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Sprinter808
09-14-2013, 05:09 AM
Last week I was driving my van for about 1 hour with the high beam headlights on, when I got stuck in stop and go traffic. After about 10 minutes of stop and go, the engine died. No lights, no warnings, nothing. I tried shifting to neutral and turn the key, but no crank. I turned off the headlights, and put on the 4 way flashers. After about 90 seconds, I put the van in park, took out the key, and retried the ignition. Success ! I drove off.
So I took the next exit, to escape the stop and go, and she died again at a light.
Again, no check engine, no warning lights at all !
This time, the electric fan was running when I tried to restart, and no crank. I turned on the ignition until the fan turned off, waited 2 minutes, and she started !
For the remainder of the trip, I tried to keep rpm up, and DC use down, and no stalls.

I have tested the battery, and it is in need of replacement, but I think it just needed a charge since I have not used the van in a month. Doesn't the alternator charge even at idle speed? And what is the minimum DC voltage and current the van needs to operate?
(for a backup )

I have also read that a crankshaft position sensor can cause stalling. After the battery, might I need one of those as well?

I appreciate any insight !

surlyoldbill
09-14-2013, 05:28 AM
fan on + no start = ECU problem.

wiggle the middle relay on the bottom of the fuse panel under the steering wheel. Seems to be a lot of this going around right now.

Sprinter808
11-09-2013, 07:13 AM
Update:

Surlyoldbill, seems you were right about "fan on + no start = ECU problem. "
The problem was low voltage. Enough to run the fan, but not the ECU.

After replacing the battery the stalling issue seems to be resolved.
Further testing of the old battery (out of the vehicle) with a load tester showed that it would hold a charge, but sag below 11 volts quite rapidly when the "start" load was applied. Then, after the load was removed, the voltage would slowly creep back up to 12.3v or so.
The battery discharged while driving with lights / wipers / fans on at extended idle, and the voltage would sag below that necessary to run the engine's computer, so the van would die.
The charging rate at idle speed must be very low, even on the recently replaced 150A alternator.
Then, after waiting a few minutes with everything off, the van would start.
I hope this helps someone out there !

JAM
11-09-2013, 11:57 AM
I hope that was the cure. I'm having the no crank no start issue but it's not the battery. I also have the fan coming in when trying to start. Sometimes it starts and runs fine and some days it just gets a click. I tap the ecm relay and it shuts the fan off and starts.

Aqua Puttana
11-09-2013, 01:20 PM
To echo/support your experience, there have been quite a few threads here related to odd issues being corrected by a battery replacement. A recent one was where the ABS, ESP, ASR systems were unhappy. That one traced to excessively high voltage and an alternator problem, not low voltage.

The Sprinters are very finicky about voltage. Personally I think trying to get extra service out of a battery beyond 5 years may set an owner up for trouble. (I'm not saying that you did that.) Doing all one can to maintain properly regulated system voltage will help avoid problems.

I find that the output of my alternator reduces fairly significantly at the designed 680 rpm idle target speed.

FWIW. vic

Update:

Surlyoldbill, seems you were right about "fan on + no start = ECU problem. "
The problem was low voltage. Enough to run the fan, but not the ECU.

...The charging rate at idle speed must be very low, even on the recently replaced 150A alternator.
Then, after waiting a few minutes with everything off, the van would start.
I hope this helps someone out there !

lindenengineering
11-09-2013, 01:51 PM
Vic/Guys
I would say that a fair proportion of cars that roll into the shop today with drive ability issues are battery and primary circuit malfunctions.

Before doing anything 'cept maybe connect a scanner; the first task is to thoroughly test the battery/alternator, and connections including the the much overlooked grounding issues.

I don't wish to scare some of you DIY'rs but the need to scan program batteries and alternators to the car in question are on the latest models emerging from Euro manufactures now is becoming the norm.

First surfacing on VW/Audi in 2010, BMW has followed suit, and I bet MB won't be far behind.
Check with the 2014 Sprinters might be in order.

Soon you won't be able to do anything without a factory style scanner on your car. BUT

As a side bar even good factory style scanners are encroaching on Volvo who are now seemingly sue happy attacking those companies providing these types of aftermarket scan tools.
Take care
Dennis

surlyoldbill
11-09-2013, 02:33 PM
@Dennis; it sure does seem like vehicles are more and more being designed to prevent repairs by anyone other than the factory/dealer for that brand. Someone told me that Rolls Royce engine compartments are locked, and only Rolls service centers had the key...is that true? I joked with someone about Apple products and how they were so insular in their software that the car analogy would be Ford selling vehicles that only ran on Ford brand fuel. That type of scenario may be coming true!

