Loss Of Brakes - 2001 Citroen Xsara - volcane
Hi All,

Coming home this eve and attempting to turn into estate I suddenly found that I had no or almost no brakes. The pedal is rock hard. Will brake slightly when forced. Does this mean the servo is gone? or could it be the master cylinder. The car is a 01 xsara HDI 105k miles brakes normally brilliant. How hard a job would it be to fix?

Thanks for any help opinions
Loss Of Brakes - mark999
Sounds like the servo. If the master cylinder had gone the brake pedal would have little or no resistance.
Loss Of Brakes - volcane
Went for a spin just now, brakes back to normal. Should I change the servo? A similar incident to the above happening on the motorway at 90+ could result in several fatalities myself included.
Loss Of Brakes - RichardW
Sounds more like a loss of vacuum to the servo, rather than servo failure. I'd be looking at the vacuum pipes and pump etc first - trouble is you might not be able to diagnose till it fails completely....!

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Loss Of Brakes - M.M
Like Richard I'd be looking at a failure of vacuum to the servo. I know there have been problems in this area.

Have a look at the Car by Car Breakdown on this site to see mention of two brake related recalls. I wonder if you have the vac pump type mentioned??

Loss Of Brakes - volcane
I checked re recall status apparently did not apply to my car. Brakes did well today and 130 miles of driving. It was extremely wet last night, the road believing it was a river maybe the brakes were just swamped (but it didn't feel like that!)
Loss Of Brakes - L'escargot
Perhaps the vacuum hose to the servo sometimes collapses and prevents the servo from being vacuumised ~ or whatever the correct word is!. If the inner layer of the hose separates from the rest it may not be apparent from the outside. However, I'm not sure how you would diagnose this mode of failure DIY-wise.
Loss Of Brakes - volcane
Thanks for all your help, I'll just have to be careful for a while and maybe replace all the vacuum hoses just to be sure. Brakes good today 110 miles.
Loss Of Brakes - bell boy
brakes and water dont mix maybe you should practise the dab method in pouring raid to dissipate water in future?
consider this
you are driving a transit loaded to the limit and weighing 3.5 tonnes and pulling off the motorway which you have been on for 57 miles,do you wait till you get to the junction to test your brakes or do you dab them to check you have them as you go on the slip road?
Loss Of Brakes - volcane
Thanks this is why I am worried I am well aware of the above and mechanisms to keep brakes water free such as BMW activating brakes in the rain. Also before I had my scare I had passed through a large roundabout, a set of traffic lights where I made a 90 turn to the left and two mini roundabouts so I must have braked for some of these obstacles. If I have any more problems I will post again.
Loss Of Brakes - jc2
Most servoes hold sufficient vacuum for two or three applications of brakes.
Loss Of Brakes - pmh
> If I have any more problems I will post again.>

But you may not be able to! ;-)


pmh (was peter)

Loss Of Brakes - yorkiebar
Even without servo (assistance ) you should still have brakes, but the pedal will need much more effort to produce the same force.

You need to identify quickly if you have working brakes (with or woithout servo) or not.

Its your life (and others) at stake please sort it as a matter of urgency.

Takee your car to any mot testing station and pay for a brake test so that you get a readout of what is happening at each wheel. Please !
Loss Of Brakes - LeePower
Could be servo, could be vacume pump, could be one way air valve, could be rear compensator valve.

Has this Xsara got ABS fitted? More importantly do you know if it has EBD fitted?

Loss Of Brakes - volcane
Car has ABS (standard on all post 01 xsaras) with EBD, discs all round which are all very shiny! I look after the car very well and always replace tyres, pads discs etc well ahead of schedule with quality parts. I am not one to neglect a problem and today have had the car with a mechanic friend (who assists me with the harder jobs) who reckons it was just the water but I don't agree. I think I will book the car in with a citroen specialist (not a main dealer) and ask for a diagnosis as soon as I can.
Loss Of Brakes - LeePower
So it does have EBD, that means theres no rear compensator valve in the brake circuit, its electronicaly controled by the EBD system.

When the fault happens did the brakes just not do anything or did the fronts work, the nose dip & the rears didnt do anything but it took a lot longer to stop?

Any sign of the EBA & / or autowarn cutting in?
Loss Of Brakes - volcane
The pedal was just very firm but when pushed very firmly seemed to brake normally ie no dipping etc (new monroe struts/shocks fitted so dipping no longer a significant feature anyway). No warning lights at all and nothing when scanned by a Sykes Pickavant reader. The fault happened once only, but was still scary even though I was doing 30mph or less.

Thanks for the help/concern
Loss Of Brakes - LeePower
I would be very tempted to change the one way air valve in the servo hose, known to cause a lot of problems with the servo & pedal feel & they do have a higher then average failure rate.
Loss Of Brakes - volcane
Thanks Lee, I will find required part on autodata and replace on Monday. Hope to post again!!!
Loss Of Brakes - 2001 Citroen Xsara - Roly93
If it is a petrol Xsara I dont think there will be a vacuum pump, as the vacuum will come from the inlet manifold.
On top of the other valid suggestions so far, I have heard of a problem with the one-way valve (if fitted) which stops the vacuum from escaping from the servo. This valve is usually on the vacuum pipe to the servo. I had a problem like this on an escort years ago and replacing this little plastic valve solved the problem.
Loss Of Brakes - 2001 Citroen Xsara - LeePower
OP said it was a HDI so it will have a vacum pump being a diesel.

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