View Full Version : Ignition or Starter?

01-28-2010, 02:32 AM
Hello Sprinter friends
Just curious if anyone can shed some light on this starting issue of mine:
Sprinter is a 2002 freightliner

On occasion when I go to start the van, after glow plug light goes out, i turn to the last position and hear a "click" but no turnover whatsoever. I know the battery is fine since all lights and heater blowers, etc come on. Everything on the dash is fine as well.
Then after trying this for 10 minutes or so the van will suddenly turn over. A couple times it never turned over and I had to cancel jobs. Then the next day I try again and no problem , it turns over after 5 times trying. Last three days there has been no problem whatsoever but I am concerned that I am going to be on a road trip with my wife and 4 month old in cold weather somewhere and van is going to do the same thing and I'll be stranded. One mechanic said it could be the starter or the ignition, but being that he was honest, said he preferred not to fix anything as it was a guess on his part as well. It sounds like something electrical is not connecting. I just recently had the a glo plug and glo plug relay fixed by Freightliner but I don't think that could affect the problem.
Any help is much appreciated!

01-28-2010, 03:02 AM
You can do some easy, DIY troubleshooting.

The 'under the drivers seat' fuse/relay panel, accessible behind the plastic panel while standing in the drivers door threshold, houses the starter motor relay. Its the cube shaped relay on the right side of the panel.

Is this relay clicking when you activate the ign switch start position? Put your hand on it and feel for click while someone activates ign switch start position.

If this relay does NOT click, relay may be defective or further complications include: ign switch, P/N safety switch in transmission, start enable issues, ECM, etc.

IF it IS clicking, check for voltage at the starter motor solenoid, easily accessible in the engine compartment, under the hood.

To locate the starter solenoid, put your chin on the (cold) expansion tank of the radiator and look down behind the fuel filter. You'll see the starter solenoid terminal and 10mm nut on the terminal of the starter solenoid. That terminal's wire comes from the relay you just checked.

Use a test lamp or volt meter to check for voltage at the solenoid. If voltage is present you likely need a new starter. Doktor A

01-28-2010, 04:22 AM
Thanks Doc A for those tips.. I've read alot of your posts! Wish I lived in Pittsburg..Will try all those and I hope Freightliner honors the glow plug relay malfunction if that's what it ends up being. I must confess to not knowing my way around these vans (or any car for that matter with the exception of a 66 VW van) very well but those troubleshooting tips sound easy enough and it's 'bout time I learned a bit.
Much, much appreciated!