New sprinter owner-vintage car restorer- aged 65.

keith parkes

New member
Hi, I could realy do with some help here please , I will try and keep this as short as possibile but I have a couple of problems I hope you may be able to help me with so here goes. I have recently bought a 04 plate sprinter recovery truck to help me in my buisness of vintage and clasic car restoration , but I am having some problems with air ingress into the system , here are the symptoms The engine will start and run at tick over for only a few seconds , then instantly stops , starts first turn of the key - 3 seconds then stops , turn the key and it starts for only a few seconds then stops , and on it goes . The clear pipe in the filter center is showing a hell of a lot of air in the fuel, so I decided to start at the tank and renew all the pipes from the tank to the filter and the return , in deisel quality rubber sheathed piping using proper pipe clamps .I also changed the filter ( genuine part ) and all the 0 rings on all the pipes I could get to . I also changed the low presure pipe from the filter center to the pump as it was showing singes of weepage. The T piece on the filter top was also changed, NO diference, still running for three seconds only . Now up untill recently the veichle was running just fine ,but there is a second item that has just appeard , - the edr red light is now on on the dash and somtimes it will run for 2 or 3 minites but as soon as you touch the throtle - it stops . Any advise would be most welcome, I live in a remote part of the Scotish Highlands and help is not readly available up here .( I serve my time on 1960s cars and trucks - common rail fule systems are a mystery to me . Thanks in advance - sorry it goes on a bit. Keith.
 

MillionMileSprinter

Formerly Type2Teach
Hey Keith, welcome to the Sprinter forum
It's hard to tell if your "air in fuel lines" problem is still a problem or if it's gone away. If you still have it, I would suggest replacing all the fuel lines with Genuine MB fuel lines. And I don't know what your euro-spec fuel system is like, but here in the US, sprinters from '02 and '03 had trouble with air in the fuel lines which was almost entirely fixed by MB adding a pusher fuel pump in the fuel tank. If you don't have a fuel pump in the tank, you should use MB fuel lines made for the Sprinter and check the fuel filter for air leaks. Especially around the water-in-fuel sensor and the water drain. If you DO have a pusher pump in the tank, you might want to make sure it's working properly. Maybe it's clogged up.
If you tell us your sprinter model, maybe we can help you more.
Good luck!
 

Boater

New member
Quick look on ebay shows recovery trucks based on lots of different sprinters, 3.5t base vehicles and 4t, but more importantly with 110hp, 130hp and 160hp engines. I should imagine that for hauling 60's vintage cars a 416 would be the configuration of choice for a useful payload, in which case it will have the 2.7l OM612 engine. If it is an 80/110/130 hp version (308/311/313/411/413) it will have the 2.2l OM611 engine which is covered in the Haynes manual, and does have a lift pump but it is on the front of the cylinder head not in the tank (I'm looking at Haynes - mine is an OM602, I have never even looked at an OM611 or OM612).
Unfortunately Haynes doesn't cover the OM612 engine for x16 sprinters, however there is plenty of knowledge here if we can identify the engine!

I have to say the symptoms are not entirely unlike the ones I had last summer (except mine wouldn't start at all by the roadside, it was only in a garage that we managed to get as much as you describe!) - that turned out to be a failed sensor in my fuel pump, BUT my pump is a completely different technology to yours so it won't be a carbon copy problem, but I am wondering if it is a failure of a critical sensor which is causing the ECM to shut the engine down. Can't hurt to unplug everything systematically and give all the connectors a good squirt of electrical cleaner. Disconnect the battery negative before unplugging the ECM or ABS modules (under battery and on the ABS pump) - my ECM plug collects water and the pins had quite a bit of corrosion when I first checked it.

You do mention a red light (edr? edc?) - this sounds like the engine management light and is further suggestion that the ECM has found some kind of problem, you may need to get the codes read for further diagnosis.

Where abouts in the Highlands are you? If I manage to fix my car for the weekend (my sprinter is a longer term prospect right now) I may head up to Wester Ross (or may do it next weekend, dads birthday next week) and if I am going to be passing nearby I could bring my diagnostic computer.
I am still not sure it works completely as it should, the OM602 doesn't have many electronic modules and half of them don't communicate properly with the software which makes it difficult to decide if the module is defective or there is a comms error, or the software doesn't work right - I have had different results when I have tried other S/H modules so probably the software does work and my van doesn't!

