HELP- Black Death! or leaky fuel injector

azz_blackpool

New member
I noticed my van was not running smooth when idling like it use to, and also a strong smell coming through to the cab. So took it into a mechanic, and straight away informed me of the term 'black death' which he followed by saying ' yes it is as bad as it sounds'!

Now looking on the internet tonight and having a good look at the engine (my mechanical knowledge is not to bad :) ) I would say it is in its early stage of a leaky injector ( 1-4 weeks)

There is not a great build up off deposits, but you can hear the chugging over noise when idling now.

All I would like to know is that how long approximately would you give the engine/van the way it is now to keep plodding on? It has been an excellent workhorse but dubious on paying the high repair price for the van, it is just not worth it (very tatty body)

I do 500-1000 miles a week - Engine has done 282,000 miles

Thank you.
 

surlyoldbill

Active member
I think a search of this forum will show that black death, especially from just one injector, is a repairable problem and not the end of the entire engine. Get that injector out and clean up the gunk and install a new injector. Check the other ones while you're at it.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
...
All I would like to know is that how long approximately would you give the engine/van the way it is now to keep plodding on? It has been an excellent workhorse but dubious on paying the high repair price for the van, it is just not worth it (very tatty body)

I do 500-1000 miles a week - Engine has done 282,000 miles

Thank you.
first let me extend you a hale and hearty welcome to the forum. welcome2.gif

I waited to change my leaking "Black Death" injector(s). I think that it was a mistake to do that. I had quite a bit of trouble pulling my injectors. That said, the puller which I had borrowed failed and I think that sent me down a bad path once the engine cooled.

My opinions today off the top of my head based upon my experience and reading what others have posted.

I would not wait too long to repair a leaking injector.

At about 225,000 miles I changed out all my injectors because I had all the correct tools for a limited amount of time. I could replace them all DIY for not much more than what I figured it would cost for two injectors to be done professionally. In hindsight, if the injectors remove easily, just replacing those which show a bad leak down test is probably what I'd do now.

Make absolutely certain that the hold down bolt threads are chased clean and to the bottom.

I would have at least one injector on hand and extra seals and hold down claw bolts. If you install an injector and it still leaks, you need another seal and hold down bolt to R&R it to clean the seat and try again. If you need to disassemble an injector to use a puller, you need a replacement injector. I personally would not re-assemble an injector for re-use.

Here is a thread I started on changing injectors. Don't be put off by my experience in the early post(s). There are additional posts where other people have changed out injector seals with little trouble. There are also some DIY tools which have been suggested.

Do be aware that it can get to be a tough job though. There are pitfalls and potential problems to uncover. Good luck. vic

Remove Pull Replace Install Change T1N Fuel Injector

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160688
 

expcourier

expeditious
Black Death is not from a leaking injector, rather from a leaking seal on the injector body where it contacts the head.

Unburnt fuel washing down the cylinder walls will cause an early demise of your engine.

The black death deposits can be cleaned with "brake cleaner" and paper towels to act like a wick. You can chip away the majority of the stuff when cool with a pick type tool. Then you can attack the root cause by removing the injector, cleaning the seal area, putting on a new seal and reinstalling.

There are many posts here regarding injector r+r and If you are in a pinch you can make your own tools to do it with.

I describe the tools I made starting at post #12 in the following link:

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19234

Try not to be intimidated by a mechanic who says "it's that bad" because it really isn't.

With some basic mechanical ability and some determination and a few tools it can be done without a mechanic.

Aqua puttana's post above is a very informative link and there are many other herein.

Good luck.
 

owner

Well-known member
First of all, Black death is not terminal. The earlier you fix it the easier it will be. If you leave it leaking too long, and I'm talking a few weeks as a long time, the black death will glue your injector in place, and the leak will erode the sealing faces.

If caught early enough it can be a 1 hour job. The injector pulls easily and you just clean and drop in a new seal, bolt, and clamp. The compounding problems occur when it has been left too long.
 

Bob of QF

New member
expcourier:

I love your home-made tools. It's always enjoyable to read about someone going outside the box, to get an otherwise difficult job done effectively. Kudos.

I also enjoyed reading your write-up.

Add in the other write-ups on injectors written by other experts of this forum, makes me willing to tackle this on my sprinter. Once I'm past the current work-related hurdles, that is.
 

Coast2Coast

2006 158 Cargo
If your having cold start issues in temps below 35, would this be a symptom of black death?

Also does ECU throw a code?
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
If your having cold start issues in temps below 35, would this be a symptom of black death?

Also does ECU throw a code?
I didn't have any codes related to my seal leakage (Black Death).

