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Old 11-21-2019, 04:07 AM   #1
Turtle343
 
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Default Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Hi folks!

I’m a long time reader, first time poster.
2002 MB OM612 (tagged Freightliner) with 271,000 miles.
I bought it 2 1/2 years ago and have driven it 40,000 miles.

I have been experiencing intermittent black exhaust for the past month or so. Mainly during acceleration or on hills. This problem suddenly got worse, to include exhaust in the cab(!), large clouds of smoke and finally loss of power, to where the van can not climb the small hill to exit my driveway. So i’m stuck at home, in a rural setting not sure what to do. I have read a lot of posts and tried different solutions, but no luck. I do not have a scanner or way to read codes (I know, I know! It’s on my Christmas list!). But I could use some help on this one, something seems off! Please read on, i’ll set out a timeline in bullet-points:

Two Weeks Ago:
-van seems to be putting out more black smoke on hills or under sudden acceleration. To the point that i’m beginning to feel a little embarrassed.
-the next three things happened within three or four days, but I am uncertain as to the order of events:
...slight loss of power (can’t keep up with traffic. Sluggish on hills)
...added Seafoam Diesel Additive. (1 can to a 20 gallon tank)
...started to experience what I can only assume was carbon monoxide poisoning.
-On a Sunday night I was reading the Sprinter-Forum regarding black smoke, and I had a visceral feeling that I had been unknowingly inhaling exhaust. (luckily the windows have been down due to the warm autumn that California is having!)
-Monday morning I opened the hood to find a fine layer of soot everywhere. Called my local technician saying I had a problem.
-Tuesday morning stopped into see him. We found that when the vehicle revved, smoke was coming out of a hole in the intake manifold. The hole was slightly smaller than the diameter of a pencil. (yikes!)

At this point, I should say that I am not all that experienced in automotives (except for what I have learned over the past 2 years here on the SprinterForum...you can incur from that what you wish!) and while my technician has over 40 years of experience, I am not sure if diesels, let alone Sprinters are in his wheel house. That said, we decided to research some more.

-Wednesday afternoon I plugged the hole with JB Weld.
-Thursday through Saturday I commute to and from jobs observing that while she seemed to run better, she was still smoking and sluggish on hills.
-At this point I can’t decide if it’s an internal problem, a Limp Home Problem or the fault of the Seafoam Additive (a product which I had used a few times a year or so ago, but started to associate with this same “sluggish acceleration” phenomena... at which point I stopped using additives.) I had burned through 1/4 tank so far.
-Sunday I decide to remove and clean my EGR valve. Remember, this is the ‘02-03 valve, which is apparently unique to the other models. I read the instructions on the forum and followed the directions. It was an interesting experience.
-The intake manifold looked pretty caked with gunk. But I didn’t want to touch it. Would it be bad if pieces of it fell into the crevices and got sucked downstream? Clogged injectors? I kind of figured this was more of a job for pros, so I cleaned my EGR up nicely and replaced it.
-I did observe on the inside of the EGR what looked like “chipping” ... or “chipped-off” metal.
I took a picture of it and filed it away as ‘information’.
-Returned EGR to it’s home, and then turned ignition... choked a bit, started, then stalled. Over the next few minutes I tried again, “gasping”. then again, and again. At some point she started, blowing a huge cloud of exhaust that engulfed the yard. It was starting to get dark and I was too worried to take her for a test drive.
-Monday morning, she fires up fine, nice idle, not a ton of smoke, idled for 20 min, put her in drive and headed toward the gate, but she doesn’t make it up the short hill. Lots of smoke, (black as far as I can tell from my passenger mirror). Reverse her back to the house. Cancel client. Consult SprinterForum.
-Cleaning soot from engine, find a crack in the large (elephant) hose! Crack is underneath the hose and about 3” long! (Was this here all along, or did I cause this while replacing the EGR?)
-I found a thread on SprinterForum about repairing the hose with duct tape and hose clamps.
-BTW... thank you, everyone on this forum, what an amazing amount of knowledge, experience, humor and kindness! I am so grateful to this site. Thank you especially to those who contribute above and beyond the call.... you all are a life line to sonmany peoples dark night!
-I continue.
-I thought I had it all figured out, and so I tape/zip-tie the crack. I did a pretty good job. But, same situation. She won’t make it up the hill.
-Next I replaced the Air Filter (I know, that should have been first!) Nothing.
-She ain’t going nowhere!

