Citrojim's Ka, Saxo 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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myglaren
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Post by myglaren » 22 Mar 2009, 21:51

Pity Geoffrey Smith is no longer with us, he would advise you to bury the garden in tons of well rotted manure and compost and be able to advise on the most suitable planting scheme for your location and requirements.

I'm no help - you have seen my 'garden' - hardly a fitting title :oops:

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Post by DickieG » 22 Mar 2009, 22:02

I'll bring Barney over next week, he'll sort your garden out for once and for all, totally flattened with the odd hole dug for variety :roll: :twisted: I used to have a reasonably tidy garden until he arrived ](*,)

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Post by addo » 22 Mar 2009, 22:23

Gardening! This could be fun... How big is the area?

You could work it up into furrows and grow potatoes? :P A crop of weed (when it starts to get tall, flatten it over with chicken wire) - donate 100% of it when harvested, to the local hospice and they will be very grateful. If the soil is really sodden, then a "bog garden" can be practical; rushes and stuff like that.

Don't know how it would go under snow, but here some of the violets and mints are pretty tolerant of frosty spells. Bluebells of course, too. Camellias of the smaller varieties cope OK with low temperatures and poor soil - Japan has demonstrated it well.

I also have a "rock thing" - liking to collect decent size stones (80lbs or so) from different regions for visual interest. Rockeries built in this way, take time but are a good ongoing project and a reason to get out and drive! Reclaimed bricks from the era of pure lime mortar, are easy to clean, making good pavers and edges. I always like how much you can haul off a house demolition in exchange for a case of beer or two.

Cheers, Adam.

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Post by admiral51 » 22 Mar 2009, 22:36

CitroJim wrote:
In fact, so out of ideas and skill am I in matters horticultural, I'll happily exchange repair work on a Xantia in return for planting my garden up. Any offers?
So just how much planting/landscaping are we talking about here Jim

Are we talking a Clutch and Clutch cable replacements worth or do you wish a Monty Don type patch thats got to be worth atleast a heater matrix :lol: :lol:

Will look through some books ive got hidden away for some sensible suggestions from me next time :)

Colin

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Post by jgra1 » 23 Mar 2009, 01:24

:D Jim I am quite glad I have no idea :D

I did buy a strimmer last year to cut green things that were bigger than other ones ?

:twisted:

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim » 23 Mar 2009, 17:30

jgra1 wrote: I did buy a strimmer last year to cut green things that were bigger than
Sounds like your horticultural knowledge is on a par with mine John :lol:

Thanks all for the thoughts :D I like the rockery Idea Adam. A bog garden is out really as the soil is so light and well drained. If only the soil was acid and then a rockery and some heathers/alpines might work well..

Basically, it's only a small plot and currently consists of a patio (full of Xantia wheels at the moment) with a pergala and until yesterday it was covered in a very vigourous triffid-like thing called a passion flower which has resisted may attempts to eradicate and it keeps sneaking back. I'm planning to knock down the pergala and build a shed on the site but it'll have to be a funny shape.

Then there's a small lawn which I want no bigger as I hate mowing and tending grass (makes me sneeze) and then a few small and fussy terraced borders with brick-built walls around them. Quite nice and I want to keep those.

So, really, it's what the borders can be filled with bearing in mind the soil, the north aspect and my two cats.

As for payment Colin, I'd say maybe up to a clutch clip sort of job but in return for a heater matrix I'd really be looking for a Chelsea Flower Show contender :lol:

Here's a few pictures of the garden..

Image

Image

Image

The border up by the conservatory gets the least sun and that border is quite damp.

I did think of gravelling that one...

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Post by myglaren » 23 Mar 2009, 20:29

The border up by the conservatory gets the least sun and that border is quite damp.

I did think of gravelling that one...
Just plant your Xantia wheels there Jim, they should grow there as well as anything else :D

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Post by CitroJim » 23 Mar 2009, 22:02

myglaren wrote: Just plant your Xantia wheels there Jim, they should grow there as well as anything else :D
Now if only I could grow a strut top tree or an activa ram bush in that border :roll: :lol: Maybe encourage a family of heater matrix fairies to live at the bottom of the garden...

