Dom's Car Blog

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

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Dommo
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Post by Dommo »

Well then.. Here's an update. The VSX has been in use since the 2nd of October, to anyone who saw my thread in the lounge they know the reason why!

I was going to start using the VSX that weekend anyway, but a situation arose on the Friday which meant I was forced to use the VSX. We fitted the now white bumper the week before and changed the strut tops on the 2nd and that meant the car was ready for use.

First impressions:
It's god awfully slow compared to the Activa, but no worries as it was meant to be a cheap to run commuter car, and if it's anything like my 306, a few 'tweaks' to the fuel pump made it a much nicer drive.
And what's that irritating rumble? Damn it sounds like a wheel bearing.
And what are those annoying squeaks rattles and bangs? No worries as the wheel bearing is that loud above 2mph that I can bearly hear them.

So - changed the OS wheel bearing last weekend, which shut it up nicely, however all the squeaks rattles and bangs became more noticable, which were soon sorted. And now the car drives much nicer :)

45mpg with a knackered wheel bearing that sounds like death at 70mph is what it's all about though! This next tank with the replaced bearing should be better.

Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

Your getting a good collection of Xantias, i totally missed you getting the 2.1TD, when did that happen?

Shame about the Activa, though i bet the VSX will provide a very reliable daily commuter. 8-)

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

Hey Dom,

If a 2.1TD feels slow against an Activa then it's not running properly.

Mind you, depends on what you mean by slow. The 2.1TD is a bit of a grunt and not really built for rapid acceleration or excursions toward the redline. It will nip on at a fair old pace though...

Bet you like the fuel economy though :)

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Post by Citroenmad »

Jim, I think Dom is using his 1.9TD VSX, not his 2.1TD, so the 20bhp down on the 2.1 might account for the slow comment :roll: Though the 1.9 didnt feel too slow to me, the 2.1 very good pulling power.

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

Citroenmad wrote:Jim, I think Dom is using his 1.9TD VSX, not his 2.1TD
Ahh, sorry, that makes sense! Shows what happens when you go away for a few days and try to speed-read threads to catch up :roll:

When I had an Activa and a 1.9TD, driving the 1.9TD after the Activa made the 1.9TD feel like someone had stolen the engine and replaced it with a lawnmower engine.

The 1.9TD is a great engine but it does need revving. Low-down torque (compared to the TCT or 2.1TD) is very conspicuous by its absence :(

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Dommo
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Post by Dommo »

Citroenmad wrote:Your getting a good collection of Xantias, i totally missed you getting the 2.1TD, when did that happen?

Shame about the Activa, though i bet the VSX will provide a very reliable daily commuter. 8-)
Yes I've got 3 sat on the drive, annoying the parents quite nicely :lol: The 2.1TD was bought off pazauk off here, I caught it just in time before it was going to the scrap yard. Glad I did as it seems a good car - I've not driven it since buying it though as it requires a bit of work. The rear height corrector seems to be playing up, but we're wondering if we bolted it back onto the car wrongly after removing it to free it up. And the engine could do with a cambelt change and general service. My mate might be interested in the finished article but I'm not sure what to do with it, the initial idea was to put the engine into the Activa (seeing as the 2.1 was only going to go to the scrappers anyway) but since stacking the Activa it doesn't make sense to strip the 2.1's engine.

Jim - I was referring to the 1.9TD being slow, IIRC it took some doing to keep up with the 2.1TD on the journey home while I was behind in the Activa, running 1 bar of boost. It wasn't difficult exactly, but it wasn't as easy as you'd imagine. So I'm impressed with the 2.1TD engine! Once I've 'tuned' the 1.9TD engine though I'm sure it'll be as much of a peach as my old 306 was.

And Citroenmad - when you say the 1.9 doesnt feel that slow, now I've gotten used to the car I now feel as though it's not that slow, but I know when coming from the Activa to the 1.9, it felt awful!

