C8 power Steering just stopped working.

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Bunny
Posts: 26
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 10:13

C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

Hi everyone, First post (please be gentle).

I bought a 2005 Citroen C8, just last week. 1 owner, from new. 68,000 miles. Never missed a service, according to the Service Record log book.

I drove half a mile, this morning, to pick up a friend. All OK.

When I restarted the engine, the power steering had stopped working.

I can drive it but steering is a struggle - especially at very low speeds.

Anyone able to offer any advice, please?

I am retired and flat broke or would have taken it to a mechanic.

Thanks in advance.

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Hi and welcome.

Several options come to mind. The power steering on these is electrical. A weak or poor battery can be the cause, but equally if your alternator drive belt has broken or is loose, then the battery will be quickly drained as it won't be getting charged. These are the 2 most simple things you can check to start with.

Hell Razor5543
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Hi, and :welc: to the Forum. Sorry to hear about your C8. If you post up the VIN (which will be automatically obscured, although Moderators will still be able to read it) the Moderators can then look up what your vehicle had when she rolled out of the factory, and help you make sure that (if parts are required) you can get the right parts for her.

Bunny
Posts: 26
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 10:13

Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

Thanks for the welcome and the quick reply.

I don't drive it every day and rarely more than a few miles, even then. Not driven since Saturday. Could this affect the battery power? I noticed today that the electrically operated rear doors were not immediately responsive either (as they usually are) in that I had to press the button 3 or 4 times upon which it simply beeped, until it eventually decided to open. How do I check the battery charge (and improve upon it) and where would I locate the alternator belt, please?
GiveMeABreak wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 10:25
Hi and welcome.

Several options come to mind. The power steering on these is electrical. A weak or poor battery can be the cause, but equally if your alternator drive belt has broken or is loose, then the battery will be quickly drained as it won't be getting charged. These are the 2 most simple things you can check to start with.

Bunny
Posts: 26
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 10:13

Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

Thanks for the welcome and the quick reply.

Here's the VIN #: VF7**************[VIN obfuscated, can be read by forum staff]
Hell Razor5543 wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 10:26
Hi, and :welc: to the Forum. Sorry to hear about your C8. If you post up the VIN (which will be automatically obscured, although Moderators will still be able to read it) the Moderators can then look up what your vehicle had when she rolled out of the factory, and help you make sure that (if parts are required) you can get the right parts for her.

Hell Razor5543
NOT Alistair or Simon
Posts: 10486
Joined: 01 Apr 2012, 09:47
x 983

Re: c* power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

The C series of Citroens are very sensitive electrically speaking, and a weak battery can throw up a whole heap of random issues. I would initially get the battery tested (some places may do this for free), and I would also try to take her for a long drive every week or so to make sure the battery gets a full charge. If my memory is correct I heard/read somewhere that it take 15 minutes of driving to recharge a battery after it has started the car (although battery technology has moved on since I became aware of this).

Bunny
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Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 10:13

Re: c* power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

Hmmm.

I drove my pal to the airport then returned home so drove for approaching an hour but the power steering was still not working. I'm guessing the battery would have been charged, by then. :(
Hell Razor5543 wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 10:42
The C series of Citroens are very sensitive electrically speaking, and a weak battery can throw up a whole heap of random issues. I would initially get the battery tested (some places may do this for free), and I would also try to take her for a long drive every week or so to make sure the battery gets a full charge. If my memory is correct I heard/read somewhere that it take 15 minutes of driving to recharge a battery after it has started the car (although battery technology has moved on since I became aware of this).

Hell Razor5543
NOT Alistair or Simon
Posts: 10486
Joined: 01 Apr 2012, 09:47
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

There are Forum Members who have suitable diagnostic kit (DiagBox/Lexia) to read the PSA vehicles (normal generic readers struggle with French! :D ) who are also willing to help out others. It might be worth seeing if one of them could run a diagnostics session on your C8 to try and narrow down the problem. Here is the list;

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=56452

Bunny
Posts: 26
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 10:13

Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

Thanks for that. I'm not anywhere near any of those folk, unfortunately.

Your helpful replies have been greatly appreciated, though.

Dunno quite what to do, now. Probably have to bite the bullet and take it to a repair shop. :( :( :(
Hell Razor5543 wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 10:56
There are Forum Members who have suitable diagnostic kit (DiagBox/Lexia) to read the PSA vehicles (normal generic readers struggle with French! :D ) who are also willing to help out others. It might be worth seeing if one of them could run a diagnostics session on your C8 to try and narrow down the problem. Here is the list;

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=56452

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Bunny wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 10:36
Thanks for the welcome and the quick reply.

