power steering gave no warning then stopped giving power

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My Name: Stanleysteamer

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Model: C3 Pluriel - with or without roof
Year: 2004 (54)
Engine Size: 1.6 (16v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 50000
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DPF: No
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Engine name: TU5 16-valve (110 PS)
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Hi
I can see I am not the only one who has had this problem.
Our 1600 54 plate Pluriel, today just suddenly stopped providing power to the steering. My wife, whose car it is, cannot drive it through a shoulder injury but she is bending my ear to get it fixed "immediately" and seems too willing to just hand it over to a Citroen garage and throw money at it.
I am more inclined to see if the fault can be diagnosed and a more precise form of repair be effected.
There was no warning from the dashboard or anything else.
I don't have Lexia although I have an OBD11 reader, a Foxwell Scantool but it is not set up for Citroen, at the moment.

I guess what I am asking is what should be my first step to discover exactly where the problem lies, i.e. is it the ECU or the rack/motor?

We do not have a good relationship with any Citroen garage, or indeed any garage, as I normally do all maintenance on all our vehicles. But the rain plus an injury to my thumb, is currently not favouring my working on the vehicle, as I would have to do it on a gravel drive outside our house.

look forward to hearing your opinions!!

Stan
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My Name: Ozvtr

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There are three main failure points in the power steering, battery, ECU and motor.

The battery is the usual suspect. If the battery can not provide the extra power required, the power steering ECU will shut down. To check the battery it needs to be load tested not just a multimeter. If you know for a fact that your battery is near or past 4 years old REPLACE IT! It will fail soon even if that's not the problem!!! However if the battery is going, the power steering typically becomes intermittent, it doesn't usually just stop. Cold weather and short runs are not good for your battery.

Like all pieces of electronics, the steering ECU can just fail for no particular reason. The good news is it can be easily replaced, no coding or anything like that. After the battery this is the next most likely thing to fail.

You really don't want it to be the motor or the torque transducer. Even DIY it's a pain but the motor doesn't seem to fail that often.

P.S. have you checked the fuse?
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My Name: C3CAR

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This power steering problem can be intermittent.

Try the car again and it may have reset.

If it has reset, get the alternator checked by any auto electrician or do it yourself

A bad alternator can trip out the ePAS
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Ozvtr wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:24 pm There are three main failure points in the power steering, battery, ECU and motor.

The battery is the usual suspect. If the battery can not provide the extra power required, the power steering ECU will shut down. To check the battery it needs to be load tested not just a multimeter. If you know for a fact that your battery is near or past 4 years old REPLACE IT! It will fail soon even if that's not the problem!!! However if the battery is going, the power steering typically becomes intermittent, it doesn't usually just stop. Cold weather and short runs are not good for your battery.

Like all pieces of electronics, the steering ECU can just fail for no particular reason. The good news is it can be easily replaced, no coding or anything like that. After the battery this is the next most likely thing to fail.

You really don't want it to be the motor or the torque transducer. Even DIY it's a pain but the motor doesn't seem to fail that often.

P.S. have you checked the fuse?
Batteries nowadays are much longer lasting. I have only had one new battery since 2000; that was on a 4 year old C4 Picasso. Our C3 is now 8 years old, has done 120,000 miles and is still on its original battery. Yes, I agree, get it drop tested, but don't automatically junk it just because it is more than 4 years old.
My Name: Stanleysteamer

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Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:59 pm
Model: C3 Pluriel - with or without roof
Year: 2004 (54)
Engine Size: 1.6 (16v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 50000
Trim Level: NA
Gearbox: SensoDrive
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU5 16-valve (110 PS)
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Ozvtr wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:24 pm There are three main failure points in the power steering, battery, ECU and motor.

The battery is the usual suspect. If the battery can not provide the extra power required, the power steering ECU will shut down. To check the battery it needs to be load tested not just a multimeter. If you know for a fact that your battery is near or past 4 years old REPLACE IT! It will fail soon even if that's not the problem!!! However if the battery is going, the power steering typically becomes intermittent, it doesn't usually just stop. Cold weather and short runs are not good for your battery.

Like all pieces of electronics, the steering ECU can just fail for no particular reason. The good news is it can be easily replaced, no coding or anything like that. After the battery this is the next most likely thing to fail.

You really don't want it to be the motor or the torque transducer. Even DIY it's a pain but the motor doesn't seem to fail that often.

P.S. have you checked the fuse?
Hi thanks for this.

