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View Full Version : Black Death with a different flavor


Ciprian
02-24-2013, 05:33 AM
I have read many accounts of black death, but mine seems to be different than all, so maybe we all will learn something new in the end.

I parked the van in the evening and the next morning when I started it up I heard this chafing sound coming from under the hood. Immediately I knew something was wrong. After all, I have been driving this thing for 534k miles, so I know every squeak and every sound that it makes. I opened the hood and the sound was coming from the injectors area. It was easy to inspect since I have taken the injectors cover off a long time ago and I left it off so I could see under there every time I opened the hood.

I was afraid to stick my hand around the injectors because of the high fuel pressure, and just in case it leaked, it could have damaged my hand pretty bad. But I still put my hand about a foot above the injector and I could feel the air escaping around the #1 injector. I then shut the engine off and inspected the area around the injector and no sign of black death whatsoever. At this point I thought about Vic's experience driving his for a while until he fixed it, so I got on the road. After about 100 miles I pulled over to inspect the area again and I saw the black lava starting to grow around the injector, and the chafing noise got a little louder.

The engine still didn't feel like it was missing in any way, but I was afraid that it might lose compression to the point of not being able to burn all the fuel and it would end up messing with the lubrication in that cylinder. I really didn't want to mess the engine up completely. Also, more importantly, the van was filling up with fumes making me feel a little dizzy. Outside it was 22 degrees Fahrenheit, so no chance of driving with the windows open. So, I tried calling both Dr. A and Wayne but I couldn't reach them to see if what I was about to do would cause additional issues. So I just disconnected the electrical plug from the injector, and saw that I didn't have too much problems driving it on 4 cylinders.

I had about 1000 lb of parts in the back that the customer was waiting for in Texas, so I didn't have time to waste too much trying to find a solution. So, I kept limping towards destination, babying it extremely, but still being able to keep it around 65 mph indicated (about 60 actual mph). I was thankful that I didn't have to drive in the mountains of Pennsylvania or West Virginia. But still, I didn't know that Arkansas and Texas have so many hills, hills that I drove tens of times without noticing them, but now my van would slow down to 55 or 50 mph. So, I drove it like this for more than 1000 miles. I don't recommend anybody else doing this, and in other circumstances I wouldn't have done it, but my other choice would have been extremely expensive. After all this I still managed 24.5 mpg, even though the scangauge was indicating between 12 and 15 mpg most of the time. Man, I love this van.

Now, the repair. The bolt came out very easy, too easy I think, but I don't know for sure if it was normal or not. I hoped that the injector would come out just as easy, but no luck. I tried everything I could without an injector puller, but it would not budge, even loosened the bolt and tried to drive it like that hoping that the cylinder pressure would pop it off, but it didn't. I even threatened the van to replace it with a Ford Transit if it doesn't give up the injector, but that didn't work either. :bash:

So, here I stand, waiting for an injector and the puller to show up. Meanwhile, I just squirt some PB Blaster around the injector once in a while, hopefully it gets down in there to loosen things up.

Stay tuned.

mean_in_green
02-24-2013, 05:39 AM
What's colloquially known here as a chuffing injector.

talkinghorse43
02-24-2013, 12:29 PM
Very bad idea to run with the plastic cover off as that will result in the injectors seizing in the bores due to corrosion. Once seized, they are bound to leak due to differential thermal expansion/contraction of the steel injector and the aluminum head. Not only will leaving the cover off result in a leak, but it makes it very difficult to get the injectors out (ala Aqua's experience). Hopefully, you can get yours out. BTW, the good Doktor told me (when he was replacing mine) that someone now offers a hydraulic puller.

Aqua Puttana
02-24-2013, 01:13 PM
I wouldn't run without the black plastic cover in place again. I also now have some oil in the injector wells... good, bad or indifferent.

I cracked the eggshell thin aluminum injector gallery cover while trying to extract the worst injector. That allowed engine oil to escape into the injector area and flow out the drain tube. Actually that may have pre-oiled my injector wells. I repaired the crack with JB Weld. It is still holding just fine. :thumbup:

JB Weld is some great stuff that every inept bonehead mechanic should stock. I keep the large economy size on hand at at all times.:rolleyes:

The OM647 engine will run with one injector disconnected. The OM612 ECM will not allow that and will shutdown if one injector loses signal. (Different method of injector control programming.) I don't know the consequences of running with one injector disconnected. It is not something that would be done unless in dire straits (as Ciprian apparently was).

Ciprian,
I hope all is going as well as can be expected. I know that it's been a tough delivery trip for you. Good luck. vic

Ciprian
02-24-2013, 02:54 PM
Very bad idea to run with the plastic cover off as that will result in the injectors seizing in the bores due to corrosion. Once seized, they are bound to leak due to differential thermal expansion/contraction of the steel injector and the aluminum head. Not only will leaving the cover off result in a leak, but it makes it very difficult to get the injectors out (ala Aqua's experience). Hopefully, you can get yours out. BTW, the good Doktor told me (when he was replacing mine) that someone now offers a hydraulic puller.

Good or bad, it is what it is. I thought that the injector cover was more or less for looks. I don't care for looks, so I wanted to make it easier to look under there for black death. I have been driving it without the cover for close to 500k I think. Hopefully I can get the injector out with the puller. We will see.

I wonder if I should just remove the other 4 at the same time while I have the tool here. I am just afraid to touch something that works, but at the same time, one of the other injectors might start leaking shortly and then I am back to square one with renting the tool again. I have 5 new bolts and seals waiting here.

