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mikejbuckley
10-29-2013, 01:58 AM
Hello Team Sprinter. This is my first post. I just bought my first Sprinter to convert into a camper. I was so excited that I decided to go about getting all scheduled maintenance current. I changed the Air Filter, Cabin Air Filter, Oil Change and Filter. Planning to do the DARF RSN fix when I change the Transmission Fluid and Filter.

My PROBLEM though, is that today I changed my Fuel Filter. Turns out, that was a bad idea. I followed the instructions found here on the forum. I filled the fuel filter. I didn't break anything. When I finished, it started right up. Then over the next couple minutes, it started to run a little rough. I noticed that little bubbles were flowing throughout the clear fuel lines. Then after five minutes, it DIED. Now it won't start. I tried filling the supply line. I tried cranking for 60 seconds. Seems that there is air in the line somehow. I am bummed I turned my perfectly good running Sprinter into a non-running Sprinter.

What do I do? I don't want to take it to the shop. I want to fix my mistake. Any ideas?

Many thanks.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
2003 Sprinter Van 2500 140 Cargo/Camper
103,000 miles
Single axle
OM612

pfflyer
10-29-2013, 02:28 AM
Check your lines going into and out of your fuel filter and the drain if yours has one. Air is getting into the system. I used a squeeze bottle with a cone top and small opening to force fuel into the lines and filter. You didn't say what year but some years you can turn the key without turning it over to get the fuel pump going to fill the lines. Good luck

autostaretx
10-29-2013, 02:37 AM
You have a 2003 ... hence you do not have a "boost" pump in the fuel tank, the engine has to suck fuel using the engine-mounted low pressure pump.
If there are any loose connections or cracked hoses, you're going to see what you're seeing: air in the lines, and eventually fuel starvation (since air is easier for the pump to suck than fuel).

So: whereever you're seeing air, start there and check (and double-check) all of the fuel lines/connections from there back to the tank.

If you don't have one, download the 2003 service manual files from http://aie-services-2.net/Sprinter/
The fuel system is chapter 14, pay particular attention to how the fuel line clip works on the fuel filter (it's counter-intuitive: "clamped" is with the plastic clip pulled away from the body. If you leave the clip in the "pushed in" ("release") position too long, it can damage the connector)... pages 14-2 and 14-3.

55334

added: do chase down the thread provided by NelsonSprinter (below).
Note the comments on the metal hose clamps.
The screw-type shown in that thread's photo of the "other filter" have been sources of leakage for many people. It's better to re-use the original clips or the style that puts a piece of smooth stainless steel against the hoses, instead of the slots the screw uses for tightening.

--dick

NelsonSprinter
10-29-2013, 02:37 AM
2002-2003 have 7 connections at the fuel filter that can cause air being sucked into the fuel filter, biggest are the bottom water sensor and water drain knob not getting a new O-ring with the new filter, but any of the connections could be at fault.
I found a fix with a different fuel filter design as seen here http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20104&highlight=fuel+filter+fix

mikejbuckley
10-29-2013, 02:56 AM
It is a 2003, so it has a mechanical pump. How can I tell if air is getting in, or if I just let air in during the process? In the morning I will try a bulb syringe to force fuel into the lines and filter. If that doesn't work, then does that mean I have a leak somewhere? And how can I fix a leak? I read that some people are using filters without the water drain valve and bottom sensor. What do you do with the wire to the sensor if you don't have it plugged in?

sailquik
10-29-2013, 03:55 AM
mikejbuckley,
What you are experiencing is a "Vacuum leak" not a pressure leak.
The supply pump on your OM-612 is up high on the front of the engine.
So as the others have told you, any sort of tiny vacuum leak allows air into the system so the fuel can then run back
down the lines and through the fuel filter to the tank.
When you try to restart it, the supply pump just draws in air, through your tiny vacuum leak, and you engine does not get
any fuel to build pressure in the fuel rail.
So, any of the connections you disturbed when changing the fuel filter could now be the source of your leak.
Check all the connections, and all the o'rings in the new fuel filter. If you have the old fuel filter, you might want to reinstall it
to determine if something in the new fuel filter is leaking.
You will see small bubbles in the fuel in the clear fuel line just past the fuel filter. Any sort of bubbles of air in the fuel line
indicate it's leaking somewhere. When all the leaks are sealed, you will see nothing but clean clear diesel fuel in the clear line.
It does not have to be a leak large enough for fuel to leak out, only enough to destroy the vacuum developed by the supply pump
that is a long ways away and significantly higher in elevation than the fuel tank.
I believe there are some sort of o'rings at most of the joints in your fuel system.
You need to check each and every one very carefully.
Once you seal the vacuum leak, and fuel begins to be pulled forward and up to the pump, your Sprinter will run normally.
Roger

mikejbuckley
10-29-2013, 04:21 AM
2002-2003 have 7 connections at the fuel filter that can cause air being sucked into the fuel filter, biggest are the bottom water sensor and water drain knob not getting a new O-ring with the new filter, but any of the connections could be at fault.
I found a fix with a different fuel filter design as seen here http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20104&highlight=fuel+filter+fix

What did you do with the water sensor on the bottom? Wrap it in electrical tape?

