Sprinter not starting....

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
Parked last night this evening just wont start Arghhh

"I hear a low volume whine from the engine compartment, when I turn the key. After I take the keys out the whine continues for 4-5 sec and then a few clicks and then silence." Any idea. Battery appears just fine. Headlight turns on as do all the dash lights.
 

showkey

Well-known member
Last edited:

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
Just an update. The battery checks out fine at 12.44V and 998CCA. Looks like it is going to be the starter or some wiring issue; however with only 8K miles on the vehicle; I am having a tough time figuring out what it could possibly be.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Just an update. The battery checks out fine at 12.44V and 998CCA. Looks like it is going to be the starter or some wiring issue; however with only 8K miles on the vehicle; I am having a tough time figuring out what it could possibly be.
You didn't provide a year. Is it under warranty?

The starters are generally reliable, but sometimes parts do just fail prematurely. Corrosion can deteriorate connections over time regardless of miles. Further testing should track it down. vic


A Canned Posting Add-on

Please take the time to add your vehicle info to all your posts automatically!!!!! It's easy to do. It will help you to get answers. Thank you.

Here's how to do it.

The most direct method is probably in your "Details".
After you are logged in click on "Private Messages" (or “Quick Links”) in the upper right corner.
On the left side under "Your Profile" click on "Edit your Details".
Scroll down to the "Custom User Title" box.
Click in that box and type the information.
I suggest “Vehicle year – NAFTA or 311, etc.” depending upon your location.
Scroll down to the "Save Changes" box. Click on that and you are done.

Another place is in your "Signature".
Click on "Private Messages" (or “Quick Links”) in the upper right.
On the left look for "Setting and Options".
Click on "Edit Signature".
Scroll down to the text box which looks like what you use to add a post to the forum. Type in the information you want.
I used “NAFTA 2004 OM647 140 2500 Std Roof >246,000 mi. DAD” [/QUOTE]
Scroll down to "Preview Signature". If the preview looks like what you want, scroll down to "Save Signature", click on that and you're done.

I don’t know what objection anyone could have to adding their model year and Sprinter detail information permanently. (You don’t need to include your location.) Consider it this way. Members of the forum will try to help you. Do you think that it is fair for one to expect anyone to dig up your vehicle information before they reply? You only need to add the info once using the guide above and you’re done. Sorry if I'm being too straightforward for some.

Thanks. vic
 

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
Good idea, I will add model year and details on a regular basis. Just for this posting: This is a 2008 2500 318 CDI Sprinter. Conversion done by Krystal @ Brea, CA.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Ah... an NCV3... there have been many reports of failure of the "Y cable" that connects the starter, alternator and battery together.
(there's even a fusible link in the alternator segment).

There are many things that can prevent starter cranking... dead solenoid, dead starter contacts in the ignition switch, and (in the NCV3) sick logic/relays in-between.

*do the following with the key OFF and out of the ignition*
You can test the solenoid (and Y-cable) by locating the starter and (carefully, with the tip of a big screwdriver and being VERY careful to avoid hitting any other metal on the Sprinter) bridging the gap between the two heavy wires on the solenoid (the little cylinder thing on the side of the starter... where the wires attach).
That should make the starter spin (but perhaps not engage).
Now jump from the battery feed wire to the *smallest* wire on the solenoid (avoiding the thicker goes-into-starter wire).
That should cause the solenoid to pull in, and the starter to engage with the flywheel and start cranking the engine.
(beware: this is a diesel.. if there's anyresidual fuel or oil in the cylinders it may fire a chuff or two)

OK... if the first crank (thick wire to thick wire) works but the 2nd didn't, it's the solenoid at fault.
If they both worked, then the ignition key's twist isn't getting electricity down to the solenoid. Look upstream.
If neither worked, and the 2nd (little wire) didn't make the solenoid go CLUNK, then suspect the Y cable.(or engine-to-battery ground connections)
If the solenoid went CLUNK but the starter didn't spin, it's the starter.

Basic Starter Diagnostics 101...
--dick
 

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
sitting here at the mechanic!

The tow truck came in the morning to cart the 2008 NCV3 to the repair shop. We put the gear shifter in Neutral by punching the release under the shifter. Rolled it 10 feet. Hit a small bump going over a rain gutter. And then it just so happened that I tried turning the ignition when it was in a safe spot next to the tow truck, and voila it started up! And has consistently been since then. The mechanic cannot figure it out....
 

