View Full Version : My saga of expense and no real results.

04-18-2012, 01:17 PM
Earlier on I have posted on some issues with my 05' 2500 Sprinter 158" high top. Between all of you on the forum and DR. A, I have been able to get some great advice and technical information to resolve some of the multiple issues with this van. Now the saga starts.
About 1 year ago I was driving north to my home from West Palm Beach, FL and had a severe overheat condition with no gauge or light or alarm indicators. The only way I knew that I overheated was when I came to a stoplight on a small road 10 miles from home. The rancid acidic smell is one that I've had the pleasure of smelling before. BURN'T Engine Oil! I immediately pulled over and shut the engine down. There was no knocking of any kind, just the stick of the burn't oil and a badly overheated engine. It sat for an hour and then had my wife head out with coolant. I found the hose that had a pin hole in it that caused the problem, taped it up to nurse it back to town and started the adding of coolant and water. No problem here as I had let it cool down and when the radiator was full tried to start it. NO start! Crank but only and occasional attempt to start. I had it towed to my lot and changed the nasty oil and filter and added a quart of Dura Lube that I had been using for some time now. I then had it towed to what I and been told was a reputable Mercedes shop. Not! After having a crank and cam sensor replaced, it ran but rattled badly. They told me to run it and see if it would quiet with some road time. I didn't. Back to their shop, new lifters, timing chain tensioner guides, 2 injectors and a cylinder head machine job as the head was warped 15 thousands. Also the oil check valve under the head on top of the block was melted. That was giving me, as I was informed, the dry start up syndrome that had been heard since they originally got the van running after the overheat. (I failed to mention this earlier) Now convinced that after all of this time and $$$$$$$$ the van should run like it used to; quiet and no dry start up. Not! It still had the dry start up every time it was started and continually makes noise. Now this noise comes and goes in intensity. Some days you can barely hear it and other days people turn their heads when you drive past then. I drove to West Palm To see a friend of Dr. A's, Jerry who took time with his DBRlll to sync the injectors to the ECM, another thing the repair shops didn't know had to be done. This leads me to believe it is not a hard part and that it is fuel related. I have had a new oil pump installed by another shop just recently and still have the dry start up if the engine sits for more that 20 min. The noise is still there intermittent as it is and I still get 20 MPG. DR.A informed me that this head is not machinable. Now that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that there is nobody in my area that can fix this van. Maybe the injector to head clearances are to tight and causing a bad spray pattern. The noise I get is NOT TEMP RELATED. I may start it in the AM, hear the dry start then it quiets for the day. Or it may do just the opposite or a combination of the 2. If clearances were an issue I believe it would be worse warm as things all expand and become tighter. There are 3 injectors that have not been replaced and they are making me wonder. Also there is something in the back of my mind that is saying faulty lifter. I 'm not ruling out a wrist pin or other hard part, but the noise is never consistent and we have shut down injectors to listen for noise changes as well as pulling off the drive belt to isolate auxiliary components. I'm totally at a loss and am about ready to drive to DR. A's and have him fix this thing. Anyone have any input to this?:thinking:

Also I have done the Dr. A rumble strip noise fix. Awesome. But I just noted that I can't exceed 80 mph on the highway running at 3,000 rpm. Anybody have insight to this one?:thinking: Thanks, Jim

04-18-2012, 02:27 PM
The first thing I would do is to install an oil pressure gauge. I have done it and how I did it is in this thread:


With this instrumentation, you should be able to tell if the noises are oil pressure related.

Aqua Puttana
04-18-2012, 03:06 PM
As to an 80 mph limit, all NAFTA Sprinters are limited to around at the most 80 mph unless the ECM is modified by a tuning kit. Some fleet vehicles may have an even lower max speed. Sorry I can't offer more. Vic

04-18-2012, 04:11 PM
The only thing I do not see on your list is the timming chain tensioner itself. was it replaced ?
And if so is the seal on the tensioner new?
As for the machine work of the head , considering the head itself has no real combustion chamber (thats on the pistons) and the valves are almost flush to the deck, that would concern me.
Another question would be : was the pickup tube replaced with the oil pump?


