does anyone know of a sound mechanic in yorkshire area please?

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  • i've already put this question out there in another thread, but thought i should make a post especially...

    preferably close to leeds, or somewhere i can risk driving her to (if i can even get her to start now). someone who is good, won't fuck me about and preferably a diesel specialist.


  • What's the problem exactly? I mean not exactly, because if you knew that you could probably fix it, but what are the symptoms? I know its probably on another thread, but worth detailing it here. I'm down in Rugby so probably a bit far, but if we have an idea of what needs doing we might be able to organise getting it done. There are several of us on here that understand diesels.

  • oh wow, that would be so amazing if it was possible! thanks for even putting that idea out there julian :)

    yeah, so i don't know what the problem actually is. neither does the mechanic i took her to. he says he would need to take the front off to have a look, and that once that's done, it might be like opening a can of worms. he'd rather source a new engine and fit that, as he says it could cost a lot less than finding out the cause of the problems in this one. especially as he says the wiring is all fucked, and the fact that the head has been off the engine before, he's worried a shoddy job has been done all round. my friend who uses him does say he is a perfectionist - which is a good trait when it comes to mechanics in my opinion! just i want to make sure that it's not just something small and easily fixable - though he has already checked for air leaks in the fuel line, and other such basic stuff apparently. he thinks it might be the fuel pump or the timing that is causing the problems, but says it could be either or anything else...

    the problems being,,,

    she's VERY difficult to start. turns over fine, it's not the battery. but doesn't kick in without using easy start. when she is running, idling doesn't sound happy at all. splutters a lot. drives ok in gear, smoother than the idling. but when i drove her up from london to leeds (she did seem quite fine when i got her in london) i stopped quite often at services to give her breaks. each time i slowed down off the motorway onto the services slip road, she'd cut out, and it wasn't just bad clutch control she stalled even if i cruised in neutral just for a second while slowing down. at one of the stops, loads of smoke came out of the bonnet, but when i was back in leeds, i found that the diesel return pipes were a bit perished, so hopefully this was just that diesel heating off the top of the engine. it was diesel smoke. we got back to leeds eventually. i've tried not to drive her too much due to starting being so hard and driving not being happy, so only to the mechanics and back a few weeks ago.

    also, the wiring from the little black switch box that is part of the starting system (i'm SO technical!) had melted through it's casing and wasn't even connected to one of the glow plugs when i got back. the guy i bought the van off had replaced this box the morning i bought her too. so maybe it was his connecting, or maybe it's an old problem. but anyway, she's only starting off 2 cylinders at the mo, which of course won't help matters! i don't know if she continues to run off only 2, or if the other 2 kick in once started?

    so yeah, i think that covers it all. if i was confident she'd get us there, i'd drive anywhere to get this sorted! but i'm a bit wary of driving her very far at all in this state...

  • Ok, lets start eliminating. And the biggy is, is she overheating?
    You say she starts on two then you're not sure if the others are kicking in. Well if they're not, you should know, she'll be lumpy as hell and gutless. If she pulls ok and isn't jumping up and down then she'll be going on all four. If she's starting on two then it could mean that two of you're glow plugs need replacing, and/or a couple of leaky injectors, neither of which is particularly serious. Do you have a multitester, and do you know how to use it? Also, is there a light that is supposed to come on when the glow plugs are in use?

  • If the engine has seen loads of easystart, it's possibly buggered anyway. Because it is so volatile, it breaks the rings, causing low compression. That's why engines become "addicted" to it. Could be any number of things wrong. All a diesel engine needs to run is compression and fuel... If the thing runs in a fashion, it's receiving some fuel. Could be pump timing out, or maybe camshaft timing a couple of teeth out, if someone's been messing with it. This could give the symptoms you describe. Needs a fitter to look at it who will diagnose and give you a price for repair, rather than someone who spends hours on it, then decides the engine is not worth it, ....

  • I hate easystart, and any mechanic who uses it. As Minty says, it destroys engines, but I suspect it's more likely glow plugs and or injectors. I'd have thought it unlikely that anyone would have changed the spill or cam timing, its not the sort of thing I'd do first if someone presented me with a badly starting diesel, would you? The burnt wiring also suggests the glow plug circuit being a bit suspect.
    Another question, is it hard to start hot as well as cold?

  • the guy i got her off said he didn't use easystart for those reasons. however, there was a can of it in the van already. i think just incase, as it had been really really cold, but who knows...

    also, when he bought her a year ago, he says the timing was totally out and he got that fixed then. he also got this work done in march, as he emailed me the receipt:

    she seems to start fine after running a while, and trying again soon after. but still has those idling difficulties regardless.

