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Old 07-27-2005, 12:40 AM
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We did better

We can smell burnt fuel when we crank the engine. We put a bent injector line on with injector pointing up in the air it fired with a tiny bit of pee well with in acceptable limits. The cars owner is moving in two days after that we are going to try to get a friend of mine with a car carrier to bring it over to my house where we have a 2 mile long steep hill that will turn your knuckles white it is so bloody steep. And here we can do a leak down test but it is on hold till after he gets moved into his new house.
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Old 07-27-2005, 02:42 PM
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Location: Michigan
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before you go out to the hill, make sure you have a tank full of fresh diesel so if you get it running, you can go for a good long drive without fear of running dry. I know my 220D seemed to run better after putting some solid highway miles on it. It had been sitting for a year with only occasional starts but no driving. Going out and getting everything good and warm did a world of good.
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Old 07-27-2005, 08:24 PM
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It sure bugs me that this thing went to hell in a handbasket in 500 miles. Low compression usually takes a lot longer. I can't shake the feeling that we're missing something.

2004 C240 Wagon 203.261 Baby Benz
2008 ML320 CDI Highway Cruiser
2006 Toyota Prius, Saving the Planet @ 48 mpg
2000 F-150, Destroying the Planet @ 20 mpg

0BAMA .......... OUTHOUSE
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Old 07-27-2005, 09:48 PM
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Me too... However I was told by so many that this is a pretty simple engine, that there could be only one of 3 issues with it; 1) Glo plugs, 2) fuel delivery, or 3) Compression. I know there are the remote chances of having a tank full of water or valves suddenly decided to stay open wide, but very unlikely at this point with what we have seen during the troubleshooting. At one time when it did eventually work after a series of long cranks, it ran fine with no sign that valves were out of adjustment, or fuel was contaminated. I took it for a 20 mile drive after that and stopped to see if it would restart, and that's when it decided not to budge again!

Will keep you posted if Mattdave and I find more clues.

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Old 07-27-2005, 10:09 PM
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There is a fourth possibility: timing. If the fuel isn't being injected at just the right instant, the engine won't run.

But it you can get the engine running by a push or roll start, its not the timing.

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Old 07-28-2005, 11:39 AM
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Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
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You stated that there was no sign that the valves were out of adjustment. What signs were you looking for? When I get a diesel that won't start, that is a good sign that the valve lash may be too tight. Several years ago a friend of mine had a 240D that wouldn't start. I didn't have time to help him personally, because he lived at his winery at the upper end of Napa Valley and I was living on my boat at the time. I just couldn't make the trip. I just assumed that he was having the car serviced regularly so I suggested battery, tired starter, glow system, etc over the phone. He put in a new battery and pushed and pulled the car all over. It would not start. A friend suggested he take it to this small shop owned by a German mechanic. Valve clearance was the first thing he checked. It turns out my friend was just getting oil changes and hadn't had the valves adjusted in over 30K miles. The mechanic adjusted the valves and the car fired right up. My friend is meticulous about making award winning wines, but I learned from this incident that he is a closet automobile abuser. You might try adjusting the valves. If that doesn't do it, it's valve job time depending on the taper of the cyl walls.

Good luck,
Auto Zentral Ltd.
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Old 07-28-2005, 01:54 PM
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I was looking for smoke bellowing, rough idling, different starting behavior between when cold or hot, or stalling.... but I agree with you that this needs to be verified to put it at rest.

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Old 08-22-2005, 12:35 AM
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todays work on the car

Ok we worked on the car today. We put oil in the cylinders adjusted the valves some were tight but not real bad. I made a bone head mistake and just realized I did not put new injector seals in when I reinstalled the injectors. It was around 75 degrees out when we first tried starting it. The engine sounded like it was just failing to start there was a little white smoke out the exhaust defiantly smelt of burnt fuel after a while it no longer sounded like it was firing the smoke was black out the exhaust we ran a new battery dead even jumping it with a tiny running Honda. Out of desperation we tried butane in the intake then tried propane but the tank had a safety valve that would not spray so out of desperation we tried engine starting fluid that got a loud pinging but no start. One point of note was after 20 minutes of cranking and no luck the owner opened the radiator cap to see if there was any oil and it was quite pressurized maybe an eighth of a cup of radiator fluid came gushing out. My 220D would start with no fuel to one cylinder and no glow plugs on a 75 degree day with about 1 minute of cranking. There are no oil leaks around the IP that I would think you would see if the pump had come loose and moved. I wonder if with the compression readings and the water out of the radiator after trying to start it if we are not dealing with a blown head gasket we frankly are at a loss why this car ran well suddenly would not start and shows bad compression. It looks like the PO babied this car I can’t help but feeling that if we could get it to start a good hard drive would not cure it any suggestions at this point greatly appreciated. And for any one that has ever started a 220 or 240 with an automatic transmission do we need a good hill or miles of mountain roads to get a stubborn one started. Thanks in advance
Dave S
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:10 AM
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Drain the radiator down so that the fluid is just above the fins. That's where it's supposed to be when you don't have an external expansion tank. Then button the radiator up and crank again. If the radiator pressurizes again then it's probably the head gasket. I'd check timing before opening up the engine, though. Another thought: look at the linkage while somebody goes through the glow and start drill to make sure the rack is being pulled and pushed properly and the pin is in the right locations in the eye at the end of the cable.

