Mercedes-Benz 'A' Class model 170CDI/2001 Diesel leaks and stuck injector May 2006
Please ensure you read the e-mail posted at the bottom of this page.
If you do follow this procedure outlined in that document take precautions to keep the 'Nitromores' off any & all plastic components, any contact with such components should be washed off immediately or the chemicals in the 'Nitromores' will dissolve the plastic, bear in mind the there are many plastic components on this car's engine that will be badly effected if not protected..
If you have problems with smoke emission from your Diesel then this information is worth reading:-
Hi Lofty I bought this 170 cdi in October last year from a dealer in Peterborough. I had the car delivered to my home in Derby, I did not use the car for two weeks due to a holiday upon my return the first day I used the car all was well for the first 32 miles then the E.P.C light came on on the dash and the car rolled to a halt. It started ok and ran for another few miles and the same happened again.
Each time the car ran for less time after restarting it and in the end I called the R.A.C who failed to get the car running and towed me home.
I called the dealer who at first refused to do any thing for me but after 3 letters that had been dictated by Trading Standards he backed down and collected the car but before they collected it I had my mate who owns a Garage call round and put his code reader on the car and it came up with three faults all being various sensors and so the car went off for repair to Peterborough. Six weeks later, I got my car back in fact I went and fetched it on a low loader I borrowed from work. The car smoked quiet badly and the dealer said that it would settle down after about 20 miles, did it hell as like it got worse so I phoned the dealer and after a bit of a chat he told me to take it to a garage to get it fixed which I have done, they are diesel experts or so they say but could not find the problem they have had the injectors out and tested them they were ok but still it smoke like steam engine fed on coal.
Being a plant fitter I work on diesels every day but not C.D.I engines, not of the electronic type any way so I presume the thick black smoke is over fuelling but I donít have the gear to work electronic injection could you help me please?? Also the engine sounds awful and clatters even by diesel standards but I thought this may be due to the over fuelling. When I went and looked at the car and tried it out and when I first ran it from home the engine ran really clean and had plenty of power.
The work carried out so far is as follows, by the dealer, New injectors and Two sensors , since I have had it back I had the fuel drained (which tested ok ) and fresh fuel in, new fuel filters, at the garage where I sent it to, Injectors removed and checked, one found to be breaking on the low side but other wise the car checks out ok but still smokes , any ideaís would be most welcome
I asked Glenville to keep me informed which he has kindly done ,
Follow up mail :- Hi Lofty , first may I thank you for the DVD, what a super tool to have better than a Haynes any day.
After my last e-mail to you the car was taken to Swadingcote Diesel.co.uk their first port of call was the injectors which had been replaced by the dealer I bought the car off, out of the four tested two were found to be breaking at the wrong pressure which I had all ready be told about at my mates garage, they refitted them after re setting them but still the car was pumping out vast amounts of smoke, so they delved deeper.
The standard of the fitting by the garage the dealer had sent it to was awful and as they delved deeper they found various items either broken or not tightened down, they then noticed that the inlet manifold was sitting at an odd angle and it turned out that the manifold was sitting wrong so they took it off and found there was no gaskets / seals on inlets 3 & 4 , so they replaced them and fitted the manifold correctly and bingo no smoke!!
On Road test the car ran well and had plenty of power, they road tested it. They realised then what had happened, with the manifold not being sealed the engine was pulling in to much air and the ECU was sensing that the car was running weak and was trying to compensate for this by pumping in extra fuel to the extent that it was over fuelling hence the smoke and the rough tick over.
So if a diesel 'A' class (or any diesel vehicle )starts smoking badly before laying out for a set of injectors I would be looking for any air leaks on the air inlet gear at £803 this wasnít a cheap fix but with the previous work being done to such a poor standard they had to undo all the work that had been done by the dealers garage that did the work in the first place.
When I phoned the dealer he went mad at me and deigned that he had told me to get the work done and he would pay for it so it looks like I will have to take him to court to get my money from him as to get my car back I have ended up paying for it , so just one tip for any one having trouble with a car dealer, Phone him rather than go to see him and record the conversation. not that one can use it as evidence in court but one can play the recording back to the dealer to refresh their memory as to what was said during any calls .
