Common or potential faults associated with the French & Italian range.
Having worked with our chosen marques for quite some time now, it stands to reason that we have come across a whole plethora of faults, failures and potential automotive hiccups. Sometimes they are quite clearly due to a lack of maintenance. Others are due to poor design. Then there is just bad luck.
Here follows a list (in no particular order) of some of the more common occurances we have encountered. Included are our comments and/or opinions as to how 'we' have dealt with the situation or believe would or could be an effective solution. Our ramblings are by no means a substitute for competent professional diagnosis and should be regarded as bodhi for interested parties.
EP6C & EP6DT engines with TIMING CHAIN (BMW ish engine)
[Peugeot 207 / 308 Citroen DS3 etc.]
There are a few problems with timing chains on the Peugeot 1.6 normally aspirated and turbo engines which seem to command a certain amount of mystery.
Symptoms can be poor performance / misfiring or hesitation, engine warning lights coming on and vehicle going into limp mode to name a few. The root cause of the problem is usually the timing chain wearing and stretching, causing the timing of the camshaft/s to become retarded in relation to the crankshaft. It can occur at relatively low mileage. Occasionally there can be a rattling noise which is caused by failure of one of the camshaft dephasers.
Usually the best solution is to replace the timing chain, sprockets, slippers and tensioner, also replacing the dephaser pulleys is recommended.
It is possible to check the wear of the chain by measuring the position of the chain guide using a dummy tensioner, you could then re-set the timing of the camshafts. We have re-set camshaft timing before but only on cars that have recently had the chain kit replaced. I have no experience of re-setting timing on worn chains although rumour has it that other people have tried it with some success. Rumour also has it that the pulleys can slip on their mountings and cause the timing to go out but I suspect the timing may not have been set quite right in the first place and the chain has bedded in and allowed the timing to go out of tolerance.
Setting the Timing :- If you read and follow the manufacturers instructions for checking / setting the camshaft timing, chances are you’ll still have problems at some point because the result will be the timing set wrong or only just within tolerance and as the chain beds in, the timing will become incorrect.
We do sell the parts to do this job but you’ll need specific timing tools which are different for the turbo model and you do need to do a bit of cheating to get the timing set right.
Citroen Pneumatic Suspension Woes
[C4 Picasso C4 Grand Picasso and Expert & Dispatch Vans]
There is much talk about this problem. No doubt you have already trawled the net for a glimmer of hope - like many others, to little avail.
The pneumatic system as employed by PSA on these vehicles is sadly fraught with problems. Having forked out for airsprings three times at the dealer's in 5 years and then being presented with a bill to replace the compressor was just the final straw for one of our spring conversion customers. As of late July 2013 we still have no idea how PSA are going to address this situation, which is a little disappointing this is an opportunity to shine, not hide behind a rock and hope it goes away.
Anyway, like knights in (grubby) armour Eurocarcare charge to the rescue with a foolproof conventional spring conversion. To date we have converted 100 very sad Citroen owners to happy motorists again.
http://www.eurocarcare.net/rear-suspension/ecc5102gn-coil-spring-conversion-kit.html Check it out (^^,)
Vacuum circuits. Guru Stu asks: "Do they suck?"
[Just about everything]
Turbos, throttle flaps, EGR valves, air heat exchangers, swirl valves – some of the many actuators who’s movement is controlled by a vacuum circuit.
You have to remember that the actual force is provided by atmospheric pressure- the vacuum circuit removes the air from one side of the diaphragm or piston of the actuator and atmospheric pressure pushes the other side, therefore there is a limit to the force that can be applied (about 14 pounds per square inch of diaphragm / piston area)
For now though we’ll assume that vacuum pulls on the actuator diaphragm.
The circuit comprises a vacuum pump, (usually driven by the camshaft) a vacuum reservoir, electrically operated solenoid valves, diaphragm actuators and small diameter pipes to link the components together.
In order to make a mechanical actuation, a computer sends a signal to the solenoid valve which opens the valve and allows vacuum to reach the actuator diaphragm and move the component in question. The position of the component can be infinitely controlled depending on the shape of the signal sent to the solenoid valve
THE PROBLEM IS:-
They can be difficult to diagnose quickly. A faulty actuator or solenoid valve will affect the operation of the component it is associated with BUT it may also affect the operation of other actuators because it can cause a loss of vacuum available to other actuators, so you can easily be mislead by the symptoms.
Some actuators only work under certain driving conditions which are difficult to re-create in the workshop. It is possible to test all the solenoid valves, their electrical and vacuum circuits and actuators but it is time consuming and requires a vacuum gauge and pump and also the relevant diagnostic computer.
