Help!... C5 2005 model wont start
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Thread: Help!... C5 2005 model wont start

  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Help!... C5 2005 model wont start

    Hi all,

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    Well what bad luck, just picked up a 2005 model C5 from the auction, drove it home and it was flawless.. perfect in everyway. Pulled up in the driveway, had the aircon going etc cause it was / is boiling in vic. Once i turned the car on and went to turn it back on to show my family how "nice" it was, you guessed it. It wouldnt start. About 1 or so hours later it decided it wanted to start, drove it home and you guessed it ... nothing again.

    It unlocks, etc, keys turn to Ignition, a STOP and SERVICE and the engine light stay light. Then when you turn it to start, it just make a single "click" sound like the starter motor is trying to turn and thats about it.

    On top of that, the head lights were working (xenons) and now their not, they also decided to stop working shortly after. RACV came out to test the battery and said its holding charge. They tried to jump start it and nothing. Still... click.. and nothing much more than that. Mechanic from RACV seems to think its a starter motor issue, but.... xenon lights no longer work (mind you the high beams do) and also the sun roof no longer wants to close so its at a halfway mark atm.

    Does anyone know what on earth is going on with this car, i have never owned a Citroen and frankly am kind of wishing i never did.

    Might need a good mechanic out west here, heard there's a good one in sunshine... any recommendations would be great.
    Last edited by beemaa; 7th January 2015 at 10:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Sounds like its electrical system related. Look for the battery removal, charge and reinstall procedure.

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    They are full of computers, like the other modern Euro cars, and they sense battery voltage.

    If a computer is unhappy with the battery, things go wrong or don't go at all. First thing, check the date on the battery - 3 to 4 years is probably what you'll get. If it's 2005, get a new one anyway. All the electrics really work the battery.

    Check the manual for the battery change procedure so that the computers go to sleep - muck that up and they will definitely bite you.

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    I'd say the battery is shallow charging and basically rooted. Heat kills them fast. If it's a Calcium/Calcium battery (which it should be, rather than lead-acid) an old fashioned home charger won't kick them hard enough to start a proper charging cycle either.

    The small yellow fuse on the underbonnet fuse panel goes to the starter. Check it's not blown. But odds on, a $140 battery will see you smiling for the next three years.

  5. #5
    Tadpole
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    Awesome, thank you so much guys, i absolutely love this car but dam this problem just made me really worried :s

    I already tried disconnecting the battery when the racv was here, should i d/c it again and follow the procedure to "reset" the computer until the new battery is fitted? or is it too late?

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    Wouldn't worry. A lot of it is just "being sure to be sure". If it all behaves then you're good to go.

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    Like he said. If you have caused a computer to drop out it's too late now. Next time of course follow the manual instructions.

    If the car goes mad with a new or borrowed battery you may find yourself needing a full or part software reset or re-install. There's only one way to find out. Latish model cars can do some very strange things with mucked up body computers - like uncontrollable up and down windows!

  8. #8
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    If the battery is OK, then it's probably now in 'economy mode' after failing to start and there being a sustained drain on the electrics. You need to start it to snap it out of that, so it's probably the starter. If you DIY and have the time, maybe try cleaning up the brushes and contacts. It probably had just that one start left in it after running through the auction. Bet they knew and hoped not to get caught with it. Auctions can leave nasty surprises.

    Which model C5? '2005' could describe a few variants.

    Where are you exactly? Location shows as Sydney, but RACV is referred to???

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    I apologise by not being able to offer any help.
    After reading Aussie frogs over the years I am amazed that any one would buy one of these cars as the woes seem to be now not just the earlier ones. There are 4 threads on this page and 3 on page 2 all requesting help with C5 faults.
    I guess they are cheap secondhand and seem well appointed and I have seen that some are very happy with them when they are performing as they should but a regular reader of Aussie frogs would surely be wary.
    Good Luck with yours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trading Estate View Post
    I apologise by not being able to offer any help.
    After reading Aussie frogs over the years I am amazed that any one would buy one of these cars as the woes seem to be now not just the earlier ones. There are 4 threads on this page and 3 on page 2 all requesting help with C5 faults.
    I guess they are cheap secondhand and seem well appointed and I have seen that some are very happy with them when they are performing as they should but a regular reader of Aussie frogs would surely be wary.
    Good Luck with yours.
    Bought a 2007 c5 at auction last year and after a full service including changing the auto's oil it has performed faultlessly;just had a quick run to the Gold Coast and it is a very comfortable cruising car;not as quick as my turbo or as comfortable as the cx but certainly not to be sneezed at,Andy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trading Estate View Post
    I apologise by not being able to offer any help.
    After reading Aussie frogs over the years I am amazed that any one would buy one of these cars as the woes seem to be now not just the earlier ones. There are 4 threads on this page and 3 on page 2 all requesting help with C5 faults.
    I guess they are cheap secondhand and seem well appointed and I have seen that some are very happy with them when they are performing as they should but a regular reader of Aussie frogs would surely be wary.
    Good Luck with yours.
    i have to say - and meaning no disrespect to anybody - that I have been struck by the litany of gearbox and electrical woes with C5's reported on this and other Citroen websites. The apparent lack of reliability on even late model cars is pretty terrible for the reputation of the brand. I would be really cautious considering a second hand C5. Dare I say it, would owners of other brands be so forgiving?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    If the battery is OK, then it's probably now in 'economy mode' after failing to start and there being a sustained drain on the electrics. You need to start it to snap it out of that, so it's probably the starter. If you DIY and have the time, maybe try cleaning up the brushes and contacts. It probably had just that one start left in it after running through the auction. Bet they knew and hoped not to get caught with it. Auctions can leave nasty surprises.

