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paul04553
02-04-2013, 10:47 AM
My 2004 Sprinter 2500 sometimes won't turn over when trying to start the engine. When you turn the key onto position 2 all the lights come on but nothing happens. Contrary to when it does start, where you can hear the fuel pump and the glow plug light will go out, then you know it will start. Often just removing the key and reinserting it in the key ballel will fix the problem, but I have attempted this more that 20 times on one occation before it would statrt...any thoughts?.

Amboman
02-04-2013, 11:02 AM
Try swapping the starter relay.

(Vic's AP's photo)

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=49717&d=1358801767

MBGUY
02-04-2013, 01:36 PM
Does it say 'start error' on the odometer when this happens? Do you have another key?

MillionMileSprinter
02-04-2013, 01:49 PM
Try swapping the starter relay.


... with what? A new relay or another one from somewhere else in the van?
... which would make that other thing not work... doesn't make much sense.:thinking:
I guess I answered my own question. You must mean a new relay, right?

Maxpower
02-04-2013, 01:54 PM
The same thing happened to me on vacation this past summer with my 08 View. It turned out to be an internal fault in the ECM. Had to replace it. Have lost confidence in Sprinter! Kim

Amboman
02-04-2013, 02:19 PM
There two ways to fault find an electrical component issue.

The first way is what everyone does, "guess" what they think is faulty only to replace the part
and hoping for a voila! but get a dagnabbit instead, the fault still remains.

The second way is to remove the suspect faulty part and insert it into a known serviceable vehicle to see if the fault transposes, this way has a certain degree of risk and the requirement for 2 vehicles or units under repair it is not usually practised but it does have an immediate advantage of the direct evidence of isolating and transposing the fault, its also not for pseudo electricians but knowledgeable tradesmen with an understanding of diagnosis.

NOTE : you do not do this with short circuit fault finding only fault transposition.

Aqua Puttana
02-04-2013, 02:21 PM
... with what? A new relay or another one from somewhere else in the van?
... which would make that other thing not work... doesn't make much sense.:thinking:
I guess I answered my own question. You must mean a new relay, right?
Sometimes swapping a relay and making something else not work gives good feedback for troubleshooting. If the problem follows the component then it most likely is that component. That feedback is less effective with intermittent problems.

In this case the Start Relay is a special high current design with large blades to help conduct that higher current.

For people who may not be familiar with the T1N basic starter operation... The ECM sends 12 volts to the start relay. The start relay then powers the solenoid/bendix unit on the starter. The solenoid assembly has heavy duty contacts which send power to the starter (and also mechnanically engage the gears). So there is a relay under the seat powering a relay on the starter. The starter solenoid coil pulls fairly big load so it needs a heavy relay under the seat. In the old days the key switch had heavy contacts which directly powered the solenoid. Now when you turn the key you are asking the ECM to please crank my engine if you think that everything is OK.

All that said, there is no high current relay anywhere else in the Sprinter to swap in. So a new one would be needed.

More info on that relay is here.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?p=221060#post221060

In this case the observation of the change in dash lights feedback from when it will start to when it won't points me to think of some problem other than just the starter relay under the seat. That is opinion, not a diagnosis. vic

Turbo John
02-04-2013, 03:20 PM
My 2004 Sprinter 2500 sometimes won't turn over when trying to start the engine. When you turn the key onto position 2 all the lights come on but nothing happens. Contrary to when it does start, where you can hear the fuel pump and the glow plug light will go out, then you know it will start. Often just removing the key and reinserting it in the key ballel will fix the problem, but I have attempted this more that 20 times on one occation before it would statrt...any thoughts?.

Before you do anything run a second ground strap down to the engine motor mount. This is the cheapest and fastest of all DIY repairs, when it comes to a non starting issue. If you look at the ground strap from the battery to the firewall you could understand this is not the best way to ground the battery.

This simple fix per one of the forum members took care of intermittent starting issues for me. It might work for you.

If it does not.then go to the next step. KISS

A.Hayes
02-04-2013, 04:19 PM
Before you do anything run a second ground strap down to the engine motor mount.

Any chance of posting a pic showing this (for the mechanically challenged)?

Thanks!

autostaretx
02-04-2013, 05:08 PM
... with what? A new relay or another one from somewhere else in the van?
... which would make that other thing not work... doesn't make much sense.
To echo Vic, "swapping" gives you immediate (and "free") feedback if the problem changes/goes away.
If the problem moves "with the relay", then you can go to the parts store with much more confidence that "a new relay" will actually fix it.

The other possible cause is a worn-out set of contacts in your ignition switch... which is a much more expensive and tedious job to replace.

