Citrojim's Skoda, Saxo, 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 » 30 Sep 2008, 20:32

I took my Activa for a nice blast last night (just for fun :D ) after picking the girls up from Guides. The car was nice and warm by the time I arrived home and after easing it into it's tight parking space which always takes a few goes at night, I noticed the cooling fans were not running as I'd expect them to be. I popped the aircon on and still no fans :( Ahh well, It'll keep me amused tomorrow I thought, a problem to look into :D (don't worry, I love problems!).

Anyway, it was an iffy fan relay. Tapped them in turn and after tapping relay 1500B, the LH fan ran at full speed and the RH one at half speed :? I took all relays out, was delighted to see all relay sockets in perfect condition (no burning or signs of overheating), juggled them at put them back in. All good. I juggled their piositions another three times and each time the fans worked perfectly. As an aid to fault-finding on low speed, the fans will run with relay 1500B removed. I could not test high speed as to disconnect the Bitron sensor on an Activa you either need to be an Octopus with asbestos tentacles or remove the turbo ducting at the back of the engine before you begin and even then it's handy to have that Octopus! Did I say access to the Bitron sensor was poor?

This is a scrap of the circuit showing the relays:

Image

Relay 1500A operates for slow running with 1500C and B released. For high-speed operation, all three relays are operated (operated = old GPO Telephone engineers term meaning the relay coil is energised).

I found an error in the layout diagram:

Image

Bearing in mind the diagram is looking at the back of the relay box (i.e through a transparant set of radiators), the positions of Relays 1500B and C are in fact transposed :shock:

I shall sport out on three new relays in due course. Activas run hot and need their cooling fans to be 100% reliable.

I had a word with the company who supplied the spheres on my Activa (the rears are down on pressure) and asked about their three year warranty as the spheres are just over two years old. After a long and interesting chat, I discovered that the pressure loss I had seen was considered normal for two year old spheres and the warranty (fairly I guess) only covers spheres that fail totally in that period. Fair play as thinking on, if the company offered a three year warranty on them remaining at their design pressure, they'd be forever servicing warranty claims and would quickly go bust. The company in question is a long way away from me and I'd have to either send them with a courier or visit.

Activa spheres are now rare enough to make one think twice about entrusting them to a courier in case they get lost. If couriers can loose HMRC data on CD, what's to say they'll be any better with a box of spheres? Besides a box of spheres weigh a ton cost a bomb to send.

I then had a very enjoyable natter with Martin over at Pleiades who is about 45 minutes away from me so the upshot is, I'll go and see Martin in the week, clutching an armful of spheres for a recharging session. Now GSF no longer supply Activa spheres, recharging or a second mortgage to buy genuine Citroen ones are about the only options. Due to the credit crunch, the former option suits me best and besides, it gives me an excuse to go and see Martin and sample his tea :)

Before I can though, I need a sphere tool to get the old spheres off again and to this end, finally, and after all these years, I've treated myself to a genuine Pleiades tool :D Frankly, it's the only sphere tool I know that will undo the Activa Hydractive and Balancing spheres due to their very confined locations. A design classic is the Pleiades tool!
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Post by XantiaMan » 30 Sep 2008, 20:45

Keep me up to date on the spheres front Jim, as in a few years no doubt mine will need some new ones... are there any that can be interchanged from other models with no noticeable difference? What is the difference between hydractive spheres and activa ones?

Gareth
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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim » 30 Sep 2008, 21:13

I will Gareth. Here are the Xantia official sphere specs.

In these spec. sheets SC/CAR is the Citroen term for the Activa system and SC/MAC is the anti-sink system.

Normal Hydractive:

Image

Activa specific:

Image

So, with a bit of loss of feel, you could use normal Hydractive Spheres. The bugbear is the Activa Balancing sphere at 30 bars. With a sphere tester, you could always select a low accumulator or anti-sink sphere for that role. The Activa Accumulator is a problem too as although it's the same pressure as a normal accumulator, it is fitted like an anti-ssink sphere so needs the internal thread, which a normal accumulator does not generally have.

The damping hole size looks insignificant at first glance but it's very critical and a small change makes a big difference.
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Post by XantiaMan » 30 Sep 2008, 21:22

At least i'm good for a while on the sphere front but i may want to get them overhauled in a couple of years before they get past it and become un-refurbishable! :D
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Post by CitroJim » 30 Sep 2008, 21:25

joss wrote:I used to get driven to primary school every day by a friend's dad in his DS, all I knew at the time was that it was very comfy, and looked different to other cars.


