Starting problems with Merc Sprinter

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by jumar, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. jumar

    jumar Funster

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    We are on an aire in France and have been speaking to a British couple who have been stranded here for almost two weeks.

    They have a 3 year old Hymer on a Merc Sprinter 519 chassis with an auto box. It has an intermittent starting problem which happened twice in December and has re-surfaced in the last couple of weeks.

    When the key is placed in the ignition there is no electronic sound of the electric system 'waking up'. No lights come on the dash and the key will not turn in the barrel. A Merc garage thought the problem was with the ignition and changed the ignition module but the problem continues. They have now changed the battery and they are hoping for the best. Any ideas please?

    They have been able to start the van by disconnecting the battery leads and holding them together for a minute then reconnecting them. This re-boots the electrics and they key turns firing the engine. This is not an ideal situation to have to travel from France back to Britain which is what they need to do. Any help you can give would be much appreciated by them.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. dabhand

    dabhand Funster Life Member

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    Sounds like the alarm to me, had a similar problem on mine when the key fob was inadvertently pressed. It also happens on the new one occasionally when the electronic hand brake had not been applied properly. Turn ignition on apply and release handbrake a couple of times, also some will not start if your foot isn't on the footbrake as well. Although not an intermittent problem, if the fuse from the battery to ignition has popped (13 or 23 I think) it will not start. Sounds like handbrake to me, check all fuses
     
  3. dabhand

    dabhand Funster Life Member

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    If it has an alarm system there is normally an override system, try disabling the alarm, often a small stubby key left of steering column
     
  4. Teuchter

    Teuchter Funster

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    I had a similar intermittent problem on my 2005 Rapido Sprinter and always managed to get it to start by fiddling with the alarm/applying & releasing the handbrake/ waggling the gear lever/ treading on and off the footbrake or any combination of those - never did solve the problem and van now sold :)
     
  5. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Disconnect the battery.

    Around the ignition barrel is a bit ( its actually an induction coil ) that allows the ECU to 'see' the key is the correct one
    Find it, follow the wires to where the unit is plugged in.
    Unplug it..

    Locate the ECU and unplug it completely.

    Look at the pins and plug.. Get hold of some ACF-50* and spray VERY SMALL amounts in each connector pin hole

    Plug in and unplug the ECU a few times to make sure every thing is clean and making good contact.

    Do the same for the induction coil connector

    Reattach the battery and there is a pretty good chance all will be well and a return should not happen

    *
    ACF-50
    It is stuff used originally in the aircraft industry
    It does not conduct electricity
    It does clean and remove any oxidising
    It does lubricate
    It does protect joints for an amazingly long time ( 2 years plus when used in an exposed to elements situation, so within an enclosure there does not seem to be any time limit )
     
  6. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Funster

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    It could also be a faulty earth. I had a very similar problem with my old Volvo. A quick and easy way of checking if it is an earth fault is to get a set of jump leads and connect one end to the battery negative and the other end to a clean piece of engine or bodywork bare metal and then try it. If that sorts it, you'll need to clean and remake the engine earth strap, these can be a pig to undo as you tend to get that white alloy/steel dissimilar metal corrosion that is the cause of the electrical isolation.
     
  7. jumar

    jumar Funster

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    Thanks everyone, French mechanic currently investigating.
     
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  8. jumar

    jumar Funster

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    The 'chief' mechanic THINKS its the steering column electronic release . Another part and another 3 days for it to come from Germany. At least they now have us orienteers to speak to for the rest of the week!
     
  9. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    the fact that it clears after "rebooting" the ecu sounds like a bad earth or dry joint in the ecu itself
     
  10. Hagstrom

    Hagstrom Funster

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    Hi Martin,

    We have the 518 (not 519) with auto box and ours plays up from time to time by not turning the engine over at first pull. However, we do start with the warning lights in the dash display all lit - so it's not exactly the same circumstances as the couple's. However, this may have a bearing?

    Our problem is not the starter motor solenoid but apparently caused by lack of van use when the contacts on the relays get condensation, dry out, and give intermittent faults. It's supposed to be a common problem on Mercedes MHs and Ice Cream vans which lie doing nothing for long periods.

    One of the relays has to do with the engine management system and is located in the near side footwell, under a plastic cover. There are more than three different relays on the panel but some are interchangeable. On mine they are A002 542 0219 (black cover, for fuel pump); A002 542 1419 (yellow cover, wipers, starter); and amongst the others are three A002 542 2619 (plain metal cover for engine control, ESP, T15R? )

    You can test the A002 542 2619s by unplugging and swopping with the other 2619s on the panel. There's a thread by Darach on another website which explains it in more detail:- http://forums.The Dark Side/153-mercedes-chassis/97044-problem-relays-mercedes-sprinter-06-a.html

    I realise that this is a long shot but it costs nothing the swap the engine system relay A002 542 2619 just in case. Hope to see you later in the year at Totana Camperstop.

    Norman
     
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