Bizzare Starting Problem

bwalzen

Bluegrass Brad
I need help! My 2004 Sprinter has developed a strange problem. When cold, it starts every time. Then, if you shut it off and try to start again, it would not do anything - no turning over or any sound at all (no clicking of the starter). Lights will come on the dash and everything electrical will work, but it will not start. If you leave it to sit for 30-45 minutes, then it will start just fine. Here is the really weird thing - if you jump it, it will start. I put in a new battery and new starter. Still the same thing. Mechanics tested the alternator and it is working fine. Battery is fully charged. The problem continues.

Now just recently it has gotten worse. It will not start cold, either. However, it will start with a jump - every time. Again, the battery, starter, and alternator work fine. I have asked several mechanics, and they are stumped. Anyone with ideas?
 

NelsonSprinter

Former Nelson BC Sprinter
The ECM must have Canbus signals all reporting within spec or there will be no power given to the starter , so there is a voltage/signal problem possibly. Something could be shorting out, ground is not with clean connections or corroded .
My first guess would be the wires/ connections to the ignition switch or the harness to the #1 fuse block, but it could be a wiring/worn insulation problem anywhere.
I had this no-starting nothing at all, sometimes starting problem myself, and when I replaced the ignition switch is starts every time .
 
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surlyoldbill

Active member
Bad, broken or loose ground straps?
Maybe the ignition switch itself is bad?
 

bwalzen

Bluegrass Brad
Gentlemen, thanks for your suggestions. I think the problem was fixed today. They replaced a Screen Module Relay, and it seems to have solved the issue - at least for now. Any experience with the Screen Module or the Relay? What are they? I would like to understand this better, but for now, I'm just glad the van starts!
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Gentlemen, thanks for your suggestions. I think the problem was fixed today. They replaced a Screen Module Relay, and it seems to have solved the issue - at least for now. Any experience with the Screen Module or the Relay? What are they? I would like to understand this better, but for now, I'm just glad the van starts!
If they replaced a module (which also should have required some reprogramming), it was probably the SKREEM (Sentry Key REmote Entry Module).
(the cost of the repair would help us figure out exactly what they changed... SKREEMs are not cheap)

The full description from the MB training manuals is here:
https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30941

and further analysis is here (perhaps the relay was the starter relay?)
https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32105

--dick
 
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Amboman

New member
Measure the resistance in ohms between the engine and the chassis with a multimeter.

It should read less than 1 ohm.

Has to be a bad earth somewhere.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Now just recently it has gotten worse. It will not start cold, either. However, it will start with a jump - every time. Again, the battery, starter, and alternator work fine. I have asked several mechanics, and they are stumped. Anyone with ideas?
The "starts with a jump - every time" leads me to ask two things:
(a) where are you attaching the jump cables?

(b) will it start if you attach the jump cables... but only on the Sprinter end?
(i.e. no 2nd battery) ... then attach the "jump battery" end of the negative cable back to the Sprinter's own battery's negative post.
If it starts in that conguration, ask yourself what the jump cable is doing...
squeezing the battery's post connectors?
Bypassing a poor engine-to-frame (or battery-to-frame) ground strap?

I'm curious about (a), and (if the symptoms reappear) keep (b) in reserve.

good luck
--dick
 

SewerRatz

Illinois Licensed Plumber
My Sprinter had a torn apart ground strap to the engine. It happened due to the drivers side motor mount broke. The mechanics replaced the motor mount and instead of replacing the ground strap from the engine to the chassis, the ran it directly to the battery along with the ground from the battery to the chassis at the firewall.
 

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