Xantia starting problem

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fangy
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Xantia starting problem

Post by fangy » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:45 pm

Hi, I have a 1.9 TD which has recently, worsening over the space of about a week, become very difficult to start wither the engine is hot or cold. As it was fine when it eventually started running, I assumed it was the glow plugs, but when I came to change them could only get three of them out. I've heard this is a common problem and would function fine with just three plugs working, but it's still as bad as ever, taking three or four attempts before eventually rumbling to a start.
Would this one plug make such a difference? If so, does anyone know if the plug tool sold by GSF will do the job?
Thanks in advance,
Fangy.

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CitroXim
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Post by CitroXim » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:26 am

Hi Fangy,

I suspect your problem is not glowplugs as much as air leaks on the fuel suction side. The prime culprit here is the leakoff pipes, the black thin daisy-chained pipes between teh injectors and back to the pump. I'd replace them as a matter of course. Halfrauds do a little kit very cheaply.

Other causes of air are a perished priming bulb and leaks at the filter housing. Note that you'll never see diesel leaking as the whole lot is under suction.

The tool you need for the last glowplug is a 12mm cranked ring spanner :wink: Take care not to loose the glowplug down behind the pump!
Jim

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fangy
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Post by fangy » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:04 am

Thanks for the reply.
If I replaced these leakoff pipes, or even the priming bulb, would I need to bleed the system or is it just on and off? Also what is the name of the kit Halfords sells?
Thanks again,

Oh by the way would a leak in the fuel suction give weird fuel gauge readings?, ie, needle rockets down to empty, stays there for a while then slowly creeps back up again.
Cheers,
Fangy.

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Post by CitroXim » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:30 pm

Nope, after replacement of the leakoffs, fangy, just pump the primer bulb a few times and all will be well.

I'm not sure of the name of the kit but you'll find them in little packs amongst the fuel hoses and jubilee clips area of the shop. They consist of a metre or so of braided small-bore hose and a couple of blind caps. If in doubt have a quick word with the spares person. I've seen similar kits in motor factors but they're usually pricier.

The gauge problem is unlikely to be related. That either souunds like a dodgy connection or a problem with the sender in the tank. It'll be well worth checking the connections to the senser on the top of the fuel tank. These can be accessed from under the offside back seat via the big round plastic bung.
Jim

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Post by Xantiaman » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:37 pm

I've found they can be a bit of a bugger to bleed.

Have you changed the fuel filter aswell? Definatly suspect the sender unit seal if this has been disturbed also, mine was slightly wonky when i refitted it and it wasnt until this had been reseated correctly that the air bubbles in the fuel line went, but still needed encouragment with the primer bulb!

Leak off pipes a definate suspect also, i've not yet replaced mine but it starts on the button from cold and it was only in the summer it took more than a few turns to start.

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Post by CitroXim » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:19 pm

Xantiaman wrote: ...it starts on the button from cold and it was only in the summer it took more than a few turns to start.
I've noticed this on a number of occasions Gareth and I've now accepted it as normal. I have a belief this may be due to the viscosity of the fule, cold fuel will be a bit thicker and will pump a bit better than warm, thin fuel.

Here is a bit of useful (BX-centric) information on diesel starting from this very forum...

http://bxclub.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4207
Jim

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Post by fangy » Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:17 pm

Thanks for all the advice.
I couldn't find any obvious leaks, but since I last posted the car has started to lack power and even cut out on me. Could this still be a fuel suction problem?
Thanks again,
Fangy.

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Post by CitroXim » Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:36 pm

Yes indeed it could Fangy, you'd be amazed at how air leaks can really affect performance. A good idea, to fully diagnose air problems, is to replace the fuel line between the filter head and injection pump with a transparant one. In fact, may TDs had a transparant pipe in this position but over the years thay can turn opaque and even black.

As Gareth says, do check your filter. In fact they should ideally be changed at the start of winter.

Are you running Veg by any chance? It's getting a bit cold for it now unless it is well "cut" with diesel.
Jim

'98 Xantia 1.9TD in Red - Gabriel the Bus...
'96 Xantia Activa in Red - My favourite toy...
'07 Pug 207 in Blue - The Deathtrap...
'15 Giant Defy Bike in Blue - Daily rider...
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fangy
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Post by fangy » Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:57 pm

I was having a look under the bonnet and noticed that one off the leak off pipes was quite damp, well more like thick gummy diesel, so i'll get them replaced tomorrow. Here's a daft question is the fuel filter in the big round plastic thing that sits next to the "carb"? I know my way round a petrol engine but don't have a clue when it comes to diesels.
Thanks,
Fangy.

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Post by CitroXim » Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:25 pm

The fuel filter is the black circular thing that looks a little like an old-fashioned gasholder above the thermostat housing. Follow the top hose back from the rad to the engine and the filter housing will be very obvious. The lid is held on with four Allen bolts. The lid will have a pipe running at right-angles away from it over to the injection pump, the thing that most likely looks like a carb to you. I must admit it does bear resemblence to an old Stromberg or SU when viewed from the top; the LDA assembly does look like a dashpot although in a diesel pump it has a totally different role.

