Citrojim's Activa, 207 and Bike Tales

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim » 25 Jun 2011, 21:11

It's been one of those weeks. Heavy IT, returning home brain-dead and nursing an aversion to anything resembling a PC :twisted: :twisted:

Hence my relative absence. It was noticed. I received a phone call today from a regular member who asked if I've been away somewhere on holiday :lol: :lol:

Some heavy spanner therapy was required and along with Xac today, that was delivered care of another good bout of work on Juliet :D :D :D

As Juliet is Xac's I'll leave to him to fill in the details of our achievements today...

I did intend to use the word 'travails' to describe our efforts today, believing travail is French for work. Sadly in English it is entirely wrong for our achievements today. I quote the definition:

1tra·vail noun \trə-ˈvāl, ˈtra-ˌvāl\
Definition of TRAVAIL
1
a : work especially of a painful or laborious nature : toil
b : a physical or mental exertion or piece of work : task, effort
c : agony, torment


It was none of those :D Perhaps a little of B but certainly not A (well maybe just a tiny bit) but definitely not C!!!

The therapy worked well... I'm feeling good and it amazes me still that a day sitting at a desk at my professional travail (definitely definition A, B and C all apply) leaves me far more exhausted and feeling completely empty-tired than ever a good long hard day of spannering does...

I'm clearly in the wrong job :twisted: I guess spannering brings satisfaction whereas the constant battle with Bill Gate's finest does not...

In other news, Old V6 was found in very fine fettle with a nice dry HP pump when checked over this morning and Activa is out to play for the weekend. I drove her this evening after well over a week of sitting doing nothing (Activa that is, not me) and I loved every second even though it was just a trip to Tesco. I took a very long and deviating route back home :D
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Post by Xaccers » 25 Jun 2011, 21:19

It was a really good day Jim!
Wish I was free tomorrow to finish the rest of the jobs.
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Post by CitroJim » 11 Jul 2011, 22:34

Well, that was a week just gone by... Hectic and busy and sadly so little time for spannering or this forum :cry:

I went to Somerset on Sunday and for no other reason that it was the easiest of the V6s to get to, I went in old V6 but there was a job I HAD to do and that was to fix an essential part that had been non-operative for a while.

That essential part was the cruise control. Cruise is one of those things that once you've experienced it you never want to be without it. The thought of driving 330 miles without it was too much to bear...

A quick check showed it to be the usual old problem; a split in the vacuum pipe where it fits onto an oversize spigot on the vacuum pump. The pipe is too tiny for the spigot and it has to be stretched too far to make it fits and it splits as a result. To (hopefully) overcome this issue I did a modification involving a piece of washer hose, which is a nice snug fit but not too much of a stretch on the spigot, and a reducing coupler that is a better match to the size of the original vacuum pipe. My first attempt did not work as there was just the teeniest vacuum leak which was enough to stop it working. My second attempt was fully successful.

Today I had a day off to much catching up on neglected tasks from last week and even found time to complete my little hydraulic pressure gauge project.

Here it is:

Image

This allows a gauge to be teed into the 4.5mm main hydraulic feed from the pressure regulator and thus to be able to confirm the regulator is cutting in and out at the right pressures and there are no leaks sapping away pressure.

The tee is made of brass and tapped to act as a female hydraulic union (it's what I needed an M9 tap set for) and brazed into this tee is a 4.5m feed pipe ending in a male union to screw into the pressure regulator and a branch pipe to the gauge. The gauge adapter had to be specially made and again brazed to the pipe.

It was a stern test of my brazing skills as it has to stand at least 170 bars of pressure and that's a lot. It's 2500 PSI in proper units of measure :D

I tested its basic integrity on the sphere tester and took it to 80 bars without issue.

I then put it on the Activa and gingerly started up with a spanner on the bleed valve just in case it decided to go bang so that I could release pressure quickly.

It didn't and here it is reading 150 bars:

Image

It was interesting to watch what happened on the gauge as the engine started and pressure built. It quite quickly reached 80 bars or so (security valve opening pressure) and then stayed around 80 or 90 bars for some time as the rest of the system charged. Then the pressure slowly rose to 160 bars, a click signified the regulator had cut out and then the gauge slowly fell to just above 140 bars whereupon the pressure started to rise again to 160 bars as the regulator cut in. Soon another click was heard as the regulator cut out.

So, my regulator is a bit down but only by 10 bars so for now it's good enough.

What was amazing was how long the car held pressure after switch-off. It fell to around 120 bars and stayed there for ages before dropping to around 90 bars. At that time I had to attend an emergency in the close. A manhole cover was lifting and spewing raw sewage down the street :twisted: A neighbour and I got our rods out and set to a very unpleasant task. Our drains around here are terrible.

Anyway, it was one hour and 20 minutes before I looked at the gauge again and it was still reading 90 bars. I released pressure at that point and reassembled the car.

I'd love to know how much longer it would have held on to the pressure...

Still, it all looks good on the hydraulic front.

