Tales from beyond the grave AKA Dan & Emma's Black Xantia, pug 206HDi, Daniel's 206 Verve 1.4i, GTi180 plus XUD9TE 206!!

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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ekjdm14
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Tales from beyond the grave AKA Dan & Emma's Black Xantia, pug 206HDi, Daniel's 206 Verve 1.4i, GTi180 plus XUD9TE 206!!

Post by ekjdm14 »

As some of you will already know I recently swapped my running/driving & MoT'd 406 2.1DT for another member's Xantia, a '95 N plate 1.9D automatic with cambelt & camshaft failure.

This morning the swap was completed and I had a quick shufty round under the bonnet to see where we stand... It appears it's going to be more involved than just a new cam/caps and belt kit, on initial inspection the inlet valve on the far right appears to be bent as it's sat about 1 maybe 2mm lower than the rest (and the inlet manifold makes a different resonant noise to the other three when I tap the lifters with a screwdriver handle!)

Also, as mentioned by the seller, the engine wasn't turning on the starter & now I've removed the camshaft it's still locked up solid. How solid? well, I managed to remove the crank pulley nut in my effort to wind the piston back down away from the valve head!

So I'm definitely going to have to decapitate the engine, and possibly even then the bottom end is going to be damaged.

All this is no great surprise to me, albeit a little disappointing to find, what does shock me though is the order of events I believe led to the failure.

Basically, what was originally thought to have happened was that the cambelt/tensioner failed resulting in piston/s meeting valve/s and snapping the camshaft & one cap. What I believe though is that this was a delayed camshaft failure from a previous belt snapping.

In other words, I think the cambelt has failed some time previously and the owner "got lucky" and it appeared that all was fine with the camshaft etc & it had a new belt fitted/re-timed and away it went seemingly in rude health. However I believe that during that failure, the camshaft was indeed damaged although only cracked & not picked up during a visual inspection.

I say that the engine then ran for "X" amount of time with this crack gradually growing across the full diameter of the shaft until finally the reduced area sheared and caused the cam to go tight in the head (damage/scoring on the centre and right bearing surfaces but left side is perfect) and then at some point the right cam cap fractured allowing enough play for the broken off end to drift enough out of time, allowing the inlet valve on the far right cylinder to make contact with the piston (possibly repeatedly, while the engine continued to fire on the remaining 3 cylinders, hence the bent/broken valve).

Sounds pretty strange, but my "old car forensics" tells me it's possible (even likely) because of the nasty scoring to the centre and right bearings with the left (drive end) being good as new. Also the break in the camshaft tells of an old "injury" with only a small area of clean, shiny metal where the 2 parts rubbed. The rest of the break area is dark and granular, this is very reminiscent of crack/fatigue failures on other things I've messed with & suggests that the engine continued to run with the broken shaft for at least some minutes if not more.

Sorry for the long post, maybe it's interesting or maybe not. if anyone's still reading at this point, I welcome your opinions on this theory as well as your encouragement to get the thing stripped and sorted! How likely is it to have damaged a rod or big end given that it's locked up so tight I wonder? I just hope the valve head hasn't fallen off and jammed down the side of the piston... [-X
Last edited by ekjdm14 on 22 May 2020, 19:05, edited 28 times in total.

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CitroJim
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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by CitroJim »

Excellent :)

Pleased to see a blog started on this car !

Now you come to mention it, I've known one other 1.9TD suffer a cambelt calamity which broke a bearing cap but did not break the camshaft but...

Around 5,000 miles later the camshaft did did indeed let go and broke in half...

Next trick is to whip the head off... being a D rather than a TD it's a much easier job...

Looking forward to seeing what that reveals...

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by ekjdm14 »

Yes, me too. I'm hoping the bore & piston aren't too far gone although the engine being SO solid doesn't bode particularly well. Head off though when time allows & go from there. Very strange as I would have expected to be able to wind the engine round by hand with the camshaft out... We'll see

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Re: RE: Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by mickeymoon »

CitroJim wrote:
Now you come to mention it, I've known one other 1.9TD suffer a cambelt calamity which broke a bearing cap but did not break the camshaft but...

Around 5,000 miles later the camshaft did did indeed let go and broke in half...
This is exactly what happened to my second ZX 1.9TD. I bought it for £25 back in 2006. It was an N-reg, mint, 75k miles and a snapped timing belt.

I had intended to swap the motors from my 1.9TD Xantia that I'd written off, but just out of interest, I put a timing belt and tensioner on, and it started up. So I sold the Xantia for scrap.

About 4 months later the ZX camshaft snapped, while "making time" up the M6 near Sandbach. So smoky was the mess it made I even called the firebrigade!

Took the cover off, saw the snapped camshaft, found the timing belt still in one piece.

Left the car at Sandbach services and called a scrappy to collect it!

ekjdm14
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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by ekjdm14 »

Interesting, I'd personally never heard of it happening before. Presumably the other two cars in question were abandoned too quickly to note whether the engine had locked solid or not?

