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Old 02-15-2019, 06:26 PM   #1
Marko Polo
 
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Default *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

2005 Sprinter 3500 T1N

Yo Sprinter-Source - ya'll are an amazing resource. Thank you for you help. I'm in a bit of a quandary, possibly stuck up here in Golden, BC. Some background:

Temps have been really low for a few weeks. Highs in the single digits, most days never getting above 0. Recently I have noticed an abnormal amount of vibration from the engine. Starting it you hear it labors a little more (to the point of chugging a few times before it will start, and start needs to be revved to keep it running). Shutdown has an abnormal "jerking" sometimes. As it warms up the issue lessens, but never seems to go away. I seem to hear a low-pitch whine, but I may just be listening too hard. I definitely don't notice a high pitched screech or anything terribly out of the ordinary.

We are still driving, sometimes several hundred kms a day, and have a big drive down to Denver next week. Engine temps have been solid at a tick over 180. The serpentine is hot to touch after running, but isn't showing signs of wearing/cracking/sticking.

I replaced the belt tensioner two years ago, along with serpentine and idler pulleys. A friend suggested the power steering fluid may be thickening due to the cold temps and to flush it for a low-temp specific fluid. The fluid level is on the low end of the dipstick, but still above the min line.

HELP! Suggestions? Haha, we aren't going to die, but I have a flight out of Denver next Friday and I'd be super bummed to miss it. Thank you!

Marko

Last edited by Marko Polo; 02-15-2019 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

Is your check engine light on? Is the idle rough after warm up? Have you had the van checked for codes?

Hard starting could be bad glow plugs, which usually throws a code. If it still idles/runs rough after warmup, you likely have an injector problem. Note that injector problems can kill engines, so don't ignore them.

Excessive engine vibration can be caused by failed engine mounts. A close look at them while someone revs the engine up would tell. If the issue goes away when warm its not the mounts.

A weak MAF can cause poor idle, as can a sticking EGR valve. Both will normally throw a code. You can unplug the MAF to test. It will set a code, so check your codes before doing so.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

Check engine light is not on. About a month ago when it was cold it threw a code right on startup, but it went off next time I started it so I never had it looked it.

The vibration improves substantially as it warms up, but I don't know that it entirely goes away. The engine shakes like it's possessed so it may be an engine mount thing - I'll check it out.

Any way to check the injectors? Take the cover off and look at them?

Thank you Midwesterner - I'm a Hoosier myself.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

I have a call into a few mechanics up here, but it's a holiday weekend in Canada (Family Day?) and Tuesday is the earliest anyone can look at it. Flying out of Denver on Friday at 6am so that's cutting it pretty dang close.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

Alternator pulley?
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

If the alternator pulley's overrunning clutch has seized, it means that the alternator will (when you take your foot off the pedal) "coast" faster than the belt is moving ... which would certainly heat it up.

I'd also check that the tensioner is able to move (tight/loose) ... if it's stuck in one position the belt would be "hopping" on it at times.

--dick
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

I'm hoping for alternator pulley. Obviously if wishes were fishes we'd all swim in riches, but I happen to have an extra alternator and serpentine with me. If we're talking EGRs and injectors I'm up against the gun getting it in by next week.

Funny enough I went out to start it and the check engine light came on - after about two weeks of noticing something going on. One of the mechanics out here told me to bring it in at the end of the day and he's gonna at least get the code read and hopefully a diagnosis. I'll keep you guys up on it - appreciate the heck out of your insights.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

Rough running and shaking almost certainly points to a failing injector. Especially with no other codes. The only way to check injector patters or nozzle leakage is by pulling the injectors and having them tested.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

How bad is it to replace an injector? I'm pretty comfortable with wrenching. How much time are we looking at? You do all five at once I imagine.

Also - if the injector is failing, would it be super bad to do a 1,500 mile drive down to Denver and have it fixed there?
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: *TRAVELING* Hard Start in British Columbia - pulley bearing?

Replacing an injector is probably a two out of five on the difficulty scale. There are good write ups on here. I can't be certain without actually looking at the vehicle, but the reason I'm focusing in on injector problems is because they have the possibility of causing severe damage.

I think it's better to drive 1500 miles to have the pro do it than risk of someone screwing it up.
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