2004 Citroen C3 1.4 HDI Not Starting

Questions specifically about a Diesel powered C3 (usually engine or fuel related problems)
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Diesel engine related problems
Think: Diesel engine, diesel fuel system, diesel injectors and glow plugs
My Name: GawieGreef

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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:15 am

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Hi,

This is my first topic and my first time on this website. I have read the posts about the cars not starting, but they don't quite resemble my issues.

I live in South Africa and bought my car second hand with about 140000km on the clock. It has, what it seems to be a full service history, so I can only assume that the previous owner looked after the car as should have.

I have had to replace my Turbo Assembly at about 160000km. I replaced my clutch and gearbox, 1 week apart at about 200000km. I replaced injector seals on all 4 injectors after the sent my head in for cleaning or something because of all the stuff that was built up on it.

In October last year (2011) I started getting a little bit of a knock in my engine after using a lot of water at a given time. Basically, I had to refill my water reservoir every time I filled up my tank with Diesel. So, when I took my car in for repairs, the guy told me that he had to replace the waterpump and crank pulley.

I seriously wish I didn't do that.

After replacing the parts, according to my understanding, they got a diesel lock or something. After sorting that out, the engine would rev to about 2000rpm. After trying to sort that out, the car would turn over, but not start AT ALL!!!

They looked at new injectors, crank sensor, wiring problems. After 3 months I went and took my car to a different dealership, as they could not resolve the problem and wanted me to replace the diesel pump. The 2nd shop put my car back together, as the top of the engine was in parts because the previous shop tried to look for something that wasn't there.

After putting everything back togehter, replacing glow plugs and the number 4 injector, the 2nd shop decided that there is no pulse to the injectors.

He sent my car to Citroen Hatfield, in Pretoria. According to the 2nd shop, Citroen did a diagnostic, told them that the ECU has to be replaced.

This is now month 7. I didn't want to step on anyones tows until now. Citroen got bought out by Volvo as of the 1st of June 2012, so now they have new management. I went to Citroen on Tuesday, 12 June 2012, and asked them to redo all diagnostics on the car to try and figure out what the problem is.

Keep this in mind, I drove my car to the first shop, towed it to the second, towed it to Citroen Dealership and now nobody knows what the problem is.

The 2nd shop told me that, when the pour in diesel into the chambers, close it up, turn the key, it starts, but dies the moment the diesel has been burned up. So bottom line is, the enine will run if there is a fuel supply to the piston chambers, but that's not the case atm.

I'm just afraid that they are going to tell me to replace my ECU, but would my car even turn or start if the ECU needs raplacing?

I'm no mechanic, but it just does not make any sense. Undestanding an engine is easy according to me. If there is a fuel supply, it should start. It would run, if the timing is correct. Timing is picked up by sensors on the crank as the engine turns. The computer is supposed to send out a signal to the injectors to open on a given cycle.

I don't know if this matters, but I can only assume that, after trying so many times to start the engine, the car had gone flat and that the first shop jump started the car in order to try and try again. I have read that, jump starting a citroen, causes the ecu to get screwed up.

According to my understanding, the only fault code on the computer, has something to do with the crank sensor which has been replaced already.

This is my story. Please feel free to ask questions on anything that you want to know. I'll try my best to answer you.

Regards,
Gawie
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My Name: C3driver52

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Posts: 1938
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:40 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (03)
Engine Size: 1.4 i
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 79984
Trim Level: VTR+
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
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Hello GawieGreef
GawieGreef wrote: Basically, I had to refill my water reservoir every time I filled up my tank with Diesel.
My first concern is that there is no water reservoir in the Citroen C3, or any modern car. You should only top-up or refill the cooling system with either ready mixed engine coolant or mix your own from concentrate and de-ionised water. Engine coolant is a complex chemical concoction designed to protect the engine from corrosion, galvanic action, has extended cooling properties and (where required, extended freezing properties), where plain old water is just nasty and will give you problems before long.

https://citroenc3owners.com/citroen-c3-t ... t-t40.html This post expands on the correct engine coolant for a Citroen C3.