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Post by Citroenmad »

Are you not tempted to keep the 2.1TD as your daily car, or is the 1.9 the better of the two? Very good to have saved it from its death :)

Ive had little to do with 1.9TDs, i drove Kevs at one event, i was impressed with the drive and the engine. I do like the 2.1TD engine and even in the Xm estate it pulls it along very nicely, it revs well and pulls nicely. Ive heard some say its power delivery band is quite narrow but ive not found that, drives similar to a HDi is some ways. Maybe different pumps give different pulling bands, this is Bosch.

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Post by Dommo »

Citroenmad wrote:Are you not tempted to keep the 2.1TD as your daily car, or is the 1.9 the better of the two? Very good to have saved it from its death :)

Ive had little to do with 1.9TDs, i drove Kevs at one event, i was impressed with the drive and the engine. I do like the 2.1TD engine and even in the Xm estate it pulls it along very nicely, it revs well and pulls nicely. Ive heard some say its power delivery band is quite narrow but ive not found that, drives similar to a HDi is some ways. Maybe different pumps give different pulling bands, this is Bosch.
I am actually, it's just a shame that it's a non-hydractive as I'm not sure whether it'll be a bit too boat-like for me. Unfortunatly I don't think my dad would be interested in having the VSX if I were to have the 2.1TD, mainly because the VSX is white. I'd like him to have it though as it doesn't have many miles on it at 81k, which for a '97 diesel is impressively low. And my job would put at least 20k a year on it, where his job would put probably 8k a year on it, so it would keep it a fairly low milage example. Give it three years or so and I'll have got it up to 140-150k! And we've also done most of the big jobs to it that would keep it on the road for the next 60k miles, apart from oil and filter changes of course.

Anyway, the 2.1 - I think the car may have had a re-map at some point as it seems to be fairly smokey at full load, but not when revving it on the drive (so it should be ok for the MOT ;) ) That and when I was in the Activa in a straight line I wasn't catching the 2.1TD, I was in the wrong gear so the revs were at about 3k but the turbo on the CT engine doesn't make much more power above that point anyway.

The 2.1 has roughly 130k on it, I can't remember exactly, so I wouldnt mind running it to work and back and putting a million miles on it, and with a Bosch pump fitted and tuned, it'd be close to a standard TCT engine for power!

But then the other alternative is to try and fix the Activa using the 2.1TD front end bits (rads and so on). Decisions decisions...

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Post by Citroenmad »

Using the 2.1TD as the daily grind car seems like a plan to me. I know what you mean about the mieage on the VSX, ive often thought about selling my C5 and having the Xm as a daily, but id hate to put my mileage on that with its low mileage, it would be a real shame, plus that doesnt get used in the winter months to keep it good.

Why is a white car a bad thing? I like white cars and the Xantia and Xms looks very good in white, especiall if they have the black bumpers, they really suit it. Your VSX being quite a late car, it must have AC?

Nevertheless, thats quite a collection your stacking up there ( :roll: ), i take it the Activa is your favourite? How did you find using that for your daily, with the miles you do?

I wouldnt have thought a 2.1TD would have the software to have a re-map, though it could have been tweeked in some way? I find the 2.1 nippy and has a nice torque range, the Xm 2.1TD has exactly the same performance as my C5 HDi.

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Dommo
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Post by Dommo »

My dad isn't a fan of white cars, I like it and think it suits Xantia's very well, which is why I bought it, but I don't think my dad feels the same way unfortunately. So I don't think he'd want to have it while I have the 2.1 which is a shame. What I love about my VSX is that it's so low milage, with no rust at all, apart from on bits of the tow bar that were obviously fitted aftermarket. And yes, it has a sunroof (with recently unblocked drains ;) ), and working AC!

Yes the Activa was the favorite, I'm still peed off that I've killed it, the more I look at it the less I can see myself fixing it up. But if I did I'd love to 2.1TD it, tune it up, and run it forever and a day. The 2.1 fed by the Lucas EPIC pump is electronic (Electronically Programmed Injection Control - or something along those lines) and is therefore remappable! The 2.1TD engine was replaced by the HDi 110, so if your C5 is the 110 version, that would be why it's very similar!

