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Glow Plug/heater Circuit A Malfunction- Po380

148 posts in this topic

There is another way to test the Glow Plugs, that doesn't require any removal of parts.

If someone has access to a DC Clamp meter it is possible to check that each plug sink current. Just clip the meter on each wire.

It's so easy that it could be done during smart meets. Then everyone will know the state of their plugs.

I say that because it's almost impossible to burn two plugs at the same time !

I think the "Check Engine" goes off after TWO bad plugs, not one. My guess.

That's a great tip, gandalf! :thumbup: My son-in-law is an electrician and I'm sure he has one I can borrow!

Bil :sun:

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I believe you are right Bil as I had one dud plug just at the startof winter and had no "check engine" light. Starting in the cold was however as bad as the VW rabbit with a dud plug!

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I believe you are right Bil as I had one dud plug just at the startof winter and had no "check engine" light. Starting in the cold was however as bad as the VW rabbit with a dud plug!

Correct attribution for this notion is gandalf :bowdown:

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Good Post Gandalf -Think Princess Auto has the clamp ammeters - CT as well.Did some more reading out on the web and elsewhere.Also there is a special socket for the glow plugs - basically a universal jointed long 10mm.Common issue on the MB and some other cars is the plugs getting in there pretty tight - you are supposed to soak them in penetrating oil first - and don't let Clyde (reference to a orangutan) try to muscle them out - if it doesn't come use more oil and wait. They also make a puller if they get really locked in (it is just a slip fit after you get the threads loose) - so you don't bust them off. Apparently it is 50/50 on whether or not to use never sieze - so I would.Cheers,Cameron

Edited by Speedie

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The engine light does in fact come on if only one glow plug fails.I just had mine done at the dealership. The work order states a "current fault code P1481 -- glow plug failure". They checked the glow system wiring integrity (OK) then tested all three glow plugs (presumably while still in place) and determined #3 plug needed renewal. The heater plug 660-159-02-01 was $41.75 and the labor was $86.85. They might have given me a small break on the labor charge because it was only 7 hours off warranty.Overall, this is not a big-ticket item for those who don't have a multimeter nor feel inclined to tackle the job themselves. On the other hand, you could replace all three for the same price if you did it yourself. I think the lifespan of these plugs are more likely linked to the length of trips (ie: number of starts) rather than to overall mileage, so each of us will have different service lives from our plugs. I'm comfortable with a 4 or 5 year lifespan for these babies. Some of us who have fewer start-ups could get much longer time or mileage out of them.For the record, this is what I was experiencing at start-up: Turn key --- wait until plug light goes off --- start engine and plug light comes back on. Turn off engine, then turn key on --- plug light is on but doesn't go off --- start engine and plug light still stays on. Turn off engine, turn key and plug light comes on, then goes off (as normal) --- start engine and plug light stays off (as normal). I was never comfortable leaving the engine running with the plug light still on in case it was burning out the good plugs. That may have been overly cautious and the light may have gone off in a short time without the restarts.

Edited by deezle

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WOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!It's tight in the back of that engine! Even getting the electrical connections off is a chore. I couldn't even get the #3 off.Luckily it was the #1 on mine and I was able to swap it out. My cost was only $22 because I bought the glow plugs 3 years ago on spec.Everything is working OK and now my check engine light is off for the first time in 7 months :bustamove: Thanks again to gandalf for the inspiration! :beerchug:

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I think the lifespan of these plugs are more likely linked to the length of trips (ie: number of starts) rather than to overall mileage, so each of us will have different service lives from our plugs. I'm comfortable with a 4 or 5 year lifespan for these babies. Some of us who have fewer start-ups could get much longer time or mileage out of them.

Yup, consider them the same as spark plugs. Just routine maintenance.

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Well I have done it tonight !

I have made a road test and the engine is still in one piece. However the Check Engine and Glow Plugs light is still on. To be investigated.

(Addendum: The Check Engine light resetted itself after a while... :speak_cool: )

BERU GN015:

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Glow plug ready to be installed with anti-seise.

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For the installation; drop the plug in the hole and start the tread by hand with the socket. Better safe than sorry !

Then finish the installation, You could end up applying significant torque. Those treads are tight !!

You will sense that the plug hit the bottom of the hole. To be sure go back 1-2 turns and retry. The treads will go smoother and you will sense the limit better. End torque is 10-12 NM.

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You can now put everything back in place !

A view of the tray, with the clip out...

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The screw that helped me get more working space...

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And finally the TOOL that helped me get cylinder #3 connector out ! Made in 5 min from hanging wire. :D

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Edited by gandalf

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I love the ingenuity!!! Good for you! :thumbsup_anim::thumbsup_anim::thumbsup_anim: That's strange that the check engine light didn't go out. Did you replace all 3?Defective plug? Loose connection? Faulty relay?Good luck! :D

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So let's on monday how much will be the cost of replacing those at the dealer (mine is 72$/hour) (Franke in Ste-Agathe des monts, Quebec)

Finally around 225$ at the dealer, as Gandalf, only 1 was working well, no more engine code, and started like a brand new this morning...

One good and one bad:

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Hi all,Bringing this topic to the top as I have recently had a glow plug warning light on my dash on starting. Having read up on this thread, I have to say that working from the passenger compartment through the passenger door with the passenger seat folded flat & boot floor carpet folded back away from the engine compartment opening - offers MUCH better access to the plugs than working from the rear of the car through the tailgate.I tested my plugs today by running a digital multimeter from battery negative to the top of each plug and got the following.Plug 1: 00.9 Ohms (on 200 scale)Plug 2: 3.98 Ohms (on 20k scale)Plug 3: 00.9 Ohms (on 200 scale)Leads me to think that plug 2 is most certainly knackered!What size of socket do i need to get the plug in/out? Presume I also need it to be a long socket?Thanks!

