2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

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

Moderator: RichardW

xsara92
Posts: 10
Joined: 06 Feb 2024, 20:49

2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by xsara92 »

My 2008 1.6HDi Xsara Piccaso almost certainly has a fuel system problem, given that power delivery is inconsistent on accelerating, and low fuel rail pressure is coming up on diagnostics. The engine will cut out with only a minute or so of increasing juddering to warn me, so is not safe to drive, though it has not yet failed to start from cold.

However, the AA-recommended garage claim they need to change the fuel filter first, before they can explore other causes, but do they really?

I'm worried I could pay for this (£136) and be no nearer to diagnosing the underlying cause. More to the point I'm worried that getting the fuel system right could now cost me hundreds ... so is it worth it to keep this HDi, though I love the Picasso as a model and the HDi as an engine.

BACKGROUND (for interest)

Got the car at 82k miles, now at 94.5k 10 months later. The fuel economy was initially superb, seemed to gradually drop, then I realised the timing belt was still waiting on it's first change. On replacement the peformance improved, and I could get the car up to 70mph + whenever I wanted. I'm wondering if this hard driving could have knackered the high pressure fuel pump, as this is the 92bhp, not 110bhp, model variant.
The oil pressure light also stays on when tested (goes out when the engine starts), yet no oil leaks have come up in the MOT history.
RichardW
Forum Treasurer
Posts: 10756
Joined: 07 Aug 2002, 17:12
x 966

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by RichardW »

Welcome along.

If no record of changing it, the fuel filter is a good call, these are intolerant of dirty filters. £136 seems steep, but it's a bit of work to change on these, and you can only buy the complete unit which is a bit pricey.
Richard W
xsara92
Posts: 10
Joined: 06 Feb 2024, 20:49

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by xsara92 »

Thanks Richard,
I just found my last service receipt (from April '23) and the fuel filter was replaced with an itemised cost of £26.20 :shock:
Labour for the complete service came to £120.
Good job I checked..

I'm thinking I'll cancel my appointment and go back to them!
Maybe it'll need replacing anyway, but probably a waste to fit one for tests..


Does the 1.6HDi 110bhp engine have the same high pressure pump?
xsara92
Posts: 10
Joined: 06 Feb 2024, 20:49

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by xsara92 »

More clues perhaps with this one..
I'm now getting a chirping noise from the front driver's side of the engine bay on start up. Goes away with higher engine speed or temperature, not sure which.
And I'm more worried now because it sounds similar to the noise my old alternator was making before it passed :(
MixerFistit
Donor 2023
Posts: 101
Joined: 17 Oct 2021, 14:45
x 11

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by MixerFistit »

I didn't think the filter was too bad once you get the air pipes out of the way. I'm assuming it's up on the passenger side and not near the drivers side.
Absolutely get the filter replaced if you're unsure of it's history. A good sign it's the filter is idling and driving gently OK but as soon as you put load on the engine like going up hills and/or putting the accelerator down harder, the car does the opposite and loses power coming to a juddery halt with all sorts of faults popping up even ABS /ESP on some cars.

As for the chirping, it's probably an idler pulley, I currently have a different engine but have the same symptoms. Once warmed up it goes away (the grease inside becomes less viscous) so I'm going to try cleaning and repacking the bearings with grease but will probably need replacing. I've got bigger jobs to sort prior to an mot so limiting what I spend at the moment.

Anyway, back to you, does the chirping go away with a/c on or no difference?
To check pulleys, take the belt off and run (when cold) and see if the noise has gone, that'll at least rule out anything to do with the Cambelt. With engine off, give the pulleys a spin and see if one of them doesn't spin freely (like it's turning in treacle). May as well see if alternator, power steering and a/c all sound reasonable while you're there. Bend your belt backwards to check for cracks on the ridges and replace if necessary, they're not expensive.
Oh and check the rubber pipe from your power steering reservoir isn't leaking all over the pump and onto your alternator. Trimming the end and replacing the clamp with a good quality jubilee clip does the job.