The reason I'd love to 2.1 the Activa is the answer to one of your questions, running it every day is possible, but ruddy expensive! Getting 27 ish mpg on a commute of 80 miles a day on V-Power is an expensive mix :( But I loved the car so didn't mind paying it, but running the 1.9 VSX is a nice change, I'm filling up much less often now!
Citroenmad wrote:Using the 2.1TD as the daily grind car seems like a plan to me. I know what you mean about the mieage on the VSX, ive often thought about selling my C5 and having the Xm as a daily, but id hate to put my mileage on that with its low mileage, it would be a real shame, plus that doesnt get used in the winter months to keep it good.

Why is a white car a bad thing? I like white cars and the Xantia and Xms looks very good in white, especiall if they have the black bumpers, they really suit it. Your VSX being quite a late car, it must have AC?

Nevertheless, thats quite a collection your stacking up there ( :roll: ), i take it the Activa is your favourite? How did you find using that for your daily, with the miles you do?

I wouldnt have thought a 2.1TD would have the software to have a re-map, though it could have been tweeked in some way? I find the 2.1 nippy and has a nice torque range, the Xm 2.1TD has exactly the same performance as my C5 HDi.

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Post by Dommo »

Time for an update, and a list of everything we have done to the VSX since acquiring it..

Changed the slam panel and front bumper, replaced knackered headlight bulbs, bought new number plates to replace the broken front one and tired looking rear one.

CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN! We completely stripped the interior back to bare metal apart from the dash to clean the carpets and seats - their original smell was absolutely disgusting! It seriously smelt as though something had died in there, on the journey home my dad drove it while I drove in front in the Activa, and despite the very heavy rain he had the windows open the whole time.

We went in search of rattles at the back of the car, we found that the high level brake light kept flapping about and making a din, along with the boot solenoid rod, so we tightened up the brake light (yes.. it was loose for whatever reason?!) and made a plastic collar for the metal boot solenoid rod which stopped that rattling about.

Almost all of the interior was filthy and/or scratched to bits, so the bits that were hard plastic required replacing, for £20 we got replacment B and C pillar trim, plastic boot trim, boot lid/door seal, and the parcel shelf, billy bargain.

Then we removed the dashboard clocks to replace bulbs, while I was there we found out the reason why the indicator and light stalks along with the rest of the steering wheel surround flopped around (which made operating any of the stalks an absolute nightmare) - the small torx (IIRC) screws holding it in place were all loose - much like the high level brake light, who knows.. :?:

The passenger footwell got saturated in any rain, turned out that the windscreen scuttle wasn't attached with any sealant! Underneath the scuttle was about half a buckets worth of compost, so a BIG clean out and application of sealant has sorted mess, the rear offside footwell also filled to a couple of inches of water in heavy rain, so we had the roof lining off to get to the sun roof drains which were loose and slightly blocked. This would explain the awful smell in the carpets, especially the passenger footwell... That was a grim smell.. The pollen filter was absolutely minging, full of sticks and flies and general blackness, presumably because of the compost type stuff and water leaking past the scuttle.. Niice!

We then set about the mechanical side of things (bearing in mind I wasnt using the car at this time anyway). The previous owner neglected services, so the first job was an oil and all three filter changes, we also set about changing the cam belt and water pump, which was a first for us, we'd never done anything timing related with engines before. We also changed the AUX belt and one of the tensioners as it sounded dreadful, when we took the old one off it was practically seized! A strange thing about when we first got the car was that it was totally missing it's fuel filler cap, so after this work I had a look at the fuel tank strainer which was pretty much spotless, phew! Surprisingly, finding a replacement cap is a nightmare in most scrap yards, as they take them off to drain the tanks and presumably just lob them - found one eventually however..

The rear of the car had an LHM leak, which was accurately diagnosed by you guys as being one of the LHM return hoses being loose in another hose, a tight gap, black arms, and one cable tie later and the leak is sorted.

The spheres on the car all seemed fairly flat, especially the accumulator, the HP pump was leaking from one of the high pressure pipe unions, I assumed it was to do with the accumulator (with all the spheres on the car being the originals! 13 years old! Apart from the rear corners which were a mere 5 years old... :roll: ) So we changed the Accumulator and Anti-Sink spheres, safety ones first, along with the HP pump o-ring seal.

