1.4 SX -turns over, won't start.

Questions specifically about a Petrol powered Citroen C3 (usually engine or fuel related problems).
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My Name: Stevo

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:26 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (03)
Engine Size: 1.4
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 88000
Trim Level: SX
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)

Post

Hello all,

I have a problem with my 2003 C3 1.4 SX which led to me breaking down and not being able to start the engine.

I was driving it the other day on a dual carriageway then the following events happened

1) I can remember hearing 2 beeps (had stereo on so not sure). I looked at the dash and didn't notice anything different. No lights on and temperature look OK.

2) Further down the road I had my foot on the accelerator with the clutch up(obviously) when all of a sudden, it felt like something slipped or shifted. The battery light came on the dash followed shortly by the engine light. The engine was still running but when I pushed on the accelerator and lifted the clutch there was no biting or power to the wheels.

3) After coming to a rolling stop, I tried again with the accelerator & clutch but again nothing. I turned the engine off and then attempted to restart the engine, but it wouldn't restart. I can hear what I think is the starter motor, but there's no firing up of the engine.

4) After getting towed home (luckily I wasn't far away) I tried starting the engine again to no enjoy. But I noticed the car is in eco mode and the battery light is flashing, which means there is a issue with battery, alternator, fuses, wiring. Plus I did get the 2 beeps warning.

At first i thought maybe an issue with the clutch, but what about the warning beeps and the battery light. Would you get a warning to say the clutch is about to go? Could an issue with the battery cause the clutch to stop working, like some sort of safety switch that disables the main components of the engine.

Another thing I noticed when I finally got home, where my car was parked earlier there was a small wet patch. The liquid was oily to the touch (but not oil) and clear, I checked the engine oil which was fine, but when I looked at the radiator tank, it was empty. I checked around the radiator and found a little wet patch with the same oily liquid, it wasnt gushing out and the next day there was another little patch on the ground. But like i said im sure the temperature gauge hadn't gone up.

I know there's alot to take in, however any help would be really appreciated.

Thank you
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My Name: Arfur Dent

Guru
Posts: 3340
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:47 pm
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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Stevo wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:01 am Hello all,

I have a problem with my 2003 C3 1.4 SX which led to me breaking down and not being able to start the engine.

I was driving it the other day on a dual carriageway then the following events happened

1) I can remember hearing 2 beeps (had stereo on so not sure). I looked at the dash and didn't notice anything different. No lights on and temperature look OK.

2) Further down the road I had my foot on the accelerator with the clutch up(obviously) when all of a sudden, it felt like something slipped or shifted. The battery light came on the dash followed shortly by the engine light. The engine was still running but when I pushed on the accelerator and lifted the clutch there was no biting or power to the wheels.

3) After coming to a rolling stop, I tried again with the accelerator & clutch but again nothing. I turned the engine off and then attempted to restart the engine, but it wouldn't restart. I can hear what I think is the starter motor, but there's no firing up of the engine.

4) After getting towed home (luckily I wasn't far away) I tried starting the engine again to no enjoy. But I noticed the car is in eco mode and the battery light is flashing, which means there is a issue with battery, alternator, fuses, wiring. Plus I did get the 2 beeps warning.

At first i thought maybe an issue with the clutch, but what about the warning beeps and the battery light. Would you get a warning to say the clutch is about to go? Could an issue with the battery cause the clutch to stop working, like some sort of safety switch that disables the main components of the engine.

Another thing I noticed when I finally got home, where my car was parked earlier there was a small wet patch. The liquid was oily to the touch (but not oil) and clear, I checked the engine oil which was fine, but when I looked at the radiator tank, it was empty. I checked around the radiator and found a little wet patch with the same oily liquid, it wasnt gushing out and the next day there was another little patch on the ground. But like i said im sure the temperature gauge hadn't gone up.

I know there's alot to take in, however any help would be really appreciated.

Thank you

Hello

My first thoughts are a head gasket failure.