Good luck!
 

MillionMileSprinter

Formerly Type2Teach
The '02 and '03 NAFTA Sprinters are 612 engines with the pump on the front of the engine... which are prone to sucking in air bubbles.
 

keith parkes

New member
Goodmorning all, many thanks to both Boater and Type2Teach for there great replies to my question . My sprinter is a 313 - 04 reg. so I guess that means it is the om611 engine , it has ,a pump on the front of the head connected to the top centre of the fillter with a preformed clear plastic pipe ( new ) it is in this pipe that countless numbers of tiny air bubles are showing for the brief time the engine runs . they are being draged from the top of the filter down to the pump , but after changing everything in the immediate area , I am at a loss to identify where the leak is . I will do what Boater says and unplug the "brain " under the battery box and clean the connections . I have a confesion to make and it is this , I actualy ran the engine for a few moments with the inrercooler pipe disconected - not intentionaly - the hose blew of where it connects to the intercooler and I did not see it immediatly , it was just after this that the EDC light came on - maybee there is a connection ? I live up here in Caithness- Dunnet head - I asked arround some of the local modern garages to see if anyone could shed any light on this problem , without sucsess. I have replaced all the fuel pipes with deisel quality rubber piping ( braded ) which is used on all modern tracters , with new pipe clamps , I thought that would be a permenant and good thing to do , but if I am wrong I would contact MB and obtain new pipes and hoses from them , its hard for this old fart to understand how this could make any diference , but if you think it will , I will change them . Type 2 teach sugested air ingress from the water cencor or the drain plug on the filter , I changed the 0 rings on both without sucsess , should I fit a fillter without the water cencer - just to see if it makes any diference ? Once again , many thanks for your help both. Keith
 

MillionMileSprinter

Formerly Type2Teach
With the clear MB tubing, you can see the bubbles better and you are pretty much guaranteed a good seal. It's just a way to say "I know it's not this, so I can move on to looking at something else for the problem."
Yes, I would suggest getting a filter without the water sensor. I had to do that on my '02 to get the bubbles out.
Do you have a Mighty-Vac? It's a hand held vacuum pump, often used for doing a one man brake bleeding job or for priming the fuel system on sprinters without a "pusher" fuel pump in the tank.
Here's what it looks like: http://www.compacc.com/p/Mighty-Vac...scplp2829420&gclid=CNTh-f-l8rcCFdKj4AodIUsAjw

I connected it to the fuel line off the pump on the front of the engine, pumped it hard to set a good vacuum and used a stethoscope to listen for the sound of sucking air. I went all over the fuel filter until finally I heard the sound of sucking air coming from the water in fuel filter.
You can also search this forum for "bubbles in fuel line" or "air in fuel line" for other suggestions and fixes.
Good luck!
 

Boater

New member
Friends always tell me I should go to Dunnet for the Solstice (most northerly point on UK mainland so virtually no darkness at all at that time of year), but I have never got round to it - maybe next year if my sprinter camper is back on the road!

You say you used proper pipe clamps, so I am inferring not jubilee clips (they will let air in), but I am wondering if they are the screw type fuel line clamps, or the even more reliable O clips with the ears that need crimping? If in doubt use the O-clips.
Difficult to see why good quality rubber fuel line would be a problem if it fits the original fittings snugly, I assume it is diesel rated - I have had some some that claimed to be but disintegrated within about a year, the overbraid doesn't help when it hides this sort of thing! Again if in doubt any Mercedes dealer should be able to look up the fuel line sections on the electronic parts catalogue (EPC) and send you the right bits, personally I have been using Ciceley in Blackburn, their parts dept lists stuff on ebay but whenever I have emailed about parts not listed their man usually emails me back a printout from EPC with the parts circled for me to confirm before buying. He is pretty cost conscious and will probably use Royal Mail if possible to avoid the Highlands and Islands surcharge that makes mail order such a nightmare in your neck of the woods.

O-rings are something I have been learning about recently, for best results you should apparantly use individually wrapped and pre-lubed o-rings, dry o-rings from a big box often have tiny cracks or rubber fatigue from dry storage. I have yet to determine if this is a real issue or just a marketing ploy!

There is always a chance that a plastic fitting has cracked somewhere that isn't obvious until you pressurise the pipe.

