PDA

View Full Version : No start - Dealer needed - Fuel problem


AVDad
08-07-2013, 01:51 PM
To start with, my 2003 long tall 3500 with 216k+ miles has been a dream for me the last 4+ years that I have owned it. Only major problem was a bad injector that was replaced(thank you, Doktor A!)

Recently, I hopped in to head out to work, started it up as normal (may have taken an extra couple of turns this time) it ran for about 10-15 seconds and quit. All it will do now is turn over but not even a hint of cranking.

I have done the leak test (thank you again, Doktor A) and found NO fuel in the tubes at all. I then checked the fuel filter and found it to be seemingly low on fuel as well.

I left a message on Doktor A's voice mail again but I know he is busy and we have played phone tag.

Any and all help/guidance is appreciated, as I have searched and read several posts but I can't seem to find the troubleshooting process to narrow down my particular problem.

Also, I would like to find a independent shop. I am in Acworth, GA which is in the Marietta/Kennesaw area. The last shop I used was in Alpharetta but if possible, I would like to find someone closer.

Thank you to everyone here who make this site possible and the great community it is.

Thom

sailquik
08-07-2013, 02:10 PM
Tom,
Since you didn't find the fuel filter to be full, have you checked the clear fuel line that runs from your fuel filter up to the high pump on the front
of your engine.
Your '03 Sprinter has no electric booster pump in the tank to fill all your fuel lines.
If you get any sort of leak in the fuel lines (a vacuum leak, rather than a pressure leak) air gets into the line and allows the fuel that should be
retained (by the vacuum) in your fuel lines to flow back into the tank and the fuel pump on your engine is far away and elevated, so it just pulls
in more air when you try to start you engine.
There are small O'rings at the joints in your fuel lines (at the fuel filter, in/on the fuel filter, on the clear plastic line past the fuel filter, and at the
inlet port on the fuel pump. Check all those joints and think about replacing those O'rings.
Replace them one at a time, and try to back fill from the inlet to the fuel pump by using a squirt bottle and a length of fuel hose the correct size.
When you see fuel in the clear hose past the fuel filter, plug the hose from the tank to the fuel filter back in quickly.
If the fuel drains out and you see no fuel in the clear line, you still have a leak.
When you see bubbles going through the clear line with the fuel, you have a partial leak that can allow the fuel to drain from the lines and
back into your fuel tank.
Also when did you last change your fuel filter?
Hope this helps,
Roger

AVDad
08-07-2013, 04:50 PM
UPDATE:

Changed fuel filter (thank you Roger and Dr. A). I did find contamination in the fuel that drained from the filter.

However, that did not fix the problem.

After trying to crank the van, I inspected the clear(kinda) fuel line from the top of the fuel filter to the top of the engine (high pump?) and saw an air gap in the top of the line. I then observed the fuel slowly leak back down the line.

I am going to go to the dealer to get a replacement line (it's less than 3 years old).

Any other thoughts on the next coarse of action after I replace the line?

Aqua Puttana
08-07-2013, 05:04 PM
UPDATE:

...
Any other thoughts on the next coarse of action after I replace the line?
One simple thing. Some members suggest that the more fuel in the tank the eaiser it is for the mechanical fuel pump to prime. If your tank is low you might consider adding some fuel.

It has also been reported that a bit of pressure into the fuel fill neck while cranking helps the priming process. If you try that just make certain to not over pressure the tank because vent lines can blow off.

Good luck. vic

surlyoldbill
08-07-2013, 05:11 PM
The very common air leak in the fuel lines, usually from the connections at the fuel filter.
Use the SEARCH feature to find many threads with many solutions.

You didn't mention the amount of time you cranked the engine after fuel filter change, the manual says 30-60 seconds required to prime. Many of us take steps to make sure that it is easier to draw fuel up from the tank; most important is to fill the new filter with fuel (through the dirty side, so it gets filtered) before reconnecting the lines.

AVDad
08-07-2013, 07:07 PM
Thanks for the replies Vic and Bill!

Vic - The van has a little more than half a tank. I'll see what I can do to pressurize the tank.

Bill - I just picked up the new line to install. I turned the engine over 15-20 times. The battery was getting weak so it is on the charger now. I fill the filter to overflow before I connect any lines.

I've replaced the filter 3 times in the past 50,000+ miles and never experienced any of the flow/air problems I've read about here. Just dumb luck I guess.

