Activated V6 driver

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

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Koukku
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Activated V6 driver

Post by Koukku »

My journey with a V6 Activa. :)


My first experience with a Citroen is from 1976 at the wheel of my grandfather's 1975 CX 2200. I was two years old at the time, but I do have a picture to prove it. ;)

After getting my license I drove some Mitsubishis, Nissans, Fords, and even couple of Opel Astras, until I ended up with my late mother-in-law's '00 Saxo in 2003. Couple of years the little Citroen took me to work and back rather reliably, so I encouraged myself to buy another Citroen in 2005: '02 Xsara 2.0 Exclusive berline. It served me quite nicely for almost three years. Meanwhile the Saxo had been swapped for a '03 C3, which the wife is still driving.

And now we get to the Activated phase of my life... :) Back in 1994 I read from a finnish car magazine about this new revolutionary technology Citroen was offering for Xantia that completely eliminates body roll. And then I promptly forgot about it for over a decade. In the fall of 2007 I was getting a bit bored driving the Xsara, and was looking for something more exciting. I was doing semi-random searches (6-cyl, over 170hp, manual...) for used cars, and much to my surprise a Citroen came up: -00 Xantia V6 Activa in gris fulminator.

Suddenly I remembered that magazine article from 1994 (headline says "Magic carpet doesn't sway" :D), and google confirmed that this was really something special. And rare too, only 2747 were ever made. The Activa looked great in the pictures, but the asking price was 12900 euros. :shock: That was at the time way more than asking prices for "regular" Xantia V6 with an automatic, and the guy selling it was quite reluctant to lower his price. (As a side note, this Activa wasn't sold until early 2009, when the seller finally dropped the price to a reasonable level)

From there on I was pretty much obsessed with Activas, especially V6 ones. I have always been interested in cars, and the technology that makes them run. The Activa certainly fascinated me greatly. Not many of those around here, so I kept waiting, and even started searching from abroad. About a year later in October 2008 another finnish V6 Activa popped up in my search. A rouge d'enfer '98 for which I had to take a 400km trip by two different trains to buy. But the drive home was already worth it. 8)

To be continued...

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myglaren
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Post by myglaren »

Nice beginning to what promises to be a most interesting blog Koukku.

And can I add that the superb command of English that our foreign members have is always a source of amazement to me. If only we could reciprocate.

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

I had driven a V6 Activa once before, but very briefly through a town and couple of roundabouts at low speeds. That was also the only time I had driven a car with a hydropneumatic suspension. Well, there was this one diesel BX with broken suspension that I drove for couple of kilometers once, but that doesn't really count... So nothing but anticipation had really prepared me for the drive home.

Flooring the pedal on third at 100km/h for overtaking some unsuspecting fellow motorists probably surprised me more than them. :) It was the acceleration, the sagging rear suspension, and the absence body roll combined that just felt unreal. And I mean in a good way. There were few junctions and roundabouts on the way where I completely forgot that I had the winter tyres in the trunk... I'm still amazed that the CD changer survived the banging. :D (and yes, it has the original cassette player on the dash...)

The next day I called my trusted local Citroen garage for LHM and oil change (both were due), and suspension sphere pressure checkup, although I didn't suspect anything being wrong. The garage being busy as always, I got a service time for almost two weeks ahead. Meanwhile I put the winter tyres on (rather skinny looking 185/65-15), and bought new roll corrector pads and rods, as there was no record of them being changed during the last three years.

I should probably mention that the previous owner had records and receipts of absolutely everything done to the car. :o He's actually a Leyland enthusiast, and the Activa was in a garage with a beautiful Triumph GT6, a not-so-pretty Leyland Princess, and two Morris Marinas that belonged to him and his brother. Here's his website with some pictures of these vehicles: http://webbi.meili.fi/make74/blmc.htm. The Activa had been his daily driver, and was now replaced by an '05 C5 V6 Estate.