Many thanks for your help Grenville.
The saga continues,
At this point you would think that everything was now ok , not so yet more problems came to light after only a few miles of driving,
Please Read So that you are aware of the problems that can arise if repairs are undertaken by inexperienced diesel mechanics, if indeed one dare to even call them that!
Hi Lofty , I am afraid that there has been a foot note with my A 170cdi, just when I thought that all my troubles were over within 40 miles trouble struck again.
I was driving along at a steady 60 mph when there was an almighty bang followed by a chuffing and the engine died. I phoned Swadingcote Diesels who had fixed the car and they arranged for it to be picked up and gave me a loan car.
They got back to me on the Tuesday and told me they had found the problem , It seems that when the car had itís injectors fitted by the Dealers garage they fitted normal mild steel bolts to the injector clamps one of which had blown out releasing the injectors, hence the bang followed by the chuffing sound. It seems that the mild steel bolts they had used were not up to the job once they were under pressure, also on closer inspection they found that the bolt holes had been tapped out to a UNC thread. They removed the other bolt from the other pair of injectors only to find the same thing.
This could have been a real big job but Swadingcoat Diesels got round it by using two inserts called Wurth insert secure, they redrilled the head and using a L/H thread tap tapped out the holes the insert is then screwed in which has the correct thread for the job. The injectors were then refitted and all seems well after putting 90 miles of hard driving on the clock as I felt they must be tested and they seem to be holding up.
I thought I would pass on the information about the inserts as any one who gets a stripped thread or a broken bolt will know of a way out of trouble Grenville
There are many lessons to learn from Glenville experience, I hope yopu find the information useful if you do suffer problems with your diesel engine. Many thanks Glenville, I hope now all will be well with Your A class.
And now Rick's Saga which has many of the same lessons, albeit his experince happened some five years earlier.
On the strength of the information containted in these e-mails I have provided the web site address of this company, a pleaseure to say they are are a company that know what they are doing and obviously know how to get over problems caused by less efficient garages.
Many lessons to learned from that Mail, the first being, either record the conversation or get the authority from the dealer in writing.
All this proves that even when your car is maintained /se3rviced / repaired by a garage the outcome my not be what your looking for . In my opinion a good knowledgeable DIY owner will do a better more thorough job than some garages albeit may take longer and cost a little more for parts. In this case I fail how it could have taken longer! Lofty
The information at this point has supplied along with the photographs by Rick Horden (rickbenz) with a view to enlightening owners of Mercedes-Benz Diesel powered vehicles of a problem on the fuel injector system on the 'A' Class A170CDI, this problem may also apply to other Mercedes diesel fuelled vehicles. Please note that the photographs are added for interest but do not necessarily relate to the adjacent paragraph.
When Rick bought his Mercedes 'A' Class in February 2005 he was well impressed and being a 2001 A170CDI he knew that he was not only benefit from the economy of the diesel but also the torque. He had bought the car from a Subaru Garage, Lucas of Mansfield and as well as having been told it had been subject to a 121 point inspection and safety check also made sure that the car would be covered by a warrantee period, which was three months even though the car had only covered 38000 miles.
One could ask at this point, with belt and braces how could he go wrong?
Rick drove his prize possession home, and like many of us did his own inspection producing a list of defects as long as your arm, which included steering column, front brake discs, blown bulbs and even white indicator bulbs in white reflector housings. The garage supplying the vehicle took all this onboard and the work was carried out at a Mercedes Garage.
Some six weeks later after having done several long runs Rick became aware of a problem due to what appeared initially to be an oil leak on his driveway inspection revealed that the under-body panel was also covered in an oily residue, as a result it went back to the retailer again.
This problem led to the car going back a total of seven times before the fault was a leaking injector
was located and the cause of the problem.
After the final visit and some 5 months later the problem appeared to have been corrected and Rick got on with life and the pleasures of driving a Mercedes, by this time the car had covered 45000 miles.