Thanks again for the input. I'll post another update when I have replaced the fuel line.

Cheers,

Thom

surlyoldbill
08-07-2013, 08:21 PM
You'll find using the SEARCH feature that there are many sources for the air to get in the lines. The lines themselves are usually not the problem, but a lot of people break that little white clip that keeps it on the filter. In a recent thread the owner finally found out that the hose from the tank to the filter was damaged where it connected to the filter; he just cut an inch off of it and didn't have any more air problems.

AVDad
09-28-2013, 06:08 PM
Finally have some time and the weather is cooperating, so I am giving this another go. (Yes, it has been down this whole time.)

With the aid of my brother, we pressurized the tank and had gas all the way through the clear line to the low pressure fuel pump. As soon as I stopped the pressure and quit cranking the engine (I was doing both at the same time), the fuel stopped flowing and we watched the fuel retreat back into the filter.

My first thought was that the pump was bad (this whole problem did come out of no where with no symptoms) but with the fuel not holding, it still seems that there is an air leak somewhere.

Is an air leak still a possibility?

What can I do now? I have ordered the no sensor fuel filter from ebay but that won't be here until next week.

Is there an o-ring reference on the forum or, if I want to replace o-rings, I need to just pull them and match them up at the auto parts store?

surlyoldbill
09-28-2013, 06:35 PM
There is some spot where air is getting into the system and allowing the fuel to gravity back to the tank. Most often it's fuel filter connections, I've had my share of problems with them. The clear lines themselves are rarely the source of the air unless they've been cut or damaged somehow. The return fuel line on the top of the injectors could be messed up, and the 02-03 has a known issue with the o-rings in the fuel rail servo, located at the rear of the fuel rail. I replaced those o-rings on mine years ago, and you CAN remove the part, but will have to use the brail method and crawl underneath to see the bolts, etc. The o-rings are a metric variety, Harbor Freight has a 1000 piece box of assorted metric o-rings, or just take your old ones to FLAPS (friendly local auto parts store). Even if these aren't the source, they should probably be pre-emptively changed.

The Hastings fuel filters are crap. I had nothing but problems with air leaks with the two Hastings I tried. I had to use a combination of stacked o-rings and rubber washers to reduce the air leaks, totally seat of the pants engineering in a Home Depot parking lot in Grand Junction, CO.

NelsonSprinter
09-30-2013, 03:10 AM
With the aid of my brother, we pressurized the tank and had gas all the way through the clear line to the low pressure fuel pump. As soon as I stopped the pressure and quit cranking the engine (I was doing both at the same time), the fuel stopped flowing and we watched the fuel retreat back into the filter.

My first thought was that the pump was bad (this whole problem did come out of no where with no symptoms) but with the fuel not holding, it still seems that there is an air leak somewhere.

Is an air leak still a possibility?

If you see the air/fuel dropping you probably have a leak at the connection to the low pressure pump or the other connection to the high pressure pump. If it was a leak in the fuel filter you may see bubbles rising up the clear hose. My guess is the new line wasn't pushed in all the way, or the clip is in the wrong spot for "locked", or it has too small an O-ring .

MikeHowe
09-30-2013, 10:46 AM
Finally have some time and the weather is cooperating, so I am giving this another go. (Yes, it has been down this whole time.)

With the aid of my brother, we pressurized the tank and had gas all the way through the clear line to the low pressure fuel pump. As soon as I stopped the pressure and quit cranking the engine (I was doing both at the same time), the fuel stopped flowing and we watched the fuel retreat back into the filter.

My first thought was that the pump was bad (this whole problem did come out of no where with no symptoms) but with the fuel not holding, it still seems that there is an air leak somewhere.

Is an air leak still a possibility?

What can I do now? I have ordered the no sensor fuel filter from ebay but that won't be here until next week.

Is there an o-ring reference on the forum or, if I want to replace o-rings, I need to just pull them and match them up at the auto parts store?

I had exactly the same situation on my 03. So much air was getting in through the water in fuel sensor on the fuel filter that we were having real trouble getting fuel past the low pressure pump, pretty much as you describe. The new fuel filter without the sensor completely solved the problem. Once installed you'll need to crank for quite a while to purge the system of air (so you'll need a battery booster), then it should start.

All the best, Mike