• Steve

Sprinter - Performance Tune


With just over 20,000 miles on the Sprinter and just at one year old I am happy to report that I am more than satisfied with it's function and reliability to date.  Yes, I have had it in for routine maintenance and a couple simple warranty issues but overall the Sprinter has performed well. I have seen fuel mileage of the V-6 Turbo diesel average @ 16.5 overall, for a 8000lb + 4x4 rig, that's pretty good.  The only time I have wanted for a bit more umph on the road has been at higher altitude pulling passes or on forest roads crawling in low/low.  

While in Tucson doing some "addons" to the Sprinter I started to peruse the market for performance chips (enhancements) that I knew existed for most pickups and many cars.  I searched the usual diesel tune vendors and found no "canned" plug and play kits for the TBD Sprinter.  Calling a local guru of Sprinters at Mercedes of Seattle, I learn that there are no aftermarket tune kits, BUT do get intel that there is an independent tuner that has done well to develop a performance tune that is flashed into the ECU (engine computer unit).  To my surprise I hear the tuner works out of his shop on Auburn (WA), were I live. Contacting the shop and owner - Dema, I get all the info on time and resources needed to make the tune happen, He shares that to date he has tuned 36 other Sprinters with 100% owner satisfaction.  I schedule my appointment for my tune. Arriving @ DUDMD Tuning. the shop is very clean, large shop.  It's a two man operation with Dema doing the custom tunes and his brother doing the mechanical upgrades. All the vehicles are either BMWs, Audis or MB, my Sprinter will feel right at home with the Germanic flavors repped here. 

Dema was prepared for me, it takes him maybe 3 minutes to pop the hood, connect his laptop to my ECU connectors and start the "read" of my program.  Once read, he ascertains as to whether an existing tune from another Sprinter might just work. He determines a few tweaks of the program are necessary and in less than another 10 minutes he transfers the new program into my rig. Another two minutes and its all downloaded.  Doing the start with new program installed really reveals nothing different, same sound @ idle etc.. but driving out of the parking lot and onto the city streets the program shows itself!   It feels like I have just dropped a V-12 quad turbo into the rig. The difference in HP and ft lbs of torque is very noticeable.  I was in for a real treat when I launched down the entrance ramp onto 167, with little throttle input (1/2 of usual) roaring down the ramp into mainline (3200 rpm and 77mph)!  Its now been about a week since the "tune" and must say, no regrets!!!  I love the increase in power at all levels and know it's going to be far different in the higher passes when fully loaded.  

I would not hesitate to recommend the "tune" to any Sprinter owner.

A few questions that have surfaced as I converse with other curious Sprinter owners about the work done on the Sprinter, specifically the tune, is NO it does not impact any of the Sprinter warranty at any level. If there are ECU updates in the future and MB needs to reflash the ECU, Dema is more than happy to reload the tune back into my rig. This is a lifetime warranty/service type thing. 

I'll be reporting on the performance tune data as we move on toward the second 20,000 miles. 


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