As for changing the filter to one without the water sensor, there is much discussion about it here, but so far no-one seems to remember actually finding water in their filter in a van using modern diesel fuel - in boats, and back in the old days when fuel wasn't as carefully prepared, but in normal use I haven't seen a single anecdote that suggests the sensor is really useful. I think it's a switch that makes when there is water present so disconnecting and tying the plug somewhere safe shouldn't affect anything.

My only other thought is to ask around local hauliers (must be some in Thurso?), hopefully someone uses Mercedes trucks and will be able to put you in touch with whoever does thier maintenance/service.
 

keith parkes

New member
Hi, many thanks to you both , what I have done thismorning is to rremove the battery , and its tray ,to gain access to the unit directly under the tray inorder to check the connections and spray them with a contact spray as sugested by Boater , well as I was removing the two 10mm nuts that secure the unit to the bulkhead- the heavy red wire ( presumably the feed wire ) that connects to this unit fell away from its fixing , leaving the connecting ring in place on the unit . It looks to me that it was not clamped up correctly at some time and has been making a very poor intermitant connection with the unit ,it was just pushed in there and fell out without me actualy touching it , so perhaps this could cause the engine to stop at odd intervals , what do you think ? perhaps that may be one isue solved. regards Keith
 

Boater

New member
Do you know what, I have described the ECM position for my van, it's different on yours but I think have sent you to the glow plug control module on yours - if the positive feed to that has been dodgy it could cause starting problems (due to communication with main ECM, should start without glow plugs at this time of year). Alternatively if you have identified the correct unit despite my misguidance, still a dodgy positive feed (looks like it goes via the engine control relay) would cause problems. I'll bet it just vibrates enough to break the circuit. My van has another 8 years on yours, but I can confirm that the wiring gets pretty brittle over time!

Stupid electrics!
 

keith parkes

New member
Goodmorning all , sorry for the delay in following this problem on , but I have been so busy trying to catch up that the sprinter has been just sat waiting for its turn as it were - anyway I have - after spending countless hours changing what seem like everything in the fule system without any reduction in the no. of bubbles in the fuel line , finaly CHANGED THE FUEL FILTER AGAIN - but this time for a fillter WITHOUT the water sencer or drain tap , and now NO AIR !!. I could not belive it when I started the van and all pipes were running clear- Briliant . So that seems to be one problem solved , but leaves me with the other isue - although the van now starts and runs clear - it cuts out if i try and lift the speed up above 1500 RPM and the EDC red light is still on when the engine is running . It will tick over for ever but will not accelarate , and , it may be my imagination but just dosnot sound smooth - a little noisy when trying to lift the revs. Ant further help from members woulkd be Greatly appreciated . Thanks to all .
 

keith parkes

New member
Goodmorning all , I am now at the end of my tether as it were, ready to give the sprinter away! as I said in the above - the engine started - would not rev. would not drive EDC light still on . Local garage could not find fault But - belive this or not - sugested TOW starting the van - even though it was starting on key - this will put out the EDC light he said and all then back to normal ! . Now I could not get my head round this , but seemingly with nothing to loose Ill try it . It worked !! engine running , reving , no light . All seemed fine . Left home at 5am to do a long run - 6 miles down the road it STOPED - instantly - just like you had turned off the key , Had to get towed in - again - Now wont start at all , turns over OK but wont start , Exept if you TOW it , then starts and runs OK on tickover but will not rev , swich it off and it needs to be towed - only a few yards - for it to start . ANY HELP PLEASE . Regards Keith.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
"TOW works, Starter doesn't"
That could be as simple as a broken ignition switch (in START the RUN contacts are not making it?)
Damaged wiring harness (somewhere?). Bad fuse block #1 (at the steering column).
Bad engine ground/earthing cable? (starter current causes engine "ground" to float up a few volts)
Bad cables (or clamps) from battery to starter and frame?

Since you are getting the EDC light, you really really should take the Sprinter to someone who can *read the codes*.
Even though the light goes off, the original fault is remembered in the computer. A proper scanner can access those.
Even a "simple" OBD-II (or equivalent) reader might give a hint. Here in the US, many 3rd party automotive parts stores have "loaner" scanners you can use in their parking lot. MB car service shops may be able to "read" your Sprinter.
Without getting the EDC's idea of what's wrong, you're stabbing in the dark.

