Unexplained breakdown

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I drive (or drove!) a Citroen ZX 1.9 diesel. It's done 150,000 miles. Until today, it started well, sounded perfect, drove okay, was economical, etc.

While driving today at around 50mph listening to music I suddenly became aware of a sort of thrashing sound in the engine. I felt it through my foot on the acelerator too. It didn't sound harsh or metallic. I instantly thought of a belt having snapped and flailing around.

I pulled over and switched the engine off. Then I turned the engine over again. It turned briefly, then died. It wouldn't turn over again. I opened the bonnet and looked inside. Oil and water okay. Fan belt okay. Cambelt I couldn't see but suspected.

The breakdown people came and had a look. they peered inside the cambelt cover and pronounced it okay. It was in one piece and taut. They jogged the car forwards and back in first gear and then turned the engine over. It flailed briefly, then refused to do anything. They said the engine had probably seized, but couldn't say why.

They towed the car to my home where it sits in the drive.

I've driven many cars over the years, broken down many times. This car ran more smoothly than any I've ever owned so I didn't even take out breakdown insurance for it. Luckily I was carrying a passenger who had cover for any car he was in.

Is there any hope? Could it conceivably by sheared off teeth on the cambelt?

posted by  dodman

From the way you make it sound, it sounds like either A) Your crank is done B) You snapped a rod and C) Your piston is welded to the walls aka seized

You probably over-heated the car, bad water pump, low coolant, blocked passage.. etc. Sounds like your car is on its way to the grave-yard.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

One thing about this Citroen was it had no temperature guage. There was simply a red warning light that came on if it overheated. I never saw this light in action, but I have little reason to suspect overheating as I never once had to top up the coolant level. With an earlier Peugeot with a similar engine, it overheated regularly but still carried on for many, many miles.

Presumably, (C) is most likely as when I put it in gear and try and rock it backwards and forwards there's no 'give' at all.

A blocked passage, then?

It's like a reasonably healthy man in the prime of life suddenly droping dead of a heart attack. Someone like me, in fact. So, taken in perspective, the loss of a car is small potatoes.

posted by  dodman

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