Bad Sprinter experence.

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
The cable that runs from the alternator to the starter/jumpstart post & battery has been problematic for some of us. I didn't have the symptoms that aeroshots reported (similar to yours), however.


Check the voltage at the alternator, the starter and the battery....

Here is some info on the cable:

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13606

-Jon
 

upnorth

New member
Jon, the van was not running just in position 1. This is not linked problem with the nav system as I have had it off and had the same problem. The problem would not repeat at the dealership this a.m. so I am in Duluth now.

On the way here I stopped at a rest stop, when I came out the van would not start for 10 min same 4 errors. This time the temp gauge did go from red to yellow and it still would not start. I cycled the key a few more times and the temp gauge went back to red. It finally did start for no explainable reason. It has never started with the temp gauge being red so I think if the temp sensor displays that it is overheated it will not start.

At the last dealer they were thinking to change the ignition switch. Their thinking was if it not turning over it must be the ignition or key. I have 3 keys and they all react the same way so I don't think it is the key.

9 out of 10 times it will start when the temp gauge goes from red to yellow so i think it has something to do with that false temp reading.

Does Dodge, Mercedes and Freightliner not have a central database with troubleshooting problems and solutions. All the tech's I have spoken to seem to be guessing at solutions by suggesting to putting in parts and see what happens. Do these vans not have computers in them to tell them what the problem is. All of this automation with sensors blah, blah seem to be counter productive.

I will read the last two posts and give any info I can to the tech tomorrow. Thanks for all of the suggestions and help. I really hope a solution is found tomorrow.

I love the van when it is working and don't want to have to take it back.

Bob
 

aeroshots

New member
The Dodge mechanic that worked on my Spriter never did duplicate my problem. He even drove the van to his home overnight--35 miles one way. When mine acted up, sometimes it started and cycled through the faults/warnings while driving dow the road. Other times it appeared normal with no faults at all.
 

upnorth

New member
aeroshots you said:

"Tech is going to order a new battery to starter to alternator cable and install it."

and then:

Ok, picked up the sprinter today. Tech swapped the battery harness.

Was the battery harness is all that he replaced? Have you had the problem since? That sure sounds the same. I hope it is that simple.

I'm going to get some tools and check the battery connection(s)

thanks,

Bob
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Does Dodge, Mercedes and Freightliner not have a central database with troubleshooting problems and solutions.


Bob
Bob, I'll try to be clear:

There is no single, central database of troubleshooting methods, known problems and solutions for Sprinters for use by Dodge, Mercedes and Freightliner.

-Jon

PS: The Dodge technicians appear to be guessing because they are - in all likelihood - guessing.

Mercedes and Freightliner have better scan tools and better service information; but I doubt you'll be able to get free service from Mercedes or Freightliner - you should ask if they'll help you under warranty/for free, but you should be ready to receive an unappealing answer from MB and Freightliner Sprinter sales & service dealerships.
 
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aeroshots

New member
Yes, the harness is all that was changed. They only did it upon my insisting. We went thousands of miles and coutless start cycles without a problem since then. I think the Sprinter simply does not like low voltage for any reason. This condition seems to cause secondary issues with the miriad of sensors.
I must add that I do have an intermitent start issue now that I contribute to the old battery--very different symptoms though.:thinking:
 

upnorth

New member
ok so I checked the battery connections nothing was loose or corroded. The Battery disconnect by the gas peddle was not clipped in and will not stay clipped in. With the red thing pushed up all the way I can still pull it off the post easily.

So after I fiddled with it I took it for a drive and stopped at three different stores and it started every time. The temp gauge did flash red for a split second before turning yellow but it started every time. There were nor other error's coming up at all.

It was not up to full operating temperature so I took it for a longer drive and stopped for about 15 min when I tried to start it and the red temp gauge came up and would not start. I waited another 5 minutes and it started fine. So it seems better but not 100%

I'll get the dealership to test the voltages and check the connections on the battery's, starter etc. and see if they find anything.

Should the connector be that loose on the post. If that is not getting a good connection there could that cause the problem(s).

Bob
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
<snip>
Should the connector be that loose on the post.

If that is not getting a good connection there could that cause the problem(s).

Bob
I can't remove my disconnect unless I disengage the red, plastic, sliding lock. I can spin it on the post w/o disengaging the lock, but I'd have to pull on it pretty hard (I'm a weakling compared to most people I know) to get it off the post. Yours is loose. You can't buy the connector. You have to buy the cable.

I think that a loose ground connection like that could cause problems, including disrupting expected voltage and amperage characteristics to electronically sensitive control modules, which is a fancy term for highly specific computer.

There are between 20 and 24 computers in 2007-2009 US/Canadian Sprinters.

Could there be permanent damage, like a home computer that doesn't have power protection, and suffers brown outs and power spikes? I don't know.

I've always assumed that computers in cars, airplanes, the space shuttle are more "hardened" than your run of the mill Mac or PC.