Lucky you Joss :D I had to walk :( Just occasionally, if the weather was really bad our science teacher would take pity and give me a lift in his Austin A40 Farina. One abiding memory of that car is I swear he heated it with a paraffin stove. It always had that aroma of burned paraffin about it :roll: :? The crazy things you remember from your schooldays nearly 40 years ago now...

Another teacher had a Rover 2000 in pale blue. That is still one of my favourite cars after Citroens. In a few respects, the Rover 2000 and Citroen DS are technically similar, especially in how the body is constructed with non load-bearing body panels hanging on a rigid punt chassis. In fact the Rover was viewed, in some quarters, as the British DS.
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Post by andmcit » 30 Sep 2008, 22:57

Talking about cars in Schooldays:

In my early days at the Comprehensive School, the Headmaster drove a
very naff Hillman Imp in white which even to the car uninitiated, was a bit
of a sad joke if not just because of it's ungainly noisy progress. On the
other hand, to a lad that knew every model Dinky and Corgi made, and
was sufficiently pampered by a very generous Gran to have a good many, it
was beyond a joke, even to a mere nipper!!

BUT, what made it even more ridiculous was the Headmaster's secretary!

Yes. OK. Not only was she a real pin-up but the car she wafted out the
School gates every day in made a big impression on me!!

Yes, maybe it was her attractive looks, but the car put up a good show too
and is very likely the reason I'm sat here now still besotted with numerous
Citroens...

Bear in mind to a 12 year old a CX Prestige is a truly remarkable
mahooosive as well as BIIIIGGGG car that made hisses and sighs and lifed
up and slinked about the place and truly dwarfed the pathetic Hillman Imp. :lol:

God knows why she had the car but it was fabulous in metallic lilac with a
black vinyl roof and tan leather interior. I only now know years later why
it was sooo long, had footrests in the back and looked liked Royalty were
visiting the School! :lol:

Andrew
Last edited by andmcit on 03 Oct 2008, 23:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CitroJim » 03 Oct 2008, 23:00

I was delighted today to have finally found a method to safely dismantle the distributor head on a Bosch Injection Pump in order to help lazza replace a leaky seal in his pump. My previous attempt ended up with the breakage of the pump shaft :cry: and a belief that such a task was beyond my capability.

I posted how to do this in the thread but my pictures turned out very poor. Prat that I am, I forgot to turn on the flash :oops: so the shutter speed was very slow and caused a lot of camera shake...

The pump I used for this exercise was of unknown provenence and had come from a very early Xantia.

I found it to be seized more or less solid :o As I dismantled it I found the cause of the seizure, which incidentially made it rather hard to take apart. The pump was full of a horrid dark brown gummy liquid that smelt of "gone off" white spirit or turps.

This had left in it's wake a sticky brown residue that had seized the fuel delivery collar and partially seized the high pressure pump plunger.

I do not know yet of the pump is salvagable or good only for parts. In any case it has to come totally apart for cleaning.

To this end, I stripped my practice pump (the one I damaged previously) right down to the last component this evening so I now know what to do on the gummy pump without inflicting any damage. In doing so, I learned precisely how the pump works and secondly, that a full strip is not a bad job. They really are a work of art and lovely to work on when not contaminated with stale white spirit.

I'll do a full write-up on the full strip on my web site in due course.

So, please NEVER use white spirit or turps to thin veg. in winter. It really does seem to wreck the pump. veg. on it's own is fine. My practice pump was full of veg for months and months and has not suffered one iota.
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Post by CitroJim » 04 Oct 2008, 08:01

Forgot to say earlier; I received my new Pleiades sphere removal tool on Thursday :D

Xac and I tried it out at the scrap yard. It works brilliantly.

It is amazing how much pressure is still in the suspension spheres even on a scrapper that has been hanging about for some weeks. Xac got a good shower of LHM when he undid a front sphere :lol:

I thought I'd be clever on the next wreck (which had the 2008 spheres on it) and chop the pipe going to the strut top. Wow! Bad idea. I got a gorgeous fountain and well sprayed with LHM :lol: :lol: The spray was spectacular!

Both these had really good anti-sink valves...

Still, it shows how good Martin's tool is. It easily shifts spheres under pressure :D
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Post by CitroJim » 06 Oct 2008, 12:52

Sadly, the cooling fan problem is still extant on my Activa even after swapping the trio of relays for known good ones. It's intermittent and if the fans don't start, just a little tap on the relay box and off they go :( The relay bases are OK so it must be a harness problem behind the box which means having the fan assembly out to have a look-see :twisted:

I began the job on Saturday but was forced to abandon the job almost before it started on account of the Antarctic wind that blew around my house. The Activa outside temperature gauge said 12 degrees but it felt more like -12 degrees to me. Oh well, when it warms up a bit I'll get back to it.

