Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

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

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CitroJim
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by CitroJim »

Good to see an Amiga again Zel!

Interesting that modern vans give an indication of the sump being too full of oil... I suppose the problem that some suffer with diesel leaking into the sump past the rings as part of allegedly normal operation makes this essential really...

Does the sump have a hand tap to allow the excess to be drained away?

Two Wrestlers do occasionally suffer the problem you had due to their small size and how busy they always are!
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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Zelandeth »

It makes sense I think for vehicles equipped with a DPF, especially a van which is likely to trigger the regen cycle more frequently than a car. In this case it wasn't actually due to that, it was a misjudgement by whoever did the service. It wasn't actually that high either, just under 10mm on the dipstick I reckon (which was quite hard to see being black oil on a black dipstick...). Not sure if there was a quick drain facility as it did it literally as I was driving past the Enterprise depot so just turned around at the next roundabout and parked it in their carpark. Only took the technician about 15 minutes to sort once we found him. Don't reckon having the ability to drain oil off like that is really a good idea though, if it's been diluted by diesel to the point that the level has risen appreciably, surely its lubrication properties will have been impaired and it will have thinned down to the point that it'll start finding its way out of places it shouldn't (turbo bearings spring to mind...anyone for a runaway engine?). If it was my van and it triggered that warning it would be a full drain down and refill with fresh oil without any question.

Just remembered that just before I went up north, I did spend an hour or so poking around the Xantia to fix one of the pretty small list of things that don't work. My target at that point was the boot light. I'll write up the basic procedure here for the benefit of anyone using the search function on how to sort it...If anyone wants me to copy it across to the common fixes/how-tos section just let me know. If so I'll pull it out again and re-take the photos showing how to strip the switch itself as I can't find those for the life of me and think my camera must have had a fit and not saved them.

It's quite an easy fix - the usual problem seeming to be tarnishing of the contacts in the tilt switch. Historically things like this would have used a mercury switch that is effectively self-cleaning, but given how toxic mercury is these days tilt switches are usually built using a couple of contacts which are bridged by little metal spheres. That's how the Xantia's one works, and it's tarnishing of the spheres that usually causes the issue.

The switch hides behind the trim panel on the inside of the boot lid (mine is a hatchback, but I don't imagine the estate would be massively different). The trim is held in by a handful of plastic trim screws, one normal metal screw in the grab handle, and two slip on metal clips up by the wiper motor. When the panel is removed, the switch can be seen just to the driver's side (RHD car) of the wiper motor, arrowed in the photo below. It's a little white cylinder with two wires going to it. You may find that flicking the switch with a finger may make the light spring to life briefly - don't get excited, that won't last, but is a good indication that the thing just needs cleaning.

Image

Removing the switch is a simple matter of removing the one screw and pulling the spade connectors off. Stick a bit of insulating tape around the wires once they're off to make sure that they can't short out on anything (or disconnect the battery first...but given the faff of having to go through the BSI reset etc...I'd just be careful and insulate the terminals).

The switch itself consists of three main parts. The plastic cylindrical body (white in my case, but I guess there may be other colours) which has one contact moulded into it, the plastic cap which has the other contact, and a pair of metal balls inside that form the "floating" contact that closes at certain angles of rotation only.

The end cap can be pretty easily removed by holding the spade terminal and rotating it while pulling firmly. Do this with the end cap facing upwards, or you'll find the two tiny metal balls pinging off across the floor when it comes out. Pay attention to which way around it comes out, as the contact in the end cap is angled and you will need to put it back in the same way around - I can't remember which way it is off the top of my head, and can't for the life of me find the photos from when I took the switch apart!

Once apart, clean the contacts in the body and end cap. I just used a little piece of emery cloth wrapped around the end of a screwdriver to reach the one in the body, and did the one in the end cap with the same paper by hand.

