Poor starting HDi engines

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Poor starting HDi engines

Post by spider »

Mainly HDi's although a lot of this is generic too. This is aimed at those with a slow cranking speed rather than anything else.

Bear in mind with a HDi the ECU will not signal the injectors if the cranking speed is too low.

Given the higher compression on a diesel engine it takes more power to turn it so its essential to have a good, charged battery. Weak batteries usually die in winter / cold weather, normally at a most inappropriate moment too.

Assuming your battery is good, examine the battery leads themselves. Remove them and check them for corrosion and general fitment. Some of the 'quick release' type clamps can sometimes splay slightly so they do not give a good fitment. Also examine the wiring into the terminal end fitting itself to check its sound and secure.

If possible check the battery leads at both ends. Pay special attention to the earth lead, the locations will vary but there must be a good connection between the negative terminal of the battery and both the engine (usually the wire is bolted to the transmission) and the body. Clean them up if needed and refit them paying attention to their condition as above.

The last item in question, this does not seem to effect many HDi's although as far as I understand it some models were fitted with a lower powered starter motor. I do not know the specifics but 1.4KW or 1.7KW springs to mind. The problem here is the lower powered one is fine until the temperatures drop then its not really up to it. I do not know if this was an accidental fitment (I suspect the lowered powered one was for 'hot countries only') or a cost cutting exercise. Having said that starters do wear out so if all the above is OK it may be worthwhile obtaining an exchange unit.

Final points: With a manual transmission its always worth depressing the clutch before starting just to ease the loading on the starter a little bit too, little point in it dragging some gearbox internals round as well.

Bear in mind the heater plugs are not really used on a HDi for starting (pre-heat) unless its approaching 0c or lower although they are used during initial running (post-heat). They are used on indirect engines (XUD etc) as it will be very difficult to start a indirect engine without any pre-heat on a cold day.