Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
I need to help sort out an intermittent starting problem which a friend has with her 1998 Saxo X 1.1i.

Often it fails to start. Her solution is to wait and try later. This has always worked eventually.
The problem has been mentioned to various people who have serviced the car. No one has yet come back and said Yes, I have solved that little problem.
A typical scenario is when she starts the car from cold, does not drive it far enough for the engine to come up to temperature, stops for half an hour, then tries to restart.
More recently the car fails to start when cold. Again, if you are patient enough to keep going back, it will eventually start on the first turn as normal.
The car is mainly used for trips of less than 10 miles in rural Scotland.

Our questions are:
1. We are reluctant to go to a dealer with an intermittent problem, especially as the warning light on the dash has never lit. Does the latter mean that fault codes have not been recorded by the ECU?
2. We have got a Haynes manual and can see that several sensors and actuators are involved in starting the engine. Anything got any suggestions about this particular fault.

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - LeePower

When the car fails to start, is the engine turning over o.k.

Also next time it happens, put your ear next to the drivers side rear wheel & listen for the fuel pump running for a couple of seconds when you turn the ignition on & report back.

It could be the imobiliser, Check that the lights going out on the dash when your trying to start.
There was a dodgy batch of aerials in 1998 that do fail like this & this needs to be ruled out first.
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
Hi Lee
Thanks for responding.
When the car fails to start, the engine does turn over ok.
When the engine starts normally, the immobiliser light goes off. On at least one of the occasions when the engine has failed to start and I have been present, this light has been flashing.
Is the word aerials in your reply a typing error? If not, what do you mean?

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - LeePower

There is a small aerial coil fitted around the ignition barrel that is part of the imobiliser system.

In 1998 there was a dodgy batch of these fitted to Peugeot & Citroen cars & as they get older they fail & the imobiliser wont switch off & plays up.

£26 for a new one from the dealer & it just plugs in.

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
Hi again
So if this light flashes on the next occasion when the engine will not start, we can probably assume that the aerial is causing the immobiliser to fail?

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - LeePower
If the light is flashing it means the imobiliser hasnt turned off, The key hasnt been droped on the floor has it?

Next time it happens, try removing the key away from the ignition barrel, waiting 10 seconds & stick it back it & try again.

The aerial is an easy swop, its a black plastic coil fitted around the ignition barrel & has a plug attached that connects to the car.

Its a really commen fault on Peugeots & Citroens of this age, the aerial has been modified too & these where fitted in production around the end of october 1998 onwards.

Around £26 for a new one down the Peugeot / Citroen dealer.

Its called a Transponder aerial.

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - dieselhead
Has the coolant been replaced with the correct distilled water + anti freeze solution every 2 years. If it's been neglected suggest that it's gone acidic and attacked the coolant temperature sensor causing it to short out. Results in poor cold starting. Just a thought.
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
Thanks, Lee, for spelling it out. I am still waiting for it to happen again. What is the relevance of the key being dropped on the floor? Do you mean is it damaged? The answer is that the metal part is bent as if someone has been using it as a lever.
Thanks for responding too, Dieselhead. The answer in your case is that that aspect has been taken care of.
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - LeePower

When it happens again, try using the other key for a while & see if the fault happens with this different key.

Sometimes when the key is dropped on the floor, the chip inside the key gets damaged & your imobiliser will either not turn off or it will play up.

On some cars, the chip can fall out of the key when its dropped & you either find the small chip on the floor ( you need good eyesight because its so small )or you have to get a new key cut & coded to the car.
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
Hi Lee
Thanks for giving yet more info.
It transpires that the key got bent when my friend had difficulty removing it from the filler cap and was helped by others. We have decided for the moment to use the spare key only. It seems as if that will isolate the problem more quickly.
I suspect that if she (and I) had taken more notice of the warning lights, this problem may have been resolved long ago. On the other hand, what they mean is poorly documented in the Citroen handbook and not at all in the Haynes manual. I have observed that the fuel pump can be heard clearly when you turn the ignition key.
Anyway, we are going away for a few days in my car, so the problem will have to wait.
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - LeePower
See what happens using the other / spare key, but I still think you will end up getting a new Transponder aerial for it.

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
Just to keep you informed, Lee. Not using the car much at the moment. No starting problems at present using the spare key. If it continues like this, we will switch back to the bent key.
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - John Boy
I'm ashamed to say I never got round to saying Thankyou, Lee. As you suggested, it was a faulty transponder aerial. I've since met another Saxo owner with the same problem and solution, but lucky enough to have it diagnosed quickly by a dealer. Thanks again!
1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1 Heater Problem - Jamie

I have just recently purchased a 1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1. The heater blower and heated rear window fail to work. I have read your information but when a new transponder aerial was fitted it did not make a difference. The fuse in both circuits is fine and I have tried new ones. The car came with two keys so I have tried both but it makes no difference. Do you have any idea what the problem maybe?

