:Look at this!! (1.4 HDI Engine Failure)

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: bill sutton

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Look at this.
Spot the odd one out!
Spot the odd one out!
A closer look
A closer look
This was the scene when I lifted the head of my C3 Hdi 1.4 16v at 65,000 miles. The photos don't do it justice, it looked like the inside of a woodburner, full of ash and s**t!!! The engine failed catastrophically due to carbon deposits around the piston crown letting go under acceleration and jamming the piston on its next time round. Result, complete bottom end failure shattered the crankcase bottom like crazy paving and a written off car, had I not had the wherewithal to source and fit a second hand engine myself (not recommended for the faint hearted!).

The source of the excess carbon was as far I could tell, from an injector leaking internally (so no visible sign) which had thrown up an EGR fault code but which did not say "your engine will self destruct". And the reason for the leak? well, the injector clamp bolts were barely tightened on the one cylinder, and at that mileage I suspect I had been the first one in there since fitting,so, like that from new.

How many "time bombs" were made like this? any similar tales of woe? anyone sought redress?

whats the point in 12 years anti corrosion warranty if the rest of the car self destructs at 7?
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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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Wow.

Thanks for the photos. The odd one out looks like a rusty colour, browns.

Do you have a pictures of the head, showing the valves from the combustion side? It would be nice to see what state they are in. Is it possible to see if the valves open/close ok and are not burnt?

If you do pluck up the courage to fit another engine, the 'tips' section has a space for 'C3 HDi 1.4 16v engine swap'..... :D

It looks like you have a few bits to list on eBay :lol:
My Name: bill sutton

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Already done the swap, bare engine £400 delivered, not bad considering, but there are still a few problems to sort in terms of mystery fault codes which I am attempting to solve without recourse to the Citroen dealers as I am not confident that they know any more than I do, but do have the luxury of a £65/hour beard stroking fee, hey, I can stroke mine for free!! the recurrent ones are P1351 and P1160 which boil down to glow plugs and Turbo boost, both of which are apparently working fine.

Well spotted with the ebay listings, head now sold and appeared fine,
head after cleaning
head after cleaning
no burnt/bent valves, gasket intact, turned freely. Like I said, the engine failed catastrophically and suddenly, it wasn't running in that state for more than 2 seconds and the brown colouration is the minced up carbon from within the cylinder itself, it didn't get sucked in from outside (it would have had to get through the air filter first!) but lay in wait glued round the pistons top edge, waiting for its time to let go and jam the works.
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My Name: C3CAR

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Posts: 2658
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:01 am
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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Thank you for the 'head shot', Bill.
bill sutton wrote:I am attempting to solve without recourse to the Citroen dealers
Well done. I agree, the dealers costs can make the car uneconomical to repair, but doing the work yourself can save a considerable quantity of hard earned money.
bill sutton wrote: the recurrent ones are P1351 and P1160 which boil down to glow plugs and Turbo boost, both of which are apparently working fine.
I am not sure how you managed to deduce that the glow plugs are working fine, as they are used in the 'post-heating' mode most frequently in the UK climate which helps emission reduction after starting the engine. Its unlikely most UK C3 HDI drivers will see their glow plugs in 'pre-heating' mode, and if they do, for only a fraction of a second in extreme cases.

If you are having glow plug errors, you need to test each glow plug, then test the glow plug control relay. Faulty plugs can take out a good relay, and a faulty relay can damage the glow plugs, so be careful when testing by substitution!

You say you have a
bill sutton wrote:C3 Hdi 1.4 16v
This has the Delphi C6 engine ECU. But the description you give for P1351 'glow plugs' is for the Siemens SID 803 engine ECU. I would be very careful to take P1351 on a Delphi C6 as a generic code or mix code descriptions between different ECU manufacturers. The Siemens SID 803 is fitted to the Diesel engines with only 8 valves. Are you sure that P1351 on the C6 is also a glow plug code?

If there is a turbo boost issue, check the waste gate, the MAP sensor, and the MAP sensor wiring to the Engine ECU.

So, you have a different engine fitted now. I guess you coded the different injectors to the original engine ECU. While that was being done, I would have cleared all the codes and started a fresh, seeing as most of the parts have been changed for different ones. Then run around and see which codes come back.

As you said, doing it yourself saves money. But you need citroens' tools to communicate at the deepest level with the car, I am pretty sure you can't recode the injector timings to the ECU with any old OBD2 code reader

Lexia 3 which is suitable for the early and face lift C3s is the tool to use (with an XP/Win7 or virtual machine, laptop).
The Lexia topic is here

There are often some Citroen Lexia Programmers on eBay.


How did the engine swap go? and how does the car run now? Who supplied the engine and would you recommend them?