The day was nicely rounded off by a quick visit from Rhothgar who turned up on his Harley. A seriously lovely bike that and it sounds heavenly :D :D

Hoping this week will be a bit less hectic than the last.
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Post by vince » 12 Jul 2011, 23:41

Nice one Jim, inspirational as always :)
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Post by CitroJim » 30 Jul 2011, 22:07

Time for an update, it's been a long time...

In the weeks running up to the National Rally, I was becoming very fatigued from work. So much so that I was loosing interest in things cars as I simply had no energy to do anything, barely enough to look on here. I was absolutely exhausted and needed a break so the week after the National I took as leave. A great (albeit wet) National was a real perk-up and the following week was great. I was alive again and enjoying playing cars, even my posting rate went up, both on here and Club-XM. I really had a great week off, a great time and a very enjoyable time on Saturday battling Citroenesque's new Xantia and seeing John (jgra1) again :D

I've been back to work a week and in just one week the old exhaustion is back with avengence. The bloody job is slowly killing me and making me very unhappy and discontent. Today it has taken all day to get a bit of life in me and to be able to face again logging on to a PC and visiting here, my email and Club-XM. I get to the point where the PC is a monster in the corner I just don't want to go near. After a day of intense IT work, the last thing I want to do is to look at another one, even if the content is different.

I've got to do something to resolve this or I'm going to go under. I'm thinking I need to get out of IT. I can't go on just doing work, coming home exhausted, getting up, going to work again for five days and then spending half the weekend recovering before I can enjoy my pastime again. Trouble is, I fundamentally enjoy my job and the people I work with but it's just too intense and full-on which spoils it completely.

I know it's not me (or anything inherently wrong with me) as I can spend a week of intense spannering here in my workshop and not feel tired in the same way as I do when at work. Heavy spannering brings on the sort of tiredness at the end of the day that is physical but leaves you feeling mentally fresh and happy. Intense IT causes a mental tiredness that leaves you feeling wretched and miserable. :evil:

Enough of that. I spent too much time at the National amongst the XM owners and their enthusiasm rubbed off a bit. Despite having fallen head over heels for a V6 Activa after driving one :D and considering building one as my next project, David Hallworth demonstrated immaculate timing by offering his dead S2 XM V6 for sale the day after the National. It's dead on account of a duff gearbox and it had my name written all over it.

Needless to say it's mine now and I'm awaiting delivery. After a few hiccups in that area, it's due to be picked up on Wednesday and be with me later in the week. Hopefully by the weekend. If I have any energy left by the weekend again then you know what I'll be doing...

The back end of last week I gave the workshop a thorough clean and tidy ready for the XM and partially stripped a spare gearbox I acquired long ago for £30, condition unknown but believed OK. The partial strip has revealed it to be quite good despite some horrible, black oil in it, most of which I spilled over the garage floor :twisted: So it looks like I'll be able to use it as a spares donor for the XM. Although from a V6 406 originally, I'm not tempted to use it as-is without a rebuild and the nagging doubt remains over its compatibility so best to take from it whatever the original XM 'box needs to get it healthy again.

This is a shot of the XM:

Image

It has multipoint LPG fitted and that's going to be interesting as well. I've never had any experience with it so something new to get my teeth into...

I've not driven my Activa since the National so this evening I took it out for a spin... As usual, it was a real pleasure. I may not drive the Activa very often but when I do it always puts a smile on my face. Maybe I should use it for work; it might make it a bit more bearable :twisted: :roll:
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Post by demag » 30 Jul 2011, 22:59

Stiff upper lip and all that Jim! I know how hard it can be, I'm supposed to be looking after an automated warehouse system but have hardly stepped out of the office this week due to being wracked with chronic backache. Plus being the wrong side of 60. :( and I will be up at 4.30am in the morning to spend another lovely day at it! You need to get in the garage and get some of that green blood and atf around your fingers! Ah I can smell it now!

:D
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Post by DickieG » 30 Jul 2011, 23:41

I know exactly how you feel Jim, I and my colleagues are absolutely exhausted at the end of each week due the high level of concentration being applied all day long, eventually your batteries run flat due to the lack of charging. Interestingly quite a number of my colleagues have left the job recently and every one of them state that after about six weeks of no longer having have your eyes out on stalks and concentrating 100% they found that they could now sleep properly at night and feel far more energetic overall.

The problem with a lot of work places and I know this applies to both yours and mine Jim is that some chinless wonder who's never done the job is looking to get a tick in their box for promotion and see's an opportunity for 'greater efficiency' not caring one jot for the fatigue that they now build up within their workforce which ultimately results in an overall loss of efficiency due to higher levels of sick days being taken and the significant loss of morale which causes resentment and if anything a loss of efficiency as staff are no longer willing or able to go the extra mile to make the job work.

