Power Loss on road Trip-Advice Please

Today was the start of our family vacation.

We were travelling in B.C. east on the #3 Hwy. when our 2004 156WB Sprinter with 78,000miles on it lost almost all power travelling up to Manning Park.

We pulled over and checked as many things as we could. Engine Temp. Oil levels. Looked for leaks or any other visual problems....nothing. The only thing we could find is an exhaust leak where there was a joint and another where they put in flex pipe when we had the exhaust replaced.

So we did a 180 and limped back doing 10kmh on the uphills and as much as 80hmh on the downhills with a tail wind.

Very little throttle response.

So my question to the forum and I would appreciate advice on is where do I start looking for the source of this really-really poorly timing failure?

I should note that the factory Turbo Resonator has been replaced early in my ownership.

Do I start by looking for the "Black Death"?

Something else?

Thanks for the advice.

A devastated "Master of Nothing".


My guess would be a split hose somewhere between the turbo and intake manifold.


DRB III Owner If You Need
As has been mentioned here a thousand times, you need to get the codes. If it is in LHM there will be some codes to lead you in the right direction.

Even a generic code reader will lead you in finding the issue.
Thanks guys. Yeah I wrote that thread on my phone waiting for the last ferry home last night so was not able to look through the forum or poke around for the cause. This morning (early) I started looking around and reading some of the similar threads. I don't think anyone in town has the specific sprinter scan tools but my friend has a Scan Guage for his Eurovan so I will pop over there and borrow that. If anyone has any hints on how to work that as I have never used one.

Prior to using that.....any guesses besides split hose that anyone wants to submit. Winner will get the crown for a day!


Well-known member
Master of Nothing,
When you get the Scan Gauge II (I hope it's the full Scan Gauge II) you will need to change the set up to match your engine size fuel type
and a few other things..
It might be good to go through the set up screens BEFORE you remove it from the EuroVan and write them all down so when you return it
it can be set back up the way it was before it was removed.
You can see the setup procedures here:
When you get the ScanGauge II all plugged in and set up for your Sprinter, set the following PID's (Parameter Identification):
MAP (Tells you how much boost (in PSIA (Absolute pressure here))) your turbo charger is putting out.
This should be in the ~14.7 PSIA range @ sea level and will need to be corrected lower if your altitude is significantly higher than sea level.
Also set %LOaD (LOD).
Take your Sprinter for a little drive and see if the LOD varies normally (19-35% @ idle depending on what electrical loads/transmission in or out of gear..etc.)
Running along in drive (5th gear overdrive) @ 55-60 mph you should see 50-65%. If you see more than 80% you probably are not getting any boost from the
turbo. Could be a hose split, one of the turbo hose joints leaking, or popped off the fitting entirely, possible turbo actuator malfunction (might be simply frozen
with rust at the ball joints, so lube them as best you can and gently move the actuator link. When running, and the engine is revved up, you should see the '
actuator bell crank rotate as the link and the electronic linear actuator respond to signals from the ECM. If not you either have a bad actuator or the ECM has
commanded no boost/LHM.
If you wish to read your codes, just use the buttons on the Scan Gauge II to read the code numbers, then look them up online to see what they indicate.
Remember, the codes you get from the Scan Gauge II are generic and may or may not indicate real problem area, but they can be used to lead you in the
direction of the principle causes of LHM.
Low/high boost
Sensor issues (bad sensors/dirty sensors that will respond after being cleaned).
Hope this helps,


DRB III Owner If You Need
Scanguage is not a sprinter specific tool but it does provide some good info.

I have the fortune to have 2 Sprinter owners that live very close to me and I have performed some experiments.

Last time one of them had an issue and I connected my scanguage and it reported Glow plug module.

Then plugged in DRBIII and it reported glow plug module over current bank 1 and bank 2.

Same information but in more detail on DRB.

If you dont have access to DRB or DAD, scanguage is a good alternative, just remember with the Sprinter, codes can be caused by another system going bad. O2 sensor is a perfect example. It is the last sensor in the loop before exhaust exits the van, lots of other things can go bad and cause an O2 sensor bad code. Be careful following the advice of a scanguage but it does offer some good info.
Unfortunately not a Scan Gauge II. It was a different one but I did get the code.

Code: P0299 Turbo Charger Under Boost.

So my neighbour who is a great HD mechanic and I looked over everything and it all looks fine. One thing on the forum it the turbo mentions seem to have vacuum actuation where mine looks electric. We took the main hose to the turbo off and it looks like it spins fine. There is no oil leaking from the turbo.

