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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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by Xaccers » 16 Dec 2012, 08:51

I'd rather have a combi boiler, some are 98% efficient.
Wish we could replace the fridge and freezer, I'm sure they are the cause of us using 15KWhs a day.
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by CitroJim » 16 Dec 2012, 09:41

Xac wrote:I'd rather have a combi boiler, some are 98% efficient.


They are bloody incredible. I believe mine is one of the 98 percenters...

The problem is, replacing a back-boiler with a combi is a major task and not just a simple one-for-one...

Maybe your landlord will be happy to do so. I do hope so for the sake of your fuel bills...

Another advantage of a combi is they can live in odd places. Mine's in the attic and thus it releases space in the living areas of the house...

Trouble is, when they die you loose everything immediately as there's no hot water storage. It's a good idea to have an electric shower with a combi...
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by Chris570 » 16 Dec 2012, 09:55

Jim, you know you never have to suffer the cold as there's always somewhere warm not far from you :)
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by CitroJim » 16 Dec 2012, 12:46

Chris570 wrote:Jim, you know you never have to suffer the cold as there's always somewhere warm not far from you :)


What? Val you mean? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Failing that, the cars have good heaters in them and if I open the XM sunroof I can always have a shower....

Woke up this morning with an unbelievable amount of energy by my standards. It's been a lovely day so I made the most of it...

Changed the engine oil and filter in the V6 and also changed the gearbox oil as well.

So that's it, the V6 is pretty well set for the winter now :-D

Not doing anything else today. Time to rest. I'm still feeling OK but I'm not going to push it...

I might just go for a joyride in the XM though...
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by RichardW » 16 Dec 2012, 21:30

Glad you got it fixed, Jim - you were lucky that they didn't just tell you it was scrap, and a replacement would be £3k - that is their standard response by all accounts :roll: Nothing to stop you doing your own plumbing / gas work of course - the pressures are a lot lower than Citroen hydraulics =D>

It's not being a combi that makes it efficient, rather being condensing - you can have a non-combi condensing boiler - I've got one :lol: Just watch where the condensate drain is routed - you don't want a 32mm line outside - it will freeze, and trip the boiler! Under the right conditions you can get some pretty impressive icicles on the flue too - ours is on a north wall, and in the cold spell of Dec 2010, ended up with an icicle about 2ft long, and nearly 4" in diameter at the top - I eventually removed it, in case it blocked the flue!

@Xac - you can get a condensing back boiler these days - but they are fearsomely expensive. The boiler is about twice the price of a std wall hung boiler - and then you have to buy a new twin pipe flue liner - and these are nearly the price of a cheap wall hung boiler.... :twisted: It will probably keep going though, the one I removed from this house was so crudded up I would have thought it had been in a skip for 6 months if i didn't know it had been in service only a few weeks earlier. Modern boilers like to go through fans and PCBs at an alarming rate - in the fault finding chart in the instructions for mine, there are lots of things that lead to 'replace PCB'..... #-o
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by myglaren » 17 Dec 2012, 00:35

There used to be a government financial incentive to install condensing boilers that went a long way to defraying the extra cost. May still be available.
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by Mandrake » 18 Dec 2012, 17:27

CitroJim wrote:Woke up on Thursday morning to find my house freezing. Central heating had died overnight and there was water running down the wall near the boiler :shock:

I have callout cover and called them out. A well-known big company who also supply energy - wish they'd supply the kind of energy I need these days :roll:

Anyway, an engineer called in very short time. He looked at the installation and deemed it there and then 'At Risk' and declared it couldn't be used again until fixed :shock: I asked that was surely what he was there to do but no, he'd found a problem with the pressure relief outlet being incorrectly terminated and notwithstanding this was not the cause of the fault he could not do anything about the actual fault until the installation error was fixed and that was not something he could do.

To cut a long story short, he could do nothing, despite some pleading on my part and left me stranded, freezing cold with no heating or hot water... It was against his regulations to do anything and besides it needed an installation engineer and he couldn't book one. Even if he could he told me they were stacked out with work and it would be weeks yet before they could do anything... :shock: :(

So, I had to call in an emergency plumber. He attended at the time he said he would and fixed the problem without demur. A joint had come apart between plastic and copper piping due to a manufacturing fault in the coupling. He replaced it and all is now good again.

Cost me an arm and a leg though...