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
Just another thing to note, when the Sprinter did startup, I measured 14.14V at the battery terminal. And 12.48V prior to that, when the truck was not starting.

I will have the mechanic check the Y-cable for anything obvious. He checked the relay, looks OK, nothing obvious. Not had a close look at the starter yet.
 

showkey

Well-known member
Voltage drop test all the battery and ground wires and connections......you would be looking for excessive voltage drop that would indicate the area with high resistance (poor connection, poor slice, corroded pinch eyelet or wire. Look for "green" copper at the splices and end under the insulation.

autostaretx drew out a perfect troubleshooting plan.......adding hit the starter body with a hammer.....old school back yard test, just moves the parts enough to temporarily fix a poor connection in the solenoid or brushes (similar to hitting a bump:hmmm::hmmm:)
 

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
Problem diagnosed. Apparently one of the wires on the starter was loose!!!! (The thinnest wire, energizer?). Why it was lose and how come it was not spotted all this time and continued to start is a mystery.

I think I found myself an honest mechanic, he charged $90 but then also threw in an oil change for $210 - which the dealer probably charges 2x. We were prepared to swap the starter.
 

Freewalker

NCV3 08 318CDI 170 2500SH
As a side note the voltage drop from Battery to Starter was 0.2V and Battery to Alternator was 0V; with pre-existing wiring. The factory Y-cable looks good. Thanks for everyone's advise and recommendations. Certainly helped me think through the possibilities.
 

NelsonSprinter

Former Nelson BC Sprinter
I hope the mechanic used the proper MB approved oil in that change.
 

sprinterthad

New member
I have similar problem that just started.

2008 "Dodge" Sprinter Cargo. 100,000 miles on it. Good Crank, No Start. I have replaced the Crank Shaft Sensor twice, the first was an off brand, but now I have the OEM sensor in there.. But still experiencing sproadic, and occasional Crank, No start.. sometimes the no start lasts for days.. doesn't seem to be affected by heat or cold.. does seem to be affected if I can roll the van.. or sometimes just wait.. then it starts again.. No Engine Codes.. Dealer is baffled as well. I did read the Crankshaft voltage and it was 5 volts, on the terminal closest to the front.. 5 volts on the middle teminal, but I can't find specs for whether these readings are correct, although it doesn't seem like that is right. I have also not read the voltage when the van was working.. the last time I got it started I drove it to the dealer.. that was a week ago.. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks
 

Cajun Custom

New member
Ah... an NCV3... there have been many reports of failure of the "Y cable" that connects the starter, alternator and battery together.
(there's even a fusible link in the alternator segment).

There are many things that can prevent starter cranking... dead solenoid, dead starter contacts in the ignition switch, and (in the NCV3) sick logic/relays in-between.

*do the following with the key OFF and out of the ignition*
You can test the solenoid (and Y-cable) by locating the starter and (carefully, with the tip of a big screwdriver and being VERY careful to avoid hitting any other metal on the Sprinter) bridging the gap between the two heavy wires on the solenoid (the little cylinder thing on the side of the starter... where the wires attach).
That should make the starter spin (but perhaps not engage).
Now jump from the battery feed wire to the *smallest* wire on the solenoid (avoiding the thicker goes-into-starter wire).
That should cause the solenoid to pull in, and the starter to engage with the flywheel and start cranking the engine.
(beware: this is a diesel.. if there's anyresidual fuel or oil in the cylinders it may fire a chuff or two)

OK... if the first crank (thick wire to thick wire) works but the 2nd didn't, it's the solenoid at fault.
If they both worked, then the ignition key's twist isn't getting electricity down to the solenoid. Look upstream.
If neither worked, and the 2nd (little wire) didn't make the solenoid go CLUNK, then suspect the Y cable.(or engine-to-battery ground connections)
If the solenoid went CLUNK but the starter didn't spin, it's the starter.

Basic Starter Diagnostics 101...
--dick
i have a question to this as i have a 2014 sprinter just started giving issues , last week was the altenator , this week a bad head light found a broke wire at the head light fixed it then it wouldnt start again thowing a slew of com codes. no crank check engine lights and will not come out of gear unless you do it manual release , have checked all the simple things fuses and relays.

i tried this trouble shooting step here listed , i can spin the starter over by big wire to small , but big to big just sparks nothing else i didnt see a line pertaining to that.
 

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