Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) 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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miked
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Re: Mike D's Xsara & C8 blog

Post by miked »

Well, I wrote a reply, but it disappeared, and again second time. I'll try again tomorrow.

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CitroJim
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Re: Mike D's Xsara & C8 blog

Post by CitroJim »

miked wrote:
20 Dec 2017, 01:47
Well, I wrote a reply, but it disappeared, and again second time. I'll try again tomorrow.


That is so frustrating Mike :twisted:

Hope you have a fully successful submission today ;)

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & C8 blog

Post by miked »

Well it's been a while.

A re-cap of the last few years:

I posted about the 807 gearbox and got good answers, found a box on ebay somewhere far down the A1 (Newark I think) and collected it (in the '807 without 3rd gear and never missed it). I had a local garage fit it. As expected, DMF and clutch needed changed. All good, until a short while later it had an argument with a range rover going in the opposite direction. It was a write-off and was replaced with a ford S-Max.

My Xsara hadn't given me any grief really in the last 4 years, until last week. Prior to then, the suspension all round is tired, power steering leaking but nothing serious. I've always replaced bottom ball joints, track rod ends, disks & pads etc. as and whenever it needed. This year it struggled through the MOT on back brakes, so after getting it through the MOT (just), I got a mate down the road to change the callipers. I could have done it myself but he is a proper mechanic and flaring the replacement brake lines (which I know were not going to survive) took him less time than it took me to make him coffee.

That was a few months ago. Last Thursday while shifting out of 1st gear at the end of the drive the clutch went. Managed to get it into 2nd gear and back home. Next mission was getting it to mates garage down the road. We could have pushed it but I heard 'Try starting it in first gear' and it made it there. Once there I had to decide what to with it, and if it made sense to fix it as I headed to work in a borrowed car (2004 Saab 9-3 by the way, which I just don't like for no good reason). Mechanic then properly exploded the release bearing driving it into his workshop.

I did a bit of research, and my mate looked over the car. No rust or rot anywhere and the engine seems fine. I gave him the OK to get a clutch kit. And we might as well sort the steering rack. And as the 'mini subframe' below the rack has the original bottom arms on it, might as well change them.

Front suspension: Needed shocks. Springs both side have snapped and were replaced in the distant past but might as well change them. And the strut top bearing doesn't look clever either so why not replace, while it's in bits.

Back end: Plagued with creaking in dry weather for a while, so while it's off the road why not change the axle?

I do often lurk on this forum, but don't contribute for the simple reason that my car is boring and I can't offer much help. But I remembered reading that somewhere did proper recon axles with no fuss. My mechanic mate was pricing up 2nd hand low mileage ones as he had no clue about IMAxle. On that note, it was ordered Tuesday lunchtime, I was told hopefully get it there before the end of the week, it got here today (Wednesday) just after lunchtime. 24-hour delivery isn't bad at this time of the year.

So, to get back to the clutch. Pressure plate and friction disc didn't look too bad. The release bearing was reduced to many tiny parts. I didn't take any pictures but it was essentially reduced to a few bits of wire and a lot of tiny fragments. The clutch arm has a bit of wear on the 'fork' end but it's OK so has gone back in.

Reading on here got me worried about 'pull type' clutches and slave cylinders, so I'd like to ramble on a bit about them. The mechanic told me it was all conventional push type clutch and he was right, I need not have worried, The ML5T box on my car (110 HDi Xsara) has a hydraulic clutch which acts on a normal looking arm, pushing on the plate. It (the slave cylinder) pushes away from the engine, which confused me being used to old school clutches where the arm pivots on the other side of the box, but when all was revealed there is a cup on the back of the arm half-way between the slave cylinder and release bearing that it pivots on.

The problem throughout is thinking 'is it worth it?'. You can imagine the cost of the parts I've described above (It's gone well North of £1000), and the mechanic isn't cheap either. It's fair to say I'm spending at least twice what the car is currently worth. Then again, if it lives at least another 5 years I've saved a heap of money.

I'll try to keep this updated.

Edit reason: I can't speal :-)
Last edited by miked on 21 Dec 2017, 20:45, edited 1 time in total.

