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Mercedes Sprinter W906 common problems (2006-2018)

Mercedes Sprinter W906

Sprinter by name, sprinter by nature. It’s true. There can’t be many people who haven’t been overtaken by a Mercedes Sprinter being driven enthusiastically by a hard-pressed delivery driver.

So, owners and drivers of the Sprinter need it to be brisk, roomy and more important than anything, reliable.

This makes it all the more annoying if your Sprinter W906 suffers from common annoying glitches. But that’s what happens, unfortunately; the Sprinter can suffer issues including an alternator that has an output that’s too low, or even condensation in the headlights.

Here at Haynes, we've stripped down and rebuilt a Mercedes Sprinter W906, so we know it inside out, and we’ve put all that knowledge into both a conventional printed and online Haynes manual and our online Autofix product. So, it’s worth investing in these if you want to keep your Sprinter on the road for the minimum of expense. Simply look up the procedure and carry it out yourself, and you’ll save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on garage labour charges.

Mercedes Sprinter W906

What recalls has the Mercedes Sprinter W906 been subject to in Australia?

The Mercedes Sprinter W906 has been the subject of an extremely high number of recall notices in Australia, so make sure all the work has been carried out before you buy.

For a start, in August 2007, 141 examples were recalled because of faulty window airbag units. The following month, 41 Sprinters were recalled to deal with a faulty relay socket. A faulty starter motor cable caused another recall for 330 vans in September 2007.

In June 2008, a brake master cylinder issue caused a recall. In the same month, the V6 diesel was recalled to deal with a problem with the crankshaft position sensor chip housing.

Numerous software updates have forced a few recalls.

In September 2008, axle issues affected 17 Sprinters. Rear suspension problems caused another recall in the same month.

That's just the beginning of the tale. Head here for the full horror story.

The long and the short of it is that you should make sure that all recall work has been done, because there’s been quite a lot for dealers to get through.

What common problems does the Mercedes Sprinter have?

The second-generation Mercedes Sprinter can be prone to a gearshift issue that makes it difficult to shift into and out of fifth and sixth gears. Not ideal on the motorway.

And several owners have reported an issue in which the alternator on their vehicles put out too small a voltage when the engine is warmed up and working hard.

As with most vans, the Mercedes Sprinter gets a hard time bouncing of speed bumps, up and down kerbs and suchlike, so the suspension gets put through its paces. And sometimes, the front shock absorbers can leak because of this.

The engines in the W906 Sprinter aren’t the quietest, but nevertheless an untoward rattling noise can afflict them. A dodgy pulley is often the cause.

And starting issues are going to ruin anyone’s day.

Mercedes Sprinter Mk2

Does your Mercedes Sprinter Mk2 have a gearshift problem?

There’s a fair chance it does. But there’s also a fair chance it’s quite a minor thing to sort out. You see, the gearshift cables on the Mercedes Sprinter W906 can fall out of adjustment, which makes it difficult to swap into and out of fifth gear, and the same with sixth.

The good news is that adjusting the cables is a comparatively straightforward task. So you’ll need to remove the gearlever gaiter, then get underneath to adjust the cables.

However, the full procedure is contained in the Haynes Sprinter manual, so just read up on what to do and get cracking. There aren’t even any spare bits to buy.

Mercedes Sprinter W906 dashboard
W906 Mercedes Sprinter Mk2

Is your W906 Mercedes Sprinter alternator playing up?

If you’re driving along at night in your W906 Mercedes Sprinter and the lights seem a bit dim, perhaps accompanied by wipers that are moving too slowly, then something’s up with your vehicle’s electrics. And the bad news is that grinding to an eventual halt is almost inevitable because your Sprinter’s battery isn’t being properly charged.

The issue is usually a faulty alternator voltage regulator, so you’ll need to follow the procedure to remove the alternator from place, which is described fully in the Haynes Sprinter manual.

Then it’s up to you whether you replace the regulator or the entire alternator.

Once you’ve decided, then you’ll need to fit the alternator back in place, tightening everything up to the required torque, and refitting any belts (you may need to replace the auxiliary drivebelt if it’s worn).

Mercedes Sprinter

Have the shocks failed on your Mercedes Sprinter Mk2?

There’s no denying that the suspension system on any van gets a hard time. Not only is the vehicle almost constantly on the move, but it also has to deal with the worst urban road scar and potholes, plus the bumps associated with kerbs and getting into and out of yards.

And of course, it has to deal with all this while carrying around a full loadbay.

That’s why it isn’t unknown for the front shock absorbers to cry enough and start to leak, and this situation is made worse by the fact that some examples were fitted with faulty shocks.

The only solution is to replace the faulty items with new components (part number: A 906 320 63 30), and the procedure is fully explained in the Suspension & Steering chapter of your Haynes Sprinter manual.

Mercedes Sprinter Mk2

Why is your Mercedes Sprinter engine rattling?

No they don’t all do that, sir, although some will over the course of time.

The issue tends to manifest itself when the engine is running and the air-conditioning system is switched off.

If this is what’s occurring in your van’s engine bay, then the issue is that the rubber bush for the air-conditioning compressor pulley has failed.

Mercedes has produced a repair kit (part number: A 000 234 25 12), so you can replace the faulty bush without having to replace the entire compressor.

The Haynes Sprinter manual shows you how to remove and replace the compressor pulley, so it’s just a case of fitting the new bush to it.

Mercedes Sprinter

Are you struggling to start your Mercedes Sprinter Mk2?

You need a workng vehicle to be dependable. After all, getting into it at the beginning of the working day only to be greeted by the sound of a starter churning but no engine start is both frustrating and expensive, because you’re immediately losing money.

The first thing to do is to plug in a fault-code reader to the OBD port. If this generates the code P2043 then the problem should be comparatively easy and inexpensive to fix, because it’s a camshaft position sensor that has failed.

Thereafter, it’s a case of getting a replacement sensor, then going through the step-by-step replacement procedure in your Haynes Sprinter manual. It won’t take long, so you’ll be back on the road in a jiffy.

Mercedes Sprinter Mk2