Insane starting issue on Vito 108cdi Lemon

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New Member
Aug 28, 2014
Vito 108cdi
Bought a tatty 2002 Vito 108cdi to do one job and then pass it on to someone else. Drove ok for first 100 miles, except for (only) key snapping 50 miles from home and needing replacement (by mobile service).
Completed journey ok.
Next day no starter on key-turn. All dash lights come on (including glow plugs). Headlights ok, did not dim when key turned to engine-start position. Just no starter action at all.
Non-Merc-specialist car electrical mechanic's diagnosis: immobiliser playing up.

Tried again a few days later - started & ran ok... The next day not. The next day ok again. Realised that it started on sunny days, when the cab was hot. Assumed there is a dry joint or duff connection somewhere.

Wondered if anything to do with chip in new key: removed chip to try holding it in different positions in cab (on a warmish day). To my surprise, starter worked, engine turned over and fired - then immediately cut out...
Can hear - and felt - relays under passenger seat: one clicks when operating starter, then instantly clicks again when the engine catches, apparently cutting starter off and killing engine (?).
Noticed on dash digital display (very dimly lit) message "Start Error".

Problem(s): first of all, getting it to a Merc indie specialist (transporter required = ££); second, van not worth spending to many £££s on; thirdly, not wanting to get ripped off by someone replacing everything willy-nilly until rogue component discovered and charging ££££s.

So... wondering whether this peculiar fault is recognisable to anyone, or if anyone has any bright ideas as to why hot days revive(d) electronics?
Interesting. An AA guy thought so too. Unfortunately, as far as I know, the ign. sw is coded to the immobiliser etc., so isn't just a matter of hauling it out and sticking another one in. If I could hot-wire it I would - if only to test it.
Thanks for the reply.

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