A visual check of all the pipework is advisable because the pipes can rub on moving parts or get burnt. If the fault is permanent, you can use a vacuum gauge to great effect, testing for sufficient vacuum at the reservoir and testing for vacuum at the actuator, but you always have to remember that a lack of vacuum can mean more than one thing- a leak, faulty actuator or faulty solenoid valve or electrical circuit. Access to parts can be awkward, particularly some turbos, and you do need to know which way round various systems work- some turbos need full vacuum for full boost and some require vacuum to be applied to open a waste-gate, some turbo waste-gates are operated by turbo pressure and have no external control. Substitution of parts is sometimes the easiest way but be careful that the part is identical as there are a few distinctly different solenoid valves. It is worth checking that pipes are the right way round on solenoid valves – it is usually marked on the valve which is the vacuum and which is the outlet.
Experience is the best tool, followed by a vacuum gauge/pump such as a ‘Mityvac’ and manufacturer’s diagnostic computer.
Some thoughts on Clutches & Actuators by our resident Guru Stu
[C2 & C3]
Dispelling a few myths about piloted manual gearboxes, or senso-drive transmission of Citroen C2 & C3.
Thinking back a few years, I had heard a few nightmare stories about auto gearboxes fitted to the new small Citroens, firstly it was tales of having to replace the gearbox, along with the clutch actuator and gearbox ecu, and its still got the same problem (the nature of which was never very clear). There were also many cases of the engine being impossible to start, in fact at Euro Car Care we dealt with quite a few cars which had been recovered to us with suspect battery problems, batteries had gone flat and then the car wouldn’t start- we would then do a diag check on the gearbox ecu to find a ‘power latch fault’ indicating some kind of voltage related fault causing the transmission to prohibit engine starting, may be because the transmission has somehow lost its programming. The battery would then be replaced and we would re-initialise the gearbox / clutch actuators and the car would start. We then started seeing a few actual clutch actuator failures, although they were not always attached to the car – they were brought to us by other garages who had replaced clutches or had recovered broken down cars and removed the clutch actuator as a possible reason for the car getting stuck in gear or impossible to engage a gear. We stripped down these actuators and found the mechanical adjuster inside the actuator had broken, these adjusters were repaired where possible and fitted back to the car. I have seen only one clutch actuator which had an electrical fault and this had a burnt out electric motor (which can be separated from the actuator), which we replaced from another failed actuator, and one case of input shaft bearing failure of the gearbox.
Around 2005 the software in the gearbox ecu was updated and this dealt with some driveability problems but mostly allowed the gearbox to remain in ‘auto’ mode after manually changing gear (the earlier system reverted to manual mode if the ‘flappy-paddles’ were used) This software can be installed in the earlier cars and this update sometimes seemed to cure clutch faults for a while.
| || Fast forward to today – how do we approach suspect problems with senso-drive gearboxes? Well, in at least 90% of cases, the symptoms are caused by a worn out clutch. It is quite surprising how the life of the clutch plate can vary so greatly, we find worn out clutches at as little as 30,000 miles and I feel that an average clutch will last between 50,000 and 80,000 miles. Experience has taught us that interrogation of the customer and listening to the description of their symptoms is the best way to diagnose gearbox problems. It has also taught us that there is no temporary or cheap cure. |
If an intermittent fault occurs which appears to be related to the clutch / gearbox, it will not be a one off, the fault will return unless something is replaced, and usually it will be both the clutch and the clutch actuator, unless you want your customer to lose faith in your competence. The actuator may be re-usable but it is impossible to know without re-fitting and testing for some extended time, the labour time for replacing the actuator alone is 2.5 hours which is included in the time for replacing the clutch so it makes sense to replace it while the clutch is replaced. It appears that the clutch actuator self adjusting mechanism will not always continue to work after it has adjusted to a worn clutch then re-set.
We always do a diagnostic check and record any fault codes and test drive the car before estimating the repair (its never safe to assume anything), you can sometimes get the feel that the clutch is not responding as it should and its worth listening to the transmission for clutch bearing / gearbox noise. The usual recommendation is to replace the clutch kit and clutch actuator and this is the only way to ensure the customer will not return with a subsequent fault and is the only way we can give a warranty on the clutch or actuator.
Exhaust Box Bracket Rusted Through
"So, there was this weird rattling sound from the back of me Picasso, right."
"Yeah, well then it got louder and louder and then there was an almighty Keerlangggggg ang ang ang!"
"You should work for the BBC sound effects department"
"Yeah, thanks. So I stops the Picasso, right, and has a look underneath. guess what I found?"
"Dunno Dave, what did you find?"
"I found that the rear exhaust box, you know, the silencer thing at the back had dropped."