At the service they installed valves and re-pressurized seven of the ten spheres. The three others were of the newer type that don't need pressurizing, but they were checked anyway. Didn't really notice any change in the ride, as there had not been anything wrong with it in the first place. :)

I also promptly joined the finnish Automobile Citroën club (after all, their sticker was already on the rear window ;)), and soon found out that atleast two mechanics from the Citroen garage I had been using were also members, and one of them also has a V6 Activa. So I trust them to have know how - and personal interest - on these machines. I have done some repairs/maintenance myself, but I don't really have a place for that at the moment.

To be continued...

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

myglaren wrote:Nice beginning to what promises to be a most interesting blog Koukku.

And can I add that the superb command of English that our foreign members have is always a source of amazement to me. If only we could reciprocate.
Thanks. :)

I have been using English daily at work for over 10 years, and studied it before that in school for god knows how long... but still, online dictionaries have been occasionally harmed while writing this blog. ;)

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

Excellent! Great to see you posting a blog Koukku :D

I'd love to experience a V6 Activa but sadly, as you know, they never imported them into the UK, we had to "make do" with the 2.0TCT Activa :cry:

I have perhaps the next best thing in a V6 Exclusive Auto but it'll never be an Activa though :(

I've not yet driven it as I bought it broken and in fact, apart from one highly enjoyable ride in a V6, that's my total exposure to the V6.

I'm really looking forweard to driving mine and flooring the pedal at 100 km/h to see what happens :lol:

I suppose I could create a V6 Activa by transplanting the V6 engine into my 2.0TCT Activa but my Activa is far too special to do that and besides, I'm not sure how the 2.0TCT engine would habdle an autobox when transplanted into the V6 Exclusive!

jgra1
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Post by jgra1 »

great stuff Koukku

I must admit, with my previous V6 Auto Xantia and current V6 406 coupe, I have been sometimes suprised by the speed it catches up to cars in front.. just when the gear chooses to change at exactly the right moment, sometimes changing from 4 to 2 :D

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

jgra1 wrote:just when the gear chooses to change at exactly the right moment, sometimes changing from 4 to 2 :D
Stop it! :twisted: I so badly want to experience this but my gearbox is still in bits in my workshop :(

All this talk of how a V6 performs is making me jealous...

vince
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Post by vince »

If i had a V6 i would have to stick a stainless exhaust on it to intensify the throaty bassline 8)

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

vince wrote:If i had a V6 i would have to stick a stainless exhaust on it to intensify the throaty bassline 8)
It sounds pretty awesome as standard Vince :lol:

Which reminds me. I need a new back box for mine...

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

CitroJim wrote:
vince wrote:If i had a V6 i would have to stick a stainless exhaust on it to intensify the throaty bassline 8)
It sounds pretty awesome as standard Vince :lol:
I most certainly does. 8) The back box on mine is some cheap aftermarket replacement, it doesn't even have those fancy chrome tips. And it's a bit more noisy than the original. Still it's surprisingly quiet inside the car, at least until you rev above 3500rpm. :twisted:

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

There is a DIY place quite nearby where they have couple of lifts for repairs and oil changes, and a few slots for washing your car. The lifts are rather shaky, and I don't really feel comfortable under such a heavy car as Xantia in there. I changed the roll corrector control rods and pads there (and did some maintenance oiling of the height correctors), but I don't think I'm going to use those lifts again.

Anyway, the old rods and pads were heavily worn, and the difference in cornering was quite noticeable. About a week or two later I noticed another difference as well; every now and then the whole car was slightly tilted to the right. It also started to do the infamous Activa shuffle in traffic lights. The remedy was quite simple; I just loosened the bolts on the rods and pads, adjusted the pads as far to the left as they would go (maybe a millimeter), tightened the pads, and then tightened the rods. Now it stays level, although there still is occasional slight shuffle.

I checked the pads when I swapped the summer tyres on, and there was already visible wear. I guess it eats a pair of pads in about my yearly 10000kms. Luckily they are cheap. Better to stock up on them before they increase the price as they did with the rear ram bushes. Rods will probably last a bit longer, only the black coating had worn off in about 5 months.