-Checked injectors. They look alright.
-Checked Turbo hoses. They look alright.
-I really don’t think i’m in LHM. Though I suppose I could be. It just seems if I was restricted to 2nd gear, the small hill in my driveway wouldn’t be enough to stop me. And I lost power at one point reversing to the house (on flat ground.)
-BTW. The exhaust smells/tastes really bad. I sorta like the smell of diesel, but this is different.

Anyway, sorry for the long opening post. But I wanted to explain as much as I could, so that you all don’t have to ask questions later. I probably shouldn’t count on Santa for a scanner. Which one should I buy? This is my work truck and my only rig, so getting her running again is really important. Her name is Bertha.

Thank you for any and all insights.
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Old 11-21-2019, 06:01 AM   #2
NelsonSprinter
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Your lack of power and black exhaust smoke are probably caused by turbo air not reaching the intake in enough quantity. The elephant hose I assume is your turbo hose into the EGR, and if split would cause your problem. The fact that taping didn't fix it, may mean the turbocharged system has a leak before it, or the turbo isn't being turned on.
Check that the small vacuum hose is still on the bottom of the turbo actuator.
Check that the tape is still tight on your leak and you have no other air leaks past the turbo.
Check that the" hairs " inside the MAF sensor and its connections is clean and Air Temp sensor is clean.
Check if you can get up the hill in 1st gear by tapping the shifter Left. You just might get more air and power up the hill from higher RPMs of 1st gear.
It could be the air intake manifold is too clogged and will need to be professionally cleaned.
Best wishes with getting a scanner early. Scanners are as vital as diesel is to someone who depends on their truck and live in the boondocks.
PS don't forget to post the picture of the EGR
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'02-'03 Fuel filter leak fix http://sprinter-source.com/forum/sho...ix+fuel+filter
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Last edited by NelsonSprinter; 11-21-2019 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 11-21-2019, 06:31 AM   #3
billintomahawk
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Turtle, I'm not the pro from Dover but I am an '02 Freightliner brother. I've been here a shorter time than you.

My advice based on my experience is that Christmas needs to come for you tomorrow so that you can scan your rig for codes. That will only save you money between now and the end of the year.

No scanner, then more black clouds and guessing games for you.

I have an Autel 802 but other brothers here are using the cell phone app with success that is under $100. I can't help you with that, I only know the Autel.

Since you are going to be ordering some new parts get a new gasket for the EGR valve. That way you will be ready to replace it when you pull the valve again to run your shop vac extension down inside the intake manifold to suck out all that evil looking soot. The elephant trunk will want a new O ring when you replace the rubber pipe.

You are going to break your engine if you don't scan and then fix it.

All that fuel is trouble as you know. Injectors would be suspect if they are original?

I like the names you chose for you van.

Edit: I see Nelson Sprinter posted, his advice is always good.

bill in tomahawk
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Last edited by billintomahawk; 11-21-2019 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Thanks Nelson!
Thanks Bill!

I recognize you both from posts you have made on the forum and appreciate your quick reply!
I figured my next step would be to fully inspect ALL turbo hoses for leaks, so that’s on the agenda.
I have read about the MAF sensor, but have no idea where to find it (or what it does!) Any advice would be gold!

Seems like the Autel 802 comes well recommended.,.. eventually i’ll Be asking “so, how exactly do I hook this thing up?”

But more importantly is a question about the EGR gasket.
I removed my EGR, and the gasket, and then stuck it back on there when I returned the EGR. Was this a mistake? How important is a brand new gasket? I have read here and there on the SprinterForum about the EGR gasket , but don’t recall a solution to this question. (After days of reading this forum, it seems to all blend together!) Figure I will replace it either way....

Can I really just stick a shop vac in the intake manifold and suck out all of that evil gunk?? That would be great!! I read on here somewhere that some amount of “evil gunk” is acceptable... I wonder what that amount is.

Also, I think I forgot to mention on the OP that I checked the injectors and they looked fine, however I look forward to a professional opinion.

