Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

This is the Forum for all your Citroen Technical Questions, Problems or Advice.

Moderator: RichardW

vmaxvmax
Posts: 39
Joined: 19 Apr 2018, 18:14
x 2

Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by vmaxvmax »

:( Hi, my Xantia woes continue...

The car will not start. Turn the key and no dashboard lights but whirring/buzzing noise from a 'Bosch' box fixed to the inside of the body adjacent to the right of the battery behind the headlight unit.

Ignition lock/barrel problems?

When I turn the key to the first position (auxiliary?) the battery light illuminates.

I checked the battery and my 'intelligent' charger says the battery is fine...

I think this may have started a few weeks ago when, on a couple of occasions, whilst turning the key, the dash lights went out and nothing. Immediately turn the key again and it started each time - brief enough problem for me to think I maybe didn't turn the key properly...

Xantia,
vin: VF7**************[VIN obfuscated, can be read by forum staff]
engine code: DHX (XUD9TF/BTF) / D ः (XUD9SE / O),
ORGA/RP Number: 0 6972 CJ = 11 December 1985 was date of assembly in Factory
Homologation
Version 18A, BE: 93/A095, ES: B-2076
Model type: x18a, TDX

In anticipation, many thanks,
User avatar
xantia_v6
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 8142
Joined: 09 Nov 2005, 23:03
x 553

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by xantia_v6 »

It is probably necessary to measure some voltages to narrow down the problem.

As a first guess, based on history, I would say that the problem is likely to be corrosion inside one of the crimped battery terminal connectors.

Do the dashboard warning lights go dim when you turn the key to the start position?
vmaxvmax
Posts: 39
Joined: 19 Apr 2018, 18:14
x 2

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by vmaxvmax »

Hi, thank you for responding!

The lights went out when going to the run position though it is very sunny here at the moment so maybe they were dim. Ancillary equipment seemed to work though, for example, the wipers ran very slowly. So that might indicate a poor connection somewhere.

Also when turning the key to the off position, the central locking system started rapid clicking almost as if the locks were trying to close but couldn't though I was able to lock all the doors from the drivers door key when leaving the car (in frustration!).

Thinking back to yesterday when the problem manifested itself, I realise that because the dash lights went out, I didn't actually turn the key to start position, just the preheat/run position, I shall try that this morning. It might be an issue with the ignition barrel as I had to bypass it with a relay for the cabin heater blower as that had stopped working after a period of the ignition barrel getting hot. Perhaps the internal switch contacts gone?

I suppose the best way forward is to test for voltage and earth continuity at the ignition barrel connectors as well as for continuity through the ignition switch itself...
Hell Razor5543
Donor 2021
Posts: 12590
Joined: 01 Apr 2012, 09:47
x 1726

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

I would try to start the car, and then (if it doesn't start after a couple of attempts) feel the main battery leads. If either (or both) feel that they are getting hot it would show that they are failing. There is a known issue in that, over a long period of time, the battery leads break down internally and need to be replaced.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=38273
vmaxvmax
Posts: 39
Joined: 19 Apr 2018, 18:14
x 2

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by vmaxvmax »

Thank you - I'm about to go out and mess with the car. Hot here so not looking forwards to it.

I'll post on my findings...
vmaxvmax
Posts: 39
Joined: 19 Apr 2018, 18:14
x 2

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by vmaxvmax »

Hi,

I have been out in the heat messing with the car.

Checked for continuity with the earth from chassis to battery cable - all good.

Reconnected the battery and measured the voltage under load (cranking the engine) and there was a big drop in volts, so the battery was unable to delivery despite the 'intelligent' charger reading good.

I am relieved that it was not some hidden wiring problem and have learned a lesson in the veracity of conditioning chargers...

So, new battery and all good so far...

Thank you for your help and interest all!
User avatar
GiveMeABreak
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 28997
Joined: 15 Sep 2015, 19:38
x 3601

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Seems it is the season for dodgy battery chargers - this must be the third issue in a few weeks about them, including my own.
User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 7489
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1467

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by white exec »

It's probably a good idea to replace ANY of the original lead (Pb) lump battery connectors on our cars from 10 or more years ago.

As the earlier thread viewtopic.php?f=3&t=38273#p317742 details, the crimped-on connectors lose their grip over time, and also allow corrosion/oxidation of the multi-strand copper batter cables.

The poor connection that results
- prevents proper pre-heating (glowplugs) and cranking
- can prevent proper functioning of battery chargers, if clipped on to the lead connectors
- causes voltage drops to the car's systems, particularly on starting/pre-heating
- can cause the alternator to mis-read the battery's voltage, and prevent good charging from the alternator.

Resistance at the connectors may well allow small currents to be drawn (eg Batt/IGN light etc, on first click of the key), but will not allow higher current items (pre-heaters, windows, door locks, main lights) to operate properly.

These old connectors are best replaced with new brass ones, and cables cut back slightly (if length allows) and the strands cleaned up back to bright copper. (See web tips for cleaning up oxidised cable strands.)
Battery clamp connector p.jpg
zs&tas
Posts: 274
Joined: 18 Mar 2013, 17:07
x 16

Re: Santa won't start, whirring noise near battery... Help!

Post by zs&tas »

I just did this job , massive improvement in starter speed !