Return to the fold and a tale to tell

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MikeT
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Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by MikeT »

Hello old friends (and new)

It's been awhile since I last graced this forum with my presence :P (though the loss is mostly mine, of course :) )

One, though not the main, reason for my absence is down to declining health and fitness, making spanner-spinning often too tortorous to comtemplate, restricting my DIY activities to light, fluid and tyre checking mostly so not really had any (admittedly selfish) technical reasons to drop by

I'm not sure where I left off here but the xantia has been very kind to me over the year(s?) since my last visit to this forum. For example, the MOT last year failed on one lower arm bush, one droplink and with advisories for the other droplink and a hard (but not a fail) rear suspension. To get the ticket, I managed to replace only the necessary with a view to repairing the advisories sometime before the next MOT (which was last week).

However for the reasons given above, over the last year I never did feel up to the jobs and as this year's test drew closer, felt I had no choice but to either pay a garage to do the work or put her out to pasture and seek a replacement xantia.

I'd already purchased the second droplink and rear spheres and with trepidation, took her to the MOT station to see what other work might need doing.... but I admit I wasn't really prepared for the reality.

They failed not just the rear but all four corner spheres, the droplink of course and an offside inner hydraulic pipe which they quoted as being a 5-6hr job :shock:

I was sort of hoping this garage was just trying to put me off giving them the work (you know how some folk are shy about Citroen hydraulics) so trundled off to the main stealer for some friendly advice. The spares counter quoted £55+ for the pipe and the service desk confirmed it may well take 5-6hrs, depending on which pipe and what scenarios of troubles are possible to run across during the disassembly. Their best offer was to book it in for a diagnostic/pressure test @£90+the dreaded.

At this point (it'd been a long morning for me) I was feeling very deflated (at the possible costs), sad (at the thought of retiring 'ERO') and sore/tired due to my illness so it barely registered in my mind when the service desk's last words of advice were seemingly last minute afterthoughts, informing me of a Citroen/Pug/PSA Indy in Hampshire.

As I dragged my heels through the stealers car park back toward 'her', the sun had burnt through a very cold and foggy morning and my mood improved slightly as I gladly accepted the gentle hug from the warm rays. With my head still drooped though, I noticed a neglected penny on the floor and my memory cells automatically recited a rhyme my mother used to say when I was boy... "see a penny, pick it up..." Well I was feeling very sorry for myself and too sore to stoop down so I didn't break stride at first but then I told myself "you gotta be in it to win it, right?", spun around,reached to the floor (with an ache and a groan) and pocketed that one pence 8-[

By the time I was keying up the motor, my defeatist attitude was losing it's battle and I decided to drive (back) to Hampshire and seek out this Indy garage as a last ditch attempt to save ERO from the knackers yard. Even the painful thought of driving on hard suspension didn't deter me, though each bump had me doubting the wisdom Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch and you get the idea :cry:

So I found this garage and snuck ERO into the only spare parking bay, alongside a black xantia, behind a red ZX and in front of, not one but two DS's (see pic below). Has my luck really changed? Well, the sight of those motors put a smile on my face anyway

It was a small garage, barely deep enough to house the car lifts and maybe five/six cars wide with a tiny "office". An mid-aged gentleman was working on an engine bay in front of me while a younger lad was at a workbench to my right. I approached "Richard", whom I assumed might be the owner and began my hard-luck story.

What happened next, made my spirits soar. "We make up our own hydraulic pipes here and depending which one it is, I charge £40 maximum including fitting". "I'll charge you £30 for fitting 4 spheres and I can supply the front ones for you for £32 each and it'll be £20 for fitting the droplink". I mentioned I could get the spheres for less, "...so £90 plus VAT, how does that sound?

:shock: :shock: [-o< [-o< :lol: Well, I don't mind admitting I was ready to rip his arm right off there and then, so to speak. So we booked her in and he advised to bring it in the morning and get a train back home which had me replying without thinking - "the train stations' a 6-mile walk from my home (without realising I could have probably got a bus or two to cover that bit lol) to which he immediately responded, "or we could collect your car and bring it back" and no mention of a fee!