Lots of questions, but I think the answers would help others out if they find themselves in the same place as you some time in the future.
My Name: bill sutton

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I would be very careful to take P1351 on a Delphi C6 as a generic code or mix code descriptions between different ECU manufacturers. The Siemens SID 803 is fitted to the Diesel engines with only 8 valves. Are you sure that P1351 on the C6 is also a glow plug code?
This code business is all new to me, I'm ok with spanners etc so the physical transplant went O.K ish. The new engine came from fordpeugeotspares in essex, lashed to a pallet and pallet wrapped. £400 delivered without anything, so the injectors are from the old engine and have not been recoded, yet. The only electrical components on the new block were the knock sensor, the egr and turbo boost vacuum valves and the glow plugs, oh and the alternator was still on.

The "new" engine had had a knock at some point which fractured the oil cooler, that caused great alarm when first started!!! but as it took more than the 30 day warranty to fit it I swapped the one of my old block and pressed on regardless.

In general terms, the transplant was a pain and Citroens perverse logic drove me to the brink of insanity, for example, the engine comes out downwards after dropping the subframe, but the exhaust is in the way, so I'll separate it at the back box? wrong, the factory fitted exhaust has no join and requires you to lift the rear of the car above the travel of the rear suspension when unbolted at the top of the struts then pulled out to the rear, so in my case digging a 10ft trench into the earth bank the car was next too (no I didn't do that!!!) out came the angle grinder and cheque book to buy a new back box, oh and the subframe is held on by 4 bolts, the two at the rear bolt into captive nuts in the vehicle, the front ones however are not captive but held in place by plastic mouldings which, whilst they sufficed to hold the nuts long enough for a robot to tighten them up, disintegrate as soon as you try to undo them. You then have to weedle the remains of the plastic out of the orifice they were in, and then, because the bolts are too long to get a ring spanner over the top I ended up grinding the sides off an open ended spanner and squeezing it in on the diagonal, this allowed enough turns to be able to get a ring spanner in and finish the job. So a ten minute job turned into a five hour epic. If captive nuts were good enough the back two, then what other reason could there be for the crappy plastic nut retainers other than to piss me about and get someone else to do it.

The list is endless and tedious and account for the fact that a garage would have had to charge me at least a grand not including the cost of an engine!
I was amazed when after tweny minutes cranking over, the thing fired up! and sounded remarkably quiet even without a silencer on it but then I watched the expansion tank fill up with oil and was on the verge of suicide, when a passer by from the farm next door said "that happened to a mate of mines astra, it wasn't the head gasket after he'd had that done, it was a cracked oil cooler,,,,,,,,,by the way yours is leaking" and it was! the rest is history, just these bloody fault codes to sort now but its on the road.
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My Name: C3driver52

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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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just these bloody fault codes to sort now but its on the road.
Sometimes the MIL is reset by the car itself, after a number of successful engine starts/miles run/whatever has been decided. The number?, well 10 sounds familiar, but I am sure this varies with they error code.

But the codes that are stored in memory will stay there even after the fault is fixed and they need to be cleared from the BSI/Various ECUs. The faults codes are stored, even though they have been made redundant after fixing the problem which allow citroen to keep a log of the cars fault history (or even an interested owner).

Faults that are stored fall into two broad categories.

1. Permanent faults

2. Intermittent faults


Intermittent faults are historical by nature, and it can be all to easy to be chasing a very old and now, a non existent fault.

Examples are Crank sensor, cam sensor, water in diesel and steering ECU codes where the car is running fine after the problem was solved or it was just a 'blip'. (Water in diesel fault is cleared at a service by draining or changing the fuel filter but the code stays stored until its cleared by the garage).


Permanent faults are faults showing when the computer does the check of codes.

These are much more important as they are happening in the 'here and now' and lend themselves to testing/checking/changing parts with an immediate result in the code leaving the 'Permanent' status as the scan is run again.

The "new" engine had had a knock at some point which fractured the oil cooler
You can find the Oil Coler for the Citroen C3 hdi on eBay, its a common part used a cross many different engines.
My Name: RC3D

Experienced Member
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:42 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 140000
Trim Level: Rhythm
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
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bill sutton wrote: In general terms, the transplant was a pain and Citroens perverse logic drove me to the brink of insanity, for example, the engine comes out downwards after dropping the subframe, but the exhaust is in the way, so I'll separate it at the back box? wrong, the factory fitted exhaust has no join and requires you to lift the rear of the car above the travel of the rear suspension when unbolted at the top of the struts then pulled out to the rear, so in my case digging a 10ft trench into the earth bank the car was next too (no I didn't do that!!!) out came the angle grinder and cheque book to buy a new back box, oh and the subframe is held on by 4 bolts, the two at the rear bolt into captive nuts in the vehicle, the front ones however are not captive but held in place by plastic mouldings which, whilst they sufficed to hold the nuts long enough for a robot to tighten them up, disintegrate as soon as you try to undo them. You then have to weedle the remains of the plastic out of the orifice they were in, and then, because the bolts are too long to get a ring spanner over the top I ended up grinding the sides off an open ended spanner and squeezing it in on the diagonal, this allowed enough turns to be able to get a ring spanner in and finish the job. So a ten minute job turned into a five hour epic. If captive nuts were good enough the back two, then what other reason could there be for the crappy plastic nut retainers other than to piss me about and get someone else to do it.