NelsonSprinter
10-29-2013, 06:08 AM
Mike: I just let it hang down behind the filter, but electrical tape is good too.
Air gets in just from the change process, and goes away in ten minutes if the van can continue to run the air out.
If there is a leak in the fuel filter/ hose connections there will be air bubbles in the clear line up to the LP pump and the engine will stop, and the bubble will change or grow with the engine off.
Don't worry about wrecking your perfectly running van. It will work perfectly once the connections get a good seal. Some people over tighten the water drain screw, letting air get in, some can't get the bottom sensor to twist in perfectly and air gets in. A poor design IMHO, that got fixed with later models, and I could only fix with a European style fuel filter without the water sensor hole & drain on the bottom.

If the fuel filter was re-filled with diesel, and it was just air in there from the change-over, it should re-start with about 30-45 seconds of starter cranking. If it is an air leak continuing, it will continue to stall or never start.
Mike did you check the white clip for the correct position as seen in pic b of post #3?

surlyoldbill
10-29-2013, 03:43 PM
The water bleed valve can be put in TOO tight, deforming the side of the filter and allowing air into the system.
Special care must be made putting in the water sensor in the bottom.
Clamps on the fuel line from the tank might also not be making a good seal, especially if they are the screw-on ring clamps.
I've had several experiences chasing air bubbles after changing fuel filters.
I just bought a filter with no sensor or water drain on Ebay for about $25 for my next change.

jmoller99
10-29-2013, 04:52 PM
I had to use a compressor (30 PSI with a foam rubber plug at the fuel filler) to get my fuel flowing - I left this in for 10 minutes after the engine started running (with the fuel tank under mild pressure), and left it running - to make sure all of the air was out of the fuel lines.

NOTE: My compressor is a small pancake type for running nail-guns, its not a high powered/high velocity air pump.

Please note, my foam rubber plug does not seal all that well, otherwise 30 PSI would damage the fuel tank - Its just what I had to do to get the fuel flowing.

The Foam has a slit in the middle to put the air line in (I taped the air nozzle thumb control so that it stayed open and allowing air to flow). Nothing fancy at all. I pulled the fuel inlet line off of the filter to make sure that I had fuel flowing thru the lines from the fuel tank first, then attached it to the fuel filter and started the Sprinter. You may need to recharge your battery if you have run it down during this step.

I also discuss it here: http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18907

NAFTA 2002's and 2003's have this same system (it changed to an in tank fuel pump starting in 2004)

NBB
10-29-2013, 05:11 PM
Nothing "Gone Wrong" here, IMO.

You're better off making mistakes, learning and immediately correcting them then to have someone else make them, not fix them, not tell you about them, charge you a bunch of money, then charge you again to fix the damage after you get towed back, cause more damage in the process...repeat until you get sick of the thing, bitch to the Sprinter-Forum about Sprinter maintenance costs - then sell. You're still WAY ahead here.

mikejbuckley
10-29-2013, 07:00 PM
OK, so this morning I went to the auto parts shop and picked up a new fuel line to the tank along with the proper fuel injection clamps with the smooth metal straps. I also picked up 3' of hose to fill the filter and line. I get it all back together and start filling the filter with a bulb syringe (the one we use for sucking out the baby's nose.) I start pumping diesel into the hose. I notice the little bubbles in the clear line moving up as I pump and down as I release. I go for quite a while and start to wonder if it shouldn't be full by now. I look under the rig and see a stream of fuel running onto the ground! I quickly crawl under there to see where it is coming from, and I can see clearly that it is coming from the bottom of the filter where the water sensor connects.

So, now I am thinking I should order one of the filters without water drain and sensor. I saw a list of part numbers of different brands. Anyone have preference, or are they all the same?

While I am waiting for the new filter, I thought I would get started on the transmission fluid/filter change. I noticed a bit of ATF fluid leaking, and it seems to be above the bottom of the pan? Not sure if it could be leaking from the transmission electrical socket?

https://plus.google.com/photos/116829135449770132325/albums/5498263102165428433/5940237008859660434?banner=pwa&authkey=CPH_ltPXkKTGfQ&pid=5940237008859660434&oid=116829135449770132325

glvu
10-29-2013, 08:51 PM
I also own a 2003 with 200K miles. If you plan to do a routine maintenance, I suggest using a mighty vac to test suction with a fuel filter and also whenever you need to prime your fuel to reduce drain on the battery and starter.


http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?p=240198#post240198

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19090

jmoller99
10-29-2013, 08:59 PM
The Transmission Connector Sleeve will leak. Change it as soon as you can. There is a write up on it:

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19076

surlyoldbill
10-29-2013, 11:36 PM
AH!
I forgot about having a full tank before trying to change the fuel filter!
I changed it one time where I had to pour fuel down the line to the tank, attach it quickly and then run to turn the key.
I just couldn't get the system to draw fuel from the tank without doing that. Other people have reported problems with changing filters with a low tank on 02-03 models.

surlyoldbill
10-29-2013, 11:38 PM
OK, so this morning I went to the auto parts shop and picked up a new fuel line to the tank along with the proper fuel injection clamps with the smooth metal straps. I also picked up 3' of hose to fill the filter and line. I get it all back together and start filling the filter with a bulb syringe (the one we use for sucking out the baby's nose.) I start pumping diesel into the hose. I notice the little bubbles in the clear line moving up as I pump and down as I release. I go for quite a while and start to wonder if it shouldn't be full by now. I look under the rig and see a stream of fuel running onto the ground! I quickly crawl under there to see where it is coming from, and I can see clearly that it is coming from the bottom of the filter where the water sensor connects.