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CitroJim
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Re: Mike D's Xsara & C8 blog

Post by CitroJim »

Mike, a most interesting post... Enjoyed reading it :)

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & C8 blog

Post by miked »

Quick update, I'll keep it short (apologies in advance.)

Since last Tuesday, after the day I took off work helping to change the clutch, the car was left with the front subframe (if I can call it that) on the floor next to all the drive shafts.

Went back this morning to find new steering rack, bottom arms, track rod ends all swapped onto the frame. And driveshafts also had been rebuilt. (Some of the boots had been dripped on by power steering fluid). Mate had to head out for a bit so I pressure washed the frame as best as I could without hitting the new bits.

Then I got stuck into putting stuff back above the gearbox that we had removed on Tuesday. Battery and air filter boxes, ECU, a bit of heater hose from engine to the bulkhead that has the 'glow plug type' auxiliary heating attached. Quick aside, never thought the Xsara had one, as it takes ages to warm up, but it's there, under the battery box.
Then, after driveshafts, it was up with the subframe (Is it called that on a Xsara as it's tiny?) Connected all the (New) gearbox rods. The long one which goes to the gearbox side tried to put up a fight but we won.
Foresight from the mechanic had the steering wheel clamped dead straight ahead before we removed the old rack. He reminded me about the clock spring airbag connector, (which is why you appreciate that some people just simply know what they are doing), and the rack was offered up with measurements matching the old. ie. dead straight ahead. After jacking and then tightening the frame up we did have a bit of a struggle getting the steering pinion connected to the shaft. We knew from taking it out it doesn't just pull straight out. Hard to explain but the U/J on the bottom of the rack sort of slides/pivots on to the pinion before you can get the pinch bolt through. Anyway, we had to lower frame down to the point where we were wondering how many threads left before we got it in. Once subframe was back up and pinch bolt tightened, relieved to find it must be a case of (they all do that) as steering seems fine (it's still in the air and track rods aren't connected)

So while he was in the next bay helping another mechanic with a clutch, I piped back up the power steering.

I think it will be Wednesday when we start her up. Although I've always serviced it yearly (Last done late June) the engine oil has been changed for a 15 minute cleaning solution, then we'll change it and the oil filter back to good old semi-synthetic. Next job Wednesday is front shocks/springs. Then, after that turn it round and change back axle.

I had time to look at it (rear-end) on the lift and I don't know if my eyes are going in my old age but it's obvious the back wheels are leaning in. I can get my fingers between the wheel and inner arch so not as bad as I've heard it can get.

Hopefully update soon. Glad I kept it short and didn't ramble. :-)

Mike.

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by miked »

Today’s progress. We managed about 4 hours in total due to other commitments. Driveshafts back in the hubs (which I thought strange as we still had the front suspension to change, it made sense later). I removed callipers, drop links etc. and we then got the N/S strut out without drama. Although we had a new strut, spring, top bearing and a bag of bolts we needed the top plate off the old strut. Assembled new strut and it went back in OK. Callipers and pads re-attached (Quick aside; I always put a bit of copper slip on the back of the pads. The mechanic only made happy noises when I had put a lot more on than I usually do. A lot, lot more).

The other side put up a fight. The bolt that slackens the bottom of the strut (Not a pinch bolt but it clamps the bottom of the shocker if that makes sense) slackened off OK, and the strut came out but we needed the bolt out as the N/S side bolt and nut needed changed and from what we could see this one was worse. Gentle persy-watsit with a bit of heat and a hammer didn't help so it ended up having to be torched until it was glowing red hot (metal sheets held in the right place to protect the hub CV boots etc.) before it was shown a bigger hammer and eventually gave up.

Then, as with the other side reassembly was the reverse of taking it to bits.

Other than suspension, we ran the car for 15 minutes with the engine oil flush in, then dropped it and refilled with the usual oil plus a bit of slick-50 added. I think it's a discussion for another day but it was suggested to me that 5000 mile oil changes are the way forward, with added treatment every other change. In the past I've just changed the oil once a year in summer at around the time the MOT is due which works out at 9000 miles for my commute.

Tomorrow's job will include setting the tracking roughly (It will go for 4 wheel alignment after we swap the back axle) and turn it round to start on the rear end.