Ciprian
02-24-2013, 03:04 PM
Ciprian,
I hope all is going as well as can be expected. I know that it's been a tough delivery trip for you. Good luck. vic

Thanks Vic,

I might ring you up again when the tool comes, if for nothing else, at least for some encouragement to keep trying until it comes out..... Hope it will go smoothly though.

Aqua Puttana
02-24-2013, 03:21 PM
...
I wonder if I should just remove the other 4 at the same time while I have the tool here. I am just afraid to touch something that works, but at the same time, one of the other injectors might start leaking shortly and then I am back to square one with renting the tool again. I have 5 new bots and seals waiting here.
I can't answer that, but it might be better to be at home base before you begin doing more than needed. How much does it cost if you extend the tool rental and just carry it home to return from there?

I would have a couple extra seals and bolts on hand over the 5 each set when you change all 5. If an injector doesn' t seal then you'll have what is needed to remove it, clean a bit and re-install. You really shouldn't (can't) reuse the bolt or seal.

Sorry I can't offer more. vic

Phooey
02-24-2013, 05:56 PM
I watch this thread with a certain amount of trepidation - my 312 Ambo-home is currently in the shop having brakes, suspention and .. .black death remedied (injector 3). Only drove 500 miles from the start of the tick so fingers crossed I havent struck the beast dead >.<

stroud_omnibus
02-24-2013, 09:58 PM
I've owned mine for 5 years and never had the cover on. I inspect the injector area for leaks and any other 'nasties' each time I check the oil. Better to see it sooner than (too) later!

skydiver007
02-24-2013, 11:04 PM
Very weird coincidence. I had already done injector one when it showed lava. Today on a wild hair I decided to do the other 4. All four just lifted out once the bolt came out. I just connected a T40 torx driver to my 3/8 torque wrench and out they came. Number one when I done it had to be pushed out by cylinder pressure which took 10 minutes. Other 4 just pulled out. One seal didnt come out with the injector, but I attached my tranny fluid pipe to the end of my vacuum and turned it on and out it came.

230k on the odometer here.

All the seals looked clean and showed no signs of blow by.

surlyoldbill
02-24-2013, 11:47 PM
#1 seems to be hard on glowplugs and injectors...

Ciprian
02-25-2013, 12:22 AM
#1 seems to be hard on glowplugs and injectors...

I wonder why that is.

Boater
02-25-2013, 12:32 AM
I watch this thread with a certain amount of trepidation - my 312 Ambo-home is currently in the shop having brakes, suspention and .. .black death remedied (injector 3). Only drove 500 miles from the start of the tick so fingers crossed I havent struck the beast dead >.<

That's my theory blown out of the water!

Aqua Puttana
02-25-2013, 12:59 AM
I wonder why that is.

IF #1 is worse than others...

In the Volkswagen horizontally opposed 4 cylinder engines (36 hp, 40 hp, 52 hp, etc.) #3 cylinder always seemed to be the one that suffered valve damage the most. The valve would often fracture and "suck" into the engine to destroy the piston.

If you looked at the design of the cooling fan air circulation and vertical oil cooler position it was obvious that it restricted the cooling to #3 cylinder position. Less heat removal = higher operating temperatures = more stress. (Which probably led to more consequence if the valves weren't regularly adjusted.)

So...
Does #1 cylinder in the Sprinter engine get less cooling for some reason? Less cooling = greater temperature differences = more stresses on the hold down system?

I got to know the VW engines fairly well because they are pretty simple. Sprinter engines... not so much.

Any comments as to #1 cylinder cooling being different as compared to the other positions?

Any comments as to whether #1 cylinder in a Sprinter actually is more susceptible to failure?

vic

talkinghorse43
02-25-2013, 12:20 PM
http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5528&highlight=positions

Phooey
02-25-2013, 05:39 PM
That's my theory blown out of the water!

Im just happy to have it home, all repaired serviced and loverly like (I love the beast, but Im no mechanic)

Turns out #3 had been "seen to" by a previous keeper, silicone sealant... give me strength

Boater
02-25-2013, 07:14 PM
Now you mention it when I removed my injectors way back when I had the head problem, I thought some of them appeared to have some silicone sealant on them but after I got the proper ceramic grease to refit them I noticed that is white so maybe I had misidentified it. Probably was silicone though, some people use it for everything.

Ciprian
02-25-2013, 08:23 PM
It is out! Yay.

I was surprised how easy it came out. I put the puller on it and I really didn't have to force it, it just came out. Despite driving without the injector cover on for 300k (looked at my notes, not 500k as I mentioned earlier) there is no deep corrosion on the injector. You can see a little superficial corrosion at the top on the front side of the injector, but not much.

Of course, the seal did not come out with the injector, so I have to devise something to get it out. Back to work now.

50709

50710

50711

50712

Ciprian
02-26-2013, 01:12 PM
Success!!!


I am happy to report that the install went smoothly, and now my van purrrs just like it always did. Hopefully it will last another 500k :bounce:

The new injector that I ordered is not here yet, so I had to put together my old one and give it a try. After reassembling it I hooked it up right there on the top of the engine, it doesn't leak when not energized, and when energized it fires as it should

But, there is always a but. I lost the stupid return line clip and cannot find it for the life of me. I have to improvise something until I get another one. I will probably get a few just to have for spares.

It is ironic that I didn't loose the little check ball in the injector, nor any of the small parts inside the injector, but I lost this clip that is hundreds of times bigger.:bash:

In conclusion, I really believe that the amount of miles or the fact that you don't have the injector cover in place have no effect on how easy the injector will come out. The key is how soon you discover the black death. The more you run with a leaky seal, the harder it will be to remove the injector. IMHO, YMMV.