You've had it scanned for DTCs; I think a system self check failure would present on the scan tool, but I've never seen a dead control module in person or on a scan tool.

If I were you, I'd seriously consider calling the nearest MB Sprinter dealership that will look at the van, go there and pay whatever it takes to get the electronics confirmed "good." That's me. I get that not everyone would go that way.

-Jon
 
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PLUMMER

New member
Good info/advice here in this thread. I recently had the Batt/Alt wiring harness issue. After speaking with the Hoekstra tech it seems jumping vehicles on the lot that have been sitting for a while burn out or speed up the process which burns out the Batt/Alt cable fuse. Sometimes you can't see it because it hasn't gotten hot enuff, but the damage is there. Within the inline fuse maybe. Funny thing was the dealer my van was at had to jump it since they left it sit untouched for 13 days while it was waiting for an alignment. ( thanks Sterling Heights Dodge). As soon as I picked it up I had all kinds of issues showing up. The guy didn't know if it was the type of charger/jumper or the way its done, but they have gotten several calls on this. Low voltage reeks havock on the sensors and if long enuff it burns them out also, like my Glow plug module which has built in micro processors to control voltage to the 4.4 volt glow plugs. I sure hope and pray for your situation, as it stinks to hear a story like this. Both my MB and Hoekstra dealer said then CAN do warranty work. MB calls it "Honor" service not warranty. Something about them manufacturing the vehicle for Dodge and they are required to Honor there product due to US Laws. Hoekstra had much less of an explanation, just another piece of paper to fill out. Frieghtliner, if I recall was the one that could not. There is also a reimbursement section for warranty work done at non approved repair facilities when no other can be readily available. Good Luck I am sure you will learn alot and please keep us updated.
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
I just finished reviewing your datacard.

Every one of us that ordered our Sprinter and waited the months for delivery wished we'd ordered the suspension seats, or had gotten the suspension seats we ordered.

They're gold.

When this is over, and it all comes together, you'll be the envy of us NCV3ers of the DaimlerChrysler era.

-Jon
 

Trekker

Trekker
Bob (Upnorth),

You truly have the patience of a saint. A lesser man would by now be on the national news for some awful, rage-inspired act. :bash:

Hang in there, you have all our sympathies and good wishes. Sounds like you have the required perseverance to see this through, and the A-team of Sprinter Forum help!!:bow:
 

upnorth

New member
Jon the suspension seats are really nice. Trekker my patience is wearing thin but I have the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. I would not be able to do it without him. Aeroshots I just broke 20 k on the drive home.

So I took the van to the dodge dealer in Duluth they could not look at it until the next morning so I printed out sections about the wire harness and associated voltages etc. that Jon and aeroshots gave the links for. (thanks guys). Service guy was happy to have the info and when inspecting it they said that there was "resistance" at the alternator so they cleaned the contact and ordered another harness which is getting shipped to me.

The van was fine the rest of the drive home and I just drove it today to pick up the part at the border. When I went to start it the same thing happened again did finally start though. Stopped of to pick up dinner for the family on the way home and when I was leaving the van would not start. I had to leave it there. I went back after dinner to try again and it started after about 5 minutes. I let it run for a minute, put it in drive and it just died. Went to start again...no go for another 10 cycles of the key and now the check engine light is on...great.

I had read Jef's posts under "no-start condition after many warnings" and observed the same thing. I really never payed attention to the glow plug light but noticed when the light comes on my temp overheat display also goes away and the van will start.

I am going to check the voltages tomorrow. Jon on your one post you had the following voltages:

Before I replaced the battery cable, I recorded:

14.1 v at the alternator
13.5 v at the starter
and
13.2 v at the battery

As it got worse, I saw 12.4 at the battery.

Are these with the van running or with the key in position 2? Should the voltage at the battery on be 12 - 12.5v because they are 12v battery's?

One thing I can hear is when I turn the key on it sounds like the glow plugs come on, I can't describe the sound but I had a diesel tractor and when the glow plugs came on it make the same sound. Do the glow plugs come on every time you turn the key on? If so that would be bad as I have to cycle the key 20 times sometimes. Could that cause the glow plugs to burn out and or swell?

Jef do you think you can call the tech to find out where the relay is and or the part #. I looked under the dash I don't see anything. I may have to take some plastic off to get a better look. It really sounds like the same problem I am having. If I can avoid another trip to a dealership to have them charge me a bunch of money and not fix it that would be great. I have spend far to much money and time on this van already.

I'm going to check voltages tomorrow and replace the harness if I find them to vary. I am going to try to find the relay also. I don't want to drive the van until I know this is fixed. Any further assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for all the help everyone has given me to date. I feel much better knowing there is this great knowledge base to tap into.

Bob
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Jon the suspension seats are really nice. Trekker my patience is wearing thin but I have the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. I would not be able to do it without him. Aeroshots I just broke 20 k on the drive home.