"Yeah, and it wasn't the silencer what broke it was the strap that holds it on. The exhaust silencer was in great shape, but the strap is as rotten as a pear mate. Rusted right through till it snapped!"
"Yeah, and the exhaust place want to change the whole thing, which is going to cost a mint mate. Said they don't do just the strap hanger bracket thing"
"Yeah, well you know what to do then don't you?"
"You go to EuroCarCare you prune, and order just the bracket from them. Here's the link mate"
"Oh! Ta dave"
"You're welcome. Do your fruit bat impersonation now, I like that one"
Turbo problems with 1.6 HDI Engines
[Affects DV6TED Engines]
Have you had your engine management light come on or experienced a lack of power or strange noise from your car? It could be that you are suffering from a common turbo fault. We have recently diagnosed and repaired several of these faults and have figured out what seems to be the problem. On the slightly earlier engines there has been a problem with compression gases leaking past the injectors and causing a build up of carbon around the injector, an audible blow from the cylinder and even foul acrid fumes getting into the cabin-yuk. With the later engines the same leak of compression gases is occurring but the carbon is ending up in the engine oil via the rocker cover, piston rings or valve stems. Over a period of time even with proper servicing the oil quality is degraded and carbon blocks the oil strainer affecting the turbo spindle bearings, which is not what you want! This can and has caused complete failure of the turbo and a knock on affect of throwing lots of oil and broken bits of turbo into the complicated air induction system. When all this happens, the turbo and oil strainer need replacing and the induction system stripping and cleaning. Obviously this is an expensive business but we try to avoid doing any unnecessary work by diagnosing the fault correctly in the first place and then only repairing the parts that need repairing. Prevention of course is always better than cure so you should always have oil changes carried out in line with the service schedule, but if you didn’t have a problem with your turbo you probably wouldn’t be reading this article would you? If your vehicle is still in its warranty period then this matter should be taken up with your dealer but if not, we aim to provide a competitively priced cure and all the help and advice you could need.
Grinding, graunching noise when parking, occasionally a huge TWANG!
[Coil spring front suspension]
Many cars with macpherson strut front suspension will suffer this one at some time or other. Due to the design the front suspension including coil spring must rotate with the wheel when steering. To facilitate this the coil spring is mounted on a roller bearing. Over time these bearings seize/rust/dry up/fall to bits. When this happens the spring is fighting against the seized bearing. If the bearing wins the coil spring will wind up like a clock spring and try to return the steering back to centre. If the spring suddenly wins it'll unwind with a big Twang or Boing (in extreme cases a blood curdling Ping). The lead up to all this is general grating noises when parking etc. The cure is of course to replace the bearing. Generally inexpensive to buy and we have lots in stock.
Why on earth is my heater / aircon hot on one side and cold on the other?
Strangely, the air conditioning and heating seems to be cold on one side and hot on the other. This can be intermittant, choosing it's moments, which renders diagnosis frustratingly difficult. Alternatively, the dual climate control air distribution can become somewhat vague in operation. The cause of all this we have discovered is due to the failure of a small piece of plastic. One of the flaps that controls air distribution mounted within the heater housing is driven by a beautifully under engineered plastic bar which after a period literally twists off.
Of course, the upshot is that the flap, driven by it's motors cannot move correctly. All of this is buried deep within the dash and is a complete biatch to get at. Just to rub salt in, the part is not available individually, but comes complete with the heater housing at around £1000. Once you've had this fitted at your local main dealer, expect to drive home £1600 lighter. The good news is that we have developed a form of keyhole surgery and can initiate a guaranteed successful repair that is much stronger than the original design. Expect to drive home with a smile and a much less bruised bank balance, as our repair will set you back but a fraction of the main dealer price. Clearly your vehicle will need to be with us here in Derby for the repair to take place, but why not bring along the family and spend the day taking in all the historic land marks and points of interest in and around Derby. Alternatively, wait in our comfortable reception area and overdose on caffeine, day-time television and inane small talk. For more information or to make a booking call Gavin on 01332 345869
If the suspension is "hard" and the car appears to be bouncing out all of your fillings...
The suspension spheres are more than likely done for. Over time, 6 to 10 years on average the spheres slowly lose their pressure. Each sphere has a diaphragm within. On one side the LHM fluid, on the other, nitrogen gas which during use is the compressable medium. If the diaphragm becomes breached or porous the gas side fills with oil. That sphere will then be about as useful as a chocolate teapot. At this stage there is no other cure other than to replace the unit (pairs are highly recommended). Spheres can be regassed or 'reconditioned', but this is only possible BEFORE they reach this stage. Buying new ones has become the common trend, mainly as replacement units are now quite cheaply available. For some models a 'comfort-sphere' is available which gives a softer ride.