Next turn the attention to the tiny, really fiddly to clean metal balls. Any normal metal polish like Brasso should do just fine, though I used Autosol because it's what I happened to have to hand at the time. They're fiddly as all hell to clean, especially if you have big fingers, but persevere until they have a really good shine. DO NOT touch them with your fingers once they're clean, or you'll leave greasy fingerprints that will likely cause contact issues in the future.

Now you just need to put things back together. The smaller ball goes into the body first, followed by the larger one, then the body can just be clipped back together. At this point it's worth getting your multimeter if you have one and setting it to the ohms or continuity mode and checking that when the switch is moved around that you get a pretty consistent contact when the switch is rotated.

Reassembly as they say is then the reverse of removal. The flat in the switch body should be facing downwards as you can see in the close up below.

Image

Once everything is back together, with a bit of luck now when you open the boot you should see this!

Image

It actually sounds a lot more long-winded than it is, whole thing only took me about 20 minutes to do, and the vast majority of that was the actual cleaning of the little metal balls in the switch (and chasing them across the dining room floor when I dropped them).

While I was in there, I realised that the flaps in the bootlid trim that cover the lamps for the foglights and reversing lights were the source of the most audible rattle in the back of the car - there's a good 1mm of "wobble" My solution to this was to get some self-adhesive felt and just cut two strips and stuck them to the area where the panel closes against. This makes it a nice snug fit and has completely eliminated the annoying buzz (left hand side) and hollow rattle (right hand side) from the bootlid. You can see the black felt strip below.

Image

Really simple quick fix that took about 30 seconds and seems to be completely effective.
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CitroJim
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by CitroJim »

Excellent Zel, that procedure needs to be in the forum Wiki ;)
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

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In that case I'll pull it out again shortly to re-take the missing photos and try to tidy the text up a bit then...can see a few bits there where my fingers have got ahead of my brain slightly. That's one of the downsides to being a really fast typist...I can't keep up with myself sometimes!

Today's task was originally planned to be sorting the rattly speaker/vent on the offside dash in the Saab - but I couldn't find my star headed screwdriver to save my life (it's probably buried in the garage)...so abandoned that and decided to do a silly little experiment.

One of the things which dropped out of the boxes of junk I brought down from up north was a cheapie cone air filter (it came with one of the cars I bought at some point in the distant past). I'd never use such a cheap piece of garbage on any of my cars long-term, but for a quick round-the-block experiment to see if it would improve breathing on the Xantia it would do. No real need to alter things, this was purely to satisfy my own sense of curiousity.

Actual difference in power output? Nothing noticeable, but the turbo definitely spools up a lot quicker, which I think makes it *feel* quicker given that the big slug of torque arrives a good deal quicker. Guess that it just shows that the filter housing on the Xantia isn't badly designed. Remember putting one on my TD Corsa a few years back made a truly massive difference (granted, it was breathing through a pipe about 1 1/4" in diameter), interesting to see how much of a silencing effect the intercooler has too...Corsa sounded like it was powered by a jet engine with a cone filter on it, on the Xantia it doesn't seem to make a huge amount of additional noise save for some interesting warbling noises on light throttle openings.

It's been stuffed back in the "box o' stuff" now though and the normal setup restored, and I'm now satisfied that it's not worth fiddling with that side of things (even if I had been changing that, I would have picked up a decent quality filter for it).

Only other thing I'm curious about is whether a more freely flowing silencer would make any odds...though that's a test that will be saved until it falls off of its own accord...

I've too much sense to go messing with things I don't fully understand like boost settings or fuelling etc, but I'll sometimes poke things like this if I get bored! Learned with the Corsa that you can sometimes make a big difference to turbocharged engines just by improving the breathing. Today has shown me that it must have been a far more compromised system than the Xantia's though.