Yesterday, my girls and I spent the day in Clacton at a Majorette competition. My girls are very keen Majorettes and my Sian won a medal and her troupe won 1st place in the inspection. They did look absolutely gorgeous in their uniform dresses :lol:

The journey there and back was undertaken in the good old 2.1TD which ran like a clock. It nearly all ended big-time on the A12 near Colchester though. Where the two-lane becomes a three-lane highway, a Mondy decided he wanted to occupy exactly the same spot of road as me and pulled across the lane. It was only a bit of quick reaction on my part and the brilliant suspension that saved the day. A very heavy swerve into the (mercifully clear) outside lane did the job but I'm sure a lesser car would have lost it. It shook me up a bit :evil: That was the only drama on the road thankfully. The rest of the drama was confined to the Majorette competition but I won't go into that here.. Teenage girls can get so emotional :roll:

On the way back up the M1 by Luton (had to divert through St. Albans to avoid the jam-up at the bottom of the roadworks around the M25 junction), we saw the most strange thing. A Police car can steaming up the fast lane. Braked hard, crossed to the inside lane and continued at a very leisurely pace. I was travelling in the middle lane at 65mph, all ready to overtake him and he suddenly pulled (safely!) in front of me and gave a hand signal out of his window to suggest I shoud back-off, which I did. He then overtook an oldish but tidyish AX in the inside lane and then pulled the AX onto the hard shoulder, no blue lights and no drama, just directed him off and that was it. I wondered what it was all about as the AX was driving perfectly as far as I could see and no obvious reason to be stopped. Robyn said she saw he had one brake light out.

Now, would the Police stop a car on a motorway just because of a bulb out, given the dangers of stopping on the hard shoulder? Or was there something more serious going on? Or were the Police just enjoying a very quiet evening and were a bit bored? All very perplexing :?
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Post by CitroJim » 12 Oct 2008, 19:53

It's a week since I made an entry :o

It's been a busy old week (again) and not so much to do with cars. Work and family have been occupying my time. In the few moments of spare time I've had, diesel pumps have been at the forefront.

I stripped a Bosch pump fully, right to the last item, and learned exactly how they work, especially the timing device. At rest the pump is fully retarded and only as it starts to rotate and build up transfer pressure does the timing start to advance.

I can also see why the Bosch survives on veg. It's a sturdy device and the HP side of it works like a hyperdermic syringe with quite wide clearances (for a diesel pump) and is saturated in fuel all the time. Therefore, there is no risk of seizure from thick veg not lubricating adequately as happens in the Lucas. The down side is that the pump leaks (internally) more than the Lucas and this conspiring with it starting off fully retarded, may explain whay Bosch pumped engines are often a tad harder to start hot than cold.

I attacked the Activa fan problem yesterday and found a dying fan motor. It would only start of its own accord every so often and then run slowly. I noticed that the bad motor span freely for ages after the fans were switched off whereas the good one would stop quite rapidly. I broke open the duff motor and found very worn brushes. This would expalin why it spun so freely - no appreciable brush pressure on the commutator.

Swapping a fan motor can be done just by removing the grille on a MK1. It's tricky but can be done :lol:

Both the Activa and the 2.1TD enjoyed a nice wash and polish.

Today I've been preparing a Lucas to Bosch Pump conversion kit for a forum member and getting it packed safely in a box ready for the attention of Parcelforce. I hope they take care of it and I also hope the oil I used to test the pump (filtered Hydraflush actually) does not leak too badly. It should not as the pump itself is packed in a stout polythene bag.

I've also been spending time catching up on PMs and emails I receive throughout the course of the week. Due to work and family commitments this week, there has been delays in responding to some for which I apologise.

I'm faintly surprised at how may emails are sent asking questions of gearboxes and diesel pumps after the sender has seen my little website. It fair keeps me busy...

As does the forum! Setting up the new Activa Area and drafting an Activa buyers guide consumed more time than I thought it would.

Finally today I was going to remove the spheres on the Activa and temporarily replace them with old spheres (just to keep the dirt out) ready for the spheres to be regassed over at Pleiades. However...

Xac PM'd me and as a result I popped across for a quick social visit. Xac was about to start replacing Cassy's wings, front bumper, grille and bonnet. I was not really dressed for work but there was no way I could watch Xac working all alone so the metaphorical shirtsleeves (only cheap Primark stuff) were rolled up and I helped Xac. It is amazing just how fast a pair of wings, a bonnet, bumper and a grille can be replaced on a Xantia when there are two setting about it.