Off the point but another grain of knowledge I'd like to share, check your spare wheel drops OK and the bolt hasn't rusted. If the bolt is a giant slotted head, bin it for one with a 17mm hex instead - I think the C3 picasso has it as standard if you look for one (why Citroën chose to put a slot there and then fashion a wheel brace with a slot end to undo it when you're already holding the perfect tool for a hex bolt is a mystery I fear I will never know the answer - and maybe it's best we never know).
2005 C8 2.2 HDI 4HW - 6 Seat, Exclusive

2006 Dispatch 2.0 HDi RHZ (SORN)
User avatar
myglaren
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 25224
Joined: 02 Mar 2008, 14:30
x 4865

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by myglaren »

My C5 was chirping and the mechanic could never locate the problem.
Took it to a newly opened garage run by a friend of people I worked with and he knew what it was as I drove up to his garage.
Clutch on the alternator, thirty quid.

He did it next day while I was at work, picked it up after work, £160.
It had taken the dual mass crankshaft pulley with it as it had been left so long, so new pulley, clutch and drive belt. At the price Citroen were asking for the pulley.
________________________________
I ain’t hiding from nobody, ain't nobody hiding from me.
xsara92
Posts: 10
Joined: 06 Feb 2024, 20:49

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by xsara92 »

@MixerFistit, yes actually when I go up hills is currently when I am most aware of the engine complaining, though the type of driving leading up to the last breakdown was high speed.

I finally was able to catch my car 'on camera' today struggling, this time when the engine was idling. A lot of dull 'thumping', or pulsing and vibrations coming from the top of the engine bay, and the engine speed struggling to stay constant and indeed briefly plummeting momentarily. It made me more certain that too much air is getting into the fuel line as a root cause.
I will try to post my video but I need to upload it to a host like YT first.

I also had a go at draining the fuel filter, given that it's been almost 10k miles and my Haynes manual says you should. However I cocked this up, spilling the diesel in the filter into a metal tray under the filter (posted in a separate thread).
When the diesel has finally evaporated it will be interesting to start the engine again and see if the drained filter makes any difference.

Diesel engines not starting due to air lock seems to be common, but mine has only failed to start immediately after cutting out, so perhaps bad fuel in the filter is just a symptom for me :?

I did not know that the fuel system on the Xsara Picasso is self-bleeding and hence doesn't require priming (from the Haynes manual).

@MixerFistit
It's hard to say if the 'chirping' could be related to the A/C because it's defective on my car. I had wondered if it could be a trouble component, however I guess there's no easy way to remove the unit from operation because the serpentine belt would still need its pulley to loop around, without a serious engine mod. Interesting question though, I imagine the compressor has some kind of clutch or is it permanently driven?

With hindsight, I would describe the noise I had from my pulleys as more of a squeaking, which comes and goes in my case. Interestingly, 'chirping' is how one article on the 1.6HDi described the noise the timing belt can make when it stretches. I believe my old timing belt used to stretch, normally when I shifted into 5th gear at too low a speed. I could have likened the noise to a 'ticking', also.
MixerFistit
Donor 2023
Posts: 101
Joined: 17 Oct 2021, 14:45
x 11

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by MixerFistit »

The compressor should have a clutch as my old xpic wouldn't engage it when the pressure was too low (A/C button would light up though) and lexia has the test option iirc. My A/C death was due to the pipe and fuel line rubbing together over a few years and wore a hole where it bends into an L shape to come towards the front of the car (damage was back left of the engine), I don't know of any of the HDi XPics skimped on A/C but if so, there'll be a belt for it (pulleys may be in different place though. I've heard of people measuring around and just getting the closest size.
I once had a faulty alternator on my 2.0 Dispatch and had to drive to drop it off for repair and managed to find a belt route around the pulleys that allowed me to keep power steering for the journey with my alternator in the passenger footwell (perks of having a good battery).
Anyway, don't get too hung up on the whatifs and maybes, get the belt off and first see if the noise goes away. If it does, check pulleys first then check the functional stuff like A/C, alternator, power steering.

