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View Full Version : Oh, s**** my van's on fire, my van's on fire! Is it?


lucian
02-10-2014, 05:57 AM
After listening to you ladies talking about the EGR valve and how surprised everybody was that it failed or is so dirty, I decided to clean it again after 30,000 miles. And I will do so every 10,000 together with oil change... just in case.

I unplugged the little two hoses "as instructed by the internet" and I was careful to catch and recycle most of the little liquid coming out. Little that I knew that some spilled on the alternator. So the next thing I hear sizzling noises and I see smoke!!!! OH MY *&^% I didn't know what to do first. I ran in the garage for the fire extinguisher, than I thought it may become worst cause is liquid. Why will it do this? What have I done!!! I scramble to find the battery which was conveniently hidden inside, 3 screws and than 4 more of a different size than the ...for goodness sake how many screws!!! and than the battery. By this time, I reached my maximum freakiness - I was so calm waiting for the van to blow up. At least I've done everything not to burn down the neighborhood - (how did he died? Oh, he was still trying to disconnect the battery).

I was desperately screaming at my wife - who didn't hear a thing cause she was inside the house - to grab my phone and be ready to dial 911 ... just in case. She came out 10 minutes later to get something from the garage. She said: what?

....So I disconnected the battery and it all stopped. What have I done !!!!

I didn't know who to call now. Sunday afternoon. So I called AutoZone and explained that I am and ass and spilled some of the coolant on the alternator. Doctor, am I going to live?

He recommended get a hose and slowly wash that sh** away. Alternator is designed to take in water. That coolant has something in it, aluminum something ...that will freaking burn, smoke pretty much designed to scare the cra* out of you if it goes on electrical stuff.

I washed it and waited a little before turning the van on. :clapping:YEYYY ME !!! It worked!
So if you are playing with coolant and hear something or see something... unplug and wash it off. :professor: You are not going to catch on fire.
_____

Wait. There is more!
I feel so ashamed. I put one of the hoses in the wrong hole for about 3 seconds. I've done that before and don't want to talk about it.:idunno:

So, yeap, I dumped a little coolant through the oil stick hole :lol: (ok guys stop. that's not funny! I am talking about the engine here ok!)

There wasn't much fluid cause I had a little cup, but I am sure some did get inside. Now I just changed the oil. I am pondering if I should do another oil change or ride it ... bummer.

P.S. I screamed like a girl! My van's on fire, my van's on fire! Tomorrow morning I am putting back the full coverage insurance. I am such an idiot.

The more you know
:professor:

L

Aqua Puttana
02-10-2014, 01:39 PM
Wow. Quite the story. Thanks for the heads up.

For future reference. Don't the NCV3 models have a battery disconnect in the footwell or pedal area? Would turning that off isolate the alternator? vic

jdcaples
02-10-2014, 02:35 PM
Wow. Quite the story. Thanks for the heads up.

For future reference. Don't the NCV3 models have a battery disconnect in the footwell or pedal area? Would turning that off isolate the alternator? vic

Yes, the battery disconnect is in the foot well at about 1 to 2pm from the accelerator pedal on US/Canadian Sprinters.

I don't know if disconnecting it would isolate the alternator.

To lucian, modern Sprinters are not designed to be self-serviced or DIY repaired. You paid very little tuition to have learned a valuable skill/lesson. When you regain composure, pat yourself on the back. BTW, covering the alternator with a garbage bag or anything else as a fluid shield is a good practice when working with wet stuff over the alternator, esp for 2010+ Sprinters in the US and Canada because of the caustic properties of diesel exhaust fluid.

-Jon

autostaretx
02-10-2014, 02:55 PM
So, yeap, I dumped a little coolant through the oil stick hole :lol: (ok guys stop. that's not funny! I am talking about the engine here ok!)

There wasn't much fluid cause I had a little cup, but I am sure some did get inside. Now I just changed the oil. I am pondering if I should do another oil change or ride it ... bummer.
Just step away from the van, ma'am.