However this was relatively short lived when after covering only another 6000 miles during which time the car had run well, Rick suffered the experience of having an injector blow on his engine, an experience he would not want repeated the engine sounded and ran like a tractor rather than a Mercedes-Benz and the incident could well have caused a serious accident.
It now appears that the garage where it took 5 months, and 7 visits to locate a leak on an injector, instead of doing a professional job had merely applied more pressure to the injector retaining bolts (torque bolt and claw) and in doing so had stripped or severally weakened the threads by over tightening.
(Another good reason for always using a torque wrench, not just to ensure that bolts are tightened but also not over-tightened.)
On close inspection it was obvious that it was this that had led to the injector being blown from its seating.
By this time the car was out of the retailer's warrantee period for the work that had been carried out and of course the garage would not admit to having bodged the job anyway he also realised now that it was a total waste of time taking it to this particular garage, if they had bodged the job once then there was every chance they would do it again. And as Rick himself says
"he would rather let a Typhoo Tea chimp work on it than take it back to that garage"
A little unfair to chimp's but I can appreciate his sentiment.
Rick was awqare that if Mercedes were involved he would be confronted by a very large bill. for not just the engine problem but also rear springs which also needed replacing,
However he now had to make a decision because the car wa now a none runner.
After some thought he decided to investigate the possibilities of doing the job's himself.
Like the rest of us he found that his problem was exacerbated by the fact that there is very little information available on the car and that no Haynes manual exists, however e-mails that run into double figures to and from lofty resulted in him having sufficient information to assess the situation, and as a result he started the job.
His first major problem was getting the stripped thread replaced and a new bolt of the length
and thread provided, this could not be a standard Mercedes replacement bolt as the head of the engine had to be re-tapped (drilled and re-threaded) to replace the damaged thread, this resulted in using an 8mm diameter bolt, but the mechanic contracted to undertake this work cut a number 1 pitch thread (fine thread) so as to afford more torque, as is the case with the Mercedes thread, although this was a sound idea in theory it proved the cause of yet more problems as that thread value was not available, off the shelf on an 8mm bolt, which is normally 1.25 pitch, so Rick had to get the bolt made.
Never the less undaunted he managed to find a company that was able to supply the bolt, in fact he ordered two. The injector that had been released/blown from its housed position due to the defective bolt was re-usable but Rick had cut the retaining claw away to enable him to remove it, one more component that would have to be replaced, however the blown injector was salvaged.
Next problem, close inspection revealed the neighbouring injector held by the same claw and bolt had either leaked or was subject to heavy carbon deposits from the original or recent this needed to be checked out, Rick knew he was wasting his time if he just ignored it and so he decided to remove this second injector.
This however was easier said than done as it turned out the second injector was well and truly stuck in the engine and it appeared nothing was going to move it.
Rick spent a great deal of time struggling to remove this injector and tried all manner of things including soaking the area with solvents to try and break the seal of the baked carbon deposits, he did manage after a considerable period of time to move it slightly but that was it.
Rick was in a catch 22 situation he really needed to remove the camshaft cover to be able to get at the injector but the injector had to be removed before the cover could be removed.
Rick was aware that in the process of working on this difficult injector he would cause some
minor damage to the cover and so had decided to replace it anyway, he therefore broke the cover away to provide him with the space he needed.
Further attempts at its removal still failed and so Rick decided to confront the situation head on, a drastic situation calls for drastic measures, he decided to weld, yes weld a socket to the head of the injector; this would enable him to attach a ĺ drive bar to the injector, that along with an extension bar did the job and the injector much to Rick's relief was out.
This injector along with the camshaft cover, & claw would need to be replaced and so he ordered the these items from Mercedes, the injector was ordered from United Diesel www.uniteddiesel.co.uk at a cost of £150.00 who offered a refund on undamaged injectors, next day delivery, albeit the refund aspect wasn't going to be applicable in Rick's case, as his stuck injector still had his socket welded to the top of it.
However the price was only half of the Mercedes parts price, even without the refund
and although the one purchased was reconditioned it had got a brand new Mercedes head on it.
