Intermittent no start, 2007 NCV3

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
I'm experiencing an intermittent no start problem on a 2007 NC3V 3500. The pre-start dash display is normal but when I turn the key to the start position I get a single relay click and no crank. If I try again once or twice the engine will then start normally, and continue to do so. This seems to occur only on the first start after a long shutdown, otherwise normal. I do not believe it has anything to do with the battery or cabling as the battery and 'Y' cable are only about a year old, and the bus voltage is normal pre-start (battery is normally kept on a float charger.) Cranking is easy and the engine starts instantly once it decides to work. No codes are present, at least no OBDII codes. Of course this is nearly impossible to troubleshoot since the problem is so intermittent.

It seems like just a lazy switch or relay. Can anyone provide any guidance on where to start?

Thanks -

.
 
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dr.ona

New member
I go through the same thing on my 2008... very random... good luck and will be following this thread.
 

showkey

Well-known member
Mine has the click and Mine seems to be cured for the minute........BUT........HAVE NO CONVIDENCE it's actually fixed. Mine stopped after the Y cable was replaced.....but.......I think it's more a coincidence that a actual cause.

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40279&highlight=Click

I would swap the starter relay with one of the wiper relays.
Remove the starter and check for lube on the solenoid and starter gear.
Then I would move the transmission selector during the no start condition. Trying to confirm the trans gear position switch is actually working.
Next I would add test lights or voltage monitor at critical locations like the starter solenoid.

I did measure voltage drop across the solenoid contact.........the check list says to inspect the contacts. The solenoid on the 6 cylinder can be removed from the starter but it is a sealed unit making inspection impossible ?????
 
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smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Well at least I'm not alone. After some more testing, the exact behavior is:

1. Fault can occur anytime the engine has been off for a while, seems like at least several hours. If the engine has been run recently the problem never occurs (or at least hasn't yet in that mode.)

2. When fault occurs I hear what sounds like a single low-power relay fire, but no crank. At this point it doesn't matter how often I move the key from the 'on' to the 'start' position, nothing happens (not even the relay click.)

3. If I return the key to 'off' and try again the engine always starts on the second or perhaps third try.

I'm not getting a 'I'm gonna strand your ass!' vibe as when it acts up it always does eventually start normally, but obviously I'd like to fix it. This is an RV application so the vehicle sits for periods of time (I try to put some miles on it at least every few weeks) so perhaps I have some sticky or lightly corroded contacts somewhere and perhaps it will clear itself up as the vehicle is used more. As it is it's nearly impossible to troubleshoot because the problem is so intermittent that I can't really tell if one action or another really makes any difference. I've tried playing with the shift lever. etc., but results are inconclusive as once it works, it works, so troubleshooting has to end at that point. All I can really do is try to see if I can home in on any clues.


One of the users on Yahoo View-Navion Groups has produced an extensive check-list for no-start issues, which might be of some use.
Thanks Rob, I downloaded that document and it seems to describe what I am seeing exactly. The idea about the key fob RFID issue is interesting, especially given the fact that cycling power to the ignition seems to be a factor in getting a normal start. I will give an alternate set of keys a try.

.
 
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crankshaft

New member
I had the same issues, along with an often flat battery and intermittent charging. Ended up being the cross over cables from the start, alternator and battery. I made a heavy duty set using copper lugs and heavy welding cable and all my issues went away.
 

showkey

Well-known member
Well at least I'm not alone.
The idea about the key fob RFID issue is interesting, especially given the fact that cycling power to the ignition seems to be a factor in getting a normal start. I will give an alternate set of keys a try.

.
:thinking:Not sure how the Sprinter key ( immobilizer ) system works........but.........many other manufactures allow the engine to crank but not start with a key problem. They kill the spark and or fuel or both.

On relay checking I left the left side dash cover off........you can reach in to the starter relay and feel it clicking as a check.
 

bcislander

'07 Mercedes-badged Dodge
I'm experiencing an intermittent no start problem on a 2007 NC3V 3500. The pre-start dash display is normal but when I turn the key to the start position I get a single relay click and no crank. If I try again once or twice the engine will then start normally, and continue to do so. This seems to occur only on the first start after a long shutdown, otherwise normal. I do not believe it has anything to do with the battery or cabling as the battery and 'Y' cable are only about a year old, and the bus voltage is normal pre-start (battery is normally kept on a float charger.) Cranking is easy and the engine starts instantly once it decides to work. No codes are present, at least no OBDII codes. Of course this is nearly impossible to troubleshoot since the problem is so intermittent.

It seems like just a lazy switch or relay. Can anyone provide any guidance on where to start?

Thanks -

.
Have you checked/cleaned/replaced the ground strap between the engine & the frame?
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Have you checked/cleaned/replaced the ground strap between the engine & the frame?
OK, just did that. The problem does not really have the feel of a bad ground but ground problems can be insidious and from what I read the engine ground is a known problem point on the NCV3 so... why not. Actually I can tell you why not, the connection points are a real PITA to get to, but anyway it's done. Didn't see any obvious problem but cleaned everything up. The frame connection is in a depression that collects water and even at a casual glance looks like a terrible place for a ground point, but somebody thought it was a good idea I guess.