I was gobsmacked. I really couldn't believe it. When I got home, I readily ordered the front spheres from the same ebay seller I'd bought the rears from - some £54 the pair delivered which arrived next day. =D>

This morning, Richard was on my door to collect ERO at 8:45am... and he returned at 5:45pm with the keys and a smile. "She's riding smooth again though you'll probably suffer motion-sickness now, he quipped" With the added cost of an LHM top-up, the total bill presented came to £112.44. With no change, I gladly let him keep the £120 I presented and as it was my birthday recently, was even (just) flush enough to further tip £10 for collecting and delivering the car.

Sorry this is such a long post but I feel this man (and his business) deserves the highest praises, not only for his unbelievably competitive price, but his outright honesty, not to mention his presumed specialist skills with these sometimes quirky and strange cars we so love.

As such, I'll be adding full contact details in the Recommeded Garages section though this pic alone should make them traceable. Places like this are such a rarity and would be sad to lose through lack of visibility/publicity etc.

Image

Wish ERO luck tomorrow morning on the re-test please.

bxzx16v
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by bxzx16v »

What a result :-D . Good luck with the MoT .

Mark

lexi
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by lexi »

Very nice story Mike. It makes you appreciate how much use and pleasure a running car is.
All the best of health to you and I hope you have more good days than bad ones.

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CitroJim
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by CitroJim »

Mike, great to see you back :-D

That's excellent! We much catch up at some point...

Not much has changed at this end except for the cars...

And my health is also restricting the spannering to an extent too :evil:

Hell Razor5543
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

With an attitude like that, if I cannot sort out problems with Gracie I would SERIOUSLY consider taking her to them!

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CitroJim
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by CitroJim »

Me too James. Worth travelling there.

I know that garage in Sway quite well as years ago when we had a touring caravan we used to spend several weeks a year in a Forestry Commission camp site just up the road from there..

Here's a picture of us in the campsite (called Setthorns) with caravan and my original sinker...

Image

You can tell how old it is, the little girl in the picture cuddling the dog is my youngest and she's all grown up now...

red_dwarfers
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by red_dwarfers »

That is a fantastic little story :D

How times change :shock: I wonder what I'll be doing in 5 years time, makes you think really. Quite surprised looking back how much things have changed for me in the last 12 months.

MikeT
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by MikeT »

Thanks for the warm welcome back and best wishes, nice to see this forum community still going strong. I'll try harder to frequent and contribute when I can.

To complete the story, the retest was duly attended this morning, after a short panic when I realised one headlight had blown, a rummage through the spares boxes, a frantic bulb removal/replacement (resulting in a small but deep finger cut and a liberal application of blood around the O/S front engine bay :roll: ) I'm very happy to announce ERO's got another year's reprieve.

As the test centre was in the vicinity, I couldn't resist popping back to Dory's and enquring about all those niggling other jobs I've been meaning/wanting to do. Most importantly, draining out that hydraflush I added some oooooo, 3000+ miles ago? that I never got round to replacing with LHM :oops: And as it turns out, am glad I had left it, tbh. As I was informed the 5L replacement of Comma LHM I'd bought a while back was known (though unbeknown to me!) for being very thin and had actually caused at least one his customers xantia's to fail to produce adequate hydraulic pressure. "It's ok to use for topping up, but I wouldn't use it to completely fill the system with it" I was told. I also learnt, the mysterious intermittent O/S wheel squeal that I've been pretending to ignore since I fixed the head gasket is likely nothing more sinister than a "slightly binding handrake cable, causing the pad to rub" Give you one guess as to which novice numpty fitted that cable years back? #-o

And so it went, like a doctor with a great bedside manner, I was made to feel less and less concerned about the future of ERO, and the icing on the cake was Richard's last comment that "your xantia goes well" 8-)

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CitroJim
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by CitroJim »

red_dwarfers wrote: How times change :shock:
Tell me about it Kev :roll: Don't I know it....

I'd say my life now compared to five years ago is totally unrecognisable... About the only constants is that I still have the same Activa, same cat and that I still live in the same house. Everything else has changed completely.

Both girls are grown up and I'm about to go into semi-retrirement!

I will say that most changes in my life are for the better though and agrees with my mantra of always moving forward and making improvements...