This story in the press today is a typical example where HMRC are found to be struggling to cope with their workload suffering from poor management and demoralised staff, so what do this stupid government do? Cut their staff by 10,000, now that a really a good idea in times where the present level of staff can't cope and yet we need to collect as much tax as possible, unless I'm very mistaken I'd have thought that a revenue collector would be self funding.
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Post by CitroJim » 31 Jul 2011, 08:16

Richard, you've really hit the nail right on the head, especially with this paragaraph:

DickieG wrote:The problem with a lot of work places and I know this applies to both yours and mine Jim is that some chinless wonder who's never done the job is looking to get a tick in their box for promotion and see's an opportunity for 'greater efficiency' not caring one jot for the fatigue that they now build up within their workforce which ultimately results in an overall loss of efficiency due to higher levels of sick days being taken and the significant loss of morale which causes resentment and if anything a loss of efficiency as staff are no longer willing or able to go the extra mile to make the job work.


This is a root of the problem in HMRC and likely right across government.

So cut-back are we that for the past two years I've been doing my jobs (I have two distinct ones) absolutely alone, no assistance and worse, nobody to bounce ideas off and discuss how we might solve a problem. And I'm not alone in this. Our morale generally is not zero but negative...

What's worse is that if a manager or some other breed of paper-pusher needs assistance then its there, almost instantly. I know of no managers working alone but when an engineer needs bolstering, forget it :twisted: "Sorry, we have no resource for that" You'll most likely find that HMRC has a similar problem. They have hordes of managers and admin staff that contribute little to the overall work of the organisation but very few real workers, the quiet minority that work their balls off to get the job done. So pushed are they that although they're doing their best, the overall nett result is a poor service.

Like us, I expect their manager to worker ratio works out something like 10:1 :evil:

Our managers spend almost their entire life in meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to decide how much more work to off-load on to their few workers. Managers don't actually do any work, they like to think they do, speaking of making "strategic decisions" but in reality they just talk the talk and foist the real work onto others. I've never seen a stressed manager yet :evil: When it all goes belly-up (normally it does) they blame the workers for being unable to make their (usually) flawed "strategic decisions" work correctly.

demag wrote:You need to get in the garage and get some of that green blood and atf around your fingers! Ah I can smell it now!


I will be doing that very shortly, and it'll be more ATF than LHM today :D Now that I have recovered a bit from the week. That'll make me feel a bit better - until tomorrow when the merry circus starts all over again...
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Post by red_dwarfers » 31 Jul 2011, 11:22

CitroJim wrote:When it all goes belly-up (normally it does) they blame the workers for being unable to make their (usually) flawed "strategic decisions" work correctly.


I'm starting to learn all about this...
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Post by CitroJim » 31 Jul 2011, 11:27

red_dwarfers wrote:
CitroJim wrote:When it all goes belly-up (normally it does) they blame the workers for being unable to make their (usually) flawed "strategic decisions" work correctly.


I'm starting to learn all about this...


Shame they don't :evil: They make the same mistakes again and again :evil:
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Post by DickieG » 31 Jul 2011, 11:32

CitroJim wrote:Shame they don't :evil: They make the same mistakes again and again :evil:

Let's re-invent the wheel, again and again and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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Post by RichardW » 31 Jul 2011, 21:23

Know how you feel Jim.... too much work, not enough people, not enough hours, not enough forward knowledge - our client would stuggle to organise the proverbial in the brewery if we gave them the instructions! I see both sides as I 'manage' a team of 15 engineers (how on earth that happened I have no idea :lol: ) but I still end up picking up the slack and doing a lot of donkey work as well. Been doing some really tough calculations the last few weeks, which has fried my brain. Off for 2 weeks now though :D

That Xm looks nice - reg is AB, which is the same as my Xantia - wonder if it came from the same dealer in Stourbridge?
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Post by CitroJim » 31 Jul 2011, 21:49

Ahh, at least you're a good manager who leads from the front Richard :D Ours don't :twisted: The only leads they know about are the ones you use on dogs...

Been a good day today, mostly driving the Activa around doing potential route reccies for the CX, XM and Xantia Rally Convoy Drive.

Used a surprising amount of petrol but it's put me in a good frame of mind. No doubt that'll evaporate at around 7:45 tomorrow morning after being at work for about 20 minutes...
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Post by CitroJim » 13 Aug 2011, 13:25

All is good here and with luck, by the end of Wednesday the XM will be with me. It'll be a case of collecting it and then dumping it in my drive until time permits some work on it.

And the way things are going here, that could be some time. I'm working hard (for money) to meet a tight and critical deadline at work and that's seeing me exceptionally working into the evenings. For quite how long I don't know but certainly for the next coupe of weeks or longer.

All this week, I've been looking in briefly but time and the need to do other things, such as looking after the family and so on, has meant that any forum or car playtime been all too brief really.

So, I apologise if you've not seen a reply or a reply to a PM or email has taken longer than normal to arrive...

I'm still working on the X rally and today I'm combining a visit to dad with a slight detour to pick up the rally signs, the little yellow triangels that lead the way to CCC Rallies...

Tomorrow I hope for a relatively empty day when I may be able to catch up properly on what has been happening around here...
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Post by KP » 13 Aug 2011, 21:12

Well Jim good luck on wednesday if we don't get to catch up and hope all goes well with work :)

I sure don't miss those long days for weeks on end and don't envy you..
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