Citroen ZX diesel starting problem - Dick Dastardly
Our second car is an M-reg Citroen ZX diesel, which has done just over 100,000 miles and has been very reliable. We have owned it from new and now do about 6,000 miles a year in it, mostly in short journeys.

Just back from a two week summer holiday and it won't start. It was left on our drive. The week before we went away it had done about 50 miles a day going to and from work so no prior warning of any problem. The starter motor and battery seem fine, but the engine simply doesn't turn over.

I am no technician but if it was a petrol car I would take the spark plugs out, warm them and try again. Are there any similar simple things to try for a diesel car before we resort to calling our friendly independent garage?

Citroen ZX diesel starting problem - M.M
Before I advise any more...

The starter motor and battery seem fine, but the engine simply doesn't turn over

Why would you say the battery and starter are fine if it doesn't turn over at all?

And does it even click, do you get dash warning lamps and which immob', if any, does it have?

Citroen ZX diesel starting problem - Dick Dastardly
Sorry for not being more specific, as I say I am no technician. When I switch on the ignition the warning lights come on as usual, and then the light on the steering wheel goes off to indicate that it is ok to turn the engine on.

If I then try to turn the engine on I can hear the starter turn over as usual but there doesn't seem to be any response and the engine doesn't catch. There isn't an immobilizer (one of the blessings of a ZX is that I don't think anyone would want to nick it).

Citroen ZX diesel starting problem - M.M
This problem of diesel stating has been chewed over on this forum time and time again. A search with the "Forum Search" in the panel to the right will turn up loads.

Anyway here is an (edited) post I made recently...

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.

Do read the whole thread though...

I'm unsure to the importance of the two weeks standing in your case. Is there just a chance that natural drain on the battery over this period has taken its power, and hence the starter cranking speed, below a critical level.

Diesels can be like this. One that is normally a good starter has a drop in battery power, it feels a little slower to turn over but you expect it will start...but it never does until the battery is sorted.

Might fully charging you battery be a good first check?


Citroen ZX diesel starting problem - RichardW
I would consider an air leak here also. Try pumping the fuel primer - if it feels soft and remains so for more than 3 or 4 presses then you possibly have an air leak and the fuel has drained back to the tank whilst you were away. Pump till it's hard, turn on the ignition and pump a bit more, then it should start OK. Probably not much of an issue it it doesn't do it if you use it regularly, but will probably worsen over time and mean pumping every start.


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....

Value my car