Jose Gavilaīs CitroŽn XM Pages - Repair Diary
In this section I will deal with the history and repairs my car has needed over the time, and specially on the repairs done by myself. I will put DATE and MILEAGE (well, km) on each entry.
I bought the car at about 350km from my home. I went by bus, bought it and returned home with the car. Well, not so... I drove it until, at about 100km from starting point, red battery icon lighted up in the cockpit. I tried to reach destination (well, I was so upset by my poor luck I did not thought too much ;-) ) but battery died about 110km later. So the car is now at 140km from my home. Obvious fault was a missing alternator belt. But I wonder why it broke. It could be just by age. But I am afraid of a frozen bearing or something similar.
I went to pick up my XM. Repair bill includes alternator belt and also a new expansion tank filler cap, as original had a bad gasket and it was evident there had been some leaking. Well, good thing is that car is now at home :-)!!!. I need to deal with the really bad condition suspension, though...
LHM level warning lamp lights so it is time to pay a first visit to the CitroŽn dealer which, fortunately, is close to my home. After some added LHM, lamp goes off.
I should say the suspension is completely busted. It is so bad that car is far worse than any other car I had ever driven. And pressure regulator clicks every second or so _without_ charge. When you are driving the car, specially when moving the steering wheel, it clicks like mad.
In order to fix the excessive clicking, I took the car to the CitroŽn mechanic and ask for an accumulator sphere replacement. After that, ticking takes about a minute at idle. Nice!. This proves that there is not a big LHM leakage in the circuit. But, of course, suspension keeps being a pig.
I am feed up of the bad suspension as the car is that way unusable and I know I could damage struts or their mountings. So car is back to the mechanic for a complete LHM drain and all spheres (6) change. Once there, I ask for a general maintenance, which includes oil, oil filter, air filter, spark plugs and a broken transmission gaiter. All is done for a mere 656 Euro (ouch!)
But car is now driveable :-)!. At last I feel the CitroŽn driving experience.
Car sees little use but enough to locate more faults, as a leaking main radiator. Once I locate a reasonable priced replacement (an original VALEO for 185 Euro), I proceed with the coolant flushing (wow, it was really dirty!) and radiator replacement. I replace also thermostat cover (had some cracks) and its gasket.
Now car runs cooler but still not as cool as expected... Talking with my friend Martin about that he tells me it is common to have trouble with fan relays and something about two speed fans. What?. My car has only one speed!. Reason is that somebody replaced an inverting relay (with both normally open and normally closed contacts) with an standard relay so slow speed does not work at all. Putting a good relay now car sits close to 80C while driving in cold weather (well, about 20C) and close to 90C in trafic jams.
Almost immediately after starting the engine, I get the ABS faulty message and get the icon lighted on. It is curious as before the works at the CitroŽn dealer, I got that light only from time to time. But now it is always on. There was some work made also on a front wheel and I wonder if they did something to the ABS sensor on it...
I check the ABS ECU for errors and find that it gives two of them: front left wheel sensor and rear left wheel sensor. Investigating on front wheel, connector is loose. Once it is reconnected, ABS error stops.
Once there, I read also HYDRACTIVE ECU: this time, using the trick of waiting for some time, I have been able to read the codes from it. I got 25 (vehicle height sensor), 22 (accelerator pedal position) and 24 (vehicle speed sensor). I have tried to reset them, but they are not reseted (or perhaps are continuous faults). These faults could be real, as the car, with new spheres and LHM, behaves basically fine but I have found that on acceleration, it raises the front... Could it be related with the faulty sensors?. It seems logical...
Well, I was happy today because for first time, I had driven the car with the family and everybody liked it... This afternoon, I have been rechecking ECU diagnostics to find that everything continued the same as last time: no problems at ENGINE ECU, two failing sensors at ABS ECU and three error codes at HYDRACTIVE ECU. I have tried to erase these last and there has begun my troubles. As closing the diag tool switch for about 30 seconds did not erase settings, I have done it for some minutes. One thing I have observed is that something which I think is a pump, just besides the battery and connected to the injection by a rubber tube, was buzzing all that time... I was not sure if this was normal and have left it that way for some minutes. Then, I have checked and HYDRACTIVE ECU error codes where still present. So I have left them.
But then I have tried to start the engine and it has started but not correctly and, in a moment, I have got the ENGINE ELECTRONICS FAULT icon lighted. I have restarted and have got the same. Idle was not good and the engine rattled. So I have read the ENGINE ECU (which previously had not any
error) to find error 52 (Air/fuel mixture control loop). I have thought something had gone wrong with the working pump while trying to reset codes :-(. So I have waited some time and then have restarted the engine and it seemed to be just fine.
But, about an hour later, I have started the car and, while driving, it has started to fail. It had almost no power, and computer was indicating very high consumption. Then the ENGINE ELECTRONICS FAULT had lighted again. I have gone back to home (I was just about 3km from it)
So I wonder what could happen... Have I ruined the lambda sensor?. If so, it is a part one can change?
Could the engine have 'learned' something badly and do I need to reset the ENGINE ECU by disconnecting battery?
I looked at the wobbling speedo trouble (which, by the way, seems to be a very common thing). I got out the speed sensor, cleaned it (externally; inside it was really clean) and checked movement of the speedo cable from the sensor to the cockpit, rotating it with my fingers. It seemed fine (no resistance nor hard spots) so I just put some drops of machine oil at the cable end from the engine and also inside the speed sensor pass-through hole. It sure made a difference!. Now there is still some small wobble but before I had about 10-20km/h wobble.
I don't know if this will last long, but it is definitely worth a try if you are in same case.
Front glass breaks (it had an small crack when I bought the car). Well, nice way to spend more money in the car!
