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108 CDI, Kawasaki Z750
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

my 638 is occasionally not starting. Here is what happens, Turn key > Dash lights come on (as normal) > then nothing (starter motor not kicking in).

If i repeat that several times it will eventually start.

I think that the starter motor may need replacing, or it could be a dodgy contact in the key barrel.

Last night i had a look to see if i could access the electical connector on the starter mortor, so i could give them a clean up. I couldn't undo the cables because they are under a platic cover. I think i need to take out the starter motor to have a proper look at it.

It looks like a tight fit, have you done the before, can you give me a how too?

I'd also like to have a look at the key barrel, have you ever removed this, can you give me a step by step?

I'd really appreciate any advice you can give,

Cheers
 

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Vito 110 CDI
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5 Posts
Hi HarryHardHat. It's one year since you had this problem, so I'm sure (well, hoping!) that you have it fixed by now.

Could you tell me if it was the starter motor in the end, or something else? It sounds like exactly the same problem as I've been having with my Vito for some time now, & it seems to be happening more frequently so it's time for me to fix it properly.

Until now, I've found that if I try repeatedly with the ignition key, the starter will usually turn eventually. But on those occasions when it doesn't, my solution has been to put it in gear & roll the van a foot or two. This seems to rotate the engine (& starter motor?) to a new position, such that when I try again with the starter, it always then turns & starts the engine. The only problem with this solution is that I'm always now trying to park on a slope, & I live in fear of other people parking so close in front & behind, that they leave no room for me to roll my van that vital foot or two!

If it is the starter, I was also wondering if the whole thing needs replacing, or if it's possible & a worthwhile saving to just replace the motor brushes?
 

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Vito 110 CDI
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5 Posts
Oops, just thought I'd look at your other posts, & I've found another thread where you say you fixed a relay power problem (which I assume was for this same fault - I haven't read all your posts yet). So maybe that is my answer.

But on the other hand, it sounds like it may be a different fault to mine, with similar symptons. I'm not sure that if it was a fault with my relay, that the starter would suddenly be able to turn again after rolling the van in gear for a short distance. Do you know if this technique worked for you at the time? Cheers.
 

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108 CDI, Kawasaki Z750
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hi,

I didn't try your technique, so I'm not sure if it would have worked for me.

You could try what i did: swap your starter motor with another one. If that doesn't fix your problem then you know it is something else causing the issues.
 

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Vito 114 tourer 2015: Vito 108d 97: 108d 98: Traveliner 2003 ; Aixam; z1100; xbr500; z440 ++++
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2,394 Posts
you cannot identify the starter until its removed.... there are 2 makes and 5 variations.

most starter problems are cured by removing it, stripping it and cleaning thoroughly with something like paraffin or petrol..... it amazing how much glue like gunk they build up in a couple of years and most of ours have been on for 6 to 10 yrs.

if the brushes are worn, replacements are pretty cheap at mb or motor rebuilders.... but you need the motor out first to identify which brushes.

malcolm


just noticed you ride a z750.... a "new" model or the original early 80s one????
 

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Vito 112 CDI 2002
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204 Posts
I concur with Malcolm, I had the same symptoms. Stripped it and cleaned, and then cleaned it some more and then re-oiled using engine oil and it has been fine ever since.
 

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Vito 110 CDI
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5 Posts
Thanks guys. I'm hoping that the starter will play up next time I'm leaving from home & when I'm not in a rush. That way I'll get the chance to try out what is probably the easiest of the checks which I haven't tried yet : bypassing the power relay as described in the other thread.

I've mentioned this fault a couple of times while I've been at different local garages over the months, & without actually looking at it, they both said it sounds like the starter motor - though they obviously don't know about this Vito's other common fault with the relay. The only problem is that the garages would only do replacement with a new motor & wouldn't bother with any maintenance work on it. So I guess I'd have to find a more back-street garage or do the work myself if I try your suggestion of cleaning it. I'm not too confident about doing certain jobs like this on the van, so if looking at the relay doesn't fix it I might just resort to getting a new motor fitted. I hate paying out for new parts on an old van!
 

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Vito 112 CDI 2002
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Mine was exactly the same, had to turn key a few times before it would engage. Take starter motor out, really clean it (1st time I did it it only worked for a week or so, because I didn't clean it properly) and put it back in. The gears on the end get all gummed up and the fork that engages the gear won't be able to move freely. It is not a hard job, you just have to jiggle it a bit to get it out.
 

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108 CDI, Kawasaki Z750
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Discussion Starter #10
G'day all. Malcolm I've got a 2008 model Z750, its a great bike (bright orange), heaps more reliable than a merc vito.

Ben Z, I just wanted to let you know what i think was happening with my van a year ago. I had an issue where, intermittently, my van would not turn over. I would turn they key and just hear a click under the passenger seat (AU version). I got a cheap replacement starter motor off ebay, swapped-it-in, but the issue persisted so I searched for another solution to the problem.

I think you have seen my other post about how i fixed my intermittent starting issue by changing the way a relay gets a +ive signal from the computer. I think, but im not 100%, what was happening is that the vans computer (ECU) had failed internally (so it is not grounding properly internally). The relay was working properly, rather it was a problem where the ecu had a problem. The fix i described in the other thread was a work around for the problem caused by the ecu internal fault.
 

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Vito 110 CDI
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5 Posts
Oh Dear, I just thought I'd check out the price of a "Vito 110 starter motor" on eBay, & the first & cheapest one I looked at (£39 + £10 P&P) was from a guy (I hope it's none of you chaps) who says he bought it thinking that his motor was faulty, but then traced the problem to a bad connection so never even fitted it. Sounds familiar. He should have visited this forum first - could have saved himself the agro!
 

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Vito 110cdi Auto
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14 Posts
Hi guys, I do have the same issue and was advice by my mechanic to knock on starter motor and have one more person to start while the other knocking on the starter. If it works, it means the starter need to be service or you can purchase a new starter. hope my experiece will ease the problem....
 

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Vito 110 CDI
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Just posting an update on my situation, for anyone with a similar van problem who does an online search like I originally did and found this thread....

The van symptoms I described earlier made me suspect my starter motor as being the most likely culprit. I managed to find a new one for under £50 and figured that if the old one had to come out anyway for a good cleaning and possible brush replacement, then at this price I'd be better off just getting the new one fitted.

Well, 2 weeks on and I haven't had a single recurrence of the problem, so I think it's a safe bet (fingers crossed) to say that the replacement fixed it. It would seem then that my van's issue wasn't with the ecu/relay as it was for some other people.

If you are experiencing similar problems with your Vito sometimes not responding to the starter switch being turned, it may be an idea therefore to try what I did to determine which of the various possible underlying faults you have yourself. As I mentioned earlier, if it wouldn't respond to the starter switch, I put the van in gear and rolled it a foot or two. This seemed to rotate the engine (and starter motor?) to a new position, such that when I tried again with the starter, it always then turned and started the engine. If this is also the case for you, then you'll probably need to remove the starter motor and either replace it or give it a good clean and check the brushes.

If the van rolling technique doesn't work, then other causes of the problem could be a faulty starter switch, a loose or corroded electrical connection, or the ecu/relay problem as nicely described and illustrated in HarryHardHat's other thread on this forum.

As for me, I now have to get out of the habit of always trying to park on a slope!
 
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