Tuning the Beast


I just installed my $700 Green Diesel Engineering software patch into Junior, my 2007 Sprinter van! Why? Because a tiny, unimportant part is malfunctioning, and Junior is smarter than I am, because I’m only 50% German. Since Junior has no fingers to wag condescendingly at my Imperfect Driving Situation, he says “Nein” and turns off the turbo until he gets his way. There’s no way for me to say “it’s ok, keep driving!” Fixing the part would cost $3500, and it would just break again.

Until now.

Without the turbo, Junior drives like a two ton pig. It’s easier to ignore the Wavefront of Hate that builds up behind me when I’m slowly accelerating through 35 MPH in a 55 MPH zone in Junior than in the Metro, but it still makes me an asshole. It would also make my yearly sojourn to Portland impossible, since Junior might not be able to maintain speed uphill over the many mountains betwixt yonder and near.

When Mercedes brought the new 6-cylinder Sprinter to the US, they were forced to retrofit a system to recycle the exhaust gas back into the engine. As a result, this system gums it up until multi-thousand-dollar parts fail. Rather than do a huge recall, Mercedes simply pays for the first set of repairs under warranty, then leaves Sprinter owners to pay for the potentially $10,000 of repairs the second time through.

*None* of these repairs address the fundamental design flaw that gums up the engine, so it will always happen again.

Green Diesel Engineering, a group of rad engineers that spend their waking hours finding ways to make complex diesel engines work better, does. They bypass the system in question, and instead address the emissions problem by making other changes to the software to make the vehicle more fuel efficient, give it more power and torque, etc. The result is that not only do emissions of almost everything go down from the factory configuration, but the Engine Gum Deliver System installed by Mercedes never fucks up the engine again.

Naturally I’m a little nervous, since any vehicle with anti-lock breaks and traction control is actually capable of driving itself, and I just upgraded its brain. However, GDE has been around for a long time, and one of the benefits of having an older vehicle is that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of miles on this engine tune before I ever got it.

There was an additional code for loss of pressure on the turbo that this tune is *not* designed to address. However, it’s possible the problem it *does* address was causing the turbo problem, so I won’t know if it’s fixed until I drive it around for a while. It made more sense to get this tune installed first, since it might make both problems go away. If it doesn’t fix the turbo problem, then I’ll have to continue my pressure testing until I can find and replace the problem part, which is pretty easy for a layman to do. Hopefully I won’t have to!

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2 Responses to Tuning the Beast

  1. metis23 says:

    Looks good! 🙂

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