Mark, my lad, popped round this evening. He and his pal are busy working on their Nissan 200SX S13 track-day car. They've been busy tweaking the engine with a bigger turbo with an external weaste-gate and screamer pipe (hooligans :lol: ) but ran into trouble with a "chipped" ECU they got to go with it. Basically the ECU did not work and I had a look at it with Mark this evening. When he received the ECU in the post it was rattling and this was down to the PROM chip having jumped out of its socket and rattling around. During its excursions, a leg broke off the chip and many others became bent.

A little delicate work with a soldering iron and a replacement leg "borrowed" from another chip was performed to make a repair. Hopefully it'll now work and do the job. Mark has rushed off to try it out.

Apparantly these "unmarked" tuning chips are worth/cost in excess of £100 :shock: so a repair was worth a go if nothing else.

Mark is hoping for 300BHP from his engine (a 1.8 CA18DET) but at what cost to reliability I'm not sure. It's already consumed three turbos and a cylinder head....

Ahh, the joys of youth. Another pal of his is seriously planning putting a V8 in a mini after getting fed up with constantly killing massively overbored A-series engines :lol: :lol:

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Post by addo » 23 Mar 2009, 22:30

Where your patio is, would be the best place to grow roses IMO and stick a bench seat. You can raise the garden bed slightly, surround them with a little pathway of hard-packed (light coloured) decomposed granite and they'll get extra reflected heat to really prosper through the warmer months.

I feel the lattice screen and doorway there is actually a visual turnoff; instead of enticing people to venture out and sit on a seat there, it closes the area too much. I'd be training a deciduous vine along the fencetop if that's acceptable with neighbours. Grapes, Boston Ivy, Wisteria - whatever pleases you and is readly maintained.

Try glyphosate weedkiller on the passionflower. Either snip the stems and immediately brush on neat, or brush the fresh green leaves and new shoots liberally. The poison needs about four hours of moderate temperatures and dryness to "set" on the leaves and not run if it rains.

Not sure on the shed - I'd sugest only big enough for a lawnmower and gardening bits. If possible, a basement would suit some of the other bits more. Either way, site it where you're not seeing it as the visual centrepoint of a garden, nor is it hogging the best solar access.

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Post by KP » 24 Mar 2009, 09:59

I'd not expect much reliability out of that engine. Fuelling is the key and those generic off the shelf maps in the chips are never utpo scratch. They are better off spending a few hundred quid on a good mapping session once they have all the bits on the car they want.

Also if they want good spoolup do they have a direct induction path to the turbo? this was done on some fiat coops and found to increase spoolup by at least a few hundred rpm as the turbos got bigger.
Also are they using rollerbearing garrett units or just sleeve bearing?
Opie oils are good if they become members for soe half decent silkolene oil :)

Jim I'd get rid of the little outcrop of the bed that you have in one of the last pictures, just to make mowing the lawn that little bit easier and the bed smaller as well :)

An easy way to do beds i've been told is get some cheap packets of flower seed, daisies and the like and just mix them all together and throw them over the bed then turn the soil over :) Mix in the odd bulb for spring time niceness and there you go :)

I just think you have the wrong type of green fingers jim :D

Me and Rachel barely get a chance to touch ours at the moment and the garden got a light attack with the mower this weekend and next weekend we are going for the border to get it all weeded out and then replanted with grass seed and to sort out the odd patch of dead grass we have as well!

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Post by CitroJim » 28 Mar 2009, 21:32

Thanks all for the gardening thoughts :D Will, you're right, that little "outcrop" border is a pain when mowing so it shall go..

Yes, Mark's track-day car is not a paragon of reliability. It spends most of its time blown-up in one way or another. Still they're learning, most often the hard way :roll: One day they'll learn the joys of lighly-tuned big, lazy engines rather than trying to tune a small one to destruction...

This week has been a good one but oh, so busy with long hours at work :twisted: There has been (sadly) precious little time to spend on here and come last eveing I as absolutely poleaxed and collapesed in front of the telly. Even if I'd have come on here I don't think I'd have been able to do anything. My brain was mush..

And it is set to continue for the foreseeable so don't be surprised by my relative absence during the latter half of the week :(

On Thursday evening I went with Sian for her GCSE options meeting at school and came away a very proud Dad :D Wherever we went, fellow pupils (sorry, students) call out "Hi Sian! and teachers likewise but with beaming smiles. Our Sian is a "straight As" student across the board and incredibly well liked by everyone :D

For GCSE she's doing triple science (physics, biology and chemistry), Geography, history and art as well as the compulsory maths and english.