If you "just changed the oil" after pouring in the coolant (but without running the engine), you're probably safe. The coolant would've gone to the bottom of the oil pan, and would have been the (almost) first out the drain plug. Going in with a suction extractor would help get "the last drop".

If you meant that you "just changed the oil" before adding the coolant, then yes you definitely need to drain the oil (again) without running the engine.

The old-school method would then be to let the oil settle in whatever bucket you caught it in, and gently pour the bulk of the still-good oil off into another container through a chamois filter... the chamois will capture any water. (this is not a fast process)
Don't try to "save" the last quart or so of oil that's directly in contact with the coolant at the bottom of the bucket, or at least process that last bit into a separate container (so as not to re-contaminate the bulk you've already poured off), again through the chamois.

--dick

surlyoldbill
02-10-2014, 02:59 PM
One great tip I got is to use tin foil to cover things that plastic will just not stay on. Dissconnect batteryt first, of course.

jdcaples
02-10-2014, 03:04 PM
One great tip I got is to use tin foil to cover things that plastic will just not stay on. Dissconnect batteryt first, of course.


I don't remember if the T1Ns are substantially different from my NCV3 and the alternator; maybe NCV3s with an OM642.993 engine are more forgiving about that.

I just know didn't have a problem using a garbage bag, but I like your advice.

-Jon

lucian
02-10-2014, 04:21 PM
-Plastic bag it is!

-Thank you for the filtering and re-using the oil. I couldn't bare to dump the oil. I paid to much money for it. So I will drain, filter and re-use the oil.

-looking for a battery disconnect right now.

Thank you.

lindenengineering
02-10-2014, 05:12 PM
Interesting tales.

Now`imagine you are a shop employer and you are recruiting mechanics/techs.
You are about to interview someone who "MIGHT" be a good candidate for employment working on your Sprinter!

Have you had experience of working on this product that product etc etc? I ask!
And he has no training on that platform!

Are you going to let him loose on your vehicle from day one!
I think NOT!

Now I fix Prius' with 245 volts DC flying about under the hood!
Do you let matey boy loose on that!
One false slip and orange cables and he is a dead man!

As Jon has stated mechanics on modern vehicles increasingly require specific training and up to date techs to work on these newer products.

They come at a price and $25 to 35/hour is just the starting wage per hour!

I like to have a quiet life in the shop with no panics but it does happen and you really don't want to be around when something goes "sideways'!

Letting someone loose with no training and out comes all the smoke has to be avoided AND the temptation to employ someone who is self trained individual who has got some knowledge of how to read the internet and look at You Tube DIY fixes!

I already pray to the god of cash flow as a business owner I don't need another prayer session to the patron saint of mechanics namely St Francis of Isuzu!:laughing:
Dennis

lucian
02-10-2014, 07:31 PM
All done. Drained all the oil in to a big clear plastic bin. I let it set and slowly put it back in the engine minus cca 2 quarts. No trace of coolant.

P.S> I had to call my mechanic and the auto store. I had to explain how much coolant may had fallen in, so I used the expression: "about a mouth fool". I got the most hilarious reactions. "Wow, wow, wait a second did you say: a mouth fool? Why did you put it in your mouth?"

I have to stop using "Dr. Phil's" analogies.

L

Karl2014
02-10-2014, 08:33 PM
Interesting tales.

Now`imagine you are a shop employer and you are recruiting mechanics/techs.
You are about to interview someone who "MIGHT" be a good candidate for employment working on your Sprinter!

Have you had experience of working on this product that product etc etc? I ask!
And he has no training on that platform!

Are you going to let him loose on your vehicle from day one!
I think NOT!

Now I fix Prius' with 245 volts DC flying about under the hood!
Do you let matey boy loose on that!
One false slip and orange cables and he is a dead man!

As Jon has stated mechanics on modern vehicles increasingly require specific training and up to date techs to work on these newer products.

They come at a price and $25 to 35/hour is just the starting wage per hour!

I like to have a quiet life in the shop with no panics but it does happen and you really don't want to be around when something goes "sideways'!

