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Old 12-21-2010, 09:30 PM   #1
sprinterworx
 
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Default Battery/Alternator go to workshop

Hi fellow sprinter enthusiasts.
I have an issue with the electrical system on my sprinter van. It is a 2007 Dodge badged sprinter 2500 diesel.
Here is what's going on.

The battery alternator angry red light came on and van lost power while driving. I had though the engine smelt funny, which is a telling sign your alternator is bad (smells like a dead rat my shop teacher once said) so I replaced the alternator, without testing, because autozone, oriely's, the dealer and pep boys had no way of telling if the alternator was functioning due to the funny terminals on the bottom. After replacing the alternator the van ran just fine for 20 days and then exhibited the exact same problem. I limped it home on what little power it had left and then plugged it into a trickle charger to drive to my auto shop the next day. Upon starting it the next day, it struggled, and then the glow plug coil light on the dash came on and the check engine light came on. I plugged in the OBD2 and it told me the glow plug circuit was malfunctioning along with glow plugs 1 2 3 4 5 6.



I had the battery checked by a professional battery checker at pep-boys to see if a cell had fused or the battery was bad, it checked out okay. I replaced the alternator with a brand new oem and checked it this time while disconnected to the battery. Putting out 15.6 volts, more than enough to charge a battery under normal conditions, I bolted it back on. The battery seemed to hover around 12.2 volts climbing a little and receding a little. But the ominous red "battery/alternator Take to workshop" still displays on the errors after countless resets and battery disconnects. I tried disconnecting the auxiliary heater switch (it was said in the forums this might be stuck on causing a power drain), and still the light remained on. On a side note, the auxiliary heating switch led stopped lighting up after this problem started occurring.

Any help on this would be appreciated before I spend 500 dollars on a glow plug circuit.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

Just having the Alternator "die" (fail to produce output) should *not* affect the Sprinter's running performance.
(quick test: disconnect alternator, start engine .... engine should run just fine until the battery drops below 10v)

So it certainly sounds like *something* that can consume a LOT of electrical energy is coming on and staying on...
consuming all of your alternator's output (i think you'd HEAR the starter motor if it were the culprit).
The glow plug system certainly could do it, but disconnecting the glow plug relay would remove it from the running, too.
Hm... maybe it IS the starter.

extensive diagnostics required.
good luck
--dick
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

anyone know the current draw of the preheater circuit (not even sure of the proper name)?
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by autostaretx View Post
Just having the Alternator "die" (fail to produce output) should *not* affect the Sprinter's running performance.
(quick test: disconnect alternator, start engine .... engine should run just fine until the battery drops below 10v)

So it certainly sounds like *something* that can consume a LOT of electrical energy is coming on and staying on...
consuming all of your alternator's output (i think you'd HEAR the starter motor if it were the culprit).
The glow plug system certainly could do it, but disconnecting the glow plug relay would remove it from the running, too.
Hm... maybe it IS the starter.

extensive diagnostics required.
good luck
--dick
It's true I was able to drive the van home until it dropped below 9 or 10v on battery power. It starts and runs just fine on battery with out the alternator connected.

I'll disconnect the glow plug relay and see what is what. I can't hear the solenoids in the starter motor running or anything from the starter for that matter. I'll test the glow plug theory and get back to you.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

does anyone know where the Glow Plug Relay/Circuit is on the NCV3?
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

Isn't the 2007 NCV3 model included in the problems which have surfaced with the battery/starter cable design? Might be worth testing. vic
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

This thread may help i know with mine i was getting a smell.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13606
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

@shanmac, I wish i had read your post yesterday, it probably would have led me to the culprit faster.
I chased the voltage drop from the alternator line to the starter motor where it was 2.4 volts on one side of the 300 amp fuse and 12.4 on the other side, the red herring was the glow plug problem caused by the fuse being partially fried. We spent 2 or three hours ripping apart a glow plug relay that had no business being ripped apart. We had to epoxy it back together, didn't look like a 500 dollar part to me. as you can see from the pictures, the jacket on the wire was really corroded/burned. Why this happened is still a mystery. Perhaps a bad alternator? As result of shanmacs problems I'm wondering if the wiring and jackets are faulty from the factory. There is no reason a 3 year old van should be doing this.

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Old 12-22-2010, 07:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

No problem...glade you got issue sorted out. Will you be ordering a new OEM cable or fixing what you have or getting a new cable set made up? Thanks for the pics.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Battery/Alternator go to workshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanemac View Post
No problem...glade you got issue sorted out. Will you be ordering a new OEM cable or fixing what you have or getting a new cable set made up? Thanks for the pics.
We have some ought gauge wire hanging around for our car stereo installation, we'll crimp and make our own. After I've seen how the sausage is made, I'm sure mine will be better. We live by the mantra, you are the best mechanic for your vehicle.
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