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

Post by Zelandeth »

Yeah I've definitely got too many on fleet.

The BX was never planned - it was mainly grabbed as its future was looking distinctly uncertain and there was a real chance it could have ended up in the crusher.

The Jag equally was never meant to have happened. I had intended to sell the Lada rather than the swap which ended up happening! Not that I'm complaining there - having the XJ-S on fleet will forever be looked on as a high point I reckon.

What I think I'll start doing is hunting again for what I was originally after for my "modern-ish" daily in the first place a couple of years back before I wound up with the Lada as I recall.

The BX isn't going to be an attractive project to anyone as it stands with having been off the road for so long, but if I can get it an MOT or even a proper professional assessment of what it needs it'll likely be more interesting to someone. Ideally running, driving, stopping and with an MOT though would be the target!

Van and Invacar are permanent residents and not going anywhere though - for all if I had any sense whatsoever given the market these days I would sell the van...could probably get five times what I paid for it if I put a for sale sign in the window outside.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Armidillo »

A link (via AussieFrogs) to a YouTube "video" - actually a collection of stills - of various 'older' Citroens. Sorry if this has been posted before, but I just spotted a photo relevant to this thread!

Zel's BX appears on a trailer at 3:13.

https://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/index ... be.144781/
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

The first few web searches, including the lookup system on Tanya's website, suggested that a 096 battery is correct for the XJ-S, so is what I picked up.

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Was no point comparing to the one in the car as I knew it was well under sized - hence my "creative" solution to getting enough travel in the tie down frame to actually make it fit.

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Turns out they're speaking nonsense. No way will a 096 fit in here, it's the best part of an inch wider than the battery tray. D'oh!

Cue a bit of head scratching...before I nicked the battery I stuck in the BX about 8 months ago. That's a 027 which while still a little smaller than what I imagine Jag intended (which I'm thinking now is probably a 075), is a far better fit. It sits snugly in the tray and the tie down fits properly without needing to faff about with spacers. Meant I could actually get the lid fitted properly for the first time since I've had the car.

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The battery tray in the BX is huge on account of the diesel variants so the 096 dropped in there just fine and looks like it was meant to be there - even if it's grossly overrated for a humble 1.4 petrol, but we're not going to complain. Especially with the car not being used regularly.

I put it on charge overnight on account of the BX sitting unused a lot, but even beforehand it span the engine over far faster than the one previously in the car ever did. Also while out for a run the voltmeter stayed pretty much smack in the middle the whole time without sagging anywhere near as much at idle...so I think that was half our problem. Dying battery took out a weak alternator regulator? Or dying alternator killed the battery? We will probably never know.

The battery that csme out definitely has a shorted cell. Sitting rock steady on 10.8V off charge but using the calibrated battery testing spanner is still sourcing a decent chunk of current - which suggests it can also still sink a decent charge rate, which given that with a lot of kit running I can easily account for about 80% of our old 55A alternator's output in vehicle systems alone isn't going to help anything.

First thing I noticed driving out of our neighborhood on a quick test run...the heater was actually behaving in a sane manner. It continued to do so for the remaining 25 mins or so I was out...and the cruise control worked first try. Have we been fighting off odd gremlins because of a sickly battery for a while? I know that's more of a modern car thing...but let's face it, the XJ-S in a lot of ways *is* a lot more modern than its year of production would suggest.

I had a decent opportunity to give the charging system a good test the following day as I had to make a decent run out of town to pick up some vintage computer hardware. At 150 odd miles round trip this was actually the longest single run I'd probably done in the car since I picked it up. Glad to report that it performed perfectly - and I managed 21.7mpg on that run...a far cry from the 12mpg I manage around Milton Keynes!

For those interested in such things, this is what I was picking up.

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In 1987 this was pretty much the most powerful portable machine you could buy - with pretty much everything you would expect of a conventional desktop PC - including a full size ISA expansion slot. These "portable desktop" machines were something that Toshiba were very good at making, and were quite worthy of note in an era where desktops tended to do desktop things and portables were generally vastly more limited and did very different jobs. The desktop replacement concept became quite commonplace about 15 years later, but in the late 80s/early 90s was quite a novel idea.

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Specs seem positively laughable by today's standards, but this was a powerful machine when it was launched.

Back on topic...

That run was a usefully timed test given that the car was off to a new owner today.

I gave the interior and windscreen a quick clean and loaded up the spares I had into the boot.

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I had originally planned to give the whole car a wash and quick wax - but realised that given the state of the roads and that it had a 400+ mile motorway run coming up that it would be completely pointless.

Definitely a car I will miss. This is definitely one I'm selling because it's the sensible decision than because I want to.

While I would happily have made the trip myself, it's always a bit nerve wracking sending someone.off who's not familiar with the car on a journey that long - especially when it's not had a huge amount of use recently. However the worry was unnecessary as she made it to her new home in Aberdeenshire without incident - well aside from the interior light falling out of the headlining again. Economy on that run was 20.8mpg, which seems perfectly decent to me for a 1700kg 5.3 litre V12 car from the mid 80s.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Having a gap out here just looks wrong!