You can test the "bad ground" theory with a jumper cable... clamp one end to the battery's Negative post, and the other to a "convenient" chunk of bare metal on the engine itself. If the starter suddenly becomes 100% reliable, it was probably a bad ground strap.

Finally, it could be the starter soleniod itself... it's that small cylinder mounted on the starter, where the wires attach.
(check that the wires are well attached... but disconnect the battery's negative post before playing down in there with a wrench)

--dick

Aqua Puttana
02-04-2013, 06:15 PM
All the comments so far have merit.

...Contrary to when it does start, where you can hear the fuel pump and the glow plug light will go out, then you know it will start. ...any thoughts?.

That observation leads me to believe that the problem is something before any heavy current carrying components are even in the picture. In normal operation the glow coil times out before the key is even turned to start. No glow coil showing at all sounds abnormal.

My guess is that 12 volts to the start relay coil under the seat isn't even getting that far. Maybe time for a semi-permanent low wattage test light on the Starter Relay coil so that it can be monitored for all start attempts? Doing things to verify the starter system operation after the Start Relay can't hurt to check. Just input, not a diagnosis. vic

paul04553
02-05-2013, 01:33 PM
thanks for all the responses...... I tried the relay before thinking how smart I was with no difference in the result........ I will try the grond cable idea and the solinoid connections, but I fear it's the bad contacts in the ignition switch..........does anyone know a link that shows how to replace that?

Turbo John
02-05-2013, 01:39 PM
To echo Vic, "swapping" gives you immediate (and "free") feedback if the problem changes/goes away.
If the problem moves "with the relay", then you can go to the parts store with much more confidence that "a new relay" will actually fix it.

The other possible cause is a worn-out set of contacts in your ignition switch... which is a much more expensive and tedious job to replace.

You can test the "bad ground" theory with a jumper cable... clamp one end to the battery's Negative post, and the other to a "convenient" chunk of bare metal on the engine itself. If the starter suddenly becomes 100% reliable, it was probably a bad ground strap.

Finally, it could be the starter soleniod itself... it's that small cylinder mounted on the starter, where the wires attach.
(check that the wires are well attached... but disconnect the battery's negative post before playing down in there with a wrench)

--dick

Thats exactly right and what I did ( cable).......I should have been more enterprising in that trouble shoot........having said that if your going to keep your sprinter you should probably still run a secondary ground strap to save you future ground issues should they arise. It took me about 5 min to run another ground strap. A 30 inch strap is the right length....just come off your battery post and run it down under the fuel filter to the motor mount bolt.

But the battery cable jumper is the best thing to do first for an immediate smile or an Oh Oh:crazy:

paul04553
02-05-2013, 02:12 PM
So when I DO get contact, I can hear what I believe is the fuel pump running, would a bad soliniod prohibit that from running?

Aqua Puttana
02-05-2013, 02:22 PM
...would a bad solenoid prohibit that from running?

Not in any way that I can think of. The fuel pump is energized by the fuel pump relay. The starter solenoid is on a different circuit and comes into play after that.

A second ground strap would give piece of mind. I may do that once the weather around here improves. Lord knows I have all the parts necessary to do that somewhere in my hoard. vic

paul04553
02-05-2013, 02:58 PM
[QUOTE=Aqua Puttana;224162]In this case the observation of the change in dash lights feedback from when it will start to when it won't points me to think of some problem other than just the starter relay under the seat.
Makes sense to me vic

paul04553
02-05-2013, 02:59 PM
Not in any way that I can think of. The fuel pump is energized by the fuel pump relay. The starter solenoid is on a different circuit and comes into play after that.

A second ground strap would give piece of mind. I may do that once the weather around here improves. Lord knows I have all the parts necessary to do that somewhere in my hoard. vic

My weather here in Maine isn't a whole lot better for working outside

autostaretx
02-05-2013, 04:44 PM
Back to the core problem: you can download the 2003 Service Manual (which, in the starter/running circuit area is 100% equivalent to a 2004) from http://aie-services-2.net/Sprinter/

Section 8W is the wiring diagram, there's a "component index" which will take you to the ignition switch, fuel pump relay, and the rest of the "should turn on when i turn the key" components.
Even hanging a voltmeter on a wire coming from the "run" portion of the ignition switch would tell you if it's making contact when things are not working.

The fact that "all the lights come on" (i assume you mean the "test lights", such as the Check Engine light, etc... but NOT the glow plug light?) means that at some things are getting powered.
As i wander through the schematics, i see on page 8w-10-13 that the "run" switch contacts power (in parallel) fuses 4,5,6,7 and 18 in Fuse Block 1 on page 8w-10-14.
The "start" contacts take us to page 8w-10-15, which shows them sending a signal to the ECU, and to the start relay.

