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My Name: Ozvtr

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Posts: 1079
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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Edit from OZ of the future: This has turned into a bit of a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of owning a few C3's. It's turned into a bit of a blog, but I hope you find it interesting. It's not about bashing the C3's faults but documenting some of the faults and how I found and fixed them. Consider it...a hobby. :lol:

G'day all.
Sorry, the intro is a bit stereotypical but it says enough about me. :D
I Hail from Brisbane and I have owned a C2 since 2004. Now before you flame me or point out I have made a typo, I bought two 2003 C3's a couple of months ago.
Once again before I get inundated about collecting or being rich, they are in a need of a bit (who am I kidding, a lot) of TLC and I purchased them both for about 800 pound (aud$1500) not running. Yep must have rocks in my head! The guy I bought them from was trying to make one good one out of the two. Anyhoo, to make a very long story short, he was failing and gave up. He had "mixed and matched" a lot of the electrical gear and the one car he was trying to get going was running like a bucket of s#!t. I have sorted out the electrics out in one car but both have the same mileage (those of you in the know understand what is going on there ;) ).
I am not a Citroen fan but owning the C2 for 15 years has give me a lot knowledge about this generation of cars, so fixing them up is not that much of a chore.
I'm hoping I can offer and learn some more knowledge on this forum.
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My Name: C3driver52

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Posts: 1940
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 Ozvtr

Welcome to the forum
Ozvtr wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:15 am trying to make one good one out of the two.
Maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time :lol:

Ozvtr wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:15 am I'm hoping I can offer and learn some more knowledge on this forum.
Thank you.

We need all the help we can get :D >>
User avatar
My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
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C3driver52 wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:57 am Maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time :lol:
I'm beginning to think you are right.

Quick update:
Concentrating on one car ATM and managed to sort most of the problems out. Electrics sorted. New upstream O2 sensor. Replacement starter motor. Two new front tyres. Repaired air re-circulation servo under the dash. New fuel vapor purge valve and fabricated new purge lines. Cleaned up (re-loomed) engine wiring. Two new upper front shock mounts (what a pain in the a$$ to replace). New accessory drive belt. New handle for auto shifter. Change auto gearbox oil (had to do a lot of research to find the right oil, wrong oil in the box). Other cosmetic stuff.
Car now on the road. Yeah!?


Current problems: Auto erratic when cold and occasionally throws up S* gearbox fault. Two new electro valves on the way to (hopefully) fix that one.

Aircon works fine up 'till Friday then just stops working! Display, servos and fan working OK but compressor doesn't cut in and engine doesn't idle-up. Replace ECU, no change, check refrigerant-nothing. WTF!!! The refrigerant leaks out over night????? Checked most of the joints, lines, condenser and the compressor input shaft, no oil leaks. Conclusions: either there was no oil in the system in the first place or it is leaking from some place I haven't found yet. It has been very hot here the last couple of days (35'C+). I do not know if these systems have a super heat plug in them and where that might be. That might answer the fast loss of refrigerant. If I cant find any oil leaks, I'll have to pressurize the system and manually look for leaks using leak fluid (Oh goody, more work). I can add oil and regas the system but I've got to find out why I lost the refrigerant in the first place.

Lucky I already have my faithful 1984 Ford Meteor (Mazda 323), with working aircon, LOL!
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My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
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Seeing as things are a bit quiet on the forum, I have the aircon fixed (turned out the engine mount had rubbed a hole in the high pressure line) and I have now racked up a few miles, I thought I might give a bit of a review of the Mk1 C3 1.4 petrol auto, about 17 years too late. LOL!
IMG_20190919_165837229.jpg
Still being fixed up
IMG_20190919_170338570.jpg
Interior is pretty good