I probably should buy some ramps to be able to get under the car. That is once I find a better garage to keep my car in. The current one has about a hundred other cars there as well, and no place to store anything. But it's in the centre of the city, and very near my apartment. And in the Finnish winter any warm garage is a good one.

To be continued...

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

I've been planning on getting some bigger feet for the V6, and when I started searching for suitable rims, I put the weight as one main criteria. After doing some googling on the subject I came up with the following wheel&tyre combo: OZ Ultraleggera 7x16" and Toyo Proxes T1R 225/50-16. The Ultraleggeras are one of the lightest (if not the lightest) 16" wheels at 6,46kg (14.25lbs), and Proxes T1R aren't on the heavy side either at 9.5kg (21lbs). That should actually shave well over 10kg of the weight of the car, and all of it from the unsprung (and rolling) mass... now I'll just have to wait for the company bonuses to arrive. :lol:

The weight saving possibilities on the wheels got me thinking about other ways to cut weight on the whale-like V6 Xantia. The most obvious is of course the towbar. Some documents say that it weighs almost 20kg. :shock: That rusted up lump of steel hanging at the far end of the car can't be doing any good to the handling, so it has to go. Being one of the cheapest possible diets, I decided to tackle it soon as possible, and that was today. :)

It was a warm sunny day, so I could do the job outdoors. Removing the rear bumper took some time, although it was a lot easier than I had thought. Small crews in small quarters. The towbar on the other hand just didn't want to come off. The only bolt that came off was the one holding the electric plug, and it came off in two pieces. The bigger bolts holding the towbar itself would not budge. Soaking them in CRC did nothing. I managed to bend one 13mm spanner though. And cut my knuckles. Tomorrow I'm gonna visit a friend who has an angle grinder... diets are never easy, I should know by now. ](*,)

To be continued...

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

The appointment with the angle grinder had to be postponed for today, so yesterday I tried to figure out how to fix the fog light that I broke a while back... I managed to hit a huge rock at a friends driveway while doing a three point turn in the dark (who puts huge rocks at the side of their poorly lit driveway anyway?!?). Looks like some of the plastic bits that used to hold the fog light in place have come off, and the bumper needs to be taken out to fix it. I think my quick and easy fix will be to remove both fog lights, as I really don't fancy removing the front bumper, not before the inspection (due next month) anyway.

While I was looking into the fog light issue I noticed that the right front indicator glass is also broken. Didn't notice it week before when I washed the car, so it must have broken quite recently. I was kind of expecting that, as both right and left side looked a bit cracked. Perhaps it's best to replace both. And while I'm on the subject of replacing... I really like a sunny weather like it was last weekend, but it made me notice how scratched the windshield is. :shock: I better take the inspection on a rainy day. :P Seriously speaking, it needs to be replaced. Visibility is really bad when driving against the sun. These things just keep adding up.

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

The dreaded towbar finally gave up, even without an angle grinder. It just needed some proper tools and another pair of hands. A total of three (3) bolts came out in one piece. :P

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Koukku
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Post by Koukku »

Today looks like a nice enough weather to put the bumper back in place. There were some small bits of chipped paint and bare metal left behind that do need to be taken care of first though. Luckily they will all be covered by the bumper, so I don't have to worry about the paint quality. I also bought new front indicators to replace the broken ones. I might tackle those (and the fog lights) between coats of paint.

In couple of weeks I will be overhauling the brakes. Yesterday I ordered Black Diamond grooved discs and performance pads, and they should arrive in about 10 days. And I'm buying a CG-Lock, recommended by a friend who does autocross. Getting ready for track days. :)

And my heater matrix goes to the list of things to be replaced. :( It started to show some signs of leakage, again. The radiator sealer stuff that I got from the Citroen garage kept it in check for couple of months, but it seems to have gotten even worse now.