No crank no start compilation

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
I'll start with these.

START. Get it!! :laughing:

Please feel free to add to the compilation. Add information only. Please post specific questions to the Talk Section. This is Write-ups.

As always clicking on the blue arrow icon within any quote box will take you to the original post/thread.

A general response for any vehicle is to inspect/clean the battery terminals and all heavy cable connections including grounds.

Autostaretx Dick gives a general test overview. :thumbup:

I did have the opportunity to measure battery voltage during a non-start episode. The voltage was 12.4
Which is a reasonable voltage for a not-new battery. I wouldn't be surprised if my battery is sitting at about 12.5 volts right now (sitting in street, not run for the last couple of weeks). In a couple more weeks it would probably be at 12.4.
When I charged the battery, and when I jumped the vehicle the other night, the black cable was clamped to the negative terminal of the battery, not to a frame ground.

Since a charge helps, the headlights don't work during failure, and the battery showed a low voltage (12.4) during failure, it seems that something is definitely afflicting the battery itself intermittently.

Could the charging/jumping possibly fix any of the other problems you describe?

Could it be that some communication between the battery and alternator fails intermittently during certain drives?
That last question is what a ScanGauge/etc would tell you... you can monitor the system voltage while you're driving. If you'd rather spend about $10 instead of $150, one of those multi-colored LED plugs-into-the-12v-socket battery/charge indicators works too.
(the one i linked to would require adding a $4 cigarette socket plug)

Given the "12.4 when bad" tells me that the alternator probably IS working.
(otherwise you'd be below 12v)

The real test would be measuring under load (such as headlights on) to see how far the battery (post-to-post) voltage drops when the load is applied.

If (for example) the battery had a failed cell or broken internal cell-to-cell connection, the battery voltage would drop a lot under load (2 volts per dead cell, more for a high-resistance intercell connection).

If turning on the headlights (even if they don't light up) does NOT affect the battery voltage, then it's the rest of the vehicle's wiring that's stealing the voltage (or "restricting the current" to be more precise). If the battery is still up above 12v with the headlights trying to be on, you could then measure the voltage from negative post to vehicle metal (should be next to zero drop... if you're seeing more than a volt your meter is bridging the bad cable). Then measure the voltage across each of the fuses in the attached-to-post Power Distribution Block .. again, if you see more than a volt, you've found the culprit.
Corrosion on, or a slightly loose battery post connector can cause this kind'a thing.
The action of attaching the jumper clamps can squish the loose connection back into performing (as well as providing starter power by the jump).

Measuring under load (such as headlights) is key to finding poor connections.
You certainly can usefully go through all of the connection points, undo them, clean the posts, clean the inside of the battery clamps, etc etc ... it won't be wasted effort. Pick up a set of those red and green fabric anti-corrosion washers to drop onto the battery posts.
I tend to try to spend (too much?) time beforehand trying to find (with the voltmeter) where the drop is happening so that i can have more faith that i've actually found and addressed the true problem area.

good luck hunting
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...

Icarus gives a good overview for NCV3. :thumbup:

Two things, both related. The first is the "Y" cable between the battery, the starter and the alternator, notorious for failing. It is testable, but I would just replace with a new issue one and carry the old one as a spare. You can do it pretty easily or any mechanic (not even Sprinter) can do it in an hour or less.

The second is the starter. Hard to discern which, because both mimic the same symptoms. Once again, a starter is pretty reasonable, available nearly anywhere, even you local NAPA if you have to. Once again, anyone can do it, you don't need a Sprinter "expert" to do so.

I just went through this with my '08. Was fairly reliable, but every once in a while it wouldn't do anything, no click no nothing. Then one day it finally quit so that no amount of cajoling would get it to start. Replaced both with parts on hand, as I was in the middle of a trans continental trip. Had a local MB dealer install since I was not where I could doe the work myself. They charged a couple hundred to install both, using my new parts.