All this was done before I'd used the car. Since using the car I've done the following:

One of the glow plugs failed making it run like a bag of spanners when cold, we will probably change the other three one of these days!

The themostat didn't seem to be sitting at the correct temperature when the car was been driven normally, so I replaced the thermostat which doesn't seem to have done all that much, I get the feeling the sensors are slightly out.

Spheres - The 6 suspension specific spheres all felt fairly flat, not totally locked out but not far off, so I nicked all the ones I needed off my Activa and put them on the VSX and the ride is big Citroen smooth once again!

Fuel piping - the fuel lines feeding the fuel filter housing had basically turned to stone and were leaking air in - more noticable when running on WVO, so that was changed. Then I was unable to prime the system :?: . Turns out the priming bulb was knackered too, so after a search about to get one, screwfix were the cheapest selling a bulb for about £5! Not the best quality feeling primer I've ever used but it does the job.

Fixed the alarm - requiring a new alarm ECU relay + tell tale LED nabbed from a scrap yard VSX ( :( ) and ultrasonic sensors (Thanks to citroenxm for the replacement sensors). Also replaced the boot locking solenoid as it was VERY noisey, the replacement is still loud but no where near as loud.



In other news, I had two very good hauls at a local scrappers over the past couple of weeks:
First trip - for £10 we got a none hydractive offside strut top and gaiter dated 08, with two 12 month old none hydractive strut spheres, a perfect condition aluminium 1.9TD radiatior, along with some other small bits.

And the second trip, again for £10, we got 2 perfect condition hydractive electrovalves, 1 perfect condition hydractive offside strut top and gaiter dated 07, an anti sink valve, an alarm ECU (of which the relay was used to sort the alarm issue), an alarm tell tale LED, a diesel primer to replace the tacky feeling screwfix one, and a washer jet. BARGAIN!!

Funnily enough both of the strut tops we got were offside ones, and both cars had absolultely knackered nearside strut tops. So it appears that the offside ones go first?

I'm certain there is more that I have missed, but you get the idea, so many things on this car were close to making the car very very scrappable, but luckily some idiot and his dad were willing to spent many many hours fixing it up. You'd honestly never know it was the same car.

Still no news on the Activa unfortunatly, other than that we have had the engine running.

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Dommo
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Post by Dommo »

Sure enough I'd forgotten some bits, we changed the strut tops and had to set the tracking, I've not needed to get it done by a garage since so I'd assume we did a pretty good job of it!

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Post by Dommo »

It pains me to say it but I think the Activa is going to have to be scrapped, having had more of look into the damage I think it strays into a multi skinned/layered part of the car, and while it could be repairable I wouldn't know how strong it would be in a crash or how to ensure the area doesn't rust from the inside out. And it looks to be a sod to repair the damage.

Basically there are loads of little things that I think means the shell needs binning. Such a shame as the rest was in great nick. Nothing worth saving will be scrapped so don't worry about that.

As it stands I would like to keep the wheels, possibly the interior, electrovalves and possibly the rams, especially as the front ram cost me £350-400 or something 12 months ago! Also considering keeping the head unit if I can find a way to make S1 switches work with an S2 radio.

The following pictures show the damage. And if you think this is still repairable shout at me and convince me to try and fix it :lol:

Image

Image

Thoughts??

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Post by robert_e_smart »

Scrap it before prices fall again. Activas are worthless at the best of times, let alone accident damaged ones.

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Post by Deanxm »

Dont listen to him Dommo, too much whiskey has driven him crazy :lol:

On a serious note, yes of course its repairable but how much time and effort do you want to put into it? a vary good Activa may go for maybe £700/£900, most average niggled ones are £500 easy so what do you want to do? a subframe swap would be your best bet if you are not a confident welder and although the damaged bit is only really a brace to stop the front of the car pulling in it would have to be a proper job, no patches or silly stuff.
but this is all unimportant as it will cost damn near what another one would, buy another and have a spare to give you cheap activa motoring iuf you not attached to the car.

Of course if you are after a good project it is certainly achievable.

D