Robyn, our 16-year old, is right in the middle of roughly the same set of GCSEs as Sian has chosen. Robyn is feeling the stress of it a bit as she is the same straight As student as her sister and her teachers are expecting great things of her...

No sooner had I got home than the 'phone went. My nephew Wayne. He's been on a 205 buying spree and added TWO 205 Automatics to his fleet so now he as FIVE 205s.

Naturally, he had loads of questions to ask and advice to seek and after an hour and a half, I'd sorted him. He's got to thin his fleet a bit though as he has five 205s, a nearly new Skoda thing and a Nissan Micra.. He has to "borrow" friends drives to keep them all on.. His other 205s are two Ds and a nice TD Sceptre.

And I thought I was bad enough :roll:

One thing I cannot get Wayne to do is join this forum :evil: I really have tried....

Still, today has been brilliantly successful. Have a look at my V6 blog and Jgra1's blog for full details of what went on today :lol:

Tomorrow I really must give the Activa and 2.1TD some attention or they'll get jealous of the V6 and have a teddy-throwing session...

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Post by CitroJim » 31 Mar 2009, 20:10

Been in hospital all day today. Luckily all seems OK...

This is what landed me in A and E at seven this morning...

Last night there was a long power fail here which entailed the forum database server running on UPS for an extended period. The server and it's peripherals, because it runs unattended for long periods is equipped with a Fire Protection System designed to cut power and extinguish any fire should the server or UPS do its worst. The extinguishant is stuff called FM200 with is fully non-toxic, non ozone depleting and so on. It's an HFC (heptoflouropropane) compound. It is so safe it is used, as HFC2207, as a proplellent for asthma inhalers.

Anyway, as a possible result of the UPS running for an extended period on batteries and the UPS running hot (as it does under those conditions) the fire system decided to trigger itself at 04:30 this morning and release its extinguishant. It's non-toxic so no worries. It even extinguished my central heating pilot light so it works...

I vented the house and proceeded to toast some crumpets under a gas grill. During the toasting, the kitchen filled with the most awful, pungent, sharp smell that got your throat somewhat.

Checking the MSDS for FM200, I found that if the released gas is heated in a naked flame it liberates Hydrogen Flouride which is nasty enough and I had a kitchen full of it. Worse though is that on contact with water, Hydrogen Flouride becomes Hydroflouric Acid that this is truely nasty, nasty stuff..

here is a description of it's toxicity:
Hydrofluoric acid is extremely corrosive and a contact poison. It should be handled with extreme care, beyond that accorded to other mineral acids, in part because of its low dissociation constant, which allows HF to penetrate tissue more quickly. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident. HF interferes with nerve function and burns may not initially be painful. Accidental exposures can go unnoticed, delaying treatment and increasing the extent and seriousness of the injury. HF is known to etch bone, and since it penetrates the skin it can weaken bones without destroying the skin. More seriously, it can be absorbed into blood through skin and react with blood calcium, causing cardiac arrest.

In the body, hydrofluoric acid reacts with the ubiquitous biologically important ions Ca2+ and Mg2+. In some cases, exposures can lead to hypocalcemia. Thus, hydrofluoric acid exposure is often treated with calcium gluconate, a source of Ca2+ that sequesters the fluoride ions. HF chemical burns can be treated with a water wash and 2.5% calcium gluconate gel or special rinsing solutions. However, because it is absorbed, medical treatment is necessary — rinsing off is not enough. In some cases, amputation may be required.
:shock: I noticed the brightly polished stainless steel pans I have above the cooker had tarnished from what I presumed was the Hydroflouric Acid attacking them.

Time for a visit to A and E...

Hydroflouric Acid is often liberated in car fires and hence the reason to approach a burned-out car with extreme caution.

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Post by admiral51 » 31 Mar 2009, 20:20

Hi Jim
Glad you are ok pressume kitchen and house is now suitably decontaminated :) :)

Now i know you enjoy adding to your blog but surely with so much work to do on the V6 you shouldnt have to go to such extremes in order to post something technical and informative :lol: :lol:

Seriously though, glad you and yours are ok :D

Colin

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Post by jgra1 » 31 Mar 2009, 20:30

Jim i read the exact same paragraphs at 10 this morning!

you did the right thing and i am sure all wil be fine

John

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Post by MikeT » 31 Mar 2009, 21:04

All I got to say is I'm glad you're still with us!