I have a friendly branch of Motobitz who will test the battery for me, although I do not think at the moment it will be the problem, but nothing to lose by getting it tested. I know how to test an alternator so I'll do that.
We do not just do short runs, we go to the theatre a lot and for that the shortest journey is 45 minutes, and we only drove from Ferndown to Chichester the other day.
I will look into getting a replacement ECU. I am interested that you say that it does not need coding, as elsewhere it is reported that it does. But is there a way of testing this other than replacement? And do i look on the original one to find the numbers I need to get the right replacement?
I looked up the fuse in both the user's manual and the Haynes, am I right in thinking it is MF8?, Or F4? Or F8? Or F6 (steering wheel sensor, is this to do with sensing the position of the wheel to help the power steering ECU decide what to do?). I think I am going to have to check all of these.
One other thing that may or may not be important is that my wife managed to fall asleep and drive off the road in France two summers ago. She miraculously didn't hit a tree or a wall or a ditch. She drove down a bank and into a ploughed field. Various people helped her drive out again and when we got to our place in France I checked the car out and it seemed to be OK. But we both noticed a faint squeak coming from the steering when manoeuvring slowly. That has continued ever since with no apparent harm, until now! I did get the tracking checked and realigned and it has passed two MOTs since then, so they did not seem to find any physical faults with the steering gear, i.e.cracked rack, broken mounts, bent arms/rods or anything.
Could I try jacking the car up, disconnecting the connections to the power steering and putting a volt meter across from each connection in turn from the ECU , to earth? While wife turns the steering wheel? If I got voltages from these would that mean the ECU is ok? Is there any significance in the fact that no warning lights lit up on the dash?
Could I also supply twelve volts directly to each connection on the powersteering to seeif it has an effect or would that damage something?

Sorry to ask so many questions. This is the only car I have ever had electric power steering on. But I really value your input.
Cheers
Stan
My Name: Stanleysteamer

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Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:59 pm
Model: C3 Pluriel - with or without roof
Year: 2004 (54)
Engine Size: 1.6 (16v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 50000
Trim Level: NA
Gearbox: SensoDrive
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU5 16-valve (110 PS)
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C3CAR wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:22 am This power steering problem can be intermittent.

Try the car again and it may have reset.

If it has reset, get the alternator checked by any auto electrician or do it yourself

A bad alternator can trip out the ePAS
Cheers, will do both although I have since stopped and restarted it and it stayed the same. Do you have a special method of resetting it or will the one in the handbook do?

cheers
Stan
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My Name: C3CAR

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Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
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Normally just ignition off will reset it, but it wouldn't do any harm to disconnect the battery to see if it resets.

If it doesn't reset, then there will be a code stored. The code could be ABS wheel sensor, or ePAS ECU or motor fault for example.

Use lexia to read the power steering codes
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My Name: Ozvtr

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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
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routemaster1 wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:52 am
Batteries nowadays are much longer lasting.

The "average" car battery of "average price", still only lasts "about 4 years" and I am talking from experience. I don't doubt the batteries you speak of lasted a long time or that they could be ordinary batteries but they are certainly the exception and not the rule.

I am not saying that at the 4 year mark, a battery will automatically drop dead. In fact I would say I cant remember a battery that didn't make it to 4 years. Some of my batteries have lasted longer than 4 years, some up to 6 years but after the 4 year mark I keep a much closer eye on them. I.E. if I start having car troubles, I check the battery first.

True, I have no idea of the quality of the battery in question and perhaps it was a rash statement to say get rid of it on spec. Also I was wrong to give my opinion as an order ("replace it!"), as I did and I apologize to the forum and StanleySteamer for that. My statements should only be advice and they should always read that way. Readers should make up their own minds. I should not be telling them what to do (in that context).

So if I was to rephrase my statement I would say: statistically speaking, if a battery is more than 4 years old, it is more likely to fail at any time. So be mindful of that.
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My Name: Ozvtr

