Xantia cabin fans - again
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Thread: Xantia cabin fans - again

  1. #1
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    Default Xantia cabin fans - again

    My cabin fan has died again. This time, she has me baffled utterly, since usually a new control unit fixes this (mind you, they don't seem to last more than a couple of years). Here's the situation:

    1) The after-market relay is definitely fitted, and putting the voltmeter on the brown 4-connector block to the fan shows a healthy 12v (more with the engine running) between the power supply wires (the heavy red and black). So the relay and fuse are fine. The connector block seems fine too - no evidence of melting or burning.

    2) Removed the fan from the housing and connected it direct to the battery. She runs OK. In fact I've just replaced the brushes.

    3) Thought it would be the control (resistor, transistor) unit. As a fix until the new one came, I jammed the little relay on it shut. Result: the fan running full bore whenever the ignition is on, regardless of the position of the fan-speed slider knob, even in the off position.

    4) When the new control unit came from Hong Kong, it made no difference. Dead fan.

    5) Dropping in a whole s/h replacement fan made no difference. Dead fan.

    I did a bit more with the voltmeter, with the control unit removed from the fan and connected to the brown connector block:

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    5) With the ignition on, the two light wires (orange and white) to the brown connector block have a constant voltage of just under 11v across them (engine running), regardless of the slider knob position. Is this normal, anyone know?

    6) The two single terminals on the control unit which supply the fan motor itself have a voltage across them of either 5.7v on the old unit (constant, regardless of the slider knob position) or 0.32v on the new unit (ditto). The two units are constructed differently, with the printed circuit board on different sides, but seem to have the same relay and transistors. And the relay does nothing, regardless of the slider knob position. (I'm guessing that the relay ought to click on when the knob is on "Max", to give full-bore running?)

    Thought the problem could be in the dashboard control unit, but dropping in a s/h replacement unit made no difference either, except to my knuckles and my temper.

    The Haynes BOL is no help whatsoever. At least it's consistent across a variety of Xantia problems.

    I love my Xantia. I love my Xantia. I love my Xantia, (bangs head on table because, like working on my Xantia, it feels good when I stop).

    Any auto-electric magicians out there? I have an old-fashioned, possibly delusional belief that it could be made to work according to specs, if only the right wand can be waved.

    Danny
    Last edited by dnr16; 16th May 2015 at 07:44 PM.
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

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    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    I wonder whether there is some other underlying cause if yours fails repeatedly? I've honestly no idea what mind you.

    Our Xantia is 19 years old and so far the fan behaviour has been perfect. Our Peugeot 306 unit died, and was replaced about 15 years ago - fine since then.

    I'll watch this with interest - good luck with it.
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1950 (R1062)
    Renault R8 1965 (R1130)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2006 (daughter's)
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    Our Xantia is 19 years old and so far the fan behaviour has been perfect. Our Peugeot 306 unit died, and was replaced about 15 years ago - fine since then.

    Thanks, John - that gives me hope that it can work if only I can find the explanation.
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

  4. #4
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound like your ECU is putting out the correct control signal. Can you trick the fan with a series of stepped voltages to the controller board to mimic different speed requests?

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    Ah, thanks, Addo, I'd just started wondering about this, after looking at a UK thread which gives the stepped voltages I should be seeing on the little orange wire at the brown connector block. The voltage I seem to be getting, all the time, is consistent with the fan being off.

    That UK thread info is about Series 2 Xantias; mine's a Series 1 but it has climate control, so I'm just starting to realise I may have a climate-control ECU. (This is one of the many areas the Haynes BOL is seriously misleading.) If so, where is it, physically? I gather the Series 2 keeps them somewhere behind the glovebox.

    Cheers, Danny
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

  6. #6
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    On the S2 they are to the right side of the "box" part of the ducting which holds the evaporator core, near the centre console, stood up vertically with the two plugs in the top. About cigarillo packet size.

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    Thanks, Addo. Removing the Xantia glovebox is a recently-acquired skill. Nice to have another chance to practise it ;-) Won't have time right now but will get to it later and have a look what's there.

    Danny
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

  8. #8
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    Making progress. Putting different resistors across the orange and white wires on the brown connector gives different voltages at the output to the motor. This (as before) is constant across all positions of the slider knob. Narrowing it down to the ECU as culprit.

    Interestingly, the new transistor unit from Hong Kong and the old one from the motor have fairly different output responses.

    I can leave a small resistor in there for now, have the fan permanently on (but not full blast, thankfully) until I can pull out the ECU and see what's happening.

    Danny
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

  9. #9
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I'll be interested if the ECU is like an early S2 controller; they seem fairly unfixable. A whole lot of goodies stuffed into a failsure package.

    Edit: Compared to some stuff I've been bothered by lately, this one almost looks fixable. It does need the components clearly identifying, though.
    Last edited by addo; 17th May 2015 at 03:23 PM.

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    JBN
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    I have had problems with a Series 1 Xantia. I did the relay bit on the steering column, replaced the controller but was getting no response as I wasn't getting any power from the fuse box area. Fortunately Jason fixed that so it works.

    I bought a cheap potentiometer (?) at one stage as I was just going to run the bloody thing from the battery with the potentiometer giving me the ability to vary the fan speed.

    Sadly, Citroen's ability in the field of auto electrics stopped with the 2CV. When they were pally with Mitsubishi, they should have outsourced the electrical design to them. Would have transformed their cars. I've had 2 BXs and a Xantia where the blower fans rarely worked, which means no aircon and no demister.

    At least with the CX, the fan operation was good. Blew hot air into the cabin regarless of heater or aircon settings, but it blew.

