Simon's new Xantia V6 and Leaf 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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Northern_Mike

Post by Northern_Mike »

Someone save us all and lend/make Simon a sphere tester

I'm just a grumpy Northern git.

Northern_Mike

Post by Northern_Mike »

East Lancs on the border between Bacup and Todmorden... my grandparents on one side were from Bishop Auckland, the others are both Lancastrians.

I'm just a grumpy Northern git.

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CitroJim
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Re:

Post by CitroJim »

northern_mike wrote:Someone save us all and lend/make Simon a sphere tester
Simon I'm sure you are very capable of making your own :wink:

Hell Razor5543
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

DHallworth wrote:Simon, if I were buying spheres now I'd order direct from IFHS as they're more likely to be fresh spheres rather then ones that have sat on a shelf in AEP for a number of months/years.

David.
The spheres I got from AEP had the date 06/05/14.

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DHallworth
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by DHallworth »

Hell Razor5543 wrote:
DHallworth wrote:Simon, if I were buying spheres now I'd order direct from IFHS as they're more likely to be fresh spheres rather then ones that have sat on a shelf in AEP for a number of months/years.

David.
The spheres I got from AEP had the date 06/05/14.
You're lucky. The spheres they gave me for the Activa were 2 years old. When I challenged them the newest ones they had were still 12 months old.

David.

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Mandrake
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Mandrake »

To be fair there's not much call for Activa spheres! :-D So they wouldn't get much stock rotation...

The set I bought from AEP for my last V6 had one that was 12 months old (front Hydractive regulator) but the rest were all two months old or newer.

I might just try ordering direct from IFHS anyway depending on how easy it is to do so and shipping costs etc... Anyone got the website ?

Northern_Mike

Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Northern_Mike »

DHallworth wrote:
Hell Razor5543 wrote:
DHallworth wrote:Simon, if I were buying spheres now I'd order direct from IFHS as they're more likely to be fresh spheres rather then ones that have sat on a shelf in AEP for a number of months/years.

David.
The spheres I got from AEP had the date 06/05/14.
You're lucky. The spheres they gave me for the Activa were 2 years old. When I challenged them the newest ones they had were still 12 months old.

David.
I got both front and rear Activa balancing(?) spheres for my Activa for £21 each from Freeborne Wokingham main dealer. I was there for something else, handbrake cable I think, and I enquired how much they were, as I was about to order from Pleaides. They were something obscene like £190 each. I probably swore (as is normal) and said that I'd buy the Pleaides ones for £21 each thanks very much. He sighed, and said he'd match their price as no one else was ever likely to come in and buy them anyway.

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CitroJim
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by CitroJim »

Never worry about 'old' spheres. provided they have just sat on a cool warehouse shelf they'll still be fine. I've tested 12 year old ones that have been spot-on..

Again, a good reason to have a tester... You can then be sure of what you're fitting..

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Mandrake
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Mandrake »

The ones I bought from AEP including the one year old one were fine as far as I could tell.

I know how to make a sphere tester guys - I had one in New Zealand, which was useful because spheres were much more expensive (up to 3x the price as AEP/GSF as their were no after market ones available) there than they are in the UK.

Much as I would like to, making an elaborate stand alone sphere tester now doesn't really make much sense to me for a number of reasons:

1) Spheres were expensive and hard to get in NZ so it made sense to test them all before ordering to see which ones you really needed. Also we we did our own sphere re-gassing so testing them was important. Here they're so cheap that you might as well replace any that are in doubt, especially on a car you've just bought. And on this V6 *all* the spheres are stuffed, so I don't need to test any of them to know I need them all.

2) This is probably my last green blooded Citroen and it's already 17 years old. I reckon I could get a good 3-4 years out of the car if I look after it, but beyond that a sphere tester wouldn't get any use since by the time the spheres would be due again the car may be gone. Which means I would only use said sphere tester once, possibly a second time in 3-4 years but its unlikely.

There is a simpler, cheaper way of testing the spheres which is not nearly as fast or convenient, but I've done it before... all it requires is a 200 bar pressure gauge with about half a metre of pipe going to a large Citroen style hydraulic union.

You de-pressurise the suspension and pressure regulator, disconnect the output pipe from the pressure regulator (the one that goes off to the security valve) and connect your gauge. Now you have a sphere pressure tester that just happens to be still attached to the car... :lol:

Now screw your test sphere on in place of the accumulator sphere, start the engine and close the bleed screw, when the pressure has built up stop the engine, slacken the bleed screw very slightly and watch the pressure fall on the gauge until it drops suddenly to zero. The pressure just before that was your spheres pressure. Repeat for each sphere.

Not very convenient on a V6 because of the awkward upside down pressure regulator mounting, but on the 2 litre petrol with better access to the regulator it was a perfectly workable alternative to a stand alone pressure tester - and if you're only going to test spheres once every 3-4 years, more than adequate.