All the parts are now in place to complete the job, 4 axle mounts arrived today. Had a bit look over the back end in preparation and we might have some more plumbing to do (brake pipes). I also got on ebay and by the end of the week should also have a new under-tray and some more (third time changing them), crappy upper engine cover posts and useless clips to put the top cover back on.

Right, I'm going to try to upload photos. Pretty boring unless you have never seen a suspension strut before.

Before:
WP_20171227_16_04_25_Pro.jpg
After:
WP_20171227_16_04_29_Pro.jpg

dave_xsara
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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by dave_xsara »

Where did you get the engine cover posts from? I got a set on eBay and they were broke all but one when I went to service it.
Did you get genuine ones?

Can the car get 4 wheel alignment? I thought it was only on the front that it could be adjusted? Learn something new every day!

In regards to the rear disc guard for road crud, are these important as I find them more of a pita then useful, although mine are currently beyond repair!

Great thread and interesting reading keep it up and the photos too!

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by lexi »

Lots of good work there and I'm sure you will have a good vehicle out of it. I never buy into the "I'm spending more than the cars worth" philosophy. If you are replacing components and rebuilding stuff, that can be value of a different sort. A well sorted motor gives it's value in use, and you know what has been done. If you do all that onto a sound chassis and body, then you've rebuilt yourself a good motor. A £2k car bought elsewhere can still be fraught with issues and is still dropping in price.
Can the car get 4 wheel alignment? I thought it was only on the front that it could be adjusted? Learn something new every day!
It can probably get the four wheel alignment because the Xsara has a semi rear steering arrangement. It works when cornering hard and it is why the rear bushes and other components need more frequent replacement. Pretty decent cars.

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by miked »

dave_xsara wrote:
28 Dec 2017, 22:02
Where did you get the engine cover posts from? I got a set on eBay and they were broke all but one when I went to service it.
Did you get genuine ones?
Yes, ebay. If these don't last I might have to try genuine, although the originals didn't last long either. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CITROEN-HDI- ... 2749.l2649
Can the car get 4 wheel alignment? I thought it was only on the front that it could be adjusted? Learn something new every day!
You are corrent, the back end doesn't adjust, (although one pair of axle mounts are slotted to the axle) but the front end can be aligned to the back (That's how I see it)
In regards to the rear disc guard for road crud, are these important as I find them more of a pita then useful, although mine are currently beyond repair!
I dunno, They must help I think. We worked out today that they could be changed with just the wheels off (As my parents low mileage Xsara needs them changed). Need to unplug the abs sensor up near the fuel tank and feed the wire through. Only problem is 3 of the 4 bolts sheared on us today, removing the remnants from my car, so once the new ones are painted (Give them some hope of lasting) we may be tacking them back on with a welder through the 3 sheared holes.
Great thread and interesting reading keep it up and the photos too!

Thanks, only took one photo today. It's relevent to the creaky suspension thread so I'll put it there soon.

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by miked »

Well, sorry. My boring blog stopped before I got the car back on the road. I posted in the creaky suspension thread about changing the back axle. Nothing worth noting as it all went fine with the car except I had a gammy leg, which I knew was a DVT, AKA blood clot or Femeral vein thrombosis. I'd had one a year ago and the symtoms went away after a course of anticoagulants (modern equivalent of warferin). This time the GP sent me to an 'Ambulatory' clinic at the local hospital. I had blood taken, a wait, an ECG, a wait, A chest Xray, a wait, another 3 test tubes of blood filled, a wait, a man with gloves on putting them where the sun doesn't shine. It seems that unless you're sitting all day on a long haul flight, obese or pregnant then the likely candidate starts with C.

I think I replied to a comment Jim put on the creaky axle thread, then I deleted it, so I should apologise for not explaining. Didn't want to take it off topic is my excuse but I should have explained. Sorry :oops:

So (I know I should be talking about my car) I was sent for a CT scan, then for an appointment in the urology department (PSA was 6.4) Another encounter with a gloved hand and booked in for an MRI scan. That happened 2 weeks ago and on Wednesday I had an appointment letter with no details other than to attend the urology department on the 22nd Feb. Friday got a 'cc letter to my GP telling them, re. the MRI scan: 'No suspicious areas were found', and my prostate volume is normal at 21cc.