Rick removed the two remaining injectors without incident, and these cleaned and coated with copper slip grease (MB Special grease) before being replaced and tightened down with the claw and torque bolt.
This is apparently a common problem on Mercedes-Benz diesel engines and can result in extreme cases of a replacement engine having to be fitted, the labour charge of trying to remove these stuck injectors being the prohibiting factor.
If there is anything that Mercedes-Benz diesel owners can learn from this experience its that if you see even a suggestion of a leak on an injector or under the car, not to confused with water dripping of the air conditioning pipe-work, then get it sorted and soon. If you have unexplained oil deposits on the your drive or garage floor check it out, it could well be a diesel leak that has so far gone undetected. That way you will possibly avoid the experience that Rick encountered.
The other lesson than can be learned from Rick's experience is, if you have a leak on an injector do NOT just tighten the torque bolts and claw , you could well finish up with the same problem as Rick. Remember there is no substitute for a replacement seal on the injector, which would not be a difficult job to replace on its own. Only when the leak is ignored for a period of time or the wrong action taken to correct it will problems of the type experienced by Rick be experienced.
The over tightening of clamps and other fittings can be avoided by the use of a correctly set torque
No doubt some of you are wondering what happened about the rear Springs on Rick's car, well he fitted them without problem while waiting for the spares from Mercedes-parts and United Diesel www.uniteddiesel.co.uk Such was the complexity of the injector job that Rick's rear springs replacement paled into insignificance.
I would love to tell 'A' Class diesel owners that the above incident was a one off, sadly that is not the case and many owners have suffered this problem with varying degrees of difficultly and cost, we have had owners sell cars, trading them in to get the best price for what is a problem engine, no doubt for the car only to finish up at the nearest car sale rooms, replace their engine, and in some cases undertake the repairs themselves some with great difficulty but with the now satisfaction of knowing their engine is know mechanically sound. But cases without problems when trying to remove the injectors to my knowledge are rare, as the leaking diesel carbons up the bore into which the injector is housed and it appears nothing will then move them.
This is just one more mail I have received on the subject. No doubt Mercedes would deny there is a problem, as they do to most problems are highlighted to them, such as the loom abrasion issue I raised with them recently, but we as owners know different, even their technicians with all their sophisticated knowledge, protective gloves & equipment are fitting replacement engines at great cost to the owners because of the stuck injector problem is taking so long and are so difficult to remove, if ever that's it's cheaper and quicker to fit a replacement engine.
Come on lofty, I hear you say, that can't be the case surely MB are aware of how to get these out after all they have hydraulic tools that can remove them! Well read on :- Quote.
I have been consulting your website on the A class since my Diesel A170, auto clutch, Year 2000 suffered a leaking injector!
I have just read your page 65 in which you refer to knowing of 1 person who had to spend thousands on a new engine.
You can now add another! In short I left the car with 78000 miles on it in with my usual garage (not Mercedes specialist) last year.
At the time I asked him to check the other 3 injectors as it was explained to me that the seal consisted of a simple copper ring.
It seemed sensible to replace all seals as once the injectors were exposed. BIG MISTAKE! The leaking injector popped out once the finger clamp was released and the engine turned over. On trying to release the other 3 the mechanic managed to loosen them but they wouldn't budge. Thankfully I was due to go on holiday and the garage was also able to lend me a car during the period that the car was off the road? To cut a long story short, determined, he tried everything, acid based release agents soaking for days at a time, injector extractors including a couple of custom made devices. He sought advice from a specialist mechanic friend at the local Mercedes dealer. etc etc. I in the meantime started trawling the web (discovered this site) and began to realise the frightening reality. Even if removing the injectors with a welded on bar worked, the fact that this is such a common problem means that reconditioned injectors are not easily come by. The price of new injectors some where around , £250.00 each (can't remember if that is vat inclusive or not - probably not). The decision had to be made. Although the car was just a few months off being 8 years old , it was in excellent condition - forgetting the engine of course. To just walk away or fit a new engine. In the end I decided on a new engine. Mercedes sell these for under £1500 inc vat. This seemed to be the obvious decision when comparing the cost of new injectors and to walk away didn't seem acceptable. ( I tend to hang on to cars until the death)
Of course once this decision was made the extra costs began to mount. As the starter motor is so inaccessible as explained in your pages I asked the garage to have it checked, and it was duly serviced. New hoses etc etc resulted in a final cost of £3000!!!!!! and this following an off the road period of 3 months!!!!, never mind the lost road tax!!!!!!
