Anything Else

Anything else

Sprinter / Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement

Mercedes Sprinter 2006-on and Volkswagen Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 1

Having recently replaced the clutch and slave cylinder on a Crafter CR35 with a LUK Rep-set, the driver complained that whilst setting off the clutch seemed fine, after a short period of ‘town driving’ the clutch became difficult to disengage.
What this actually meant was there did not appear to be enough travel in the pedal to fully clear the clutch and pressure plate – meaning there was ‘drag’ after the initial ten or more clutch presses of the day. This drag in turn made gears difficult to engage and at some point even disengage/pull out of gear, with the clutch pedal hard to the floor. Drive take up seemed to begin right down at the bottom end of the pedal travel.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 2

Having re-bled the system to ensure there was no air lurking in the system, I decided that the clutch master cylinder was at fault, possibly passing pressure and not allowing the full capacity of hydraulic fluid to be transmitted into the slave cylinder, shortening its stoke acting onto the pressure plate spring. It is worth noting that I had previously correctly ‘set’ the clutch cover plate assembly tension as described during installation described elsewhere on this site, so could confidently discount that as being any issue.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 3
The replacement of the clutch master cylinder, whilst being a little bit awkward to get to, is quite a straight forward job and can be easily attended to in just over an hour – start to finish.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 4
The first thing to do is remove the hydraulic feed pipework to the clutch master cylinder from the shared brake/clutch master cylinder reservoir. There is a semi-rigid, ribbed plastic pipe that feeds the cylinder fed from a spigot on the side of the brake master cylinder fluid reserve. Work this off gently, quickly pushing on a suitable size ‘blanking’ hose to stem the hydraulic fluid flow. A short length of flexible rubber hose, bent double at the end and secured with a tie-wrap is an ideal temporary blanking plug. Any fluid drips while doing the change over can be caught in a rag placed beneath the spigot.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 1
Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 5
The next pipe to remove is the rigid steel high pressure pipe from the nose of the master cylinder. This connection protrudes into the engine side of the bulkhead to the right and slightly below the centre of the brake vacuum reserve (Right hand drive vehicles). To release the pipe from the master cylinder there is a small retaining clip that has to be pulled downward to release the high side hose. Its a fiddle to get at, but is best attended to with a 90 degree pick or suitable small screwdriver. Note – the clip is ‘retained’ and only pulls down about 10mm to release the pipe, once the pipe is removed, push the clip back up to the locked position so it can be pulled through the bulkhead grommet from the inside without fouling. Once the clip is pulled down, the pipe is released by grasping it and pulling outward, again be prepared for a little fluid leak.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 1
Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 7
Now both feed and delivery pipes are disconnected attention can be drawn to the inside the drivers footwell pedal box area. First remove the circlip and peg that retains the master cylinder rod and eye to the clutch pedal, again a 90 degree pick works well to do this with the restricted space available. Now remove the two 10mm nuts that hold the twin through-pins holding the master cylinder to the pedal box frame. The opposite end to the nut is an E10 reverse torx, which will need to be held whilst undoing the two nuts. Slide both pins out from the pedal box towards the centre of the vehicle, once this is done grasp the master cylinder and pull it downwards and out into the footwell. Only pull the cylinder sufficiently to access the feed pipe spigot and ribbed hose which can be removed in the same way as the other end on the under bonnet brake/clutch reservoir. Once this is off, the cylinder can be taken from the vehicle.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 8
Unbox the new master cylinder checking that is the correct part, remove its protective blanking plugs and offer it into the footwell, reconnecting the reserve feed pipe. Have an assistant gently pull the ribbed pipe back through the bulkhead grommet as you carefully feed the cylinder body back into position between the faces of the pedal box bracket. As it nears the correct position, use a suitable sized allen wrench to align the through-holes for the two fixing pins. When aligned, slot back the two pins and secure them using the E10 and 10mm wrenches. Feed in the eye of the actuator rod between the faces of the plastic pedal lever, aligning both parts to allow you to push through the peg and refit the retaining circlip.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 9
Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 10
From the engine bay, reconnect the high pressure pipe to the master cylinder nose. Just push the pipe in with its tapered seal until it ‘snaps’ locked in the set spring clip. Now remove the temporary bung and replace the fluid feed pipe back onto the reservoir spigot, checking for correct fitment and attending to any leaks.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 11
Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 12
Connect up a pressure bleeding system such as the Gunsons EZee-Bleed and pressurise the system. Its worth noting that without a pressure bleeding kit this job is pretty much impossible, as is true with most concentric clutch slave cylinder systems, especially ones having been fitted with a new (empty) dry master cylinder!