The list is endless and tedious and account for the fact that a garage would have had to charge me at least a grand not including the cost of an engine!.

I've been looking at your post with interest, you seem to have a good knowledge of cars but even you have faced problems with engine exchange. I'm thinking of attempting a similar job and looking for some advice/reassurance. I'm not knowledgeable as you, i'm just a DIY person wanting to get to the bottom of my problem (C3 1.4 HDI- you can see my problem on this post )

I'm going to do the leak off test to check the injectors but I also know that i've got a problem with the breathing of the car, more likely a piston ring has gone. You never know a breather pipe might be blocked inside the engine. I intend to get the compression testing kit below next. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Diesel-Engine-Compression-Tester-Testing

After the tests I’ll be certain (or not be the case) about the problem, my hunch is that a piston ring has broken. This is where you expertise will be appreciated. I want to know in advance what equipment I should get in preparation for the job. Obviously you got under the car to grind the exhaust into two pieces (mine is one piece too), did you just put the car on axil stands or did you use something like a farm jack to jack it up high. You were talking about “the engine comes out downwards after dropping the subframe” (I know this might sound as though a stupid question), does it mean that the engine will come out from the bottom of the car, how do you then take the engine away from there to work on?

I have got most common tools but should I invest on specific tools and equipment for this job?

Any help will be appreciated
My Name: bill sutton

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does it mean that the engine will come out from the bottom of the car, how do you then take the engine away from there to work on?
Yes, this is a mixed blessing as it wants to go downwards. I lowered it onto the bottom of an old amp rack I had, with 4 castors, which enabled me to wheel it clear when down. As for the lifting, if you can get a hoist, do, I used two builders trellises bridged by two scaffold planks with an ordinary trolley jack sat on top. There was just enough movement in the jack from fully upright to lowered, to allow to drop far enough to reach the waiting trolley, but it was more luck than judgement.
Would I recommend it? no, but necessity is the mother of invention and after investing £3,500 in a pile of scrap (as it effectively had become) I had no choice. If you do have a choice, then I spotted guys on ebay who will supply and plumb in a replacement for around £1200 which sounds a lot but, after you've bought your engine for say £450 then £750 is reasonable for the amount of grief you will be saved. Were you thinking of repairing or replacing your engine?
It took me around 5 weeks with one thing and another, and there was nobody more surprised than me when it eventually ran! which is a good job as the 30 day warranty was long gone!

Good luck, and any questions get in touch.
My Name: RC3D

Experienced Member
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:42 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 140000
Trim Level: Rhythm
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
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bill sutton wrote:
does it mean that the engine will come out from the bottom of the car, how do you then take the engine away from there to work on?
Were you thinking of repairing or replacing your engine?
Yes, after the advice I got from the people here I've decided to go for repair. It makes sense, the engines starts okay, no blue smoke etc. Once I have opened up the engine, i'll know for definite whether to stick with the same engine or not.

I'm getting all the bits together now, if i receive all the necessary stuff, i'll be doing the leak off & compression test this weekend. i'll put some notes and pics in the next few weeks.

thanks for all your advice.
My Name: brokenglowplug

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Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:32 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2004 (04)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 160000
Trim Level: Touch
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No

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How sure are you that this engine failure that you experienced was caused by "carbon deposits letting go" and not by something more likely like the broken tip of a snapped glowplug failing into the cylinder "during hard acceleration"?.
The reason i ask is because my wife recently had the misfortune to experience not one but two failed glowplugs on her 16v 1.4 hdi C3 both of these miserable little devices no thicker than a pocket diary pencil snapped when they were unscrewed from the engine.
It later turned out that one had been failed since ages past but the engine management light only gets turned on when a second plug also fails.
What this means is that with one failed glowplug living in the engine for God knows how long you are virtually guaranteed to get a snapped plug when removal is eventually attempted.
So when you took your engine all to bits did you find the glowplugs in there complete or was it too much of a bomb site to know either way?
I thought i would need to lift the head to get these out but it turns out you can get them out another way which saves a lot of money the chap we used has a listing on ebay and calls it an alternative repair. My wife had this car main dealer serviced up to 120000 miles and im told these should get changed every 60000 miles so she should have had them changed twice in that time. The car has now done 160000 miles so im thinking that the good old dealer must have forgotten to change these the last time but im sure he remember to bill us for there replacement. Hmmm..... I wonder why he did that? :roll:
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