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Dodge Sprinter Starting/Stalling Issues

rchadwickrchadwick Posts: 1
edited January 2014 in Dodge
I have a 2002 Dodge Sprinter that seems to loose power after it has been driven a few hours, and then it must sit for 10 to 30 minutes before it will start again. It acts like there is either no fuel or the airflow is restricted.
In the morning everyhting is fine, but later on it feels like you are towing a trailer and there is no pickup or passing gear, like the turbo is not working. Then if you turn it off it will not start for a while, leaving my driver sitting there for awhile. It works fine when I take it to the shop and starts every time. They finally saw the loss of power and blamed it on some carbon deposits...but we turned it off on the way back from the shop and it would not start.. It was in an accident awhile back and recently we replaced 2 of the turbo hoses,(at different times)..on it's way back to the shop now...Can anyone help me with this one??? :cry: :mad:


  • This is way too simple; but have you changed the fuel and air filters? They might be clogged up. Mine had same power loss and rough idle, but it was just an old fuel filter. Sometimes you can get bad deisel, and even a newer filter will get restricted fast.
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    what temps are you in... hot, cold, mixed, (cold early in day hot in afternoon)?

    Sounds similar to problems with each of the following not already mentioned by surlyoldbill...

    1) turbo connector box (plastic part between turbo and intercooler)

    2) temp sensor on intake air

    3) mass air sensor

    4) EGR restriction (not showing as EGR failure

    5) bad fuel (oops surlyoldbill took that one already)

    Are there really no bad codes in the computer? The Sprinter should have codes on just about every sensor and very few things can be wrong without a code of some kind...

    KenB :confuse:
  • Any ideas on what could be causing the frequent appearance of Check Engine light on my 2006 Sprinter 3500 powered by 5 cyl Mercedes?

    I've put 7,500 miles on the chassis which carries an Itasca Navion Class C motorhome. I've got issues with that too but that's another story.

    Engine light appears about every 4-5 starts. Sometimes it goes out after a few miles. Sometimes it doesn't and I take it to the dealer. Three times out of four, they've told me they could find no problem and I guess they just reset the thing.

    Scary part came when I started up an 8 percent grade in the middle of Wisconsin with rigs rolling fast behind me and beside me and suddenly lost most of the power--chugged up the hill at about 30 mph, pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot, and then got a free 100-mile tow to the nearest dealer. They fixed and made it back to Maryland fine. But this is getting a little out of hand or maybe I'm just been spoiled by driving Japanese products 150K doing nothing but routine maintenance and never having a problem.

    Any ideas? I use only brand name, #2 fuel. Is the engine control unit faulty? You'd think that would pop right up on a scan.

  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    what did they "FIX" when they towed you in?

    That would give us a better chance to understand and help you with your fears about your Sprinter Chassis. We have quite a bit of experience around the forum.

    Fears are good when they keep us out of trouble, not so good when they errode our overall confidence...

    KenB :confuse:
  • Ever since the weather got down into the 20's & 30's, I've been getting a lot of start errors when the engine is cold. After the second start error, it takes about 4 hours for my 2002 Sprinter to reset itself before I can even try again to start it. I thought maybe the anti-theft system wasn't reading the chip in the ignition key because its battery was low, but a Sprinter tech told me there is no battery in the key. He suggested the start errors could be caused by a low vehicle battery, but my battery tests out great.
    As crazy as it sounds, the problem seems to be connected to low CABIN temperatures. When I leave my RV heater plugged in and heating, I get no start errors even when the engine is cold. Anyone have any ideas what the cause of this is? Thanks! Doug
  • Hi, I'm new to this forum, but I think I got answer to your problem,check injectors. One of them may leak back and will couse no start when hot. You need to do INJECTOR LEAK QUANTITY. I had the same problem with 2003 model. I fix them on daily bases.

    Perform this test with the engine at operating temperature. This test will assist in determining a defective or internally leaking injector(s) is present by measuring the amount of fuel return.

