TU3JP Hesitation after head gasket fix

Questions specifically about a Petrol powered Citroen C3 (usually engine or fuel related problems).
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Petrol engine related faults, like injectors, error codes, overheating.
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My Name: papa_lazerous

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 19, 2021 3:24 pm
Model: C3 2006-2009, Facelift model
Year: 2008 (08)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 24000
Trim Level: NA
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Been thanked: 2 times

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Firstly hi and secondly apologies for jumping in asking questions from the off! I have stumbled across this forum and am hoping that a few people that have better knowledge of the C3 can help. I am no stranger to working on engines but with every car there are known issues and quirks.

My GF has a 2008 C3 with 1.4 8 valve TU3JP engine, it has 24k miles that I know to be genuine. When we bought the car it had been stood for some time and I serviced it plugs/filters/oil and a new coil pack as it had a slight miss.

Turns out the slight miss was actually the number 4 injector (using the french numbering so the front of the engine) This was caused by the washer jets leaking and pooling water around the injector. I had fault codes for this injector also, fixed the jets and replaced the injector and all was well.

fast forward 6 months, it over heats and is losing coolant. No oil contamination though... I confirm the head gasket had failed by checking coolant for exhaust gas, last weekend I did the head gasket. It failed on cylinder4, might be coincidence that its also had an injector on that pot or it might be that they are prone to going there I do not know. The head was flat which was a bonus (checked with a precision straight edge and 0.02mm feeler - I am a mechanical engineer and this is well within my capabilities) got the engine back together new timing belt new water pump etc. Everything done by the book, even used new head bolts.

It started up first time, and was running fine on the driveway. Confirmed I had bled the coolant system and the fan was coming on and going off etc. Also for good measure checked the coolant system for exhaust leaks and all okay. I took her out on a run, and it was performing poorly! most noticeable in 2nd and 3rd when putting the engine under load trying to accelerate very hesitant and felt like it was running on kangaroo petrol if you know what I mean. I took it down the motorway for a good run. I suspected where it had been running on 3 cylinders that the fuel trims would be miles out and a good run would help. 40 minutes at motorway speed and it was like a new car and running sweet as a nut at low speed and high.

This morning the gf has done the school run and she messaged to say that the car was hesitant and didn't perform well. To say I am stumped is an understatement! The only thing I have in the back of my mind is the plug on cylinder 4 didn't look too clever when I had the head off and I figured its only been in 2000miles and a good run will clear it. It may be that the plug is shagged from having unburnt fuel all over it from when the head was gone. it follows that the engine will rev freely with no load but struggles under load that there may be a spark issue.

I will change the plug as a matter of course after work Friday, she is off out again shortly so I have asked to tell me if it feels hesitant when cold or hot or both as this may lead to something.

Is there anything obvious I should check or look for? I have a basic OBD reader and will check for codes, although I doubt there will be anything. I am considering getting Lexia so I can see live data and understand more about what is going on. I have a feeling that someone may be screaming out right now that there is a known issue or obvious thing I should check so I am all ears and appreciate all input.

Apologies for such a long thread but I wanted to give as much information as possible.
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My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 940
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: 36 times
Been thanked: 251 times

