OT: Borked engine?

OT: Borked engine?

Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 24th, 2012, 5:03 pm #1

I must admit that I haven't a clue as to what's going on with my engine... No clue at all...

The engine in question is a 1.4L(straight 4) gasoline injection sitting in my 1999 Citroën Berlingo.

Don't laugh or point your nose at the 'weird French car', it does 35mpg... With a kayak on the roof...
Or, it used to do...

In may the engine 'crapped out', and after getting hold of some Chinese pirated OBD II equipment for the car(It's old, the connector has the right shape ut the electronics aren't exactly 'standard'), it told me that one of the coils had died.
It has 2 coils mounted in a long 'cassette' over the spark plugs, so no HT leads anywhere. No distributor either.
The cassette was replaced(praise be for online parts stores) and the car puttered on...

Then, earlier this week, it seems it lost the will to live, and all pulling power was gone. Almost as bad as when it was ust firing on two cylinders...
And to top it off, it boiled over while struggling its way home.

When I examined it afterwards, I found lots of brown sludge in the coolant, and that the thermoswitch for the fan had died.
Thermoswitch was easy enough to replace.
I also replaced the old thermostat, just to be on the safe side.
Cleaned out as much of the gunk from the system as I could, too.

As the borown sludge is supposedly a sign that the coolant has been contaminated with oil, I checked the oil for crap, too.
IT was a bit low, and maybe a bit old, but didn't look as if it had water in it.
I pulled the spark plugs and checked the compression.
(In case the head gasket had expired)
All the cylinders measured to within half a Bar of each other.
Strange thing is that they measured higher than normal.

The plugs were worn, though, with the central cathode worn down so much that the gap was over 1mm, and even had a slant at the tip. Replaced them with new plugs of Yttrium and with dual electrodes.

Tested it and it idles normally, but still lacks power when trying to drive anywhere.

The only thing my OBD-reader tells me is tat I have a 'permanent fault' with the Lambda sensor, and that fault was there when it all began.

I've only had the car for little over half a year, so I don't know the entire service history of it. And I never checked the coolant when I bought it(shame on me), so I can't tell if that was a pre-existing problem or not. And the only 'long'(over 100Km at one go. I often drive longer, but there's all these ferries here, so it's bl**dy difficult to travel anywhere for more than 100Km without having to use one) trip I've done with it was when I drove it home after buying it, and since I was more concerned about the crappy 'winter wheels' on it and the icy roads, I really didn't notice anything unusual. (Besides, the heater went on full blast the entire trip, and that also helps cool down the engine)

I did ask at a car forum, but the responses was mostly from Merc owners bragging about their cars...
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smorizio
smorizio

June 24th, 2012, 5:14 pm #2

if it still running hot it may be the water pump at the end of it life..most times the fans wear out. the oil in the water is a sign that the there a leak. it better to be safe then to warp or crack a set of heads..my sister did that with her old toyota 22r truck...drove around with a bad rad and it overheated and crack the heads..she did not pull over when the light came on. as the car has 100,000 miles i would check when the timing belt or chain needs to be replaced and have all three done at the same time..it not going to be cheap but it save you if your belt or chain breaks. (did that on my old 92 status) few miles from home at a stop light..car will just die and that it..hand over your first born to a tow truck driver to haul it to a shop.
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 24th, 2012, 5:51 pm #3

According to the docs that did come with the car, it has had all the normal services done. The belts are part of normal service.
(It's one of the reasons I bought such an old car. Got it dirt cheap... Of course, I haggled it down quite a bit because of the bad tires, a rotten exhaust and a non-working sun-roof. )

Didn't think of the pump as the only previous experience I have had with those is the one that was in my Citroën CX (2L carburetted, 110Hp, a real cruiser), and when that one failed, the gushes of coolant was a pretty good indicator of where the problem was...

