Engine block leak, misc leak & mystery part


Greetings! I had my starter get stuck in the engaged position yesterday. Took me about an hour of tinking it with a tire iron and restarting the engine before I got it to disengage after it started. That got my home so I can get a new starter ordered.

I have a few likely unrelated questions that cropped up since I spent some time under the van:

A) In the process of banging on the starter, I had a mystery part fall to the ground. I have no idea where it came from. Anybody recognize this part? (photo: mystery part b)

B) I saw a leak on the rear passenger side of the engine block under the exhaust ports. It's obviously a very slow oozing leak -- only a thick goo is visible. No oil/coolant running everywhere. Should I be too concerned about this? I assume this would be a pretty penny to get worked on. (photos: block leak)

C) There appears to be a leak somewhere lower down. The oil accumulated along the gasket for the oil pan, but I think it's originating from somewhere higher and running down. Perhaps where the tube from the turbo comes back into the block? (photos: pan leak)


(Pardon any incorrect terminology used, I'm no auto pro here.)



Active member
Top pic looks like perhaps a head gasket?

The bottom one...how is your transmission fluid? May be a leaking trans cooler hose/pipe.

As for the part...no idea. never having torn down a sprinter starter, given your symptoms a starter piece would be my guess.



Spark Plugs not allowed!
That looks like a thrust bearing. No way for it to fall out of the engine.

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New member
maybe is a shim from the suspension, it might be someone corrected the camber or the caster. I do think it looks a thrust bearing but that is too small.


Just received my new starter and got it in in about 30 minutes. And with that, I have a couple updates!

As for the part...no idea. never having torn down a sprinter starter, given your symptoms a starter piece would be my guess.
Nearly 99% sure it was a piece of the starter. Once I pulled the old starter off, I could see that it was in pretty bad shape -- basically disintegrating. You can see in my attached photos how it looked when I pulled it out, versus the new starter. The second photo of the new starter shows a seal where two metal pieces join together under the sleeve/housing. Those are not present on the old starter. So I assume I found one of them, and the other is lost somewhere between here and British Columbia.

I can't quite see, but I think the turbo drain tube (that goes back to the sump) looks wet.
I think you might be correct. Looked again today and it seems the highest point in the oily mess is right around the bottom end of that drain tube. From what I've read, I don't think it's a huge cause for concern as it's just a low pressure return. Fixing it seems like a DIY project, but just a bit time consuming.

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