So the sphere job awaits tomorrow. Luckily I'm on leave this week. I plan to go and see KP in the week and collect some 2.1TD bits from him and on the way, drop my spheres into Pleiades.

The rest of the week will be spent taking it easy, a run to see the folks in Somerset and some autumn gardening - actually, making room for a shed to store some Xantia bits :lol: :lol:

I may even try to tidy and reorganise my workshop a bit. It's looking a bit like Steptoes living room at the moment or Aladdins Cave depending on your point of view. All I know is it has a gorgeous aroma of oil, metal and diesel lingering in it :lol:
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Post by CitroJim » 13 Oct 2008, 19:52

Ahh the joys of a week off work :D Up late (by my standards) at 07:30, a nice leisurely breakfast and then to the tasks of the day. I used, for the first time, the Parcelforce on-line payment and address label printing system to send a large parcel. Excellent. All I had to do was drop the parcel off at our local depot. It would have been dead quick if the two people in front of me did not have parcels with serious problems :twisted: I always end up behind people like that in queues. I go in the Post Office and it's the same. Tesco, I always get behind someone who offers twenty-thousand coupons, only two of which works, then takes years to pack and have problems remembering their PIN :twisted: :lol:

As I was passing Euro Car Parts and was going to do an oil change on the 2.1 later today, I nipped in to pick up an oil filter. In fact, I thought I'd pick up a few for stock. No chance! Only one in stock. Only one of the most common PSA oil filters that fits every XU and XUD engine ever made and our local branch only had ONE on the shelf! What a world :twisted:

Still, onto happier topics. 2.1TD has nice, fresh new oil ready for a few long journeys this week and the Activa has had a sphere transplant with unexpected results :)

I took the original spheres off ready for them to go to Pleiades for regassing. All spheres came off without incident except one. Before removing the Activa Balancing sphere, I depressurised the Activa system by cracking open the bleed nipply on the sphere block. Did a lot of LHM come out of the nipple and at some pressure too! made the sphere easy to shift as otherwise they have to come off under pressure and with an LHM spray near the end.

Strangely, the rear Hydractive sphere was a bit tricky. It still had quite a lot of pressure behind it and this remained until near the end of unscrewing it. Strange as I'd already swapped the rear corner spheres and they had zero pressure in them. I'm still trying to work out why the Hydractive block retained so much pressure :?

So, as the spheres will be away a few days, I put some old spheres on the car as a guard against dirt ingress and so that It could come off the axle stands and be usable in extremis. The spheres I used were all genuine Activa ones but basically of scruffy looks and unknown condition.

I brought the car off the stands, did a bit of Citarobics and out of curiosity, I gave the suspension a quick test and found the front felt good although the back seemed a tad hard and there was not a hugely marked difference between soft and hard at the back. More curiosity made me go for a quick drive. It turned to a longer drive than planned as the car felt really rather great :D Granted a bit stiffer than it should ideally be at the back but beautifully damped and a lovely ride on all but the roughest surfaces. Gone was the bounciness the old spheres gave! So those scruffy old spheres are not so bad after all. It'll be interesting to get them on a sphere tester and see just how good they actually are.

I'm off to visit Pleiades tomorrow with my spheres and then from there, a trip up the Great North Road to Doncaster to see KP. I'm rather looking forward to it :D
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Post by KP » 14 Oct 2008, 09:25

Sounds like rusty spheres aren't always as bad as they look jim, my rears look pretty rusty but i've found that the dampinghas been fine on them and its the accumulater/anti sink rear sphere, though i think as its the workhorse andit carried 10 2x2 paving slabs a few times that it lumbered the suspension up a wee bit an gave it and the rear brakes a work out :)

Jim You looking forward to Pleiades or coming up for some new 2.1td bits jim :D

Dont get too excited about seeing another Xantia as mine is quite literally covered head to toe in mud, and has a leaky sump that i didnt get to finish temporary sealing with araldite last night.... :(
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Post by jgra1 » 14 Oct 2008, 09:37

how long are you at Kp's for Jim... ?
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Post by CitroJim » 14 Oct 2008, 10:11

jgra1 wrote:how long are you at Kp's for Jim... ?


Ohh, just an hour or so I guess.. Time to exchange bits and have a good old natter - so make that two hours!

KP wrote:Jim You looking forward to Pleiades or coming up for some new 2.1td bits jim :D


very much both :lol:
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Post by KP » 14 Oct 2008, 12:32

And miss the worst of the traffic for the trip home as well i guess Jim :)
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XM 2.5td VSX Estate green 220k running Veg&stuff