I did change the air filter on the van about a two months ago but have been on many trips since then.


Well-known member
aster of Nothing:
'02 and '03 NAFTA Sprinters (Freightliner and later Dodge) do indeed have a vacuum actuated (powered actually with electronic valves controlling the vacuum) turbocharger
actuator. The actuator turns the vanes inside the turbocharger (next to the drive bucket wheel) to give you more or less turbocharger pressure).
This is the OM-612 2.7 liter 5 cylinder inline engine.
All later models NAFTA Sprinters have electronically actuated and controlled turbocharger vane control actuators. These employ an electronic linear actuator to move the
link that rotates the bell crank and the gear inside the turbo that mates with the vane positioning ring which has gear teeth cut on the outer diameter.
So, if you have an '04-'06 NAFTA Sprinter with the OM-647 2.7 liter 5 cylinder inline engine you have an electronic turbocharger actuator.
To see if it's working, look at the bell crank that exits the front of the rusty (hot) side of your turbocharger. If the link moves up and down and rotates the bellcrank,
your actuator is working. If not, it's either frozen/jammed, or the actuator is faulty, malfunctioning.
All NCV3 V6 OM-642 engines use an electronic linear actuator to control you turbo Boost level.
In all of the above, regardless or actuator power source (vacuum vs linear actuator) the ECM senses the amount of engine load (% engine LOAD) and adjusts the
fueling rate and turbocharger output pressure to suit the 3 conditions you can select with the accelerator pedal.
#1 Less power mode= you are coasting, the fuel flow is shut off completely, and the turbocharger pressure is returning to 0 PSI or ambient altitude corrected MAP (PSIA) of ~ 14.7 PSIA @ sea level.
#2 Maintain power mode= the ECM will adjust your fueling rate and the turbo pressure to maintain your current speed and RPM....you have no choices here....engine management is making all the decisions and adjustments for you!
#3 More Power Mode= ECM will adjust fueling rate and turbocharger pressure up to the maximum for both to try to achieve equilibrium (#2 mode above).
If you push the accelerator pedal down even half way, with low RPM and high % engine LOAD the ECM can (and often does) run the fuel flow and boost up to the maximum until you reach the speed you want to go, and it senses equilibrium and goes into mode #2.
How long this takes is completely dependent on where you are in the engines overall power band.
If you are @ < 2400 RPM (your max. torque RPM for OM-612/647/642 Sprinters) then it's going to take awhile as you are significantly below the RPM range where the engine makes is best and most efficient power (2800-3250 for the T1N 5 cylinder engines OM-612/647) and 2700-3600 for the NCV3 3.0 CRD V6's).
The engine will struggle along trying to get up into it's best most efficient power range and be using significantly more fuel that is really required if you simply downshifted to a more powerful gear.
So, check your turbocharger actuator linkage...lube it with something like Liquid Wrench, then try to work some high temperature synthetic grease into the ball/socket joint.
With the code you have, it could very well be an common overboost created underboost situation.
The boost goes above normal, the ECM senses this and shuts the turbo down with the actuator. Now you are in LHM and the indication is underboost, because the turbocharger is shut off (no actuation since you are in LHM). These events often go in pairs.
Hope this helps,
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Erratic Member
PLEASE put your model year in your signature block... note how sailquik has to provide both 02-03 and 04-06 info
(on re-reading your first post, i see the "replaced the resonator long ago", so you're 04 or newer)

Even though the resonator was replaced, it could have blown again... do a *thorough* inspection of all of the rubber hoses (feel underneath, look for oil build-up on the adjacent surfaces and under the van). Feel the hoses where you can't see them for splits while you squeeze the hose itself.

A pressurized (don't exceed 20 psi above atmospheric) "smoke test" of the hoses by sealing and adding air where the resonator exists may show the leaK (do the resonator, too). There have been reports of the intercooler itself cracking

The Mass Air Flow sensor (before the turbo) can fail.

