C4 1.6 HDi - considering purchasing - advice on engine & vehicle in general.
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Thread: C4 1.6 HDi - considering purchasing - advice on engine & vehicle in general.

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default C4 1.6 HDi - considering purchasing - advice on engine & vehicle in general.

    Hello over in the dark side!

    I am in early contemplation to purchase a car like this:
    2007 Citroen C4 HDi Auto

    A few weeks ago I did some google research and discovered problems associated with the 1.6Lt HDi engine. Seems to be associated injectors coming loose and allowing blow-by into the cam cover? This causes formation of carbon particles which block the oil galleries, suction strainer etc, and cause turbo and camshaft bearing failures. Seems to be the same engine as used in the BWM mini. If this is a common occurrence, then it is not what I need.

    Do the forum members have any comment regarding this problem?

    I want the vehicle for my daughter to replace the existing 1.6Lt 307 auto hatch, which is a bit underpowered and also does not have cruise control. She does driving to Uni in Melbourne and once a week comes back to Ballarat. She has been trialling Mrs Whippets 307 touring 2Lt HDi and quite likes the torquey diesel and auto. I thought that the smaller 1.6Lt HDi diesel would have reduced fuel consumption but would still have good torque for in traffic commuting driving. It would also have the reliable 6 Sp Aisin auto. Also have a thumbs up for the all important "looks" of the C4.

    Any other comments other than the engine transmission regarding: body, seating, suspension, brakes, instrumentation niggles etc.

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    If the C4 1.6Lt HDi auto is a non starter, then I will likely investigate acquiring a 307 Hatch 2 Lt HDI 6Sp Auto

    Thanks in advanced for your feedback.

  2. #2
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    It's not a regular auto. EGS means the 6 speed manual with hydraulic changer, so it will shift for you.

    You get a choice of these C4s:
    1.6 HDi 5 speed manual without FAP
    1.6 HDi EGS 6 speed automated manual with FAP
    2.0 HDi with 6 speed proper auto with FAP (i.e. AM6 / Aisin auto) Lovely cars and usually well appointed.
    None to be confused with either the TU and later EP6 (avoid) 1.6 petrol versions.

    The 1.6 HDi is fine if you service it properly and, in the C4, keep the scuttle vent secured to keep water off it.

    The 1.6 in the BMW/Mini is presumably the EP6 petrol turbo engine. Problems were legion in earlier examples.

    With any C4 that has a glass roof, ensure you have cover for it as they are seriously expensive to replace if broken.

    Seat heaters in the better models often fail. The element is buried in the cushion, so difficult to repair properly. Given the insane cost of a new seat cushion from Citroen, assuming they are still available, it's best to just ignore the seat heaters.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I'm surprised the 1.6 petrol is considered underpowered.

    A 1.4 Berlingo has plenty of grunt, so I'd presume a 1.6 in good fettle to be a noticeable step up from there.

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    As David S says, it's about servicing, the correct oil, and changing it.

    There is a (French) note on what can happen when not looked after at http://www.idfmoteurs.com/pdf/proced...,4_1,6_HDI.pdf. Put it through a translator as it's worth a look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    I'm surprised the 1.6 petrol is considered underpowered.

    A 1.4 Berlingo has plenty of grunt, so I'd presume a 1.6 in good fettle to be a noticeable step up from there.
    I have covered this in another thread on the 307. Succinctly the main issues are: 4Sp Auto and specified ratios dull the performance. Vehicle is relatively heavy for the 1.6Lt. Not much torque below 3500-4000RPM. Would be great with the 6Sp Aisin!

    Thanks for comments to date.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seasink View Post
    As David S says, it's about servicing, the correct oil, and changing it.

    There is a (French) note on what can happen when not looked after at http://www.idfmoteurs.com/pdf/proced...,4_1,6_HDI.pdf. Put it through a translator as it's worth a look.
    Yes, absolutely not tolerant of neglect. You do want the revised and recalibrated dipstick regardless.

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    UFO
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    Mrs UFO drives (enthusiastically) her C4 HDi EGS and loves it. It sips fuel and does around 1,000km per tank (and it's a large tank for the vehicle size).

    Added to what others have said, check the top right engine mount - easy to see and you will see if the rubber is stuffed. EASY to replace and about $140 for the part.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    That is the pick of the C4 range. It is surprising how much better the cheaper versions (like that one in the add) drive compared to the more expensive exclusive models with the full auto gearbox.

