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Old 08-11-2015, 06:41 PM   #15
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DEF Warning Info

Our experience with our recently purchased new 2014.5 AI may be helpful to other Sprinter owners. When I picked up the vehicle from the dealer in Southern California in June of this year the DEF warning light was already indicating that the DEF was low and there were 12 starts left. The Airstream dealer topped off the DEF and told me that the limited number of starts would reset itself after being driven 30 or 40 miles. The trip home was about 300 miles. I stopped several times on the way and each time my number of starts left on the AI was diminished by one start.

When the vehicle was down to eight starts left I stopped at an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer in Santa Barbara California. At that dealership I was told that the vehicle would have to be taken to an authorized Sprinter dealer in order for the DEF system to be reset because of emission standards. The closest authorized Sprinter dealer was in San Luis Obispo California.

I drove the new Sprinter to San Luis Obispo and was able to obtain service. There I learned the DEF system did in fact have to be reset by an authorized Sprinter dealer. The DEF warnings had progressed past the point of the warning light indicating that DEF needed to be added and had started the countdown progress indicating only 16 starts were remaining.

According to the Sprinter technician, the DEF system does reset itself even after DEF is added once the low DEF warning light appears AND no DEF is added until AFTER the "16 Starts Remaining."count down begins. . Even if the DEF system is totally replenished with fluid it will still have to be taken to an authorized Sprinter dealer for service. After the system indicates that there are no starts left the Sprinter will start but will only operate at a maximum of 5 mph. Presumably this is to enable the driver secure a reasonably safe place to after all starts are exhausted.
The lesson learned from this little adventure is to keep the DEF system adequately supplied and never wait very long after the DEF low light indicator comes on before topping off the system.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:17 PM   #16
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If you are using DEF in a Ford F-250/350 or larger and you use the Ford Quick Lane service, part of your 5000 or 7000 mile oil change service refills the DEF tank. We have never run out of DEF chemical and logged over 200,000 miles over several vehicles.

Don't keep DEF around in your vehicle or in your store room if you expect high or very low temperatures.

Likewise do not expose DEF to direct sun light for long periods. Not good for the DEF or your engine, actually the engine exhaust cleaning system.

FoMoCo DEF is designed your your FORD. Pays your money, takes your chances.

Happy Trails
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jekerrville View Post
FoMoCo DEF is designed your your FORD. Pays your money, takes your chances.
Unfortunately, Airstream Interstates aren't Fords, and Mercedes Benz charges a bloody fortune for DEF imported from Germany and sold by the liter, so getting it elsewhere is always less expensive.

As long as the DEF meets ISO 22241, it's all exactly the same stuff no matter who makes it or where it's made or what brand name is on the bottle. The ISO is a very precise chemical specification. Which is one reason why I don't buy it at a truck stop pump despite the convenience, because the pump doesn't list an ISO specification for the DEF being pumped.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:38 PM   #18
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By the way, for our northern brethren who use diesel vehicles requiring DEF, some important winterizing tips. A little early since it's still mid-summer, but since we're discussing DEF systems now…

DEF is a mixture of urea and water. It turns to slush before it freezes, and freezes at +11°F. It also expands by about 7% when it freezes, but since it turns to slush first instead of freezing from the top down like pure water, as long as you leave room for expansion it's not likely to rupture anything in the DEF tank or plumbing.

Engines requiring DEF usually include a DEF pre-heater to thaw frozen DEF, usually at the same time as the glow plugs are heating the engine cylinders. So as long as you allow the engine enough time to preheat before starting the engine, the DEF system should be okay as well.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:56 PM   #19
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And, a note for non-IS diesel owners: different brands have different setpoints. My Boss's Grand Cherokee has only 10 starts after the light comes on, and in many cases the warning will not reset just because you filled it up. RTM.

Our non-TV BMW X5Diesel gets refilled when we bring it in for service so I have never seen it throw a light. Now its my turn to RTM for that ride.
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