Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

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Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby waspcat » Fri May 23, 2014 7:26 pm

Please help fix my Citroen Berlingo Electrique / electric

The Van worked fine and just went in for a service with Citroen

When it was collected by myself, it turned out the trained mechanic who was supposed to service the batteries had been on holiday, so left instructions with a colleague to top up the batteries after the service charge was carried out.
The batteries were on a service charge for about 4-5 days before water was added.
which I understand to be incorrect
(If indeed any water was added at all)

I collected the Van and was told all was OK

So I drove it away

About 15 miles towards home, the battery charge warning light came on,
Followed by the battery water top-up light on the dashboard, indicating the batteries needed a water top-up
an impossibility as this was directly after the service that included topping batteries up with water.

The van had noticeably much less power/acceleration than it did before the service.
Along with a loud humming from under the bonnet that i hadn't noticed before.

After many weeks sitting on my driveway, the van finally went back to Citroen who re-serviced the batteries
indeed they were re-topped up with a considerable amount of water.
( indicating that they may not have been topped up at all previously.)

They said it was all OK and no damage had been caused by the previous service.

So great news

I asked if they had test driven it to make sure the batteries were performing OK as they had such little water in them when i had picked it up, And I wanted reassurance there was no damage to them.
Not to mention the lack of power/acceleration I had experienced on my return journey.

After a few days they got back to me and said the batteries were fine but the van would only do 30 miles on a charge now.
and had an insulation fault
They said this may be due to a new possible fault with the controller and completely UN-related to the batteries/service

The van has now been returned to me and broke down after a 5 mile trip.
Not quite the 30 miles I had expected
The van will now charge to 90% and gives up after 80% charge left ( No power forwards or backwards)

The auxiliary battery is showing 12.4v

The cooling pump is working and is topped up

Citroen are saying there may now be a fault with the controller, but of course its just coincidence this broke at the time of the service.

They tell me the traction batteries are 100% OK

Previously the van would drive 40+ miles on a charge at 100%
and need re-charging at about 20%

I have plugged in an ev-lite and found the overall voltage as follows

The van will only charge for a short while to about 90% full
This is from 80% charge when it displays plug in and recharge,
So dead at 80% no forwards or backwards just charge light and stops driving.

There is some jerking when driving too that wasn't there before

The ev-lite displays

183v before setting off start
176v after returning after 1 mile finish parked up
123v at its lowest point driving driving

176v OA 18.84%
P 0.0KW 54WH

Please can anyone give any clues as to what I can try or test or who may be able to help diagnose the problem

I am in Chichester West Sussex

Many Thanks Paul
Last edited by waspcat on Sat May 24, 2014 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby Grumpy-b » Sat May 24, 2014 9:36 am

123v says duff cells. 30miles says duff cells. Citroen clearly dont know what they are talking about.
Not charging to 100% could be a number of things, such as faulty temp device on the battery. What temp does evlite show? Does the ecolight come on and all shut down immediately.
How long was it since the batteries had been watered before citroen had they hands on it?
The Maintenance charge, if I recall properly shuts down after 72 hrs if its not been stopped, and watering carried out. DO you know how much water it took when they finally did it.
Did they actually do a clearing of the watering hrs counter?
Why if you have access to an evlite did you get citroen to do the maint charge?
If the batteries were low on water before the first charge they were seriously low after it, as the high temps reached during maint charge will have evaporated off some of the water in the electrolyte. If they didnt water it you could have been in a worse state than you started.
Thereaten them seriously. Ask for the proof, in writing that they watered it in the first place, also how much water they put in on the second try, and then how come so much water was required in such a short time if the pack was in good condition. Its not. Its got duff cells.
Loud humming is interesting. Where abouts is it coming from? is there coolant in the radiator sides. One or both? Is the coolant actually flowing in the rad, look through the cap for this.
Insulation faults are common and a lot of the motors give this and work fine. Especially in wet / damp weather.
WHat year is the van and the batteries.

DId they replace the brushes as well? If not what condition are they in?
It really sounds like your dealers messed up big time. If cells are very low on water or a long time sincethey were topped up. Doing a maint charge with exposed plate sections on old cells can cause them to bend (They get too hot with no electrolyte over them) whcih can subsequenty cause shorting if the separators are in a poor condition. Even if watered a slightly buckled plate will ultimately cause a failure when under heavy load.
Look through the forum.
DO a battery voltage check and post the results for each box.

Good luck


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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby ChrisB » Sat May 24, 2014 10:22 am

I'm not far from Paul and have said I'm happy to take a look in an e-mail to him but I pretty much said the same as yourself Grumps.

Personally its go back to the garage with the threat of legal action as it sounds like they have trashed the whole pack :x

Although I'm not sure what they can do as I'm not sure if they could even supply new packs now :?: replacing the odd cell I'd say isnt going to help much either as I suspect the whole packs been stressed beyond belief.

Which ever, if it was me I'd make sure Citroen coughed up vast sums of money for this total balls up :!:

I reject reality and substitute my own !!!!!!