We have been experiencing an upsurge in Punto ECU failures. Commonly due to water ingress from the heater matrix. There is a couple of fixes for this being A) have your existing unit repaired. or B) Fit a new replacement unit. The new unit will need to be coded to YOUR vehicle so will require aquisition (good word) of the four letter (apt) code. Fiat do make a charge for supplying the code.
Erratic or surging whilst idling
[Most petrol injection models]
Some of the petrol models suffer a vibration or rough idle. This can commonly be sorted by replacing the stepper motor (also referred to as an idle speed motor, idle valve or motor) It might be worth trying to remove the unit and cleaning the solenoid. The fault usually returns after a while so the best cure is to just whang in a new 'un.
Everytime I go over a pothole or sleeping policemen (sorry officer) I get GA-Donk! GA-Donk!
[205gti & Td/ZX/306/Xantia/406/XM/606/Punto/Brava/147/156+
The antiroll bar link (rod) ball joints have probably become worn. Like any worn ball joint, the ball will rattle around inside it's cup when agitated. There is no cure other than to replace the rod. The vehicle will have an Antiroll bar running laterally across the suspension from one side to the other. The rod links the bar to the lower suspension arm or track control arm. Most versions will be a metal (plastic on some ZX/306's) rod with a ball joint at each end. Early ZX's have a small unit shaped like a figure '8', whereas Fiats, Alfas and most Renaults have a pin & bushes arrangement. But, they all wear out just the same.
My drivers door has dropped and doesn't latch shut easily anymore
The hinges are welded to the 'A' post of the vehicle. Or at least they are supposed to be! The 'A' post is a double skinned affair, but in some instances the factory weld does not appear to have penetrated through to the second layer. What happens is that the single skin holding the door becomes weak with metal fatigue and eventually cracks and allows the door the fall away. If left indefinately the door would literally drop off its top mounting. Go out and check yours by opening the door to 90º and trying to lift the door. if any movement can be detected where the hinge is welded, or any cracking or weakness is evident, get it welded through to both skins. It is a very fiddly job and should be undertaken by a competant welder. this fault appears to be more common in estate versions.
I get a scraping noise from the rear brakes, but the pads seem ok
This is an odd one but very common in the Xantia, and is reappearing in the C5's (Come on Pierre you knew this would happen!). The rear brake caliper is mounted on a rear suspension arm bracket. Due to electrolysis (nice word) between the steel of the arm and the alloy of the caliper body, a build up of white corrosion appears. This happens very slowly, but like a daisy slowly pushing it's way up through tarmac the corrosion slowly pushes the caliper away from the bracket. Eventually the caliper becomes misaligned to the brake disc, which in turn causes the top and bottom edges of each brake pad to come into contact with the disc (the grating noise). In the end the disc can be unevenly worn. Assuming you can put up with the noise that long. To remedy this effect simply remove the caliper, carefully clean up the mating surfaces and liberally apply 'copper grease' to both surfaces befor refitting. This will stop the electrolysis for quite some time. Certainly till the next pad change.
My rear wheels appear to be inclining inwards at the top
This is due to worn trailing arm bushes. The rear arm pivots on two bushes and is held in by a chuffin' great bolt. The bushes wear allowing the arm to tilt at an angle. Makes the thing look like an 'overloaded VW Beetle'. Simple cure, get yourself a bush repair kit. they will come with all the appropriate bits to do the job. If however it has been left for too long the trailing arm housing may have become damaged necessitating complete replacement of the beam. Sadly For the Ax/saxo/206 brigade this IS the only course of action. Replacement bush kits are not currently available, however we can now source exchange axles. Please do enquire regarding price.
Rattle, Rattle Bloody Rattle from the back end !!! AARGGGHH
What you need my son is a new bush. No put the gardening supplement away. The Activa is fitted with a ram on the rear anti-roll mechanism. The end bush when worn makes itself known quite audibly. The bush will be less than a tenner and is fitted into a tapered housing so make sure you're pulling it out through the BIG end!
My beautiful twinspark sounds like an old knackered Cortina!
Here we have a classic case of poorly cam timing variator. It's virtually a service item on all 1.4/1.6/1.8/2.0 16 valve T.spark engines (97-02) & JTS engines (02 onwards) when changing the cam belt. Replacement of the variator will eliminate that annoying diesel type rattle when starting up, or at low revs and will also improve performance noticeably. All variants use the same unit, just ask for a 60666199 and all will be well with the world and your Alfa. (not recommended as a DIY job).
Total steering failure!