  • did she start ok in the summer?
    have you ever ran it low on diesel or run it out of diesel?
    when was the last time the fuel filter was changed ?
    has it had a Air filter changed lately ?
    most of there's lot are service stuff .

  • Right. Start with checking the glow plugs. It's cold and if it has glow plugs then it needs them to be working. What Joss says on the filters etc, its basic housekeeping. I'm hoping you'll find a couple of broken glowplugs, because they are simple and easy to fit, and they do sound most likely. Then lets see where we are.

  • i've only had her since that snowy part of december, but i was told she was a good starter, always started.

    the diesel was very low when i took her. in fact, it was just after i dropped the previous owner at the station for him to go to work, then parked for just over an hour while i got insurance sorted before going to fill her up, that after that, she wouldn't start. i got some diesel from the fuel station and brought it to her, then continued having problems starting, which is where eventually, the previous owner came back to help, seemed baffled that there was a problem at all, and we eventually got her running with the help of easy start :/ so some air could have got into the system then if it was empty? but then i drove from london to leeds, so wouldn't that have sorted it?

    i don't know when filters were last changed.

    as for the glow plugs, like i said, only 2 are even wired up right now, so i guess only 2 are working. but, that shouldn't affect idling should it? or the cutting out when slowing down off the motorway?

    and i don't know why my mechanic wouldn't just get those 2 glow plugs connected up and away we go. :think:

  • No, having only two glow plugs wired up wouldn't cause the other problems, except they may soot up I suppose, but the thing is we know they are a problem, so we fix that first then tackle the next problem without the added complication of dodgy glow plugs fouling things up. I didn't realise only two were wired up, that explains the fried wiring, they run in series, if you bypass two of them then you're lucky you haven't blown the other two, in fact you may have done so already, they are normally 2 volts each with a ballast resistor. We are making a bit of progress. :D

  • ok so you only have two glow plugs wired up theres one problem with starting
    the wires that have melted have you raped tape round each of them so they don't earth out ?
    if the tank was low of fuel it might have sucked crap in to the filter and be slowing the fuel flow ?
    this is all service stuff really and shouldn't coat much to have sorted if you can't do it your self

  • ... when i first brought her up, i also had my mate who is a mechanic look over her to try find the problem. he didn't think he could sort it either because she wasn't happy idling, and suggested i take her to someone who specialised more in diesel engines. both of them saying stuff like this suggests to me they don't think it's something simple. but that doesn't mean it's not, i guess :shrug:

  • well if you sort the simple stuff out first and it fixes it we are all happy what Me and Julian are saying is mainly service stuff so if you do do it and the engines buggered you still have new filters and glow plugs ,ect so its not a waist of money trying the simple stuff first

  • ... when i first brought her up, i also had my mate who is a mechanic look over her to try find the problem. he didn't think he could sort it either because she wasn't happy idling, and suggested i take her to someone who specialised more in diesel engines. both of them saying stuff like this suggests to me they don't think it's something simple. but that doesn't mean it's not, i guess :shrug:

    It suggests they don't really understand diesels. Diesels aren't rocket science but they are very different from petrol engines and unless you do know about them you haven't got a snowballs. Another thing, what speed is she idling at? If its too low she will be rough anyway. Start with the simple stuff as Joss says, it won't be money wasted and you eliminate the faults one by one.

  • cheers guys, the 2nd of my last 2 posts was supposed to be posted immediately after the 1st, so i wasn't ignoring what you had replied already, i just hadn;t read it yet.

    as far as i know, all 4 glow plugs were wired up when i began, but on seeing them fried when my mate came to look the first time, he took the fried ones out, since they weren't connected anymore anyway. i guess they must have been initially in order to have gotten fried though? i have a friend saying his colleague in york specialises in merc vans. but i might fuck the glow plugs if i try use them again while not all wired up? i guess i'll have to drive her somewhere to get wired up though, cos i haven't a clooo what i'm doing!

  • oh and julian, what do you mean by what speed is she idling at? ta

    I meant how fast is she revving? Old mercs have a knob on the dash that you can turn to speed up the engine a bit when its cold or slow it down if its idling too fast. As far as I remember its on the left of the steering column and is connected to the accelerator pedal.