This would give a loss of power, wet oily patch, non starting when the starter motor just spins and no coolant in the expansion tank.

Eventually you will get into eco mode and a flashing battery, but that is correct and not a fault.
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My Name: Stevo

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:26 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (03)
Engine Size: 1.4
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 88000
Trim Level: SX
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)

Post

Thanks for the reply Arthur,

From when I felt something slip in the engine to when I came to a rolling stop, im sure the engine was still running. Would it still run for that time if the head gasket failured? Wouldn't the engine stop straight away?

If it is the head gasket that has failed, is there away i can check this myself without taking it to a garage?

The car didn't cost a lot, but its been great. If I can get it running again that would be awesome. But it just deodnds on the cost.

Thanks again
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My Name: Arfur Dent

Guru
Posts: 3340
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:47 pm
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)
Has thanked: 271 times
Been thanked: 114 times

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Stevo wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:14 am Wouldn't the engine stop straight away?
No, it can run for months, weeks, days, hours, minutes. It all depends on how big the hole is.
Stevo wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:14 am rom when I felt something slip in the engine to when I came to a rolling stop, im sure the engine was still running
Yes, it can run, but not develop much power, so it ticks over, but there is very little compression to generate power. That really fits your description of how it went.

Stevo wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:14 am If it is the head gasket that has failed, is there away i can check this myself without taking it to a garage?
You could do a compression test, yourself. It is quite easy to do an only needs a tool to remove the spark plugs and a compression tester tool. You don't need the engine running.

If the compression test fails, it can be head gasket, valves, pistons, all things that can make the car uneconomical to repair.
Stevo wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:14 am But it just depends on the cost.
It all depends if you can do the work yourself. If you can't change a head gasket (and the cam belt while it's off) then it won't be worth fixing because the cost comes from the time and not the parts.
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My Name: Stevo

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:26 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (03)
Engine Size: 1.4
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 88000
Trim Level: SX
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)

Post

Thanks again Arfur for your help

Don't think Ill be skilled enough to change the head gasket. So ill just have to see if I can sell it spares or repairs.

I've just gone to check for leaks under the car and it seems there are possibly 2 pin hole leaks in the radiator. I put water in the expansion tank the other day after the break down and its gone down abit since. Plus there are 2 small (now watery not oily) wet patches on the drive.
I'm guessing it must have over heated and blown something. Like you said i might not just be the head gasket, it could also be something else.

Cheers pal, much appreciated
My Name: routemaster1

C3 Master
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:32 pm
Model: C3 2017-on. The new C3
Year: 2019 (19)
Engine Size: 1.2
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 300
Trim Level: Flair
Gearbox: Manual 6 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: EB2DT-EB2ADT PureTech 3-Cylinder (110 PS)
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It could be a failed cambelt!
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My Name: C3CAR

Guru
Posts: 2634
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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Stevo wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:19 am Thanks again Arfur for your help

Don't think Ill be skilled enough to change the head gasket. So ill just have to see if I can sell it spares or repairs.

I've just gone to check for leaks under the car and it seems there are possibly 2 pin hole leaks in the radiator. I put water in the expansion tank the other day after the break down and its gone down abit since. Plus there are 2 small (now watery not oily) wet patches on the drive.
I'm guessing it must have over heated and blown something. Like you said i might not just be the head gasket, it could also be something else.

Cheers pal, much appreciated
If the cooling system has failed (leaked out the coolant) the head can warp slightly leading to the head gasket failing. It's quite common for these engines.
User avatar
My Name: C3CAR

Guru
Posts: 2634
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)
Has thanked: 154 times
Been thanked: 90 times

Post

routemaster1 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:27 am It could be a failed cambelt!
That would show as a fail for the compression test too 8-)

The teeth would sheer off the belt and the belt would stay complete.

Pop the cam cover off or the top cam belt cover off and turn the engine over by hand (or on the starter, damage has already been done), to look for the cam rotation.
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