W638 V220CDi (2003) Air in Fuel Lines - Non Start

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kernowmcrae

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Nov 16, 2014
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23
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Mercedes CLK230K, Various Alfas
Hi there, i have been through so many of your threads already, and can't find a specific answer for where to look for a solution to this problem - now that it's been almost a week of trying the following, I need help!

The van was running fine for the first hour after we picked it up! We bought it as a bit of a basket case, and I knew I would be going through various things to replace and repair stuff but wasn't prepared for quite as much pain and bleeding knuckles as this one is giving me so far.

Problems (A Bingo card of Vito Problems!):

  • Central locking powering one sliding door to lock, unlock, lock again but when moving the locking solenoid, the problem moves with it. however, solenoid checked out perfectly electrically!
  • interior lights in the back on all the time (Fixed - tailgate latch alignment off)
  • Coolant Leak (New radiator, original one had split along the 'expansion bottle' seam
  • Rear Wiper Seized solid
  • Weird door rattles - (No screws in the bottom of the window guide tracks!
However, we're not here for the sad tale of how much work i have to do - I need advice about a non start.

So- fast forward to today, and I decided to change the fuel filter - the 'water in diesel' light was on, and the filter was ancient, so easily time for a new one.

I replaced the filter with a new one (Crosland Eurocarparts job - I'd normally only go mahle or Mann-filter but this one was £3 in the black friday sale!)

I found that the feed and return lines (Clear plastic ones) were both in a real state, and the clip had been broken previously on the return line - so I replaced both of them with new ones.

Knowing how much of an **** these can be to start, I used a vacuum pump to draw fuel into the filter and the lines filled. However, the fuel would always drain back a bit (Which I expected as the return line was off to allow me to suck the fuel!)

However, cranking the van and giving it a bit of easystart, it would start, sometimes stay running at higher revs, but die off when left to idle - the fuel feed line wouldn't stay full of fuel.

This start/idle/stop process continued until I'd flattened the battery, a jump pack, and ran out of daylight.

I then removed EVERYTHING again, including the engine mount, fuel pump, intake, etc etc, and found another broken clip on another hose. This line runs across the valley of the engine from the fuel pump to some other jobbie on the right hand side of the engine, and though I ordered a replacement line, in the meantime I replaced the O rings with new Mercedes ones which are extremely tight fitting and I'm confident that one end (where the clip isn't broken) is totally fine. The fuel pump line is help on by one side of it's clip, but honestly was so hard to insert that I'm certain it's fuel and air tight, it isn't leaking either and is held firmly with the one side it does have.

I am now doubting whether the crosland fuel filter is airtight - the bleed screw on top is sealed with a really poor bit of rubber disk, and was chewed up from the factory. I replaced it with a small O ring and the van did idle for a short while, maybe 5 -10 mins max before it cut out again and wouldn't restart.

Am I just not giving it enough time to work the air out, or should these lines be permanently full of fuel?

Where else can I go looking for the issue??

I've replaced 119 and 362 already (Green) and have ordered 155 (Although mistakenly thought it was one line, not the two that I've now realised it is!)

I'm really struggling but am sure there's a line somewhere leaking?
Screenshot 2023-11-25 135118.png
 
rule of thumb is change ALL o-rings. Do you see air bubbles running in clear lines?

Measure injector tank line leaks, and check also injector t-pieces are solid (may draw air in). One rare place for inner leak is pressure relief valve o-ring.
 
So just to update this - the problem WAS a faulty fuel filter!

The Crosland branded one was bleeding air in from somewhere - I didn't bother investigating any more than a brief glance, and swapped it for a MANN-Filter one instead, which was infinitely better made but 10x the price.

Ironically, had I not been in a rush, a genuine Mercedes one would have been a couple of quid less!

Thank you for your input @mersum1es
 
As an aside there are very few W638 owners here ... for general engine-related stuff I would suggest including the engine type (OM646?) in the thread title to catch the eye of those with the same engine in other models. "220 CDi" might well do that anyway, but it wouldn't hurt! :)

Side doors, electrics (including the instrument cluster) and rust are the normal W638 problems ... how's the bodywork on yours? None of them were galvanised ... in fact early W639s weren't either and also suffered from rust issues.
 
As an aside there are very few W638 owners here ... for general engine-related stuff I would suggest including the engine type (OM646?) in the thread title to catch the eye of those with the same engine in other models. "220 CDi" might well do that anyway, but it wouldn't hurt! :)

Side doors, electrics (including the instrument cluster) and rust are the normal W638 problems ... how's the bodywork on yours? None of them were galvanised ... in fact early W639s weren't either and also suffered from rust issues.
thank you for this! We're a lonely lot now, W638 owners - all Vitos of this age around here have either been exported or disposed of. Shame as the mechanicals are phenomenal.

Bodywork on mine has seen welding historically, and my sills are pretty poor - patches over holes with holes in those patches at the moment, but I have a pair of galvenised sills being fitted over Christmas. Other than that, believe it or not, the van is actually pretty straight/corrosion free!

I think mine's an OM611 - will make sure I mention it in the future - and if it's ok to share progress, i'd love to get involved.

Next mission is the mind of its own central locking - I think it's the drivers door wiring, but i've been proven wrong before.

(Currently trying to pick the rear tailgate lock as it won't rotate- they key does't seem to go in all the way (around 1mm proud) so I'm suspecting a bit of broken key or something in there)

20231123_071743.jpg
 
Definitely keep us posted! I test drove a W638 around 2000 and nearly bought one. A friend had a V220 from new for a good few years and rated it very highly - it did rust though. IIRC they used a VW floorpan? The V280 certainly had a VW V6 engine, and I think the W638 gearboxes were unique (within the MB range), being FWD.
 

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