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Old 06-09-2011, 11:53 PM   #1
Type2Teach
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Default Another Dead Van Thread

Hey guys.
Bad news. Sprinter stopped running today. Out of nowhere, just up and stopped on us while we were cruising down the highway. My wife had been driving it all over this morning and we were on our way out of town. I had been driving around 50mph for a few minutes when I heard a "clunk" and the engine shut off. Engine light came on AFTER the engine shut off and we cruised to the side of the road. I called AAA and a friend to come pick up my wife and kids. While we were waiting, I tried restarting the van. Revrevrevrevrev but no start. I checked my scangauge and it said I had one error, but just listed it as 0000. I had the option to erase it, so I did. Tried starting the van again, and finally, after cranking for about 15 long seconds, she roared to life! I made everyone buckle up and we took off for home. Got about 5 minutes down the road, and I was feeling OK, but then I gave it some pedal to change lanes when "clunk", the engine shut off again. I coasted into a mall parking lot. Tried to erase the code and get it started again, but no luck this time. Called AAA back and changed my location. After way too long waiting for the tow truck to show, I'm home now, with the Sprinter.
I've only put about 1500 miles on it since I got it. I got it in non-running condition, and replaced:
cam sensor
crank sensor
MAF sensor
high pressure fuel pump
fuel lines
fuel filter (2x)
fuel rail sensor
You might be saying "just plug in the DAD and see what it says". Well... shortly after I got it running a few months ago, the DAD stopped talking to the Engine Control Module. It would talk to all the other modules, but it and the ECM have not been on speaking terms. I knew it would bite me in the butt sooner or later, but didn't expect it to be this soon (isn't that Murphy's law?). On top of that, my DAD computer crashed two weeks ago and I had to get a new one. I just got the exact same one (Dell Lattitude D610) because it had the correct plug on the back, but the DAD software didn't want to install on the new one. I still have to trouble shoot that.
So my plans now are to do the injector leak off test. The previous owner ran homebrew biodiesel for a few years, which I suspect ruined the High Pressure pump (which I replaced). I don't know how the injectors are doing, but after seeing Maconsult's injectors, I wonder what mine might look like.
After that, there are lots of suggestions from my first big post (Stuck in Auburn), and Mac's post (Van Died) for me to start chasing without the DAD.
I'll keep you guys posted and please feel free to shoot any ideas my way.
Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread


Of course, it just started right up a second ago and is idling happily now.


... so the problem is intermittent. Maybe a chafing wire...

Gotta get that DAD up and running.
Anything I can check without the DAD that the engine should be running for?
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

I'm thinking it may be an air leak somewhere in the fuel line to the low pressure pump. Look for air bubbles in that line.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

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Originally Posted by Type2Teach View Post
Maybe a chafing wire...Anything I can check without the DAD that the engine should be running for?
You answered part of your question. The wiring.

Also if you can find a way to check fuel pressure that would be great! Some scanners can show it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

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I'm thinking it may be an air leak somewhere in the fuel line to the low pressure pump. Look for air bubbles in that line.
Nope. I wish. Lines are bubble free. Been there, done that.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

Pulled the injector cover off and found.... water.
Water was down in the depressions where the injectors thread in. It got deeper as I went from 1 to 5, dry in #1 and probably 1/2" to 3/4" in #5. Took a sponge, cut it into strips and soaked the water out. Yes, it was water. I know the difference in smell and feel between water and diesel fuel. Everything else was fine. Aside from a leaking cover (which I doubt), I seem to remember last having that cover off while it was snowing, and snow had fallen inside the cover. Maybe I figured it would just evaporate off... but it didn't. Which tells me that the temps inside that cover on top of the head never went above 212F. OR (way cooler theory), the seal on that cover is so good that when the water reached the boiling point and it evaporated, it just stayed inside the space, waiting to condense once the engine was shut off and had time to cool. Wow. The water cycle happening in my engine bay! OK, so here's another thought I had- what if that moisture rich environment was causing the cam sensor to malfunction? Or MAYBE because we had such a WAY hot day here (about 99F), water actually DID boil for the first time since I owned the Sprinter and created that moisture rich environment, and when the van had about 10 minutes to cool down, it started right back up again, and is why it runs just fine now (I took it for a drive)...
Is it OK to drive without that injector cover on? It appears so, as long as I don't do it too long and let anything get inside there... like water!
I wasn't able to do the injector leak off test because I didn't have enough clear tubing to fit over the return line fittings. I plan on being at Home Depot at 6 tomorrow morning to get a few feet of tubing and run home to do the test. A leaky injector might explain the sudden difficulty in starting we have experienced over the last 3 or 4 days. It might also explain the surging idle that I sometimes notice...
On a happy note- while I was typing up this post the DAD software successfully installed!
WooHoo! Time to head out and see if the DAD will start talking to the ECM again... Is there a smilie for crossing fingers?
I'll keep you updated.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

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Wow. The water cycle happening in my engine bay!
Just wait and see what the power of rust can do to making injectors very tought to get out.
Worse than black death!

It's best if you take a air gun and blow it all out. Put some type of oil around the injector bores to help stop any rust damage.

Water from the snow should have been long gone. You need to look for another way it got in there!
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

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A leaky injector might explain the sudden difficulty in starting we have experienced over the last 3 or 4 days. It might also explain the surging idle that I sometimes notice...
Very possible, proving it can be tough.

If you have a rough idle it should be easy to find.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

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If you have a rough idle it should be easy to find.
Oh yeah? How so? It's been an on and off thing for my van. I've grown to accept it as normal.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Another Dead Van Thread

DAD won't talk to the Sprinter, says to "check the cables".
Off to the DAD threads....all 675 of them
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