1.4hdi will not start off the key, but starts on a bump

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My Name: Dave116

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Hi all hoping someone might be able to help me out here, I have just purchased the wife a very nice looking little C3 non starter, it's the 1.4 err 92 break horse model 16v with the Delphi fuel pump 54 reg
It will not start off the key but push it a few feet to bump start it and it fires right up and runs fine no smoke or misfire, it feels like it's pulling ok to me although I have never drove one of these before, it's definaetly not in limp mode
The people I purchased it off had the rac out to it and it has a few fault codes, I will get the exact codes tomorrow but this is a rough idea the first one was about pre start not working which sounded like glow plugs, high pressure regulator fault, fuel volume regulator fault, and accelerator not resetting fault, rac guy also wrote on there fuel pressure at max or 100 bar @crank
The non starting sounds like a glow plug or relay fault to me but one thing is throwing me you can crank it over for 5 minutes (turns over fast) and will not fire then bump it and away it goes but I would have expected clouds of smoke from the un burnt fuel but there is no smoke of any colour, does anyone know of a problem in the fuel supply that would cause engine not to start but run fine when it does?
One last thing with ignition on there is a buzzing sound coming from the engine which sounds like the fuel system priming but it does not stop continues buzzing, is this normal? If someone could clarify that it would be a great help
I will not be looking at the car until the weekend but your thoughts and options will be much appreciated... Thanks Dave
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My Name: C3CAR

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Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)
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Welcome to the forum Dave,

Looks like you have quite a project on your hands :)

The first thing I can suggest with diagnosing strange computer or electronic faults is to get yourself a lexia code reader, get it installed and grab the codes, clear the codes and go through the procedure of starting the car. Grab the codes again and work only on the latest ones. You can get information on the lexia reader here. Lexia software need to be installed on an old laptop, but some versions will work on newer windows 7 ones. Its a faff, but worth it in the end. A classic OBD2 reader isn't up to the job :(
The non starting sounds like a glow plug or relay fault to me but one thing is throwing me you can crank it over for 5 minutes (turns over fast) and will not fire then bump it and away it goes
Its not glow plugs. The glow plugs are not really used in the classic 'pre-heating' mode in the HDi engines, but used in 'post-heating' mode to reduce emissions on initial running. Bumping wouldn't make any difference to the requirement for pre-heat (in freezing conditions).
you can crank it over for 5 minutes (turns over fast) and will not fire
Just like the immobiliser is active, the lexia tool I mentioned above can monitor the immobiliser function. But this doesn't explain why it bumps ok.
away it goes but I would have expected clouds of smoke from the un burnt fuel but there is no smoke of any colour, does anyone know of a problem in the fuel supply that would cause engine not to start but run fine when it does?
Just as if there was NO fuel being injected? Hence no unburned fuel. Injectors not firing. These are controlled by the engine ECU and this is also involved in the immobiliser function. But, this is a clever car, if a fault is detected, no fuel will be injected, but the car will turn over, it reduces emissions and reduces damage to the engine.

Citroen C3 engine ECU location
Citroen C3 engine ECU location
engine ECU on the left, with those 3 connectors. You can check these are fitted correctly, remove them, clean them, curse them ;)
One last thing with ignition on there is a buzzing sound coming from the engine
With closer inspection, could it be coming from the headlight housing? and does one or both of the headlights look like this?
citroen c3 water in the headlights
citroen c3 water in the headlights
As the buzzing may be the headlamp motor submerged in water.
C3 has Water in the Headlights topic

Buzzing in the engine bay is not normal for the 16v 1.4HDi.
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My Name: Arfur Dent

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Dave116 wrote:does anyone know of a problem in the fuel supply that would cause engine not to start but run fine when it does?
The engine you have is a HDI engine with electronic injectors and a high pressure common rail (common to all the injectors). This differs substantially from the earlier systems.

The injectors fuelling is controlled by the ECU. They are are fed with high pressure fuel and the electrical signal from the ecu can enable the injector to fire. No signal from the ecu and there is no injector firing. Many possible reasons why the ecu will inhibit the injectors, from low fuel pressure, faulty sensor readings, low starring speed to name a few.


