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Old 05-19-2015, 06:47 PM   #1
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Emergency Brake & Towing Your AI

If you ever have to have your AI towed, release the emergency brake yourself prior to towing. Do NOT let the tow truck driver do it.

It's been discovered that, when our AI had a dead battery and was towed (we were not present when it was towed), the tow truck driver towed it with the e-brake on. He must have lowered the e-brake handle into the "seat swivel" mode, and thought that he'd released the brake.

$1000 damage to our e-brake, rear brakes and pads, and ESP/ABS sensor. All repairable. Heck, we'll have brand new brakes and pads, etc...trying to look on the bright side.

I'm in the process of filing a claim with Mercedes Benz Roadside Assistance. Mercedes dealer sent us lots of photos of the damaged parts.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:08 PM   #2
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Bummer!

Sorry you've had to deal with that, and thanks for alerting the rest of us.



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Old 05-19-2015, 07:18 PM   #3
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I know. Thanks. I realized this could easily happen to others.

At first they thought the ABS/EPS sensor just went bad, so they ordered a new one. But when they went to do the replacement, they found all this damage. And everything coincided with when it was towed.

Hoping we have a smooth settlement with the towing company.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:53 PM   #4
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Bummer! If they towed it at more than 30 mph over 30 miles they may have also damaged the transmission, unless they disconnected the drive shaft. Have it checked. This is what the owners manual says:

"It is preferable to have the vehicle
transported on a transporter or trailer instead
of towing it."

"Do not exceed the towing speed of
"31 mph (50 km/h). You could otherwise
damage the transmission."

"For a towing distance of up to 30 miles
(50 km), move the selector lever to
position
N"

"For a towing distance greater than
30 miles(50 km), remove the propeller
shafts to the driven axles."
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:13 PM   #5
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If he wasn't smart enuf to release the parking brake, probably isn't going to abide by the 30 mph max edict.

+1 on getting tranny checked.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:50 PM   #6
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If he wasn't smart enuf to release the parking brake, probably isn't going to abide by the 30 mph max edict.
I have to agree on the transmission check, but I can see how the driver might not have known how to release the parking brake.

Most parking brakes, when you pull the lever up the brake is engaged and when you put the lever down it's released. With the Sprinter brake, it's possible to put the lever down without releasing the brake so the seat can swivel— and if the lever was ALREADY down the tow truck driver might not have even realized the brake was on to begin with. With a dead battery there wouldn't have been a dashboard idiot light to show the brake was engaged.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:40 PM   #7
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What's involved in getting the tranny checked? Who does it (the Mercedes sprinter dealer?) and what do they look for?

I just emailed the service manager at the sprinter shop. I included the quote from the owners manual (thanks, Boxster1971)

This whole situation is so annoying. We had sent two tow truck drivers away when they showed up with regular tow trucks. Kept telling them, and roadside assistance, that we needed a flatbed. When it got later in the day, we gave up and went home, to deal with it the next day. Unbeknownst to us, they had sent a guy back there around 5 or 6pm, and he towed it with a regular truck and dropped it off (night dropped it) at the dealer. Now all these problems.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:28 AM   #8
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Yes the dealer would be the one to perform the transmission checks. They could run pressure tests while driving and check the transmission fluid with some lab testing. Not familiar enough with the Mercedes transmission to know what could fail if its towed over 30 mph.

Most two seaters have pull up to release parking brakes, mainly to get the handle out of the way.
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:17 AM   #9
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Yes the dealer would be the one to perform the transmission checks. They could run pressure tests while driving and check the transmission fluid with some lab testing. Not familiar enough with the Mercedes transmission to know what could fail if its towed over 30 mph.
If only the Sprinter's engine had a transmission dipstick (the dealer has one, but the engine only has a tube and a plug, unless you buy your own dipstick separately) you could do your own transmission fluid testing. Place several drops of the transmission fluid on a small glass plate. Lay another glass plate on top. Press the two plates together while twisting them in opposite directions. If you see any semicircular scratches on the glass, that means that large metal particles are suspended in the fluid and damage has been done. This is a simple test that I learned while working as a mechanical engineer, courtesy of a subscription to "Machinery Lubrication" magazine. This test is only indicative, not quantitative, but it can be used as a screening to determine if more exacting tests are needed.

Damage while towing usually would not involve overheating, so checking the color of the fluid and checking the dipstick for signs of residue AKA varnish to see if the fluid has overheated typically wouldn't be necessary.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:54 AM   #10
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OK, thanks. I've already emailed the service manager to express our concern. Will insist they do tests.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:21 AM   #11
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Wow! What a drag. Sorry to hear this happened to you Guy's.

Did you get towed over 30 miles?

If it still drives fine, I would probably insist on a fluid drain, flush and refill.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:26 AM   #12
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Service mngr said they'd drive it and check for computer codes regarding transmission damage.

He said that every sprinter he's ever seen towed in, has had driveshaft disconnected.

I think the warning to not tow over 30mph, etc., is just if the driveshaft is NOT disconnected. Is this correct?
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Wow! What a drag. Sorry to hear this happened to you Guy's.

Did you get towed over 30 miles?

If it still drives fine, I would probably insist on a fluid drain, flush and refill.
Ron, I assume it was over 30 mph. Got towed from Spring Valley, to the dealer in Kearny Mesa.

See my last post regarding driveshaft disconnect vs 30 mph rule..
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:33 AM   #14
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Ron...btw....the sprinter division at the dealer is great. Awesome service manager. Feel like we're in good hands there. (famous last words, eh?)
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