I'm staggered such a big and supposedly caring company could take such an attitude :? Especially when their motto is 'Caring for your world' or some such weasel words. They didn't care much for mine...

Geeze Jim, what a nightmare. :roll:

Reminds me a bit of our combi boiler escapades over the last two years...

I don't know how old it is, but its not exactly new and every time it needs repairs we get the "hmm, we don't carry spares for this old model we'll have to order them in..." routine which means several days with no boiler every time it breaks, inevitably in winter. Of course as a renting tenant we don't have any say in the matter to actually get the boiler replaced with something better so we just have to put up with it...

It actually was reliable when we first moved in but the fan used to make a hell of a din with the whole thing vibrating - me not being used to central heating systems (nobody in NZ uses gas central heating!) I didn't realize it was more noisy than it should be... but at least it worked reliably.

One day it stopped and it turns out the firebox fan had completely seized up, obviously the bearings were knackered for at least a year before that and that's where the noise and vibration was coming from. Well not surprisingly they had no spare part so we went from Thursday to the following Tuesday with no boiler while they ordered a new fan. Being a combi that also meant no hot water and no showers, so plenty of visits to the inlaws. :lol:

A couple of guys arrived to fit the new fan who could best be described as groucho and marx and went on their way. As happens on every single visit they never get the cover put back on properly so I refitted the front cover properly and everything seemed fine for a while. The new fan was almost silent compared to the old one - no vibration and almost no noise. Too quiet as it later transpires.

Ever since then the boiler has been a bit intermittent and untrustworthy. Every time it tries to light the flame when cycling on and off there is something like a 1 in 40 chance of it not lighting. When this happens it sits there like a dummy with the circulation pump running, the firebox fan running, but there is no attempt to turn on the gas or ignite the flame. Every time they come back for "maintenance" (which seems to consist of taking the cover off, checking for gas leaks, brushing a bit of dust off and leaving again) we complain but they just shrug and can't/won't do anything about it because its intermittent and it won't do it when they're there. When the problem occurs it has to be manually turned off and on again then it will always fire up.

I'm not 100% certain but I believe the problem is that the air pressure from the much slower replacement fan is only marginal and not quite reliably triggering the air pressure switch in the firebox - so the controller board is turning the fan on, waiting for the air pressure to exceed a threshold before it turns on the gas and strikes the spark. Because the air pressure switch doesn't (sometimes) trigger, it just sits there in that limbo state... If it was my own boiler I would have long ago replaced the fan myself but I can't get them to replace it.

So for more than a year we've been putting up with the house being randomly cold in the morning or after work due to the timer coming on but the boiler deciding not to fire, which is quite infuriating, especially in sub zero temperatures where you don't want pipes to burst.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago and there was a loud BANG which took out all the power in the house except for lights and, yep, it was the boiler tripping the main RCD on the fuse box. Another day off work waiting for the boiler repair man, this time they found that the corner of the main control board had blown up - it was literally a burnt mess in the corner, and the guy traced it to a leaking temperature probe that had been allowing the water to run down the wiring and drip onto the corner of the board.

This guy was actually very competent but you guessed it "sorry we don't have those parts in stock as its an old model", so it was another several days wait over the weekend with no heating or hot water. To prevent any further water leaks he turned off the water supply inlet for the hot water before leaving.

Many days later another guy arrived to fit the parts... well this guy just did not know what he was doing. He had a circuit board and a temperature sensor but had no idea why the temperature sensor was required, I had to explain to him what the previous guy had said about the leak...so he fitted the new board and sensor, put everything back together even as I watched him putting all the screws into all the wrong places and generally looking incompetent... :roll: He even put one of the wood screws that was meant for holding our cup shelf (which is attached to the side of the boiler) into the bottom of the boiler - I was waiting for a BANG when the overly long screw touched the circuit board but it didn't! :shock: :roll: So once the parts were changed he did a very cursory check to see that it turned on and then beat a hasty retreat without even testing the hot water...

Of course I had to then correctly refit the front cover with the correct screws for about the 4th time since we've lived there...and no sooner had he gone that I noticed our hot water wasn't working properly. Luke warm would be the best way to describe it. After 5 days without hot water I didn't fancy phoning them back yet again so I decided to check some things myself, and I realized that the cold water inlet pressure for the hot water was too high, exceeding the flow rate the boiler could heat. A few minutes with the service manual for the boiler and I knew where to check - only problem is the flow rate regulator for the hot water doesn't work!! :roll: No change at all through its full range of motion and I can tell from the tap that the pressure is far too high.

