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Citroen Xantia starting, keyfob and aircon problems

Hi Billy, Citroen Xantia 1.9TD...

Hi Billy, Citroen Xantia 1.9TD 1997. I have had problems with the car ever since it went to a Citroen garage here in France!!! Batteries appear to deteriorate (4 in 4 years) and appear to lose charge so the engine will not turn-over. Charge the battery and now it will only last 2 start-ups within 1 hour. We broke down yesterday - car wouldn't start and the chap who came to rescue us checked the battery which had plenty of charge, he said he suspected it was the starter motor causing the problem - original part so 16 years old. Since all this began 4 years ago the keyfob has stopped operating the central locking/alarm - I have checked the fob, battery and IR fine, I have tried every reset proceedure I can find on the internet, but no joy. Also at the same time the air-conditioning stopped working. The car was perfectly fine when I lived in the UK. Do you think it could be ECU problem? Have you any other advice? Thanks, Juliet

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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/12/2013
Billy
Billy, Trainer/Master tech.
Category: UK Car
Satisfied Customers: 3,498
Experience: Trainer - master tech., SAE member
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Billy :

Hello Juliet and Welcome! I'm Billy and i will assist you with your inquiry. Feel free to ask if any further info is needed.

Billy :

First of all, some control unit (ECU) could cause this. But first we need to confirm a few things:

Billy :

- make sure you have no electrical leaks: that can be done using an amp meter hooked to the battery, checking the current while everything in the vehicle is off, and then if you have more than 0.2 amps draining, you start to remove the fuses one by one to see which fuse if removed stops the amp drain (leak). This fuse would be assigned to a circuit (e.g. the lamps, central locking or other). Once you know which circuit(s) is causing the drain, you need to inspect it and its components, and replace parts as necessary.

Billy :

- next, i would check the battery cable contacts, the starter contacts, and the fuse box contacts, these should have clean and tight connections (for good electrical conduction)

Billy :

- then and if the starting problem persists, you need to turn ignition on, and then have someone jumpstart on the starter directly, if the starter works as it should, then the problem would be the ignition switch, so you replace it. If the starter does not work, even when jumpstarted, then the starter needs replacing.

Billy :

Having checked these, you should be able to confirm if you have a current drain problem, a starter problem or an ignition switch problem (or even a loose or dirty contact problem), and the issue should be resolved.

Billy :

As for the remote central locking, you should first inspect for any blown fuses, and then try the correct procedure (having made sure that the IR and battery are good):

Billy :

I know that have the same problem for some time, and trying to fix it without success can be frustrating, however, using this method, you should get to the culprit. In all cases, get back to me with your results, or if further assistance is needed.

Customer:

Hi Billy,

Billy :

Hello!

Customer:

I will try your suggestions tomorrow.

Billy :

Take your time, and get back to me whenever you need further assistance... or hopefully with the good results!

Billy :

Thank you for your trust! Get back to me if you need more info...Thank you in advance for the positive rating...
http://www.justanswer.com/car/expert-billy/


Regards, Billy

Customer:

I have already tried the procedure you suggest for the keyfob with no luck, the IR is working - checked with digital camera - and new batteries today. How do you jumpstart on the starter directly?

Billy :

To jumpstart directly, you need to use a long screwdriver to get power on the starter (positive), or get a cable from the battery to the starter solenoid (also positive side), and the starter should turn instantly, if the battery has enough power, if it does, and if the engine starts, then the problem would be the ignition switch. If not, then the starter would require replacement (having checked its connections first).

Customer:

Thanks Billy, will get back to you with the results - wish me luck!

Billy :

As for the central locking, if the central locking works using the button inside the vehicle, but the remote function is not operating, then you need to check the central locking control module (which is also for the alarm and antitheft). Best of luck for now!

Customer:

Hi Billy, sorry not to get back to you yesterday, we found a fuse had gone on the multimeter so had to redo the tests today. There is no parasitic battery drain, the meter is reading 0.04 amps, 0.4 milliamps. We tried jump-starting the starter motor as instructed (fully charged battery) but it would only turn-over very, very slowly - as if the battery was almost flat - so we believe that the starter motor needs replacing - got a quote for 450 euros today. All electrical contacts we can see and the earth lead are good. As for the key-fob (plip) not working I have tried all the different methods to get it syncronised with the car with no luck. I think it may either be a relay near the base of the steering column, which now ticks for 10 seconds when the door is opened with the key, or the ECU located under the carpet under the passenger seat has got wet - I have had a leak on that side for the past couple of years, or the contol above the IR dome in the roof. So my plan is to have the starter motor replaced and the relay checked by the garage, then fix the leak, then check the ECU and dry/replace it, then check the dome electrics for the IR. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your help Billy, I've learnt a lot, I'm sure I'll be asking you more questions in the future as the car gets even older. Have a good weekend, Juliet.