PS. I just noticed the model year. Check to see when your "in service" date is, the date your warrantee should have started. That is not the date the van went to RT, but the date the first owner took delivery, often as much as a year after it was sold to RT. You may still be under warrantee by age if not mileage. In that case, call MB, have them tow it in, and let them sort it out. (3 years 36k miles, I see on line...check your dates!_

PPS The battery isolator on the RT is a POS. (Some have been recalled!). Regardless of whether or not RT will pick up the tab, replace it with a BlueSea ACR. The RT one draws about 1 amp 24/7 and will kill your house batteries very quickly. Also shutting off the battery from the control panel does not shut them off, it only shuts off the potential loads. I would install a positive on off switch on the negative terminal of the house batteries and leave them off when not in use. I don't think that leaving the vehicle plugged in all the time does your batteries any real favors. The Triplite inverter charger is not (imho) a very good float charger. I would get them fully charged, then shut the batteries off, and then charge it once every couple of weeks, paying attention to the water level in all the cells, keeping them topped up with distilled water.
Some Wye Cable Info and links here.
Battery Low Voltage Hard Start Low Charge

Solenoid Contacts Intermittent
(The easy answer is to replace the starter complete. From there consider a solenoid replacement to create a less expensive spare starter.)

Today, I tested solenoids #2, #3 and #4. First, I tested each of them on their starter motor and after removing them from the starter motors, I tested them again. In all cases, these three solenoids were too weak to properly move the bendix.

To make sure that my testing was properly done, I tested starter #6 (that's the new one I carry in the van). It behaved properly, with no hesitation.

My next step was surgery. I dissected solenoid #2.

I separated the coil from the contacts at the rear of the solenoid. Notice the burned copper insert on the starter motor post and the burn on the contactor. This post is where the starter motor connects AND to my surprise, it is also the post where the primary electromagnetic coil connects. I'll say more about this shortly.


(I hate viewing pictures sideways, so I will do one or two at a time.)

The ECM aka ECU Relay Contacts Can Corrode

I agree that the glow plugs/module are probably not the root problem, but the GP glow coil icon not displaying could be a specific symptom.

I don't believe that the infamous Wye cable deteriorating has that specific symptom.

Until otherwise confirmed, I would suggest that if a no start with the lack of a lit glow coil symptom presents, the first action would be ECM relay remove/clean/swap with another (same style). If that produces no results then go from there.

The glow coil not lit may not be a symptom. The light may just have timed out. The corrosion on the relay contacts is a member reported cure for some intermittent starter issues.

:2cents: vic
Watch for the Glow Coil Hint.

Thanks goes to BobLLL. :thumbup:

I can say with confidence that mine was not a case of the glow plug light going on and off quickly. I stared at the dash while turning the key and it did not come on. And it was a chilly morning. And there was no cranking or solenoid click. Removing & cleaning the ecu relay fixed it. Others have swapped or replaced the relay with the same result. What seems to be happening is the whole start sequence is not initiated, maybe because the ecu is not happy with the voltage (if any) being supplied by the relay at the moment the key is turned on. And like other corrosion or funky connection problems, the problem can be very intermittent and will drive you crazy.

If you park outside like I do, and don't drive a lot during cold weather, it may be that condensation in the fuse/relay box is the cause. The relay box is mounted on the firewall, which may be colder than the rest of the interior, and maybe prone to a bit of condensation in cold weather. Here is the thread that originally set me onto the possible condensation issue.

Also, here is a list I compiled of all the relays with the MB and Hella part numbers. (Hella appears to be the OEM for most or all of the relays). Several of the relays are interchangeable. This list is what I found in my 2011. It appears to match the list for 2007 that was posted elsewhere on this forum, although some relays have been superseded with new numbers. But be sure to check the numbers on your actual relays; don't rely on me, just some guy on the internet, to get this right. If you order online, you may need to try either the MB or the Hella numbers to find the right relays. The "terminal" numbers refer to the European standard designations for the accessory, ignition, and start circuits.

