Aaaaand a little interior work.  That damn rattling partition.  tired of bending it back away from the upper supports every other day.  and not being able to keep an eye on stuff in the van, blah blah blah…..


sprinter partition
Making the van feel bigger!

Stubborn rivets…. took 3 drill bits, but likely because I bought cheap bits.  I also sprayed primer on the holes, because this thing definitely has some rust and I really don’t want any more before we can get her to Jacksonville, FL for bodywork and paint (more on that in a later post).

We have kept the partition for now, because I don’t know that the metal might be useful later for some currently-unknown purpose.  I’m cheap, and the budget on this whole thing, including the van purchase, is $15k.


I use sprinter-source.com a LOT for information and ideas, and I relied heavily on the Green Diesel page for information on this engine tune.  Maybe I’m naive, but I feel comfortable using info I have gathered on that site.  There are a lot of good moderators and folks with very high standing in the Sprinter community that offer thoughts and opinions to inform readers.  Not all is positive, and that helps it stay balanced.

Our concern was that we were getting 29-30mpg in the van.  Buuuuut – it’s dead empty.  nothing inside.  kind of rides like crap too….because there’s no weight in it.  No batteries, no solar panels, no wooden cabinets, tools, clothes, and on and on.  We’d like to retain as much power, as well as eliminate some of the issues with EGR soot loading and pre-mature contamination of the engine oil.  For $700 cost we estimate 20K miles to recoup cost.  We hope this van lasts well past that.

Be mindful, you MUST use a Windows computer to get this done.  Macs running in Boot Camp or using a virtual machine (Parallels or VM Ware) do NOT have a good track record for working.  I use Macs so I borrowed a friends computer at work to load the program.

ODB plug sprinter
The Magic Port


Please be informed about your choice to modify the ECM settings on your vehicle.  I have experience in doing this, and while Green Diesel Engineering provided a very simple and user-friendly way to get this done, failure to follow their instructions to a *T* could result in a very large BRICK of a vehicle that will require towing and SHAME at the dealership while they tell you everything wrong with engine tunes, etc.

The basic process (VERY OVERSIMPLIFIED):

  1. Load software on computer
  2. Scan you VIN through the ODB plug with supplied handheld unit
  3. Upload this info the computer program
  4. Email the output from program to GDE
  5. Receive a “tuned” file back from GDE
  6. Upload file to handheld unit
  7. “Flash” your ECM with new file
green diesel tune unit Sprinter

What I was pleased with is that the handheld unit now has both the new tune and the original tune.  So if you do have a vehicle under warranty, you can flash back to stock for the trip to dealership, and then return to your desired tune afterwards.  Also helpful for California vehicles and emissions testing (save the ethics debate on this for later, when we can pull out overall carbon footprints for used and new vehicles…..).

At this point (3k miles later), we are maintaining 28mpg, well over 600 miles per tank, and have a LOT more done in the van.  Floors, cabinets, solar, gel battery, sound deadening, insulation, windows (all upcoming posts).  The van idles smoother, runs smoother, shifts better, and doesn’t have to downshift as often on hills.

And she fast. It’s fun to pass people in a big van.  Also, no Rolling Coal.  That makes the tree-hugger in me happy.  Damn rednecks (being a mountain biker in an old southern town one develops a distaste for jacked up diesel trucks and black smoke).

Verdict: WIN.

One thought on “Well, it’s PERFORMANCE TIME

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