Our van details: 2006 Dodge Sprinter, 5 cylinder 3500 Diesel, 194,000 miles
Overview of Mechanical Work Done Prior to Take Off
Oil and Filter Change
Transmission flush and filter change
Replacement of Injector 1 (See below for "Black Death" details)
New fuel filter
New air filter
New front brake pads and rotors
Replacement of wheel speed sensor (bad sensor was causing ABS light on dash)
Our Regular Maintenance Intervals While on the Road
Oil Change - 7500 miles
Fuel Filter - 30,000 miles
Air Filter - 15,000 miles (we replaced the air filter after spending alot of time in the dusty desert)
Our oil changes average around $125. We chose not to do them ourselves while on the road as we do not have the space to store a messy oil pan.
Pro Tip: We know SO many people that skimp out on oil changes for their vehicles. Oil changes are the lifeline of your van. Always get your oil and oil filter changed at the recommended mileage interval. The mileage interval for your vehicle can usually be found in the owner's manual or by a quick google search.
Black Death Details
The T1N Sprinters (years 1994-2006) are known to develop leaking fuel injectors, commonly referred to as "black death". The leaky injector will cover everything under the hood with a hard black tar. We learned this by doing a substantial amount of reading and research around our van make and model.
We pulled off our plastic engine cover to reveal that our van had a very early case of "black death".
Using oven cleaner, carburetor cleaner and an infinite supply of paper towels, we cleaned all of the existing tar, removed the leaking injector and replaced the copper seal and stretch bolt.
While this successfully fixed the injector leak, we later had our diesel mechanic test the injector to determine it was faulty. We went ahead and had the injector itself replaced before taking off on our journey.