Thanks SprinterNation for your input.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!’

Visual inspection of the injectors won’t give you much information as to their performance. Scanner needs to be on hand (but it is not a cure all or even diagnose all) . SOunds like you have lack of air (have you ever changed the air filter?). Also your model has a vac controlled turbo actuator (I think!) check vac lines and actuation. Double check all the intake hoses between the turbo and the intake manifold/also the intercooler (in the cooling stack).
Read read read.
Read the scanners forum on this site....
Make sure you understand basic operating principles of common rail diesels and also other types of diesels, it all helps Re diagnosis. Hard to trouble shoot a system you don’t understand.
Have fun, learning is a gift.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

If you have an intake leak, you will have black smoke. You need to remedy the intake leak before performing any more testing.

Its normal for the intake to have a coating of soot and oil. It can be up to 1/4" thick without any significant impact on performance. If its thicker, you can have it hot tanked to remove the build up. It may be more expedient to install a new/used manifold, but depending on cost you could have the intake welded to repair the hole.

If you have lots of loose soot/buildup, you can vacuum it out.

The intake is under up to 20psi of pressure, so a piece of tape won't stop the leak, though you could carefully epoxy a piece of aluminum sheet over the hole as a semi-permanent repair.


Is the idle rough? Do you get puffing or black smoke at idle? If you put your hand over the exhaust stream does it pulse/surge? Or is it a steady stream?
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Turtle,
The Autel 802 plugs in on the extreme left under the dash(drivers side). You will find a trapdoor to lift on the 'firewall' and a plug in which will match the plug on the Autel cable. Your computer may just be hanging loose, mine was because it is very difficult to get it back up and locked in if it was pulled out. No worries really but it isn't right, the scanner door will be behind it if it is hanging loose. To see the door assume the prayer position outside the door and look in with a light or head lamp and fish around.

I mentioned the EGR gasket because mine showed some wear and maybe wasn't replaced after several removals of the valve. You don't want an air or exhaust leak there(exhaust gasses are entering the intake air stream at the EGR valve, that's what it does. Erosion was occurring at the joint on mine.

Vacuuming the soot out scared me but I did it working in slowly. It was soft stuff.
I'm an old motorcycle racer so seeing that plugged up intake manifold drove me crazy.

The '02-03 component layout and EGR valve is somewhat different than the '04-'06.
Be aware of that.
Your fuel supply system is different as well so get that straight.

This thread might help but I didn't read through it all.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=63701

This also might help.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=68308

bill
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Call a Freightliner service center and ask them to run your VIN for open recalls.
I believe I’ve seen mention here of a program for replacing flawed intake manifolds on the 2002/3 Sprinters?

I had good success repairing my torn turbo hose with self-adhering silicone rubber pipe tape, stretching and overlapping the torn area with four layers of tape:
https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...one#post785246

-dave
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Old 11-21-2019, 06:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

Thanks folks! I appreciate all the support.
I’ll look into making sure my turbo lines are all tight and sealed. That sounds like a good first step.

The hole in the intake manifold was the first thing I fixed, last week and she ran well after that, but was still blowing too much smoke (from tail pipe) and being sluggish, that’s why I decided to clean the EGR.
After doing that, is when I ran into the problems.

Thanks Nautamaran for your input, I saw the thread(s) on ‘02-03 manifold recalls (...one post had a link to a gov website, I put my vin in and the manifold recall DID NOT.come up :(. But I will try checking with a FL dealership. Furthermore thanks for the hose patch suggestion, I saw your post on that thread and was inspired. Gaffers tape and zip ties is what I had on hand.

SHE STARTS AND IDLES GREAT! The hole in the manifold and the crack in the elephant hose don’t seem to be the issue.
I’ll check the turbo hoses (after work)

To find the scanner port, “assume the prayer position” - hahaha. Love it.
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Last edited by Turtle343; 11-21-2019 at 08:18 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Black Smoke, No Power (Yet Another!)

If your hoses look okay check the turbo actuator arm.
The 2003 uses a vacuum servo, so leaks in the vacuum system can cause a loss of turbo.
The A/C recirculation flap also uses vacuum, so inspect that too.

Good luck,

-dave
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