Some of you may have read my sob story on the auction forum. I have bought a van-load of problems I suspect and need to start getting to the bottom of them.
The vehicle is a 2004 Vito 109 2.1 diesel.
When collecting the van from the car park the technician guy there had to jump start the van from two large terminals in the fuse-board compartment as there was a known fault with the ignition key. The engine sounds good and there are no obvious ugly noises or rattles etc.
Immediately on the road and the warning lights came on. Engine, ABS, one that looks like a wheel with an arrow pointing in each direction, and another one that looks like a circle in brackets. The van drives reasonably well at low speeds but loses all power above 2800rpm meaning it would only do about 65mph flat out. This dismays me if this is the norm. I have owned an old 1999 Vito for six years and it goes like the clappers on motorways and gets great mpg too. As the new one had a six speed gearbox I was expecting even better performance.
I tried jump-starting the vehicle at home from the same two terminals but no joy. It wont turn over. Ther is just a big click and then all the lights go out. I have however discovered a new noise. there is a whirring noise coming from inside (or very near) the fuse compartment. Have I tripped the immobiliser from my jump-starting?
This obviously needs to go to a pro. I have a small reputable local garage that has always done whatever I can not do. He has a diagnostics computer in his shed I don't know whether it would be suitable. I can't even move the stupid thing now so that will be a factor in whatever happens next.
I am entitled to ONE free trip at the expense of the AA. After that I'm on my own. Where do I start? Do I need a Mercedes specialist or should my reputable local man do. Do people offer a Diagnostics Machine on Wheels service so that I can assess my needs before using up my free AA trip. I need this to be remedied pretty quickly and would love to have any advice. Cost is an important factor here, my resources will run out if this gets much over a grand.
I know I'm sounding like a real amature here but I'm honestly not that bad. I haven't got the operating handbook to identify the lights and I've been putting off buying a vehicle new enough to have to rely on an engine management system because I don't know where to start with fault finding. I have alwayys maintained my old van myself and it has ended it's life with 253,000 miles so the new one with just 98,000 should be okay for a few years work. If there is anything that I can try myself then please let me know.
If I don't get a more attractive suggestion then I guess that's what I'll have to do. I was hoping for someone with a bit of experience of such things to be able to tell me that a mobile diagnostics guy could help or that the software needed would be likely to be available at my local mechanics as opposed to a Mercedes garage which I assume is going to cost the earth.
Sadly the extent of the info on the ignition key was "barrel U/S".
As I watched the van drive through with the keys in the ignition and no warning lights I suspected that it meant the door lock ( a pretty common problem on the old Vitos usually due to scallywags tampering).
However once I had the keys to my new van and went to start it I realised it was the ignition and not the lock. The lights come on and go off half a second later as you turn the key. This was the case both before and after my own jump-starting attempt.
If anyone can recommend someone in the area from thier personal experience then I would rather that than trawl the yellow pages. I know that there are a few rogues operating out of the back of vans out there.
Get your front passenger seat up and check the battery connections, then try jump starting from there. All your warning lights except engine light relate to abs, anti slip regulation and general brake warning. these systems (and engine ecu) will not work without a reliable 12v supply. If you lights dim when trying to start the ignition switch should be ok, if it turns over and wont start it maybe a multitude of things from immoblizer to injectors and a fault code check will be necessary.
The jump starting isn't working. I am trying to find a reputable guy to read the fault codes. Do you know whether I need a Mercedes specialist or would a call out mechanic carry the necessaries to do the job?
04 2.1 04 reg Vito- electrical faults. -
You won't jump start one of these if the battery is dead.As previously suggested get a decent battery fitted (a bit of a mission on these).Get an M/B specialist to take a look.A lot of your problems could be related to low battery situation.hth
I've been in touch with a couple of mobile mechanics who say they can read the fault codes by the side of the road and got some quote for this service. When I have the results of this I will post them so the knowledgeable among you can cast an eye over them for me. Thanks for all the responses.
Whilst professing no mechanical knowledge - talking today to a chap that repairs these on a fleet - he said that the passenger window is prone to failure - apparently a known failure is a plastic cog in the winder mechanism
I have disconected the regulator and jammed it shut with a stick. Not scientific but it will do until I get it running as it should. I just have to remember to fix it before I go through the Dartford Tunnel else I will get some abuse hurled at me. I will look for that cog though thanks.
Got a very useful visit from PRAutos, a mobile mechanic very an extremely expensive computer that could read the fault codes. Doesn't look too disasterous. A new battery helped (as previously suggested) and the engine light went off after it had been running for ten minutes. Apparently Vito's are notoriously difficult to jump start. It could't be jumped but started when the new battery was in. The traction control and abs warning light are on because of a sensor at the left rear wheel. I will look for it tomorrow. The alarm was going off because when I was locking the van the passenger side door was refusing to lock ( it is completely jammed, can't even force it) so the alarm would go off because the van was not secure. The battery was being drained in the first place because the near side SLD is hanging a bit low on its runners and so the lights were staying on inside after it was closed.
I will be ordering a regulator for the driver's side window and a lock for the passenger door and start ticking the jobs off one by one. Nothing sounds to horrific so far.
I will also have to change the rear shock absorbers. It is bouncing like mad and will drive me nuts before long. Has anybody done this job before? Any tips or mistakes that you made would be handy.
The van is disappointlingly slow. I had a 1999 Vito before this one and it was excellent on motorways. This one is more or less flat out ar 65mph. Is this normal?
Thanks for all the feedback to date.
If anyone would like a mobile diagnostics man in the S/E London area then Paul (P R Autos) was very reasonable. I emailed him from his website.
>>>This one is more or less flat out ar 65mph. Is this normal?
No, I don't think it is normal. Most Vitos seem to do about 95mph when they pass me on motorways.
I should get your pal with the computer to investigate. It could be a blocked fuel or air filter.
Good luck, keep us informed of your progress.
Engine light came back on last night. The first trip on the motorway since my diagnostics guy came round. As I was joining the light came on. I came straight off and went home. Restarted the engine and the light didn't come on. Alternator maybe?
Starting to think I'd be better off changing this van and buying a Hiace.
If you have any further problems im local to Bromley and have the official mercedes xentry das computer, we specialise in all types of mercedes repairs and diagnostics and cover all London and surrounding areas.
My details can be found in HJ's Useful websites directory, in the Specialists category. Listed next to "Diesel Injection Specialists"