor user now.

I am heading on a trip to NC from Austin Texas to enjoy a week off and noticed my milage at 12K miles which now meant another 2 gallons according to verbal instructions from Airstream dealer. Well, when I started filling, a good gallon or so leak out under the side door of the sprinter.

I screwed up by not researching or looking at MB owners manual first to watch for fill line, also I notice DEF ratio is likely significantly less than instructed.

Does anyone know if the fill tank is over filled with DEF that it is normal for excess to leak out? My worry is that the line busted. I checked the visual fill tank and it looks fine.

I called MB dealership and they of course said to bring it in and did not want to tell me much over the phone, but I am leaving in a few days hoping to avoid a service delay.

If anyone knows or had a similar experience, I would appreciate some advice.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by eliasurbina View Post
Ok, I think I screwed up.

I was told by the Airstream dealership I bought the 2013 IH 3500 (MB Sprinter 2012) that I needed to put 2 gallons of DEF every 4K miles. I have added DEF twice without issues, 2 gallons again every 4K miles. I am a first time diesel motor user now.

I am heading on a trip to NC from Austin Texas to enjoy a week off and noticed my milage at 12K miles which now meant another 2 gallons according to verbal instructions from Airstream dealer. Well, when I started filling, a good gallon or so leak out under the side door of the sprinter.

I screwed up by not researching or looking at MB owners manual first to watch for fill line, also I notice DEF ratio is likely significantly less than instructed.

Does anyone know if the fill tank is over filled with DEF that it is normal for excess to leak out? My worry is that the line busted. I checked the visual fill tank and it looks fine.

I called MB dealership and they of course said to bring it in and did not want to tell me much over the phone, but I am leaving in a few days hoping to avoid a service delay.

If anyone knows or had a similar experience, I would appreciate some advice.
On my 2011 Sprinter/2012 Airstream Interstate, I added two gallons when the dashboard display panel said I was getting low. At 9600 miles. Two gallons every 4000 miles is definitely excessive. Sprinters are smart; they'll tell you when you need to perform just about any kind of maintenance. In future, please wait until it tells you to add DEF before you add any.

I doubt that you ruptured anything, but there's no way to tell without looking. More likely the excess just came out a vent opening.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:47 AM   #3
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Thanks, will do.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:52 AM   #4
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Since I see you are still on line. I have never used the furnace yet on a trip. I started it up first time, turned on LP gas and fired up. It seemed to work very well but fumes were strong enough to set off smoke alarm but not CM alarm.

When you use your furnace do you usually vent the Sprinter with fresh air from roof exhaust or something like this?
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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Since I see you are still on line. I have never used the furnace yet on a trip. I started it up first time, turned on LP gas and fired up. It seemed to work very well but fumes were strong enough to set off smoke alarm but not CM alarm.

When you use your furnace do you usually vent the Sprinter with fresh air from roof exhaust or something like this?
All furnaces tend to smoke a bit when used for the first time in a season. They're burning off whatever dust collected on the heating elements.

But aside from that, you should always have a vent open when running the furnace. I leave the bathroom vent open for exhaust, and leave one of the roll-up windows in front cracked open. I added a pair of Weathertech window vent visors that I got from Smoke-Tinted WeatherTech Wind and Rain Deflectors - AutoSport Catalog specifically so that I could leave a front window cracked open.
I leave the MaxxFan vent closed; heat rises, and I don't want to lose all of my warm air out big hole in the roof. Besides, by leaving the bathroom vent running, that draws warm air into the bathroom around the edges of the door.
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Old 11-23-2013, 11:26 AM   #6
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I have yet to see the DEF LOW light come on in my newish Silverado. The manual tells me that it will take about 3 1/2 gallons for a complete fill when that happens. I have a 2 1/2 gallon container ready and waiting. I intend to do 2 1/2 gallon refills each time since that is the commonly available size. Not much difference in having to refill at about 4000 mile intervals instead of 5000.

My daughter/son in law have a big diesel motor home. They go to the DEF pump at major truck stops for their refills. To them, DEF is a substantial cost. For my Chevy, it is pretty much a nit.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:05 PM   #7
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DEF and the new owner

Well that is me gentle readers as you all know a new owner. Not too long after getting our interstate we had the message about filling the DEF back up. You see our van (Morrison is it name) had about 9600 miles on it when we bought it an no service records the dealer we bought from, and the less said about then the better, Could tell us if the 10k mile service had been doneyet the service counter had been reset. So I was suprised when the DEF message showed up. Not un like the person that started this thread, I had not taken the time to fully read the MB owners manual as all I had was a PDF of it. What I thought i remmembered was that I had like 6 starts left. I had prepaired though and had 2.5 gallons with me. Pulling off the freeway and into a shopping center parking lot I opened the hood and poured it in.

I this point I sort of read the manual it said the message would go away in like 90 seconds..... here is where I did not read so well and hope to help yu avoid my mistake when it says 90 seconds it does not mean after the van is started it means trun the ket to the on position and let it set the for 90 seconds, not un like checking the oil. The up start was I went out got another 2.5 gallons and put that in as well

Having since then read the Manual with greater attention I have learned that when that first warning comes on you have 1000 mile before you get to the point of having only the 6 starts left.

now here is my question I have never seen a fill line where is that ? All that I have is a black cap and tube down which I pour the stuff.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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I have a Duramax, not a Sprinter, but:

I have heard DEF consumption rates all over the place. Without going into all the stories, it seems the more city stop and go driving, the more DEF consumed.

I save our truck for trips, and short runs around town are fairly rare.

In 30K miles, I have added less than 10 gallons.

The GM filler is under the hood, and is a tube within a tube.

There is a slight funnel at the fill point. Any over-fill runs over the fill opening into the funnel, and onto the ground.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:29 PM   #9
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The GM filler is under the hood, and is a tube within a tube.

There is a slight funnel at the fill point. Any over-fill runs over the fill opening into the funnel, and onto the ground.
Sprinter filler is similar. DEF is hazardous to your paint job, and the filler design is meant to minimize spills onto the paint.
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