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Old 12-17-2010, 01:48 AM  
Aqua Puttana
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Default Re: Aqua Puttana's Cheap Tricks - Nothin' Fancy Here

My Experience Changing Glow Plugs
(4 out of 5 so far) (5 out of 5 ain't bad!)

I guess this qualifies as a Cheap Trick. It's certainly cheaper than a dealer doing it.

I was very nervous about my impending glow plug change.

20121223 edit. It can go well. (Not that mine didn't. Just a couple were a bit sticky.)
Video to get started:

Originally Posted by jmoller99 View Post
The place Coast2Coast went to swapped all 5 Glow Plugs in under an hour.

The DAD scan showed errors on 4 of the 5 Glow Plugs before. After changing all 5 Glow Plugs and clearing the Engine errors, we got a clean bill of health from the DAD scan.

Here are some pictures of the effort.
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Maybe my experience will help someone else to figure out a good method.

I found I had only #1 and #4 glow plugs left working. With 3 each working last winter I didn't have problems with starting until it got down below -5F. This year with only 2 each working I had problems at 10F, but it did start after a few tries. I didn't try to change out the glow plugs with only 2 each bad because I'd heard a few horror stories about glow plug removal. Being down to only 2 each was too much for even me to ignore.

2011/11/13 edit: I do use Power Service Diesel Fuel Antigel additive regularly in the winter, more sporadically in the warmer months. I'm convinced that it helped me to get started in the lower temperatures even with bad glow plugs. FWIW. vic

20130123 Edit: If you use anti-sieze on the glow plug threads DO NOT USE COPPER BEARING PRODUCTS. Ceramic grease or Nickel bearing high temperature products have been mentioned as possibilites. Remember that anti-sieze on the threads may affect torque values.

I found glow plugs on eBay for $65.00/set of 5 which were MB boxed. I thought they'd be Bosch, but it turned out they were Beru 11.5 volt MB #A 001 159 49 01. Of the 5, 4 each were made in Germany, 1 each was made in Ireland (Thanks Max!)

I have a 2004 OM647 engine with about 213,000 miles. The injector cover is off for other reasons. I think having that cover out of the way made glow plug access a bit better, but I haven't done it any other way for comparison. I was able to remove the electrical connectors with my angled needle-nose pliers. After reading about glow plugs shearing off I wanted to reduce any side loading to the glow plugs. I was going to use a "T" tap handle adapted to my socket, but I found my actual 1/4" drive "T" handle in an old toolbox. It made me feel better about applying torque using that handle to help keep even stress.

Here is a picture of the tools I used to change my GP. One 1/4" drive tee handle. One 1/4" drive 6" extension. One 1/4" drive 3" extension (needed for #1 position to clear the intake). One deep well 10 mm 6 point socket. One 6 1/2" angled needle-nose pliers.



With a 25F ambient temperature today I used cardboard pieces to block my radiator and get the coolant temperature a bit past 180F. I drove around some to make certain the temps were really up in the engine.

I started with #2 GP. It came out hard and squeaking. I needed to use very short (1/8th?) turns out and in for quite a time before it started coming out decently. #3 was quite a bit easier. #5 wouldn't come loose with the max torque I was willing to use. I will attempt that one this summer when I can get the engine temp up more. Because #2 and #3 went well I tried #1 and #4 even though they were still OK. They both removed with little trouble.

All the removed GP's were Bosch. I don't know if they were original for the engine. They all seemed OK out of circuit using an ohmmeter to check continuity. When I applied 12 volts to them the two good ones glowed and the two bad ones dragged down the voltage on my test supply. My guess is that there is a ballast resistance of some sort so continuity never goes completely open even when they are no longer glowing. Doktor A's fused lead test must be the only accurate way to check.


Do not apply more than 4.4 v to your NCV3 3.0L diesel v6 engine's glow plugs.

This guidance is in every service publication you'll find on our engines. Per jdcaples

I installed the 4 each new Beru glow plugs using high temperature never sieze. I'm relieved that the change went as well as it did. I'm still hopeful a higher engine temperature will make #5 decide to give up without issue.