Letting someone loose with no training and out comes all the smoke has to be avoided AND the temptation to employ someone who is self trained individual who has got some knowledge of how to read the internet and look at You Tube DIY fixes!

I already pray to the god of cash flow as a business owner I don't need another prayer session to the patron saint of mechanics namely St Francis of Isuzu!:laughing:
Dennis

I'm moving, where do you live? Dealer here said $120 an hour :eek:

plmbst
02-10-2014, 11:11 PM
I'll bet Dennis'' shop rate is a bit north of what he pays his techs.

lindenengineering
02-10-2014, 11:30 PM
I'm moving, where do you live? Dealer here said $120 an hour :eek:

Yes well rates here in Denver are about $150/hour. Now I quoted you what I have to pay to get good techs just to come through the door for an interview.

On that as will anything in today's labor market you have to pay FICA that doubles the hourly rate overhead. Now add benes, vacation time ongoing training allowance, liability insurances (plural depreciation of equipment, direct overheads and TAXES you have BINGO my charge out rate $125/hr.
Dennis

lucian
02-11-2014, 12:14 AM
FREE is good!

If you have no choice but to do it yourself, I am here to tell you that: if I can do it, anybody can. To date, the Sprinter is the easiest vehicle to work on.

- oil change and filter
- change transmission fluid filter and torque converter
- clean EGR valve
- tire change.
- fuel filter
- air filter
- cabin filter
- top AC cleaning, install / uninstall
- reset maintenance computer

Sprinter-Source.com: PRICELESS !

Thank you for your help!

L

surlyoldbill
02-11-2014, 12:32 AM
Yes well rates here in Denver are about $150/hour. Now I quoted you what I have to pay to get good techs just to come through the door for an interview.

On that as will anything in today's labor market you have to pay FICA that doubles the hourly rate overhead. Now add benes, vacation time ongoing training allowance, liability insurances (plural depreciation of equipment, direct overheads and TAXES you have BINGO my charge out rate $125/hr.
Dennis

Favorite quote from my partner about charging a healthy amount:

A woman had Picasso draw a caricature of her with a pencil on a notebook. She asked how much she should pay him, and he said "$200". "Thant's a lot of money, that picture didn't even take you a minute to draw!" she exclaimed. He said, "Madam, that picture took me an an entire lifetime to draw".

All of you can infer the meaning, there are several layers to this onion. :professor:

I don't begrudge shops charging $100-150/hr for bench time, but I'd rather save the money and do it myself if I'm able. I don't pay a housekeeper, either (pet peeve, middle class people that think they are Lords and Ladies that REQUIRE servants to clean up after them and raise their children, because such tasks are beneath them)

lindenengineering
02-11-2014, 02:25 AM
Yes that is like the old comment and the squeaky step in the household staircase.

DIY carpenter from next door pounds a pile of nails in it with glue and it still squeaks!

In desperation the homeowner calls a professional--after a few steps he wallops a singular nail into a riser and the squeak stops!--eradicated!
The delighted homeowner asks for the bill--That will be $150 sir! Astonished the homowner blurts out--Well that only took you a few minutes why so costly?

Well Sir you are paying for training and years of expertise as to where to exactly place that nail!

Yes Lucien
They are easy to work on thats' why I like them; all MB's that is! A bit like Landrovers!

Until of course you come up against something that requires a factory style scanner to interpret the problem--then have the knowledge to work out what that fault really is?
Then of course you need that "professional carpenter" type I illustrated above--AND its getting tougher very year to DIY your own car--AND its getting tougher every year for us Independents to keep up with what's going on without on-going training!
Enjoy the opportunity to DIY your vehicle when you can.
Dennis

icarus
02-11-2014, 02:48 AM
I hve no problem paying to dollar for service with one caveat. Of course that is, I am getting value for money. A top shop may be expensive at first glance, but might be cheap in the aggregate. As I tell the folks who work/ed for me over the years as sub contractors. I don't care if you change $100/hour as long as I am getting $101 in value. If you hire competent, well trained folks, you mostly get value for money.

Icarus