It is also worth checking for fuel leaks around the top of the pump, especially around the throttle spindle as air being drawn in there can cause problems although leaks on the pump are exceedingly rare

If you can see horrible, gummy diesel around one pipe than it's not a bad sign they're perished.
Jim

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fangy
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Post by fangy » Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:40 pm

Thanks for taking the time to help me out, I think I would have scrapped the car long ago if it wasn't for all the help I've had from yourself and all the people at FCF.
Fangy.

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Post by DavidRutherford » Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:45 pm

fangy wrote:I couldn't find any obvious leaks,
citrojim wrote:Note that you'll never see diesel leaking as the whole lot is under suction/
Even if there's a leak in the pipe the size of your fist, you won't see it, so simply looking for leaks won't do much good. The best way to check to see if you have air leaking into the fuel is to add a short section of clear fuel line just before the injection pump. This way you can see if there are air bubbles in the fuel.

If there are (and I suspect there will be) you then have the unenvieable task of dismantling and checking the entire suction line from the pump back to the tank. There are some prime candidates for the leak (like the priming bulb) but it could conceivably be anywhere.
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Post by fangy » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:20 pm

Well I changed the leak off pipes today, and nothing changed. The car still struggles to start. Once I got it going I went for a run, when I came back I looked under the bonnet and noticed that one of the new leak off pipes was leaking lots of diesel from around the join, so I've replaced that with another new pipe. Is the suction line the pipe with the priming bulb attached to it, can that be bought from citroen as one long piece of pipe? and is it the same as the leak off pipes just a straight forward off and on then a few squeezes of the priming bulb? (no bleeding).
Thanks,
Fangy.

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Post by Dickieg » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:26 pm

fangy wrote:I was having a look under the bonnet and noticed that one off the leak off pipes was quite damp, well more like thick gummy diesel, so i'll get them replaced tomorrow.
I've come across this problem before on a Xantia, the cause being a build up of horrible brown gunge/fungus over the fuel pick up gauze filter in the fuel tank which restricted the flow of fuel. Access is gained by lifting up the O/S/R seat base then undoing the fuel gauge electrical connector and two fuel pipes then the large black securing ring etc. Dodgy fuel gauges are not unknown on Xantia's, normally its the sender unit that's the cause.
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Post by CitroXim » Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:42 pm

Hi Fangy,

Dickieg raises a good point.

The priming bulb is available from Citroen, as are the pipe runs. I'd expect the pipe from the bulb to around to the bottom of the filter to be OK but certainly the bulb can be a suspect.

The normal favourite places for air leaks, after the leakoff pipes have been eliminated, is the filter housing itself, the pipe between the top of the filter and the pump inlet and the fuel return pipe.

Taking those in turn, the filter housing often leaks at the top cover and the best way to eliminate this is to renew the filter. You will observe that there is a big O ring around the top of the filter and this often goes hard with age. Tightening the four allen bolts on the filter housing top will invariably not clear the fault and make in worse more often than not. Occasionally, the filter will be found to be made of plastic and there have been some fakes around in the past that swell after being immersed in diesel for a while. These can swell enough to lift the filter housing lid. I know as I have had it happen on our little 205D.

Another spot where filter housings leak is either at their base (another big O ring) or by the little white circular object that sticks out of the side of the filter housing at the base. If this is the case, they do often weep here and replacement is the only option. If the housing has gone here, there may be an underlying cause which I'll come on to in a bit.

The pipe from the top of the filter housing to the pump is normally a clear plastic pipe that gets hard and opaque with age. It can crack. It is useful to replace this with a fully transparant length of pipe to see if you have air bubbles and normal clear plastic petrol pipe can be used pro-tem although a pukka pipe from Citroen is best for long-term use when the problem is resolved.

Finally, check the fuel return pipe. This carries excess fuel back to the tank. This pipe will be found beside the leakoff pipe termaination on the rear of the pump and is the larger of the two. This can split at the point where it joins the pump spigot.

Another problem that can occur occasionally is the return pipe can block and in light of Dickieg's thoughts, this is a possibility. If this is the case, there will be excess running pressure within the pump (because excess fuel does not have free passage back to the tank) which will cause the weakest points in the fuel supply line, usually the white onject on the base of the filter housing, to leak. This will also cause the leakoff pipes to weep too and may account for what you saw when you replaced them. When stopped, air will enter as the pressure equalises and make a restart difficult. The best way to check the return line is to disconnect it and blow down it with your mouth. You should be both able to blow down it and make the fuel in the tank bubble! Diesel tastes a bit nasty but it is not risky to do this if you wipe the end of the pipe first.

Hope that helps a bit Fangy, if anything is not clear, do please ask.
Jim

'98 Xantia 1.9TD in Red - Gabriel the Bus...
'96 Xantia Activa in Red - My favourite toy...
'07 Pug 207 in Blue - The Deathtrap...
'15 Giant Defy Bike in Blue - Daily rider...
'16 Giant TCR Bike in Black/Lime Green - Fine weather only...