Well it turns out that the flow rate regulator must have been faulty for years, and the "fix" to the problem had been that someone had simply partially closed the inlet shutoff valve to drop the pressure which is just a flat headed screw adjustment. The guy who found the water leak had closed the inlet valve completely, the guy that replaced the board simply opened it right up and then left without checking the hot water pressure or temperature... so a bit of fiddling to get that valve adjusted just right and we had decent hot water again. :)

As the days and weeks went by though I knew something wasn't right. The new control circuit board is completely different to the old one - the old one has lots of relays and lots of discrete logic chips in DIP sockets and so on, the replacement board had one or two surface mount IC's and not a lot else. Obviously the original hard wired logic control board has been replaced with a cheaper microprocessor design with the same inputs and outputs on the board...

Whereas the old one would fire the spark with the gas pressure on low and THEN turn the pressure up after a few seconds, the logic of the new board fires the spark with the gas pressure on full and then turns it down after a few seconds... meaning that you can hear the WOOOOF!!! from the other end of the house, sometimes it sounds like the kitchen is going to blow up or at least knock over the glasses stacked next to it. :lol:

Furthermore the intermittent not firing issue seems to be far worse - previously if the flame did not fire due to the low air pressure issue, you could turn the central heating switch on the front of the unit off/on to kick it back into life - or in the case of hot water just turn the tap off and on to reset it. Not so with the new control board. If the flame does not fire for any reason the new control board will get stuck in limbo - you can switch the switch on the front off and on all that you like but it will NOT fire the spark until you have turned the whole thing off at the main switch on the wall for 10 seconds. Whether this is a bug in the control logic implemented in the processor or by design I don't know but its VERY annoying...we're sometimes having to turn it off at the wall 2-3 times a day to keep the heating running... :roll: Unless its completely faulty the boiler repair people don't wan't to know about it which is very frustrating.

One final issue that has been dogging us for ages is loss of water in the central heating loop. As far as I can tell there are no leaks in the radiator circuits and the water is being lost past the relief valve. It seems that if I set the pressure when cold to 1 bar (which is not much above the low pressure cutoff) and the central heating is run at max the pressure increase exceeds the pressure relief valve cutoff and thus loses water.

As far as I can see, either the expansion chamber is marginally speced in size or it has lost gas pressure. No chance of trying to get something done about it though...

Things were much simpler when I lived somewhere that didn't need central heating... :lol: :-D
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by CitroJim » 18 Dec 2012, 18:03

Gosh Simon, you've certainly got up to speed on combi-boilers very quickly :-D Baptism of fire and all that :lol:

Trouble is the average modern condensing combi is so full of electronics that to the average plumber they're a mysterious black box - a bit like ECU and modern cars are to a lot of mechanics!

Your tale makes mine look like a walk in the park...

I know what you mean about a leak and the circuit board. Same happened to my eldest step-daughter in the night. the bang was so loud she was scared to go back in the flat after it happened and was only content when I went round and isolated it for her...

I look at mine now on very frequent occasions to check the pressure is staying steady in the loop and just give it a casual inspection. I'm not fully trusting of them yet.

Finding a good plumber is a bit of a 'mare these days. I used to do all my own and generally now if I'm OK I'll do all I can. Like cars I'd much rather do it myself but mine seems to breaks down now when I can't do what's necessary.

Have you had a chat with your landlord about sorting out a new boiler... It's his problem really...

Cyprus was the best place. No heating needed except for a few short weeks in the middle of winter when an open fire did the job and if a bit of quick heat was needed a portable propane heater was all that was needed. There we even had free hot water from crude solar panels that worked perhaps about 95% of the year.

I had a lovely open fire and always carried a chainsaw in the back of the car; if I saw a good dead tree on my travels I'd fell it and log it there and then, take it home and stash the logs away for winter. Some amazing wildlife lived in the woodshed and one evening I got attacked by an enormous iguana hiding amongst the logs!

In Darwin we had the opposite problem; no heating ever needed but aircon was essential - the aircon units were almost as troublesome as combi-boilers and when Robyn was a baby a failed aircon was a major emergency - as was a failed aircon on the car...

I still reckon the best method of heating a house in the UK is a wood-burning Aga. Nothing to go wrong, it'll burn almost anything, it's always lovely and warm and not only will it drive a few radiators you can also cook on it. Failing a wood burner and a good supply of wood an oil-fired one is the next best bet. Not much to fail there except the glowplug and easily fixed if it does...