    The gearbox takes a bit of getting used to, probably a day or two in reality but worth it. Should see economy in the high 4l/100km range. If it has been maintained properly and continues to be done properly it will return the love.
    Mine

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    UFO
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    I take Mrs UFO's car to work one day per month to refuel it on the way (about a 20 cents per litre difference between home and places I pass on the way to work). I love those drive days as I punt the C4 along and (legally) surprise a few others.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    Thanks guys for your feedback and comments.

    Even though I think the engine is a good performer and also great fuel economy, I can't accept the risk of both the cost of repairs and also the vehicle being off the road for likely a month, if I ever was in a situation that needed to get the engine repaired. I will look for a reasonable 2 Lt HDi 307 6Sp Aisin Hatch.


    PS: from what I have researched it seems that the carbon problems all start from insufficient clamping of the injector(s), causing the injector to head seal to leak, allowing combustion gases to enter the crankcase, thus producing the carbon particle contamination. The repair cost would likely be more than the vehicle is worth.
    Last edited by Whippet; 27th April 2016 at 11:49 PM.

  11. #11
    Fellow Frogger! Buttercup's Avatar
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    1.6 Hdi (ours is 2007, manual)

    As I understand it....... and I have first hand experience of the problem and fixing it (myself).... is that the combustion gasses escape to the outside world, Not into the crankcase. Burnt crud builds up on the top of the engine around the injector mounts.

    It is VERY easy to monitor and tighten the injector retainers (7mm allen key) as required, as the soft copper base washer settles, if addressed early.
    If its left to develop through negligence it becomes a bigger issue, requiring the removal of the injectors to replace the base washers.
    Now that I have the tools and experience, I rate the job of removing the injectors, cleaning, copper washer replacement and re-assembly, as being about level 4 on the (now universally referenced) Hellman scale.

    While there seems to be a correlation between injector leakage and internal crud, and turbo failure, I don't believe its a direct cause.
    I think a similar level of minimal servicing will likely lead to both. In my case I was changing the oil and filter regularly, but nothing else. We had a leaking injector for quite a while, but I lazily and wrongly attributed the oily fumes and black crud to a rocker cover leak, and did not investigate until we got the choof choof of escaping combustion.

    There is no evidence of internal crud in the engine and the original turbo is fine at 270,000km.

    Now that I have added 1 more item to my service schedule, I rate the issue as very minor.
    David S and UFO like this.
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  12. #12
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    Default What causes the carbon particles to form/

    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    ...is that the combustion gasses escape to the outside world, Not into the crankcase...

    It is VERY easy to monitor and tighten the injector retainers (7mm allen key) as required, as the soft copper base washer settles, if addressed early.
    If its left to develop through negligence it becomes a bigger issue, requiring the removal of the injectors to replace the base washers.

    While there seems to be a correlation between injector leakage and internal crud, and turbo failure, I don't believe its a direct cause.

    There is no evidence of internal crud in the engine and the original turbo is fine at 270,000km.
    Hi Buttercup.

    Appreciate your comments as I am still keen on this engine in the C4 with the Auto, but as stated have reservations about a breakdown scenario with weeks of the road and having to make other arrangements etc.

    OK - I didn't realise that the choof choof vents to the outside of the engine.

    Based on your observations, what I don't understand is what is causing the carbon particles to form in the crankcase , oil suction strainers, galleries etc? I have seen images showing the carbon particles are everywhere around the head, sump, strainers etc etc.

    • If the injectors never become loose, would the carbon problem still exist?
    • Do the frequent oil changes simply drain the carbon particles, surely it cant take them all with it?
    • Are the additives in the oil becoming depleted much more rapidly in this specific engine? which then provides an environment for the oil to have a greater propensity to form carbon particles?
    • Does this engine has zones of high internal temperature that is carbonising the oil?


    How would this work? Remove existing oil supply and plumb a full flow oil filter upstream of the turbo oil supply, with a longish hose/tubing. This might also cool the oil slightly prior to entering the turbo. It would certainly eliminate? the entry of carbon into the turbo.

    What about the camshaft bearing running in the alloy head???

  13. #13
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    Injectors are easily inspected and tightened if needed. Then they cannot leak. The oil is the big one for turbo life - it must be changed regularly and must be the correct low ash type. Here is a pic of the head showing the injectors:
    C4 1.6 HDi - considering purchasing - advice on engine & vehicle in general.-1.6hdi.jpg

  14. #14
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    Diesels always have black oil.

    Changing the oil regularly, removes most of the accumulated carbon before it reaches a concentration where it forms significant deposits.
    The filter removes a lot also and should be changed at every oil change.

    Using a good low ash oil is important, to reduce production of solid particles in the oil.

