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Old 12-20-2003, 05:45 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
E300D Cold Start Troubles

I have a 1996 E300D (#210.020 chassis with #606.912 motor) with 77K miles. All glow plugs were replaced at 50K miles when the pre-glow light would not go out even when warm. Other than that, it's been a great vehicle until during a highway drive the first cold spell of this season, the check engine/engine electronics warning came on. No glow-plug indicator problem. Cold starting after that was alittle difficult, with some white smoke and diesel nailing noise at idle for about a minute or two, but a trip to my local M.B. tech resulted in the #4 glow plug being replaced, along with the pre-glow module, per the fault codes found. As an added cold weather precaution, I even had him replace the battery and change the oil to Mobil 1 0W-40. I noticed the glow-plug indicator took alittle longer to signal ready-to-start, but otherwise worked OK till the weather really got chilly and then cold starts became rough including white smoke, some diesel nailing noise at idle, alittle raw fuel odor from the front engine compartment, and erratic idle until warm. No dash warnings at all. Car runs great when warmed-up and started without trouble even on a sub-zero day with the block heater plugged-in. Since I can't plug it in at work, I took it back to my M.B. tech who said the glow plugs and module were fine, but the injectors needed to be replaced. Got it back from the shop yesterday with six new injectors and two new fuel filters. Motor sounded like a tank, but the tech said to drive it a bit and the new injectors would quiet down. Went to start it this morning without the block heater and it's even worse than before! If it was summer at the Jersey shore, I could have killed every mosquito in the neighborhood with the clouds of white smoke! And the neighbors could have killed me with the louder-than-ever diesel nailing noise! Used the block heater for about 3 hours, and it started easier, but still alittle smoke and still alot of nailing noise at idle. Took it out for a good long drive and it runs great, and no dash warnings have appeared. Any advice? Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2003, 07:28 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
My 87 300D is a little cranky on cold starts, too. If I wait 15 sec or so after the glowplug indicator goes off, it starts much better with no misses and very little white smoke.

I'd try running the glowplugs a while after the indicator light goes out and see if that improves things.

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 12-20-2003, 11:32 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Our 606 equipped 98 turbo went through several sets of glow plugs and associated parts. Constant headache that lead to the car being sold. The dealer often tried other things, but starting problems were always the glow plugs.

Good luck
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 12-21-2003, 09:13 AM
The Least of These
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Exton, PA
Posts: 559
I have had my 210 for about 6 months and 20K. Yes I drive about 40K a year. I have all records for the car since new and to date there has only been routine maintainence and replacement of some wear items...thanks again psfred...

Before my purchase I read many post concerning the potential glowplug issue on this model. It was my understanding that this usually became an problem if you drove the car on many short runs. This would not give the car a chance to reach operating temps and accumulate carbon deposits.

Do you do many short runs?

If so, after you manage this problem, you may consider consistently running a fuel additive and periodically taking some long hauls... Just a thought.
1996 (W210) E300D 86K - Traded in for a Lexus
1992 (W124) 300D 2.5 Turbo 202K - Sold
1983 (W123) 300D, 146K - Sold
1970 280S, 263K - Sold - Beginning of addiction
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Old 12-21-2003, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Aside from glow plug problems, I have had more than one slow start and misfire be due to fuel bleed down overnight. If such is a possibility we replace all the line fitting o-rings including the shut-off valve.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 12-21-2003, 12:14 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: western pa
Posts: 54
white smoke

Steve, what about blown head gasket, white smoke, eh?
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Old 12-21-2003, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
White smoke on diesels is likely poor combustion. Smell it, if its steam it won't smell as bad.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 12-21-2003, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
The odor you report from under the hood is an indication you have fuel leaking out somewhere. This can lead to air leaking in when the engine is turned off. This can lead to injector like symptons as air will interfere with the fuel delivery.

My 1998 E300D TurboDiesel has had a running problem with fuel line leaks. I finally had the dealer take intake manifold off (he found a gasket leak that needed to be fixed under my Starmark warranty) and replace all the lines, that, like everything else that needs attention, is located under intake manifold. I still get a whiff of Diesel now and then, but the car starts like it does not know about the ambient temperature. Let it glow and it starts immediately. Good luck, Jim
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

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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