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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Mandrake »

Another job done today. :) I was home early and it was warm and sunny so I thought I'd tackle the seized idle control valve.

Turns out it can be done without removing the upper inlet manifold, but you do need to remove the coolant expansion bottle to get enough access, and it is a bit of a fiddly job.

Remove the small hose to the front left corner of the coolant expansion bottle, blocking it off with a bolt, then unbolt the expansion bottle and lift it out of the way - there is enough length on the large main hose at the bottom that you don't need to disconnect it or drain any coolant. (It will spill though if you don't block the small hose)

Sure enough the ICV was seized with carbon and at first I could only turn it forcibly with a screw driver. A good dose of carb clean and working it back and forth and it freed up. On this one I decided to give it a dose of spray grease inside at each end with the hope of getting some into the bearings - not sure if that was successful or not but it certainly didn't hurt. When I first got it moving it was a bit "lumpy" at one point in its rotation but by the time I finished it was turning nice and smooth.

Before refitting it I plugged it in and turned on the key - as well as feeling it hum you should feel the rotating shaft become "tight" and strongly resist being turned - which it did. When unpowered it turns very easily.

I then refitted it and the idle problem is solved. =D> It took a while for the ECU to learn that the ICV was working and adapt correctly - it was trying to stall when holding the throttle open slightly and was over reacting at first to changes in conditions but after a few minutes driving it seemed to settle down.

Now that the idle is not being held too high it changes down smoothly from 2nd to 1st as you come to a stop because the brakes are no longer fighting the engine while you're trying to slow down. In fact even in sport mode the 2nd to 1st change down is hardly noticeable! Job well done... :)

The throttle plate is also quite dirty and needs a clean but I didn't want to change two interrelated things at once, so I'll see how it behaves for a few days with the ICV working and then give it a clean.

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CitroJim
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by CitroJim »

Excellent work on sorting out the ICV Simon =D> I didn't even realise that was possible and thought they were sealed units...

How did you open it up to get access to it?

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Mandrake
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Mandrake »

You can't open them Jim, they are a sealed unit.

There is a good tear down of a faulty one on 406coupeclub including lots of pictures of the insides but the guy literally used a dremel to cut it open, destroying it in the process :lol: From the pictures I saw it looked totally impossible to glue together again...

Fortunately you don't need to open it. You can see the end of the shaft down the two air holes and turn the shaft with your pinky finger...

You just spray loads of carb clean inside it and use a screw driver to turn it until it starts to move. Because the armature is so heavy once its moving freely you can just rapidly rotate the entire outer housing back and forth to get the armature spinning back and forth between its limit stops. Then just keep spraying it and flicking it back and forth to flush out all the carbon buildup.

You can then turn the armature slowly with your pinky finger to make sure it turns smoothly and there aren't any lumpy spots. It seems the bearings wear out on these and become loose yet lumpy to turn, I think this lumpiness is what causes the erratic idle speed control and tendency to try to stall that the silver one had...

So on this one I also sprayed some spray grease down inside each end. I'm not sure if they're roller bearings or whether they're open bearings that the grease could get into but I think it did help it turn more smoothly.

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CitroJim
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by CitroJim »

That's excellent Simon :-D I'm interested as I have a slightly sticky ICV on my Activa causeing a high idle occasionally. It eitehr resolves on its own or a quick 'exercise' on the ELIT doesd the trick but I'd like fix it properly and as they're similar in design to the V6 one I reckon your work is just as applicable so for that I'm miost appreciative :-D

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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by Mandrake »

Is the Activa a rotary solenoid instead of a stepper motor too ?

I know a lot of ICV's get called "stepper motors" but I think that's just lazy terminology as most don't fit the proper definition of a stepper motor, which is a many pole motor that moves to and locks in discrete positions when different pairs of poles are energised, such as you'd typically find in photo copiers etc.

The V6 ICV is not a stepper motor at all, it's more what I'd call a rotary solenoid - it rotates a maximum of 90 degrees and has two windings and two magnets pairs that are 90 degrees from each other, one that pulls the armature rotation in one direction, and the other in the other direction. By changing the pulse width of the two windings in complementary fashion different equilibrium points are reached. For example closed might be 20% duty cycle on winding one, 80% on winding two, open might be the reverse. Effectively you have two solenoids pulling against each other in the same package.

Quite clever really and very precise. The point of failure seems to be seizing due to carbon build up, and the pivot bearings wearing out and becoming sloppy and gritty...

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CitroJim
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Re: Simon's new Xantia V6 blog

Post by CitroJim »

I believe it's a rotary solenoid like the V6 one Simon. It's not a stepper motor in the accepted sense. they also look very similar...