So I took the van to the dodge dealer in Duluth they could not look at it until the next morning so I printed out sections about the wire harness and associated voltages etc. that Jon and aeroshots gave the links for. (thanks guys). Service guy was happy to have the info and when inspecting it they said that there was "resistance" at the alternator so they cleaned the contact and ordered another harness which is getting shipped to me.

The van was fine the rest of the drive home and I just drove it today to pick up the part at the border. When I went to start it the same thing happened again did finally start though. Stopped of to pick up dinner for the family on the way home and when I was leaving the van would not start. I had to leave it there. I went back after dinner to try again and it started after about 5 minutes. I let it run for a minute, put it in drive and it just died. Went to start again...no go for another 10 cycles of the key and now the check engine light is on...great.

I had read Jef's posts under "no-start condition after many warnings" and observed the same thing. I really never payed attention to the glow plug light but noticed when the light comes on my temp overheat display also goes away and the van will start.

I am going to check the voltages tomorrow. Jon on your one post you had the following voltages:

Before I replaced the battery cable, I recorded:

14.1 v at the alternator
13.5 v at the starter
and
13.2 v at the battery

As it got worse, I saw 12.4 at the battery.

Are these with the van running or with the key in position 2? Should the voltage at the battery on be 12 - 12.5v because they are 12v battery's?

One thing I can hear is when I turn the key on it sounds like the glow plugs come on, I can't describe the sound but I had a diesel tractor and when the glow plugs came on it make the same sound. Do the glow plugs come on every time you turn the key on? If so that would be bad as I have to cycle the key 20 times sometimes. Could that cause the glow plugs to burn out and or swell?




Bob
My battery voltage metrics are taken while the engine is running.

Glow plugs are energized at every atmospheric and engine temperature I've observed (summer, winter etc). I know because I can watch the glow plug info using the StarMOBILE desktop client and the StarMOBILE scan tool (this is the hardware & software dealerships used when I bought my 2007 Sprinter).

The glow plugs are energized w/o telling the driver via the instrument cluster. They are energized to even out combustion and probably under a couple other conditions. Don't worry about "lots of tries to start" killing your glow plugs prematurely.

I think your battery cable is suspect, given what you've told me. Most mechanics that are not Sprinter specialists will say, "this cable looks bad - ok, it looks pretty ugly - but it should still be good enough to work." That's not necessarily true for Sprinters.


If you're mechanically inclined, use some heavy gauge wire (welding wire?) to reduce the resistance to the point of success.

Someone once said - on this forum - that a .2 drop in voltage from the alternator to the battery is bad juju.

-Jon
 

upnorth

New member
So tonight I finally got to do some voltage testing here is what I found. Van has been sitting for 2 days.

Voltage with van cold and not running:

Battery under floor - 12.4v
Starter - 12.4v
Alternator - 12.1v

Van started fine, voltages with van running.

Battery under floor - 14.2v
Starter - 14.2v
Alternator - 14.2v

Took the van for a drive got it up to operating temperature. Turned van off.

Battery under floor - 12.6v
Starter - 12.6v
Alternator - 12.6v

Tried to start van...would not start...no glow plug light.

Checked voltages again all at 12.6v

I'm not sure if this is a cable issue as all the voltages seem to be fine. Should I change the harness anyway? I sure would like to find that relay to see if there is corrosion. I have taken off some plastic but don't see any relay.

Bob
 

aeroshots

New member
Right, does not sound like a cable issue to me either. :2cents: The relay issue, of late, is new information and I too am eagerly waiting for more on its location. :sleep: Hopefully the person with this information will find some time to share it.:bow:
Would I change the cable/harness anyway--I probably would, but only for the health of my feable mind. Trust me, my mind needs all the help it can get.:thinking:
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
...
Trust me, my mind needs all the help it can get.:thinking:
I'm with you on all counts. The cable DIY replacement seems to be cheap insurance for anyone who is traveling away from home often or just wants to avoid the inconvenience of getting stuck. That said, I'm one who stows way too many spare parts in my Sprinter. :crazy:

If it exists that bad cable situation can't be good for the health of the battery or starter. On top of that, Sprinters really don't seem to like low voltage or spikes to the electronics. The cable can set up both of those conditions with the possible need to seek out a jump start. vic
 

upnorth

New member
Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is I put the new harness on and it was fairly easy. The biggest problem was getting the harness and nut off and on the alternator and working on the ground trying to keep my head up to look into all the places the cable ties go. I'm not as young as I use to be.

Bad news is the problem still persists. I am going to have to try to find that relay. It has to be tied to the glow plug light not coming on. I read in the service CD that there is a glow plug module on the front of the engine but I don't think that is what I am looking for. It would be nice on the service CD if they had the diagrams of where the actual modules are. The wire diagrams they show are Greek to me.

Bob
 

showkey

Well-known member
I read in the service CD that there is a glow plug module on the front of the engine but I don't think that is what I am looking for. It would be nice on the service CD if they had the diagrams of where the actual modules are. The wire diagrams they show are Greek to me.

Bob
Don't feel too bad the service CD/manual are very marginal in layout and information given.
 

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