Billy :

Hello Juliet,

Billy :

Indeed the starter seems to need replacing in your case. You should try to find a used starter motor, that would be cheaper. The relay needs checking, but if you have had a leak to the control module, fix the leak, and then check the control module (make sure it is dry, and has clean and tight contacts) before getting to the relay, as the control module activates the relay... And then (hopefully not) you get to checking the IR unit, which is least likely to be faulty.

Billy :

Best of luck for now

Billy :

Thank you for your trust! Get back to me if you need more info...Thank you in advance for the positive rating...
http://www.justanswer.com/car/expert-billy/


Regards, Billy

Billy
Billy, Trainer/Master tech.
Category: UK Car
Satisfied Customers: 3,498
Experience: Trainer - master tech., SAE member
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Hello Juliet!

Hope all is well...

Just checking if your starting and remote lock issues were sorted. Get back to me whenever you need additional assistance or technical details.

Regards,
Billy
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Hi Billy,


The new starter motor is being fitted tomorrow at the local garage, we failed to find a reconditioned one, still I've had the car for 14 years and she's in good condition, 92,000 on the clock, and I have no intention of changing her so the expense I think is worth it. Once I get her back I will try and find the leak before attacking the remote locking issue - someone else on the internet had the same probelm and it was a wet ECU under the passenger seat from a leak, so fingers crossed!! I'll let you know what happens. Thanks for your help, Juliet

Hello Juliet,

The expense is indeed worth it, best of luck on the wet ECU (it is the most likely cause on your model)...

Get back to me if further assistance is needed.

Regards, Billy
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Oh Billy, you're not going to believe what has happened!! Took the car to the garage yesterday afternoon in readyness for today - we jump started her on two fully charged batteries. When we got to the garage and told them we had managed to jump start her, the mechanic immediately said that the problem was obviously the battery, we responded that we had run various tests and were happy that the starter motor needed replacing and for them to go ahead with that. At 5pm they called to say the car was ready - they had just replaced the battery - so we are up to 5 in four years now - at a cost of 152 euros!!!!!!!!! but now they could not stop the headlights flashing, the only solution to this they said was to remove the code in the immobiliser (from my reading last week this is not something that can be reversed!). I hit the roof, as you can imagine, we got them to reconnect the battery and got the car home before any more damage was done. I stopped the lights flashing by following the correct procedure to disarm the alarm without a remote. The relay is obviously faulty though and is what is causing the headlights to flash. I read last night that to reset the system correctly I need to diconnect the battery, turn the ignition on and then reconnect the battery, turn the ignition off and wait - what do you think? So now I have a car that starts (until the starter motor wears this battery out as well) but can't use the car until I fix the alarm circuits, so I think the leak and starter motor will have to wait until I can reset the 'computer'. I have also realised that one of the garages the car has been to in France has switched off the siren, so obviously there has been a problem previously and it has been covered up, this would tie in with the remote keyfob suddenly stopping working, I didn't notice the siren not sounding because I had to use the key and not the remote so the alarm was not armed. Any ideas you have would be much appreciated. All the best, Juliet

Hello Juliet,

A misfortunate turn of events... that feels bad...

First of all, you should tell the garage that the battery was tested full, and still the starter was not working. Then, you should never remove or connect the battery cable having ignition on. You can remove the battery cable, with ignition off, and reconnect 5 minutes later with the ignition still switched off. If that does not work, then you'll need to tackle the alarm control module, check it for any water ingress, faulty wiring and proceed as necessary.

Waiting for some good results... or if further info is needed.

Regards, Billy
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Billy,


The garage argued that since the car now starts with the new battery that was the problem, it will take a while before the problems start again, this is what has happened each time. We just get the French shrug of the shoulders!! Neither car will ever go to that garage again or the local Citroen dealership for that matter, we have serious doubts about them as well. My husband has a Citroen XM, we are both Citroen fanatics, I got hooked at the age of 19 with a GS, 29 years ago.
I thought that reconnecting the battery with the ignition on was a bit dodgy. I will try disconnecting and waiting 5 minutes before reconnecting, and afterwards the obligatory 'turn ignition on and wait 10 secs before staring the car' as per the handbook. Will start attacking all this tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'll have more questions! Will let you know what happens. Thanks for your advice, have a good evening, Juliet

All the best for now Juliet, have a nice evening yourselves... get back to me with the updates...
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