Intercooler hose leaking in a Mercedes Sprinter will automatically send your van into limp mode. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van comes standard with a 2.1L turbo-diesel 4-cylinder with 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Its engine has a 7-speed automatic and uses two-stage turbocharging and direct injection to siphon as much power as possible from less fuel.
An intercooler is an important mechanical part on turbocharged or supercharged Sprinter engines. Its primary purpose is to round up the air compressed by the turbo and supercharger and then cool it. If the intercooler fails, the engine will not receive enough cool, dense air. This results in loss for complete combustion and exhaustion of unburned fuel. This failure directly affects horsepower, fuel mileage, and emissions.
Reasons for Intercooler Hose Leaks
As your Sprinter gains mileage, oil might get accumulated in the intercooler. However, this is a less frequent occurrence and most times it is caused by a leak from your turbo oil seals. This causes a slight restriction. Because the intercooler is located between the turbos, leaks from this part of your vehicle will end up in the intercooler because there is no other place to go.
The oil that gathers at the bottom of your vehicle’s intercooler causes a reduction in its performance. If the oil in the intercooler pipe of your van becomes frequent and more in quantity, it means your turbocharger seals need to be replaced.
The turbocharger or supercharger compresses the air, and it increases in temperature, which gets very high. As the temperature increases, the oxygen content falls. As a result, when the intercooler cools this air, it allows air denser and richer in oxygen to the engine. This enhances more fuel combustion. The intercooler is not meant to have any oil inside it, either by operation or design.
Some of the common causes of oil in your intercooler pipe:
- Very high oil pressure
- Blocked air filter intake
- Fixing the wrong turbocharger
- Wrong gaskets
- A trapped or twisted oil return pipe
- Clogged air filter
- Damaged turbo parts
- Bad core
You need to have this leakage from your turbocharger fixed as soon as possible. It is important that you be sure of the cause of the leak before taking any action, because most drivers confuse coolant for oil.
Lack of Normal Engine Performance
It could be just a small leak from the core, which will not affect your vehicle’s functionality, but when oil in the intercooler causes smoke during first cranking, you need to be concerned. In severe cases you will be in a position to tell when the intercooler is clogged. Your engine will drop in power, and fuel consumption may increase. Other problems like unusual smoke from your vehicle’s exhaust system will also manifest.
If your engine is not receiving enough air, fuel mileage and horsepower will drastically drop. An increase in temperature of the air going to the engine will be experienced, hence reducing the engine’s efficiency. When this persists, it will cause overheating, which might lead to your engine failing.
Overheating of the Engine
If your van engine runs in a rich condition, then the excess unused fuel will be removed along with the gases and exhaust. Limited or no air will be supplied to the engine, which may lead to overheating. You will see black smoke coming out of your exhaust system, and the combustion from the exhaust system will cause the emissions to be darker. The engine control module will trigger a light to appear on your vehicle’s dashboard. This error code is sent due to the engine overheating.
The Benz Shop for your Sprinter
When you experience low power and reduced torque in your Sprinter, visit us at The Benz Shop. We are conveniently accessible to Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Chandler, Paradise Valley, and Phoenix, AZ.
We have experience in providing top-quality service for every Mercedes customer. Our technicians have the requisite experience for your make and model, and our attention to detail is unrivalled. We pride ourselves on using the best factory-grade tools, equipment, and OEM parts to ensure your car is receiving the same level of service it would at the dealership. Contact us at (480) 867-6695 or visit us at 5160 West Phelps Road, Suite A in Glendale, AZ.
* Mercedes-Benz Sprinter image credit goes to: Aliaksandr Litviniuk.