Car will cut out intermittently on low ish fuel (<25% tank)

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

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Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2021 4:47 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2004 (04)
Engine Size: 1.1
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 100000
Trim Level: LX
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)

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Hello!!

I have a citroen C3 1.1 petrol 2004

Over the past few months it has started to cut out (stall) when the fuel gauge dips below 2/5 bars. The car will simply start again straight away however will continue to stall until it is filled up again. It has stalled about 3 times in the space of 100m between about 3 roundabouts before.

It has never done this before and I believe the cut out limit is slowly getting higher.

Anyone had a similar problem or can think of what it might be?

Thanks
Dan
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My Name: C3driver52

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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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danielmillar wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:02 pm Hello!!

I have a citroen C3 1.1 petrol 2004

Over the past few months it has started to cut out (stall) when the fuel gauge dips below 2/5 bars. The car will simply start again straight away however will continue to stall until it is filled up again. It has stalled about 3 times in the space of 100m between about 3 roundabouts before.

It has never done this before and I believe the cut out limit is slowly getting higher.

Anyone had a similar problem or can think of what it might be?

Thanks
Dan

Hello Dan

When you open the fuel cap to refill, is there a woosh of air entering?
My Name: danielmillar

Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2021 4:47 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2004 (04)
Engine Size: 1.1
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 100000
Trim Level: LX
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)

Post

Hi

Thanks for responding!

Yes there did seem to be a slight sound of air going in when the cap was opened!

Just to claify this cutting out problem only happens less than a minute of the car being turned on (on low fuel), and will continue to cut out until the car is topped up again.

Thanks
Dan
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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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Been thanked: 67 times

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danielmillar wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:45 pm Hi

Thanks for responding!

Yes there did seem to be a slight sound of air going in when the cap was opened!

Just to claify this cutting out problem only happens less than a minute of the car being turned on (on low fuel), and will continue to cut out until the car is topped up again.

Thanks
Dan
Yes, I get the clarification, thanks :)

You get the 'woosh', that is a sign of air rushing into the fuel tank. - This shouldn't happen.

You can try removing and replacing the fuel cap when you get low, but before it cuts out. Try at say, half a tank and before you start your journey. Then again at a quarter of a tank, before another journey.

As for what I think is happening is the fuel is leaving the fuel tank as the engine uses it, but the air is not sufficiently replacing the fuel used. This causes a difference in pressure that the fuel pump can't overcome and not enough fuel enters the engine, it stalls.

It only happens after a fair amount of fuel has left the tank to create enough pressure difference.

The solution? You will need to find the solenoid that operates the fuel EVAP system that controls the air/fuel vapour returning to the tank.


questions-about-a-petrol-powered-citroe ... t1915.html

has a picture of the solenoid on a different engine.


Testing the solenoid works, the system is not damaged etc would be the way forward.


But removing and refitting the fuel cap would work in the short term ;)
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My Name: Ozvtr

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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 80000
Trim Level: Other
Gearbox: Automatic PRND
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
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On the surface this appears to be a fuel problem but don't put all your eggs in one basket just yet. However, that does appear to be the problem.
C3driver52 may be hinting at the fuel cap one way valve sticking shut. The theory is that the cap has a one way valve in it to let atmospheric air into the top of the fuel tank as the fuel level goes down. If the valve sticks closed, the air space in the top of the tank becomes a lower pressure than the outside air (a vacuum). This makes it hard for the fuel pump to... well... pump fuel!
However 1) the fuel cap will be very hard to get off as there may be up to 20 psi or more, holding it in place.
2) the pump should start pumping correctly when you take the cap off. That doesn't seem to be the case.
3) the purge control valve would also have to be stuck shut. Hmmm...not that impossible.
Next possibility is a blockage in the system. Not enough to stop the engine initially but as the head height (the difference between the fuel injector rail and the top of the fuel in the tank) gets bigger, the pump struggles to push the fuel at the correct pressure and volume.
The UK C3's don't have an external fuel filter but there is a fine gauze nylon 'sock' over the inlet to the fuel pump. It's possible this is partially blocked.
Next is the fuel pump itself. For the same reasons above, the fuel pump might not not be delivering the correct pressure and volume to the injector rail if it is failing.
It's not likely to be a blockage in the line(s) as there is a filter before the pump. Possible, but unlikely.
First step would be to check the fuel pressure at the injector rail to confirm the loss of pressure. A scan tool would show the long term fuel trim in the positive direction showing the engine ECU trying to add more fuel (but failing). Next would be to remove the fuel pump assembly from the fuel tank and inspect it.

Does the car lack power before the engine cuts out? Does the performance deteriorate? Is the performance poor all or most of the time anyway?

Edit: D'oh! C3driver52 gazumped me! Oh well, just ignore the irrelevant bits. Still could be a pump problem. Try the fuel cap first. However there aren't enough clues to say it's an EVAP system fault.
Problems with the purge control valve (alone) don't seem to affect the performance of the engine.
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My Name: Ozvtr

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Posts: 1043
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:31 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 80000
Trim Level: Other
Gearbox: Automatic PRND
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
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The EVAP system relies on the fuel tank remaining at a positive pressure, slight or otherwise. I was incorrect when I said the cap had a valve, it does not.
The positive pressure is maintained by the fuel attempting to "boil off" and sloshing around at normal temperatures. It would be almost impossible to draw out the fuel faster than the fuel could boil off. It would have to be very cold and you would have to consume fuel very quickly!
I have found that if the purge control valve is faulty, it makes little difference to the engine performance.
I am not saying that the valve isn't faulty (I don't know), but I don't think that's the problem here.
My Name: Missing Lincs

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Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2004 (04)
Engine Size: 1.1
Fuel Type: Petrol
Trim Level: Desire
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danielmillar wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:02 pm Over the past few months it has started to cut out (stall) when the fuel gauge dips below 2/5 bars. The car will simply start again straight away however will continue to stall until it is filled up again. It has stalled about 3 times in the space of 100m between about 3 roundabouts before.
Just a bit more clarification for me please. When you say stall, are we talking about while driving or when coming to a stand-still, say at a junction or give way?

If the car is stalling when coming to a stop my money is on the idle speed control valve on the throttle body. The 1.1 engine has a hybrid throttle, part mechanical and part electric. The main throttle is controlled by a cable, there is a sensor to tell the ECU what position the throttle is at and a smaller idle by-pass controlled by a solenoid. The idle part can jam when crud builds up in the throttle body, or the solenoid weakens and eventually fails.
If at first you don't succeed, destroy all the evidence and pretend you never tried :lol:
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My Name: Ozvtr

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Posts: 1043
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:31 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 80000
Trim Level: Other
Gearbox: Automatic PRND
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
Has thanked: 44 times
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FYI
I don't think this is the problem but this is what MissingLincs is talking about.
Engine.jpg
Engine.jpg (53.39 KiB) Viewed 303 times
Throttle.jpg
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