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Old 05-07-2017, 04:41 PM   #1
2004VannaWhite
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Default The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

Long time listener, first time caller. Great forum here loaded with good info and a very polite spirit!

Here is the story of my 2004 140"WB HR (high roof):

For over a year I had been driving by this florist in town that had a '04 140"WB HR parked out back. The grille was missing and so was the engine. Underneath, a large puddle of oil. I finally stopped in asked the owner about the truck. He told me that a "red light on the dash that looks like an oil can" came on and he took it to the Dodge dealer, as was his practice since new, to have it diagnosed. Two weeks later the dealer called him and told him the "engine was blown and it needed anew one". The diag bill for that was 21 hr of a techs time- over $2200 all told. A new engine would be $17K and the owner of the truck decided to simply have it towed back. He replaced the T1N with a Transit, and the Benz just sat.

It just so happened he had the RO in a folder in his cabinet and I could have a look if I wanted, so I did. "Bottom end damage, rod and main bearings failed, needs new engine". Huh, I thought, bad luck, but let me press on. I asked if the truck was for sale, and was told the owner had recently given the truck to his gardener who was going to tow it to his rural property and use it as a shed. My eyes bugged out. I asked to see it in any case.

The entire power train was in the back of the truck, in many many pieces. The bottom end, however, was still fully assembled. My bull**** meter was pegged, but I was still cautious. The truck was solid, being in Colorado things rarely rust here, even cars that classically have issues. After a few more minutes of discussion covering the last 13 years of service, I asked again if it was for sale. No, gave it to my gardener. I offered $1500 for the truck, thinking that still gave me room if I needed a used engine, before i would be upside down in it. I was told the gardener would have to be called and see if he would sell. A short time later, low and behold, the gardener would rather have the cash than a shed. I get it towed home.



I get all the pieces out of the back of the truck and laid out on the garage floor. Its all there, every last nut and bolt. I decide to get into the bottom end straight off and have a look. Rod and mains are nearly new looking. Curious. all bearing caps back on with new hardware torqued to spec (I have a Star Diagnosis System).



On to the cylinder head. Spotless in every way, way too clean to be in a 13 yr old truck. Cams, perfect, nary a grove in a lobe. Injectors come right out, as do the glow plugs. What is going on? I call the PO and ask about the engine. Oh yes, he says, a few years ago I got a new engine installed at the dealer. (YIKES!) One of his drivers put gas in the truck and it popped. Now I know why its so clean. Still, I cannot find a thing that this engine is ruined. I decide to roll the dice and order all new gaskets and reassemble the motor. I thought perhaps the oil level sender was faulty, so I installed a new one while the motor was on the stand.

Once assembled (no special tools used either, just using the telltale marks on the cams and crank damper, GULP!), back in the truck. So clever MBZ uses ONE lift point to perfectly balance the motor/trans assembly. Hook right onto the rear eye, and you are ready to roll. Some new hoses here and there, fill it up with fluids and crank. Then crank some more, and then finally, it lights off. Doesn't sound bad at all. I get into SDS and re-enter the injector codes in the correct locations and now its purring like a tom cat in a well. What in the heck??

As its warming up I triple check for leaks, none present, time for a test drive. Out for all of 5 minutes and the oil light pops on. Hmmm. OK, back to the shop. Sure enough, 1 qt down. Where did it go? No visible leaks, so..... I pull the expansion tank cap and holy cow- emulsified oil! I had used a new oil cooler gasket during assembly, but had not replaced the cooler itself (dumb). Ive ordered a new oil cooler, which will arrive on Tuesday, and hope that this will solve the grey mayonnaise issue.

I figure the tech must have not known much about MBZ oil level sensor logic, and went down a seriously wrong path, figured out his mistake, realized he wasn't going to get paid for it, and condemned the motor in an attempt to land a job he'd get paid for.

Stay tuned...

Last edited by 2004VannaWhite; 05-07-2017 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

we all will!
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2004VannaWhite (05-07-2017)
Old 05-07-2017, 06:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

Sounds like a dealer problem I had in the 1980s. Dealer mechanic took my tranny apart and went to lunch. Came back from lunch drunk and was promptly fired. Dealer then told me that I needed a new tranny. Truth was that no other mechanic wanted to bother to put the old one back together.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

The one and only time my 2004 had to be taken to the Dealership last September it came back with an oil leak - it now looks like the head gasket, two coolant leaks - I fixed the torn lower hose and just found the second - it looks like the water pump and not the radiator (which are both newly replaced right before going to the dealer) and it was missing a minor bolt which I replaced! It sounds like you have yours well in control, so break a leg and best wishes with your "new" 2004 Sprinter!
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECU View Post
Sounds like a dealer problem I had in the 1980s. Dealer mechanic took my tranny apart and went to lunch. Came back from lunch drunk and was promptly fired. Dealer then told me that I needed a new tranny. Truth was that no other mechanic wanted to bother to put the old one back together.
I know being a line tech can have its challenges. Sadly, there will always be a few who are unscrupulous, lazy or crooks. In my case it may have panned out for me, not so much for the PO.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

It seems like as long as you carefully inspect things as you put it back together everything should be fine. If you run into issues you always have Dennis in Littleton, Co. that you can go to for assistance.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

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Old 05-08-2017, 11:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

Oil cooler will arrive tomorrow. In the meantime, I note that the extant cooler was made "29.04.04"- so its quite old. Appears that when this van got its reman engine a few years ago the O/C was simply swapped over.

Capping one oil outlet and pressurizing the other to 3bar = leaks down to 0bar in <10 seconds.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

That could be the source of the whole problem. It's more like a "lawn sprinkler" than an "oil cooler".
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: The story of my Sprinter -or- T1N gamble, will it pay off?

New oil cooler in, and no love. Still getting engine oil loss into the cooling circuit.

I guess my next step is to have a look at the timing cover (engine out)?
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