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[Engine] Car won't start, stuck in Spain
Hello everyone.

I own an 07 plate citreon berlingo, 53,000 on the clock good nick etc.

A week ago it started to display 'eco mode' when I turned it on as if it was trying to save battery life. No warning lights have come on (the electrics are good). Then one morning, turned the key and nothing except a click, it didn't even turn over. No lights, radio or interior lights had been left on, clock was still telling the right time. I had to bump start it. I then continued my very long journey through France down to Spain. Once in Spain, it wouldn't start again so used jump leads and it started, there was a lot of white smoke initially out of the exhaust after that start.

The next time I went to start it was to get it to the garage, again just a click when I turned the key an nothing more. Jump leads didn't work either so called out garage who took it away.

I'm not fluent in Spanish but this is what I've been told....

At some point I have let the water or oil run low and the engine has seized. The guy said, it is possible to push a car (with no one in it) in 5th and it will start. I have no idea what he means, I have jump started many cars in my time but never in 5th with no one in the drivers seat! He said as he's not able to push the car whilst in 5th, the engine is seized and I need a new engine. He says it isn't the battery or alternator. I'm being quoted at least 2000 euros for a new (second hand) engine.

I guess my questions to you folks are....

What do you think of the garages diagnosis?

Have you ever pushed a car in 5th? (I find this bizzare)

Do you have any suggestions? 

Do you need more information?

Apologies if my information isn't very good, I have written down what I have witnessed and what I have been told in Spanish.

Thanks in advance for any answers.
Can't say about your not starting,but I've always bumped cars off in 2nd gear,
Agreed John555, I've only ever bump started in 2nd but I'm not sure this is what he was trying to do as there was no one in the drivers seat with their foot on the clutch.
I would get a second opinion..

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French Electrics......Grrrrrrr! Dodgy
I would put it in 5th and rock the car to see if the engine will turn over not start but revolve.Also check the dip stick for oil level and the water if the water level is very low and the oil is higher than normal it could be head gasket especially as you say white smoke came from the exhaust
I would not trust the opinion of a mechanic that checks for a seized engine by pushing it in 5th.

Surely it would more sensible to try and turn the crank with a spanner?
Silver Berlingo Multispace 1.4i Forte

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  • Sootyfoot
IF the engine was seized when trying the starter motor there would be a loud clunk as the starter pinion hits the flywheel while trying to turn it .

IF no clunking I would suspect the starter motor itself or the battery. First items to check.

As above get a second opinion , I wouldn't trust the Spanish mechanic who tells you bump start it in 5th gear.
Jack one front wheel up and turn it by hand in a higher gear. It could be something as simple as a bad earth or a dead battery and the white smoke on jump start unburnt fuel.
So where does this bit go then ?
I would agree with above comments Jumping in 5th unheard of, 2nd always. Also jacking one front wheel and turning it while IN any gear will tell you if the engine has siezed. if the wheel turns then the engine must be free, pretty simple test. Also if the car was starting off jump leads but would not restart it sounds more like electrical issues than mechanical.
2012 Berlingo Multispace VTR 1.6HDI White

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