    Turn the ignition off.
    Remove the engine cover
    Disconnect the fuel return hoses at the top of the injectors.
    Pinch off the oil return line.
    Disconnect the fuel rail solenoid.
    Install the test vials onto the injectors and secure with the return hose clips(Special Tool # 9545).
    Start the engine for ten seconds while monitoring each inner test vial.
    After ten seconds, a maximum of two graduation lines may be reached. If the level has exceeded the two graduation line, replace that effected cylinder's injector, clear the memory using the scan tool and retest. If the level did not pass the two graduation line limit, continue with the diagnostic manual.
    Hope this will help you. :)
  • I am Having the same stalling problems with my 03 Sprinter 3500 mostly in the am and when it is wet or damp and temps in the 40s. I could be cruising at 65 and it just dies after running for 15 minutes. It is getting worst and last week it only restarted after about 15 minutes and about 15 tries.
  • onwhidbeyonwhidbey Posts: 2
    When i turn the key to start pos. at times it takes a couple seconds to turn over or it won't all. The dealer tried a new starter relay but still no fix, so then he installed a button under the dash that turns the starter over but doesn't start the engine, i then turn to the off position and try again with fingers crossed-i repeat 'till it starts eventually. It's an '04 with the 2.7 engine, model 2500. Appreciate any ideas!
  • ocoeocoe Posts: 1
    I'm having the same problem. It seems to be worse once it's been driven. Starts in the morning fairly consistantly.
  • dayipperdayipper Posts: 1
    After even a brief drive and turn off, the van won't start when we get back in to leave for the next stop. As soon as we turn the key to wait for the glow plug light to go out, the fan starts up and the glow plug light won't go out. The van won't even attempt to start.

    It has plenty of power, and we've towed it to the dealership 3 times so far. Each time it gets to them, they give it back because they can't duplicate the problem.

  • rdean1rdean1 Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 Sprinter that has had all sorts of starting problems; will start sometimes then not at all; won't get any lights on or anything when turning key. Then after 4-5 tries it will work. Also had trouble duplicating problem at dealer. Fixes so far have included: replaced/recoded the electronic keys; replaced control module; replaced battery connector plates. Each time this was supposed to "fix the problem", but after the last "fix" it did it again 2 days later. This time they said it was the Ground Cable from the battery to the engine block. I hope this helps anybody out there. :confuse:
  • bobsatbobsat Posts: 4
    I have a 2003 freightliner with 92,000 miles on it I have had it not start two times in the last couple of weeks, usually cold mornings. the key gets turned on and it will start to bring up the dash diagnostics lights, then it will just go dead. It doesn't finish up the self check and if will not warm the glow-plugs. Turning the key all the way does nothing. I was able to charge the battery and it started both times. We have done some checks and find the water control valve is hot to the touch, and the amp draw is to high with the key off. If I remove the plug to the valve the draw drops but so far I have not had a chance to test it farther. Does anyone have information about what controls this valve? By the way the power to the valve will drop and the valve will cool to the touch if you start the vehicle.

    Any ideas please let me know.

    Thanks very much Bob :(
  • I believe They found my problem. It seems that the engine heater booster is running all the time. We found the water control valve was hot to the touch and removing the plug to it would take the load off the battery. I took it to the dealership after figuring that out myself. At the dealer they checked the system and found the dash switch that controls the heater boost even though it was not lit was still sending a message to the water control valve to turn on. The dealer replaced the whole switch( $400.00+ ) with a new one, second one this year, and all seems to be well.

    I bought this van used, it had 45,000 miles on it. I have driven it 50,000 miles this year. I have saved lots of money in fuel cost, but the repair bills are killing me.

    Anyone else having second thoughts about their sprinter purchase? :confuse:
  • I have a 2004 Sprinter with same problem- dealer told me I needed to replace ECM - picked up van today check engine light is on though ECM replaced so will see if it really is fixed. Is yours fised?
  • yes so far its working fine. I keep hoping this will be the last repair for a while. I have almost $2000.00 in repair and service work, light bulbs, SRS, Heater switch (twice), trans flush, Tires, and one injector. Plus the regular filter changes. I hope its the end for a long while. I hope this helps others.

  • I have a 2004 with what sounds to be the same problem- dealer replaced ECM - Check engine light on now so not sure if I'm fixed yet- what did you do to fix the problem you had? :(
  • we replaced the dash heat control switch. it seems to have worked, so far.
  • I have a 2007 Sprinter that is used for courier work. My boss had me duplicate the original key which also had a power button lock. I was using the duplicate to unlock the door and the key sheared off at the part where the "cuts and grooves" start. First, is it legal to duplicate that kind of key at a lock shop? Second, is that duplicate key of the same quality and integrity of the facory key? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • kurt6kurt6 Posts: 22
    You can not duplicate the key at a lock shop,will not work at the door or to start motor,you need the factory chip to go along with new keys.
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    All reports have been that the lock shop ( a really good one) can make you a new key and it will work the door and the ignition switches, but will not start the van due to the transponder that must be programmed...

    So, the BLADE of the key should be OK, but if it broke off, then the quality is BAD.

