Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

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martin churchill
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Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by martin churchill »

I've read through the threads about hard suspension apart from changing the 6 spheres I have run out of things to check. My problem started after I had a blown pipe from the hydraulic pump to the thing at the bottom of the engine (sorry I don't know what it's called). The pipe was replaced and the fluid replenished but my suspension is rock hard. I've tried the aerobics with the height adjustment, numerous times and the suspension raises and lowers as it should but my suspension is still rock solid. The only bounce I get is from the tyres. Surely there must be a pressure release valve somewhere. Unfortunately here in Portugal information and local help is non existent, as soon as you mention Citroen suspension nobody wants to know and the Haynes manual I have is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. I would appreciate any advice and help and if there is any part I need to check please give me a rough location where I might find it. Thank you

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white exec
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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by white exec »

Hi Martin,

If you have 6 spheres (plus the Accumulator sphere up front, mounted on the pressure regulator) then your car will have Hydractive suspension. With Hydractive, the suspension automatically switches between Firm and Soft ride, depending on driving conditions, and the driver's use of throttle, steering and brakes. For a good and easy-to-understand explanation of how it works, google "tramontana.co.hu" and look at The Citroen Technical Guide.

With Hydractive (you will have Hydractive 2), the Soft ride comes from the two centre spheres being in circuit. They are switched in and out by a pair of electrovalves (one front, one rear) under the command of the Suspension ECU. If these electrovalves are not being supplied properly, the ride will remain Firm - very firm. The four corner/wheel spheres provide only a Firm ride; all softness comes from the centre ones.

Also, air trapped in the hydraulic system can result in a crashy, nasty ride. The system may need bleeding; there are instructions on this site about how to do that.

Do post your VIN when you next make a post, so we'll know the exact technical spec of the car. The VIN will be masked, except to forum staff.

When you turn the IGN on, the yellow suspension light on the dash should light, and then go out after a few seconds. This light is on while the suspension ECU runs a diagnostic check on itself, and will extinguish if everything is ok. If it reappears at any time (except when you switch to Sport mode, when it will remain alight) there is a fault.

Any Citroen main dealer should understand the system well (independent workshops will most likely not), and many Xantias have met their end because of poor (or no) suspension/hydraulic maintenance. A Citroen main dealer will also be able to run a proper diagnostic test on all of the car's systems.

There is a "bounce test" you can do on these cars, to check that Firm and Soft modes are operating:

- With car parked up, engine off, all doors closed, press down firmly on the rear end. It should feel firm/solid, with no give. The same at the front.
- Start the engine, and allow the car to rise to normal height. With engine running, and all doors closed, rear end should feel softer, and give 15cm or so when pushed down hard. This is Soft mode. Same at front, but less give, maybe only 8cm or so.
- Turn engine off, doors closed. Softness will remain for about 30secs, at the end of which you should hear a 'click' from front and rear (the electrovalves turning off), and everything will go Firm again.
- That's what you should find.

There is a pressure-release valve for the sustem. It's a 12mm bolt head on the side of the pressure regulator supporting the Accumulator sphere. If undone by JUST ONE TURN (NO MORE, DO NOT REMOVE IT), it allows fluid from the pump to go straight back to the LHM reservoir. It is used to release pressure from the system, and to bleed the pump if work has been done on it, or the system. Haynes describes it well.
Usual caution: Do NOT go under the car unless it is properly supported by ramps or stands. Do NOT rely on the hydraulic system to support the car when working on it.

martin churchill
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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by martin churchill »

Thanks Chris.
I'll check things out as soon as the monsoon is over. I haven't seen a suspension warning light on my dash, what does it look like? The previous owner was a bit of a cowboy with the mechanics and I have found many things that have been bodged and disconnected.
Would you advise me to bleed the brakes would this help any with the suspension as I've read a few threads suggesting this might help? Thanks Martin

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by Armidillo »

martin churchill wrote:
09 Nov 2020, 19:06
I've read through the threads about hard suspension apart from changing the 6 spheres I have run out of things to check. ...
So you are saying that you haven't checked/changed the spheres? Sorry, but by far the most likely cause of hard suspension is flat spheres. Do not drive it like that, or you'll damage more than your own spine (& teeth). If you release the pressure it won't make the suspension softer, it will make it lower! Your suspension will sit on the bump stops, and you'll have no brakes (and your steering will get really, really heavy).

AEP (https://www.aepdirect.com/) seems to be the current Go To place for getting spheres. They are not really expensive, and neither are they very hard to fit (unless previous owner over-tightened them of course). I find my chain wrench great for removing spheres, but others will be able to offer alternatives...
chain wrench.jpg
chain wrench.jpg (57.97 KiB) Viewed 110 times
BTW,although you say your car is Series I, if it was sold in 1998 it would be one of the very last S1s. As such it has anti-sink, just like a Series II car. If you only have 6 spheres, then I believe that your VIN will reveal that your car is a non-hydractive SX. The 6th sphere (middle, rear) is known as the "anti-sink sphere", although it has more to do with brakes than suspension. This makes it all the more likely that the problem is the spheres - there is no electronics or extra spheres or warning lights involved. I have a 1998 SII SX wagon with 6 spheres - with new spheres it rides beautifully - just like a real Citroen :).