The 1.6L petrol engine in the C2 I own makes it spritely and lively, I cant say the same for the 1.4l in the C3. Yes, it is a 1.4L, so what did I expect? Around town you really need to work the accelerator peddle to keep up. I have found running the auto in "manual" mode squeezes a bit more oomph out of the engine so I think the manual gearbox version would probably give better performance over all. Having said that it's highway performance is a bit better and doesn't seem as boggy on the acceleration as I expected. Highway economy seems to be about 8 litres per 100Km or about 29 MPG. That's just looking at the average of the instantaneous reading on the dash and not numbers from the petrol pump, so take that with a grain of salt! The little engine is easy to work on but it needs to be because you need to pull it apart to get to anything! Over all much easier to work on than the 1.6L. A lot more room in the engine bay than the 1.6L. Considering it will only be me in the car mostly and the better maintainability, for me I like the 1.4L. If you plan to put more than the driver in this car (including fluff, lint and dust) I'd recommend the 1.6L!
On the road the ride is smooth, quite and comfortable. The C2 is NOT an open road car. The best thing I can say about it's ride is...harsh. In contrast the C3 is very comfortable on the highway and indeed around town without being "loose". There seems to be less road noise in the C3 than the C2 but that might be down to the tyres? The C2 runs a very low profile tyre. The C3's little bubble shape gives the driver a high driving position and excellent visibility but I feel the wing mirrors are too small by comparison to the rest of the visibility. The C3 is deceptively small. It's smaller than my 1984 Ford Meteor (Mazda 323) which I consistently "loose" in car parks behind regular sized cars! The only thing is the C3 is taller and the roof is a bit easier to spot.
The "lock-up" type torque converter is a bit hit and miss. Highway RPM is under 3KRPM, surprising low for a little motor like this but as I said, acceleration doesn't seem to suffer at speed. Unfortunately the downshift to stop at lights gives you a lot of engine brake and you need to back off on the brakes for a smooth stop, or you go through the windscreen. This might be the dreaded modulator valves in the gearbox sticking but it seems to be the way the gearbox is designed. The kick down on hills ETC is a bit alarming as the shift down from 3rd to 2nd causes the rev-counter to go off the chart. Again, running it in manual mode means you can shift down before you loose momentum and keep the torque up. EDIT: it turned out that pressure modulator valve WAS causing the erratic gearbox behavior! Ran much better when the valves were replaced.
Years of being in the sun means the clear coat on the paintwork is in poor condition. This problem is by no means confined to Citroen or the C3. The funny thing is my C3's twin (lying in state) has very good paint?! Considering the body shell is nearly 17 years old it's in excellent condition. Manufactured to survive Europe's rain and salt means the low rain fall and lack of salting of the roads here means the shell is virtually rust free. I say virtually because there are small patches of surface rust at the top between the roof and the tailgate where paint was not applied correctly but over all construction is very good. The check straps on both C3's driver's doors were damaged. I don't know if this because of wind or the owners but it seems to be a common problem. So don't allow your doors to swing open and bang against the stops.
I mentioned the front shock mounts in the post above. Oh Boy :-(.
The exhaust resonator had a hole in the lower part with very small, yellow crusty deposits on the edges and seemed to have been eaten from the inside out. I believe this was from cheap petrol with a high alcohol or sulphur content. If left in your tank for a long time, the alcohol will absorb moisture. I have no proof of this being the problem but appearing like it's been rusting from the inside, I assume it has something to do with the fuel. The point is, avoid cheaping out on the fuel, it might come back to bite you.
The interior is a bit cheap and "plasticy" BUT that's not all bad! The interiors had stains and greasy marks all over the place as you get with years of (ab)use. I found the ubiquitous spray-n-wipe type kitchen cleaners removed most of the stains with ease, even on the seats! All of the "soft feel" silicone on the dash buttons had disintegrated leaving a gooey, sticky surface on most the buttons. The C2 suffered the same thing as did it's passenger side air bag. So, on the C3, I removed the goo from the surface, leaving the buttons just white :-(.
The biggest problem I have found with European cars by comparison to Japanese cars is the quality of components. Things like shock absorbers, springs, starter motors and ECU's. The European manufacturers seem to contract out to the lowest bidder and change contractors on an hourly basis. This means the components are made down to cost and quality tends to suffer and why you might get a Bosch, Valeo, Seimens or Sagem ECU to do the same job. The Japanese seem to stick with their know contractors and keep an eye on component quality. Just an observation.

Frankly I have spent too much money getting this car back on the road and could never sell it and recoup the outlay but that doesn't mean I won't sell it. However, I will continue and get the other C3 back on the road too but I will probably keep that one. It's difficult to say if I wasted my money. In the end I will have two neat, clean and reliable little cars. I guess I could consider it a hobby of sorts and write off the money that way?
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My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
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Well. I thought I'd post an update.
Ozvtr wrote: Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:40 pm Frankly I have spent too much money getting this car back on the road and could never sell it and recoup the outlay but that doesn't mean I won't sell it.
Tells you what I know, I did sell the car...to someone I know. I didn't really keep a tally of the cost but sold it for about what I think it cost me for the car and get it back on the road. About 900 pound ($1800AUD). She absolutely loves it. She is a nurse and with all this corona virus doesn't want to take public transport (her normal means of getting to work). Head gasket needed to be replaced but her son-in-law fixed that. I wanted to keep the car to use as a "donor" to swap known good parts for fault finding of the second car but she insisted that she wanted it. 'sigh'.

Ok on to car number two.
When I got this car it was running very badly. At idle it "chugged" and barely propelled itself along. Again shock mounts gone, dodgy looking timing belt, engine loom hacked up, 2 worn tyres and an assortment of other little stuff.
IMG_20190919_165956983_HDR.jpg
Hmm a bit of a mess.
engine 005.jpg
That's better.

