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teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
2/9/14 12:06 p.m.

The RALIVAN has seen some pretty brutal weather these past few months. Lots of snow and very cold temperatures. It soldiered through, sort of.

We thought we'd prep it right this year with some proper winter tires. Went with Bridgestone Blizzaks as they seem to be the best.

We are glad we did as the very next day:

This setup did us proud for a couple of months until we went up north for the Sno*Drift rally. The van delivered the Porsche in fine fettle then sat for three days in below 0f temperatures for three days. When it came time to start it to return south it stubbornly said "Nein!" Here is looking pissed off and neglected scowling at the Porsche in the garage.

It would turn over but seemingly with not enough speed to fire it up. After a few attempts the battery (fairly new) started to loose power so we gave up and put it on a charger. After leaving a hairdryer running on top of the engine for 3 hours it finally started but unfortunately way too late to make the ice race I was hoping to run on the way home. Back down I75 we went, me pissed off. RALIVAN smirking to itself.

Not wanting to suffer that indignation again and with winter not willing to give up its icy grip it was off to the interweb to by some heat.

A 60W battery pad:

a 150W oil pad heater.

and an on at 20F, off at 30F Thermo Cube

That should do the trick.

And so far it has. We've had a couple of cold snaps since we installed this stuff and so far it has started easily at 5F and 6F. Now, if I could just get the heater booster working we'll have heat in the cab too.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
2/9/14 12:10 p.m.

Ok I just went through all 4 pages of this thread and didn't see a dirt/snow/gravel slinging post one.

RalliVan - No pics or it didn't happen

Nice buy BTW and sorry about missing the race.

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
3/25/14 10:36 a.m.

The frigid winter this season inspired me to restore my heater booster system which has not worked since I've owned our RALIVAN, about three years now. Mine has no timer or multifunction device, just a button in the HVAC panel that glows red when I press it. The light does not provide much heat though.

For those of you who don't know what this is let me try to explain. The heater is plumbed into the coolant lines that supply hot coolant to the cabin heater matrix. This heater burns diesel and air to provide instant heat to this portion of the coolant so that the cabin is receiving warm air almost immediately. Brilliant!

I verified that absolutely nothing works in the system so I removed the heater unit and checked to see that the harness was giving it power when it was supposed to. I then located the fuel dosing pump and found its connector to be loose. Then I found the water pump and after jumping it from the battery concluded that it was inoperative.

So I assumed I have the classic seized pump causing the over temperature sensor to melt down and shut down the whole system. I ordered a $60 eBay pump and began to strip down and restore the heater unit itself. Seems like everybody's favorite source for parts for these is just across town so that's a bonus.

I found the ESPAR heater right where it is supposed to be:

I couldn't get the exhaust pipe to come off the unit so cut it and removed the retaining bracket to get the unit free. I might sleeve the pipe or replace it. Looks in good condition though.

ESPAR out

This is the fuel pump right. The connector wasn't off when I found it, just loose.

and this is the water pump.

I checked the fuel dosing pump. Got 9 ohms resistance. Does this mean it's OK or naff?

Started dismantling the Espar heater but got thwarted by some stubborn screws.

New pump arrived so in it went. Old one was definitely not working.

I could hear this working with the REST system now so that's an improvement. Now for the ESPAR itself. Applied a little heat to the three stubborn fasteners and voila, a two piece ESPAR.

Looked very clean. Only potential issue I could find was dodgy looking wires to the temperature senders.

I measured the resistance of all the various components and tested the fan with a 9V battery. It worked.

I spent the rest of the afternoon removing the gasket residue. Also verified the fuel pipe was clear.

From ESPAR manual with my measured values in red. I think I need some temperature senders.

Then these arrived.

And.......it works!

I slapped it back together and threw it in the van and it fired up. I didn't realize the engine has to be running for it to fire though. Now I get heat in the cabin after just a few minutes Fabulous. Here's the requisite video.

http://youtu.be/OqT51U9a87E

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
4/9/14 1:56 p.m.

We decided to replace the front control arms on the RALIVAN as the ball joints seemed a little loose and there is this persisntent rattle we've been chasing for ever. We could have just replaced the ball joints but it seems tricky to get them out of the control arms and that would still leave the old bushings in place. Quicker just to replace the whole unit. Who wants a set of new ball joints?

Guess what? Still have our rattle. Wheels bearings next I guess.

Mitchell
Mitchell UltraDork
4/9/14 2:32 p.m.

Glad I'm not the only one on a suspension noise witchhunt.

bgkast
bgkast GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/9/14 2:32 p.m.

Wow, Mercedes has been using that electric water pump for decades. I have had the same pump in early 80s Diesel cars.

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
4/10/14 7:51 a.m.
Mitchell wrote: Glad I'm not the only one on a suspension noise witchhunt.

What have you changed so far?

Mitchell
Mitchell UltraDork
4/10/14 8:25 a.m.

On my Focus (sorry, didn't mean to imply that I also have a Merc van)? Front LCAs including ball joints, swingarm bushings, and end links.

Fobroader
Fobroader New Reader
4/10/14 3:37 p.m.

Cool build....I have a secret desire for these vans. Keep it up!!

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
4/22/14 10:28 a.m.

Last item (hopefully) in the continuing saga of the front end rattle is the wheels bearings. Everything else except the tie rod ends has been replaced. If this doesn't fix the rattle then I'm flummoxed.

New bearings sourced from Rock Auto.

Loosen the allen screw, back off the nut, basically falls off in your hand or on the floor.