Cheers

Alec
Last edited by Armidillo on 10 Nov 2020, 13:48, edited 1 time in total.

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white exec
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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by white exec »

I assumed you'd changed the spheres, but maybe not.
The bounce test will tell you whether you have any springing, especially in the centre spheres (the Soft providers).

Bleeding at the brake calipers will bleed the entire system, so worth doing:

- Throw an extra 1L of LHM into the reservoir.
- Do several 'citrobics' - high, low, high, low.... - and turn the steering wheel from one lock to the other a couple of times
- Put the suspension on Highest
- Lift and safely support the car so that all four wheels are off the ground (wheels hanging)
- Remove all four wheels
- With engine running, apply light pressure to the brake pedal, using a heavy weight or a length of wood between the pedal and the seat front
- With engine still running, use the bleed screws in this order: RR, RL, FR, FL. Expect to draw off up to 1L from the RR screw, as it will bleed most of the system. Bleed off until air-free. Expect much less at the other three screws.
- Replace wheels, lower car to ground, and check the LHM level in the reservoir (orange ring should be between the two red circles with car on Highest).

I take it the car is riding at the proper height when the lever is set to Normal. If the height is wrong (particularly too high), the suspension will struggle to provide a soft ride.

martin churchill
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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by martin churchill »

Hi Chris.
Here are my car details...Xantia [X15G] 30.6.97.
Vin # VF7**************[VIN obfuscated, can be read by forum staff].
I hope with this info you can tell me what I've got
Martin

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by martin churchill »

Thanks for all the info about the spheres and the link to a supplier (nothing like complicating something simple is there?)

I've performed the bounce test, my weight on the back of the car only gives me 2-3 cm and on the front about the same. Looking at the car with the lever set at normal ride position the front suspension does look high, although I haven't put a tape on there yet. This information I will post later.

As it goes for bleeding the brakes you mentioned I will need wheels off the ground, this will be difficult for me as I'm working with axle stands. Would I still get the same result bleeding the back with the front wheels still on the ground or is it essential that all wheels are off the ground? Martin

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white exec
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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by white exec »

From your VIN, the car is
XANTIA 5 DOOR ESTATE 2.1 TD (XUD11BTE) Manual gearbox 5
and with Hydractive (Hydractive 2) suspension.

All that's important when doing the bleeding is to have engine running, susp on highest, and the weight of the car NOT on the wheels - i.e. hubs/wheels hanging. If you have only two axle stands, use them at the back end, and support the body at the front with blocks or slabs (not a pile of bricks).

The lack of bounce suggests that the centre spheres are either without much gas (and need replacing), or that the centre spheres are not being switched into circuit by the front and rear Electrovalves.

To check whether the EVs are operating, in a quiet space, after the car has been parked up (with all doors closed) for at least 5 minutes, and IGN off:
- open the driver's door, and listen for a buzzing sound from under the car; it's the EVs that buzz, one at the front, one at the rear.
- close the driver's door; buzzing should continue for 30secs, and then stop with a noticeable 'click'; this is the EVs shutting off (they switch on/off together).

Do this check first, because if the EVs are not operating, there can be no Soft suspension.

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by admiral51 »

When was the LHM last changed, it should be Green, do not let it get looking like mine was Very Old LHM
I will slightly disagree with Chris on the bleeding process, i only have axle stands and i do mine one wheel at a time hanging but in the same order with suspension on high and engine running with a short length of wood wedged between the drivers seat and the brake pedal.
Can some one remind me of location of the 2 extra spheres for soft mode as my memory has drawn a blank and i did have one with them lol
Colin

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by white exec »

IIRC on Xantia, centre spheres are
FF: right up front, bottom of radiator
RR: not far from the spare wheel carrier.
Someone will put me right, if incorrect. :gt:

Only drawback of doing one wheel at a time, I guess, is the need to transfer vehicle weight from one wheel to another as you work your way around, with the risk (maybe) of moving trapped air around the system. Axle stands are cheap enough, so probably worth laying in an extra pair? OK for beeding the brake 'dead legs', but wonder about the rest of the system.

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by admiral51 »

Never thought about that bit Chris but you know me, rarely proved to be correct lol

Colin

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by xantia_v6 »

There is a reasonable probability that the problem with this car is a failed electrovalve diode.

See the topics: googlesearch?cx=000757428655895309399%3 ... mit=Search for more information.

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by martin churchill »

OK, I've just checked for buzzing with the door open, nothing.[I did find another 2 spheres, so that makes 8] I have a buzzing, [sounds like a fan on low speed] with the ignition on and and clicking possibly the preheat and pump cut off? #3 fuse is ok.
Is it possible to power up the EV direct? just to see if the valve is engaging . A wiring diagram would be nice if anyone has one
Martin

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by admiral51 »

Just an idle thought, from my distant memory if the fuse for the EV is removed does it put the car into permanent soft or hard mode ?

Need to do some digging from old posts, but think the valves themselves were updated at some stage and someone has the updated version and found the ride is much improved but no audible buzz and clicking does sound like the EV are dead or no feed to them

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Re: Xantia MK1 2.1 estate 1998 - solid suspension

Post by admiral51 »

ok found it the post is Here

Sorry not the thread i was thinking about, will need to dig a bit deeper :(