C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

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tontonjon
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C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by tontonjon » 07 Oct 2017, 15:00

Hello everyone!

I have an issue with the front suspension of my Mk1 (2003) C5. It sinks, relatively quickly, to bump stops upon power down. The pump is fine, no external leaks, good ride apart from too much rolling: in short, nothing much externally to suggest what the problem is.

Turning to inside the system, my local garage cannot get any error readings from the suspension (which might mean they can't communicate with the suspension part of the ECU of course) and the height sensor switches are in good condition (externally), connected and with clean contacts.

So far the only suggestion that seems possible is a sticking needle valve in the pump due to contaminents, which happened to someone else and was rectified by pulling the pump apart and cleaning out the valves! However, the issue occurs when the power goes off, either when the car is locked or when the doors are shut and the car goes into powered-down mode (not as long as economy mode, by the way). So it seems to be an electrical rather than a mechanical fault.

My first instinct is to try a new height sensor switch just to see if there's a dodgy signal being sent (or none at all): the reason I am thinking that this might be the issue is that when the car began to sink I also noticed a deterioration in ride quality and handling. There was more body roll and drift, although I am getting used to this now it was a bit off putting at first. My mechanic is sceptical, but can't offer an alternative solution!

Other suggestions have been to do with flat spheres (no, there is good bounce still), a defective accumulator sphere (which I didn't know the car even had), or an ECU fault. I was wondering if it was because I "accidentally" depressurised the system by opening the cap on the reservoir to see if there was enough fluid inside (since I couldn't see from the outside!!!). Luckily I heard the hiss before any fluid came out!

What would help is to know if anyone else has had this issue or knows more about the system than me. I need to have a good idea of what it might be, where the components causing the problem are situated and where to get spares. I realise this may be easier with a Lexia rather than the standard diagnostics computers, or in person poking around, of course.

Any ideas? Please?

Jonathan
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by GiveMeABreak » 07 Oct 2017, 16:05

It won't have an accumulator sphere unless it is Hydractive 3 +. On the earlier C5s there was one at the centre front and one centre rear on Hydractive 3+ models -only.

You can't depressurise the system by opening the LDS cap. To check levels, see here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=58546&hilit=between ... +b#p549667
and in case it has a little air in the system:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=58546&hilit=between ... +b#p550675
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by lexi » 07 Oct 2017, 21:34

Probably worth a check is the height switch. They are prone to drinks and the like spilling on them. The mark 1 2.2 has the 3+ system but 2.0 hdi basic only has 4 spheres of course.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by wheeler » 07 Oct 2017, 21:49

GiveMeABreak wrote:
07 Oct 2017, 16:05
It won't have an accumulator sphere unless it is Hydractive 3 +. On the earlier C5s there was one at the centre front and one centre rear on Hydractive 3+ models -only.

No C5's have accumulator spheres. The extra spheres on the 3+ models are for the stiffness regulators.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by tontonjon » 07 Oct 2017, 21:56

There is an accumulator sphere listed in the diagram I have been given, that "evens out the pressure pulsations of the pump". I wonder if the person who wrote it had all the facts.

I had a similar issue with the DSuper I used to own. When I was a novice, I was replacing all the spheres and I searched and searched for the accumulator, using the DS manual to guide me. There was, of course, no sign of it as the ID system didn't have them.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by tontonjon » 07 Oct 2017, 21:59

lexi wrote:
07 Oct 2017, 21:34
Probably worth a check is the height switch. They are prone to drinks and the like spilling on them. The mark 1 2.2 has the 3+ system but 2.0 hdi basic only has 4 spheres of course.


Nothing spilt on mine, I can assure you!
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by GiveMeABreak » 08 Oct 2017, 10:35

wheeler wrote:
07 Oct 2017, 21:49
No C5's have accumulator spheres. The extra spheres on the 3+ models are for the stiffness regulators.
C5s do have accumulator spheres actually Wheeler and are officially referred to as such:

The suspension accumulators (12 & 14) on H3+ are clearly shown. The firmness regulator (13) is a separate component and controls them.

This is for the C5 X7 rear as an example, but the same applies on the earlier models, except that there is only a single accumulator sphere at the rear.
X7 Rear Susp Diag.PNG
(10) Rear suspension cylinder (right).
(11) Rear suspension sphere (right).
(12) Rear stiffener regulator accumulator (right).
(13) Rear firmness regulator.
(14) Rear stiffener regulator accumulator (left).
(15) Rear suspension sphere (left).
(16) Rear suspension cylinder (left).