Is this scoring on the spindle? The bearing fit snug though.

I didn't replace the outer races pressed into the hub. They looked fine and our press is away. I didn't have a dial test gauge available so I set the "Porsche style": tightened them a lot then backed them off slightly.

Test drove the van and rattle was gone :) Next day it was back :( I checked the setting and it was quite loose. Looks like either I forgot to cinch up the allen screw or it came loose. Set it again: still a bit of noise. Cranked on it. Noise gone. Next day, noise is back when cold, goes away once I drive a few miles. I'm wondering if the spindles are worn.

Also replaced the summer tires.

Then is snowed!

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
5/22/14 2:20 p.m.

As we were a bit late fixing our auxiliary heater ate end of winter we thought we'd get ahead of the game by replacing our AC fan before it actually gets hot. How hard could it be?

Well it looks the same.

You'd think with the grill off it would just unbolt and fall out on your foot.

Wrong. You have to take of the radiator support and the lights too.

The new fan uses the support from the old fan

It works now. Bring on the heat.

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
9/17/14 11:00 a.m.

Survived the summer, both days.

Replaced a broken parking brake cable on the RALIVAN. What a PITA.

Then went to visit Granddad:

teamilluminata
teamilluminata Reader
9/22/14 4:51 p.m.

Had a little scare last week. The van turned it's check engine light on on the way back from the shop. It ran fine but seemed to hesitate when starting up. Pulled the code and it said bad cam sensor. It wasn't hard to get at it and I soon had it out. It looked fine but I noticed the connector latch had broken off. As I'd been in there last week I thought I may have accidentally loosened the connector enough so that it would occasionally get a bed connection so I rally-fixed it and slapped it back in.

With a 500 mile trip the coming weekend I ordered a replacement just in case and made sure the necessary tools were in the van. I'm glad I did as the next day it refused to start outside a client's shop and threw the code again. Fortunately I was in Royal Oak, not far from All European who had a cam sensor in stock for half the price of the one I had ordered so I got a ride over there, popped it in and was back in action.

I think we have it nailed now as the van performed flawlessly on the trip to Empire for the hill climb:

I washed it and also stuck some number panels on the doors just to celebrate:

Twins:

teamilluminata
teamilluminata HalfDork
11/10/15 4:35 p.m.

Yes, all the pictures have gone. Thanks Facebook.

So here are some hosted elsewhere. We all know these vans rust but usually it's a paint blister. We have some of those but we also had a disturbing hole rotting through the rear left rocker panel/sill. Well not after we took it over to our friends at Schiemann Composites we don't!

Oops, forgot to take some of filler and primer.

Mezzanine
Mezzanine HalfDork
11/10/15 6:11 p.m.

Holy rusted metal. How does a vehicle this new rust so much? Yikes.

Nice patch job. I like seeing a patch where it ISN'T perfectly welded and blended, but some filler was used to get it to finished state. I like seeing that because I know it is how most of these are done, which is contrary to what we see here on the interballs most of the time. So that makes it kind of refreshing.

When the vinyl was reapplied, how much overlap to the existing stuff was used? Did you use some of that vinyl adhesion promoter on the edge, or just the sticky backing by itself?

teamilluminata
teamilluminata HalfDork
11/10/15 6:36 p.m.
Mezzanine wrote: Holy rusted metal. How does a vehicle this new rust so much? Yikes. Nice patch job. I like seeing a patch where it ISN'T perfectly welded and blended, but some filler was used to get it to finished state. I like seeing that because I know it is how most of these are done, which is contrary to what we see here on the interballs most of the time. So that makes it kind of refreshing. When the vinyl was reapplied, how much overlap to the existing stuff was used? Did you use some of that vinyl adhesion promoter on the edge, or just the sticky backing by itself?

I have no idea how it's supposed to be done but this was fine for the RALIVAN. Same with the vinyl: just folded it over with some heat. Overlap was dictated by the size of the two pieces we had lying around. I'd say about 1"-2". It's a 50-50 job.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/10/15 6:56 p.m.

Unfortunately, Sprinters are known for rusting. I see some early ones around here that look like they were built in the 70's... in Japan... It's pretty bad and one of the things that make me leery of Sprinters. The rust repair doesn't look too hard, tho.

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose Dork
11/10/15 7:25 p.m.

In reply to teamilluminata:

Just a heads up, many of the images in this thread are currently broken.
Thankfully I'd previously seen them all but others might not be so lucky.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UltraDork
11/10/15 7:39 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine:
The truck is 11 years old, and Sprinters do seem to be more prone to rusting than some other vehicles, but that level of rust isn't unusual in Michigan on higher mileage units. I've done similar repairs on my '03 MINI and '99 Miata at much lower mileages. Count your blessings for where you're living.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/11/15 6:36 a.m.
SnowMongoose wrote: In reply to teamilluminata: Just a heads up, many of the images in this thread are currently broken. Thankfully I'd previously seen them all but others might not be so lucky.

He knows. He had them hosted on Facebook and they apparently kill them after a certain length of time.

teamilluminata
teamilluminata HalfDork
11/11/15 6:44 a.m.

Yes, I know. They are hosted on Facebook but all the URLs changed. I may fix them one day when all my car projects are done. LOL

SnowMongoose wrote: In reply to teamilluminata: Just a heads up, many of the images in this thread are currently broken. Thankfully I'd previously seen them all but others might not be so lucky.
Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
11/11/15 8:03 a.m.

still waiting on the pics of the van rallying. You can't have a ralivan without the van rallying.

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