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Old 08-23-2014, 04:53 PM   #1
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Won't Start

This morning I went out to my 2012 Airstream Interstate (2011 Sprinter 3500) to take it for its weekly drive. Even when I'm not camping, I still can't let it sit longer than a week without feeling the itch to drive it somewhere, even if it's just to make a grocery run.

But today, it wouldn't start. Wouldn't even crank. Not even a clicking noise from the starter relay. The key turns; the dashboard icons light up the way they're supposed to. There are no messages on the message center in the dashboard. Oil level is okay according to the on-board sensor, and by the dipstick. Plenty of fuel in the tank.

I hooked up my OBDII reader to the OBD port, and all it told me was that there were no stored codes. Which is exactly what I expected since there were no messages in the dashboard display either.

I thought that perhaps it wasn't quite in Park, so I put my foot on the brake and cycled through all the gears with the key in the "On" position, and back up into Park with all the authority I could muster without slamming it. No change.

The chassis battery is only about 6 months old. Everything that could have sucked power from the battery was turned off, except the Viper alarm system (which still had enough power to work, so it seems the battery is not dead).

I pulled my other vehicle around and hooked up the jumper cables to jump-start the van. No change. It was still doing the same thing. Or rather, still not doing the same thing…

I'm completely stumped, and open to any knowledgeable suggestion as to what the problem might be.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:19 PM   #2
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Do you have a different key to try? My BMW acts much like your MB is acting once in a while. Lights, camera..no start. Sixth or seventh attempt it starts. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:24 PM   #3
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Do you have a different key to try? My BMW acts much like your MB is acting once in a while. Lights, camera..no start. Sixth or seventh attempt it starts. Good luck!
Hadn't tried my spare key. Now if I can just find where I stashed it…

But I might wait until tomorrow morning when it's not quite so beastly hot outside; I detest triple-digit heat indices, especially when I'm going to be in the middle of an asphalt-paved parking lot.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:53 PM   #4
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An Interstate did this at our shop, and it turned out it thought it had been stolen, and locked itself out. We had to have it towed to the local Mercedes dealer for them to unlock it. Hopefully, that won't be what happens this time.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:26 PM   #5
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An Interstate did this at our shop, and it turned out it thought it had been stolen, and locked itself out. We had to have it towed to the local Mercedes dealer for them to unlock it. Hopefully, that won't be what happens this time.
When my old battery started dying on me (it was defective and replaced later under warranty) the ignition switch wouldn't recognize the chip in the key, and so the key wouldn't even turn. I thought that would happen if the anti-theft lockout went into effect as well. So since the key does turn, I even didn't think of the anti-theft system being the culprit. You might be right. We'll see when I try the spare key.

I hope you'll pardon my saying so, but I really hope you're wrong. Where it's parked, it will be very awkward to get a flatbed tow truck into the parking lot to load it up, and I may have to round up a whole slew of large, burly fellows to help push it out of the parking space so the tow truck could reach it.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:51 PM   #6
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I would start by making sure you have good connections at the battery. Also a good connection at the point where the negative battery cable connects to the vehicle chassis.
Do the headlights come on?
Do they go out when you turn the key?
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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My first guess would be a bad ignition switch.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:30 PM   #8
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Hate to say it but simple no start issues have evolved into computer nightmares.

I don't know how much electronics The Sprinters share with Chrysler, but no starts with Many Chryslers are due to problems with the bus and/or security.

I am seeing a trip to the dealer in your future...
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:31 PM   #9
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Every once in a while my Mercedes does that same thing after sitting for a while. It will always start in Neutral. I drive it for a while and then it starts normally in park
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:49 PM   #10
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Does your OBD2 reader have monitor capability? Some of them can look at various parameters. Maybe you can see if you are getting a start signal.

My wife's E350 had some very strange startup issues like some features not working, couldn't get it out of Park, half the dashboard lit, half not. No codes stored. It was the key.

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Old 08-23-2014, 09:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
When my old battery started dying on me (it was defective and replaced later under warranty) the ignition switch wouldn't recognize the chip in the key, and so the key wouldn't even turn. I thought that would happen if the anti-theft lockout went into effect as well. So since the key does turn, I even didn't think of the anti-theft system being the culprit. You might be right. We'll see when I try the spare key.

I hope you'll pardon my saying so, but I really hope you're wrong. Where it's parked, it will be very awkward to get a flatbed tow truck into the parking lot to load it up, and I may have to round up a whole slew of large, burly fellows to help push it out of the parking space so the tow truck could reach it.
The key would turn, the lights would work, but it would not allow the starter to engage. It would come out of park, as well.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:53 PM   #12
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Check the battery cutoff cable connection under the dash. Just a thought.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:02 PM   #13
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Left the Mercedes headlights (run with them on for safety) on at the golf course (exited through the slider). Deader than a doornail when I finished 18 holes. Wouldn't even click. Felt like a complete moron. Hit the house battery assist button (lower left, on dash under steering wheel). Turned the ignition key. Bingo! Good luck.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:08 PM   #14
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Another place to check, the battery cable connection at the starter.


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