Scenic II Engine cutting out/loss of power problem
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Scenic II Engine cutting out/loss of power problem

    Last week I was coming back from a school holiday trip with my family in our 2005 Scenic II (manual Expression). Having stopped for lunch at Goulburn we had been heading back up the Hume Highway to Sydney at 110 kph for about 45 minutes when the engine rapidly lost power. Pumped the accelerator which did nothing, put foot on clutch and tried accelerator again and nothing. Fortunately I was able to pull over but after about 10 seconds since the engine lost power it came back to life and the car ran perfectly for another half an hour it did exactly the same again. This time I noticed the revs had dropped to zero and the engine light came on but was able to restart the engine before we came to a stop. This happened at increasingly frequent intervals until we got back to Sydney over an hour later.

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    The afternoon was fairly warm (26 degrees) and the tank had between 15 - 20 litres of fuel left i.e a third to a quarter full. In between episodes the engine ran perfectly.

    Once back in Sydney I filled up the tank (noting release of backpressure when I broke the seal on the filler cap) and have been driving around the suburbs with no problems. After the weekend I took the Scenic to my mechanic (not a Renault specialist but they're pretty good and trustworthy). They downloaded the error messages from the computer but all that was there were some entries relating to an electric handbrake problem that I had resolved six months ago. They didn't think it was a fuel problem since the car ran perfectly in between the episodes of the engine cutting out.

    As you can appreciate it's a worrying problem and until I get to the bottom of it I don't feel I can confidently do any highway driving. I've seen a couple of posts (few years old) where people had similar but not exactly identical problems in which a range of solutions are offered. Has anyone had more recent experience with this problem in a Scenic or Megane and found a solution?

    Thanks and cheers.

  2. #2
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    It sounds like something electrical that's becoming intermittent with heat soak. Loss of coherence from a cam or crank sensor should be logged, though.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts renault8&10's Avatar
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    Not with our scenic II, but I have heard of issues on the Kangoo where the engine harness doesn't have enough slack and plugs start intermittently losing contact. The fix apparently was the equivalent of an "extension cable".

    In your case though, maybe check engine harness and plugs for bad contacts etc as a starting point.
    KB


  4. #4
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    The most obvious suspect is a dirty TDC sensor.
    This can cause the engine to cut out and/or rough running.
    Take it off and give it a clean and try that.
    Your car being a manual it is not too difficult to reach.
    Unfortunately, I don't believe there is a way to test these, only by replacing with a known good one (i.e. a new one) but if it's dirty it will be pretty obvious.
    If your car has clocked a lot of KM's it might be a good idea to clean it anyway, even if it doesn't cure the fault.
    They're not expensive to replace if you have to.


    Cheers
    Ren
    "I cannot help but notice that there is no problem between us that cannot be solved by your departure. Mark Twain"

  5. #5
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    This may seem a bit out of left field, but that's very much how my Xantia once behaved. Was your car more likely to cut out if you were going up hill and/or trying to accelerate?

    My Xantia's problem turned out to be a blocked fuel strainer (suction strainer on the in-tank pump)! Changing the in-line filter made no difference.

    It appears that when demand for fuel increased (such as when climbing), the pump couldn't keep the pressure up, and the ECU would cut spark/injectors. I only had to switch the ignition off and I could restart. Probably a bit of sludge fell away when the suction stopped, and would take a while to re-accumulate, but the longer the trip the worse it got.

    I don't know whether the ECU was detecting low fuel pressure, or a lean mixture. In any case, I never found any error codes, but the problem never recurred once I'd cleaned the strainer. I suspect the sludge buildup was caused by my attempt to save money by using ethanol fuel - the ethanol probably loosened up accumulated muck...

    Cheers

    Alec

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armidillo View Post
    This may seem a bit out of left field, but that's very much how my Xantia once behaved. Was your car more likely to cut out if you were going up hill and/or trying to accelerate?

    My Xantia's problem turned out to be a blocked fuel strainer (suction strainer on the in-tank pump)! Changing the in-line filter made no difference.

    It appears that when demand for fuel increased (such as when climbing), the pump couldn't keep the pressure up, and the ECU would cut spark/injectors. I only had to switch the ignition off and I could restart. Probably a bit of sludge fell away when the suction stopped, and would take a while to re-accumulate, but the longer the trip the worse it got.

    I don't know whether the ECU was detecting low fuel pressure, or a lean mixture. In any case, I never found any error codes, but the problem never recurred once I'd cleaned the strainer. I suspect the sludge buildup was caused by my attempt to save money by using ethanol fuel - the ethanol probably loosened up accumulated muck...

    Cheers

    Alec
    The fact that the dash taco dies indicates it is not simply a fuel starvation issue.
    I agree with Ren, First thing you should do would be to inspect and clean the TDC sensor (or crank angle sensor).

    jo

  7. #7
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    My Xantia's tacho dropped to zero when I put my foot on the clutch too (and the STOP light came on)! Malcolm seems to be simply confirming that the engine stopped spinning when he put his foot on the clutch.

    Check out Whippet's story about a 307 with hard to diagnose issues - guess what that turned out to be .

    2002 307 1.6Lt 4Sp Auto - Wont Drive - Purchase Opportunity

    Malcolm hasn't actually explained whether it was always necessary to turn off the ignition key before engine would restart. If it was then I rest my case - the ECU has detected a problem and cut the power, but simply turning the ignition key off allows the ECU to forget the problem and carry on. Surely an electrical problem wouldn't disappear so easily!

    Cheers

    Alec

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armidillo View Post
    My Xantia's tacho dropped to zero when I put my foot on the clutch too
    Alec
    Yes, I assumed that no-one would be foolhardy enough to run a modern car (with its heavy reliance upon PAS and brakes) with a stalled engine and the clutch pedal depressed.

    I therfore assumed revs dropping to zero to mean revs on the dash gauge, not actual engine revs.

    My mistake.

    Jo

  9. #9
    Tadpole
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    Hi Alec,
    Thanks for the contribution to the discussion. As you can imagine with the family in the car on a busy highway with the traffic at 110 kph it was difficult to take in exactly what was happening. And it all happened in less than 10 seconds. Thinking back on some occasions the power would return by itself before the revs went to zero other times it did go to zero and the engine light came on requiring pushing the start button. Scenic IIs have the keycard and "start" button system.
    Cheers, Malcolm.

  10. #10
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    Ok - that's clearly a different pattern to my experience - but it's also a different ECU, and I have no idea how it behaves! All I am trying to say is, at this stage you need to keep an open mind and be open to all possibilities .

    Cheers

    Alec

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