Mike, interesting about the Comma LHM, especially as I have 10 litres of the stuff here :twisted: We had a natter about LHM recently on Club-XM and there is some good evidence that Total is the only manufacturer of the stuff and all other LHM you buy is just re-branded Total...

And Mike, stay around. Just because you have no deep questions to ask doesn't mean you can't join in the banter... As you see, many old faces are still here and the ethos is no different so stay and enjoy!

MikeT
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by MikeT »

CitroJim wrote:
Mike, interesting about the Comma LHM, especially as I have 10 litres of the stuff here :twisted: We had a natter about LHM recently on Club-XM and there is some good evidence that Total is the only manufacturer of the stuff and all other LHM you buy is just re-branded Total...

And Mike, stay around. Just because you have no deep questions to ask doesn't mean you can't join in the banter... As you see, many old faces are still here and the ethos is no different so stay and enjoy!

Making me wonder now... Richard poured out some of my Comma into the cap to show how thin it was and it was blatantly obvious - not just watery thin but lacking in opacity too compared to the deep flourescence I've come to expect. Maybe there's some fake stuff being produced? I did buy mine off fleabay.

As for sticking around, I hope to but I've commited most of what little spare energy I have to helping another good cause, to say the least :lol:

Sorry to learn your health hasn't improved over time. Have you started your own business yet? I still think it would be the best remedy 8-)

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CitroJim
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by CitroJim »

MikeT wrote:Have you started your own business yet? I still think it would be the best remedy 8-)
No way Mike :twisted: Running my own business would be just too hard for me. I don't do anything on other peoples cars nowadays at all except for a very few exceptions (daughters, old friends) but I do get plenty of people visiting to do jobs themselves under my supervision and guidance...

I occasionally need assistance these days with big jobs on my own cars..

As for work, I still do for the same old employer I've always been with but soon to be part-time and relatively light duties.

So you can see, working for myself might well finish me off for good :twisted: :lol:

MikeT
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by MikeT »

Who said anything about working? [-X :lol: :P

citronut
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by citronut »

welcome back Mike
great to read your/ERO's story, sounds like you have found a very good indy there,

i also will only use Total citro blood, at a push i will also use Morris oils and Bendix version's,

although at the ICCCR we had our stall next to some very friendly guys selling new/re/manufactured DS parts,
they had 5lt can's of LHM, which i bought some of,
and the feel, smell and look, it might be Total re/labeled,

cant recall the name off hand but will add this after i next go to my workshop,

hope you dont suffer to much with your health issue, and hope to see you on here a bit more

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spider
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by spider »

Tis true I hung around here when I was PSA' less for a year :)

MikeT
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Re: Return to the fold and a tale to tell

Post by MikeT »

Greetings Citroenites

I doubt I was missed but like a bad penny, I'm back to pick brains and further my knowledge on what's hot, what's not. what's cool and what's drool. How you all doing, well I hope? 8-)

Although ERO has yet again served me well the last year, requiring only a droplink and new tyres I'm sad to say we're going to have part company soon as, with barely clocking a few thousand miles a year, I cannot justify the higher costs of a 2L car anymore and am fortunate enough to have a few bob spare to buy me a replacement. Additionally, she's got a noisy pulley, the paint and laquer has started peeling badly and cheap veg oil is becoming more scarce around these parts.

Yes, the pulley is no biggie and the paintwork is only cosmetic but I do resent the high tax band, considering I'm pretty much C02 neutral. Besides, all the advantages of a newer car are just too tempting now.

So what can I get for under £1400? Ideally, it has to be diesel, 1.4 or 1.6 and roomy. I am adamant it will be another Citroen (though I am wondering what Peugeot might have to offer also). So I've begun checking out ebay for inspiration.

The Picasso's are plentiful and in my price range, as are the C4's which I quite like the look of but I don't need a boaty people carrier and the C4's seem a bit cramped for load carrying. Then I came across a C5 estate which was ideal except it looked like a monkey had been doing engine work, it idled with a very noticeable tapping noise and had a glaring engine fault showing. So I walked away but feel a C5 estate could be the car for me. What you all think?