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Old 03-17-2014, 06:59 PM   #1
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Starter Fuse

Just a quick note to prevent others from having the same problem I had.

2 weeks ago I was on a trip with my family to upstate NY in our 2013 EXT (on a 2013 chassis). We checked in to a hotel for the night and it was around 0F when we woke up. I went outside to warm the rig up for the family, and was met with just the *click* from the ignition and nothing else. I'll spare you the troubleshooting that we did, but eventually we got on the horn with MB to do some last ditch ideas.

MB had me check the starter fuse, which they indicated was in slot 23 in the fuse box. I verified the fuse location in the owners manual, and it matched. So I crawled under the dash, looked at fuse 23, and it was fine. That was the last straw, so my AS got towed to the closest Sprinter dealer (100 miles away) and my family continued on in a rental for the rest of our trip.

As it turns out, the starter fuse WAS blown... it just wasn't fuse 23. MB had changed the fuse location to 28 in the 2013 Sprinters and not updated the manual. The dealer swapped in a new fuse and the AS fired right up.

Anyhoo, a weekend of aggravation, a return trip to retrieve the rig, and a very expensive tow/rental reimbursement for MB, all b/c of a mislabeled fuse. So, make a mental note that the starter fuse isn't where you think it is. I hope no one else has this problem
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:13 PM   #2
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Godhead, did you find out what caused the fuse to "blow"?
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:00 PM   #3
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Did they say what model year Sprinter the change was made on?
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:15 PM   #5
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KMride: Nope. I presume the starter was pulling a lot of juice given how cold it was. MB said something during the troubleshooting that if it was blown, to throw a 25amp fuse in the slot (the owner's manual said it was a 20amp fuse). So I'm not sure if the dealer had seen blown fuses on the starter before and was shoving 25amp ones in to "fix" it or what. And I have no idea what fuse was in there when it died. It's one of those things I'm going to keep my eye on (and fuses handy) when it gets cold and dive in to if it happens again.

73shark: They indicated it changed between 2012 and 2013 model year Sprinters.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info.

IIRC, there was a previous occurrence of this fuse failing leading to a discussion of the starter motor actually drawing several hundred amps. It was then assumed that the 20 amp circuit was a relay that controlled the high starter current.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:27 PM   #7
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With that fuse blown, I could still hear the relay click under the dash. Upon inspection (looking up the relay in the block diagram and putting my finger on it), I'm pretty sure it was the starter relay clicking. The draw on most relays is quite low, that's why they're there So I believe the starter relay was still getting juice, but the starter wasn't.

I'm not an electrician, but I do sometimes build robots... that sometimes catch on fire... so YMMV.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:06 PM   #8
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Maybe the relay controls the current to the starter solenoid then. just l Just a guess as I haven't seen a circuit diagram.
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