I've had conflicting stories on the speed/load situation at the time of failure, with Dommo saying it happened at about 30mph (in asking about the gearbox) and the actual owner claiming it went "pulling out of a junction, maybe 5mph"... Either way I don't think it would make TOO much difference being an auto, and at least I know nobody has tried to bump start it after the starter didn't turn it over lol...

Hopefully time and weather will allow a head removal tomorrow so I can stop wondering. What does anyone think though if the bore & piston are OK do you think it's likely to have done any mischief to either the con rod or bearing? I'm inclined to think perhaps not, as these engines are pretty tough old beasts but it'd be good to have a second opinion...

Oh, and if the bottom end is a mess, how different are the NA and TD short blocks? Could it be as simple as blanking the oil feed/return or are there other differences in pistons/rods and the like... Same goes for the heads, aside from the cam profiles are there any other "gotchas" that would prevent me from sourcing a good 1.9TD and adding my own manifolds/injectors/pump etc? (I'd consider a TD swap, but insurance would probably be ridiculous as a "modified, turbocharged vehicle" even if it was identical to a factory TD auto... :/

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yannbeam
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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by yannbeam »

Happened to my 306TD. My partner was reversing off the drive and thought she had stalled. When she turned the key 'click click click'. Cam had snapped in two places and the bottom end was locked solid. But the belt was still in one piece and seemed to be correctly tensioned. Never got further than taking the cam out, but the valves seemed to be at different heights.

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by CitroJim »

The one I knew did not lock solid and after fitting another head - the old one had a very badly chewed up cam bearing journal as a result of the cam snap - the engine went on for another five years of very hard use indeed, running exclusively on veg...

The only slight damage was a few small imprints of the valves in the piston crowns...

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by ekjdm14 »

Ah, not looking altogether hopeful then. Shame if the bottom end is U/S as it'll be only just run in at 97k on an NA auto (maybe even still a bit tight from the factory lol)

Kids are back this afternoon so not sure if I will get time to complete the decapitation, I shall have a damn good bash at it though!

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by ekjdm14 »

Well, head is off & my diagnosis has changed yet again... Now I do not believe the camshaft was the cause of failure, but a result of piston #4 making a bid for freedom. It's either broken a rod or the piston crown has come adrift from the rest of it... There are witness marks of the engine having run out of time before with all 4 inlet valves having left an imprint in the pistons although there is no visible damage to any of the valves so maybe it's had a new head already? and maybe the piston was cracked by the previous failure and has just let go now... Orrrrrr, the seller is telling a few porkies still (he says the engine sounded fine right till it died, so if that's true it would tend to rule out big end failure)

Either way, the rest of the engine looks nice & clean as a result of running on WVO and with the head off it turned freely again just leaving the dead piston at the top of it's stroke... When I get the sump off and offending cylinder's guts dropped out I'll be able to decide whether the engine is saveable or not. Mainly I'm concerned either the bore will be scored or the crank journal damaged.

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by CitroJim »

Oh gosh... That's a surprise in an NA. Mind you there was a small run of engines, SD light-pressure turbos, maybe code DHY, that did have some rod problems and they did break on occasion...

Wonder if those suspect rods ended up in some NA engines...

Time to whip the sump off...

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by Dommo »

There were plenty of circa '97 306 TD's that had conrod failure, it's not unheard of with the XUD engine unfortunately

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by moizeau »

Is it the con rod that fails? Or does the big end shell wrap itself in a knot? Seen it on various mowers and my Dolomite Sprint engine. If a con rod breaks all on it's lonesome, that's very poor quality, interesting to see what you find with the sump off. If the bore is good, maybe no need to remove the engine. Everything can be done from above and below (though never pulled an XUD apart, never needed to) Did it with a 12J LR.
Best of luck

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by ekjdm14 »

Ah, so not unheard of then :/ very strange though for an NA... Anyway after speaking to the seller I think it's possible that the engine did/does have some suspect rods as the description of how/when the engine died doesn't tally with bearing failure or a loose cap.

From how the engine sounded when I turned it I would say that it was either piston crown failure or the rod has broken with the big end/cap intact. I certainly can't see/feel any holes in the block, which is nice... Time will tell and I'll upload some pictures when I get time (got a couple from earlier, of the head and pistons & will try and get decent pics of inside the crankcase when I drop the sump.)

I'm living in eternal hope that the bore and crankshaft will be OK as that will negate any need to remove the engine completely, although if I do have to drop the engine I'd likely replace it with a known good one. To that end, how different are the NA and TD blocks? if I blanked off the turbo oil feed/returns in a TD engine, would it then be a simple swap with my manifolds/injectors & NA cam or are the pistons/rods etc different too?

I ask because there's a Xantia in a local yard that may have a usable TD lump. Cheers.

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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by moizeau »

Different compression ratios i think

ekjdm14
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Re: Black Xantia NA Diesel auto... Camshaft failure... Le moteur est mort...

Post by ekjdm14 »

Yep, seemingly confirmed by the BoL. NA is 23-1 against turbo 21.8-1... Now the biggie (I'll look for clues on ebay), is the difference in the head, gasket, or pistons?

Ahh well, see what we find when the sump drops. Night all