View Full Version : Preventative maintenance to stave off Black Death

Gabe Athouse
05-27-2015, 10:50 PM
So I got a sprinter with 135k on the clock and first thing I checked was for Black Death. Good news is it looks clean in there! So, naturally I'm wondering if I should just leave it be or is there something that I can do now to prevent headaches later. Thanks.

05-28-2015, 04:21 AM
The best thing to do is not touch anything, keep looking for it every oil change,
but I would pour a little 15w40 clean motor oil in the injector wells to help keep them sealed and reduce sticking of the start of black death IMHO

05-28-2015, 11:32 AM
That won't burn or create a heckuva smell?

Aqua Puttana
05-28-2015, 12:10 PM
That won't burn or create a heckuva smell?
From my experience, it will not.


The why of oil in the wells here:


Gabe Athouse
05-28-2015, 03:08 PM
Interesting read thanks. I'll make a "hat" and drip some oil. I shot wd40 on them but that stuff is probably already vaporized off. I wonder if synthetic 2 stroke oil would be superior to motor oil for the corrosion inhibitor? Seems like it would have more staying power but I can't find a definitive answer on which has a higher flash point.

05-28-2015, 10:23 PM
I am in the same boat, 103K with no black death on a new-to-me 2003 sprinter. What would be the best oil to put up there? synthetic? Thinking over cooked oil sludge would not be best this to create either.

05-29-2015, 03:24 AM
If I recall correctly, a forum member from south America ( Chile?) had theorized that condensation in the injector enclosure might promote corrosion, and be the black death culprit. He was considering installing some sort of vent on the cover.

Gabe Athouse
05-29-2015, 06:32 AM
That makes sense actually. Water will always get in, so, better to accept that and let it out. Today I pulled the cover and dropped a bit of full syn two stroke oil in there. Doesn't smell at all so far.

05-29-2015, 04:39 PM
I was under the impression that the corrosion comes from the inside, not the outside. The pressure inside the cylinder tears at any defect and expands it gradually until it reaches the cylinder well. My Black Death copper seal showed that the interior of the washer had a wider path than the part that eventually let the partially burned fuel into the well. If a spot on the outer edge was corroded, then it would make it easier for the interior pressure to reach it, but it would have to be a coincidence that it went in that direction. I also did the "float the moat" technique on suggestion from this forum. In retrospect, I wonder if doing so might make the injector harder to remove later, as the oil in the well gets cooked by the gas coming out of the injector through the compromised seal. Just a thought.

Perhaps some fuel additives might help prevent (or promote!) Black Death.

Regular inspection is key. A visual inspection with every oil change, and maybe an auditory inspection every couple weeks (you can hear the hiss-hiss-hiss-hiss as the gas escapes into the well every time the cylinder compresses). I have a video of Black Death in action, and I will eventually get around to making it available.

On a side note, I wonder about operational use on Black Death? Do people who mostly drive highway miles have less? I probably drive 60/40 city/highway. Maybe the dirty air from the EGR system causes the corrosion, and idling promotes it.

Gabe Athouse
05-29-2015, 06:39 PM
Yeah, it doesn't quite make sense, but I don't think external oil will hurt anything. Diesel is really just oil, so I'm sure that Black Death actually prevents further corrosion, however that might be too late as the problem continues as gasses escape. Combustion gas is naturally corrosive as we know, so that's going to make things worse. As far as cooking, he cyl head shouldn't get much over 350 I'm guessing, probably much less so I don't foresee cooking being a big deal. There's plenty of oily cyl heads out there to prove that. Corrosion existing on the hold down plate and associated hoses and bolts suggest to me that it's not coming from inside, as my injectors seem free of Black Death, yet exhibit corrosion that has to have come from somewhere. Water is a tricky mistress, always gets in.

05-29-2015, 06:40 PM
My van is missing the cover...never had it. The bare aluminum has some surface corrosion but no worse than any other aluminum parts on the engine.