GawieGreef wrote: he had to replace the waterpump and crank pulley.

I seriously wish I didn't do that.

After replacing the parts, according to my understanding, they got a diesel lock or something. After sorting that out, the engine would rev to about 2000rpm. After trying to sort that out, the car would turn over, but not start AT ALL!!!
If the engine only revs to 2000, check to see if the engine management / MIL is on, and check the codes stored in the computer. 2000 RPM sound like the 'limp home' mode that protects the engine due to a problem (probably caused by the guy that fitted the water pump). There is no need to touch the diesel system when changing the water pump, so I don't get why or what happened, other than the job went badly and someone screwed up.

GawieGreef wrote: After 3 months I went and took my car to a different dealership, as they could not resolve the problem and wanted me to replace the diesel pump.
Sounds like the Common Rail High Pressure (HDi) bit got them stumped. 'Change the diesel pump' is an old saying that solved some of the IDI (Indirect Injection) or non HDi problems of the past.

GawieGreef wrote: the 2nd shop decided that there is no pulse to the injectors.
Well, this would stop the engine from starting, but you need to find the cause of 'no injector pulse'. The Computer has decided that no fuel should be sent to the cylinder (hence no pulse to inject fuel). This can be for a multitude of reasons, including a low cranking speed and a damaged ECU. The way to diagnose that problem is to connect to the Diagnostic port with Citroens diagnostic tool and see what errors are shown by the ECU and BSI, then take it from there.

GawieGreef wrote: Citroen did a diagnostic, told them that the ECU has to be replaced.
Oh, well, I should have read ahead. So you need a new ECU and it to be programmed to your car, or your ECU repaired (no reprogramming required). Try https://www.bba-reman.com. BBA-Reman can test ECUs too.

GawieGreef wrote: I'm just afraid that they are going to tell me to replace my ECU
They have told you, to proceed you need a new (or repair your existing) ECU.

GawieGreef wrote: but would my car even turn or start if the ECU needs raplacing
Turn over, probably, but not definitely, Start? Definitely NOT. The ECU controls the flow of fuel into the cylinder via the injector. If the ECU says 'NO' (or doesn't say 'YES'), you get no fuel into the cylinder, no compression of the fuel, no ignition of the fuel, no go.

GawieGreef wrote: I'm no mechanic, but it just does not make any sense. Undestanding an engine is easy according to me. If there is a fuel supply, it should start. It would run, if the timing is correct. Timing is picked up by sensors on the crank as the engine turns. The computer is supposed to send out a signal to the injectors to open on a given cycle.

Well, yes, but you dismissed this bit :
The computer is supposed to send out a signal to the injectors to open on a given cycle.
Which, according to Citroen and the 2nd garage, is not happening. The key word is computer. The computer takes in sensor inputs, makes comparisons and gives outputs determined by the software. If the input is not as expected by the software, the output can fail. If the software is corrupted, the output can fail, if the output is damaged, the output will fail. No output, no Injector pulse, no injector pulse no fuel into the cylinder.........

GawieGreef wrote: I can only assume that, after trying so many times to start the engine, the car had gone flat and that the first shop jump started the car in order to try and try again. I have read that, jump starting a citroen, causes the ecu to get screwed up.
I think its the BSI that gets fried with jump starting, rather than the ECU, but that's not to say the ECU is not fried. Personally, I would go with Citroens diagnostic, which is going to be more valid than pouring fuel into the cylinders and wondering why the engine stops. I would strongly suggest that the pouring of fuel in the cylinder stops now. Its about as useful as looking into a hole in the ground, and may be doing some damage to the cat.

Get the injection ECU out, send it off, see what the result is. If its fixable, get it fixed. If its fried, you will need to get citroen involved to reprogram a new or re-manufactured or second hand one to the car. But you should look to see why it got fried (bearing in mind the water pump, crank pulley and crank sensor have been touched). You don't want to fry another one!