Edited by kayble

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I'm almost afraid to post this because I know it will put the fear of God into many of you . However it is always good to learn from others misfortunes. I also beleive it is a very rare problem.

On Tuesday I was asked to change the glow plugs on a friends smart with 120,000kms.All started well because the #2 and #3 plugs loosened with minimal force.

In the past there have been a few instances where the glow plugs break off in the engine and then the head has to be removed and sent to a machine shop.

I swapped out the #3 glow plug with no problems. And that's when the problems started. #2 was wrenching off easily so I thought it was time to pull it out. Looked down and the stem that I usually grab is not there!!! OhOh! A little puzzled, but we decided to continue and the shaft of the glow plug was removed. Bet you didn't know they came apart, eh?

Now we're left with the long electrode exposed, but stuck in the engine.Here's some pictures........The middle picture shows the electrode that was stuck in the engine and the lower one a used glow plug.

I had to drive to Toronto that afternoon so I suggested that penetrating oil be used liberally and let it sit overnight.

My friend Keith tackled it in the morning.He held it with vise grips and tried tapping it lightly. Eventually there was a bit of movement and the electrode came out whole. A new glow plug was reinserted and torqued correctly.

The #1 glow plug was replaced with no problems.My local dealer, London Ontario, had never seen this problem.

They have had them break off but had never seen this type of separation. They showed me an injector that gave them major issues when they tried to remove it, the tech's little nightmare.

We were wondering why the #2 glow plug gave us so much problems and then remembered that in November Keith had a CEL- P0302- #2 cylinder misfire . An injector cleaner was used, the code was cleared, and didn't return.

However we both thought that the misfiring injector could have caused excess coking, resulting in that glow plug getting stuck in the block. Therefore we changed the #2 injector yesterday.

Keith said he noticed the engine was now running smoother with more power.

Lessons learned:

1. be more aggressive with follow up after CEL codes.

2. when changing glow plugs make sure the engine is hot when you start.

3. never try to force things. Have patience!!

Just remember that this is ,hopefully, a very rare problem.

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Excellent advice!

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Lilbit (219,000kms) had the dreaded PO 380 check engine code come up this week.

The glow plug light also stayed on after starting till the engine warmed up.

Decided to change all three as this is an engine with high km's and will need all the help it can get to start.

So, I ordered the glow plugs. Then when the engine was hot I sprayed the old gloiw plugs with WD40. Did this for 2 days.

Today I got the 10mm deep socket with 3/8'' drive, needle nose pliers, and needle nose vise grips all ready.

With the hot engine I was able to loosen all the glow plugs. Used more WD40 and contiued wrenching.The plugs still didn't want to come out.

More WD40, more wrenching, still being stubborn. Resorted to using the needle nose pliers and they all came out with some muscle.

So happy that I was able to get these replaced before the cold weather hits :dance:

A tip for the DIY'ers: it's very tight access behind the engine.The plastic wire protector especially blocks access to the #3 electrial connector to the glow plug.

The carrier is held on by two plastic clips- can be pried up.

It makes sense when you view the pictures.The electrical connectors to the glow plugs have small mercedes stars on them.

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Japanese Denso DG-184 is a good and much less expensive alternative to Beru GN015. Price is about half that of the Beru glow plug.

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Have you used the Denso plugs, TK? The price differential is HUGE! No concerns?Bil :sun:

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Denso is a world leader in diesel pumps and glowplugs so just as good as Beru or Bosch. You get them on ebay for GBP 8.36 each. A total of 49.12 CAN for 3 inclusive of shipment to Canada, perhaps cheaper locally.

Denso DG-184 fits all Smart OM660 Cdi engines.

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Another good alternative is NGK Y-543J. Found one supplier on ebay. GBP 7.95 each plus postage. Total CAD 51 for 3 inclusive of shipment to Canada.

I ordered 3 of these NGK glowplugs for my Smart as a cold winter is forecast. My Smart has clocked nearly 150,000 km on the existing plugs so they may fail any time. Total cost GBP 25.80 or CAD 41.56 due to lower shipment rate within UK.

Edited by tolsen

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<...>Also there is a special socket for the glow plugs - basically a universal jointed long 10mm.<...>Cheers,Cameron

Is this something an ordinary tool store like "the Tool Place" would carry? Is that how I would describe it - a 10mm deep socket with a universal joint?And if I want to make extraction easier for my independent service guy, could I occasionally apply Liquid Wrench (or similar penetrating oil) while using the car a few days before the appointment? Bil :sun: Edited by bilgladstone

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A 1/2" or 3/8" long socket will fit. Glowplugs are easier to unscrew when engine is at operating temperature. Keep soaking with penetration oil or diesel. No brute force. Unscrew in a similar motion as when cutting theads. I normally use a tapholder or T handle as easier to unscrew in oscillating movement.

Posted ImageThis is one of my new NGK glowplugs.

Edited by tolsen

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And if I want to make extraction easier for my independent service guy, could I occasionally apply Liquid Wrench (or similar penetrating oil) while using the car a few days before the appointment? Bil :sun:

That worked for me! Are you going to replace all 3?

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I am not sure whether I'll do it at all just yet... creeping up on 100,000km, with winter coming. If I do it, it will be all three at once.B :sun:

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Well thanks for this folks! MB plugs are $44 out of Calgary plus a very long bus ride, so I'm off to town to see what's here for less. Pepper's at 104 thousand and counting, firing on maybe one or two cylinders on startup. I'll keep you posted.Carl

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The reamer tool that Tolsen referred us to is available here as well....Gordwww.tool-is.com/product/156475

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Edited by gordo.bernard

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