    If you just need a new blade (to relpace a bad one), then you should be able to use it in the original remote, or just always have the remote with you.

  • My 2004 Sprinter is blowing the 15 amp fuse to the engine control unit and not starting. This just happend for the first time today. The van started this morning and when I put in gear it stalled and would not restart' checked fuse and found blown 15 apm ecu fuse replaced and blew again. Anybody else have this problem?
  • im a licensed electrician in nyc i bought a 2003 sprinter 3500 in jan 04 it was a leftover. i bought this van when i started up my business,i had waited for 2 years to make the jump from employee to employer and one of my happiest days was when i picked up my van from merrick dodge and drove it home,this is when the fun i drove my van in january i couldnt wait to get the heat going to bad for me it was broken and did not function except for cold air, i learned this later because 2 miles from the dealer i ran out of fuel and the engine never had a chance to warm up, thats how the dealer sold me the van with no my excitement i didnt realize the fuel gauge.the next day i drove back dropped it off to fix the heat 3 days!! later they called me said it was fixed.GREAT RIGHT, lets start to do electrical work and make money WRONG!!! the next morning my driveway was filled with diesel fuel there was a hole in the tank from the "factory", when a bracket was installed near the tank you could see a drill bit mark of some sort that penetrated the tank about an inch from the bottom.YAY MY FIRST ROADSIDE TOW !! funny how i didnt notice fuel leaking when i filled it up after running out on my first drive home, the van was towed to the dealer and they showed me the hole we were all shocked!!.now starts the breakdowns,the van performed very well for about 2 months, after that starting up in the cold or damp air was a real problem. from october to april of each year from 2004 to present day i have had about 10 no starts per the "no start season"well today was my first no start im very happy i made it to december last year this happened in september.each no start resulted in a tow back to the dealer and as always it was a "fuel"problem and a few times i was charged a few bucks because bad fuel is not a covered item.i have never had a real explanation from the service dept. its always a fuel problem or bad diesel or clogged filter once i was told it was the battery im an electrician and did a load test,it was fine. today was a wake up call this van has cost me alot of lost income while at the same time spending money for repairs. also i didnt even get into the other items like a 1200 dollar sevice from the dealer, and brakes that needed roters twice, i started off loving the sprinter that was until i owned one running an electrical contracting firm in nyc is tough enough, having a 40,000 truck that starts sometimes and dealer service that stinks is enough to give up.i purchased a new chevy it gets 12 miles to the gallon but it was almost half the cost, i cant stand up in it,it doesnt hold as much but it has ac,heat and it starts everytime. sorry for the sob story but its 100% true
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    That's not a sob story, its a tragedy, and you deserved better.

    Having bought a new 2004 in 2005 (last on lot sort of thing), I am more and more happy that mine was completely assembled in Germany and checked out thoroughly by someone (and delivered with a full tank)... I bought a wagon (passenger) model.

    My dealership problems, however, have not been much better... however, i have never had a fuel problem, and am still on the original filter (39K miles). I have the new filter, and no time to install it... I won't pay over $120 for the dealership to install it!!!

    No brake problems yet, but certainly we have seen forums mentioning the need to replace rotors and pads together for some people, especially heavy in-town drivers/delivery people.

    Daimler Chrysler should be sorry that they sold you such a problem. I have driven Chevy, Ford (gas and diesel), and very seldom a Dodge Ram van... and now a Sprinter. For my good luck (knock wood) the Sprinter is the best, but it is not driven for work, just back and forth to work... My maintenance, on my van is working so much better than the dealership work.

    KenB :sick:
  • Just signed on. It looks like I have company here.
    2003 Freightliner Sprinter with just over 200,000 miles, but not without issues.
    Current issue is the engines dies during any number of events some are very serious situations such as just passed a real truck at 75 mph and pulled back in front of it and accelerating. The first time this happened I just dived in to the emergency lane. It was good for me there were no other broken down vehicles in that spot or the sprinter would have been a hood ornament. Dash lights still lit but engine dead as a hammer. I had a long drive through eastern Tn. especially over the mountians, as passing gear and heavy throttle seemed to cause it to happen more readily. I learned to turn the key off and back on immediately to keep from getting run over.
    Now, sometimes in the morning after starting, pressing the brake pedal kills the engine. I got smart and started the engine with my foot on the brake pedal. Once lowering the driver window killed the engine. Several times when the "engine dying" was happening frequently all of the analog gauges went to zero for a few seconds, then popped back up to normal.
    Diagnosis, is a instrument cluster fault. Cost to replace and see if this really is the source, $718 part cost.
    I bought this Sprinter new in late 2003. I never saw a "wait to start" light illuminate once or ever. Never saw a clogged filter light ever, but know I had clogged filters and replaced when there is a power loss at high speed.
    I was hoping for a loose connection on the instrument cluster. I removed the instrument cluster last evening, but no loose connectors, but a strange "black box" "RKE-Immobilizer" attached to the back of the cluster with a big wire harness connection but no physical electrical connections to the instrument cluster.
    Could this "Immobilizer" be what killing the engine?
    I would appreciate any thoughts or proven solutions
  • Having this problem too. Stalled on the way to work today and I'm waiting for it to get fixed. It has happened first thing in the morning several times AND stalled on the side of the road. ANY ideas would be greatly appreciated as I think the dealship is going to need ideas too. (They currently service NO OTHER diesels)