Also changed my dipped beam lamps as I treat those as an annual service item (I generally run with dipped headlights on - drilled into my head at First long enough it's just habit - and I figure anything that helps me be seen is good) as they do lose output over time, and at least I know this way I'm not going to have one randomly die on me. Main beam ones look well cooked as well so will do them tomorrow as well. Did notice that the reflector on the nearside light doesn't look too healthy (looks as though a lamp has gone pop at some point) which explains the less than stellar beam image...so will be on the lookout for a good used nearside headlight. Might pop down to A5 Salvage tomorrow and see if they have one...is ten minutes down the road after all, and I'll happily pay a few quid extra for convenience sake. Call me old fashioned, but driving somewhere and pulling a bit off myself still seems easier than faffing around finding it online...
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Zelandeth »

Cars were innocent of causing trouble today...but kept busy!

This morning was mostly spent testing a multitude of multi-standard computer monitors to find out which work, which kinda work and which are dead so I can decide which ones to keep, which to bin and which to offer to the National Museum of Computing or the computing museum over in Cambridge. Imagine multisync monitors are kinda handy for either of them given the ability to throw virtually any video signal at it and have the monitor just work it out. I need two, one for the Amiga and one for the Acorns...but don't need seven!

The afternoon was then mostly spent poking, prodding and swearing at my server which had apparently lost all interest in serving web pages to the outside world. Of course it actually turned out to be completely innocent. Instead our router had for no readily explicable reason done a complete factory reset. This of course had nuked the firewall rules and routing tables and explained why everything was working locally but was dead from outside.

Felt a right dunce when the penny dropped, but I hadn't expected that curve ball...I did restart the router, did check the server was on the right IP address...didn't immediately think to check the firewall rules were still there though (I'm the only one in the house who has admin access to the router)...will keep an eye on that in case it happens again...
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CitroJim
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

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Zelandeth wrote: Felt a right dunce when the penny dropped, but I hadn't expected that curve ball...I did restart the router, did check the server was on the right IP address...didn't immediately think to check the firewall rules were still there though (I'm the only one in the house who has admin access to the router)...will keep an eye on that in case it happens again...
Typical IT :twisted: The curve ball invariably happens... It's the law... :twisted:

It's what , for me, makes it frustrating, irritating and interesting all at the same time...

I could think of better words but the forum censor will be having something to say if I do!

Myltisync monitors... Gosh, the memories! Fixed a few of those back in the day too..
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Well, I had a nice simple fault to resolve at a client site yesterday. Basically the PC would fire up the BIOS splash screen, and then stop there. Did the first basic test (PC only had power and monitor connected), it worked, and then I shut it down, plugged something else in, and tried again. Turned out that the monitor also has a 2 port USB hub built in, and when the lead for this was connected the PC didn't like it. As they have no need for that hub we left that cable unconnected, and all appears well.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by CitroJim »

That's an unusual one James - for two reasons..

The second being that it was an easy fix and goes against all I said above... The exception that proves the rule ;)
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

It is surprising what you can fit in a Mercedes Sprinter van;

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/ ... 34x572.jpg
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

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Hell Razor5543 wrote:It is surprising what you can fit in a Mercedes Sprinter van;

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/ ... 34x572.jpg
Just in case it breaks down? :lol:
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Zelandeth »

Points for effort...though the question does spring to mind of how the heck they got it in there...

It is amasing how much volume there is in a van...the sheer quantity of junk I just emptied from the back of my comparatively small VW T25 was testimony to that!

Just sorry I'm having to empty it to move on rather than sort...too little time and space though...plus shipping it down here would probably cost a fortune.

Regarding the monitors, I've got two missing a red channel (CRT seems okay as grounding the control grid for the red gun results in a clean red raster), and one with zero display I've not investigated too far yet other than confirming we have EHT.