Don't have a picture of my car, but here's one of a similar one:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/essex999/6975428893/

Same beautiful colour, but mine still has all the hubcaps and most of the original paint left.
And yes, the black on the roof is the sun roof...
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Someone
Someone

June 24th, 2012, 5:55 pm #4

if it still running hot it may be the water pump at the end of it life..most times the fans wear out. the oil in the water is a sign that the there a leak. it better to be safe then to warp or crack a set of heads..my sister did that with her old toyota 22r truck...drove around with a bad rad and it overheated and crack the heads..she did not pull over when the light came on. as the car has 100,000 miles i would check when the timing belt or chain needs to be replaced and have all three done at the same time..it not going to be cheap but it save you if your belt or chain breaks. (did that on my old 92 status) few miles from home at a stop light..car will just die and that it..hand over your first born to a tow truck driver to haul it to a shop.
"hand over your first born to a tow truck driver to haul it to a shop. "

Given the cost of raising kids nowadays, accept the second or third born of the tow truck driver to haul it to the shop.

As long as the compression is good (not just equal, but in the acceptable range), I'd

1. Replace the water pump
2. Replace the fuel and air filters
3. Pressure test the coolant system. Don't just pump it up, check for a pressure drop after 1, 5, and 15 minutes.
4. Check for a clogged fuel injector
5. Check the fuel system pressure

And, of course, the O2 sensor.

Also, run it for 300 or so km, then check the coolant and oil for contaminants. If there is a leak, it should show up in that time.

I have all of the tools and equipment to do the above, so my situation may be different from yours.
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Shargo
Shargo

June 24th, 2012, 6:00 pm #5

I must admit that I haven't a clue as to what's going on with my engine... No clue at all...

The engine in question is a 1.4L(straight 4) gasoline injection sitting in my 1999 Citroën Berlingo.

Don't laugh or point your nose at the 'weird French car', it does 35mpg... With a kayak on the roof...
Or, it used to do...

In may the engine 'crapped out', and after getting hold of some Chinese pirated OBD II equipment for the car(It's old, the connector has the right shape ut the electronics aren't exactly 'standard'), it told me that one of the coils had died.
It has 2 coils mounted in a long 'cassette' over the spark plugs, so no HT leads anywhere. No distributor either.
The cassette was replaced(praise be for online parts stores) and the car puttered on...

Then, earlier this week, it seems it lost the will to live, and all pulling power was gone. Almost as bad as when it was ust firing on two cylinders...
And to top it off, it boiled over while struggling its way home.

When I examined it afterwards, I found lots of brown sludge in the coolant, and that the thermoswitch for the fan had died.
Thermoswitch was easy enough to replace.
I also replaced the old thermostat, just to be on the safe side.
Cleaned out as much of the gunk from the system as I could, too.

As the borown sludge is supposedly a sign that the coolant has been contaminated with oil, I checked the oil for crap, too.
IT was a bit low, and maybe a bit old, but didn't look as if it had water in it.
I pulled the spark plugs and checked the compression.
(In case the head gasket had expired)
All the cylinders measured to within half a Bar of each other.
Strange thing is that they measured higher than normal.

The plugs were worn, though, with the central cathode worn down so much that the gap was over 1mm, and even had a slant at the tip. Replaced them with new plugs of Yttrium and with dual electrodes.

Tested it and it idles normally, but still lacks power when trying to drive anywhere.

The only thing my OBD-reader tells me is tat I have a 'permanent fault' with the Lambda sensor, and that fault was there when it all began.

I've only had the car for little over half a year, so I don't know the entire service history of it. And I never checked the coolant when I bought it(shame on me), so I can't tell if that was a pre-existing problem or not. And the only 'long'(over 100Km at one go. I often drive longer, but there's all these ferries here, so it's bl**dy difficult to travel anywhere for more than 100Km without having to use one) trip I've done with it was when I drove it home after buying it, and since I was more concerned about the crappy 'winter wheels' on it and the icy roads, I really didn't notice anything unusual. (Besides, the heater went on full blast the entire trip, and that also helps cool down the engine)

I did ask at a car forum, but the responses was mostly from Merc owners bragging about their cars...
If the lambdasond failed the ECU probably goes into "limp mode" since it don't know if the mixture is right. Start with checking cables and connector for damage, corrosion and that they are plugged in!

When it comes to coolant some Citroens (like mine) require the "orange" (or the newer yellow) and IIRC mixing orange and green is very unhealthy for the car (yellow can be mixed with both)...

What engine code do you have? I've got a Hayenes manual for mine, your engine might be included.

Have you checked / replaced air and fuel filters?
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 24th, 2012, 6:02 pm #6

"hand over your first born to a tow truck driver to haul it to a shop. "

Given the cost of raising kids nowadays, accept the second or third born of the tow truck driver to haul it to the shop.