Glow Plug module fuses can be replaced externally or internally. The internal solution requires less soldering talent.

Glow Plug Module Fix

2003 glow plug module dissected

2010/12/29 edit: Another thread with the MB tool info included thanks to Altered Sprinter Richard.

Glow plugs for 2006 sprinter 3500

Glow Plug/Module Change PDF for NCV3
(NCV3 owners need some love too. Thanks goes to Jon.)

FWIW. vic

Note: Access to the glow plugs on the OM612 engine NAFTA 2001-2003 is a bit different from the OM647 and may require a 1/4" drive universal or other additional tools to access the glow plug hex. If a universal adapter is used I feel it is very important that it be kept as straight as possible to avoid side loads on the glow plug body.

Update: I had to run about 30 miles round trip to a store today. I placed the cardboard in the radiator and took off. Last night I was thinking about how little leverage I really had with the 1/4" drive Tee handle and how much it helped to keep the stress on the glow plug more in line. Armed with a bit more courage I put a bit more muscle into the #5 GP on a little hotter engine. It broke loose and I now have 5 of 5 changed out.

Torque Spec thanks to TH43.
The '03 service manual states that on assembly, the glow plugs should be torqued to 115 lbs-in.

This is the first time my MIL has been out during the winter for a while. I really wish they wouldn't have included the GP fault in the MIL triggers, but I guess they needed to let you know somehow? I'm a happier camper now. vic

Originally Posted by Aqua Puttana View Post
As general information.

OM612 NAS aka NAFTA 2001 - 2003 engines.
A glow plug system failure is generally indicated by the glow coil icon on the dash coming on at odd times. The MIL aka CEL aka ECU light on the dash will not automatically be triggered.

OM647 NAS aka NAFTA 2004 - 2006 engines (and newer for that matter)
A glow plug system failure is indicated by the MIL aka CEL aka ECU light on the dash being triggered because the glow plugs are part of the submitted emissions design approval. During the time I operated with failed glow plugs I did not notice any odd glow coil light appearances on my 2004.

Even with known bad glow plugs I did notice that the MIL would stay off all summer once the DTC's were cleared. When ambient temperatures were low again the glow plug related DTC's and MIL would retrun. I believe that if the ambient temperature isn't low enough, for some reason the ECM doesn't notice that the glow plugs system is in trouble. Maybe, if you can wait for warm weather the DTC's can be cleared and the light will remain off during your inspection.

As Dennis outlined, the glow plugs are used for for start cycle smoke reduction all the time in the newer engines (OM647 included). So a bit of smoke upon startup could be related to a bad glow plug.

Changing the glow plugs on the OM647 engine isn't necessarily a terrible job. Some general information is here.
(edit:same thread as this one)
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Originally Posted by bc339 View Post
What vic said, plus anti-seize will reduce the torque value because you have reduced the coefficient of friction. The values in the manual do not specify using anti-seize, so it should be considered the dry torque value. Reducing by 20% will be safe. The GP torque value is 115 in/lbs or 9.58 ft/lbs or 12 N-m. ...

A decent torque wrench will set you back less than $100.00., more than worth the investment considering the possible consequences, plus a good tool for future jobs.

Originally Posted by autostaretx View Post
... 20% less than 9.58 ft/lbs is 7.664 (to carry it out to ridiculous decimal places).
So try 92 in/lb, 7.7 ft/lb, 9.6 N-m
Originally Posted by Boater View Post
When in doubt try to convert torques into numbers you can work with, or any other units that don't make sense.
Originally Posted by westyventures View Post
I just did the whole set in my 2006 shorty. #1 was corroded and tight, but worked with it carefully along with shots of PB blaster and warm engine, resting time when it seemed to get tighter and it came out with an hour work. #2 snapped off, 3,4,5 came out perfectly. I had bought this kit last year in preparation of this happening, and it worked fantastic. Can't see any reason to ever pull the head.
And watched this video beforehand:
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Last edited by hkpierce; 12-18-2017 at 07:45 PM.
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