I'm not sure what happened with the filter draining, but I'm not aware of a self priming feature. I thought they all had the priming bulb under the engine cover at the back so that's news to me. Even the C4Ps had a priming button on the filter. My 16 plate C4P self primed with the lift pump though.

Come to think of it, I used to get a fuel issue on one of the XPics I had, must've had a pinhole somewhere as it would need priming but then be fine. After changing the filter you'd need to prime it for a good minute even after the bulb went firm or you'd get a mile down the road and conk out. Like as if there was an air bubble somewhere. Once the system was fully primed and run for a few miles it would likely keep going until the lines were disturbed again.
2005 C8 2.2 HDI 4HW - 6 Seat, Exclusive

2006 Dispatch 2.0 HDi RHZ (SORN)
xsara92
Posts: 10
Joined: 06 Feb 2024, 20:49

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by xsara92 »

That's a cool example with the alternator. Seems there's more leeway with these cars if you're prepared to get hands dirty and experiment.
I'd like to try what you suggest with the belt, but unfortunately am without the tools and experience atm, DIY repair is a future aspiration:)
I am still tempted, however, to just unplug the MAFF but I don't think it's accessible in my setup without component removal.


I had my third hiccup today as I slowed down coming to a roundabout, and a stressful 60 seconds or so praying the HDi would oblige to restart, which it did, though I probably cranked it too long and too many times beforehand as I had some real tremors from the top of the engine, perhaps from the air filter area or the crankcase.
Right after restarting, the engine managed a 15-20% uphill gradient to my home in 2nd then 3rd, without any stutters. It was pretty limp in idle though when I finally parked.
No more driving it now for 2 weeks when it will need to get 5 miles to the garage.

To summarise, I definitely have an intermittent drop in rail pressure, which is unrelated to the starting process, and on all three occasions has come on when slowing down using minimal power.
Fingers crossed for a dirty filter or MAFF sensor or even EGR.
I've not refuelled in a while either and the tank was likely only 1/4 full when the problems started. Dirt and/or contaminated diesel must be a possibility.

The last thing to share in case it's useful, is the fact that the previous owner referenced excessive air getting sucked in to the engine, through the turbo in his view.
I would regularly have issues getting above 60mph, and heard a noise like a vacuum cleaner from the engine bay.
Changing the timing belt seemed to rectify this - the mileage was 92k when I finally got this done.
MixerFistit
Donor 2023
Posts: 101
Joined: 17 Oct 2021, 14:45
x 11

Re: 2008 1.6HDi fuel system / fuel filter

Post by MixerFistit »

I should say, I don't consider myself experienced by any means. I buy cheap old diesel Citroëns and get my hands dirty looking for the smallest issue to fix just so I can learn as I go along and if I kill it, then I move on to the next one. I like them to have problems because I like to learn. I owned a top spec 16 plate C4P (3 years old at the time) on finance and spent more time worrying about it, and paying monthly for the privelege. Great car but got shot of it and went back to cheap being able to buy another for the equivalent of 2 monthly payments.
So I'm willing to experiment approaching the reckless whereas that's certainly not for everyone.

From my experience with the 1.6 XPic a bad MAF has the effect of big turbo lag. Little power until you get up to 2k RPM then it goes off like a rocket and drives great. I can't remember if unplugging puts it into limp mode.

Sucking in air could possibly be a bad connection between the big black pipe that runs from the airbox into the turbo. The orange seal breaks after a while and replacements can be bought on ebay etc. Very easy to get to, it's right at the front of the engine. It's also very easy for them to slip off if over or under tightened and because you'll almost certainly have oil in the pipe, it can coat the seal and also cause it to slip off.
Air entering that way is not only unfiltered, it is also bypassing the MAF so could potentially cause issues although I doubt it would cause your issues. Well worth a check anyway.
2005 C8 2.2 HDI 4HW - 6 Seat, Exclusive

2006 Dispatch 2.0 HDi RHZ (SORN)