Got back on the road in September last year. The new engine goes great but for how long? It comes with a 12 month Mercedes warranty which, I do not expect to make a claim against.
I am now in the unfortunate position of having a car which owes me a few years of trouble free motoring otherwise I will have simply thrown 3 grand down the drain! If I sell, I can not expect to recover anything like the cost of the new engine. Apart from the well known fact that the A class is a bag of rattles, I really like the car and utilise its practical set up frequently - seats out etc. Immaculate condition at 3 1/2 years old, the fact that it had a Mercedes diesel engine seemed like a big bonus?
It seems to me that to be able to buy a new engine so cheaply says a lot - they must go through a lot of these things, can't remember seeing a made in China sticker but then I didn't look that closely! Anyway that's probably unfair to the Chinese!
I'll stop there as I can feel some serious? cynicism? welling up inside me (I may have cried at the time?)
I have attached a copy of a photo I took at the garage just before the new engine was fitted for interest? Attached to the engine is original gearbox.
Keep up the good work
And an another mail which may help solve a number of 'A' Class diesel owners problems, Quote Hi Albert, I have a 1999 diesel A-Class and since I am a retired
electronics engineer I cannot afford the main agents so I bought your
excellent CD which I must say is magnificent, keep up the good work.
On the subject of stuck injectors, the car stopped at traffic lights a
few weeks ago with a puff of white smoke from the bonnet, continued to
run on three cylinders for about a mile and stalled when trying to turn
right, I suspect the power steering loaded the motor beyond endurance.
Suspecting a blown head gasket I bought a set of head bolts, gasket and
top set, which I still have, maybe I should keep them handy on the
principle that carrying a raincoat stops it raining.
Not wishing to dismantle the engine on my drive, I asked my MOT garage
what they thought. On inspection the van trained mechanic, one Dale
Pilling of Blackpool Service Centre diagnosed a blown injector on No. 1
cylinder. When it was accessed he found the cast steel bridge that
secured both 1 &2 injectors had failed and we thought that it had been
cracked when being torqued down at the factory!
A new bridge/clamp and 6mm bolt + a second fixing bolt for 3&4 injectors
cured the engine perfectly.
The main problem was the removal of the no2 injector which had to be
inserted alongside already loose no1 with the new bridge fitted between
Snap-On supply a kit with a bridge on pedestals with ball races to ease
the load on two mandrels which screw into the top of each injector after
the removal of the electromagnetic ball valve for which a modified
tubular socket is also supplied. The use of this or similar devices
removes the stuck injector gently ( no slide hammer) without the need to
damage the valve cover.
If you need, I can supply images of these and a Bosch injector
internals diagram from their excellent manual 'Diesel accumulator fuel
injection system Common Rail 1 997 722 175 'which I highly recommend.
The total cost of the repair was trifling by a young man with
experience gained on the repair of Vaneo engines in MB commercial
vehicles who actually used a single tubular spacer and mandrel with
ground down tubular sockets to stand off the spacer from the cover. Total
parts required 2x 6mm bolts 1x cast steel injector retainer clamp.
After reading all about the disasters within your website/CD I was
extremely impressed by the performance of Dale Pilling of Blackpool
Service Centre 01252 885316
Many thanks for the helpful advice on a difficult mechanism. Jim Kirkman Unquote Jim has also sent the attachments.
And thank you Jim for the information and attachments, when your in a tight spot all information helps.
139 Stuck Injector Problem Resolved Hi Lofty,
Great website and incredibly useful information. I would just like to add my thoughts on the problem with the A170 sticking / blowing injector issue.
