Engine stops in a second after starting, battery indicator light turns on, dashboard gauges drop to zero

The vehicle is 2006 Peugeot Partner Combi Van 1.9D. This problem has been occurring intermittently for a year. The last time was at the end of September; it occurred once a month mostly, more than this one or two times. Seasonal and daily environmental changes didn’t affect the situation as the problem occurred in winter and summer, in morning and afternoon.

If I remember correctly, it always occurred when I start the van for the first time in the day. Engine starts, but stops in a second. Battery indicator light turns on, gauges (fuel, speedometer, tachometer) drop to zero (engine temperature gauge is already at zero naturally). After turning off the ignition and trying again, engine starts normally and I drove the van everyday in all kinds of conditions without any problem. All accessories and components work normally; there has been no dimming in internal or external lights.

Engine and electrical parts checked in different shops, no problem found. But there must be a problem somewhere; any advice can be helpful.

As this is a chronic problem, I provide additional information below:
Engine stopped while driving only once, in 30 August, I went to an auto electrician, he checked and tested the van. He found no problem, but suggested that I should observe if all the gauges drop to zero when the problem occurs. As it happenned only once after that day, I’m not sure if it was the same in all the occurrances; but I think that battery indicator light turned on everytime, so let’s assume that everything was same everytime.

After the last time I went back to the same electrician; he decided that the problem is caused by the ignition switch, just because all the gauges dropped to zero. I considered replacing the ignition switch with all the locks, but he suggested not to do so. He said that the problem has not worsened and it isn’t necessary.

A week after, I went to the authorized service at the dealer. The van stayed there for 2 days. They said that they checked all the related parts including the brain, done test drives and pushed to limits; but they didn’t found any issues.

My auto mechanic has checked the vehicle multiple times; considered the fuel filter, fuel pump, bad fuel, catalyzer and immobilizer. He visually checked fuel filter and fuel flow. He removed and checked the fuel tank in November 2020; there was no problem. I replaced the battery that month as a precaution. Last week I checked the battery voltage myself with an analog multimeter; it was a little over 12 before engine started. It was a little over 14 after started the engine, turned on the AC and increased the revolution over 2000 for about 10 seconds. I guess these values are normal. I disconnected the battery terminals to check; there was only very little oxidation (if this is the right word; there was a white residue) on the cable end at negative terminal. I wiped both terminals and cable ends with a rag.

There are three events prior to the problem that can be related to it. I know exact date of some of them, because I take notes when a repair is done; just the date, cost and what changed. I guess the problem started in fall 2020. At around that time a camel spider had entered the van, I couldn’t catch it, it went under the dashboard at the passenger side. I don’t know if it died in somewhere or found a way to outside; but I didn’t use the van for 3 days, it stayed under the sun and I used aerosol insecticide which probably not effective over this animal kind. I don’t think it could have stayed alive inside the vehicle.

In August 2020 after regular oil and filter change, engine was washed with pressure washer (big mistake). I drove at least 50km without any issues. But later that day the engine revolution and sound began to decrease and increase erratically, like it was choking. I parked the van, checked the engine; only saw that a small tube was disconnected from pressure converter, exhaust control. (Probably it was disconnected way before and the mechanic disconnects or doesn’t connect it; I know that I used the van for the last year with this loose tube. It was reconnected at the authorized service, but end of the tube is split and I didn’t get a clear answer whether there is a problem in this part or if it has to be connected.) It was Saturday evening; I used the van in Sunday without any issues and went to mechanic later day. There was no apparent problem, but some fault records found when connected to computer.

From top to bottom; I tried my best to understand correctly first and then translate from Turkish, the text in the software is awful:
1-[leakage/runaway?] fault: Vehicle speed signal [,] compatibility with engine flow and speed
2-[leakage/runaway?] fault: Engine flow signal [,] Signal loss
3-fault that is not referenced After Sale
4-[leakage/runaway?] fault: Sucked air temperature signal [,] Short circuit in chassis

My head hurts now.
Mechanic asked me to take this photo and then deleted the records. I don’t know if only the record with the asterisk was detected or all of them.

Lastly, in June 2020 we replaced the fuse box in the engine compartment with a used one. I drove the van. After washing it (just the body) I noticed that the headlights are on while the headlight switch was off and the key was not in the ignition. The van didn’t start and we towed to the electric shop. I don’t know what was wrong with the box and didn’t see it; my mechanic took care of the repair.

My van is on sale now and I tell this problem to all buyers. I have no doubt that it will be sold easily and have no problem with the price drop. I just seek another advice for myself and the future owner.

1 Like

Just tell the people a short version as I could not wade through that long post. And this is a US based Forum and hardly anyone that is a regular has seen a Peugeot in years.

I had a similar problem with a 1983 Accord. Long, long before, it had major engine rebuild, by a free-lance former Honda mechanic. Just when I was supposed to pick it up, he started delaying the pick up without explanation. When I got the car, it started instantly, as if in more than perfect tune. Two years later, it started doing what yours is doing…running for five seconds and then dying. It was as if the engine vacuum was killing the engine. After much frustration, I found that two vacuum hoses right next to each other were reversed, so that the startup sequence was not correct. No one had touched the engine in that entire time. With an engine that was pressure washed, and a bad vacuum line, you should review the entire vacuum system, including its controls.

so does mine. LOL good luck selling it.

Thanks. I took note of this point. I insistently asked to the mechanic at the dealer about the condition of EGR and requested it to be checked, but got nothing. And I guess dealing with vacuum system is hard.

It sort of sounds like you’ve got multiple bad electrical connections. Ask your shop tech if they’ll use the car as their daily driver. They’ll bring their electrical diagnosis stuff w/them, and when it fails they’ll be able to test the various voltages at the various test points and will have a good chance of figuring out what’s wrong.

absent that, what i’d do is the basic battery/alternator/starter motor tests. Before the first start of the day the battery voltage should be about 12.6 volts. Then immediately after starting the engine, 13.5-15.5 volts. The “s” terminal of the starter motor should measure at least 10.5 volts with the key in “start”. Measure between starter terminal and starter case.

I must correct a part name; this is the disconnected tube from “pressure converter, exhaust control”. Mechanic said today that they mostly disable it, nobody changes it and it doesn’t harm the engine.

If you have emissions testing in your area, I doubt doing that would pass. No Peugeot experience, but Ford has (or had) a part called a DPFE, something like that, that controlled the EGR function. You might look up what others here have said about it, seemed to be somewhat problematic. Use the forum search link, upper right this page. If the EGR function is totally disabled, that could actually damage the engine by allowing the combustion chamber to get too hot.

In here, Turkey, vehicle inspection for vans is mandatory annually and emission testing is a part of it. I did it this August and it passed without any issues. And I know, that tube was disconnected at the time.
I will also check the situation in Ford.

With that kind of a problem, you get conflicting thoughts. I have been driving the van everyday iin hope that it’ll happen again that I could inspect more throughly and find a clearier symptom. And at the same time I hope that somehow it won’t happen again. But sure there is something that have caused the engine stop.

Thanks for all the replies and ideas. I have to sell the van immediately, this search for the fault is over for me. I’ll pass all I know, done and heard to the buyer.

As I can’t mark any of the replies as solution now, if this thread needs to be closed by me somehow, please inform.

If the EGR valve sticks in the open position , or whatever controls it fails and causes it to stay open, that will usually stall the engine. That’s in fact how I test the egr valves on my vehicles, activate them with a vacuum pump and see if the engine stalls. I suppose a vacuum gauge could be installed on the EGR vacuum control input to see if something is activating it.