This C3 haynes manual has some useful information and comes highly recommended
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My Name: Dave116

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Hi c3car thanks for your input, I thought glow plugs more in hope than logic really, of it was a immobiliser fault cutting off fuel supply to the injectors or preventing them from firing would car still bump start do you think? The buzzing sound is from the engine somewhere, working away all week this week so trying to gather as much info as possible before tackling it the weekend, do you know if 100 bar fuel pressure is high enough when starting the engine? Thanks
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My Name: C3CAR

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Fuel Type: Diesel
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Trim Level: Exclusive
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
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Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)
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it was a immobiliser fault cutting off fuel supply to the injectors or preventing them from firing would car still bump start do you think?
No, not normally, but it may be something silly like a loose connection that gets fixed as the car is 'bumped'. You could try the other key to rule out the keys part in the immobiliser system.
do you know if 100 bar fuel pressure is high enough when starting the engine?
I will have a look in my notes to see if I can find out for you.

The injection ECU only operates the injectors when the pressure exceeds 120 bar.
I found this lurking in some notes about HDi engines generally, so this could be a good starting point. 1600 Bar is the normal operating pressure of the injectors, so even 120 sounds very low.

Low common rail pressure is often caused by faulty injectors - confirm this by performing a 'leak off test' rather than condemning the high pressure fuel pump.
citroen c3 leak off test
citroen c3 leak off test
leakoff testing topic for the Citroen C3 HDi

This link shows a Professional Leak- Off Tester kit (eBay) which can often be duplicated at home with some plastic pipe and some clear plastic bottles while using the existing leakoff injector connectors.
My Name: cvloenen

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Was there any outcome to this problem?
Ive got issues similar! Id like to trace the faults.
Car bumps starts easy, cranks to fire difficult when cold.
Buzzing coming from fuel pump area when ignition switched of, buzzess for about 30 secs after igbnition switched off. Not light motor.
any thought appreciated.
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Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)

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Buzzing coming from fuel pump area when ignition switched of, buzzess for about 30 secs after igbnition switched off. Not light motor.
any thought appreciated.
I also Get a buzzing noise fom my hdi 16v after the engine has been on and then i switch it off and put the key in the ignition on position i uploaded a video to youtube with the sound, is it the same as yours?
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My Name: Arfur Dent

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Fuel Type: Diesel
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cvloenen wrote: Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:48 pm Car bumps starts easy, cranks to fire difficult when cold.
Starting on a bump but not on the key, would indicate the starter motor needs replacing if the battery is proven to be ok.

A low cranking speed will inhibit the fuel injection, but bump it in 2nd and the speed is enough to tell the ECU the engine is turning over enough for fuel to be injected and it starts.

Citroen C3 starting problem
Citroen C3 starting problem
Citroen C3 Starter Motor
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My Name: cvloenen

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Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:36 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
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Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
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Was there any outcome to this ?

Seems a very common problem, mines been like this for years! Occassionally mine just wont start and I have to bump it, and it starts immediately. Theres just to many things it could be, and most of them pretty expensive to just try. I tested my injectors for leak off a few years ago and they were all reasonablly balanced I thought. I suspect low fuel pressure is the prob. Obviously the bump start is creating the increased pressure that the starter is'nt creating. I would expect this to be starter speed or the fuel pump. If the injectors were leaking off to much, they would do that when you bump start too I rekon, for that reason I question wheather the injectors could be the common fault.

So, how do we know if a starter is'nt turning fast enough? & how can we tell is the fuel pump is producing the min required pressure?

If the fuel pump was at fault why would bump starting create anymore pressure? I dont think it would do anything more measureably different to what a good starter would do. So, its unlikley to be the fuel pump either.
It does seem likely that the starter speed is insufficient.

Anybody any ideas as to how to test the starter speed? Can Lexia give fuel pump presure, starter speed revs?
Maybe if we count the revs during starter operation to a 10sec start and compare with good starters? Any ideas how to get your starter to go faster, and then see if it makes any difference - Much bigger battery perhaps?

Id like to get mine sorted without the expensive garage bills, and im sure there are still others with the same prob.
Looking forward to hearing any new views on this.

Cheers Ian
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My Name: C3CAR

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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 140000
Trim Level: Exclusive
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)
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cvloenen wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:21 pm
So, how do we know if a starter is'nt turning fast enough? & how can we tell is the fuel pump is producing the min required pressure?
Lexia can read the starter speed from the crank signal and the fuel pressure in the common rail from the common rail pressure sensor. In fact the ECU uses both of these to inhibit the injectors from firing if either are below threshold.


Lexia showing engine speed and fuel pressure on Citroen C3
Lexia showing engine speed and fuel pressure on Citroen C3
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