1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1 Heater Problem - madf
Does the rear wiper work?
Both rear heater and blower are wired through the ignition switch. Which suggests you may have a fault from ignition switch to fuse. Try switching on the ignition and testing the volateg at teh fuse ( a 12V bulb plus wire to earth will do if you don't have a meter).
If it fails to light, fault is probably at ignition switch. If it lights, fault is elsewhere.


1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1 Heater Problem - David Horn
I think the problem might be more serious than something in the ignition switch, as these accessories only work when the engine's running.
1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1 Heater Problem - Quinny100
Blower and heated rear window not working on a Saxo is almost certainly faulty contacts in the ignition switch. Its a very common problem as they get older. You can replace the ignition switch or have a wiring mod done to cure the problem.
1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1 Heater Problem - Jamie
Thanks for the replies regarding the heater problem. The rear wiper works and when I have tested the heater blower to see if the fuse is live with the engine running and the heater switched on there is no current present. Its looking like it?s the ignition switch does anybody know how to do the mod and bypass the ignition switch. Will this cause the fan to work at only one speed?

1999 Citroen Saxo 1.1 Heater Problem - madf
It's a common Citroen failing due to cheap nasty and horrible electrics. Attached is a link to solve the problem on a Xantia - and I suspect the principles are the same whichever Citroen you have.


Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - cjd
i've got exactly the same problem with my saxo (same year, 1.1 forte). i don't think that the problem on mine is key related, but i get the same starts sometimes but not consistently. use my car in the same way - mainly for short trips and is kept outside.

i took it to a garage who ran a diagnostic and said it was the stepper motor - this seemed to solve the problem for a wee while (over the summer . . ) but now it's getting cold and wet again the problem has reoccurred.

any thoughts?



Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - Peter D
I've changed several of these for aerial unit to solve starting probs. Do you have an immobiliser light and is it going out even when the car will not start. On Pugs there is no light so I rig one up to the Fuel relay to prove it is not coming on. The give away is that when it does start it fires immediately and runs fine, i.e. it has had no fuel during the non start. The other possibility is the crant position sensor low output. Seen a couple of these where you can pust shart the car OK but not crank it to start the cranking speed is slower and just not enough output at low revs. Regards Peter
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - cjd
thanks p

i have booked it into the garage for an unrelated problem (tread on tyres at failing my MOT level!) so i'll see if they can check whether that's the issue

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - cjd
have checked what the immobiliser light does (don't know what it is meant to do!).

it comes on when the battery ignition is on, but goes out when starting.

not sure what that means.

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - Alan Mc

I have similar starting problem with a 1998 1 litre Spree. Bought a new transponder aerial from dealer but have been told that I have to take it back to them to have code programmed in etc
Is that right ? Is it possible to just by-pass the immobiliser and just throw away the transponder aerial ?
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - bell boy
the transponder is an aerial pickup only and reads the chip in your key they do not need coding
I dont know what your problem is and why you bought a new bit that goes round the ignition barrel
Have you checked basics as to why car not running?
they can flip the fuel cutoff quite easily these cars (big red square thing on right of bulkhead as you look from front of car)
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - GingerStudent
Hi, I wonder if anyone can help.

Iv got a saxo 1.1 petrol (1997) and recently it has decided to have a problem with starting. When firing the car up its starts but there is an awful coughing coming from the exhaust and when i rev the car it either struggles lets out a mighty cough or it cuts out. I can drive it but it i have to have it in high revs otherwise it stalls. This is an intermittent problem as it does not happen all the time and the car runs fine, though it is now happening more frequent and now starting to happen even if i am driving.
I have had new sparks fitted, checked the HT leads and distributor and air filter but short of going to a garage im a bit stumped as to what else it could be.

Be great if someone could help.

Regards, Jim
Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - dannylee32

hi there iv got the same probblem somtime my car dont want to start even if iv been driving it for a wile the fuel pump dose not kick in when it dont start but if i turn the key on and off for a wile i hear it kick in then most of the time it fires so i got a new fuel pump today and its still doing the same thing also the car revs its self most of the time up to 2000 rpm i looked on the internet to find out why and replaced my coolant temp sensor it made a little diffrents but not much as the car still reved every now and then someone said it could be the fuel pump relay but have not found a place that sells them to find out

i hope some one can help me as im on the verge of scrapping

Citroen Saxo 1.1 starting problems - sammyc

same problem here, but turned out to be idle control valve on the throttle body needed cleaning with carb cleaner, been fine ever since. hope this helps


Edited by sammyc on 30/04/2012 at 23:09


Value my car