Pretty scary one this. On the Fiats, it'll probably boil down to one of two things. Either the electronic torque sensor within the mechanism has failed necessitating replacement of the whole column/pump assembly. Or possible failure of the electronic control unit which is located on the same column/pump unit but is available seperately.
Increasingly popular is the gradual or not so gradual deterioration of power steering. With the electrical pumps fitted to various Citroens and Peugeots giving up the ghost, common symptoms are intermittant heavy steering or permanent loss of power steering. (A bit hairy on roundabouts!). The system is protected by a fuse in the fuse box. This is of course your first port of call. Secondly, check the control relay. Early versions have a relief relay with a round multi-block connexion. Later versions have a standard looking relay. Both should be less than the price of a pint. If the relay tests out OK, then you are almost surely looking for a new pump.
Loss of power or intermittant no-go
Sadly another fairly predictable fault. Fuel lift pump failure on every Hdi version. If your Hdi has died on you, occasionally a hefty thump and a hearty expletive will get her going again temporarily. The bit to swear at is the fuel pump/sender unit located in the fuel tank (under the rear seats on most models). You may be able to 'limp' home albeit with little power. A replacement pump unit will usually bring performance and reliability back into the realm of normalcy.
Loss of power, poor performance or no-go
[Variants fitted with Sagem SL96 ECU]
Increasingly we are seeing problems with the SL96 ECU. This is caused initially by coil pack failure. The coil essentially 'spikes' the ECU. Should an ECU require repair or replacement it is essential that the coil be also replaced with the new type bougicord coil pack, as this could well have been the actual cause of the problem in the first instace. Failure to do so will cause your new ECU to go 'poof' too.
Various Citroen and Peugeot models are susceptable including;-
Citroen Saxo 1.4 mpi 99-03
Citroen Xantia 1.8 16v mpi (lfy) 95-02
Citroen Xsara 1.4 mpi (kfx) 97-02
Peugeot 306 1.4 (kfx) 97-02
Peugeot 306 1.8 (lfy) 97-02
Peugeot 406 1.8 (lfy) 95-02
Peugeot Partner 1.4 (kfx) 97-02.
Another favourite whilst we're on the subject of non-starters is the 'double relay'. This fellah controls fuel/ignition systems and failure can be a cause of fuel or ignition failure (strange that innit?). The unit is usually located under or around the ECU under the bonnet, or behind the headlamp. A few we've encountered have suffered water damage and/or pin corrosion too. The unit is usually black, or a rather fetching shade of terracotta darlings. But it doesnt always follow that like colours are compatable. They are commonly cobbled together by Bitron and sport an ID number on the relay body that will resemble 1304 or 1307 or some such. The multiblock connexion is also designed so that the incorrect relay cannot be fitted.
Airbag warning on (intermittant)
A possible easy fix if you're lucky. pretty commonly it is a poor or non-existant connexion located beneath the front seats. if your warning lamp is on, look for the (orange usually) connector beneath the seats leading to the seatbelt pretensioners. This connexion can be disturbed by rogue objects left lying around in the rear footwells (and it is amazing what you find there - embarrassing even), or just due to regular movement of the seat. If like me you are a strapping 6 foot 31/2" and you missus is 2 foot 1" the front seats are back n' forth like a fiddler's whatsit. Anyway, I digress. Either way, try disconnecting and reconnecting. If that puts the light out, job done. ....but it will probably reoccur. For a permanent fix get the connexions 'hard-wired'. A good soldered joint will sort the problem for good. !!warning!! please don't go prodding about the terminals with any sort of powered test gear. The seatbelt pyrotechnic pretensioners are electronically activated and could very easily be triggered, and then.... KABOOM !!
Ssshhh Click Click Click Click Click Shhh! every second...Accumulator Sphere
[ID/DS/SM/BX/CX/GS/Xantia/XM] Submitted by Dave C
On a healthy system the click or hiss from a regulator should be approximately every 15-25 seconds. If the regulator ticks or hisses at shorter intervals than this, it is a sign that the accumulator sphere is worn and needs to be replaced. Much like suspension spheres the diaphragm between the gas and fluid inside the sphere perforates over time, and weakens until eventually all the sphere stores is fluid (and consequently cannot maintain any pressure). Get this changed as the accumulator sphere also holds a charge of pressure in the event that any component of the system fails (without it's assistance you'll be left with NO brakes, steering etc!). Luckly replacements are inexpensive, and you should notice an immediate improvement in your vehicle, and substantially reduce the load on your hydraulic pump :D
Clutch Down – BANG, Clutch Pedal Sits on the Floor
[Xantia/ZX] Submitted by Dave C
The dreaded clutch cable clip, which when it goes can leave you stranded. Citroens often have small nylon clips that hold the clutch pedal onto the end of the cable. The original routing of the clutch cable also often means that it is close to the exhaust, causing the cable to dry out and go stiff over time. The increase in pressure on the pedal (heavy clutch) causes the clips to deteriorate, and eventually breaks leaving you unable to depress the clutch or select any gears. If this happens in an awkward place, drop the car into first or second gear, and drive it on the starter-motor onto the pavement and off the road until you can be recovered (this fault cannot be repaired by the road-side). Replacing the clip is a fiddly job and it’s also important to check why the failure occurred in the first place (in some cases worn clutches can cause the entire mechanism to become stiff, though usually it’s down to a dry or failing cable). Replacing the clip is not a job for the faint-hearted as access is difficult, so if this happens to you, I recommend you give eurocarcare a call!.
