Van starting issues.. any advice?

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  • Morning everyone..


    Just wondering if anyone can give me some advice about some starting issues I'm having with my C15 diesel van, please.


    Over winter I've been having problems starting the van. Some mornings it has taken three or four attempts to get it going, letting the little pig tail light go out a number of times etc etc. I had the battery tested at Halfords at they said it was OK. So I thought the glow plugs might be the problem. Got them taken out, and three out of four weren't working at all. Had them all replaced.. and I'm still having problems. I thought it might be the alternator, but I'm not getting the alternator/battery light come up on the dash. All the lights are working etc. and don't seem to brighten/fade when I rev the engine. So now I'm thinking the battery might actually be buggered and Halfords just tested it wrong or plugged the wrong voltage in or something... I had just driven it 15 miles to get it tested so might that explain why it was showing up as OK? Can batteries lose charge quickly once they're not being used? (If I leave it more than a few hours it won't start properly again..)


    I put the battery on mains charge earlier today and the charge rate started at around 4 and within maybe ten minutes it had dropped to 0 (or very close to zero). What does this mean?


    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! Pray it's not my alternator, please...

  • Was the replay/system to the glow plugs checked as well? and shown as working (ie reply comes on to warm up the glow plugs then go off?)

  • The C15/BX engine is a good engine. It was used in loads of French cars of the time. Cam belts need to be kept an eye on but obviously that's not a issue. If the alternator is buggered then the battery light will come on. If this is happening then you don't need a new one as they can be fixed, I had a BX this happened to many years ago. Cold starting can be a problem but I would have thought the glow plugs would have sorted it. Glow plug relay does sound like a possible.


    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Glow…ain_3&hash=item43d7a27d5e Link here so you can see what they look like. Sometimes you can see external damage if they are really burnt out.


    Does it start better after the battery has been charged? When it's struggling to start does it smoke when it does fire? Could be fuel starvation but doesn't really sound that way. When the van has been run open the fuel filler can and see if you get a vacuum hiss, generally gets worse as tank gets emptier.

  • Does it start better after the battery has been charged? When it's struggling to start does it smoke when it does fire? Could be fuel starvation but doesn't really sound that way. When the van has been run open the fuel filler can and see if you get a vacuum hiss, generally gets worse as tank gets emptier.


    I've had the battery on charge all day and it's started after two attempts. Once it does start it kicks out a lot of white/grey smoke yes. What might that mean?


    Thanks so much for your help! I'm going to look into the relay now and go investigate

  • The white smoke could be just surplus fuel that has got pumped in while you've been struggling to start it.
    It does sound to me as if the battery may be on the way out. When they get a bit weak they do lose voltage quite quickly when parked.

    ' When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place '

  • Yes the white smoke is fine as would be expected. It could be the battery but usually with the glow plugs heating (possibly 2 or 3 times) plus cranking the engine you'd expect things to get a bit sluggish, lights to dim etc and it be quite noticeable.


    Raffi was the 2 attempts after the battery was charged much better than when you where trying to start it before?

  • Raffi was the 2 attempts after the battery was charged much better than when you where trying to start it before?


    Yes it turned the engine much faster when the battery had just been taken off charge. Noticeable difference.


    I've got a bigger 640amp battery now and I'm going to try that.

  • So I just put the 640amp fully charged battery on and it started it but not very well and it needed a couple of taps of the accelerator to get it going. I listened carefully for the clicking (heard it) and watched the light go out when the clicking stopped, then turned the key and it struggled. Once I'd tapped the accelerator and it had started, I let it run for about ten seconds and then turned it off. Restarted it a few seconds after that and it started immediately upon turning the key..


    Does this give us any more clues? Sounds to me like once the diesel has warmed up it does start straight away.. so could that suggest there isn't enough power getting to the glow plugs when I first start it (hence potential relay issue)?

  • Another thought.. when I had the glow plugs replaced, three weren't working at all. Would the relay have suffered from having to try to start it over and over on one plug?

  • Fuel pump?


    I know I had a problem starting because the fuel used to drain back into the tank,
    so I had to wait for the fuel line to get refilled when trying to start.


    Once I had it running the line was full of fuel so started on the first turn.


    Dangerous to check at home, because the mechanic took the plugs out and had the engine turn over to check the spray
    of diesel coming out.
    One of the fuel lines was slightly loose, giving an air leak.


    :beard:


  • I don't think the XUD diesel has a tank lift pump. It has a high pressure diesel pump with a hand primer mounted on the top of the fuel filter.

  • Another thought.. when I had the glow plugs replaced, three weren't working at all. Would the relay have suffered from having to try to start it over and over on one plug?


    Could possibly be. Did you manage to locate relay. It should click when the dash plug heater light goes out, do you notice that? Could try tapping it lightly and checking all connections, especially earth are not corroded. I think this is more likely to the problem.


    I would say that battery may be ok - possibly a little unreliable. If it's heating and cranking (ie heat, crank, not fire, heat crank not fire, heat crank fire) and not slowing or dimming etc then should really be good to go. Starting should really be easier now the weather is getting a little better.


    Air in the fuel line usually stops XUD engine dead, especially on earlier models as they were manual fuel bleed.