From there it's "chase the pages/circuits" to locate where the power gets lost.

It could even be weak contacts inside Fuse Block 1 itself (an all-too-common failure) making intermittent connections to/from the fuses invloved.

good luck hunting...
--dick

Turbo John
02-05-2013, 05:20 PM
My weather here in Maine isn't a whole lot better for working outside

Paul you can just clamp a jumper cable on the ground side of the battery and clamp it down under the fuel filter on the engine mount, and then tie wrap it to something and see if it starts; then leave it on so you can be sure that is what it is.

I have to tell you that I have been working on race cars most of my life and many of the problems I have had in the past were traced to bad grounds. You cannot get enough of them.

That little short ground strap they run to the firewall is a joke.

Aqua Puttana
02-05-2013, 06:45 PM
So Autostaretx Dick again takes us to actually putting in the effort to use schematics....

If you look at this information which is directly applicable to the 2004 I believe it is showing that the fuel pump relay signal, the start relay signal and the glow plug module signal all share a common ground.

50135


It may be worthwhile to check that ground connection.

Fuse #16 and #17 feed the ECM 12 volts. Those fuses are both supplied by the "M" relay aka "engine relay". I have not yet determined whether fuse #16 or #17 is common to the fuel pump, glow plug, and start relay outputs or not. That would be another clue as to the direction I would go in troubleshooting.

At this point, given that the problem is intermittent, I would probably disconnect the battery negative and pull the ECM connectors for inspection. That does two things. A visual inspection may reveal some corrosion. Removing and re-installing R&R the connector(s) may wipe or re-seat the contacts to restore better electrical continuity. Whether that R&R operation reveals anything or not, if the problem goes away, you may have won. Just don't break anything during the R&R of the connectors.

The information here may be of some help.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20308
vic

eightyeightkeys
02-05-2013, 11:46 PM
This problem has been going round and round since 2003/2004 ? Really ? You've got to be kidding me.
We just purchased a use '08 RV with a Sprinter chassis and mine does the same thing !
...anyone else think that they keep these problems going as a cash cow for service dept's ?

Hey Paul, do you get an audible "click" when you turn the key to the full start position or not ? With mine there is an audible "click." I then have to turn the key back to the off position, then on, then off,then on until it finally turns over.

Turbo John
02-05-2013, 11:48 PM
This problem has been going round and round since 2003/2004 ? Really ? You've got to be kidding me.
We just purchased a use '08 RV with a Sprinter chassis and mine does the same thing !
...anyone else think that they keep these problems going as a cash cow for service dept's ?

Hey Paul, do you get an audible "click" when you turn the key to the full start position or not ? With mine there is an audible "click." I then have to turn the key back to the off position, then on, then off,then on until it finally turns over.

Ground cable

Turbo John
02-05-2013, 11:53 PM
This problem has been going round and round since 2003/2004 ? Really ? You've got to be kidding me.
We just purchased a use '08 RV with a Sprinter chassis and mine does the same thing !
...anyone else think that they keep these problems going as a cash cow for service dept's ?

Hey Paul, do you get an audible "click" when you turn the key to the full start position or not ? With mine there is an audible "click." I then have to turn the key back to the off position, then on, then off,then on until it finally turns over.

Just to let you know I have had my employees who drove my van for many years call me witht this problem....it always seem to start so I forgot about it.

The same thing has happened to me many times over the last year but it always seem to start when it got over being mad.

It's not mad ny more since I gave her the ground she has been demanding for years !:clapping:

Amboman
02-06-2013, 03:57 AM
Bad earth's seem to always get a bad wrap... and for all the right reasons.

Aqua Puttana
02-07-2013, 12:27 PM
This problem has been going round and round since 2003/2004 ? Really ? You've got to be kidding me.
We just purchased a use '08 RV with a Sprinter chassis and mine does the same thing !
...anyone else think that they keep these problems going as a cash cow for service dept's ?

Hey Paul, do you get an audible "click" when you turn the key to the full start position or not ? With mine there is an audible "click." I then have to turn the key back to the off position, then on, then off,then on until it finally turns over.
If the "click" is under the seat then it is likely the starter relay coming on. A loud "clack" from underneath would be the starter solenoid itself. Starter solenoids can become intermittent.

Grounds could be your problem.

You said 2008... there is a history of the heavy cable assembly which feeds the main power getting loose or corroded in the NCV3 models. (This thread you replied to is in the T1N section.) You shouldn't discount that as a possiblity for NCV3's, or T1N's for that matter.

This link should lead to more information.


http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?p=86851#post86851

This is information, not a diagnosis. vic