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 13
Crawl under the vehicle with some rag and open container, open the bleed valve to the clutch slave cylinder by rotating it. There are two types – a conventional steel bleed nipple that will need a small spanner or a plastic turn valve type where no tools are required, simply turn the tap clockwise to allow fluid flow and turn back to stem it. The pressurised fluid will flow from the bleed nipple, when it flows clear, without spluttering or visible, air close it off. Have your assistant operate the clutch pedal up and down a couple of times, both with the pressure bleeder connected and then with it depressurised. Repeat the procedure until a firm pedal is present. Even the smallest downward movement of the clutch pedal should result in some movement of the slave cylinder piston (thrust bearing) against the clutch diaphragm spring. This can be seen with a torch through the opening in the gearbox bell housing where the slave cylinder bleeder extends. If you are happy, then remove the pressure bleeder and check the reservoir for the correct fluid level.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 14
Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 15
Clean the work area with warm soapy water, as if you have spilled any brake fluid during your work it will easily remove paint over time and encourage rust in the engine compartment if left unattended.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 16
The OEM part number of the clutch master cylinder is: A 906 290 02 12

It is possible to get just a ‘seal kit’ for the master cylinder and rebuild the existing unit, however further compounding the problem with the unit described here was the steel pedal pivot had worn the eye of the actuator rod oval, as the picture below shows, resulting in restricted or diminished cylinder stroke. This is not a ‘kit’ part (only contain seals) so I would recommend only fitting a complete part. These replacement items are available circa £30 in pattern parts and in my view are a good investment over just replacing the internal seal kit.

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 20

Mercedes Sprinter Crafter Clutch Master Cylinder Swap 18
Road test and be happy with the work completed!

VW Crafter CR35 Tappet Clicking Noise – Or is it?

 

If you have a noise on your VW Crafter CR35 that could be best described as a ‘sticking hydraulic tappet’, a serious (and expensive) sounding, heavy rhythmic clicking from the top end – the chances are that it is nothing more than a faulty vacuum pump!  In some instances it can be successfully diagnosed by ‘pumping’ the brake pedal several times while the noise is present with a running engine, often the noise decreases, indicating its relationship to the vacuum pump – though this is not conclusive in every case.  Here is the noise perfectly recorded by someone on YouTube if you needed to refer to the sound your vehicle is making.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 1

Stiction/wear of the moving diaphragm assembly within the VW vacuum pump on this model range is a common issue and a couple of hours work will restore your van to its former silent glory!

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 2

After undoing the induction hose clamp on the left hand side of the air box, uncouple the two sensors on the output side, slide off the battery starting terminal by releasing the clip and lifting it up and off the air box right side.  lift up the front of the air box and release it from the two rubber fixing bungs. Release the oval induction pipe from the right side and remove the complete air box from the vehicle.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 3

You will need to identify the vacuum pump which lies on the right side (looking in) of the cylinder head, if you need to, follow the hard black vac line from the brake servo to the pump.  Although it only has two fixings – 13mm nuts – they are very difficult to access and will take some time and patience to remove and retrieve. You will most probably need to stand on a crate or small step to gain access to the engine bay as the lean in over the slam panel is often out of comfortable reach.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 5

First unclip and remove the rigid vacuum supply hose from the brass spigot on the back of the vac pump, simply pull/twist and work this connection off and it will release. Just be sure to catch and replace the soft rubber inner sleeve at the push fit connection, as it often pulls out of the hose flare on removal. Tuck the pipe out of the work area toward the front of the engine and select a 13mm combination spanner.  Remove the top and bottom fixing nuts on the vac pump base plate to cylinder head flange.  The upper nut is hidden away down the back of the fuel lines and bleed off return, be careful how you work on this nut, as it is easy to damage the bleed off pipework or its unions. With some patience it will ‘free’ to a point where you can get your fingers to it for final removal.  The lower nut is really no better sadly.  The spanner has to be slid into position and worked through a very restricted arc to loosen and remove this nut.  Neither upper or lower nuts will allow the use of a socket due to their location and oblique position under the body of the pump.  As these two nuts are undone, the spring loading of the pump plunger will push the pump casting away from the cylinder head as you go, so take your time.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 6

Lower dipstick tube fixing

With both fixing nuts removed, unclip the upper glow plug harness from the fuel lines and cut the selection of ties (3x) from the dip stick tube that hold a short loom section and the DC power tap that you previously removed from the right of the air box.  Using a Torx bit, undo the single upper and lower dipstick tube fixing bolts, this will now allow enough ‘wiggle’ of the tube to allow the vac pump to be orientated and withdrawn from the side of the engine.  If you rotate the pump about 90 degrees clockwise, once it is pulled off the studs, this is the best position to feed out the pump casting from the nest of wires and dipstick tube.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 8