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papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm Firstly hi and secondly apologies for jumping in asking questions from the off! I have stumbled across this forum and am hoping that a few people that have better knowledge of the C3 can help. I am no stranger to working on engines but with every car there are known issues and quirks.
That's what we are here for.
papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm Turns out the slight miss was actually the number 4 injector (using the french numbering so the front of the engine) This was caused by the washer jets leaking and pooling water around the injector. I had fault codes for this injector also, fixed the jets and replaced the injector and all was well.
I believe this is because of thermal shock, as there are no signs of corrosion on the electrical contacts and no signs of damage on the outside of the injector.
papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm fast forward 6 months, it over heats and is losing coolant. No oil contamination though... I confirm the head gasket had failed by checking coolant for exhaust gas, last weekend I did the head gasket. It failed on cylinder4, might be coincidence that its also had an injector on that pot or it might be that they are prone to going there I do not know. The head was flat which was a bonus (checked with a precision straight edge and 0.02mm feeler - I am a mechanical engineer and this is well within my capabilities) got the engine back together new timing belt new water pump etc. Everything done by the book, even used new head bolts.
There is a key hole shaped metal insert in the original head gasket that fails. Results are random, oil in the water, water in the oil, oil leaks to the outside of the block, water to the cylinder.
papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm It started up first time, and was running fine on the driveway. Confirmed I had bled the coolant system and the fan was coming on and going off etc. Also for good measure checked the coolant system for exhaust leaks and all okay. I took her out on a run, and it was performing poorly! most noticeable in 2nd and 3rd when putting the engine under load trying to accelerate very hesitant and felt like it was running on kangaroo petrol if you know what I mean. I took it down the motorway for a good run. I suspected where it had been running on 3 cylinders that the fuel trims would be miles out and a good run would help. 40 minutes at motorway speed and it was like a new car and running sweet as a nut at low speed and high.
Italian tune up!
papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm This morning the gf has done the school run and she messaged to say that the car was hesitant and didn't perform well. To say I am stumped is an understatement! The only thing I have in the back of my mind is the plug on cylinder 4 didn't look too clever when I had the head off and I figured its only been in 2000miles and a good run will clear it. It may be that the plug is shagged from having unburnt fuel all over it from when the head was gone. it follows that the engine will rev freely with no load but struggles under load that there may be a spark issue.
Spark issues can be monitored by the ECU. It might not bring up an engine light though. The only things that definitely bring on the engine light are antipollution faults. Other faults might or might not bring on the light. But if the ECU detects something it should log a fault of some sort.
Unlikely to be the head again, you would just get one of the symptoms I mentioned above. However I would recommend monitoring the coolant level to see if coolant is getting into the cylinders. Again unlikely BUT some thing to watch.
papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm I will change the plug as a matter of course after work Friday, she is off out again shortly so I have asked to tell me if it feels hesitant when cold or hot or both as this may lead to something.
I would recommend changing all 4 to bring ignition up to a known state, but that's up to you.
papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:43 pm Is there anything obvious I should check or look for? I have a basic OBD reader and will check for codes, although I doubt there will be anything. I am considering getting Lexia so I can see live data and understand more about what is going on. I have a feeling that someone may be screaming out right now that there is a known issue or obvious thing I should check so I am all ears and appreciate all input.
If there are no codes and the engine ECU thinks all is OK (no light) I would suspect fuel supply. Fuel is the only thing the engine ECU does not monitor. So Fuel pump, fuel lines and injectors (yep injectors).
LEXIA does not give you fuel trims for the SAGEM engine ECU's. [email protected]#%!
You can take a look at the spark plugs to see if the mixture is rich. Another reason why I would recommend all new plugs, easier to read.
My Name: papa_lazerous

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 19, 2021 3:24 pm
Model: C3 2006-2009, Facelift model
Year: 2008 (08)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 24000
Trim Level: NA
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Been thanked: 2 times

Post

Many thanks for your response, I am not going to attempt to quote everything as well as you did. Short answer is I fixed it at the weekend. But to help anyone who is reading this I will address all points.

Your first comment about the injector and thermal shock... Nope the injector was absolutely shagged. The water ingress had been very bad and the water had managed over time to get past the sealing o ring and corrode the tip of the injector. Sadly the problem was that the this car had several faults and it has only become apparent after I fixed them all...


The keyhole metal insert on the head absolutely was not the point of failure, it failed on the edge of the liner itself. the wet liner as you know has 2 flats on the sides and there was a slight tell where the water/steam was travelling. It was very clear it was cylinder 4 straight away as it was a spotlessly clean piston from all the unburnt fuel and coolant cleaning the carbon deposits away.

Gotta love an Italian tune up. I have learned why it seemed to work... The spark plugs all had less than 1000 miles on so I left them in despite the one on cylinder4 being discoloured from the bad head gasket. I took the car out for a drive and yes it had a flat spot accelerating and hesitation and a slight miss but only when cold. Once hot it was fine, hence giving it a good thrashing helping. Took all 4 plugs out and cylinder4's plus had a red discolouration around the electrode which I attribute to the colour of the coolant. otherwise it looked healthy and dry I swapped that plug only (as I said before all plugs have less than 1000 miles on them) I took the car out for a drive and it was fine. left it overnight and took it out cold and also fine. So the problem was the plug was damaged from coolant and unburnt fuel ingress. I left the damaged plug on its side over night on my work bench and the next morning the plug was soaking wet! It did not smell of fuel so likely coolant. I suspect that coolant had somehow been able to work it's way into the core of the plug and had leaked out overnight as there was no other way for it to be wet. this might explain poor performance when cold as the spark would have been shite.


I am not at all concerned about the head failing anytime soon. The coolant level hasn't moved in a week and I also checked for exhaust gas in the coolant for good measure. It's not my first head gasket job, and the head was perfectly flat when it went back on.

I should have trusted my instincts when I had the head off and swapped that dodgy looking plug, yeah arguably I should have changed them all but I do know that they are almost new and had no miles to speak of. and rankly I have spent enough money on this car for now.
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My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 940
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: 36 times
Been thanked: 251 times

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Thanks for getting back to us.

