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Michaela 07-17-2005 03:03 AM

Need Troubleshooting Input for 190D That Won't Start
I've got a 1984 190D that won't start. It turns over very strong, so it is not the starter or the battery that's the problem. It simply will not catch and fire off. I am not well-versed on the operation of the diesel engine, so I went to the library to learn - what I've discovered is that I don't think it's a particularly good idea for me to attempt the repair myself! Although I'm a female, I am quite mechanically inclined, so I'd like to have a go at figuring it out anyway. What I've got so far is this: obviously the problem is fuel or compression oriented (!). I pulled the main fuel filter and found much dirt in it, so I replaced it. I was getting a lot of fuel into the filter, so I do not think it's the fuel pump. As well, I was getting lots of fuel coming out of the filter, but since it was so dirty, I replaced it anyway. The library book said that, "The smallest particulate of dirt can clog the nozzle of an injector.."
Since there was so much dirt in the fuel filter, it is conceivable that a small particulate could have passed through and subsequently clogged a nozzle, right? On another forum I went to, one gentleman said that a clogged injector would not prevent the car from starting. Is this correct? Doesn't make sense to me that it wouldn't:: if there is no fuel being injected into the compression chamber, how would one have ignition? As well, there appears to be fuel at the base of two of the injectors. Would this mean I've got some bad seals there that need replacing, or (hope this next question doesn't sound ludicrous), or would the fuel "back up", as it were, if the injector were clogged and disallowing the fuel from being forwarded? Then, there's the injector pump, but I pulled the line & am getting fuel out of there. Then, we've got the glow plug system. This car's got some strange history, which may help us to know. The car was given to me about eight months ago - my landlord's father had died five years ago - the father had owned the car. The Mercedes sat at the house for five years without being started. The landlord tells me, "I guess I'll have to have it hauled off - a car won't start after sitting that long." I suggested that perhaps he should try to start it - he said, "I'll tell you what - if you can start the thing, you can have it."
I took a good battery up there, installed it, and that baby started right up on the first attempt! I mean, it didn't even hesitate!! So, I registered it and drove it every day for the next six months - it started every day, no problem; and it ran great! Then, when winter came, I chose to put a new battery in it 'cause the one I'd installed was old when it went in and was getting very tired. A friend R&R'd the battery (I bought a brand new DieHard Marine Heavy-Duty battery); and the car basically has not started since then! Straight away, it turned over very strongly, but just won't catch. And, on the first fire-off attempt after the installation of the new battery, I knew it wasn't going to start because it sounded a little differently. So, I followed the path required to R&R the battery, thinking that perhaps the guy knocked something loose, but to no avail - I found nothing. The thing is, the car ran great prior to changing the battery - what the heck??! I was not present when the guy did the R&R of the battery (regretably), so I asked him a few polite questions, like, "Could you have accidentally knocked something loose?" and, "Could you show me exactly what you did?" and, "Could you have inadvertently hooked it up backwards, and maybe some electrical thing got blown?" and, finally, "What the hell did you do to my car??!" Several days later, a mutual acquaintance told me that the guy asked him, "Hey, if I did hook the battery up wrong and tried to start it, could something have happened to it to make it not start?" Although the guy doesn't directly admit doing so, I'd say it is possible that it did occur. Considering this, would the different polarity hook-up be the causation for blowing out some sort of electrical part; relay; something of this nature; and what should I check first? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated - thank you. Sincerely, Michaela

dieselnut14 07-17-2005 09:50 AM

1. when cranking is there any smoke out of the exhaust. if yes you do not have a fuel problem.
2. you must check the glow plug cicuit. is the relay turning on or not. could be as simple as the 80 amp fuse in the glow plug relay, simple check and repair. if relay is sending voltage to all glow plugs, are all of them working. have some check these things out first before moving on

mespe 07-17-2005 10:32 AM

I would check the GPs & relay first,,,
If the battery was installed backwards, it is possible that the GPs aren't warming up.

You said you noticed the car sounded different, that could be GP or fuel.

If you have an DVM check the voltage at the GP's and also test the resistance at the GPs.

EVEN if the GP's aren't warming up, with enough cranking the car could start, as long as it's warm outside. But this would take a lot of cranking and cranking,,,

good luck


psfred 07-17-2005 10:57 PM

Does the glow plug lamp work? If not, most likely it's the fuse (on the relay).

If it does work, and the filter was filthy, likely you have a serious fuel starvation problem from a clogged filter. You will need to change the small plastic clear filter in the suction line as well, as you likely have algae in the tank.

