reluctant Xanti TD starting - Martin Allan
I have a Citroen Xantia 1.9 Sx TD Estate (not Hdi) with just over 90,000 miles on the clock. I bought it second hand with 62,000 miles up with a full service history. Since then it has had regular servicing at recommended intervals by local garages and more recently by a non-franchised Citroen specialist. I also change the oil myself in between the 6,000 service intervals. For about the last 25,000 miles it has been a bit reluctant to start. I tend to use the heater plugs twice and it always starts quite well. It never fails to start if I do this and once started it runs perfectly, but unless I do this it splutters before starting and sometimes produces white smoke with some hunting.

A mechanic friend has suggested that it might be running slightly weak but to leave well alone provided it is reliable, as I am averaging about 46 to the gallon.

Other mechanics have said it is a known problem with Xantias, and that dealers have tried fuel filter housing replacements, suspected non-original fuel filters, but that no-one has really pinpointed the problem. They say it is a niggling annoyance rather than a reliability problem.
Re: reluctant Xanti TD starting - Matt
Could be a problem with the glow plugs. I have never experienced it myslef but had a friend whose Pug 505 would not start very well until he replaced the glow plugs after which time it started straight away.

Should be a DIY job as I don't believe they are anywhere near as critical to set up as the injectors.
Re: reluctant Xanti TD starting - Brian
Amen to the glow-plug solution. I had to change mine on the Pug 309.
It may be that one or more out of the set has blown.
They are not to expensive and at 90k may well have started to fail.
If you want to check first it is possible to identify faulty plugs with a resistance meter.
The white smoke is vaporised but unburnt fuel coming through. It indicates that one or more cylinders are not firing.
Re: reluctant Xanti TD starting - Chris
Seems unlikely to be "running a bit weak," because diesels don't work like that: a bit of accelerator to "enrich" the mixture and it would run fine even at start up. More likely glow plugs, especially if it runs ok in general. Get 'em changed before the winter!

Re: reluctant Xanti TD starting - Dave
Do fuel filter problems cause tricky starting but NOT poor running?

My Rover sometimes fails to start well and splutters as if it's out of gas. Foot full to the floor and usually pick up after a few seconds.

I've always though it might be the fuel filter but assumed a clogged filter would lead to poor running at all times not just the first few seconds.

Doesn't happen enough for any kind of diagnostics... - Save that there's always spark and removal of the air box seems to naturally cure it before I can see if there's any gas going on...

Fuel filter?
Re: reluctant Xanti TD starting - Chris
Dave wrote:
> Do fuel filter problems cause tricky starting but NOT poor
> running?

*Maybe* in the case of waxing in cold weather; the fuel in the pipes and filter is more liable to wax than the fuel in the (full) tank - not really a problem with modern fuels anyway. But if the filter is just plain clogged I'd have thought it would struggle all the time, and more pedal wouldn't help much. Starting problems like this are usually down to heat, or lack of it. Is the battery ok?

Re: reluctant Xanti TD starting - Andrew Tarr
Martin - have you tried the diesel conditioner treatment?
Thanks for the help but the glowplugs are new! - Martin Allan
Thanks to all who have answered, but I should have said the glow plugs were changed as soon as the problem started!

The mechanic friend is very well versed in diesel engines and advises that the pump can be set to provide weak mixture across the range (by reducing the pump stroke or similar I think he said) he has a diesel Ford Fiasco which regularly achieves phenomenal economy.

The plugs are definitely OK, and the symtoms have not changed since the plugs were changed last august. The starting did not get any worse during the cold weather last winter either.

Still puzzled.
Important Xantia faults to check. - David Woollard

I'm not sure if I've seen you on the forum before but regulars will tell you I'm a Xantia nut. I own one, look after several more (all TDs), and write for the Citroen Car Club magazine on technical matters (but that doesn't mean I know everything!).

The guys speaking about the glow plugs could be right still even if they are new. You should check/query the brand and grade. Some plugs work better than others and the wrong grade fitted accidentally can give problems.

Check the heating time from the glowplug control box. If it was too short or mising the post-start heat this could give trouble.

There has been a problem with the filter housing getting air leaks, rather than with the actual filter, but I would expect this too cause odd surging problems in running.

Did you know the rubber diesel flow/return pipes fail just behind the engine (where they have a sharp bend) to give air leaks. This is very common now on the older Xantias.

Were you aware the Xantia diesel has a diesel version of an auto-choke? This commonly fails and surprisingly even some specialists ignore (or don't understand) this. It gives extra fuel and a higher idle in the warm-up period. There are three systems over the years to do this. The earlier is a simple waxstst and cable that seizes. Later cars have one of two complicated ECU controlled systems. I have just repaired the ECU based one on Dad's Xantia.

Starter cranking speed is important on a diesel to give a snappy start. If the battery is weak this wouldn't help. Also a worn starter turning over slowly can make an engine hard to start. Again this is often overlooked.

I knew a DIY mechanic that re-built a whole Volvo TD engine because it would hardly start before the battery went flat. About £800 in parts later and it was almost the same. Then he fitted a new starter, then engine span about three times faster than before, and it has been fine ever since!

Come back to me with any queries.

I would like to hear from David Lacey as well because he looks after several Xantias.

Always use genuine glow plugs - David Lacey
Hi all,
In my experience I have found it best to use genuine glow plugs. The plugs fitted to the Xantia are different to plugs used in other XUDT engines - with a slightly thinner tip.

We have never replaced a fuel filter housing - although I think this would give rise to engine surging though.

I think the fuel injectors should be removed, recalibrated & cleaned together with a new set of genuine glow plugs

While you are doing this, carry out a compression test


Re: Always use genuine glow plugs - Clive Chattell
What effort is needed to change the glow plugs?
I have a Xantia with very similar problems.
Re: Always use genuine glow plugs - Martin Allan
Fitting the plugs on a 1.9 turbo is not that easy, and if you are not careful you can displace the intercooler pipe from the turbo. This can have the result that the intercooler connection with the turbo cracks. (It's quite robust and reasonably well designed), however as a plastic component with a weld at just the wrong place for ham fisted mechanics; who when trying to shove the pipe out of the way crack it. The crack grows until the intercooler pipe is not connected at all and tends to "blow" out of the way when the turbo reachesd boost at about 2,200 RPM.
Overall I found out the hard way - useless pattern plugs and no turbo effect to speak of!

Luckily the local garage owner is reasonable and although I could not positively prove his mechanic had broken the pipe he fitted free the second hand intercooler pipe I managed to obtain for about£12 from a breaker.

He also recommended a local independent diesel specialist who checked everything out for me and fitted genuine Bosch Glowplugs for £70 inc Vat. Not bad when you consider that the plugs cost about £8+Vat.

The car now starts better when freezing cold than when warm! (Warm starts are fine ) and I'm getting about 44 to the gallon average. so the injectors don't need touching. (The sopecialists words) The car goes very well overall quite nippy now I've also got a turbo system without holes!

One other tip, whether its HDI or an old type mechaniocal pump The specialist strongly reccommends the use of an additive like Diesel Plus because moderm low sulphur fuels have not got the lubricity of older diesel, consequently the pumps HDI/electronic or otherwise are being ruined.

Luckily I new this and have always used additive about every second filling - probably why the injectors are OK after 98,000 miles!

Value my car