Well, after several days working flawlessly I can finally say my IR remote is working fine!
When I got the car, seller said it was mostly unworking (i.e. it worked 1 from 10 times or so). So I opened and cleaned it and then I got a working remote. Too easy!. But after some time, it got back to the non-working state... and then it worked perhaps one in 25 times :-(
But, as I work in electronics, I could not let it that way. So opened it again to find nothing was apparently wrong. In fact, out of the box the circuit partially worked but in the box it failed most times. Batteries were not the problem nor the pushbutton.
Looking at the circuit in detail, I found some solder joints in the main integrated circuit (SMD=Surface Mount Device type) looked different than the rest (gray instead of silver)... so I resoldered them carefully. And, definitely, that was the problem; now the remote always works :-)!
So, if you have a non-working remote, check soldering job and, if in doubt, carefully redo it. You can get a nice surprise!
Well, yesterday I did some experiment with STP injector cleaner... I put a can and added, as per the manual, 40 liters of fuel. About 2 km from the gas station, while trying to enter a large highway, I got in trouble as the engine did all kind of bad things, hesitating a lot (instant consumption, at 30km/h was about 20 liter/100km!) and then, suddently, in just 500 meters, problem went away and did not return.
Could it be the cleaning fluid doing its work?. Any experience with this kind of products?. I thought they were safe...
Finally, reason to break the alternator belt is found: aircon compressor seized!- So, after locating a replacement in a breaker (60 Euro), I took the car to my friendly mechanic and he replaces it and puts R413a in the circuit.
There is some whinning when the clutch is engaged but at least I get cold air, much needed at East Spain in Summer :-). Mechanic works (replacement and recharge) is just 80 Euros, which I find really cheap.
September-2002 to January-2003
Car sits basically unused due to two reasons: first, there is an electrical fault which stops the car from time to time and, second, we are doing some works at home and car is in a neighbours house during them.
After several hours spent trying to troubleshoot electrical problems I decide to spend some money in Genuine CitroŽn Spares...
Some timewarp here... I will try to fill the big gap ASAP!
Today I have repaired a coolant leak.
I had my XM parked for almost a couple months due to a coolant leak. It was not too large but when I got the 'low coolant level' message, I felt unconfortable and left the car unused. Good thing is that I knew where it came from (thermostat housing). Bad thing is that I had replaced both thermostat housing and gasket some years ago (but had done just about 15.000km or so). So I was afraid of a crack in the plastic housing, as gasket was new and there is no secret installing it...
Today my other car (a Renault Espace 3.0 V6) has given me a sad surprise as coolant has some kind of mayonaise on it :-( :-(. It _could_ be the sealant powder I put on it about a year ago, as it leaked some coolant... but I am afraid it could be oil mixed with coolant (there is NO coolant on oil, though). And it uses coolant... BUT, and this is my hope, there is a leak in the main radiator.
Well, anyway, this has urged me to attempt the long-due XM repair. In my car, access is somewhat limited due to turbo and air hoses, among other things as cabling, accelerator cable and so on. Good thing is that I had done it before so I knew it was possible, if a bit laborious. Today weather in Valencia has been splendid: 23ļC at 15:00!. So it was the perfect day to work on my car (which, BTW, had a thick dirt layer on it :-( ).
Once I have got the thermostat housing out (about 1 hour work, doing things carefully), I have found the reason for the problem: I had managed to put previous gasket incorrectly seated!. Well, sometimes I also fail ;-)
Armed with a brand new gasket (sitting for months in my XM parts box, as leak was found some time ago but, as it was small enough, I lived with it), I have cleaned mating surfaces, removed old gasket and put new one. This time, I have been extra careful with the thermostat ;-)
I still need to check the car for some days but, judging by the greenish deposits just below the thermostat housing, it seems evident that the leak was clearly there. My car, prior to that leak, used very little coolant so it should be back there.
Once I have finished with the thermostat, I have cleaned the car (what a nice looking car a clean XM is :-)!) and have it ready for next week. XM strikes again!!!
Well, today was the day... I had finally some time to devote to the washerpump repair work. I was a bit afraid of it as I was not eager to remove wheel, perhaps air filter, wheel arch cover and so on. But then, once I have looked at the wheel arch cover, I have thought that it could be possible to do the work just putting car in highest position, without removing wheel...
And, yes, I have done it :-)!. It has not been easy, though. First, wiggle with the wheel arch cover to get it out partially, enough to access the reservoir. Then I have removed only one support nut inside bonnet (the one closer to headlight) and have been able to lower a bit the reservoir, adding also some extra space in horizontal so, with lots of work, I have got out both pumps (they were really hard to pull out, mostly due to the very tiny free space around).
Both had a similar problem: they were stuck. I have cleaned them and taken to my home lab to work on them. I have found that top cover (green in this case) could be removed to get some reduced access to the innards of the pumps; just tiny holes but I could look that they seemed in perfect condition.
With a flat blade screwdriver, I have forced from bottom of the pump all inner assembly upwards a bit. But pump, powered with a lab power supply, at 12 volts, was still stuck (I had limited power supply to 2 amperes maximum). I have managed to move the mechanism a bit at a time with a plastic stick, until unit has been able to move by itself. Consumption was then about 0.65 amperes. I have oiled the only moving part you can get access, in the top side.
Second pump has taken some more time to repair but result has been the same.
I think failure mode for the pumps is water slowly entering the bottom of it and oxidizing axis until it gets stuck. So I don't know how much they will last in working condition. As preventive maintenance, running them weekly could work... time will tell!
What is nice is that the rear pump had never worked in my 5+ years of XM ownership and I find it a nice 'upgrade' :-)
These pages are UNDER CONSTRUCTION. More to come soon!
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