For a few months I had been experiencing a fume's type smell in the cabin (think exhaust). On inspection of the no. 1 injector, sure enough this had been blowing and as a result had pretty much encased no. 1, much of no. 2 injector and almost all of the claw and bolt holding the injectors in place with a carbon residue that was incredibly hard and brittle and very difficult to remove. As identified by the information on your website, I was now faced with a problem of successfully being able to remove the injector in order to be able to reseat with a new copper seal.
I described the problem to a diesel engine technician friend who has worked on pretty much every diesel engine this side of 1980. His solution to remove the carbon build up? A liberal coating of Nitromors paint stripper on the carbon to be left overnight!
Being somewhat sceptical, I carried out his advice and liberally applied a couple of coats of Nitromors, being careful not to get any on the surrounding plastic surfaces (in particular the plastic shrouding on top of the injectors) and left this overnight. Sure enough, the following day, the Nitromors had done its job and greatly softened the carbon to an extent it could be dug out with a screwdriver, exposing the clamp, bolt head and pretty much all of the no.1 and no. 2 injector. And I am pleased to say that upon removal of the bolt and clamp, both injectors could be removed with a little carefully applied force.
Once removed from the engine, I cleaned the remaining carbon deposits with a wire brush, installed new copper washers and using a new bolt, re-seated the injectors, clamp and re-torqued. And I am pleased to report that this has cured the blowing injector / fumes entering the cabin.
I would only add that whilst doing this job, I was careful to make sure that as little Nitromors / carbon muck fell down the injector bores when the injectors were removed. As a precaution, I also put a thin piece of hose down injector bores and applied a vacuum to suck out any remaining muck that may have fallen down.
I am hoping that by sharing my experiences, this information can be used by other A Class owners to avoid costly repair bills on what appears to be an all too common problem on the diesel engines. As such, please feel free to use whatever information I have provided as you see fit on your website and CD.
All the best
Thank you Howard for your contribution, it looks as though if used with extreme care 'Nitromors' is the answer But I cannot over emphasise the with care bit enough. WARNING NITROMORS It is strongly recommended you wear eye protection and protective gloves. Any contact with the skin should be washed off immediatly with copious supplies of cold clean water. 'Nitromors' will cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with the skin. Read the instructions fully before use.
John's Photographs France.
John in France who removed the engine from a recently purchased A class A170CDI because of a noisy gearbox also made this discovery, no doubt some of the engine transmission noise has been caused by the leaking injectors. Good luck John
A170CD1 refused above 30-40MPH
For those of you with diesel A class being it W168 or W169 be aware of this problem and keep an eye out for leaking injectors, Full service history or not.
This information has been doanated by Mike, the second owner in a Month to suffer this problem.
Johns Injector seating tool.
Firstly, thanks for putting together such a great website with so much information.
Secondly, although I couldn't find the answer to my problem on your website, I thought i'd let you know the problem and the 'fix' - it's something a proper DIYer would probably have spotted straight away, but I'm a total newbie and so felt quite pleased with myself! Still, maybe it'll help someone else.
2002 A170 (W168) CDi
Generally a bit flat above 3000rpm, without much grunt. Also, when trying to overtake going uphill, the engine could suddenly lose power - no warning lights, no misfiring; just not much power and then the car going into 'limp home' mode. After switching the engine off and giving it a rest for a few minutes everything was fine.
I'd read about dodgy fuel filters, but knew that wasn't the problem; I then read your website about MAF problems and was considering trying to find, remove and clean the sensor.
Then i noticed the little black hose running from the offside end of the engine cover to a sensor on the bulkhead - it was worn and perished and only just hanging on to the spigot...
Apparently (as I'm sure you already know) this tube connects the engine to the manifold air pressure sensor, which obviously feeds in to the same ECU as the MAF sensor. Presumably with the engine under load, and with this tube leaking, the ECU got totally confused when comparing the manifold vacuum with the mass air flow data, and was just going to limp home for safety's sake.
So, I spent £1.99 for a bit of silicone tube from eBay (8mm external diameter, 4mm internal) and replaced the old tube (with plenty of slack to allow for the engine's movement), and the car now pulls smoothly up to 4500 rpm on any incline, and no more limp-home episodes!