View Full Version : Help! acceleration issue!

03-09-2013, 07:47 PM
I'm up in bloomington Illinois. My 2003 Sprinter started acting up this morning. Basically it wont accelerate past 2500 RPM (give or take a couple hundred RPM). I recently had the intake replaced via the recall, and put an EGR valve on it. There's no Check Engine Light, and according to the Ultra gauge, my boost is normal and I'm not having any noticeable drop in MPG. I'm 400 miles from home, and while I can get highway speeds out of it, climbing hills and any kind of real acceleration is non existent.

any ideas?



03-09-2013, 07:54 PM
Do you have a spare fuel filter?
Did you fill up with fuel recently? Was it "winter fuel"?
If not might try one of the diesel anti-gel products.
Does it only do this when the engine is cold.... or after half an hour of driving which will
warm the fuel in the tank via the fuel return from the engine.
Also, since your is an '03 with not in tank boost pump, check your clear fuel line for
air bubbles.
Cold weather often hardens the plastic fuel lines and the o'rings leak a bit of air into
the system.

03-09-2013, 08:00 PM
I filled up last night at a RoadRanger in Springfield. I don't have a spare filter. but the Filter only has 11,000 miles on it. I was told at the dealer that my Water in fuel sensor was bad. but it ran great yesterday all the way up here.

is the 2500 RPM thing a version of LHM? it's the same in all gears.

the weather is in the 40s, no colder than it has been all winter. It does it constantly. I just drove it 70 miles to bloomington for the gig tonight.

03-09-2013, 08:24 PM
It only takes one tank (or even a few gallons) of gelled or dirty fuel to plug up your fuel filter.
Since you have the '03, which has to pull the fuel all the way from the tank up to the pump on
the top front of the engine any restriction in your fuel filter will slow the supply of fuel to the
low pump and starve your engine for fuel.
I would stop and put a fuel filter in first thing.
Since you have no LHM, indicated by the CEL, have you checked for codes with your UltraGauge EM?
Will your UG EM give you are readout for fuel rail pressure?
I don't know the number off the top of my head, but if you post it, I'm sure there are several members
who know what it needs to be vs what pressure you are getting.
My guess is that you have some sort of restriction in the fuel supply line and the filter is the most
likely failure/restriction point.
Since it's Saturday, you might find a MB or Freightliner dealer who can change the fuel filter if you don't want
to attempt it.
They could also run the diagnostics on the fuel system and rail pressure and probably fix the WIF sensor.

03-09-2013, 08:38 PM
my ultragauge (for whatever reason) doesnt' seem to be able to read codes. Also no luck on a fuel filter here in town today. Not awesome at all. I'm gonna go look and see if I see any air bubbles in at the filter now. I'm suspecting it's bad fuel. what are my options? just run it out? is there an additive I can put in to help clear it?

thanks for your help!

03-09-2013, 08:45 PM
There are some diesel fuel conditioners you can add that might help, but if your fuel filter is partially restricted with dirty fuel, the conditioners probably won't clear
that sort of problem.
The fuel flow is from the tank to the engine, so you might try removing the fuel filter and back flushing it somehow to wash the junk out.
Have you tried the local auto parts stores?
Many of them have fuel filters for Dodge/Freightliner Sprinters. Maybe not a factory OEM filter, but on a Saturday, you may have to take whatever they have.

03-09-2013, 10:02 PM
Managed to locate a fuel filter at NAPA. Added some conditioner just in case as well. Installed the filter and then killed the battery cranking it to prime the filter. Sheesh. Waiting on roadside assistance for a jump. Hopefully that will fix it!

03-09-2013, 11:02 PM
Won't start! I primed the filter too.

03-09-2013, 11:32 PM
primed filter. no luck. pulled the outlet hose off (that goes to the pump) and put it in a small bottle of fuel, and it wouldn't draw the fuel out. I'm guessing my pump is shot.

03-10-2013, 05:25 AM
is the 2500 RPM thing a version of LHM? it's the same in all gears.
Yes, it's one of the Limp Home Mode possibilities :
there's a flavor of LHM which locks you in 2nd gear,
there's a flavor that limits your RPM to 2500 (but doesn't interfere with shifting)),
and i'm sure there are others.

Vic has frequently posted the "what limits you to 2500 rpm" section from his training manuals.
I'll try to dig up a citation (or copy thereof), but it'll take a few minutes...


03-10-2013, 09:04 AM
after some perusing of various forums, I think my issue is that I need to prime my fuel pump. so first thing in the AM, I'm gonna go out there with a hand pump and prime that fuel pump. I wish I knew more about diesel engines dammit! thanks for all your help!


03-10-2013, 02:27 PM
if you have access to a vacuum pump.the best way to prime it is from the fuel return line on the left top of the motor as you are facing it.it routes off of the high pressure pump and you have to r+r the line to do so.be very crareful of the white retaining clip,it pushes in toward the fuel line to release and out to lock.priming an 03' can be frustrating as even after the van is running sometimes it takes up to 15 minutes for all the air to disappear.hope this helps.jb.

03-11-2013, 03:37 AM
All fixed, home safe & sound. wound up using a fluid pump from Oreillys. Filled a 1 liter bottle with some Diesel. and fed it to the inlet of the filter with a length of fuel line. Popped the outlet line on the pump off, and pump the fuel through the filter and up into the pump (thereby clearing all the air from the filter as well. I then reconnected the outlet line, pumped some more fuel through and built up some pressure. cranked it over just until it fired, then shut it down, and reconnected the line from the tank. took all of 10 miinutes. I will forever carry that handpump and fuel line in the van with me (along with a backup fuel filter)

thanks for the help! this place is a lifesaver!

03-11-2013, 04:28 AM
Glad to hear you are back home in good shape.
Might want to cut the old fuel filter open and see if it's plugged up with something.
Then take the plugged filter, your fuel reciept, and your receipt for the NAPA filter back to the place where you last fueled.
Sometimes they will spring for some free fuel for your trouble, and at the very least it will help them to understand that
they may have a dirty fuel problem with their dispensing equipment or where they are getting their diesel.
I wa spretty sure it might be the fuel filter, but also very hesitant to tell you to change it yourself (due to the myriad of problems
with air in the line/filter on an '02-'03 OM-612.

03-11-2013, 03:31 PM
it was pretty frustrating. I'm not versed in diesel mechanics at all. I found one random forum where someone talked about the issue with diesel having low surface tension making it impossible for the pump to self purge. Then it all made sense. Has anyone installed a supplemental inline electric pump on their sprinter?

Aqua Puttana
03-11-2013, 03:52 PM
...I found one random forum where someone talked about the issue with diesel having low surface tension making it impossible for the pump to self purge. ...
That's an interesting theory, but the truth is that by design as long as the OM612 Sprinter fuel system is tight so no air will leak in, the pump will purge, self prime and start after some cranking.

Someone made the comment that they make certain that there is a full fuel tank before changing the fuel filter. That seems like a good practice to me.

As to the electric pump... you just had some problems so you are nervous about the design. There are many, many Sprinters in the world successfully using the mechanical low pressure pump system with no need for an extra pump. Use the proper hose clamps, don't over-tighten the water drain, address issues if they surface, and everything should be fine. vic

03-11-2013, 06:30 PM
I pressurize my fuel tank so that the fuel just flows out of the hose to the fuel filter (using a small air compressor), along with pre-filling the filter from the opening that the tank fuel hose connects. I let the engine run for 10 minutes before taking the air compressor hose out of the tank.