GawieGreef wrote: According to my understanding, the only fault code on the computer, has something to do with the crank sensor which has been replaced already.
If the fault code still comes up, even after changing a part, then either that part was not the cause or that part was faulty but there is a second part that's faulty too.

The fault codes don't tell you which part to change (unfortunately), but rather they tell you some things up in a particular department. Its up to the skilled technician to work out what, or an unskilled mechanic to keep changing bits till they hit jackpot.

I don't know if the fault code is still being generated, but it could well be connected to the ECU fault, be a second problem, be the cause of the ECU problem or disappear when the engine starts.


Good Luck! :)

Please do keep us updated!
My Name: GawieGreef

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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:15 am

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Thank you for the very elaborate reply. I appreciate it.

I didn't get a diagnostic back from Citroen yet, although they told me that they could not manage to "talk" / communicate to the ECU.

Bottom line is, they quoted me R17000 (About $2000) to replace it with a new 1, but could not guarantee me that I would be able to drive my car out of there after replacing it.

At the end of the day, I need to replace it according to your reply as well as their response.

I have managed to find a spares shop that sell the ECU, remote and something else for R6500 (about $770), and they gave me a number of a guy that can basically do a replace test (Take 1 out, plug the other in, see what happens) before me actually paying anything.
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My Name: C3driver52

Guru
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:40 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (03)
Engine Size: 1.4 i
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 79984
Trim Level: VTR+
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Has thanked: 110 times
Been thanked: 67 times

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do a replace test (Take 1 out, plug the other in, see what happens) before me actually paying anything.
That sounds like a good idea, fault finding by substitution can be a cheap, quick and effective way of getting to the bottom of some problems. Hopefully whatever damaged the original ECU is not going to damage the test ECU.

The BSI will need to be reprogrammed with the replacement ECU codes, otherwise they just won't talk to each other and the car won't work.

Maybe the kit of bits you mention is a matched trio of BSI, ECU and remote control, so reprogramming is not required.

I didn't get a diagnostic back from Citroen yet, although they told me that they could not manage to "talk" / communicate to the ECU.
Oh, I see, sorry. There can be more than one reason why they can't communicate with the ECU, so that's why they cant say for sure that changing it will fix the problem, coupled with the fact there may be more than one fault with the car.


I would be very interested in finding out how the ECU swapping goes, which parts got swapped, what was tried and what didn't work. :)
My Name: GawieGreef

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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:15 am

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I will keep you posted on what's going on.

The guy I talked to mentioned 3 things, and I'm almost certain that he mentioned what you stated: BSI, ECU & Remote...

It's going to be a while, as I need to get money for the excercise first.
My Name: GawieGreef

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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:15 am

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Hi All,

13 months since this started I've given up. I have managed to get this car inspected by 5 mechanics, that I know of

Apparantly the last verdict was that it is definitely the computer box that blew. How this happened I am uncertain of, but the last guy took it out, opened it up and showed it to me. The horror. Lol

Soo. My final question is this...

Is it possible to run this engine making use of some or other aftermarket computer system that does not cost more than the actual value of the car?
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My Name: Arfur Dent

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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (52)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 100000
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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Is it possible to run this engine making use of some or other aftermarket computer system that does not cost more than the actual value of the car?
There are 2 options,

1. Have your damaged ECU repaired by replacing the damaged components, the advantage of this is that the 'coding' stays the same and no computer reprogramming is required. The disadvantage is that its impossible to test on the bench without specialised knowledge and resources.

2. Find a C3 of similar year and spec and remove the ECU from that. Scrap yards are full of them. The disadvantage is that the replacement ECU will need coding of the injectors and coding to the security part of the BSI, which needs some citroen programming tools and probably, the code card that came with the car.
the last guy took it out, opened it up and showed it to me. The horror. Lol
Got any pictures of the board and the damaged components?
it is definitely the computer box that blew. How this happened I am uncertain of
Did the car get jump started or 'boosted' or some otherwise battery/alternator issues, like a faulty regulator in the alternator? as this is know to cause havoc with delicate electrical components in the ECU
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