One of the biggest problems we have is not getting resolutions to problems. We give advice to try but but the posters don't get back to us with answers. So there isn't much to go on. We hear of plenty of problems but rarely do we get an answer.

As far as #4 injector goes I have never had any one report the reason for the failure. Only that "water dripped from the washer nozzle" and there was no corrosion of the electrical connector. What I would have assumed the failure to be, but not so. You said the tip was corroded because the water had gotten past the O ring. Was the head corroded around the injector? Did you need to clean the injector hole in the head? Corrosion around (in) the outlet orifice blocked the injector? I live in Australia and we don't have a fraction of the problems you guys in the UK do because we don't salt the roads and it doesn't rain much. However having said that I have sealed up the washer nozzles. LOL!

So the metal head-to-liner ring on the head gasket had failed? On the head side or the liner side? No damage to the head or liner? I will have to attempt to change the head gasket soon. The engine is leaking adjacent to the #4 cylinder (of course). It's leaking oil out between the head and block, just above the alternator/aircon compressor bracket.

Oh! Used cars NEVER have just the one problem! LOL! The unfortunate fact is that, unless you have intimate knowledge about the car, the previous owners could have done (or allowed to be done) ANYTHING to the car!!! Typically it's the fact that the car has so many problems, that causes the owners to sell it in the first place. I have to laugh at the prices people think their car is worth when I know the potential headaches just waiting to be found! I have a blurb over on the "whats great about my C3" topic. You might find it interesting reading. LOL! One of the C3's I bought "just needs a starter motor" says the previous owner...right!

It might be a bit late to get a LEXIA, however they are cheap and can be very helpful. But mostly to get a car back on the road. If the car is running fine it will just sit in the corner.
My Name: papa_lazerous

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 19, 2021 3:24 pm
Model: C3 2006-2009, Facelift model
Year: 2008 (08)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 24000
Trim Level: NA
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Been thanked: 2 times

Post

Yes the water ingress at injector 4 was terrible. When I am next under the bonnet I will take a photograph of the head, you can see staining on the head from the water where it ran along the head and pooled around the injector. I may still have the old injector somewhere to take a photo of, pretty sure I put it in the box the new one came in and sat it aside. The electrical connector was absolutely fine, no water has been on that, it appears to me that the water was dripping onto the head and as the engine isn't quite level running down hill to injector 4 and pooling around it. The trouble I had getting it out! you have no idea... So much corrosion and gunk around it.

Yes the gasket definitely failed around the edge of the liner, no damage at all. I will say that we caught this pretty quickly and it doesn't do much driving and seldom at much more than 20mph so it never had the chance to really do serious damage.

I've made her go out for unnecessary drives in the car so she builds up confidence in it again, the little lady was quite nervous and keeps thinking she will break down.

Totally agree about second hand cars always having multiple problems, there is a reason someone got rid of it in the first place! I bought a 3yr old 5 series back in 2014 just out of warranty figured it would be fine... Nope! New air con pump and new air springs on the rear and a water leak later and it was good. Although air suspension sucks as you need to replace every 60k as they wear out and air con pumps go every 3-5 years on those as I replaced it again. I have a model 3 tesla now as a company car so dont need to worry about the costs of repair and no engine to go wrong.
User avatar
My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 940
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: 36 times
Been thanked: 251 times

Post

papa_lazerous wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 7:39 am Yes the water ingress at injector 4 was terrible. When I am next under the bonnet I will take a photograph of the head, you can see staining on the head from the water where it ran along the head and pooled around the injector. I may still have the old injector somewhere to take a photo of, pretty sure I put it in the box the new one came in and sat it aside. The electrical connector was absolutely fine, no water has been on that, it appears to me that the water was dripping onto the head and as the engine isn't quite level running down hill to injector 4 and pooling around it. The trouble I had getting it out! you have no idea... So much corrosion and gunk around it.
The Injectors are difficult to get out at the best of times, let alone if they were corroded in. Was the O ring damaged? How do you think the water got passed the O ring and on to the nozzle of the injector?
I had to replace one of the injector O rings in one of my C3's as the O ring had not been lubricated before installation by the last person and was twisted on the injector. I was not sure if it was sealing correctly, so I replaced it anyway.

Here is a blurb on a cheap injector cleaner/tester I found on Ebay.
tips-for-a-petrol-powered-c3-f7/kit-for ... t4558.html
A post I did on pulling the injectors out.
tips-for-a-petrol-powered-c3-f7/how-to- ... t3910.html
Redundant, I know, as you have already pulled yours out. Maybe you could learn something, maybe you have a tip for us?
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