Relays by position #.
1 horn
2 Wiper speed 1 or 2
3 Fuel pump (appears to change location in 2015)
4 Wiper on/off
5 Terminal 50 starter solenoid
6 Terminal 15R "radio" (accessory)
7 Engine control
8 Terminal 15 ignition

1,3 MB 0045452905 (0035420219 orig, superseded), Hella 4RD965 453-04

2,4,5 MB 0025427419 (0025421419 orig, superseded) Hella 4RD 007 794-21
Originals were 20A, new are 30A

6,7,8 MB 0025422619 Hella 4RA 007 793-031

I found it particularly interesting that the starter solenoid relay was one that was upgraded to 30A. This is probably related to the blown starter fuse issue that showed up in 2010-2012 models. If you have a 20 amp relay in this position in a 2010 or later van, might be prudent to upgrade it.
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Well-known member
I autopsied my solenoid belatedly today, and indeed I found exactly the symptoms posted above. The contacts were very burned, mostly on the terminal side, but not so much on the contractor side.

Two things jump out right away when you see a sprinter starter on the bench. The first is the physical size of the starter is tiny, relative to the job to be done, turning over a high compression engine. The second is the under sizing of the solenoid, given the current draw. My suspicion is that bad "Y cables" may contribute to solenoid failure due to lower voltage and current capacity, but more often than not the culprit is indeed the solenoid.

Given that the complete starter is pretty cheap,it probably doesn't make much sense to just replace the solenoid. I will get a solenoid to mate to my perfectly good starter to keep as a spare, since it is out anyway.


PS after the dealer replaced the starter, the van came back with a CEl, coded to low voltage, most probably related to the bad connections in the solenoid

PPS it is also too bad that the solenoid isn't repairable. The only way to take it apart is to destroy it. If they had built it with screws rather than staking the cover on, one could simply clean the terminals like solenoids of old!
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2008 3500 170"ext. 3.0 V6 OM642.993
Don't long hold the key in the start position. A quick bump of the key to the three position then release the key; the starter will continue to crank to start.

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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Don't long hold the key in the start position. A quick bump of the key to the three position then release the key; the starter will continue to crank to start.

A good reminder. :thumbup:


The relay seems to be on a timer -- once it picks, continuing to cycle the ignition switch has no obvious effect. Once it drops out, then turning the key to 'start' will cause it to pick again.

Your observation is may be correct for the T1N and NCV3. More accurately it times out. [I was reminded that the T1N start is a AND circuit. The power depends upon the ignition switch position, but HAL has the last word.]

Gone are the days that when you twist the key to "start" a signal immediately heads out to the starter solenoid.

When the key is rotated to start you are requesting a start. "HAL, if you check and find all systems ready please start my engine". If all systems are go the ECM aka ECU enables a crank sequence which then waits for feedback that the engine is actually running. If the engine doesn't start the cranking will time out and be disabled.

The sequence can be interrupted manually by rotating the key back to the off position. Otherwise 2001 A Space Odyssey HAL is in control.

It may help to keep the driver door open during start attempts. The small control relay will click. The start solenoid will more "clack" loudly when the parts move to engage the flywheel teeth (Bendix unit) and also to bring the heavy electrical contacts together.

If you don't hear a clack it could be the solenoid not responding at all, but my recollection is that the more common NCV3 failure mode is the contact points themselves. Bad contacts (non-conducting) should still mechanically clack.

The real test would be to wire a temporary (or permanent) visible LED or lamp to the starter solenoid control power connection.

:2cents: vic

An example.

Sometimes similar to us dealing with our Sprinters.

"This machine is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it." MB Sprinter Programming Basic Premise
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Another thread worth including.

2007 Sprinter Starter Click -- Problem located?

I'm starting a new thread so readers will not have to wade through a long discussion that rambles. I would like to say special thanks to Vertigo, Showkey, BCIsland and others who have fussed with the problem and contributed their thoughts over the past few weeks on the issue of my recurring problem with failed starters.

I have a 2007 Sprinter 2500. I am on starter #5 at 60,000 miles. I have tried many things on the van to resolve this problem. There are many things that can cause starter solenoid problems. I have tried to elminate them. I have two grounding cables, a new Y cable and the voltage from the alternator runs about 14.2v with scan gauge inside and dvm outside showing identical voltage. The van always starts promptly, almost instantaneously. Never had a problem with any starter hanging or misbehaving. They just die. When I install a new starter, it will go a year or more without any problem. The bendix in each removed starter is not damaged and the ring gear is not rusty or damaged. All starter motors continue to work properly after removing the solenoid. Wish I could find replacement solenoids.

