Berlingo common problems?
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Berlingo common problems?

    Hi everyone,

    With a change of work circumstances I'm looking at a Berlingo / Kangoo / Caddy style vehicle. My budget is tight <$4000 and it seems the Berlingo is the cheapest second hand. (Kangoo is expensive, and I don't trust VW reliability!)

    My question is, what are the common problems associated with the series I Berlingo. I'm looking at manual, 1.4l petrol variants as these are the cheapest. I've heard of cracked engine blocks, uneven tyre wear, cracked springs... What should I realistically be looking out for?

    I've previously owned a 306 Gti6, and other assorted 10+ year old European vehicles so I typically check for service history, last timing belt change, general condition of body, paintwork, interior.

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    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger
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    The main weakness is the MA5 gearbox and the clutch release bearing. The clutch cable can also bind up and make it feel like a bad clutch, so that's always worth keeping in mind if you find the clutch hard to control. Early cars sometimes show they are overheating and turn the cooling fans up when they are not even warm, which is due to failure of the coolant sensor on the head outlet housing. Check the exhaust manifold as they were prone to distortion and cracking and sometimes to the point you can't remove the oxygen sensor. If the head gasket has failed and not repaired, they can form a groove at the top of a liner, meaning you have to replace a liner in addition to fixing the head gasket and possibly head warpage.

    Given the age of these cars now, look for one that has had a relatively recent clutch and gearbox overhaul as there are a few possible weaknesses there. One that has been owned by an owner rather than just used by a driver may be a better prospect if you have the option. The rear end has torsion bars, not springs, if my memory is correct on that.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts cav91's Avatar
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    If you can stretch your budget at all. Find a kangoo. Much better car. With very little known faults, they drive better and have much more power, much better specs, such as power windows, central locking, rear wiper and demister.
    Alternatively I had a s2 2008 diesel berlingo. It was very good. Much better than the petrol ones. They don't give gearbox issues and very rarely engine issues. But still had no specs, I fitted aftermarket central locking!

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  4. #4
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    If you've owned a 306 it will be fairly familiar (with a different drivetrain.
    Early Berlingo is based on Citroen ZX (which is on the same platform as 306).
    As a result they drive very nicely!

  5. #5
    Tadpole
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    Thanks for the advice so far. It seems that it wasn't a trouble free model. A shame as the 306 could be trouble free with regular maintenance.
    I might have a bit of a think about the potential cost of repairs versus savings in purchase price over a Kangoo.
    David S, I've read about the front springs cracking but I'm not sure if that's a UK specific issue? I haven't read anything about it in these forums though.

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  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Hi, am on my third Berlingo , damn fine thing to get in and out of if you have a bad back
    if you decide on Berlingo and can do the work yourself , they are pretty straight forward,& not overly expensive.
    To add to Davids sage advice, in my experience a head gasket is common at about 200 k ,
    any sign of oil in coolant , replace head gasket !!
    ensure the timing belt and tensioner are done within 80k

    if you do buy one, secure plastic fuel inlet to the injector rail with a cable tie !!
    my last van self immolated due to not doing this I am told

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far. It seems that it wasn't a trouble free model. A shame as the 306 could be trouble free with regular maintenance.
    I might have a bit of a think about the potential cost of repairs versus savings in purchase price over a Kangoo.
    David S, I've read about the front springs cracking but I'm not sure if that's a UK specific issue? I haven't read anything about it in these forums though.

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    As a happy owner of an M59 Berlingo (2003-2010) with the TU3JP 1.4L 8Valve eng. I would mainly be concerned about the state of the manual 5 spd (MA) gearbox and the indicator/light switch. Cambelt due every 80K 4 years. Forget all the BS about cracked springs etc.


    As has been mentioned, get one that has been driven and looked after by an owner rather than an uncared for one that has used by drivers ! You can get a fair idea of the usage by the condition of the cargo area and the drivers seat etc.


    This M59 update version has multiplex wiring and that means if the indicator switch is not self cancelling after use you could be looking at around $300 for a new one ( ex UK) They can be repaired, but I would get a new one.

    The earlier M49 version doesn't have multiplex so could be cheaper for switch gear as they are separate units.

    This model has the slimmer headlights and different grill etc so can be easily recognised.

    These little engines are revvy and provide a fun to drive van, but need to be well tuned to get the most out of them
    The M59 has 2 O2 sensors that should be replaced at 160K but can fail much earlier. The main sensor (control) is mounted in the top of exhaust manifold and will bring on the fault light when stuffed, along with excessive fuel consumption.

    Overall a great little van

    Alain

  8. #8
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    I tried to post earlier, but got the resource message. The rear suspension mentioned by DavidS should look familiar
    Berlingo common problems?-berlingo.jpg

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger
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    If there was any issue with the front springs it might be to do with wishbones and mounts. I'm not sure. The Xsara sometimes had a problem with the mount housing on the wishbone cracking, but I don't think there is much to worry about with the Berlingo in that area. I think it's a non-issue, but obviously parts do wear out eventually. They are a fairly simple and reliable vehicle, but no longer a young car and, being a commercial, some of them have had a really hard life by now. If you find one that feels good to drive, has a quiet gearbox and OK on all the normal used car checks, it's probably going to do the job well for you.

    You want to be changing the water pump when doing the timing belt and tensioner.

    On the fuel piping mentioned by Alpine, yes, you do want to be a little careful about where it is secured and routed. Lots of people could have fiddled with them by now, so it's only common sense to go looking for any place it might be rubbing on something. Down the back of the engine bay ahead of the driver is where it emerges from underneath and it may rub on an AC pipe in that vicinity if not secured properly. Check.

    From about 2005 on, there is no level plug for the gearbox. You drain and refill it with about 2 litres and make sure it doesn't leak out slowly.

    One final comment is that the reverse gear needs to be allowed to slip in rather than rammed in hard. If you try to ram it into reverse, you end up bending the gear linkages and popping the ball joint ends off the link rods.

  10. #10
    Tadpole
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    Thanks again everyone, you're all champions!

    I'm still a few weeks away from starting to look at these, but you've given me more than enough information so I can make an intelligent choice. I have my eye on a couple as we speak, I just have to make the time to get to Sydney!

    Just out of interest, the M59 with the multiplex wiring; was this the same as was installed in the series I 307s? My old man had the same non cancelling indicator issue, which was fixed by installing the series ii 307 indicator stalk.

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  11. #11
    Tadpole
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    Interesting thread and some great info. I just bought a 2005 Series 2 1.4 Berlingo van with 215,000 km on it. Drives very well but had to rely on the RMS vehicle history report for previous use as there is no Owners Handbook. Ten years as business with first owner, then 18 months with another business owner then 12 months private with a Pensioner.. I've booked it in to my local mechanic on Wednesday for a service and thorough once over. I'll be using the van for Courier work here in Sydney after I was knocked off my motorcycle while doing Courier work on it.

    Only issues I've noted are the heater doesn't get warm, Aircon fan works but compressor doesn't start when the dash mounted and button is pushed, and the clutch feels a little less than smooth when engaging it. Steers and corners beautifully. This is my first Citroen. Hopefully it will last a few more years yet!

    I chose this model because I already had a crook back from a previous injury and the bike accident had made things worse. I still need to earn a living though eh! Cheers William.

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