*note by eurocarcare - we actually employ a technician with 3 elbows and 9 fingers on each hand expressly for the purpose
Misty Windows that don’t clear, wet carpet, steam from dash vents, smell of antifreeze
[Anything watercooled with a heater ] Submitted by Dave C
Happens when the heater-matrix (which carries hot water from the engine to warm the cabin) springs a leak due to corrosion or damage due to excess pressure. The first sign of this might be a wet carpet in the passenger side foot well. Unfortunately it’s probably also one of the first components that gets placed in the car when constructing the interior, and typically means the removal of the dash-board in order to repair or replace. It’s a big job and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly, and it’s also important to find out why the matrix has deteriorated. A failing head-gasket leading to pressurization of the cooling system is a common reason (check for a leaking or flow restricted radiator in conjunction with this). The best action you can take against preventing this problem, is to ensure that you have your coolant changed every two years, and to ensure that the system is appropriatly flushed each time.
Hdi diesel - ticking noise or rattle
[All Hdi variants]
So, your normally smooth-running Hdi sounds like it's suffering an injector tick or tappet rattle. If it sounds VERY rattly STOP DRIVING IT NOW!!
It's more than likely the front crankshaft pulley. Citroen/Peugeot in thier infinite wisdom have come up with a pulley with an in-built cusioning system that breaks down. You may find traces of 'iron filings' or swarf. If so, this is the last call for Destruction City, seriously folks the pulley can split and if it goes whilst your cruising you can wave bye-bye to a few valves and maybe a cylinder head. If your up for a cam belt change get your garage to inspect the pulley very closely. Many establishments recommend the pulley with the belt change. It will add about £90 to the bill, but 'what price peace of mind?'
Simultaneous Failure of Heated rear window & heater blower
[All Saxo variant]
Seems like a strange thing to occur, but it is pretty common. Saxos have an inherant fault with the ignition switch that causes both the heater fan and the heated rear window to become inoperative. The best remedy is to replace the switch unit. Under no circumstances attempt to source a feed from any of the other contacts as HRW and fan motor both draw heavily on current which will overload an already overloaded contact. Either that or invest in a fire extinguisher or some quality insurance.
Constant Velocity Joints
[Anything that moves]
Typically, a great idea gone bad. CV boots used to be made of good old rubber. With time they happily perished, split and liberally greased your wheel arch with lovely black goop. If not regreased and replaced soon it was bye-bye CV joint. Nowadays of course thats all history. Boots are made of rigid neoprene and are virtually indestructable.
Sadly the same cannot be said for the aluminium clips they use to attach them. It's now very common to find a boot waving freely in the breeze devoid of it's lubricaficious content because the 'big end' clip has corroded away, snapped or just not been man enough for the job.
Woe betide anyone attempting to execute a repair with ligarex strapping. And neoprene boots just laugh at cable ties. So what do we do then? Well we have a few choices to choose from;
A/ Buy a complete kit from the main dealer for extortion + Vat, Throw away the new boot and fit the clip
B/ Leave it to the main dealer to fit the whole kit for extortion + an-hour-and-a-halfs-labour + VAT?
C/ Measure the diameter of the CV joint and order the clip alone by size from Eurocarcare in finest stainless steel because they spent ages hunting the globe for an appropriate method of repair that wouldn't cost the earth and if you ask nicely they'll pop it on for you in less than half-an-hour.
wanna phone a friend?
Ticking Front Brakes
[Xantia] Submitted by Peter W
As Peter points out, an annoying ticking can occur from the front calipers on Xantias. This is caused simply by broken or corroded anti-rattle shims fitted with the brake pads. The ticking invariably is noticable at 40mph or less. The remedy is of course to either replace the shims, or go the whole hog and fit new pads which 'should' come with the shims.