As long as the compression is good (not just equal, but in the acceptable range), I'd

1. Replace the water pump
2. Replace the fuel and air filters
3. Pressure test the coolant system. Don't just pump it up, check for a pressure drop after 1, 5, and 15 minutes.
4. Check for a clogged fuel injector
5. Check the fuel system pressure

And, of course, the O2 sensor.

Also, run it for 300 or so km, then check the coolant and oil for contaminants. If there is a leak, it should show up in that time.

I have all of the tools and equipment to do the above, so my situation may be different from yours.
I you mean the Lambda sensor on the exhaust, that's been borked from before this problem started. And besides, as long as the control unit is 'aware' that it's caput, it will 'failover' to using default values, which'll keep the engine running properly anyway.

Are there any other O2 sensors?

Never pressure-tested a coolant system. How?
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Someone
Someone

June 24th, 2012, 6:12 pm #7

There are usually two O2 sensors, one in front of and one behind the catalytic convertor in the exhaust. If they aren't working, the computer defaults to limp home mode. If the sensor is really borked, the computer will be using values that are just enough to keep the engine running, without trying to develop power or fuel economy. Because the settings on the other engine controls are significantly off from the values they should be at, there's no telling what else is getting excessive wear or fouling.

Replace the O2 sensor(s).
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 24th, 2012, 6:18 pm #8

If the lambdasond failed the ECU probably goes into "limp mode" since it don't know if the mixture is right. Start with checking cables and connector for damage, corrosion and that they are plugged in!

When it comes to coolant some Citroens (like mine) require the "orange" (or the newer yellow) and IIRC mixing orange and green is very unhealthy for the car (yellow can be mixed with both)...

What engine code do you have? I've got a Hayenes manual for mine, your engine might be included.

Have you checked / replaced air and fuel filters?
And I have the relevant Haynes manual.
(I also have the one for the GS, the CX, BX and even one for crappy Chinese Scooters)

I've been told by knowledgeable guys that the computer on most cars does NOT go into 'limp home' mode just because of a dead Lambda sonde. There's really no reason for it. Runnign with 'deafault values' just results in a slightly worse CO2 emission.
(I was told this after I replaced the coils, and before this current problem appeared.)
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Jordan
Jordan

June 24th, 2012, 10:41 pm #9

There are usually two O2 sensors, one in front of and one behind the catalytic convertor in the exhaust. If they aren't working, the computer defaults to limp home mode. If the sensor is really borked, the computer will be using values that are just enough to keep the engine running, without trying to develop power or fuel economy. Because the settings on the other engine controls are significantly off from the values they should be at, there's no telling what else is getting excessive wear or fouling.

Replace the O2 sensor(s).
That's not how O2 sensors work on cars - if they're borked, the computer goes into open loop mode and ignores the inputs until they match up to what they're supposed to be.

I have seen AFRs on new cars cause misfiring if they're shorted - but I have a feeling that this problem is caused by a plugged catalytic converter. Probably got killed when the coil died and all that raw fuel got dumped into the exhaust.

I would try dropping the exhaust at the manifold and see if there's more power.
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Snowtroll
Snowtroll

June 24th, 2012, 11:01 pm #10

One point is that this car only has ONE O2 sensor.
It's from 1999 after all, and it didn't become standard with two until 2000 or later, when assorted Emissions control regulations came into effect.

I'm pretty certain the old error message for the O2 sensor was something like 'Permanent heater error', that is, the heating element was failed, which means it should still work as soon as it was heated by the surrounding metal and exhausts.

It never triggered the 'ECU warning' light on the dash, after all. (Still doesn't trigger it)

Dropping the exhaust.
Yeah...
Should probably take a spin past the local DMV and say hello to the guys doing safety and emissions checks, too.
It's not very far, and they all know me...
(If I get it running without dropping the exhaust, I may pop by for an informal emissions test)
My neighbours probably won't like it, either.

Does a FU catalytic converter kill the engine like that?
(Since I don't have any O2 sensor after it, I mean)

Thinking of stopping by a parts store and pick up a few things tomorrow:
O2 sensor.
Tool for mounting said sensor...
Waterpump.
Pressure testing kit.
And probably:
Oil filter and a couple of cans of oil.
(May as well change the oil while I'm busy taking everything apart... )

I already have a fuel filter.
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