Have someone crank the engine after you change that clear plastic filter and watch for fuel moving through it. If it doesn't, check the tank (the fuel gauge works, right? You DO have fuel in there, right? -- don't laugh, a friend of mine had his car towed once because it stalled and wouldn't crank -- it was still in Drive....)

It will take quite a bit of cranking to get fuel back up to the injectors on that car if you got air in the injection pump since there is no hand primer pump, just the lift pump on the IP.

Also, check for fuel lines wet with diesel fuel -- a classic MB "diesel won't start" problem is bad suction side hoses, leaking lots of air into the system.


P.E.Haiges 07-17-2005 11:41 PM


Do this simple test: Turn on the cabin light before you turn the key to the run position. Then turn the key to the run position (turns on GP).

The light should dim when the GP are energized. If it doesn't, the GP are not working.

Report back with the results.


Michaela 07-26-2005 04:27 PM

Thank you, Gentlemen; for all your input on my 190D...
Tuesday, July 26th
I want to thank all of you kind Gentlemen that have responded to my plea
for assistance in getting my 190D going. I've had an unfortunate occurrence
that has had me preoccupied, and I apologize for the delay in getting back to this forum to thank you and to let you guys know what I have tried in
the effort to start my 190D. I had a growth removed from my left eyelid, and the biopsy came back as cancer - now they want to "go back in" and
remove additional tissue and to see how invasive the cancer is, so I am really freaked and devastated by the possible ramifications. I was informed about the biopsy results the morning after I read Mr. Haiges' response, so I
have not been back to the car since then. I intend to resume work on it
this week if I can, and will try all the things you kind folks suggested to me
and report back to the forum.
Thank you again; Michaela

SD300 07-26-2005 05:11 PM

Hope your eye lid got better.

U need a small light bulb, hold one wire to ground another wire to the glow plug terminal , see if any light comes on, or use a voltmeter.

Not sure on these 190, on the old 300SD we have a primer pump whcih u need to pump until all the air bubble comes out. Air trapped inside will not let the diesel goes thru.

Usually u won't have the batt terminal reversed, don't think it can even turn the starter crank, only one direction.

Michaela 07-26-2005 06:01 PM

Thank you SD300
Thanks for the well-wishes. The 190D does not have a hand priming pump-
it is self-priming; according to all the books I've read on it so far. Actually, the 190D is unusual in many ways as relating to various adjustments that the
other models require - it'll say, "As for the 190D, no adjustment is necessary,
nor is it even possible." I love that statement! That's good news about the
battery hook-up - I wasn't there when the guy did the R&R on it, so I'm not
even certain that it happened - merely a possibility since he did ask another
mutual acquaintence "if he had done that, would it have caused any harm."
The question asked seems pretty fishy to me - one should know if one had
done this or not! I figure he probably did and just doesn't want to admit it.
Thanks, Michaela
1984 190D

SD300 07-26-2005 07:02 PM

If u 're the one removing the old batt, u see the + and - term when removing.
Also most batt will have terminals close to one side make it easier to connect.

If u have a set of metric wrench u might want to try loose the injector line to injector. When cranking it u should see some diesel bleeds out of there.
No need to totally come off, just loosen up little, your finger can turn it.

Once I had a Golf, it died a few times, a diesel guy helped me to loosen up the injector and we saw dsl oozing up.

Maybe u need to do that and see any dsl is up there. This process also help to bleed any air bubble from the system.

SD300 07-26-2005 07:18 PM

try my icq 174373996, see what else to tell u.

The injector has two parts one is the cap for inj line, bigger nut is for removing the whole inj, don't remove whole thing!

Michaela 12-22-2005 04:24 PM

RE: Troubleshooting Input for 190D That Won't Start
I've been gone from the forum quite a long time, but all you folks that helped me with your suggestions ..... I got my 190D started, finally! Wanted to give everyone feedback on what the problem was. It was the glow plugs -three out of four were bad, but the relay and the ground strap within the system were fine. I still have an intermittant problem with the glow plug indicator light in the dash - it doesn't always light up when I am starting the vehicle. If it does light up, I fire it off the moment it goes out, and she'll start immediately. If it does not light up when I turn the key on, I wait the same approximate time that it usually stays on, then turn the key the remainder of the way, and she'll start, but not immediately - usually turns over four times, then she'll fire off every time so far. But, I am delighted to have my car back on the road. I finally pulled together the money and paid someone to fix it, as the glow plugs were difficult to access, and I didn't want to screw anything up by disassembling stuff. I want to thank everyone for all of your helpful suggestions - this is a wonderful and useful forum and I will stay!

Sincerely, Michaela
1984 190D

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