    Which model C5? '2005' could describe a few variants.

    Where are you exactly? Location shows as Sydney, but RACV is referred to???
    Hi David, yeh i can DIY if its not a too difficult of a job, how hard would it be to reach the starter motor on this thing?

    It's a Citroen C5 - 2005 model Exclusive in V6 auto.

    It's in economy mode, just realised this when reading the forums, thought it was economy mode like other cars (fuel saving) :s

    Im in Melbourne ..

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    It will snap out of economy mode when you crank it.

    The starter won't crank if there is insufficient depth of charge. Have you tried booster cables?

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    If you think that Cits are over complicated and prone to trouble, get a gander at the mechanical trade mags that talk about baffling VW group, Beemer and Merc diagnoses. The reality is that all are much the same. Japanese can be tough too. Even the famous Citroen French complexity is a thing of the past - C5 mechanicals use mainly standard German systems. C5s also have American and Japanese manufacturer's (Visteon, Delphi, TRW, Koyo) stuff there too.

    If you should have faith in customer reliability surveys, which don't cover the 10 years old cars we keep talking about, note that the score differences between major makes are actually small.

    This forum is a place to chat about French problems. Those without them don't show up much. Just like the other make forums.

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    Fair cop in many ways, but - I do long for the days when countries like Australia or South Africa were delivered cars with "harsh environment" kit; a modern equivalent of this might include uprated harnesses and connectors. While the original problem is almost certain to be a battery failing, the indisputably marginal nature of some connections within the wiring is not a situation to give confidence.

  16. #16
    Tadpole
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    Ok - Update ...

    Went out this morning when the car was cold, started after a bit of a hesitation from the battery, sounded like it just had enough charge to get it turning over. It did start though. So.. we called the RACV, they came out and replaced the battery, 250 bucks later it started again with RACV.

    Took it for a test drive to get some good heat into the engine and replicate the issue we had yesterday, turned it off in front of my house and again, it wont start. Just "click" from the starter motor. A single "click" and thats it...

    Could this still be related to RACV not following the correct removal and install of the battery as per the citroen way, using the discharge method and waiting for the cars ecu to go to sleep?

    So, it sounds like when its cold, it will start but when its hot, starter motor wont crank the engine over at all. Im putting it down to a starter motor issue.

    Your thoughts??

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    I'd fit an old school external starter relay first.

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    Can you hear the starter solenoid thumping in and out? If so, yes I believe the starter is no good too. Try giving it a good whack with a rubber mallet and see if it springs back too life.

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    Just for clarity, it's a 6 cylinder auto, but is it petrol or diesel?

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    I'd fit an old school external starter relay first.
    I'd second that suggestion. Had the same problem with an XM - started fine when cold, but just click when hot. Replacing ignition switch and starter motor didn't help. Eventually fitted a relay on the starter solenoid which solved the problem once and for all.

    Good luck!

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    Should be less than $150 if someone else is paid to do it; an $18 relay, some terminals/wire and one hour's labour charge.

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    It will be a petrol V6. 4 speed is fine, but 6 speed facelift versions are one of the best choices of the C5 range to 2008.

    I would guess the car just limped into the auction room and was lucky to exit without a tow. RACV are unliklely to have caused any problem here. It should be a type of Valeo D6RA starter. Brush kits and solenoids are readily available. Maybe, try French Connection or BM Spares for a used unit. It's not too hard to get to, but there will other stuff in the way and a hoist helps a lot. The saving on the R&R would not be huge by DIY, but the part itself could cost a lot if bought as a new item from Citroen.

    As to the unreliability comments. People ask about their problems, so we have ...
    1) This topic. 10yo car with a dead starter and/or flat battery. It's 10 years old.
    2) C5 pads - normal wear and tear surely.
    3) Broken down 2009 C5. He filled it with petrol instead of diesel. Nothing wrong with the car. X7 series are reliable.
    4) C5 flap motor. A known problem and a minor annoyance. Original design fault there.
    5) 2003 auto problem. Fair cop re the AL4 gearbox there maybe, but it is a 12yo car and the oil was burnt, so it's probably not been fixed as quickly as it should have been when the problem first arose.
    addo, seasink, shanadoo and 2 others like this.

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    Indeed. I don't know how many cars I've seen with cam chains busily flogging their way through timing chests; owners oblivious, stubborn or stupid - possibly a blend of these, too.
    shanadoo likes this.

  24. #24
    Tadpole
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    Ok so just to confirm it is an automatic and yes its the V6 petrol version, i had a look for the starter motor which is apparently behind the engine and between the firewall, im not sure im looking in the right spot as i cant see it. I called Citroen and they quoted me around 1100 for a new starter motor which isnt worth the cost. I would much rather grab a second hand unit.

    So yep, it just makes a click sound, like a tap, one single tap.. and thats it.. If you let rest enough or keep flicking the key to ignition, you can hear the starter turn say 1 out of 10 times if your lucky and then it will start, but as it gets cooler it seems to start easier.

    Does anyone know of a starter motor removal / replacement guide for a 2005 Citroen C5? If its not extremely hard i will give it a go myself.

  25. #25
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    Please try the external relay mod first. It extends the life of the inbuilt relay and fuse panel terminals.

    CitroŽn don't make the starter, they are Valeo usually. If you buy the bits online it's less than $120 to reco it.

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