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I have stuck to answering Stanleysteamers questions and this is by no means the only things he should try. This make the assumption that there is a physical fault in the steering system and not a problem with some other component (battery, alternator, BSM or what ever). All other avenues should be exhausted before buying and replacing components.
Others have suggested a system reset. Wouldn't hurt but be aware you will loose some data that the car will have to re-acquire and if your car has a sensodrive, that will need to be re-initialized.
Stanleysteamer wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:24 am
We do not just do short runs, we go to the theatre a lot and for that the shortest journey is 45 minutes, and we only drove from Ferndown to Chichester the other day.
I didn't mean to infer that you only did short trips. It was just a general statement about charging cycles. I know that in the northern hemisphere, in winter, the days are shorter and colder, so the headlights are used more often, the aircon is used more often and people are tempted to drive short distances, when they mightn't otherwise. All causing extra pressure on the charging system. Just a general statement to anyone who might be reading and not directed at you.
Stanleysteamer wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:24 am I will look into getting a replacement ECU. I am interested that you say that it does not need coding, as elsewhere it is reported that it does. But is there a way of testing this other than replacement? And do i look on the original one to find the numbers I need to get the right replacement?
No the ECU does not need to be coded in.
To be honest I don't know about the part numbers but there are different steering racks, motors and possibly different steering "feels" programed into the ECUs across the Citroen and Peugeot range. The ECU's are identified by the amount of current they can transfer to the motor. I guess a high current ECU would work in a low current application but that's just a guess on my part. So, if necessary, try and stick to the the same numbers.
Stanleysteamer wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:24 am I looked up the fuse in both the user's manual and the Haynes, am I right in thinking it is MF8?, Or F4? Or F8? Or F6 (steering wheel sensor, is this to do with sensing the position of the wheel to help the power steering ECU decide what to do?). I think I am going to have to check all of these.
I don't know which F8 or F6 you are talking about (BSI or BSM) but it's not what you are looking for.
Yes, the maxifuse MF8 and F4 in the BSM (engine bay fuse box) are what you are looking for. If you didn't know, the maxifuses are under the BSM. You can also disconnect the big 2 pin connector at the steering ECU (1 big connector for power and 1 big connector for the steering motor) and check for power in the connector of the wiring that goes back to the BSM.
Stanleysteamer wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:24 am Could I try jacking the car up, disconnecting the connections to the power steering and putting a volt meter across from each connection in turn from the ECU , to earth? While wife turns the steering wheel? If I got voltages from these would that mean the ECU is ok? Is there any significance in the fact that no warning lights lit up on the dash?
Better still, if you remove the big two pin connector, that goes to the steering motor at the ECU, you could try measuring the voltage across the two pins, at the ECU, as you move the steering wheel. You wont need to jack the car up either and you will only need to apply pressure to the steering wheel, you don't have to turn it. The only problem is the ECU may detect no current going to the motor and shut down. So after all that you may not get a reading but that doesn't mean there is a problem with the ECU. Have you checked the connectors on the steering rack for looseness? Or any other damage to the rack or wiring?
You can try checking for continuity of the motor by measuring resistance across the 2 pins on the big connector of the wiring that goes down to the steering motor. It should be a few ohms. Maybe around 10 ohms, maybe less. A short circuit might be 3 ohms or less, bad. Open circuit is bad too.
There is no warning light on the dash for the steering. However if you had a LEXIA there would most likely be fault codes for the steering ECU. They would be very handy right now, LOL.
The other thing in the system is the torque transducer. This is in the gearbox housing on the steering rack, where the steering motor and the steering column meet. If that's not working your steering ECU wont do anything either. Sorry, I have no idea how to test that. Check the connector?
Stanleysteamer wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:24 am Could I also supply twelve volts directly to each connection on the powersteering to seeif it has an effect or would that damage something?
LOL! I wouldn't do that if I were you. Just see if there is power getting to the power connector first.

FYI the OBDII protocol is only valid for any parameter that would affect the engines performance, more specifically anything that might cause the car to "pollute". It's a spin off of the American anti pollution laws and it's scope is pretty basic. It will spit out codes from other ECUs but they are effectively gibberish as it's not what OBDII was designed for and these codes are not standardized across the industry. So OBDII is good for engine problems but not much else.
My Name: Stanleysteamer

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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:59 pm
Model: C3 Pluriel - with or without roof
Year: 2004 (54)
Engine Size: 1.6 (16v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 50000
Trim Level: NA
Gearbox: SensoDrive
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU5 16-valve (110 PS)
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dear Ozvtr
Thanks ever so much for your comprehensive reply, It is so long I will have to print it off somehow and have it with me once I start working on trying to solve this problem.

We went away for Christmas and have only just returned, also my broken thumb has not quite mended yet so I am going to have to put it on "light duties" during all this. Wife's broken shoulder is not helping either. She only has one working hand, so between us we have two working right hands! But she is screaming to have it fixed, so no pressure.
I'll get back to you either way.

I seem to remember that there was a way of getting a Lexia to work on a 32 bit computer, I have one of these and would love to know how to do it, although it will not connect to the internet.

I had a look at the thing that was on this page that is apparently the same thing, but could not get it to download. Don't know why obviously.

Anyway, Cheers!
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