One day I'll have a place with an Aga. I love them to bits...
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by myglaren » 18 Dec 2012, 18:52

My son in law has just installed a wood burning stove and is ecstatic about it. Gets all his wood from the port where he works. Has commandeered my chop saw to cut it up into manageable pieces.

These things: kakelugn - were ubiquitous in Sweden and superbly efficient.
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by CitroJim » 18 Dec 2012, 19:07

That's a lovely stove Steve - a real work of art and beautiful to look at :-D

Simon, if you've never seen an Aga then here's what I would really like: a Rayburn, just like an Aga but a bit less fancy and fussy... The Aga was for the toffs (posh people) and Rayburns were for the rest of us :lol:

Rayburns were in all old houses where I was brought up and considered superior to an Aga because they could burn even more things than an Aga could without blocking the flue! In those days the dustman had a very easy job as if rubbish could be burned in the Rayburn and converted into heat then it was... Basically anything vaguely combustible :lol:

I have happy memories of Rayburns :-D I see they're now made by Aga; once they were their fierce competitor...
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by RichardW » 19 Dec 2012, 13:48

Simon: The water leak sounds like the expansion chamber air pressure is not set right - there should be a schrader type valve on it somewhere - stick your tyre pressure gauge on it and see what it says - should be 0.5-1 barg. Lighting at full load doesn't sound right, perhaps they have installed the wrong board. If there is no diagnostics on the board, difficult to tell why it won't light. It might be that the ignitor gap is set wrong (mine does this, gap closes up and then it won't light - have a new one to stick in, not got round to it yet, but have had to re-set it last two mornings....!). There should be a re-set function somewhere - often another position on the control knob, or maybe a separate knob - anything in the instructions about it?

Jim: AGAs and Rayburns are quite different really. An AGA has a small burner (3kW in a gas one), but is designed to store a lot of heat (they weigh something like a ton and have to be assembled on site), which is used for cooking - which is AGA's primary function. They can also be fitted with small boilers, to run a couple of rads, but this is secondary. A Rayburn is much lighter (they are installed in one piece), have a bigger burner, and are design primarily as CH boiler, with cooking on the side. Rayburns are much more amenable to stoking up a big fire to generate high heat for cooking, whereas with an AGA you need to give it written notice if you want it hot :lol: Mind you, either will become the centre of your kitchen! Mind you, the cost will make you weep - a 2/3 oven gas AGA will be the thick end of £10k installed :twisted: We had an old oil fired AGA OB (A rather odd design from the early 70's with square lids), and my parents have now got a gas fired one in their house (which they installed when they rebuilt it in 2003) - I'm rather a fan, but SWMBO isn't - and anyway - TEN GRAND :shock: :shock:

Stoves: we've got a Charnwood Cove in our house - I installed it in place of the back boiler I took out in 2007. It's great! Interestingly (well to me anyway....!) Charnwood are Isle of Wight based, and we had a stove from them when we lived there a bit over 30 years ago - then it was one guy knocking them out in his garage effectively - they are somewhat larger now! It's an excuse to have a chainsaw anyway!
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by Northern_Mike » 19 Dec 2012, 15:23

RichardW wrote:It's an excuse to have a chainsaw anyway!


I have always wanted one of them. An excuse to own a chainsaw that is.

I know nothing about AGAs, Rayburns, boilers or stoves. Apologies for jumping in. I just want a chainsaw.
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by KP » 19 Dec 2012, 16:29

And for those that dont have them apparently good fire wood is getting harder to find these day, even in unprepped log form :(

Sign of the times really as its a good cheap source of fuel thats not harming the enviroment at all.

I think back boilers will be the future with current fuel prices and i can't wait to get a house where i can get one installed and save a small fortune. Plus i dont mind playing with fire and cleaning up afterwards :D
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Re: Citrojim's Xantia and XM Tales

Post by myglaren » 19 Dec 2012, 19:25

Indeed, a Baxi open fire with a back boiler is a wondrous thing, haven't seen one for many a year but they were very impressive.
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Post by addo » 19 Dec 2012, 20:23

KP wrote:Sign of the times really as its a good cheap source of fuel thats not harming the enviroment at all.

You've got to be pulling my leg. The wood smoke strips my throat raw terribly; if that's what I can personally notice it cannot be environmentally sound.
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