Unless the seals are leaking so badly that you can hear a loud chuffing sound, seal leakage doesn't usually affect performance. So in general, seal leakage would probably not be related to start problems in cold ambient.

A bad injector(s) has been highlighted as having cold start symptoms. Search for Leak Down test. It is a relative easy and cheap test for injectors. vic
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
If your having cold start issues in temps below 35, would this be a symptom of black death?

Also does ECU throw a code?
When 'black death' compression leakages reaches a critical level, driveability symptoms will be quite obvious and the engine module will have an associated misfire fault code(s).

Below that level there should be little affect on starting and driveability.

Doktor A
 

Coast2Coast

2006 158 Cargo
I've been driving the 06 sprinter for almost 5k miles since I got it. I don't see anything with drive ability issues. Just cold start up and some black smoke when its real cold. I guess its time to pull the cover off. Oil seems to have lost its gold color sooner then normal after changing. Possibly the engine was just really dirty and will get cleaner with future oil changes.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
... and will get cleaner with future oil changes.
Are you basing this comment upon gasoline (petrol) internal combustion engine experience? Oil in a diesel engine will never get cleaner. A proper diesel engine oil is designed to suspend the solids which are a normal occurrence with diesel engine operation. The oil will look dirtier as compared to a similar gasoline fired engine oil interval. FWIW. vic
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Are you basing this comment upon gasoline (petrol) internal combustion engine experience? Oil in a diesel engine will never get cleaner. A proper diesel engine oil is designed to suspend the solids which are a normal occurrence with diesel engine operation. The oil will look dirtier as compared to a similar gasoline fired engine oil interval. FWIW. vic
My oil got cleaner after I started using Amalgamated's TDR-S.
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Re: the previous discussion about the possible effects of running with a leaky injector seal, it seems that bigdaddydaveh's engine was destroyed because the leak was bad enough to lower compression to the point where the charge in that cylinder didn't get hot enough to ignite the fuel, the fuel washed away the oil and the ring & cylinder wall galled destroying the seal there.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
My oil got cleaner after I started using Amalgamated's TDR-S.
I guess I was speaking in general terms.

Cleaner? As compared to what?

Did it go from jet black to golden color?

Did you test the opacity before and after using the additive? I don't know what baseline could be accurately used.

I'm not intending to be argumentative. It just seems that any experience I have with gas engines doesn't apply to my 2004 diesel engine oil. It always seems dirtier in appearance than what I would expect. :idunno: vic
 

talkinghorse43

Active member
Did you test the opacity before and after using the additive? I don't know what baseline could be accurately used.
Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the oil before the additive, but I do have after pictures and the below is a picture of the oil just before a change after 15k miles of service.
 

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Coast2Coast

2006 158 Cargo
Getting a little off topic here :clapping: but all I know is that I changed my oil 4k back and its really black now, compared to my last sprinter I bought with 67k and changed oil every 7500 miles and it kept a gold color for the first few thousand miles before it got black. With this sprinter current mileage is at 173k and it blackens up a whole lot quicker. Think I'm gunna flush the motor with some lubromoly engine flush next oil change.
 

Coast2Coast

2006 158 Cargo
Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the oil before the additive, but I do have after pictures and the below is a picture of the oil just before a change after 15k miles of service.

I didn't know there was a oil that could handle a 15k service interval? Thought 12-13k was max.:rolleyes:
 

Therberg

Member
I'm always between 14 and 15 k before the assyst says it's time to change. :idunno:
 

Coast2Coast

2006 158 Cargo
No Black Death for me... did the inspection and everything looked almost brand new underneath the cover :thumbup: still trying to figure out why the sprinter has trouble starting in under 35 temps. It really struggles in 20 and below takes it 3-4 min to fire sometimes, Id rather fix this before the cold hits again. My booster heater make squealing noises and is smoking, think its due for replacing. This T1N came from Chicago area so I'd imagine the booster heater got used a fair amount. :idunno:

Back to the oil topic. When I start in moring the wrench lite comes on and it says -1000. Does that mean the oil was due 1000 miles back to be changed? I changed it about 5500 miles back. I'm about to change it here in another 600 miles with some rotella eventually switching over to lubromoly or pentosen.
 
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talkinghorse43

Active member
Back to the oil topic. When I start in moring the wrench lite comes on and it says -1000. Does that mean the oil was due 1000 miles back to be changed? I changed it about 5500 miles back. I'm about to change it here in another 600 miles with some rotella eventually switching over to lubromoly or pentosen.
Did you reset ASSYST when you changed the oil?
 

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