I have found that a new Bosch starter will last about 1000 - 1200 starts. When the solenoid clicking sound begins, I know it is just a matter of a few more starts until the strater will go dead. For what it may be worth, about five years ago, I replaced the original Mercedes 750 amp battery with a Deka AGM 950 amp battery. The math says the difference in 200 CCA amps is not consequential considering starter inrush current. My van is original, no mods other than stated, and once a new starter is installed, I'm good to go for another year or so.

I don't know of anyone who shares my problem, so this has been an exploration in many fruitless directions. After you consider the pictorial evidence, you can reach your own conclusion. My take, at this point, is that the Bosch starters in the Sprinter are not up to the job. Poorly designed solenoids. But your view of the evidence may be different. And I hope your experience has been better.

The picture below shows starters #2, #3 and #4. The solenoids have been removed and dissected. (Starter #1 was dissected years ago and thrown out.)

That one plus at least 10 others:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Mine started at 28,000 miles intermittent.........became more and more "less intermittent" with the solenoid being the cause.

If your stuck some place with the click no crank......."jumping the solenoid" multiple times will often get the engine to crank. Get in and use the key and and it will very likely crank and start.

"Jumping the solenoid" does take a little skill and careful !!!
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New member
Thank you for using Comic Relief to make your point! This is exactly how we feel each time we (try,oops--request a start) of our NCV3! We replaced the Starter/Solenoid 6 yrs ago which ended the intermittent no click, no start........... NOW..... THEY'RE BACK.......!!


No one mentioned fuse 23.
Today my stock 20 A fuse blew. No crank. No code. Check engine light on.
Replaced fuse with a new 20 A. Still didn't start.
Checked fuse - blown.
Replaced with a 30 A fuse.
Engine cranked and started.
So happy forgot to see if check engine lite still on.
Now have a box of 5 30 A fuses in the glove box.

Anyone know what causes this problem?

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
BobLLL. Thanks for adding the info.

The comment and some condensed PDF text.

My starter fuse blew at what seemed a completely random time. Don't hesitate to replace with a 25 amp fuse. It isn't just an offhand suggestion. There is an actual service bulletin that says the fuse should be 25 amp.
View attachment 106894
Vehicle does not start or starter does not turn. Fault code 155700, fuse F28 blown.

Fuse F28 (starter fuse) blown. 20A fuse installed in some vehicles.
As of production date 03.09.2012 the fuse assignment was modified.
The documentation in the fuse assignment supplement and in WIS is not up to date.

Check starter fuse F55/6 slot F28 (seat box fuse box) and replace with a 25A fuse if necessary.


At least it's a simple fix.

:cheers: vic


And so now I notice the document says the starter fuse is #28. This is apparently true for 2013, but 2010-2012 the starter fuse is #23.


New member
My 2016 Agile won't start. Searched and read lots of solutions. The one I can't check out is replacing fuse #23 in the fuse box near the steering wheel. The fuse in my Sprinter at position #23 is a 10amp and is good. What am I missing?


New member
Re: No crank no start

My 2016 Agile won't start. Searched and read lots of solutions. The one I can't check out is replacing fuse #23 in the fuse box near the steering wheel. The fuse in my Sprinter at position #23 is a 10amp and is good. What am I missing?


New member
I'm in need of dire help. 2016 2.1l 2wd. I've bench tested my starter no issues. I've checked my relays and fuses under the dash multiple times. I've swapped the horn and starter relays from r1 to r3 (the little black relays) and the starter and windshield wiper relays (r5 & ? Typing from memory rn) the yellow ones. No click no start. I can bridge my starter and it'll start up and drive fine. So battery is fully charged. When driving battery is reading 13-14 volts so alternator is working. Ignition post on the starter with the key in will only read .03v. so Im speculating its an ignition issue where do I go from here. Ty for any help.

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