An annoying and potentially dangerous and expensive fault is emerging. We are finding many petrol models of all makes coming in with fuel smell or poor fuel economy booking in. Many of these cars have the same fault. Simply fuel leaking from the fuel filter mounted under the car (usually near the tank). The cause is simply corrosion.
Most manufacturers fit alloy fuel filters, and if they are not changed periodically they are prone to rotting away. Most filters have little protection, and after a few British winters succumb to the metal moth. - Get out, get under and if yours is white & furry get the thing changed.
It's that stop-motion frame of Wile E Coyote just before the explosion that always raises a grin with me. Not so funny if it's in your Cinquecento or Seicento. fairly common fault this one. So much so Fiat were changing tanks under warranty. If you have a late Sei check with your Main dealer, they will have a record of whether the tank has been replaced yet. For older Cinq's or Sei's with that worrying fuel stench, check the tank for tell tale streaks. It's usually obvious. If there's clearly signs of fuel escaping, get the tank changed asap. If nothing seems apparant it's well worth pulling up the rear seat and removing the triangular inspection plate. Underneath you will be presented with the fuel level sensor and the fuel pump tops. Check for any dampness. This may not be blatent, On mine it only appeared after a couple of miles with a 3/4 full+ tank and it was a pretty minimal leak, but enough to make any journey a psychedelic experience.
Try renewing the sealing gaskets or sealing the original ones with a thin skim of fuel resistant jointing compound. (worked for me). Other possibilities are a poorly sealing fuel cap or breather pipe connections.
Oil Leak from Head Gasket
[AX/Saxo/ZX/106/306 1.0 to 1.6 TU engine]
If you own any of these variants you will undoubtedly come across a head gasket leak eventually, if you haven't got one already. They all leak from the right hand corner of the engine. It's a minor leak, they all do it, if you fork out to change the gasket it will return like last nights newkie 'n kebab.
Best thing here is to save your money and clean the engine every so often (if it bothers you) and most importantly check the oil level regularly. - [but you do that on a weekly basis anyway, don't you] *grin*
Misfire - No power - No-go
[Renault 16v variants]
Very common fault. Get your 'pencil' coils checked. The 16 valve versions use a long thin ignition coil (one per cylinder) that takes the place of the conventional ignition leads. They are sadly VERY prone to breaking down. A faulty coil, apart from making the car a pig to drive may cause catalytic converter damage, as unburny fuel will find its way to the cat and eventually kill the poor thing.
[Renault/Citroen/Peugeot - Petrol]
If she won't go, but the battery is good, the starter is spinning well. Check out the TDC (Top Dead Centre)/Crank position sensor. This little fellow can invariably be found residing in the vicinity of the flywheel. Usually fixed to the clutch bell housing.
Citroen/Peugeot = a long lead with a single bolt holding the sensor end down
Saxo/106 = Black plastic bracket arrangement with a lead plugging into it.
Renault = Banana shaped metal bracket with a sensor attached (usually hidden right below distributor)
Clonk! - over bumps
[Anything with wheels]
In a word, 'Anti roll'...thats two words. Ok, in two words. 'Anti Roll bar'.... Ok three. 'Anti Roll Bar Links....
Ok, you get the picture. The Anti Roll Bar on most vehicles is attached in some way to the front lower suspension wishbone or track control arms. Some of the smaller models like Ax/Saxo/106 etc won't be fitted with an A.R.B unless it's a sporty model. In which case, this is nothing to do with you. For those that DO have an A.R.B There will not be a 'link' rod as such, but the outer ends of the A.R.B will be secured to the lower suspension arm by an alloy 'u' clamp and rubber bush. This alloy clamp is prone to fracture, which will of course allow the end of the A.R.B to move around and possibly emit the odd clonk.
The idea of the A.R.B is to help stop vehicle sway when cornering. Ever seen a 2CV cornering? - well they don't have them.
Where the A.R.B meets the front suspension there will be either a long pin with a series of bushes (Clio/Fiat/Alfa's). A 'U' shaped clamp with a bush in it (Saxo/106) or in many other cases a rod with a ball-joint at each end.
They will all wear out eventually, but the rods are favourite to fail first. Common on Xantia/406/ZX/306/156 and many more, but they will all utter the same cry of 'Clonk!' when you hit a bump or pothole. 406's have the added bonus of having REAR vertical rods and rear HORIZONTAL rods. But don't worry they speak the same language.
If your Anti Roll Bar Links or Rods or Bushes are talking to you, the only course of action is to get them changed. Prepare to have to hacksaw the old ones off as the nuts are almost always seized. So make sure you get new nuts with your rods.