Don't apply raw 12v to the solenoid actuator... it runs on much lower voltages.
(there's a DAD / DRB-III test that runs it through its range from 5% to 95% activation)

If you plug in a ScanGauge, it will immediately be able to read the MAP (Manifold Air Pressure).
It should range from ambient pressure (about 14.9 psi) to about 32 psi.
It also has a few distinct failure modes: if the ground wire is broken, it will read 38.29 psi;
if signal wire is shorted to ground or open, it will read 2.9 psi; if the sensor's 5v supply is shorted to ground or open, it will also read 2.9 psi

good luck
p.s. if the symptoms ever "go away" when you start the engine, and show up soon into the driving, that really points to a leak or the actuator (since it's not sensed until it asks for boost and doesn't get it).
p.p.s. you can download the complete 2006 service manual ("complete", but doesn't know about the turbo resonator) from: http://aie-services-2.net/Sprinter/
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DRB III Owner If You Need
If you restart and it runs for a while, it is probably a leak. If restarting does not fix it, then something else. I checked everything on mine and found nothing and had the same symptoms.

It turned out to be a cracked intercooler. Make sure you check the bottom of the intercooler for oild leakage and you can remove the aux fan and A/C condensor and see the intercooler.

Do this if you see no other problems.

Also if you replaced the turbo resonator with another plastic one, it could have failed again. Do yourself a favor and replace it with the resonator eliminator and never look back. No one makes a plastic one that wont fail. The eliminator does not fail.
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New member
Running van but low engine power, especially on climbs, almost always = loss of boost pressure.
Loss of boost pressure almost always is a result of a leak in the charge air system; the tubing and cooler and connections between the turbo and the intake manifold.
Loss of boost pressure can also be EGR failure to fully seal, allowing boost to bleed off.
Rare sources of low boost are failed turbo, or failed turbo actuator.
This is lucky, because finding and fixing the leak in the charge air system is much cheaper than buying a new turbo. A lot of people jump right to the turbo as the source of failure, but that turns out to seldom be the case.

Others can offer their odds for source of this problem, but I list them as:
1.5-1 Leak in charge air system
8-1 bad EGR
20-1 bad turbo
Thanks guys. I am trying to locate a reputable mechanic in town here that might have a proper diagnostic tool.

The resonator I replaced the stock one is the "eliminator" type. Aluminum. Probably did not crack but I can pull it and check. Thanks for the other suggestions as well. I will keep investigating.

I did take the hose off to the manifold today and there was a bit of oil residue in there does that mean anything?

Also while crawling around under the van today I noticed my transmission was leaking a bit. I did a service on this last fall with new gaskets so that was a bit of a disappointment. Worse was I think the leak might be coming from not the outside of where the wire plug is but possibly the inside of it which would of course contaminate the wires. I did not have time to bring the van to level ground and investigate further yet.

I will include my vehicle information in my signature when I figure that out.....


New member
Oil in intake is normal.
Look around for oily residue on any of the hoses coming from the turbo or into the intake. sometimes the ring clamps can come loose, sometimes the hoses can get a crack. The oil in the intake is coming through the boost system, and if there are any splits or cracks or loose clamps it will show you where.
That is good news about the oil in the intake!

Will keep searching in the morning.


Dis member
I've never tried this but I will the next time I can't find the hole in the upper turbo hose: Try wrapping it in 1st aid gauze and looking for the oil stain. Kinda like rolling an obese :censored: in flour and looking for the :censored: spot.
I re-checked all hoses this morning. Pulled all but the lower one on the right side of the engine. They all look fine, dry (a bit of oil in the lower one from the turbo but I understand that is normal) and could not find any cracks anywhere on any of them. No external oil on any of the hoses at all.

The exhaust seems to have a few leaks. I had a new one installed last November from the Turbo back but a couple of the joints don't seem completely sealed as well as the flex joint. I don't think this could be the problem as before I had it replaced I was basically straight pipe to before the Cat. Con where the pipe had separated.


One good thing is I figured out how to modify my signature on the forum so that it includes my van information now. Small steps.
The local Independent Diesel mechanics have had the van for a couple of days. It has been a mystery for them. Today they called and said they have tracked the problem to a blocked Catalytic Converter. I had my exhaust replaced last fall. Of course the stock Cat. Con. is mega $ so the local muffler shop installed a small less expensive one that they said would be fine. Sounds like it is not fine. Funny that I have not felt a lack of performance before we went into LHM.

HOPEFULLY this is the problem.

Stay tuned.


DRB III Owner If You Need
No sir, at this point you need to check the intercooler for cracks. Bet you it isn't a blocked exhaust. Remove the front grill and swing the A/C condenser out of the way and check the inter-cooler.
500km. No further problems. Add plugged Cat. Con. as possible cause of LHM. Good luck and safe driving out there!

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