Annoyingly one of the ones missing red is my Amiga branded one...though I may just transplant the tube base board (which is where all the magic happens on this series) from a working Acorn one as they're all high hour ex-education ones (aren't virtually every bit of 80s/90s Acorn gear?) and the Amiga one has next to no hours on the CRT and an immaculate case. At least Microvitec using identical chassis across the whole range makes part swapping easier.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

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Nothing much to report on the car front other than both the Saab and the Xantia deciding they needed new number plate lamps within a day of each other. Of course could I find any W5W bulbs anywhere in my stock? Got a small mountain of 2.5W ones, but no 5 watters. Meant to get a new front number plate made for the Xantia at the same time, but went and forgot to take the V5C with me didn't I...Took it out the folder, got it as far as the dining room table where I picked my keys up...no further though. Idiot.

I spent a good portion of this morning fighting with my (somewhat aged now, I built it back in mid 2007 when its predecessor died suddenly when its CPU heatsink mounting bracket snapped clean off the motherboard) desktop PC, which had obviously started to develop a fault a few days ago (it locked up requiring a hard reset and then would refuse to POST for a good couple of minutes, and then was running generally very, very slow). Today it decided to go one step further and refuse to boot, hanging at some point with the loading screen showing. ...One of the things I dislike about many of the current Linux distros is the fancy shiny loading screen...I'd much rather just see what's going on...certainly would have made my life today easier.

Given that the OS on here is unsupported now, it's days away from getting upgraded to Mint 17.2 anyway, so I booted from a USB stick to run a last backup before I started taking things apart to hunt the apparent hardware fault. At which point I noticed that one of the hard drives was missing.

Side off the case and sure enough, the power connection to the drive which has all the video library on had gone astray (I do have to admit that I really don't like the SATA power connectors, it's far too easy to pull them out by accident - they really could do with a latch). I tend to think that the machine hanging may well have coincided with when that connector fell off, it wasn't routed great and the floppy drive data cable was tugging on it. Reconnecting that got rid of the POST time issues (I assume that the SATA controller was getting utterly confused in that it could see there was a drive there but wasn't able to communicate properly with it), but didn't get me any further through the boot. I decided to poke the failsafe boot options, and it immediately popped up a warning message about an error in line 9 of the Xorg.conf file. Sure enough...the "S" had somehow got chopped off the start of the line identifying "Screen 0" which no doubt was causing problems. I would honestly have expected it to just fail to load and spit me back out into a command prompt though rather than just hanging silently like that. The errant S was reinstated though and restarting the machine resulting in normal service being resumed...

Think before I go for the OS upgrade that I may well go ahead and disconnect every power and data cable in there and do a bit of cable management and re-routing. There have been an additional three hard drives, a different graphics card (which needs a separate power supply) and liquid cooling added since I originally routed everything, so it's a bit of a rat's nest in there right now and could really be done better.

Away up to Edinburgh this weekend though, so it will have to wait until we get back. I wanted to take the Xantia, but I was overruled!

...This is the first thing I've actually typed at my workstation in months...Goodness it's nice having access to a proper keyboard rather than the one on the laptop again!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by CitroJim »

CPU heatsinks falling off was a very common problem in a range of HP desktops a few years ago... They had to release an upgraded assembly to cure it. Another HP desktop also had a habit of melting the solder holding the Northbridge heatsink clip to the motherboard and causing the clip to ping off and the heatsink to fall off!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Zelandeth »

This was a Dell (Dimension 2300 from memory, P4 based) which up to that point had been utterly reliable until that stupid plastic assembly failed. Being Dell it had a bespoke assembly rather than a standard fansink that could be easily replaced.

Still have it floating around somewhere I think as it was the first PC I ever bought new and I never could bring myself to bin it given what it cost!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Zelandeth »

Not been a huge amount going on this last couple of weeks with the cars.

Very much missed the Xantia on our trek up to the convention in Edinburgh...my spine did not thank me for spending seven odd hours folded into the back of a VW Scirocco R. It also lacks any suspension to speak of.

This evening I put diesel in it for the first time in a couple of months, and then gave it a bit of an Italian Tune Up given it's only been trundling around locally for a while...running a lot smoother now, though the initial cloud of soot was rather comical...bet I need to clean the rear bumper tomorrow...