Eric Experience
04-19-2012, 12:31 PM
Sorry to hear of your dramas. I dont understand why the low water warning light did not come on. The reason the heads are not machinable is because they run 2 camshafts directly in the head. if the head is bent then the cams are forced to bend as they rotate, the person who machined you head is negligent for doing so. The correct procedure is to straighten the head or replace it. Eric.

04-19-2012, 12:43 PM
Thank you all for your input.
The oil pressure was checked by 2 different shops. Both told me that all was fine.
When the engine work was originally done the timing chain tensioner was replaced. I
am not sure about the seal.
The oil pump assembly was a complete replacement including the pickup tube. This guy
had shown me one that had cracked as it was made from plastic and it wasn't allowing
the full amount of oil to reach the pump.
The cylinder head job had me wondering especially after I had Dr. A and another person
tell me that this head is not to be machined in any way. However the noise never changed.
Before and after the work, all is the same.
This leaves me with the probability of an intermittent hard part noise or the last 3 injectors
have issues. Now one thing I did forget to mention in my original post was that I had been
using Diesel Kleen with every tank of fuel in quantities that exceeded normal use. In doing so
the engine would sometimes sound like it did before the overheat. However this was intermittent as well. Most of the time it was fair but there were days it just hammered.
I have purchased an automotive stethoscope and listened all over the engine. all of the noise
seems to be coming from the top of the engine. There still is a chance that one of the new
lifters is faulty and won't stay pumped up.

I hope this offers more information that may help all of you help me.:thumbup:

I greatly appreciate all of the input and experience that is available on this forum.
Thanks and keep it coming.


04-19-2012, 12:54 PM
Eric, Dr. A said the same thing. He said absolutely no machining. Replacement only.
I was told by the rip off shop that had the head work done, that this machine shop builds racing engines
and that the guy had to recess the valve seats and everything else to gain the clearances back to normal.
Nobody could tell me if the injector depth had been compensated for.
Again, the noise after all of this work has never changed. So it is a trick to narrow down the existing possibilities.
What puzzles me is why it can be noisy so intermittently. Cold or hot engine you never know how she will sound when started.
Sometimes it doesn't sound too bad cold and by the time I drive 20 miles it rattles like crazy. Then it may be the opposite.
One thing for sure is that it has never sounded normal after the overheat. It used to sound like a gasoline engine at idle.
People would have to ask me if it was a diesel.

Thanks, Jim

04-19-2012, 01:00 PM
Vic, I have has this sprinter up to 100 mph before this saga began.
It was the unbridled hidden teenager in me that brought out that one.
I guess that I just had to see what she could do. Still had more to go just not enough road.
It isn't like I even really need to speed, it just seemed strange that the ability was now gone.
I'm very happy with the kit though. Lots of power off the line and no more RSN!!!!!

Thanks, Jim

Eric Experience
04-21-2012, 01:42 AM
You do not seem to grasp the situation, The bent head is bending your camshafts you must not run this motor as is. The fact that the bloke who machined the head may at one stage have machined a head for a hot rod does not reduce his neglegence. The camshafts are made from cast iron and will snap, when they do the valves will strike the pistons and you motor will explode. you must sort this out or risk losing your motor. If you think I am being alarmist ring Doctor 'A'. Eric.

04-21-2012, 01:42 PM
Eric, I will look into this. I have no doubt about what you are stating. What trips me up is the noise comes and goes and is not temperature related. I need to find out who the machinist was and see if he checked the cam bores and cams for alignment. In the mean time if anyone knows where I can find a new cylinder head at a decent price, let me know.

Thanks for your input and have a great weekend.


04-21-2012, 02:58 PM
Might try WAYNERODD here on the site. He's in Ohio, but does venture around. A head may be UPSable as well. He has / does reconditioned engines.

Might be worth driving the van to Ohio....