  • I don't think the XUD diesel has a tank lift pump. It has a high pressure diesel pump with a hand primer mounted on the top of the fuel filter.


    Is it worth giving the hand primer a pump or two before cranking the engine, to see if that makes starting any easier?


    Would narrow the fault down to fuel supply/air in the fuel lines/blocked filter


    :beard:
    Who has his own starting problems caused by the Ford Starter motor getting stuck. :(
    But Rachel the mechanic can replace it - huzzah!

  • Could possibly be. Did you manage to locate relay. It should click when the dash plug heater light goes out, do you notice that? Could try tapping it lightly and checking all connections, especially earth are not corroded. I think this is more likely to the problem.


    I found the relay, yeah. It doesn't click when the light goes out. When the light is on I can hear the clicking whilst the plugs are warming up but as soon as the light goes on there's nothing.


    I would say that battery may be ok - possibly a little unreliable. If it's heating and cranking (ie heat, crank, not fire, heat crank not fire, heat crank fire) and not slowing or dimming etc then should really be good to go. Starting should really be easier now the weather is getting a little better.


    I reckon the battery is all right too. I've had three different batteries on it now and I get the same problems. The more powerful battery helped but hasn't solved the problem.


    Air in the fuel line usually stops XUD engine dead, especially on earlier models as they were manual fuel bleed.


    There looks to be a primer next to the fuel filter housing up front in the engine bay. Is that what you mean?


    Sorry -- I'm no expert in all this! Really am appreciating the help.

  • So, tested it by priming before start up and this is what happened... so, good news or bad news? I'm going to check the fuel filter tomorrow once the light comes back. Knowing my van's last owner I can't ever imagine the poor thing has had any sort of service..


    [video=youtube_share;icfAkokdR24]

    [/media]

  • Doesnt sound like the battery to me but if u use another battery and jump leads conecting the two it should spin fast, if the problem exists then its not the battery.
    There should be a black rugby ball shaped thing thats your primer bleed pump thingy, give that a few squeezes before you start it n see if that make it better, if so pump it more the next time :)
    if pumping it cures the prob then its a leak of sum type, either wfuel escaping (real bad as costs money) or air getting in, not as bad as the torys havent sold air to there mates yet!!


    look under the engine and on top of it, is there diesel lying about or dripping? Have a good look of the fuel lines and if theres anything frayed or perished then that may well be the problem

  • Oh no!, does it affect the running now the light is on? Do you have a manual to say what it means, there is not much electrical management stuff on that engine.


    It could be that the previous owner has run it on veg oil or waste veg oil which could have done for the filter, be worth changing it. Raffi are in Lincs or Oxfordshire at the mo?

  • I'm going to take it to my mate's garage tomorrow and steal his tools for a bit to investigate! :) fuel filter probably needs replacing. Won't hurt doing it even if doesn't solve problem. Will definitely check all hoses etc too. Haven't noticed any fuel loss - not sure how much I'd be losing though. She's still doing 500 miles to a 35 quid fill up the beaaaauuuty!!! :)

  • Oh no!, does it affect the running now the light is on? Do you have a manual to say what it means, there is not much electrical management stuff on that engine.


    What do you mean? Why oh no and which light? Sorry not following !



    It could be that the previous owner has run it on veg oil or waste veg oil which could have done for the filter, be worth changing it. Raffi are in Lincs or Oxfordshire at the mo?


    You might be right. In Lincs for a few days

  • What do you mean? Why oh no and which light? Sorry not following !


    I think he meant the light which was still on after you had started the engine.
    The one with the exclamation mark on it, bottom row.


    In my last car that just meant I had the handbrake on.


    The hand pump seemed to improve the startup.


    Try pressing the pump as you did until you feel resistance/you can't pump any more.


    I used to do this as a matter of course on an old van, because the fuel lift pump wasn't strong enough
    to get the fuel up the line to the injector pump before I flattened the battery.


    Doesn't solve the problem, but is a reasonable work around unless it is pouring with rain.


    Hope you manage to sort it out.
    :beard:

  • Yeah that's just the handbrake light :)


    Ok so new filter in. Started it up, same issues. I primed the filter but maybe it needs time to settle in or something. No access to any electrical equipment today so can't test relays and whatnot. Boo :(

  • Check all the unions are tight from your injectors to the injector pump etc. If they are it's probably an internal seal allowing the fuel to head back towards the tank had this with a vw t4 . I just lived with it cos it was an expensive fix.Although yours is french and they usually build things so they can be repaired so maybe cheaper.


  • Not sure where you are in Lincs but there a couple of independent Citroen specialists if it gets to that stage. There's Bullwinkles near Horncastle and there used to be one outside Boston but the name escapes me!

  • Not sure where you are in Lincs but there a couple of independent Citroen specialists if it gets to that stage. There's Bullwinkles near Horncastle and there used to be one outside Boston but the name escapes me!


    Yeah I know Bullwinkles in Baumber. Outside of Boston I can think of a couple of Citroen people. Got new idea re fixing it with a new valve that won't let it reverse back into tank. Will mean chopping up existing leads and fitting another manual pump on it (my theory NOW is that the reverse valve on the primer is buggered, hence letting fuel escape back). Going to see how it starts tomorrow with the new fuel filter and then see whether need to put new valve on it. Electrics seem to be fine :/