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Old 03-27-2014, 12:29 PM   #1
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DEF tank sensors

We took our 2013 AI in for its 20K mileage service. Our MB dealer said that as part of the service, they needed to refill the DEF tank. I mentioned that I had just topped it off after our lat road trip. He told me that they need to use their computer to inform the onboard computer that the tank was full and that they would flush the tank and refill it. Has anyone any experience with this?
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Old 03-27-2014, 12:50 PM   #2
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We took our 2013 AI in for its 20K mileage service. Our MB dealer said that as part of the service, they needed to refill the DEF tank. I mentioned that I had just topped it off after our lat road trip. He told me that they need to use their computer to inform the onboard computer that the tank was full and that they would flush the tank and refill it. Has anyone any experience with this?
My cynical nature makes me think they want to sell some dealer-priced DEF...
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:28 PM   #3
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We took our 2013 AI in for its 20K mileage service. Our MB dealer said that as part of the service, they needed to refill the DEF tank. I mentioned that I had just topped it off after our lat road trip. He told me that they need to use their computer to inform the onboard computer that the tank was full and that they would flush the tank and refill it. Has anyone any experience with this?
Flush and refill is part of the standard 20k service, according to the Sprinter maintenance manual. I am still about 3400 miles shy of needing the 20k service, but I just had my Airstream at the Sprinter dealer for warranty work last month, and asked them about the service so I'd know what to expect.

Flush and fill is different from just fill. It's supposed to remove any accumulated contaminants that may have built up in the system. Or so they said. Probably a good idea to have it done.

But not a good idea to waste all of the DEF you just put in, either; they can't reuse it by draining it, filtering it, and putting the same DEF back in. Don't ask me why, but my Sprinter dealer says they can't.

If my Interstate needs DEF before it needs the 20k service, I'll have the 20k service done early so that I don't waste DEF. On the other hand, if I need the 20k service before I need the DEF, I'll delay the 20k service until I need DEF. As long as I don't get a message along the lines of "You have xx starts remaining until your Schedule B service" in which case I won't have a choice.

And one other thing… The DEF they sell at Walmart meets the same ISO standard as the stuff Mercedes sells, so when I do take it in, I'm going to buy a couple of jugs of the stuff at Walmart and take it along, and tell them, "Here. Use this." No reason to let Mercedes charge me $32 per gallon when I can buy exactly the same stuff without the brand name for $12 per 2½-gallon jug.
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:38 PM   #4
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Do they use additional DEF to do the flush?
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:25 PM   #5
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My service adviser gave me a printout for the A and B service for a 2010 Sprinter and there was no mention of a DEF flush. Nor could I find any mention in the MB Maintenance or Owner's manuals.

Did the extension of the oil change interval from 10K to 15K miles for the 2015 Sprinter result from an engine change or was it just done from data?

When cleaning out in prep for our trip, I discovered that the front seats have seat heaters. The reason I didn't know this was that the Owner's manual shows the switch under the HVAC controls and mine are located on the seats on the outside corner on the frame below the cushion.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:18 PM   #6
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My service adviser gave me a printout for the A and B service for a 2010 Sprinter and there was no mention of a DEF flush. Nor could I find any mention in the MB Maintenance or Owner's manuals.
Maintenance Manual, page 11. Fourth item under the Engine heading is "Drain the DEF reservoir and then refill it" with a bullet in the last column under "Maintenance Service.

At least that's where it is for my 2011 Sprinter. It may be on a different page for newer manuals.

It seems I misspoke (miswrote?) when I used the word "flush." The manual only says, "Drain" not "Flush." Apologies for the confusion, but the point is, it is in the manual that they drain the DEF and refill it. Even though you already just filled it.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:48 PM   #7
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In my 2010 manual, on page 12 under Engine, it just says refill the DEF reservoir.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:40 PM   #8
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In my 2010 manual, on page 12 under Engine, it just says refill the DEF reservoir.
Can't explain the difference between manuals for the different model years. It's not like the DEF system changed between 2010 and 2011.

In my 2011 manual, refilling is at the odd-numbered intervals under "Oil Service Plus" and draining/filling under the even-numbered "Maintenance Service."

Of course, we're discussing an issue with a 2013 Interstate, so either a 2012 or 2013 Sprinter, so what it says in both of our manuals might be different from what it says in that one.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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It turns out the DEF service was complimentary???
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:12 AM   #10
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I believe that the reason for the drain and fill is not about contaminates, it's that the DEF has a limited shelf life once the original package is opened ... so even though we use some and then add fresh on top of it the remnants of the original fill are still in there causing cross contamination when we fill it back up. Imagine if you kept the same pitcher of milk in your fridge and when ever you bought new milk you just poured it in on top of the stuff that was already there. Yuck!

I often wonder why this same scenario doesn't cause a problem with our fuel that we just top up without ever getting rid of all the old stuff (particularly in these days of ethanol laced gasoline) ... but I digress.
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