As the engine loom was hacked up and I didn't want to splice the connections I opted for a replacement loom. I purchased a loom from the U.K. but when I went to fit it, it didn't have the connector for the air conditioning compressor! WTF! The part number was the same and what modern car doesn't have air con!? I had to pull the old loom apart and remove the two wires for the compressor and figure out how to get the power wire out of the connector going to the BSM. Any way I figured it out and rebuilt the engine loom.
There were a number of bits and pieces I replaced or fabricated along the way to get the engine back together(there are a few posts here regarding some of them).
At the moment I'm concentrating on getting the engine running. So I got everything back together enough to get the engine started. Oh boy! It's running like a hairy goat!! I cleared all the previous fault codes and ran the engine again. The check engine light doesn't come on but I get an "indeterminate misfire" code. Well duh! The engine is shaking like a washing machine with a brick in it!
Well there are a thousand things it could be but I just hope it's not a mechanical problem like a bent or leaking valve. Anything else I can fix...easily.
Next step is to remove the spark plugs and see if they will tell me anything.
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My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
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Well, well, well (three holes in the ground, as Spike Milligan once said).
plugs 001.jpg
Any guesses boys and girls?
Hmm. These plugs are brand new and have only done 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour idling. So there is far too much carbon on the two center plugs. Too much fuel? No spark?
What's going on?
Option 1. The two outer injectors are normal and the center ones are stuck open.
Option 2. The outer two injectors are blocked and the engine ECU is over compensating?
Option 3. The outer two are burnt out and same as above.
Option 3. No spark on cylinders 1 and 4 and same as above.
Option 4. Sticking/poorly seated valve? No, that would cause a lean mixture and a hot plug. The plugs typically go white as the residue gets burnt.
You hear of injectors getting blocked but rarely stuck open. The engine ECU can not directly detect mechanical failures it can only read electrical stuff.
No other errors on the LEXIA, only "indeterminate misfire". OK that's a clue. If the injectors were burnt out the ECU can detect if the coil resistance is not correct and it would report that. No injector faults reported. If there was a spark misfire the engine ECU can detect it from the coil pack and it can tell you which cylinder it is. It's not telling us that. Not the coil pack. The ECU can also pick up a misfire from the crank angle sensor too. As you know the engine rotates from a series of explosions (yes I know petrol burns it doesn't explode...can I get on with it?) and the ECU can see if there is no "explosion" on that stroke. The crankshaft would not accelerate on that stroke when it should if the fuel was burnt. Is that the "indeterminate" bit? Is it assuming because it cant read it directly as an electrical fault.
So lets have a look at the injectors.
001.jpg
The ones with a C on them are the center pair. Looks OK but I cant test them.
A close inspection of the outer pair shows the spray nozzle hole is blocked by what looks like tiny metal particles!
I can only push the particles in, so if the injectors work, those particles might block the holes again.
002.jpg
Unfortunately I didn't take a photo showing the holes blocked, you'll have to take my word for it but these are the holes we are talking about.
Well tomorrow I'll put the injectors back and see what happens...Stay tuned!!!
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My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
Been thanked: 314 times

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'Sigh' no luck. I put everything back together but the engine still chuffs away.
Sort of good news: I pulled it all apart again and guess what...yep the injectors are blocked again.
injectors 028.jpg
You can see a small bit of something blocking the orifice.
Need at least two new injectors.
I'll be back!
User avatar
My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
Been thanked: 314 times

Post

njectors 003.jpg
The new injectors arrived yesterday but I had to wait until today to put them in. D'oh!
Did it fix my problem? .....YES!! The engine purrs like a kitten. Woo Hoo!
I can now finish the engine bay and move on to the interior.
User avatar
My Name: Ozvtr

Moderator
Posts: 1079
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: 47 times
Been thanked: 314 times

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Ok, so engine is running but now I have a new problem...no air con. Again? On two cars? D'oh!
The climate control seems to work but the compressor doesn't kick in. I have tried to press the schrader valves in but they are stuck! So I am not sure if there is any gas in the system.
However in rummaging around with the LEXIA I found I could get the compressor clutch to activate from the BSI actuator test screen.
So I am leaning toward there being no gas in the system but I can see any traces of leakage in the system.
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My Name: Arfur Dent

Guru
Posts: 3433
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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Ozvtr wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:39 pm Ok, so engine is running but now I have a new problem...no air con. Again? On two cars? D'oh!
The climate control seems to work but the compressor doesn't kick in. I have tried to press the schrader valves in but they are stuck! So I am not sure if there is any gas in the system.
However in rummaging around with the LEXIA I found I could get the compressor clutch to activate from the BSI actuator test screen.
So I am leaning toward there being no gas in the system but I can see any traces of leakage in the system.
Can lexia tell you the pressure of the gas?

You will find the ECU drops the A/C quite readily, e.g an engine fan fault will inhibit the A/C :o
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