Buying a used...Citroen Relay

Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

There’s plenty of choice available for second-hand buyers in the market for a Citroen Relay, but as Steve Banner reports, there are several critical checks they should make before parting with their cash

Now replaced by a revised model with Euro5 engines, the Citroen Relay launched in 2006 offered comprehensive coverage of a hard-fought sector of the market.
Grossing at from 3.0 tonnes to just over 4.0 tonnes, and marketed as a chassis cab that played host to a variety of different bodies as well as in van guise, it was on offer with four different lengths, three wheelbases and three roof heights. Load cubes extended from 8.0-17.0m3 while gross payload capacities covered the 1000-2000kg sector.
Two different common-rail HDi four-cylinder diesel engines were on offer: a 2.2-litre generating either 100hp or 120hp and a 3.0-litre producing 157hp. The two most powerful came with six-speed gearboxes – their stablemate had to make do with a five-speeder – and in a then-innovative move, Relays were sold with Trafficmaster Smartnav satellite navigation systems. The package included Trackstar, which enabled the vehicle to be tracked by satellite and hopefully recovered if stolen.
Relays of this vintage ride and handle well, tend to be frugal and are usually reasonably well-equipped. Nor is there any lack of choice when it comes to hunting down used examples.
However, if you are in the market for a post-2006/pre-Euro5 Relay,  and see one you like, then one of the first things you should do is carry out some basic checks on its electrics, advises leading website Used Van Expert. In particular, make sure that all the rear lights – especially the number plate light – are working properly. If they are not, then there could be a fault in the rear wiring loom, which may need replacing, so insist that the vendor cuts the price by £300.
Ensure the central locking system functions too – a weak point on Relays and worth a £250 discount from the vendor if it is out of commission – and when you drive your prospective purchase, listen for a warning buzzer that tells you the sliding side load area door is open even though you know it is firmly shut. That is another defect that will need attending to, so the van’s asking price will need cutting by about £150.
If the engine is being started from cold before your test drive begins, then watch out for blue/black smoke from the exhaust. Once you are under way then look for any sudden loss of power or general sluggishness and see if the engine sounds rough when idling – all this may add up to a faulty exhaust gas recirculation valve, so fight for a £400 price cut.
Used Van Expert says that during the test drive you should check for any signs of juddering – a warning that the clutch may be past its sell-by date – when you engage reverse and start to go backwards. Furthermore, and no matter which direction you are heading in, when letting the clutch out you should take careful note of when the van starts to move.
“This point on the clutch’s travel is the bite point,” it says. “If the bite point is high, i.e. near the end of the pedal’s travel, then the clutch will fail soon.”
Try to negotiate a £450 discount if that is the case.
Remember your Relay may still be under warranty and the warranty may cover some of the aforementioned defects. However, sorting this out – which may involve a battle with the local dealer or the manufacturer – should be left up to the vendor.
Used Van Expert asserts that Relays can be heavy on clutches  with some failing after as little as 20,000 miles. If the service history shows the clutch has never been replaced and the van has done a lot of miles, then anticipate the potential for trouble.
Never, ever, inspect a van when lighting conditions are poor. That is especially the case with the Relay warns Used Van Expert because it can suffer from peeling or fading paint in areas such as the bonnet and wings.

Prices at auction

Auctioneer Manheim recently disposed of a 07-plate 2007 120hp L3 H2 3.5-tonner with 125,000 miles recorded for £3025. A similar but younger vehicle – 2008 on a 57 plate – that had clocked up 90,000 miles went for £3450.
An L1 H1 3.0-tonner with a 100hp engine, 2008 on a 08 plate, with 123,000 miles to its name sold for £2800 while a 157hp L3 H2 3.5-tonner, 2007 on a 57 plate and at 69,000 miles, went for £4500.

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