As above I won't really know if this or any other action has fixed anything until enough time passes, but at least it's one more thing off the list.
 

gary 32

07 ncv3 pv
I'm experiencing an intermittent no start problem on a 2007 NC3V 3500. The pre-start dash display is normal but when I turn the key to the start position I get a single relay click and no crank. If I try again once or twice the engine will then start normally, and continue to do so. This seems to occur only on the first start after a long shutdown, otherwise normal. I do not believe it has anything to do with the battery or cabling as the battery and 'Y' cable are only about a year old, and the bus voltage is normal pre-start (battery is normally kept on a float charger.) Cranking is easy and the engine starts instantly once it decides to work. No codes are present, at least no OBDII codes. Of course this is nearly impossible to troubleshoot since the problem is so intermittent.

It seems like just a lazy switch or relay. Can anyone provide any guidance on where to start?

Thanks -

.
My in the tank fuel pump ground wire was my intermittent no start problem, 2007 also.
Might be worth a look.

An answer for showkey:

Mine was no start, but there are a number of grounds terminating under the drivers seat.
With an RV most power taps and required grounds would originate under the drivers seat.
Not very hard to create a ground issue when adding wires to an existing ground stud.
 
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smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Well so far I've done three things: move the gearshift selector rapidly through its range several times, pulled and re-inserted any relays associated with engine starting, and cleaned the engine ground cable attachment point. I've tested over the last several days including each morning and so far I have had zero failures. Even that isn't absolutely conclusive but it seems like either the problem has been fixed, or at least has gone away for some reason. If it has been fixed I guess I would have to rate cleaning the engine ground cable as the most likely effective action (if any really were), but cannot say for certain.
 

showkey

Well-known member
Your experience and symptoms and current conditions are almost exactly the same as mine........
Only difference my battery cable cleaning and swapping is in different order, I still had the problem after the ground but mine went away with Y cable which as mentioned has no certainty.


For some reason or suspicion ( which I have no proof or confirmation) ..........I am leaning towards the gearshift in my case.........
 
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nemu

Member
I too am getting this intermittent click on starting

connected a volt meter to the solenoid and this confirmed that 12v is getting applied to activate the solenoid proving key & start relays are ok

so I have decided that its either a fault on the solenoid or a failing battery or earth problem

battery was the original (7 years old) so changed that & it seemed to be ok for a while but I don't use the sprinter much so difficult to be sure anyway its still doing it so I will change the earth strap next as that's very cheap ( looks ok but will change anyway)

Y cable also looks ok and my scangauge is showing 13.9 volts when engine running

my gut feeling is its a faulty solenoid and this is what is clicking either the contacts to power the starter are dirty and it needs a couple of operations (clicks) to clean them or its not operating fully so not making contact
 

showkey

Well-known member
^^^^^^^^^^^^Related to the solenoid issue:

The other theory ( has been discussed several times) that the starter pinion gear is "running into" the ring gear and temporarily jamming. The pinion gear moves out but not far enough to engage the motor contacts. Weak solenoid, gear chamfer or general tolorence stacking would be the cause.

Mine has not done it lately and I have been experimenting with the transmission selector. I am thinking the trans selector is NOT the cause and is off my top five list.

General discussion......mine is always all or nothing. Y cable, battery condition and ground issues usually give a weak or slower than normal crank speed. Mine is a click or full cranking speed. Yes, if a module or some other relay is not getting full power that could be linked to cables and the battery.
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Y cable also looks ok and my scangauge is showing 13.9 volts when engine running
That's slightly low actually, the electrical bus voltage is closely regulated and should be about 14.1. It's not a glaring error but it might make me at least a little bit suspicious of the Y cable, especially if it is the original on an early NCV3 (in which case replacement isn't a bad idea if only as a preventative maintenance measure.) I'd check that and the engine ground connection first, before proceeding to other possible causes.
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
Mine has not done it lately and I have been experimenting with the transmission selector. I am thinking the trans selector is NOT the cause and is off my top five list.
It seems that the start cycle on the NCV3 is heavily automated by the ECU. I am also thinking that as long as you hear the solenoid click then an issue with the transmission safety switch is unlikely since my guess is that when the ignition key is turned to the start position the ECU first checks to see if all pre-start conditions (such as gear selector position) are satisfied, and only then will start the engine -- so if you have gotten as far as the starter solenoid being engaged then you are past that point.

Regarding the either normal cranking or no start at all, on most engines I would agree that condition might lead on to the conclusion that the battery cable connections are OK, but on the NCV3 I'm not so sure. The ECU can monitor starter bus voltage (via the voltage sensor in the alternator communicated via CANbus) and it's possible that it is doing an initial voltage check when the solenoid fires and halting the start if it is out of range. If this is the case then you could well see a digital 'works perfectly or not at all' sort of condition. That's only speculation on my part but I think it's reasonable.
 

showkey

Well-known member
^^^^^^^^^^^ agree

When mine was doing it..........I was able to system monitor voltage, battery voltage and do voltage drop on the pos and neg ( body and engine ground) and everything was good.

The click and everyone so far reports the truck starts after multiple attempts is why I am leaning to the starter gear / solenoid jamming and not closing the contacts or the contact themselves are faulty.
 

nemu

Member
I bought a genuine MB refurbished starter & solenoid from my local mb dealer some weeks ago, at the same time i bought the battery

Fitted the battery immediately but not the starter because i thought the new battery may have cured problem , just been carrying it around in the sprinter with the tools to change it should i have a permanent failure, i must get around to fitting it
 

flman

Okay wait for it....... Red Herring cop out!
Smiler, check your battery voltage before you turn the key. Mine did the same thing, as the battery died over the weekend, I am pretty sure it was caused by a wake up setting I changed in my Ultragauge?
 

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