Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - johnny l.
I have a Citroen ZX Turbo Diesel.

Two winters ago I changed the glow plugs as I noticed it was sometimes having difficulty starting on cold mornings.
I changed 3 of the 4 but the other is seized solid.
The three new plugs made no difference.

I soldiered on , until last week I took the car to a Citroen specialist for a cambelt / water pump change.

Now the car takes two turns to start even on a warm morning. The engine turns but there doesn't appear to be any combustion at all on the first turn. On the second the engine springs to life.

What can I do?

This question has probably already appeared in this forum, but can anyone help?
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - sean
Hi johnny l.

The ZX has a bit of a reputation for this.

You can rule out the glowplugs unless you're located in the Arctic or somewhere similar.

What I expect you will find is air in the fuel delivery pipework. I seem to recall that you have a rubber primer near the fuel filter. If you pump this up before your first start of the day, I expect your engine to leap into life, in confirmation.
Another clue is the rubber plunger gets firm to the push, having been flaccid.

Then your fun starts. You have to find the source of the air ingress. Usually joint connections. Get yourself some vaseline. Smear it around the joints, one by one, and you should seal the leak. Having found the joint, you should then do a permanent fix.

To do this properly, you seal a joint each day, until you find just the right one. In practice, most folks give up after a few days and just seal the lot.

Glow plugs are quite dear (for a tight Yorkshireman like me) so I would whip them out and apply some battery current at post top and side area above the thread. The end glows red hot, if it's OK, and not, if not.
Don't burn yourself.
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - M.M

Sean makes some good points but I cannot agree with the glowplug issue. ZX TDs are designed to start with four good or cold.

So many times I've had this sort of thing reported only to find folks have not bothered to change the difficult to reach glowplug/s behind the injector pump.

If you are saying you know one plug is an old one then there is little point in going down the time consuming route looking for air leaks until you've sorted the plugs.

To fault find a ZX TD slow start you need to know you have 4 perfect glowplugs (prefer OE Beru, only about £7.70 each from Andyspares mail order).

Using a voltmeter check they are receiving 12v.

Check the cold start waxstat is pulling the pump into its fast idle position.

Make sure you have a decent battery and that the starter is spinning over quickly (many ZX TDs have tired starters now).

One important tip on a ZX D...let the glowplug lamp go out then count an extra four seconds (one elephant, two elephant and so on!) before turning the starter. This can make a *huge* difference.

Only after all that start to worry about an air leak, then Sean's advice is sound.

Oh Sean I thought the ZX diesel had the reputation for having one of the "founding" TD engines of the 80/90s. A real classic when Ford, VW and others were fitting absolute clunkers.


Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - sean

I entirely agree with your assessment of the old cit pug diesel. It was fitted by Rover and a good deal of others.

Ford won't thank me if I said I thought they were fitting clunkers even recently, before the TDdi and TDci, but this is my own, personal opinion.

I cannot comment on VAG pre-TDi. Nothing to do with me.

I bow to your expertise with the glowplugs too.

Ours are unused at temps above about 2 deg C. REALLY.

What I would do though is to see if pumping the bellows restores fuel pressure and test a cold start or two. This costs nothing and may prevent misery if a seized plug breaks up.

Thanks for your help, I want to help but also to learn and you have helped here.
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - Dizzy {P}
I would just like to add my bit of support to a couple of things mentioned by M.M -- things which affect all diesels, not just the ZX ...

1. I mentioned many months ago that my involvement with glowplug analysing for a diesel engine company showed that there can be huge differences hidden away inside glowplugs and BERU is at, or very close to, the top in design and quality. Where a BERU glowplug is listed for a diesel engine, I would always go for it even though it might cost a bit more than some lesser makes.

2. Again, *all* diesels, not just ZXs, rely on a good cranking speed for starting from cold. Auto-ignition in a cold cylinder is very difficult, even with the air/fuel mixture warmed by glowplugs, and will be assured only with the high compression that an efficient battery and starter motor can deliver. I thought I'd mention this with winter on its way!!
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - johnny l.

I posted the original message in this thread.

I can say that I have sorted the problem - kind of.

I went out on saturday and bought a Bosch silver heavy duty 72Amp from Frnch German and Swedish for £50. A bargain.

This starts the car every time - it has a lot more welly than my last one. My last battery was a Delphi (american) of only 60Amps from Costco.
It still doesn't fire on the first turn, but starts on the 2nd fine.


I think what has been happening is one of :

(1) The 2nd glow plug is not working and hence the engine doesn't fire on the first turn. The weaker battery struggled to compensate for a prolonged burst.

(2) I have a little bit of air coming in to the fuel. This only affects the engine on a cold start, it runs fine. Again, a more powerfull battery gives you the welly to push through to the 2nd turn over of the engine.

So it's a bit of everything really. And as the car is ten years old, £50 to keep it going through the winter is a bargain.

Thanks for all the advice.


Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - M.M
Have you tried the tip of leaving the engine an extra 4secs after the glowplug lamp goes out before turning over?

Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - DL
Injection pump timing checked after the cambelt replacement?
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - sean
Well, this is delightful.

The poster has replied about his success. We all like to hear that here.

The battery is one of Stan's. I have never seen a bloke as upset as Stan was when Sanghita Myska reported on him for the BBC.

You know, a bloke with a 16 year old Merc bought his bonnet badge for £15 vs £123 for a GENUINE Merc one, and was robbed.



Thanks DL, you have done the business here. Well done.

BTW. Look in Costco now. Stan's Bosch batteries, even cheaper.

Sorry, Stan
Stan - M.M
That Stan is a great bloke Sean. Top quality OE parts at superb low prices**. Phone him at 4pm and he'll save your life by bringing the parts to your door by 10am next day. Excellent website to browse through before ordering. Good technical forums on-line.

In fact he's going to be at ours tomorrow with another bargain box.

**Prices so low that the local trade motor factors say they must be counterfeit parts...more fool them for not matching methods are changing and those that say "I can't do it for that price" will slip into history.

Stan - sean

M.M. I do not know who you are. Stan knows who I am. Please do not tell the Forum, because you will then realise that I cannot return here, and only for legal reasons.

I think that I recognise you.

Stan is an honest, decent bloke. Ask HJ. He's another one. Yes, and up yours HJ. I think you remember me from Brighouse. Maybe not.


DD has my address. Do nothing on the public boards, please.
Stan - DL
This is doing my head in! It\'s like some code-speak!
Stan - M.M

Spend ten days on one of Sean's pommel horse holidays and it wouldn't be just your head!

Stan - sean

We are motor engineers, employed by blue-chip manufacturers.

If we offer you the correct advice, our dealers suffer.

They can't charge you above what common sense suggests is the right price.

You would never have come to these conclusions.

I am not who I appear to be.

There are people in the motor-trade who undercut the motor-trade.


No code, really.

MM behave, please, honestly.
Spares prices - M.M
>>MM behave, please, honestly.


Have a look at my new thread on spares pricing.


Spares prices - sean

PM me

We will both have awful trouble if this continues

Who are you?
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - Dan G
Why do you have to wait 4 seconds ? I find on my 306 LD that you have to wait for the airbag light to go off (approx. 4 seconds) before it will start.
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - Aprilia
Why all this gobbledegook about 'Stan'. I assume you mean Stan West? There's lots of other places sell Bosch batteries too, and I can beat Stan's price at my local agent.
Citroen ZX Diesel Cold Start - DL
4 seconds even with a warm engine, Dan?

Value my car