Anyway, back to the car. It wouldn't start this morning. Turning over too slow. Glow plugs have never been changed and I couldn't remember how old the battery was but I was sure I'd changed it at least once. I remember paying more than the cheapest at ECP for a Bosch. As far as I can tell the date code is August 2010, so it's done OK. Local Mechanic had a booster pack which started it no problem, and I've got the battery on trickle charge so I can get to work tomorrow, and pick up a new battery on the way home.

So I'm fine and my Car's fine. I know this is a car forum, but seriously blokes, if you think somethings wrong 'down there' get it checked. In hindsight, I was forced into it, and I might be the sort of person who never goes to the doctors. It was nothing more than 'slightly uncomfortable' during examinations. Waiting for their the results is worrying but blocking it out of your mind could be worse.

Sorry, this is a car blog. Battery photo attached
WP_20180211_17_43_20_Pro.jpg

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CitroJim
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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by CitroJim »

Oh, poor you Mike :( Both you and the car have been through the wars recently but delighted to hear all is now OK :)
miked wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 20:25
So I'm fine and my Car's fine. I know this is a car forum, but seriously blokes, if you think somethings wrong 'down there' get it checked. In hindsight, I was forced into it, and I might be the sort of person who never goes to the doctors. It was nothing more than 'slightly uncomfortable' during examinations. Waiting for their the results is worrying but blocking it out of your mind could be worse.


Absolutely agree wholeheartedly :) I know some of it can be a bit embarrassing but better to be embarrassed than dead...

One tip I have is to have a lady GP... I find it far less embarrassing to be intimately examined by a woman rather than a bloke...

Certainly as we grow older and bits start to wear (just like our cars) it is so important to get anything checked out ASAP...

One good thing about me keeping fit and active is that I can immediately see if there's a problem if my cycling, swimming or running performances significantly change...

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by miked »

So, 2 glow plugs extracted easily, 2 broke and bits are still in there. That's the long story short. I could spend ages fixing it myself, but I'm not going to pull the head off if it's not necessary. Mechanic said 'At least you know you'll have a new head gasket'. A local engineering company can fix this sort of thing with the right tools.

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by miked »

Dave_xsara made me remember I've been quiet for ages. I have been lurking though, as I have since the Andyspares days.

I thought I had updated this blog with the result of the glow plug problem. Short Story, Called out a local company, in Carlisle (I won't name them in case it's against rules) who got the remnants of the old plugs out easily. I drove the car to them, and they wouldn't even give me a rough price, and insisted they come to me. It was a week or so of worry but he turned up on time, did his stuff, extracted 2 glow plug tips at a cost of £130 and to be honest I'd recommend him if anyone in Cumbria or SW Scotland needs the same.

My Xsara is going good, and the new rear axle is fine. Car was MOT'd in June with no advisories and better than that the tester gave me a look and passed comments which told me he was impressed. When it was on the ramp I did notice the axle was looking cosmetically not as black as when it was delivered, ie. surface rust. In hindsight, a coat of Hammerite would have kept it looking good but it's just cosmetic. As you know I spent silly money (more than the car was worth or is insured for) on it last new year when the clutch went. As I see it, any car will cost at least £1000 per year in either depreciation or repairs. If it lasts another year I've lost nothing.
Where I work has a big car park (250+ spaces). My car is the oldest in it but there are many other cars even on 2008 plates and newer with visible rust. I have no reason to let mine go.

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Miked, it is not against the rules (AFAIK) to name a garage/service that has done a good job. In fact, there is a dedicated section for such;

https://www.frenchcarforum.co.uk/forum/ ... m.php?f=15

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Re: Mike D's Xsara & (now Ex C8) blog

Post by miked »

Another few years go by. Xsara didn't need an MOT last June (covid extension). 4 advisories on the MOT a month ago. Bottom ball joint play, Back brake pads look thin. Exhaust back box slight leak. Rear tyre worn edge.

All those sorted now. I actually took it in for a power steering failure, fluid sparkling, so pump knackered.

Long story short; I wish I'd taken pictures, but the power steering line runs under the radiator and back again just for cooling, and had been rubbed through by a bit of plastic under the bumper.