I don't drive it every day and rarely more than a few miles, even then. Not driven since Saturday. Could this affect the battery power? I noticed today that the electrically operated rear doors were not immediately responsive either (as they usually are) in that I had to press the button 3 or 4 times upon which it simply beeped, until it eventually decided to open. How do I check the battery charge (and improve upon it) and where would I locate the alternator belt, please?

That sounds like the battery is not performing well. If you have a multimeter you can test the battery voltage at standstill to see what it is measuring and again with the engine idling to check that it is being charged (should be about 14.4V - 14.7V when being charged).

Some garages will have a proper battery testing device so they should be able to see what condition it is in. For a vehicle like the C8 that uses a lot of electronics (and of course opening and closing the electric sliding doors when the vehicle is not always running) so your battery really needs replacing every 5-6 years or so.

You could put the battery on charge and see if that helps - but if its duty cycle is up and won't hold a charge for very long it is probably time for a change.

Here's the belt shown at (3) so you can at least check it is turning:
C8 Belt.PNG
C8 Belt.PNG (136.28 KiB) Viewed 291 times

Bunny
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

I seem to be getting somewhere - even if that happens to be nowhere in that at least I am finding out what the cause is not - thanks to all the help you chaps are kindly offering.

It appears the alternator belt is OK - seems nice and tight, with no slippages when the engine is running.

There's no sign of any leak of any type and however small, under the vehicle - which is pretty clean and dry.

The battery seems fine, also. It looks pretty new and my voltmeter shows an idle charge of 12.7v and a running charge of 14.4v - does that sound OK?.

But the power steering still does not work.

Am I OK to drive it (albeit I'll end up with arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger) without power assisted steering, until I can find the solution or get it fixed?
GiveMeABreak wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 11:11
Bunny wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 10:36
Thanks for the welcome and the quick reply.

I don't drive it every day and rarely more than a few miles, even then. Not driven since Saturday. Could this affect the battery power? I noticed today that the electrically operated rear doors were not immediately responsive either (as they usually are) in that I had to press the button 3 or 4 times upon which it simply beeped, until it eventually decided to open. How do I check the battery charge (and improve upon it) and where would I locate the alternator belt, please?

That sounds like the battery is not performing well. If you have a multimeter you can test the battery voltage at standstill to see what it is measuring and again with the engine idling to check that it is being charged (should be about 14.4V - 14.7V when being charged).

Some garages will have a proper battery testing device so they should be able to see what condition it is in. For a vehicle like the C8 that uses a lot of electronics (and of course opening and closing the electric sliding doors when the vehicle is not always running) so your battery really needs replacing every 5-6 years or so.

You could put the battery on charge and see if that helps - but if its duty cycle is up and won't hold a charge for very long it is probably time for a change.

Here's the belt shown at (3) so you can at least check it is turning:

C8 Belt.PNG

Image

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Not really advisable because without assistance it will be extremely difficult to turn and could be dangerous. The system is deigned to run without the engine running - as it gets power directly from the battery, for safety reasons. So even if the alternator belt when (as happened to me recently) you will still have power assistance for some time. I felt something wasn't right and drove 20 miles or so but it got worse the slower the vehicle went - until arriving home it was extremely difficult to park up. I found my alternator belt had broken where they had levered it off / on at the dealer for another operation! So it was running purely on the battery - which was running everything else.

So I would still be cautious of the battery - at least you know the alternator is working and that it is charging - but that won't give an indication of the battery's internal condition. If the battery is proven to be ok, then check the wiring connections on the power steering unit to make sure they are nice and tight and that there is no contamination in the plug.

Also check your power steering fluid reservoir to make sure it is at the correct level:
C8 PS.PNG
The connector is underneath as shown on this diagram at (1)
C8 PS Pump.PNG

Bunny
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

My loss of the power steering was different in that it never crept up on me.
It drove fine.
I stopped the engine for less than five minutes.
Started the engine again and there it was... gone.

I've looked at your images and can confirm there is plenty of fluid in the reservoir. But I can't locate the pump (your second image). Is it a little to the left of the reservoir (looking in from the front of the vehicle)?