Upper pump bolt – restricted access

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 9

Lower pump bolt – restricted access

Refitting the pump is straight forward and almost a complete reversal of the above.  After cleaning off the mating surface on the cylinder head, secure the new pump gasket with two or three blobs of silicone gasket sealer just to retain it as you feed the new pump back into position. Slightly wetting the rubber of the vac hose coupling will allow it to slip easily back onto the brass spigot.  Once the engine is rebuilt check your work then start it, hopefully the annoying and overpoweringly loud clicking noise will be gone and once you have tested for good vac at the brake servo, by pumping the brake pedal and it feels normal, you can road test the vehicle.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 10

Post Mortem: The vacuum pump operates from a rod/actuator that runs on a cam lobe on the camshaft, on some of the earlier models of VW engine you can replace the short stubby actuation rod too while you have access to the area, but often it is the pump housing/body that is faulty and not the rod. If yours is a removable rod and you wish to replace it then simply pull this from the cylinder head and push in the new item.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 12

There are a couple of failure modes of this type of vac pump to consider, the first is the pump cylinder is quite large in diameter, 4 to 5 inches across and as the piston rod wears in its sleeve, this allows the piston to tilt over slightly causing it to ‘stick’ at its circumference on the cylinder bore during its spring loaded return cycle.  It is this temporary sticking and subsequent release that can cause the clicking noise as the piston ‘jerks’ back to once again contact the rod that rides on the cam lobe.  Obviously this sharp metallic noise travels along the camshaft and gives the impression that the noise is borne of a hydraulic tappet or valve gear component.  The second failure mode is when the bushing on the piston actuator rod begins to oval or wear, this allows engine oil to enter the vacuum cylinder.  There is no where for this oil to go so it remains inside the pump, hydraulically preventing a full return of the piston under spring pressure, this prevents the sprung loaded rod extending to its fullest stroke and causes a physical ‘clearance’ between the pushrod that runs on the cam – hence the clatter.

VW Crafter Vacuum Pump Replacement 14

Here you can see in this example the internal parts of the old pump, dismantled so you can see the scoring to the vac pump bore, where over time the piston as been catching and scrubbing the surface. In the short video clip below you can just hear the noise the sticking piston makes as the pump is compressed, (the gulping noise in normal) imagine this amplified through the rocker assembly.

Aftermarket good quality spare parts are available for this item as it is common to a range of engines.  You can expect to pay anything from £60 to £120 for a pattern part depending on source. EBay was half the price of a leading specialist discount car parts factor for the identical part! Part numbers are: VW 074 145 100 A   VW 076 145 100   Pierburg: 722300690,   VW 072 145 100 C.

Skipping Mercedes 6 Disc CD Changer – Work-around Fix

 

The older type of CD Changers fitted to vehicles that are ten to fifteen years young, if still in situ, are running on borrowed time. Complex electromechanical systems and solid state LASERs don’t have an infinite life and often replacing the unit with a more modern radio/cd or MP3 player is the best choice.  However for those of us with older integrated COMAND systems that use a dedicated cut out in the dash, it is not always practical to change the head unit to a more modern type without huge expense and if we want to play CDs the remote changer has to work as the slot up front is for the NAV disc only.

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 8

So what do we do then…  The option is to source a used unit from a scrap car or breaker but it is most probably from the same era and will most likely be well on its way to end of life.  So if you have an issue of ‘Magazine Empty’ or a badly skipping CD changer then there is a couple of last things to try before lifting the lid on the recycling bin and dropping it in!

As the LASER ages it becomes less powerful, rather like a halogen bulb that yellows and gives off a degraded level of illumination to that it did when new.  What we can do is increase the current to the laser slightly to lift its light output to compensate for its ageing and hopefully put the player back into service for a while longer. (please note that by increasing the LASER current over the specified factory set optimum, will have the effect of shortening its life, but my view is – if the player does not work correctly now because of a poorly performing aged LASER reader, then it clearly can only really be fixed by replacing it – a cost option that usually outweighs the purchase of a complete replacement player.)

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 7

Obviously it goes without saying that it may just be dirt that is hampering the function of the CD player and in a few cases cleaning of the LASER lens will rectify the problem. This is the thing to try first before making any electrical adjustment. You can use one of the specialist cleaning CDs you can buy with a fine brush attached to the playing surface.  As this is drawn into the disc changer and played, the fine brushes gently sweep dirt and dust particles from the lens at very high speed.  More stubborn dirt will have to be removed with the delicate use of a cotton bud and surgical alcohol.

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 6

Assuming that you wish to proceed with trying to breathe a new lease of life into your old disc changer, and that you are not too bothered by the chance of failure – then read on.

Eject the CD cartridge from the mechanism, disconnect the cables and orange DB2 fibre connection removing the player from its bracket in the car.  Working on a table or bench, unscrew the four cross-head screws from the sides and three from the back of the unit case, two of these hold the fibre convertor.  This then slots off sideways and the orange ribbon can be disconnected from the PCB connector by simply sliding out the white plastic anchor section about 2mm, releasing the foil from the PCB.  Now completely lift off the cover.