So, now I am thinking I should order one of the filters without water drain and sensor. I saw a list of part numbers of different brands. Anyone have preference, or are they all the same?

While I am waiting for the new filter, I thought I would get started on the transmission fluid/filter change. I noticed a bit of ATF fluid leaking, and it seems to be above the bottom of the pan? Not sure if it could be leaking from the transmission electrical socket?

https://plus.google.com/photos/116829135449770132325/albums/5498263102165428433/5940237008859660434?banner=pwa&authkey=CPH_ltPXkKTGfQ&pid=5940237008859660434&oid=116829135449770132325

Yeah, installing that water sensor correctly is a learned skill.

mikejbuckley
10-30-2013, 12:01 AM
Ok, I'll add filling the tank to the list. I think it is 3/4 full at the moment, so shouldn't take too many trips with the 5 gallon jug. Thanks for all the thoughts. Has anyone tried filling a swimming pool with diesel, and lowering the Sprinter into it?

sailquik
10-30-2013, 12:32 AM
mikejbuckley,
Did you throw your old fuel filter away?
Check the WIF/water drain fitting on the bottom and see how it's assembled, then assemble your new filter in the same way.
If that doesn't work, put the old filter back in and get your Sprinter running until your new filter without the WIF/drain fitting
arrives.
Roger

Aqua Puttana
10-30-2013, 01:09 AM
... Has anyone tried filling a swimming pool with diesel, and lowering the Sprinter into it?
I'm certain that some have considered that already, while holding a pack of matches at the ready.

+1 on Roger's idea of going back to the old filter. Maybe you got a new bad one? Good luck. vic

MikeHowe
11-04-2013, 12:48 PM
Just to chip in, on my 2003 I was having ridiculous problems with air getting into the fuel lines resulting in very difficult starting and then no starting. Like you, my problems also started after I'd changed the fuel filter. So I followed Nelsonsprinters advice and replaced the fuel filter with one without the WIF sensor - bingo, no more air in fuel problems and van starts great. My sensor is now dangling redundant by the new filter and there have been no problems. Mike

mikejbuckley
11-05-2013, 06:50 PM
Hello team. I installed the new fuel filter (Mann WK842/13) without water drain or sensor. The Mann filter is slightly smaller diameter than the original, which doesn't seem to be a problem, but I thought I'd mention it. It isn't super tight in the clamp. I primed the new filter using a bulb syringe. I filled the line coming from the tank. I had a full tank of fuel as well. I checked that all o-rings were in place. I used fuel injection style clamps with smooth bands. I got in and cranked it over for about 20 seconds before she fired up. No hiccups. No leaks. The water in fuel light came on, so I left it running and grabbed the sensor off the old filter and plugged it into the wire that would go to the bottom of the filter. I checked inside, and the light went off. I unplugged the sensor just to see what would happen, and the light did not come back on. I turned the rig off and started it up again, and the light did not come back on. I will also relay my experience with the fuel line from the tank. I wanted to be sure all possible air leaks were eliminated, so I replaced the black line from the filter to the tank. I got it from Napa. The line was super hard to get on the steel line at the tank. It was impossible to get on the fuel filter. I ended up wrestling it back off (in the snow), and putting the original back on, which worked fine. So, I would suggest getting the correct hose if you plan to replace it. I guess I was thinking that a fuel hose was a fuel hose, but the Sprinter hose is metric, and at least in my case was not a direct conversion. Hope my experience helps someone out there. Now I plan to change the tranny fluid and filter so time to start reading up on the Doctor's RSN fix. Thank you all very much for the support and expertise.

pfflyer
11-05-2013, 10:43 PM
Congratulations. I usually go through what you did when I do things myself for the first time. Next time you will know what to expect and it will go much smoother.

mikejbuckley
11-07-2013, 06:09 PM
OK, so I just finished my RSN fix and transmission fluid change. I was very excited to take it for a spin and check out the lack of RSN, but it didn't want to start at first. After a couple tries, it started up, but I see bubbles in the clear line from the fuel filter. Dang. Where could air be coming in now? Could it be the Fuel Line Connector (as shown to me by autostaretx in post #3 above)? The white clips feels pretty loose. Could I have damaged it somehow in the process? Not really even sure where to start now.

glvu
11-07-2013, 09:04 PM
It is normal to have air in the fuel line after you changed your fuel filter. You have to drive it around for a couple of miles to get rid of air bubbles.
If you still have bubbles might want to check the connection to and from the 2 clear fuel tubes. FYI for the white clip, pull up is close and push down is open.