Graphite Dave
11-09-2013, 03:07 PM
Buy and or keep your older vehicle. One thing the Sprinter has taught me is not to sell my 2002 BMW 330ci or my 2003 Dodge Dakota. Both have "normal" electrical systems.

Lindenengineering: Do you know the reason for the need to program a battery to the car? Does the battery have electronics imbedded to give a signal in addition to the 12 volts? What value other than forcing the owner to buy the battery from the dealer?

lindenengineering
11-10-2013, 12:22 AM
Buy and or keep your older vehicle. One thing the Sprinter has taught me is not to sell my 2002 BMW 330ci or my 2003 Dodge Dakota. Both have "normal" electrical systems.

Lindenengineering: Do you know the reason for the need to program a battery to the car? Does the battery have electronics imbedded to give a signal in addition to the 12 volts? What value other than forcing the owner to buy the battery from the dealer?

Guys
Its all about the can bus systems and PCM control of charging systems and an intelligent battery module.
I have added a BMW forum banter about this as you can look it over and get a general idea.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-1625292.html

It means that you will be steered to the dealer for a battery in the future OR Independents that have the equipment to program the revamped system.
That stated
There is a trend at the moment by some manufactures to limit info other than strict OBD2 disclosure.
Already some brands, (Volvo comes to mind) where you have to use a factory scanner to program the MAF sensor to the car. This policy will grow in manufacturer popularity as it gets accepted by the public. If the public let them, there has to be a limit at some point, or will there?
Interestingly Volvo is owned by Geeley which of course is Chinese.
Now I see no action taken against Chinese clone scanners, might this be a portent for the future.

Frankly I see only Toyota bucking the trend and being very open with info and tech info on their products. I just hope they don't get infected because at present they are probably the world's most popular vehicle maker and I see them wanting to stay there.
I hate to state it but they make just boring solid reliable products which are easy to fix!
Dennis

Graphite Dave
11-10-2013, 12:45 AM
I will not buy a vehicle that I can not change the battery without contacting the dealer. BMW's have now turned into Buicks anyway. What if I am miles from a dealer? Do I need to tow it to a dealer? BS! They can have their electrical monstrosity.

glasseye
11-10-2013, 02:12 AM
Sounds like the auto manufacturers are reading from the inkjet printer makers' playbook. May they rot in hell. :yell:

Maybe, in a wonderful world, Toyota will see the light and import some of their superb vans to North America. I've lusted after them across the globe since forever. :drool:

lindenengineering
11-10-2013, 02:45 AM
@Dennis; it sure does seem like vehicles are more and more being designed to prevent repairs by anyone other than the factory/dealer for that brand. Someone told me that Rolls Royce engine compartments are locked, and only Rolls service centers had the key...is that true? I joked with someone about Apple products and how they were so insular in their software that the car analogy would be Ford selling vehicles that only ran on Ford brand fuel. That type of scenario may be coming true!

Bill
In short No!
You can get under the hood and fix 'em!

Just like any other brand you now need a dedicated scanner to fix 'em!
As a funny back in 1972 I was an MV student in France, and on a run into the Massive Central we bikers came upon a stranded haughty Brit and his family in a Corniche.
He looked down his nose at all the French "parlez vous Francais" banter but when I offered in West Country English to try and fix it the barrier came down--and fix it i did!

Which brings me to a seized Diplomatic corps Jaguar XJ6 at the British Embassy in Baghdad.
After an hour of diagnostics the ambassador came out in his Oxbrige haughty twaddle.

He asked me if the repair would be expensive and in my broad Gloucester dialect I chirped up "Well its gonna cost you a lot of money 'ol mate"!

To which he laughed and chirped up "Well I am sure the Queen can pay"!

I then answered 'Well if she HM has to pay for this there will be no smiles on the Queens 's face appearing on the postage stamps coming to Iraq"!

Here is sample of English West country polite dialect with a US ex colony connection in 1776:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SVIV7zoAXg

In fact I once felt like John Adams as I wandered into the Baghdad Chancery in a pair of blue coveralls instead of lowly Manchester tweed!:rolleyes:
Dennis