And a close up:
H3+ Rear.PNG
The suspension accumulators (16)
The firmness regulator (17) with its support (14)


The same is for the Front, with the exception that there is a single accumulator.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by GiveMeABreak » 08 Oct 2017, 10:43

tontonjon wrote:
07 Oct 2017, 21:56
There is an accumulator sphere listed in the diagram I have been given, that "evens out the pressure pulsations of the pump". I wonder if the person who wrote it had all the facts.

I had a similar issue with the DSuper I used to own. When I was a novice, I was replacing all the spheres and I searched and searched for the accumulator, using the DS manual to guide me. There was, of course, no sign of it as the ID system didn't have them.


Yes the diagram will likely be correct - but should only refer to H3+ models - not the standard C5 MK I & II with 4 corner spheres. Some people get confused between them and the technology.
If you want to know what you have post or PM your VIN and I'll clarify your system.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by wheeler » 08 Oct 2017, 15:00

tontonjon wrote:
07 Oct 2017, 21:56
There is an accumulator sphere listed in the diagram I have been given, that "evens out the pressure pulsations of the pump". I wonder if the person who wrote it had all the facts.

There is a small 'accumulator sphere' inside the BHI for evening out the pump pulsations. Its more of a little damper & not regarded as a replaceable part, you cant see it, its inside the BHI. It's neither an accumulator or a sphere.

They may be labelled as accumulator spheres, as far as I'm concerned they are not accumulators. Surely an accumulator sphere by definition is for holding a reserve of pressure.
They hydractive 3+ manual for the mk1 makes no reference to an accumulator sphere (with the exception of the membrane pulse damper inside the BHI).
The manual refers to it as Suspension sphere of the stiffness regulator

17 Suspension sphere of the stiffness regulator
21 Rear suspension sphere
22 Hydractive 3+ regulator
23 Rear height sensor


Also looking at the presentation manual for the X7 it even refers to the spheres on the front cylinders as accumulators
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by Hell Razor5543 » 08 Oct 2017, 15:00

A simple way to check what type of suspension system you have is to look at the control buttons. If you have two (up and down) it is H3, but if there is a third (sport) it is H3+. However, the VIN search will completely clarify the setup.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by GiveMeABreak » 08 Oct 2017, 16:11

wheeler wrote:
08 Oct 2017, 15:00
They may be labelled as accumulator spheres, as far as I'm concerned they are not accumulators. Surely an accumulator sphere by definition is for holding a reserve of pressure.
They hydractive 3+ manual for the mk1 makes no reference to an accumulator sphere (with the exception of the membrane pulse damper inside the BHI).

Sorry, but document B3BB1BP0 on the Mark I makes the same reference in the procedures, so I'm leaving it there and stand by what I've said. :)
B3BB1BP0.PNG
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by tontonjon » 08 Oct 2017, 17:21

Thank you all.

Yes, it's a Mk1 C5 Hydractive 3. But it's still going down at the front, accumulator spheres or not!

If I may refer to my first post, does anyone know why this might be and what needs to be done to rectify it? So far, all I have is that a valve in the pump is probably stuck and I need to get the pump cleaned. I'm hoping it's simpler than that, though.
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by GiveMeABreak » 08 Oct 2017, 17:36

Have a look at the diagram. The anti-sink function is provided by the front and rear exhaust electrovalves. So it is possible that the front exhaust electrovalve is malfunctioning. Number 37 refers to 2 front and rear inlet electrovalves and also the 2 front and rear exhaust valves.
C5 MK I Electrovalves.PNG
So a good clean up of the electrical connector the the BHI might be in order in case this is contaminated. (but don't get underneath with the vehicle unless it is independently supported).
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by tontonjon » 27 Oct 2017, 15:06

Marc,

OK, I'll add that to the list.

In the meantime, the mechanic has told me that both front suspension struts are leaking. I had a look at the post on the C5 X7 strut replacement, but I've got a Mk1 (2004) C5 and the suspension units for my car seem to be supplied in two pieces - the strut and the top section that bolts on to the body. The X7 strut is one piece, which seems to me to be much easier!

The issue is now that I have to pay a small fortune for replacements. The cheapest is not an option as the supplier only has the left one. The other suppliers struts cost over £300 each and I need to keep the cost down as much as I can. EDC5 said that he got his from Germany: I'm struggling to find the supplier.

Can anyone help? I'd like to get this done ASAP so I can forget about the car for a while! It's either that or I replace it - and I don't want to have to do that just yet!

Jonathan
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Re: C5 Mk 1 front suspension issue

Post by GiveMeABreak » 27 Oct 2017, 15:30

Before you suspect the worst, are you sure they are leaking struts or just weeping? On your car the LDS return fluid pipes might be worn or split and may just need checking and cutting and re-attaching if there is sufficient length. Here's a video of a repair:
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