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  #1  
Old 03-09-2002, 12:25 AM
Former Dieselholic
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 380
Unhappy 300td with ignition/starter troubles?

My 81 300TDT was starting BEEE-U-TEEE-FUL...until tonight.
We were leaving friends house, started absolutely no problems.
I got home (less than 2 miles) and shut it off to put my kids inside. No more than 5 minutes later I go out to put the car away. Glow plug light doesn't even come on. The lights dim, and I hear the glow plugs "glowing". count to 5 (like I normally do) and attempt to turn her over. Nothing. I mean nothing. Not even the tell-tale 'click'.
I have had the instrument cluster in and out quite a few times in the last few weeks. Could I have weakened a connection? If it were the starter wouldn't it have given me some kinda signal?
I have no way to test the voltage myself.
Car now sits in my driveway, collecting rain/snow with no way to plug it in for the night. (sniff)
Any help would be advised, as it is now 11:30pm and my wife is getting pretty sick of me running out to the car, back in to the computer, back out to the car, etc. and we *need* it for tomorrow night.
Thanks in advance.
__________________
Current: '91 300TE 4MATIC 317k and climbing...
Former:
'81 300TD Wagon 168K "Tank"
'83 240D 216K 4spd manual "Da Bear" (aka best car ever)

"Never sweat the petty things...
and never pet the sweaty things."
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2002, 01:28 AM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
dieseldaddy,

My guess from your discussion is that the battery has died. Which lights dimmed when you tried to start the car?

Not being able to turn the engine over with the starter is a sign of a low battery charge, or a bad bendix.

Do any of the other dash/instrument lights light up when you turn the ignition on, or is it only the glow plug light that does not light up?

Diesels do not need the battery to run, so if the charging system is going bad, the car can run fine until you shut it off. This happens most frequently when you drive with the electrical stuff in the car running, like the blower motor, the lights and the other usual things in winter (rear window defroster, for example). All these accessories use the battery, but the engine does
not, so unless you notice the blower motor running slower, or the headlights dimming, you have no warning. You just find out you can't start it.

The most likely cause is worn brushes in the alternator, which come as a packaged part with the voltage regulator. The voltage regulator is on the backside of the alternator, and has an electrical connection (plug) that is held in by a wire spring clip and two screws. You have to pop the clip out of the way, then unscrew the two screws and kind of roll the voltage regulator out. If the brushes are less than around 3/8" long, they are shot. Others on this forum actually change the brushes (1/4" square cross section, 1 and 1/2 inch long graphite rods) alone. I have never done this and would spring for the voltage regulator.

If the brushes are unevenly worn, look at the wear surface. If it is rough and grooved, you need a rebuild. I would recommend you check FastLane.

Good Luck, Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #3  
Old 03-09-2002, 08:49 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Brian:

I agree with JimSmith.

I know you just had a new Optima battery put in. Maybe you want to charge that battery to full first to see. Then have the alternater/voltage regulator tested.

There was a thread about charging Optima battery.
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  #4  
Old 03-09-2002, 09:52 AM
Former Dieselholic
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 380
Brushes

Thanks Guys!
I will check the brushes/voltage regulator.
First I will test the battery.
All the lights are bright. radio is fine, etc.
This morning I went out to check (thinking a miracle had happened overnite) and the glow light came on fine...no blinking. I can hear the plugs warming, and the dome light dims slightly, no more than normal. DieselDon suggested that I check the connection to the starter, since I really have not had any problems prior to this. The only thing that I can think of is that I used the rear-defroster for the first time last night...about 10 minutes....and did not shut it off manually. I assumed that it shut off when the car shuts off. Was this a bad assumption? and why in the world would all the lights, radio, etc. be fine?

I will let you know what I find.
Thanks again!
-Brian
__________________
Current: '91 300TE 4MATIC 317k and climbing...
Former:
'81 300TD Wagon 168K "Tank"
'83 240D 216K 4spd manual "Da Bear" (aka best car ever)

"Never sweat the petty things...
and never pet the sweaty things."
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2002, 03:22 PM
Former Dieselholic
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 380
cured! (?)

OK. The problem *appears* to be fixed.
I got her up on ramps, beat on the starter with a hammer for a while...attempting to jostle the brushes just enough to get them back in alignment.
No such luck. Tried this repeatedly with no results (other than a stiff neck and a cold butt from laying on the concrete floor in 18 degree weather! )
At the point when I could no longer feel my fingers, I decided to go inside to warm up and read teh manual for some possible troubleshooting ideas. 99.9% of what I read was already covered in this forum (other posts I read) except for one thing.
The manual suggested that maybe something was loose or something at the ignition cylinder connection inside the dash.
SO, I removed the panel under the dash as well as the instrument cluster only to find that there was one bright white wire that was not directly attached, but coming off one of the lines connected to the ignition. THis wire was hanging pretty loose.
Not actually thinking that this would fix MY problem, I simply reattached and taped it up tight.
I turned the key and VROOOOOOOM! she started right up.
So now, I am thinking that I am a genious or an idiot. More along the idiot, probably but hey my car runs great!

MANY thanks to dieseldon and rs90kirk and all who have helped me out here!
__________________
Current: '91 300TE 4MATIC 317k and climbing...
Former:
'81 300TD Wagon 168K "Tank"
'83 240D 216K 4spd manual "Da Bear" (aka best car ever)

"Never sweat the petty things...
and never pet the sweaty things."
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