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 5

Unhook the spring loading mechanism from each side of the unit, noting the position of the levers before doing so. These are set depending on your player installation – either Horizontal or Vertical.  Now pull off the four ‘gel’ shock dampers from the retaining spikes on the inner chassis (2 on each side) and undo a single retaining philips screw on the connecting orange foil assembly.  The inner chassis should now pull free from the base section.

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 3

Identify the laser saddle and turn the lead-screw cogs with your finger to drive the LASER to the outer edge of the chassis, once in position turn over the player and you should be able to see the floating lens assembly through a gap in the mechanism top plate, there is enough room here to slide in a cotton bud and lightly brush the lens clean.  Use alcohol if any deposits are stubborn or difficult to remove, dry thoroughly and polish off any residue lightly with a dry cotton bud.  You may wish to try the player to gauge any improvement at this point, before moving on to the ‘last stand’ of adjusting the LASER current to get that last bit of life out of the player.

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 2

Go back to the lead-screw and run the LASER to its most inward position in the chassis and then look on the revealed vertical edge of the saddle and you should see a small ceramic trimmer or potentiometer, about 3 mm in diameter.  This adjusts the LASER current. On Older wired and DB2 Mercedes and BMW, Alpine and Becker changers – current is increased by rotating this tiny trimmer anti-clockwise.  It only needs to be moved by a small amount, as a small increment is often all that is needed to restore the player to a working state that may last for a good period of time, maybe year or even more depending on your luck!  Remember the LASER is probably problematic anyway due to its age, so by increasing the current you are stressing it beyond its designed limits – but if you win a year or more use out of it before the inevitable replacement of the changer – whats to lose!  Rotate the trimmer about 30 degrees anticlockwise and rebuild the unit and test.  More often than not this is all that is needed to get things running again.

Mercedes Benz CD Changer Repair Work-around 1

If you need to apply power to the CD changer while on the bench, dismantle the fibre converter housing and attach 12v DC supply as shown across the power diode on the PCB

Good luck! Remember this is not a repair, it is hopefully a ‘get-out-of-jail card’ used to squeeze the possibility of a little more operating time from a unit that is eventually going to fail.  Usual disclaimers apply, you do this modification totally at your own risk under the full understanding that it may not work for you and that it could backfire and you end up junking your classic player.

 

 

Mercedes Rust – The opinion of road salt corrosion from the Un-Salted of America

I was browsing some Mercedes related YouTube productions and came by this one.  A as a resident of the UK it gave great amusement.  How it must feel to be able to select a vehicle that has never seen road salt and drop like the proverbial ‘Hot Potato’ another that has.  This is an American Mercedes enthusiasts view on vehicles subject to road salt, just imagine what it would be like to have the option to choose a used car that has never seen road salt – so to all in the UK and some parts of Europe – enjoy the video from the Un-Salted of America!….. it made me smile. Laughing

Do remember check out more of Kent Bergsma’s ‘Mercedessource’ excellent YouTube content, absolutely loads of DIY information and pictorial demonstrations from this Mercedes Benz enthusiast, all produced in super quality.  His truly fantastic list of free video resources can be found here – http://www.youtube.com/user/Mercedessource?feature=watch

Kent now has a new website where you can actually purchase on-demand repair tutorial videos. Useful if you need that insider information from a reputable source. https://mercedessource.com/store/search?keys=&location=All&chassis=All&type=video&category=All&=Search

There is also a fantastic range of .pdf downloadable manuals and documents covering specific maintenance tasks on modern and classic Mercedes cars, view the full range here: https://mercedessource.com/store/search?keys=&location=All&chassis=All&type=file&category=All&=Search

 

 

 

 

My Mercedes W210 E320 CDI has taken a bash !

My prized example of luxury motoring has recently taken a bash from a motorist who in my opinion was not paying attention to what was in front of him.  I was only travelling at a slow speed when an approaching car positioned over on my side of the road, took no action to avoid hitting me.  Thankfully I managed to mount the curb a little and at least thwart a head on collision whilst the other vehicle continued without deviation to strike me from the mid drivers door to the rear arch without even braking, eventually stopping some 20- 25m past me!

Amazingly after some research I managed to get hold of some CCTV footage of the incident, briefly showing the impact in question from a nearby camera.

 

Its my guessing that the insurance company will sadly write my car off, although in great condition all round, it is quite old and has a low book value, we will have to wait and see.  I hope not but who knows !

Mercedes W211 E320 CDI Impact Damage

Mercedes W211 E320 CDI Side Impact Damage 1

Mercedes W211 E320 CDI Side Impact Damage 2

Mercedes W211 E320 CDI Side Impact Damage 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will keep you informed as to what happens…..  I am however expecting progress to be SLOW.