Haven't pull started a diesel with an automatic, but have done gassers with automatics. Pretty much the same drill: pull in neutral then pop into drive - perhaps 35mph with this engine and a strong pull vehicle. If it doesn't start in a minute or so then it isn't going to start. We use 20ft and 30ft tow straps around here. Flat nylon webbing rated for 18,000lb and it rolls up nicely for the trunk. A lot lighter than chain.
daBenz - 1970 220D
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:16 AM
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" pull in neutral then pop into drive - perhaps 35mph with this engine and a strong pull vehicle. "

Of course if the drivetrain is really frozen up.... you are looking and smelling at four flatspotted tires.... LOLOLOL
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Old 08-22-2005, 02:49 PM
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dabenz; The coolant fluid appeared quite clean when it gushed (not a lot!, 1/2 cup or so) from the rad cap. This is after probably 1/2 hour of cranking attempts. If it is a head gasket, should I expect dirty pressurized coolant fluid?
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Old 08-22-2005, 03:03 PM
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dont be too concerned about the oil around the injector tip right will get this if your valve cover gasket is a little does not indicate a major fault.these cars can be very difficult to start if not started for may indicate sticky piston rings .ive owned several 114/115.make sure your starter is turning the engine over quickly.a sluggish starter will kill ya
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Old 08-22-2005, 03:19 PM
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Michael, I read this about diesels that cranking speed is very important. However, the battery is new and strong. We also had another car boosting the battery while cranking. Could the starter lose cranking speed over time?! - I recall we tested interior lights during cranking and they didn't dim, which we deemed as a good indication the starter and the battery are in good shape. But if you folks think that starters can slow down over time, we might need to look into that!
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Old 08-22-2005, 05:57 PM
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This has been an interesting thread. Since I bought my 76' 240 (W115 like your 220D) I have discovered there are a multitude of factors that can keep a diesel from running....even though the W115 diesels seem so totally simple.

Mine started pretty well when I first bought it in February, but not like I thought it should; since then I have (in this order): (1) Changed oil filter and oil to Mobil 1 5w-40 (2) replaced battery with new, correctly sized one (3) adjusted valves (3) replaced both fuel filters (4) replaced fuel and added Diesel Hi-Test (5) replaced starter (6) replaced primer pump (7) drove up steep, long hills at high RPM to clean carbon out. Of course I have done other work on the car, but these were the things I thought would make it start better. It doesn't - yesterday after not driving it for 3 weeks, at 75 degrees outside, it took a good 7 seconds of cranking after a 20 second preglow to start. After driving for a while, it still usually takes a few seconds to fire even with the engine at operating temperature. I'm thinking I have a leak, somewhere, in the fuel system. Maybe this is the issue with your 220D?

Also, I wonder if by nature, the older MB diesels, in general, take longer to start than the W123's and newer cars? Or maybe because they are now that much older and more tired? I've always remembered that MB diesels in good condition should fire off in less than a second...especially when warm.

Good luck with the 220D. I agree with the posts above- a tow start may be a good thing to try now. Definitely make sure the pull start switch is actually pulling the rack off the stop position (mine's flaky the other way - it doesn't always push it to "stop."). Does your fast idle control work? I always have mine turned up all the way for a cold start. And don't put any fluids in that doesn't belong, like starting fluid, that "pinging" is not a good sign...

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Old 08-22-2005, 06:36 PM
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I do not think the coolant should have been pressurized from just cranking. Since it is an easy test have someone watch the coolant fluid for bubbles when cranking with the cap off. If they are visual you know you have a real problem. Also a kit at some parts stores to check for combustion gasses in coolant is also available. So far it seems the only clue the car may be giving you other than the no start of course. A compression test may show two adjacent cylinders very low if there are bubbles in the coolant.

Last edited by barry123400; 08-22-2005 at 06:57 PM.
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