    Does anyone know a dealership that DOES work on these in the MSP/St Paul area, and not just a Dodge/Chrysler Dealer that sells them and claims to service them?
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    More information would be helpful...

    Fuel issues are common amongst diesels regardless of make/model.

    1) Fuel filter plugging in cold weather,
    2) filter clogging from dirty fuel,
    3) clogged air filter (dirty or snow sucked up/in (powder)),
    4) oil sensor/sender (tells computer you are out of oil or low on pressure),
    5) some things that kick in the limp-home-mode could also either seem like a stall, or become a stall situation.
    6) water in fuel (but not enough to setoff sensor)
    7) computer/network failure
    8) ECM (engine control module failure)
    9) chaffed wires somewhere shorting out/crossing
    10) EGR stuck open (clean/replace depending on age/condition)

    This is a wide open field of inquiry.

    A good Mercedes shop (I mean an independant garage, with crafts-persons doing the work) will be a good resource if they know CAN/bus and DRBII/III computer codes. They will have to have access to the diagnosis manuals for Sprinters.

    It seems odd for a Sprinter dealer to not also have Dodge Cummins diesel pickups as well... Further looks for Spritner dealers/repair in your area should include Freightliner dealers who also sell (or did sell Sprinters).

    KenB :sick:
  • hhullhhull Posts: 1
    I am having problems with fueling my van. The neck fills up and shuts off the fuel flow from the pump handle. I have pulled the tank and inspected the neck. The anti surge check valve seems free. Any ideas?
  • My husband has an 04 Sprinter 2500 he uses for an Express Mail route. We have had numerous problems since purchasing this van in 2003. We've had anything from brakes, sensors, batteries, fuel/air filter problems, etc. We have a new problem that the mechanics can't seem to figure out so I'm searching this board in hopes of some kind of direction.

    When the van is started the auxillary fan to the air conditioner kicks in and the motor sounds as if it is racing.....the van then dies. Restart the van and it will start fine, no fan running, no racing engine.....but you put the van in reverse and once again it dies......wait a few minutes and it starts and drives normally. This only happens when you first start it. There's no loss of power no lights come on and the mechanics have found no coding errors. Any ideas?

    One bit of warning for those considering a Sprinter van......mechanics who are licensed or one who knows how to work on these vans are limited and regardless of the problem (in our experience) when you leave the dealership expect to pay $$ for any service on these vans. Our experience has always been at least $500 per visit and has been as much as $1700 and expect to be without the vehicle for at least one day if not a week at a time. Seems these "qualified trained" mechanics don't know where to start if the code reader doesn't detect anything. :
  • I long ago found that I must keep a key to critical locks in my wallet!
    I had a key to 03 sprinter made at the best locksmith shop in town. They found a blank that had the same profile but was thicker, so they ground it thin enough to fit in the lock then cut the teeth the normal way.
    After locking the key in the van several times this wallet backup has saved many precious hours and a lot stress. It will unlock the doors no problem.
  • I am very sympathetic to your problems and issues with Sprinter electronics.
    I have been having problems with my sliding side door from day one. Recently it doesn't unlatch. Yesterday, I used the dash mounted unlock button, got out and attempted to open the door, which was a mistake. after pulling on the door latch, I heard the unmistakable sound of all of the doors locking, clunk,clunk. As you may expect I had left the key in the ignition. These Sprinters can have a mind of their on. It was suggested to me that I should find a Priest and have an "exercism performed".
    The local dealer who has very short term experience said that it was a faulty instrument cluster. But at $718 for the replacement cluster I am reluctant to put with that much precious green stuff. Maybe if I can find a dealer who will let me "try before you buy"?
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