    You don't need a full flow filter, as the oil circulates so many times, it all goes through the filter reasonably often.

    Running the engine fully warmed up is important too, to prevent deposits condensing in cool areas from tars within the hot oil.

    Similarly always change out hot oil, as it carries tar and solids much better.

    If you are only doing short trips perhaps you should consider petrol.
    Bob
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    From my recollections, the cars that have had the problems are those that were not run with the correct specification oils, regardless of brand (There are others beside Total that meet the specs - Nulon and Penrite are amongst those brands). Here is a pic of the handbook page specifying oil specs.C4 1.6 HDi - considering purchasing - advice on engine & vehicle in general.-c4-oil.jpg

    Check the log book to see if the car was serviced at a Citroen dealer etc. You could be confident that they used the correct spec oil. As is evidenced by Bob his wife's car has 270k km on it.

    I was loaned a C4 EGS HDi at Continental Cars a couple of weeks ago while my C5 was being serviced. This car had 370,000km on the clock. Was still a quite tight car and ran well.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    Whippet, the 1.6 HDi was never sold with a full 'auto' gearbox. The only C4 that had an HDi engine mated to a proper auto was the 2.0HDi DW10B (RHR) engine mated to the AM6 (aka AW TF80SC etc.) and the same as used in C5, Picasso and some pugs like the 307 and 407. The 1.6HDi you linked to is an EGS, which is a regular 6 speed manual that can change for you. In that sense it's an 'auto', but the technology is different. The 307 you mention is basically the same as the 2.0HDi C4, but unlike the C4 it can come as a wagon too. That may be important to you if the room in a hatch is insufficient. My choice would be the 2.0HDi, but that's a personal preference. The 1.6HDi is fine, but I've always found the engine a little more intrusive in the cabin, especially in the lower gears. Do note that with the AM6 you have to watch for hot slipping at higher mileages, particularly on the 2-3 upchange, which could suggest the need for replacement of the valve block.

    The sump capacity of the 1.6HDi is not very large to begin with, so the oil that is there has to work fairly hard. If you drive the car mostly on highways, the original 20K change interval was probably OK provided the correct oil was used. However, for cars doing mostly shorter trips, you would want to use the 10K interval as stipulated with the cars sold later in the run. The choice of low ash oil is important for cars with a FAP as the major consequence of using a 'normal' oil is the accumulation of ash that will not burn off during the periodic regeneration of the FAP. I don't think the injector leakage issue is the definitive cause some people claim because a look at the head design reveals the injector mounting tubes are open at the top and couldn't direct fumes back into the engine. I also doubt the volume of hot gasses leaking would be sufficient to cook the oil in the head. What is obvious is that oil that is not changed early enough becomes thick and sticky and has been seen to form crusty deposits that end up all through the engine with resulting failures. This is why you want to avoid a neglected 1.6HDi as repairing it could be involved. At least when they were newer cars, the retail value was high enough to justify repairing a defective car bought cheaply.

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    Thanks for the recent posts. I now understand about the "auto" aspect of the manual gearbox in the 1.6, I don't think that it will be suitable/acceptable by the pussy power mafia that I answer to!

    I did consider that the 1.6Lt HDi was a great compromise for the intended purpose, and I was interested in pursing it. However as there seems to be some aspect of chance and Russian roulette involved in purchasing a "good" SH vehicle with the engine, I don't have the appetite to accept that risk.

    I will look for a 2.0Lt HDi 307 6speed auto Hatch. I just need a reliable, small, easy to drive and good on fuel small vehicle for my daughter. Good for both urban commuting and freeway trips back to Ballarat. She likes the size and has driven two 307's. Her current 307 is the 1.6Petrol sans cruise control.

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    The 2.0 HDI 6 speed is a very fun car.

    IMHO better than the Mini Cooper.

    I speak nought of the mechanicals, coz I dunno.

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    We have had our C4 1.6 HDi since 1st May 2006. It has just had its 200.000km service. The only repairs in that time have been 2 timing belts and a stabiliser bar link replacement. The top engine mount was changed at the 200.000km service. From 100.000 to 200.000 I have changed the oil and filters every 20.000, the economy is brilliant, around 4.2 to 4.5 lt per 100km mostly with air con on as my wife doesn't like the heat. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. It is my car now as she has a Ssangyong Korando diesel, a great car as well but not very economical.
    The only problem I have is that the anti-theft wheel nut cap has gone missing. I am waiting for one from France. Then the anti-locks will be replaced with other studs. It needs new tyres but I can't get them changed until the cap arrives. My advice to other Cit owners GET RID OF THE ANTI-LOCK STUDS NOW.
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