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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby timpootle » Sat May 24, 2014 11:33 am

Us amateurs have tried and failed to get new cells from SAFT because they will only sell them to/through Citroen. Maybe the only good thing to come from this might be a whole new pack for Paul?? I fear legal action would be necessary to achieve this.
Tim Crumpton

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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby Grumpy-b » Sat May 24, 2014 1:15 pm

I think a recorded delivey letter
1. Address to Company secretary, if unsure ask at the Garage, they have a requirement to make such information available, send to the person by name, as well as the title of Campany secretary.
1. ten days to respond before legal action. State it.
1a (THOUGHT OF THIS LATER ON) Include a copy of the invoice you had from them, and state its date and number/ reference in an early paragraph.
2. Outline the car functioned beforhand, (State that you will provide a legal statement of its range, during proceedings should that be required)the cockup with the initial maintenance charge, and lack of watering since they used water in "large" quantities on second time around. Name the persons who gave you the assurance, if unclear, go back and ask them, what their name is and their job title, use this in the letter.
3. State that you were assured their negligece in the first maint would not cause damage. The fact that they assured they had not done damage means they knew they had made a mistake. State this. Doing what they did was not in accordance with either Citroen or SAFTs guidance, we can provide copies of the SAFt guidance if you need it.
4. Ask what redress they intend to do to restore your vehicle to the range it had before . You could stae that you require the van to have a battery pack that would do 40miles to a charge. They are obviously trying to claim that there are other problems as well, a touch of backside covering I fear. I would be happy to support any claim with an expert witness statement and independent report. But I would charge for that and make them aware of that as well.
5. State that you require full redress in 30 days from the date of this letter.
6. State all legal costs will be sought from (State the company formal name as on the invoice) in addition to rectification costs for thre battery pack damage.
7. Remind them of the time they have to respond, breach of sale of good act etc etc and sign in a reasonable manner, not yours seriously F%%ked off etc.

Did you pay by credit card? if so approach them.


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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby waspcat » Sat May 24, 2014 1:33 pm

Not sure what the temp is on the ev-lite as its new to me so still working it out
no warning lights are displayed on the dash apart from the charge light at 80% then goes out when on charge but only reaches 90%
The batteries were serviced within 12 months previously by Citroen and has full service history with them
I don't know how much water went into the batteries, but I was told it was a considerable amount on the second service
I asked about the watering/overcharge counter as it was still at 870AH after the first service, and was told that there was no such counter, but funny thing it is now set to zero after the second service
I did not have an ev-lite when it was first serviced but since purchased one
The battery water light on the dash was not on before the first service it only came on after the van was collected and driven home immediately after the service
I have asked so many times for things in writing, but have received very little answers to direct questions

I phoned the garage on the 4th day of the service to chase up the van only to be told the van was still on charge and the mechanic was on holiday

when I collected the van the trained EV mechanic told me he had left instructions with a colleague to water the batteries whilst he was away,
I believe he was not trained on Electric vehicles

He said they had never serviced an electric vehicle before, and believed the water had to be added anytime after the 72hr maintenance charge cycle
I was reassured the van was in good health and they had given it a test drive with no problems
So I drove it away

The radiator is full of fluid is it divided into 2 parts i cannot really see
The van is a 54 plate with 32000 miles and as I say full service history from Citroen London
I have been told the brushes are fine with about 10mm left on them

here is part of the latest email from Citroen

the batteries are in full working order, indeed that they were when the vehicle arrived on site, but that there is now an insulation fault within the main control unit. This fault has in no way been caused by any servicing operation carried out by Citroen

Thank you
Grumpy-b Tim crumpton and Chrisb

That would be great if you could take a look Chrisb
How far away are you

Thanks to you all


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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby highend » Sat May 24, 2014 2:08 pm

maybe they did 'initialisation charge" and destroyed some cells?

or did maintenance charge several times, and didn't added water? ;)

I see there is definitelly problem with batteries and several (maybe a few, maybe 8, maybe 10?) need replacing.
Citroen dealer will only replace whole battery pack.

Please do pack voltage measurement to check every pack for voltage :)

and good advice to all others: avoid dealers, do service yourself. it is very easy, and cheap.

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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby waspcat » Tue May 27, 2014 10:56 am

Just to let you all know I have been put in touch with a company called AUTO ASSESSORS
I will be paying them to do a full report on the berlingo and test the batteries

Thanks again to all of you for your help and advice
I will let you know what their findings are, hopefully at the end of the week.

Thanks again Paul

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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby Grumpy-b » Tue May 27, 2014 11:23 am

If they need guidance on the cells and tests etc. Put them on to me, I do operate as a full time EV repair person and have some knowldge of these vehicles.I have reasonsble rates but am VAT registered.


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Re: Berlingo now broken after Citroen Service

Postby timpootle » Wed May 28, 2014 11:20 am

Grumpy-b wrote:... I ... have some knowldge of these vehicles.

Tim Crumpton

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