    French design can be brilliant or disasterous. I often wonder if the guillotine didn't start off as a nail clipper but succumbed to delusions of grandeur?

    John
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    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    My Series 1.5 1997 Xantia has the climate control computer. When the fan stops or fails to start, it requires an ignition off and on again to reset the ECU. It usually talks to the Lexia.

    They are all a bit dodgy - the one in my series 2 Activa varies the fan motor speed all over the place from off to normal to max on auto and seems to have trouble reading the slider pot position reliably when on manual. It also comes up with some amazingly high voltages when interrogated by the Lexia e.g. 26 volts. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    Cheers,

    Ken W

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    Fixed - for now. Fingers crossed. I pulled out the climate ECU (thanks, Addo, for the detailed knowledge, and thanks to everyone for sharing your experience). Now that I know where it is and what it looks like, I won't need to remove the glovebox next time - removing the carpet covering the fan & pollen filter is enough.

    I looked at it very carefully - no sign anywhere of dry solder joints (which would be the only visible fault and the only one I'd have a chance of fixing). Phoned French Connection - they don't have one. Went on line - there seems to be exactly one s/h unit in the entire world, at a Belgian (I think, or maybe Dutch) wreckers. I put in an enquiry by email.

    Put the old unit back in on spec and - it worked. All I did was unplug it, blow any dust out (not that I could see any) and plug it back in.

    I'm a counsellor by trade; I get the fact that people can start to change once their distress has been attentively examined. I just wasn't expecting cars to operate the same way. Oh of course, it's a Citroen. Silly me.

    Danny
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

  13. #13
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Unplug - plug back in. Often a good remedy for things electronic with plug in joints. I doubt it is unique to Citroens - used to be the first standard thing to do when a newfangled car with one of those mysterious electronic engine management systems decided to stop.

    Nice outcome. Do you have any terminal cleaner?
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1950 (R1062)
    Renault R8 1965 (R1130)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2006 (daughter's)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2007 (mine)

    CitroŽn CX Pallas 1980 (moved on to new custodian)

    National Co-ordinator, Renault 4CV Register of Australia

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    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    I am not surprised. I have fixed quite a few computers by unplugging everything, clean contacts and plug back in. Its a pretty hostile environment for electronic things in a car so You can't rely blame french electrics.
    Mine

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    In the family

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    JBN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg C View Post
    I am not surprised. I have fixed quite a few computers by unplugging everything, clean contacts and plug back in. Its a pretty hostile environment for electronic things in a car so You can't rely blame french electrics.
    Why do the Japanese handle these sort of hostilities with aplomb?

    John

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    Just as well it worked again. The Belgian wrecker wants 150 euros ($212) for a s/h unit. Admittedly that includes shipping.

    My wife's Corolla has a much simpler system, controlled by the driver, just as effective and unshakably reliable. Looks like the earlier S1 Xantias had something similar before they got too clever.

    Danny
    '71 R16, died of driver error (mine)
    '69 R16, unwisely traded in for
    '79 Virage Wagon, collided with gentleman driving sideways round the wrong side of a tram
    '76 R16TS, died (and nearly took me with it) of being T-boned by 4WD running red light
    '73 R16TS ('Deidre'), electrics in meltdown Feb. 06
    '81 R18 wagon, gone to another owner
    '97 Xantia 2.0i 16v
    '07 C5 ('Sandrine')

  17. #17
    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Hi Danny,
    I had a Xantia for 6 years and I loved it. Better still, I sold it to a family member so I still see it occasionally. It's still a great car. It is a 1996 series 1 VSX.
    For a while I had continuing problems with the internal fan. The fan always worked, but I would often get a smell of melting plastic in the car from the fan wiring. Not something to instill confidence. Replacing and servicing the ignition switch only improved the problem temporarily. I replaced the fan motor, and replaced the brushes. Still didn't make much difference. I replaced the relay as well, a few times.

    The only thing that totally fixed the problem was.... when I added a very large gauge extra earth wire from the fan motor to the body... so the motor had a good earth. You can always add an extra earth connection with no possible down side. In my case it totally stopped the problem.
    Until I did this, I was almost ready to dump the car ... after I did this... all was sweet again. No more melting plastic smells.
    Cheers... George 1/8th.

  18. #18
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George 1/8th View Post
    Hi Danny,
    I had a Xantia for 6 years and I loved it. Better still, I sold it to a family member so I still see it occasionally. It's still a great car. It is a 1996 series 1 VSX.
    For a while I had continuing problems with the internal fan. The fan always worked, but I would often get a smell of melting plastic in the car from the fan wiring. Not something to instill confidence. Replacing and servicing the ignition switch only improved the problem temporarily. I replaced the fan motor, and replaced the brushes. Still didn't make much difference. I replaced the relay as well, a few times.

    The only thing that totally fixed the problem was.... when I added a very large gauge extra earth wire from the fan motor to the body... so the motor had a good earth. You can always add an extra earth connection with no possible down side. In my case it totally stopped the problem.
    Until I did this, I was almost ready to dump the car ... after I did this... all was sweet again. No more melting plastic smells.
    Cheers... George 1/8th.
    My fix was the factory-recommended relay on the positive to the fan, which the early cars lacked. Maybe the work included, accidentally, removing and refitting an earth? Not sure but the smell went away. Ours has never misbehaved and the car is 19 years old (should NOT have said that).
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1950 (R1062)
    Renault R8 1965 (R1130)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2006 (daughter's)
    Renault Scenic Series II 2007 (mine)

    CitroŽn CX Pallas 1980 (moved on to new custodian)

    National Co-ordinator, Renault 4CV Register of Australia

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