Anyone know the secret of good Sprinter brakes?

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by 312 Sprinter, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. 312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    My Sprinter failed its MOT today, I'd let the MOT run out and not used it for several weeks before that which is never the brightest idea!

    The MOT tester decided he doesn't like the typically spongy Sprinter Brake pedal on my 312 MWB. I've had a go at this before. I reckon it is the ABS pump that causes it. It has a recent master cylinder, the disks, pads, hoses and calipers are all spot on. I've bled it several times over the years. The brakes are actually OK, but the pedal is a bit spongy. Anyone figured out a cure? Some Sprinters seem fine, others including this one never seem quite perfect. Brake performance on the rollers is fine. I'm kind of loathe to buy it a new ABS pump to test my theory....

    He also decided to fail the perfectly good front ball joints. The damn thing is too tall to go into the workshop. Boy do I fancy doing brakes and ball joints outside:mad:
     
  2. CRASH67

    CRASH67 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    234
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    those ball joints lol
    901 333 1227 iirc maybe a digit outbut they are a comman disagreement you will find they probley meet the MB tolerance levels but some testers dont agree with us.

    As for you ABS pump new from MB 1500 not a comman issue , we only replace if thiers an actual fault but i know what you mean by spongy
     
  3. ringway

    ringway MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    6,416
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    In a World of My Own.
    Car:
    Audi A6 Avant 3.0 Bi TDI - A Fantastic Car! Range Rover Supercharged - Lovely! Also R32 & S4.
    When I got our second Sprinter I took it to the commercial dealership and asked about the spongy brake pedal. They said it was an oft asked question and nothing to worry about. Believe me, if that dealership could have made money out of it, they woulld have.

    If I pump the pedal in neutral it produces a breathing/hissing noise.
     
  4. CRASH67

    CRASH67 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    234
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    that sounds about right.

    i would like to add not all dealers try pushing our luck lol

    we offer free health checks and never push for the work we jus provide the customers the info of what we find and a estimate and leave them to think about it we never push customers in to it
     
  5. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    To be honest I think the tester as taking the piss. Years back I would have just taken it somewhere else but nowadays with computerised tests......

    This Sprinter has done a genuine 125K miles from new, no way should it need ball joints, but I guess I'll have to have a look tomorrow. As for the brakes, no doubt I'd like them harder, but they're 100% consistent and the efficiency is spot on.

    Last time I was at Intercounty I actually asked them if they could bleed with the ABS pump activated and they reckoned they wouldn't get it any better than it is now. I'm a little miffed. I don't mind maintaining a vehicle, I'd drive this Sprinter anywhere in Europe tomorrow without a second thought. I think I may struggle to actually get it to meet some mythical standard.
     
  6. CRASH67

    CRASH67 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    234
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    i would ask intercounty where they take thier MOTs as soom dealers sublet them out go somewhere that will see sprinters alot that way they know thier habbits etc
     
  7. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    7,316
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Car:
    124 300D 24V Estate
    For all the joy you gave us Sprinter on fixing up your buddies 124. I'm sure someone down south on the forum could find you a nice warm garage to work in.
    You deserve it. As that annoying Geordie bird says.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    It won't take long to do, but I hate spending money on stuff I don't need. The Sprinter is too tall to get into my garage. I can borrow a workshop if I ask nicely.

    I ought to do some work on the Sprinter. It needs a new gearbox as 3 and 4th gears are crunchy. Typical Sprinter but I've learned how to drive it. I've got the box, all I need is the enthusiasm to fit it.

    I could do with a ticket on it as I want to take it to Birmingham.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    I'll go see them tomorrow. They're pretty helpful and I know them. The balljoints are only 18 quid each from the dealer. Euro car parts is £12.99; might as well have the real thing......
     
  10. ringway

    ringway MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    6,416
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    In a World of My Own.
    Car:
    Audi A6 Avant 3.0 Bi TDI - A Fantastic Car! Range Rover Supercharged - Lovely! Also R32 & S4.
    Yes, I'm sure that's very true.

    Part of the point I was making was that the spongy Sprinter brake pedal is normal and there is no real fix for something that is normal. :)

    The dealer said he knew what I was going to say when I mentioned the words brake pedal, so common is the question.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    It's weird though, I've driven other Sprinters with perfect pedals. I'm sure it is in essence an issue with getting the brakes bled perfectly. Even the dealer can't do it consistently. And as you say it is seen and accepted as perfectly normal.
     