  • I wouldn't think it's a glow plug problem for a minute....Dodgy glow plugs would cause a long crank when cold, and a cloud of black smoke when it does fire up.... The engine would then run normally. If the idle is rough, my guess would be either an injector pump or injector problem, if someone has played with the pump timing in the past, could be that they didn't get it right. It only takes 5 degrees too much advance or retard on the pump to make it run bad. Opening pressures of injectors could be wrong, pump could be knackered. Could possibly be a low compression problem. This would show up as exhaust smoke and fuming from the oil filler cap when it is removed with the engine well as rough idling. Another thing, is there any possibility it has been run on veg oil in the past? If not done properly, it will bugger the pump, due to being too thick, especially in the colder months. A mate of mine has a pajero which has been run on veg oil, and it has never been right, especially in the cold. If half a dozen self-styled mechanics have been playing with it, who knows what they might have done!

  • julian - i'm still not too sure if what i'm thinking is slow revving actually is, but yeah, i think her revs are a little slow, or it feels that way, so sometimes she almost cuts out. when driving, as the revs are higher, the engine doesn't splutter. i'll have a look for the knob you mention if i wake up in time for daylight tomoro! (i aint just lazy - i got a night shift tonight :sleep:) cheers. at least it might help me get to a mechanic's without cutting out at traffic lights! doh...

    minty - "If half a dozen self-styled mechanics have been playing with it, who knows what they might have done! " yeah, i think that's what the original mechanic was getting at. he'd rather start with a clean slate and know whats what, than fix one thing and find that something else is buggered, and something else, and something else....

    i guess either way is a gamble. i'm just no good at decisions! though i've found out today that a mate's colleague who specialises in merc vans is up for having a go later this week. he's in york, so i'm going to attempt to get her there i think... maybe he'll say the same, but at least that'll be 2 opinions to go on. wish me luck...

    and thanks for all the info and possibilities - it's good to hear what it might be, and learn a bit of what's going on inside there. i still don't feel confident to tackle it myself, being so bloomin clueless n all, but hopefully this guy won't mind me poking my nose in eh ;)

  • I'm with wandering gypsy on this one

    You never know what has happened to a vehicle in the past - vigilantes pouring water in the fuel tank, sand, mud, whatever

    Get some filters and try to flush it

    The 'melted' plastic part is cause for concern - electrics

    Sounds like it's not earthed somewhere - simple job of diagnostics, start at the beginning, and follow the system until you find the bad bit. Wiring isn't as difficult to sort out as most mechanics would have you believe

    Glow plugs? as Julian said - it could be that simple

  • santapod - she's a 308D

    ziva and wandering gypsy - i can only hope it is - thanks for the helpful suggestions, hopefully this mate's merc mechanic mate won't mind going through this with me. i'd love to be able to just do it, as it doesn't sound too hard, it's just the total not knowing how. and the even totaller lack of confidence!

    julian - i don't seem to have a knob! ... teehee :rolleyes: ... but really, no, i can't see one anywhere around the steering column or pedals...

  • All I am going to say is - could bad fuel also be causing some of the problems on top of the electric issues??

    Just before xmas I have a tank full of dodgy diesel that waxed in the system. Fecked the fuel filter. Car would be an arse to turn over taking 4-5 turns and conking out my electrics too (this is a modern deisel)

    New battery was needed as something else happened and a new tank of diesel from Morrisons (texico) sorted it out.

  • Dont want to worry you, but i have had two 308 mercs, and both let me down with cracks in the head behind the valves, resulting in bad starting and rough running, not saying this is your problem, just passing on my own encounters.

  • How's it going? I'm also of the "crap sucked up from the bottom of the tank and blocked all the filters brigade".
    Welcome to the next bit of owning your own home!!!!
    Hope you have a really good and interesting time with the guy in York, don't forget to ask him if you can either help, or at least look over his shoulder with him explaining what he's doing and his thought processes while he's working out what's wrong.
    Also ask him to show you the airfilter, oil filter (and sump plug) and fuel filters (including the in-line one if there is one) so that you can have a hope of servicing it yourself next time.
    Next bit of the learning curve and we all started somewhere!!!

    "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" Mother Julian of Norwich

  • Teabird
    could you tell us the name of the York Merc specialist as Im in need of parts for old merc engines and he might be worth a try?
    Any news on the van yet?

    A good place to look for parts is small bus companies. Most have a few merc hoppers kicking about and they may well break them for parts for sale. Merc hoppers are based n all mercs with varying engines s chances are you'll find a part or two that suits your needs.

    Through violence you may solve one problem, but you will sow the seeds for another...