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Q: Car not starting right away - 2006 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500

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My van has 208,500 miles on it. When I turn it off after driving for about an hour I can’t get it to start right away. This started about 7 months ago and it’s getting worse. I will turn the key and nothing happens. Then I pull the key out, put it back in, turn it and do this a few more times and a few dashboard lights would come on.

When I turned the key a few more times it will start OK. I will get the Check Engine Light and start error code. I replaced the battery and still had the same problems. I had the dealership replace the alternator. They wanted to replace the battery, but the one I just replaced checked out OK. When I start the van now all the dash lights come on then flash with the interior dome light and a tic, tic, tic noise.

The headlights are bright when I turn them on. This happens more often during wet weather and when sitting overnight. The van will start up with no problem if I disconnect and reconnect the battery terminals. Yet, the check engine light is on and has the start error code. I did a video of my problem and some dashboard lights flashed at different intervals with the tic, tic, tic noise. Do you know what might be the problem? How can I fix this? I need it fixed ASAP.

There are several possibilities here - the fuel tank breather is stuck shut (not allowing the tank to vent as fuel is used - creates a vacuum inside the tank), or possibly an o-ring in the fuel regulator block that leaks down while stopped, worse when hot. Have a professional diesel mechanic check this out.

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