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Thread: Citroen C3 starting problems...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Unhappy Citroen C3 starting problems...

    Hi All,

    I'm hoping for some advice to avoid rather costly investigation works and to try and root out any simple fixes for this problem. I'm new to the forum so if I've not included enough detail let me know and I'll do my best (although I am not a mechanic!!!)

    The car: 2002 Citroen C3 1.4 16v SX diesel with 82,000 on the clock with a full service history.

    I drive the car on regular long runs (excess of 200 miles at least once a week) travelling to work and it was doing four or five short runs (sub 15) per week. No black smoke on start up or heavy acceleration.

    When I first got the car it would routinely show and EML but a garage confirmed this was due to carbon deposits etc so I flushed through a cleaner and then would only fill up with Shell.

    The problem:
    The car would went in to limp mode with an EML on one of the long runs but by the time I got back home, turn it off and restarted the EML had turned off. It was becoming increasingly more difficult to start in the mornings, although it would with a punch of the throttle.

    With all of the news of bad diesel gelling (probably likely caused by the increased bio-fuel in this years batch thanks to the new EU legislation increasing the percentage up to a max of 7%) I suspected this might be the problem so I got some professional cleaning additive (archoil) into a full mix of diesel and went on a long run to flush it through (500 miles). No problems, no light, no limp mode ... until I got down to under half a tank when it went into limp mode with EML. The next morning the car wouldn't start at all (ticking over but not firing up) so I called out Greenflag and typically the thing started first time (although not perfectly). He left it running for a while, turned it off and on again and it started every time. He plugged in and to read the codes and came back with the following:

    P1351 - Undefined
    P0401 - EGR Flow Insufficient
    P0002 - Fuel Volume Regulator Control Circuit
    P1163 - Undefined
    P0266 - Cylinder 2 Contribution / Balance
    P1207 - Undefined

    He also mentioned there might be a bad batch of diesel going around as five of their recovery truck had all gone into limp mode at the same time that week. The codes were cleared.

    Anyway, I planned to get the car to a local Citroen specialist to have a look at also to change the fuel filter but couldn't go for a couple of days as I was away on business. When I went to take the car it would not start again, so I called out the guys again. Different chap looked it over and got it started by manually priming the fuel line. it got started but he said there was low pressure before start up but this seemed (as far as could be gauged at the side of the road without a full test) to normalise when running. He checked the fault codes and not surprisingly nothing was on there.

    The car went to the garage and had the fuel filter changed and an inspection of the fuel lines and connections for any obvious faults (of which there were none). They mentioned the difficulty starting but it seemed to improve with the new filter. when I picked the car up it would not start and needed a sniff of easystart to get it going. I went out for a run to get her up to temp and put some new fuel in. On driving around it seemed fine but then went into limp mode when I got up to about 4000rpm. Now comes the tricky bit for me ... in limp mode I applied the brakes reasonably sharp so the nose dipped a few times and the car came out of limp mode revving feely and running ok. This happened a few times but cured each time with the heavy breaking to rock the car.

    It would suggest to me that something is getting blocked but I don't know where to start except it is due for another service so I might get this done to change all of the other filters and fluids for good measure and I have seen on another forum to turn the ignition on (but not start the car) then off for ten seconds and repeat 2/3 times - if this makes the car start easier this points to a faulty pump maybe??

    Any help or suggestions would be really helpful. Do you need more information??

    Thanks,
    David

    ***UPDATE***
    I have started the car today following the 'turn ignition on, turn off leave for ten seconds and repeat three times' - car started ok-ish. ran for ten minutes, turned off then started first time (which it hasn't before).

    I don't feel this is solved and will be taking it on a long run tomorrow so will update any more finding then but please any suggestions in the meantime would be helpful...

    -- Would it be worth putting an air intake cleaner through to clean up any soot?? does this work??
    Last edited by Talkingheads; 17-12-13 at 14:09.

  2. #2
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    I would check the fuel delivery pressure. In the meantime, I would not use EasyStart. It causes damage through pre-ignition.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolebama View Post
    I would check the fuel delivery pressure. In the meantime, I would not use EasyStart. It causes damage through pre-ignition.
    How would I check the fuel delivery pressure? Is this something I can do at home or is it a garage job? Any more details would be helpful.

  4. #4
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    Usually you need to disconnect the flow pipe, connect a gauge, and another pipe from the gauge to the actual inlet. Fuel does come through at a very high pressure, so make sure all connections are tight before testing. You will also need to know the recommended pressure.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolebama View Post
    Usually you need to disconnect the flow pipe, connect a gauge, and another pipe from the gauge to the actual inlet. Fuel does come through at a very high pressure, so make sure all connections are tight before testing. You will also need to know the recommended pressure.
    This sounds like it would be a garage job for me. I can ask them to take a look and let me know what the pressure is but is there anything else I could/should be checking?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Turning the ignition on 2 or 3 times as you suggest lets the pre heat circuit(glow plugs) warm up a little more than it would if you did it once.
    Try pumping the priming bulb next time before you start and try to narrow it down slightly, have you ever changed the glow plugs?

  7. #7
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    Hi Pantera,

    Thanks for the reply. I thought the on off cycle would point to something to do with a weak pump? three questions 1) how do I prime the bulb? 2) what am I looking for here as the result and 3) what would it mean / how does it narrow it down?

    I've not changed the plugs before but happy to give it a go if needed and relatively straight-forward (I have minimal tools at the minute but happy to have an excuse to buy more!)

  8. #8
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    While the glow plugs do help with starting, unless its very cold they are not switched on for long due to being temperature dependent.
    The undefined codes are probably pointing to the problem.
    P1351 - glow plug fault - either a glow plug or the relay fault.
    P0401 - EGR Flow Insufficient - remove and clean the valve and all the pipes to/from it at both ends.
    P0002 - Fuel Volume Regulator Control Circuit
    P1163 - This code cannot be relied on unless it is connected to either a Bosch diagnostic tool or Citroen's Lexia/Diagbox. It has too many meanings.
    P0266 - Cylinder 2 Contribution / Balance
    P1207 - Fuel pressure regulator short circuit

    The codes P1163, P0002, P0266 and P1207 are where the fault is. My money is on the fuel pressure regulator which is fitted on the high pressure fuel pump. It is a solenoid with a plunger which opens and closes in the fuel line. If it fails the engine will not start.
    However, the code P0266 is pointing towards number 2 injector failing (on your engine number 2 is second from the RIGHT as you look under the bonnet from the front) or it has not been coded in correctly.

    Due to the cost of these parts - regulator likely to be 150 - I would advise either the main dealer(it is likely to need some updates) or a diesel specialist with a good reputation.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hometune View Post
    My money is on the fuel pressure regulator which is fitted on the high pressure fuel pump. It is a solenoid with a plunger which opens and closes in the fuel line. If it fails the engine will not start.
    Hi Hometune,
    thanks for the comments - I'm hunting for a specialist with a good rep to help out. Could it still be the regulator if I do get the car to start? It has fired up a few times (not perfectly but gets running).
    I'm going to get some carb cleaner or something tomorrow for the air intake and egr - any tips to follow for the C3 set up as I've never done it before

  10. #10
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    The regulator controls the flow of fuel to the rail where the pressure sensor signal via the ecu shuts off the flow when it is too high then opens it again as it drops. It also shuts the fuel off.
    The regulator or the wiring to it should be tested but a faulty injector can return too much fuel so causing too big a drop in the rail.
    If there is a Bosch Service Centre near you may be worth trying as they are all part of the Good Garage Scheme so you get some reassurance.
    http://www.boschcarservice.co.uk/

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