Screen wash bottle self-emptys
The screenwash reservoir on the 'ol Cinq is hidden under the right hand front wing behind the plastic wheel arch liner. Due to their placement the screen wash pumps (One for front & one for rear) are subject to pretty bad corrosion. So much so that they rot out and leak.
Now, Fiat in their infinite wisdom choose to service these pumps only as a complete unit with the reservoir at around £55 (Ouch!) Fear not. A replacement pump is available from Eurocarcare for less than a MaccyD for two. The old pumps are easily removed and the spanking new ones just pop in. Result!
Clonk! - over bumps rides again
I can see we're going to have to have a dedicated 'clonk' section here. Anyway, both Cinq's & Sei's both have rear trailing arms that are rubber bush mounted at the pivot point. In effect when these babies wear out they will clonk summat chronic on bumps and potholes. On particularly lumpy roads I have been known to hang out of the window to check the skies, as it does tend to sound like you're being strafed by a ME109 ! (Ask yer Granddad) The recognised cure is to replace the trailing arm complete (£100+per side) The good news is that replacement bushes are available in the aftermarket. And for less than it costs to take the missus out for the night - and they're quieter too *grin* . And whats more you have a choice kids. Go for the original equipment style of rubber metalastic bush that needs pressing in. OR, go for the Powerflex poly bushes that can be fitted without the aid of any expensive tooling or a safety net.
Heavy Clutch Pedal
[Anything with wheels]
So, Your left leg is beginning to look like Arnie Schwartzenegger's. It's time for a little investigation.
For vehicles equipped with a clutch CABLE.
It is possible that the nylon inner liner within the cable has worn out and you now have a lot a friction in there. Replace the cable dude!
Some vehicles may have an odd linkage arrangement. Pivots and pulley wheels and that sort of weird stuff. Check to make sure everything is running freely. You may have to release the tension on the cable to do this. Usually easiest to disconnect it from the clutch arm.
For vehicle with a HYDRAULIC clutch
Check that the master cylinder (nearest the pedal) is operating correctly, not leaking and that you have fluid in the reservoir!
Also check that the slave cylinder (on the clutch bellhousing) is operating ok. No bent rods, leaks etc.
So, all that checks out OK does it? In that case the problem lies within the bell housing and with most cars it means gearbox out.
The majority of cars with a conventional clutch will probably be suffering with wear or fatique to the diaphragm spring. This may be due to a worn clutch release bearing or just wear and tear. Does yours make a loud hissing noise when you depress the clutch pedal? A sure indication of a knackered release bearing. If the bearing dries out it can get extremely loud. OR in the case of my sons car gets VERY VERY loud, (turn the stereo up and ignore it) seizes up, melts, vapourises the diaphragm and punches a hole in the bell housing with the clutch release arm (duh!). I digress.
Some cars may have a cross shaft & fork that the clutch bearing mounts on. This shaft usually runs in nylon or bronze bushes. These can seize up and cause a heavy clutch. Always good policy to replace these bushes when renewing the clutch.
If yours falls into the above catagory then I'm afraid it will almost certainly need a new clutch cover plate and bearing.
Whilst were on clutch doom 'n gloom, other symptoms of clutch demise are; Slipping when accelerating in gear, and quite often 'crunching' into reverse or occasionally other gears even when you are being especially careful.
For the uninitiated, most vehicles WILL crunch into reverse if you are in a hurry or don't depress the clutch pedal properly. This is because reverse gear in the gearbox has straight cut teeth and NOT synchromesh. Imagine if you could just slide gracefully into reverse (accidentally) at 60mph!! Liquidised transmission and you'd probably be eating through a straw for 3 months from trying to swallow the steering wheel :)
Indicator Turn Signal Not ReturningSo, you finally glance down at the instruments just to find that you've been indicating left since...Oh my days! Newcastle! How embarrassing is that? We've all been there. It really is a slur against your driving ability. A black mark. It brings your very masculinity into question.
Ok, so maybe that's a little heavy but either way 'tis not good. And it's worse still when it's not even your own stupid fault.
Many Citroens and Peugeots are making fools of their owners due to faulty self cancel mechanisms. The main offenders are those fitted with the COM2000 type indicator stalk setup. You know the one, you need a mortgage when they need replacing. Well, it appears that the culprit is just a naff little spring that loses it's tension, becomes weak and doesn't have the energy to return the little widget. Now I'm not going to recommend y'all start ripping two hundred quids worth of switchgear apart, but if you are a bit handy, have nerves of steel and a good eye, it may be worth a bash.
Stretch the return springs a little to give it a touch more oomph. Don't go mad because the sucker won't work at all if it's too tight.
Now, if anyone asks, you've not seen me...right?