  12. ringway

    ringway MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    6,416
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    In a World of My Own.
    Car:
    Audi A6 Avant 3.0 Bi TDI - A Fantastic Car! Range Rover Supercharged - Lovely! Also R32 & S4.
    Why not show this thread to the MOT tester, or take your Sprinter to a tester who is more au fait with these vans?

    My Sprinter has passed it's MOT at various testing stations including a huge MB commercial dealership without any mention of the spongy pedal.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    I went and had a word today with the owner and licence holder at the MOT test station. He's a pretty reasonable guy and we spent a bit of time looking at the problem together.

    He's adamant that the ball joints are over the recommended 3mm of axial play. The real issue seems to be that if you ask Mercedes their attitude is that the design is such that the joint can't fail and it doesn't matter. Mercedes however seem to have decided with VOSA that 3mm of lift is the limit. I'll just replace them; it isn't worth arguing about. I reckon my ball joints are on about 3mm, the tester reckons they are just over 3mm. For anyone going through this argument there is an article in VOSA's own testing matters about it.

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/repository/MoT%20-%20Issue%2023%20-%20April%202004%20.pdf

    Which brought me onto the brakes. The tester yesterday decided the load valve was seized. I was fairly sure it wasn't but I crawled under the van this morning. It was so much fun I'm thinking of auditioning for Ice Road Truckers...

    [​IMG]

    The load valve was moving nicely. Just to be doubly sure I gave it a squirt of Duck Oil and greased it.

    I drove it back to the MOT station and the owner and I had a good look. There is no doubt the pedal is spongy. However it doesn't sink and goes nowhere near hitting the floor.

    We got the van up in the air and he had a look at the load valve. He agreed with me that it is perfectly OK so he called the guy over who tested it and asked him why he failed it. He said he failed it because it doesn't move when the brake pedal is pressed! :doh: The tester is apparently getting a "re-training" session!

    That leaves the spongy pedal. I must say the guy was good as gold. We went over the system together and there are no bulging hoses, no leaks, brake efficiency is spot on, the disks are beautiful. In the end he rang Mercedes who told him that he could "spend days bleeding it and it will still be spongy". It has now turned into an advisory. I'd still love to know how to get it perfect mind you. All that stands between the Sprinter and another year of open road adventures is 2 ball joints. That shouldn't be hard.
     
  14. ringway

    ringway MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    6,416
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    In a World of My Own.
    Car:
    Audi A6 Avant 3.0 Bi TDI - A Fantastic Car! Range Rover Supercharged - Lovely! Also R32 & S4.
    "In the end he rang Mercedes who told him that he could "spend days bleeding it and it will still be spongy". ;) :D



    Nice to hear a good result. :thumb:
     
  15. Tiff

    Tiff Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    983
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Location:
    Auchtermuchty
    Car:
    Smart Fortwo Passion
    Whatever you do, don't heat the balljoints! I was nearly killed by one a few years back- it exploded, hit the ground and ricocheted right over the workshop roof.. Its a big lump of metal too! :eek:
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. BlackC55

    BlackC55 Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

    Messages:
    18,727
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Location:
    Horndean, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Southsea
    Car:
    C43 AMG with a 55 engine and supercharger, E55 AMG, S500, etc
    Spot on advice. They have been known to kill. I know of one workshop that did heat one and it broke the tech's leg.

    If you do heat them drill a hole through them.

    125k for ball joints is pretty good.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    Thanks for the warning. I had heard that about them, but I've not personally witnessed it; and I have no great desire to either!

    Intercounty said they would remove the old joints and fit both new ball joints for 90 quid if I give them the wishbones. Hardly seems worth messing about with a press and bits of tube that sort of fit. Not to mention risking exploding ball joints! They've got the factory mandrel for doing it so they ought to go in just right.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    MK
    Result! I have a new year long ticket entitling me to roam the highways and byways....
     
  19. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    7,316
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Car:
    124 300D 24V Estate
    Brilliant. Are the breaks "Bob On" now or do you still have a spongy pedal.

    Sorry covered in your post 13.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.