I've taken the battery out and hooked it up to a 6 Amp charger, so will try that again, first thing in the morning - but I'm not confident that the battery is the problem.

To add insult to injury, I was working on it (parked on the street) went in the house for a cup of tea and when I came back found a parking fine slapped on the windscreen. Just as well we don't have the American Second Amendment (a right to bear firearms). :oops: #-o

Another odd thing is that when I went to remove the battery, I unlocked the car but never had a need to put the key in the ignition - just put it in my pocket and when I went to open the boot to get my spanners, as I squeezed the boot-opening handle and raised the hatch, the rear windscreen wiper swung back and forth. Could be entirely unrelated and nothing more than a red-herring I suspect (and hope).

I hate car electrics. Give me wind-down windows and buttons, knobs and levers any day of the week. Anything electrical is just one more ruddy thing to go wrong, in my experience.

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Sorry to hear about the parking ticket - not had one of those for decades - on account we don't have any traffic wardens here :-D

Now that issue with the rear wiper smacks of a BSI problem. With PSA cars and most other newer vehicles it is essential to observe the battery disconnect and reconnect procedure to ensure all the Electronic Control Units are shut down correctly and reawakened to avoid electrical glitches.

I strongly suggest hat you have a read through this post that lists the procedure:

BSI Reset / Battery Disconnect / Reconnect Procedure

Follow it and observe the timings and instructions about not opening doors etc. during the process. I suggest you try this to ensure that the BSI is reset. If you didn't observe this when you took the battery off, follow the part for reconnection, then go through the whole procedure again from the beginning. You don't need to take the battery off - just disconnect the negative as per instructions. This will iron out any BSI related glitches - won't cost you anything apart from a bit of time (and hopefully not another parking ticket). Don't the battle axes give any leeway for a broken down vehicle?

Bunny
Posts: 26
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 10:13

Re: C8 power Steering just stopped working.

Post by Bunny »

Thanks very much for the guide to removing and replacing the battery. That has probably helped me a lot.

I charged the battery overnight and was surprised to find that the Power Assisted Steering (PAS) was working again. So you are, hopefully, spot on in assuming the issue to be battery related. This, even though my multimeter suggested the battery to be healthy and with a good charge, before I charged (at 12.7v engine off and 14.4v engine idling).

I don't know how to upload a picture, but the (cheap) battery charger I used has no guide and just shows a black battery on the left and a white battery on the right. The charge-gauge is split into 4 segments, 1 wholly white, 1 half-white and half-black, one half-black and half white and one wholly black. When I first put it on charge, the indicator was to the far right (at the start of the white zone) and when I stopped charging, this morning, the needle was a tad above three-quarters the way to the left (a quarter into the full black zone). I forgot to test it with my multimeter.

I fitted the battery, following the guide you suggested, and found the PAS was working so I drove the car half a mile and parked up, feeling quite chipper.

Unfortunately, when I returned to the car - 3 hours later - the PAS had stopped working, again.

Could something be draining the battery? The dash shows no warning lights and when I switch the ignition off, I cannot see any lights on or anything.

Otherwise, I'd just go and buy a new battery but, if it is not the battery - but the car - I will have just wasted the best part of £100 if that, too, just keeps getting drained.

By the way, with no key in the ignition, the rear wiper still moves around a quarter of its full sweep every time I open or close the rear hatch. Is that normal?

I suppose the first thing to do would be to get the battery professionally tested.
GiveMeABreak wrote:
02 Apr 2019, 02:50
Sorry to hear about the parking ticket - not had one of those for decades - on account we don;t have any traffic wardens here :-D

Now that issue with the rear wiper smacks of a BSI problem. With PSA cars and most other newer vehicles it is essential to observe the battery disconnect and reconnect procedure to ensure all the Electronic Control Units are shut down correctly and reawakened to avoid electrical glitches.

I strongly suggest hat you have a read through this post that lists the procedure:

viewtopic.php?f=51&t=61997

Follow it and observe the timings and instructions about not opening doors etc. during the process. I suggest you try this to ensure that the BSI is reset. If you didn't observe this when you took the battery off, follow the part for reconnection, then go through the whole procedure again from the beginning. You don't need to take the battery off - just disconnect the negative as per instructions. This will iron out any BSI related glitches - won't cost you anything apart from a bit of time (and hopefully not another parking ticket). Don't the battle axes give any leeway for a broken down vehicle?