Even without a Sprinter-specific scanner, when the van is "cranking but won't start", an oscilloscope should reveal if the injectors are getting a "squirt" signal (i suspect they're not... the computer is having a blue funk). With a voltmeter you can test if the "run" relays are being activated.
(the problem could even be a failing relay).
What can i say? The Sprinter's electronics are not *much* more complicated than a 1967 VW Variant with electronic fuel injection.

good luck
--dick (age 67)
p.s. When my EDC light came on the first time (300 miles new), my ScanGauge was already in the mail.
I later bought a used surplus from Germany Sprinter-specific scanner (the "DAD" you'll see mentioned in this forum) for about $350 "as insurance".
I have been lucky (so far) and the ScanGauge has been enough to diagnose my own issues.
But i have been able to sniff out other folk's more perplexing problems with the DAD.
 

keith parkes

New member
He thanks for taking the time and efort to respond , I shall read your reply several times and fully digest your comments . Thismorning , although it would not start yesterday on the key , I came out - turned the key and it started instantly , although would only rev. up to 2.5 thou. reves and no more. No lights on dash , just not reving very hard .After a few min. stops instantly and refuses to start . I am in a remote part of Scotland where there are no mobile people operating with scanners that could come out and "plug in " . I want to keep the veichle and use it in conjunction with my vintage restoration buisness , but I have had that mutch trouble with it electronicaly , that I think I will reluctantly - scrap it . Its problems are bigger than my time , I simpily cannot continue to throw money and time at a veichle that I have no confidence in . I collect vintage cars and tractors from all over Scotland , I restore them to SHOW WINNING condition for clients worldwide - I have never in 50 years been so frustrated by a vehicle . Its the big scrapyard in the sky I think . Regards and thanks to all who have answerd my posts . Keith.
 

Boater

New member
Keith's nearest MB car dealer is in Inverness 2.5 hours from him, nearest van dealer is 5 hours away in Aberdeen. I am probably the closest Forum member to him (haven't noticed any others in Scotland in the year or so I have been a member) at around 6 hours drive, although to visit my parents I do pass within 2.5 hours.

It's a bad place to be stuck with an unreliable vehicle - about 25 minutes after leaving my dads on Sunday I was passed by the Sprinter from the garage in his village (small winding road and I was doing 60), about 30 minutes later I passed it in a layby virtually on the other side of the country attending to a broken down motorbike.... this is not unusual, recovery garages are long way apart up there, and vehicles capable of recovering a sprinter are even further apart!

Sad to see Keith go, but I can completely understand why he needs to get rid of the van.
 

mean_in_green

>2,000,000m in MB vans
'Morning Keith. I think you're going to need a plug in to begin to understand what the problem could be. There's a good probability it is something simple which the vehicle can communicate with the right software, however I recognize this is not something that is easily achievable in your circumstances.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
I do commiserate with Keith, and can well understand the trade-off between the rural life versus ready access to complicated (or rare) services.

I am curious...
on Sunday I was passed by the Sprinter from the garage in his village
How does the garage owner get his Sprinter serviced?

(and i'm also curious: "(small winding road and I was doing 60), " ... MPH or KPH?)

good luck Keith... what's next? A Transit? A nice vintage Arvo or Vauxhall?
--dick
 

Boater

New member
I am curious... How does the garage owner get his Sprinter serviced?
Good question, and one to which I don't know the answer. If they don't work on it themselves, they probably have to go to Inverness or Aberdeen.

The garage in question would be about 4 hours drive from where Keith is. I'm sure if you have spent some time in the mountains you will understand that roads don't always lead in the direction you want to go!
My dad and I both live on the west coast, the fastest way to get from my house to his, is via the east coast.....

(and i'm also curious: "(small winding road and I was doing 60), " ... MPH or KPH?)
I was in my car which is allowed to do 60mph on such roads, so I was, except on some bends which I consider need to be taken more slowly.

I don't speed as a rule, but when overtaking I like to get it done as quickly as possible. The day before I found a speed trap on the safest overtaking straight for 50 miles in any direction.....
 

lofty whiteley

lofty whiteley
hi Keith.my van had a similar problem to yours.starting ok then cutting out after 5-10 minutes.thenafter 10-15 mins it would start and run but not over 30 mph.i took it to the garage they plugged it in to the compooter and it worked.they said it was in get you home mode but had no idea what or why.80 euros it cost.no more problems since 250 000 kms later.
youl find the answer.by the way do you know where i can get a starter motor for a 1954 tvo fergi.
ttfn lofty
 

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