French Cars Specialists


Expert Diagnosis and Repair

Precision Solutions for French Car Faults

Citroens are high quality, reliable vehicles. However, as with all cars, faults may occur from time to time. Below we have discussed a few of the common french car faults associated with models such as the C4 Picasso, C3, Xsara and more.

Over the years we have had our fair share of problems relating to either model equiped with sensodrive gearbox which is basically a manual gearbox controled by two robots, one that deals with the clutch mechanism, the other with the gearchange. Almost all the problems with that system come from the early demise of the clutch itself and the abuse it has to go through, in order to replicate the functioning of a fully automatic gearbox.

One of the casualties of the failure and the biggest headache for garages dealing with such a problem is the clutch actuator which almost always needs replacing along with the clutch, making the bill very high and also very hard to explain to the customer.

We have found that almost in every case of clutch failure, part of the clutch actuator mechanism breaks internaly and makes reprograming the gearchange and clutch actuation impossible.

Citroen models are: c3, C4, ds3 and ds4. While cam belt faults are becoming more and more common, we have found that dealing with the problem at the early stages is reasonably cheap and only needs the tensionner replaced in order to cure the noise, this noise usually only occurs on start up. We have also found that in some cases the camshafts are misaligned only very slightly as a result, not enough to bring up a fault code, but enough to make the engine run poorly at low revs and hesitate under hard acceleration.

This fault is usually indicated by a warning light on the display, and should be rectified immediately. The source of the fault is usually found with the air bags that lift and support the car, as they are susceptible to leaks and wear relatively early in the car’s lifetime. Simply replacing the air bags will only provide a short term solution, as leaks in the bags themselves will have meant that the air compressor that fills them will have been working harder to compensate. This means that the compressor will need replacing as a knock on effect. 

We have found over the years that when we replace the cambelt and all necessary associated parts on any renault with either of the two engines, either because the engine makes a knocking noise on start up or is hard to start because of a failing dephaser pulley, it is necessary to reprogram the engine ecu in order to eliminate any fault codes that came up with the problem, and of course to ensure the engine runs smoothly.

We are getting more and more C4 Picassos with water ingress in looms and water damage inside the cars.

With all the obvious problems that it causes, for example damp and various electronic issues, the underlying issue is an under-designed drainage system in the scuttle area (volume/gutter that exists in front of the windscreen).

We are having to replace a/c blower motors and blower modules quite often, and we are stripping and carrying out “open heart surgery” on looms in order to save them.

The beginning of the problem is easy to spot…a distinct slushing/water moving around type noise can be heard from inside the car.

We modify the drainage outlets so that the problem becomes less likely to re-occur.

We have also been getting more and more C3 Picassos with water damage in the fuse box (the one that lives under the bonnet).

Although we haven’t found the source yet, every car we have dealt with has had to have a new fuse box, but what is more difficult to achieve is repairing the multiplug wires that rot.

Luckily we have been keeping parts of looms from cars that get scrapped and using perfect wires that we extract from those and graft them into the cars own loom/multiplug.

The cost of replacing that particular loom in the car would be astronomical, hence the repair.

We will keep you posted as to the source of the ingress.

We recently posted the above article relating to c3 Picasso water ingress into the engine bay fuse box, we now find that the same problem is occurring in Peugeot 207 on various models, the source of the ingress is the washer pumps.

We have gone back and checked some of the c3 Picassos we had already repaired and found that they also had faulty washer pumps, where the water leaks from the pump into the plug and by capillary effect travels all the way into the fusebox and destroys all the micro pins that are present.

If the problem is caught early enough…it is possible to save the fuse box-Give us a call and we can arrange to get your vehicle checked!

We are finding many problems relating to cooling fans are actually the result of misfire due to poor maintenance. A state of emergency is declared by the engine ECU upon measuring a huge amount of “knock and misfire”, often the fan doesn’t even want to switch off after the ignition is off and the battery has to be disconnected.

Inspecting the spark plugs usually reveals that problem. The real issue is the length of service intervals and when the vehicle goes in for service. Because of the very high cost of the plugs, and the reluctance to include the cost within a “cheap service” they end up staying in the vehicle forever!

Full service history means nothing these days unless it s carried out by people who care and understand the vehicles they work on.

As well as concentrating on Peugeot, Citroen and Renault brands, we also deal with many different makes of cars. More recently, we have been asked to look at problems concerning the MTA / Dualogic gearbox in Fiat 500s.

We acquired very advanced Alfa/Fiat software, and, armed with our extensive knowledge of Citroen-Peugeot’s own semi automatic system which is not too dissimilar, we have been able to resolve and cure clutch and gearchange issues on these little gems – for a lot less that Fiat were quoting!

We have now had a few instances where diagnosis and repair of the hybrid version of the Peugeot 508 and 5008 models has been necessary. In these cases where faults have arisen, the hybrid vehicle’s alternator was the source of the issue as the front drive bearing of the alternator had collapsed. The severity of the issue and the amount of time the problem is left unchecked will influence whether this fault can be repaired or whether a replacement will be necessary. 

On some Citroen C4 Picassos, customers have noticed a squeaking sound when driving which has its origins in the rear suspension system. Citroen are now supplying modified parts for the top mount of the rear shock absorbers to remedy this annoying issue. A replacement of these parts with the new, modified version is all that’s necessary to fix the squeak.



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