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No...it looks right. It's a step towards actually getting everything to fit on the driveway.

Short lived though given there's another (broken) project on the way soon...so much for thinning out the herd!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Okay...Mercedes is officially for sale.

Photos as of a few days ago. Not prettied up, in her working clothes as she's still being used as the daily.

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Offside rear arch is probably the most outwardly scruffy bit of bodywork. A repair panel for this is included with the car.

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Current mileage, though this will go up a bit as the car is in regular use.

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If you've followed this thread over the last few months you'll know the car.

I bought this car back in the summer with the intention of it being a practical daily which I could carry out a gradual rolling bit of tidying up on - not going to say restoration as that was never really the goal. A tidy working car was.

Sadly it became apparent a short time later that due to historic chronic neglect the top end of the engine had sustained a lot of damage due to oil contamination and/or starvation. The damage to the camshaft is probably the worst I've ever seen on a running engine. Aside from sounding like an 80s Fiesta needing a service she still ran just fine though!

As a spare head was supplied with the car I went ahead and fitted that.

My intention had been to drop the sump so I could inspect the crankshaft and potentially drop in a new set of bearing shells - however I quickly discovered that doing that involves you going about 80% of the way through pulling the engine as there's a huge chassis cross member in the way. So we were taking a gamble.

While the engine is a lot happier now (it's been a little over a thousand miles since the head swap), it's still a bit rattly at high revs and the oil pressure at hot idle is mediocre - though not in itself low enough to be a danger sign apparently.

I'm not convinced that this engine is going to be reliable long term without a bottom end rebuild...and that's something I just am not interested in getting involved in. Nor am I messing about swapping engines. If I could find one for a couple of hundred quid, maybe. Sadly the days of them being cheaply available appear to be in the past, and I'd need to do the work in the middle of my front lawn. My poor neighbors put up with enough as it is without that nonsense! I could be totally wrong and it will still be going strong, rattling away in another 50K miles...but I just don't trust it to not eject the number three con rod through the side of the block without warning halfway down the A5 in rush hour. Milton Keynes being such an aggressively unfriendly place to break down in does fuel that paranoia somewhat.

The bodywork is best described as scruffy but generally solid. Pretty much every panel has some form of dent, rust and or evidence of a prior respray done quickly. However it's not a total rot box and is perfectly respectable from ten paces. At least none of the trim is actually missing as that stuff is expensive to replace these days.

Interior is similarly a bit shabby. Worst parts are the driver's seat where the base has partly collapsed and the bit of trim above the sun visors which has peeled away from the backing at the edges. Aside from oddly the carpet from the offside rear footwell everything is there though.

Vital bits of info:

[] 163K miles - will continue to go up a bit as the car is still being used.

[] MOT to April (20th if I remember right).

[] Potential bottom end engine issues as described above.

[] Gearbox goes from second to third with quite a jolt, especially when cold but otherwise seems to behave.

[] Exhaust has a couple of leaks in the front section. Pattern section is about £70 on eBay, or I was quoted £700 for a full stainless system by a local specialist. Whole system is £350 direct from Mercedes as a third option.

[] Boot struts don't work.

[] Central locking only works for a few minutes after shutting the engine off due to a vacuum leak somewhere, just haven't got to investigating that. Most likely candidate is the fuel filler flap lock.

[] Fuel leak when the tank is brimmed from the gauge sender as the gasket has dissolved. Keep meaning to see if I can get to it without dropping the tank.

[] Could do with a set of rear springs as they creak over larger bumps.

[] Full set of UniRoyal Rainexpert tyres fitted a couple of months ago.

[] Passenger side heater temperature control is jammed - though you can still adjust it from the valve in the engine bay so nowhere near as big a deal as it could be.

[] The boot is large enough that it should need its own post code.

These were all the sorts of things I was planning on picking away at, getting deeply involved in the mechanical side just wasn't in the plan and I just don't have the kit or space to get any deeper into than I have at the moment.

£2500 and it's yours. Which if you have taken a look at the market for an S123 with a current MOT, even a slightly shabby one, is pretty cheap.

I'd just far rather move the car on now while it's a running driving concern rather than having to do this if something did go awry with the engine at a later date.

Car is located in Central Milton Keynes.

I MAY consider a swap/px for another large estate or similar. What I *want* is an early XJ Cherokee, but don't expect to find one I can afford...

-- -- --

Not really been much else going on to be honest. Had TPA out and about again a few days ago when I needed to make a run out to Northampton.

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Did get spotted while on the outward journey, resulting in a rare photo of TPA actually in motion which is nice to see.

Link to Facebook Post. Sorry, not sure how to link to the image directly, I really don't use Facebook for much.

Shame the photo wasn't of the return journey which was down the M1...that really would have messed with folk's heads. Was really nice to get her out for a decent run again, had been a while.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Bidders at the Dec 9th Brightwells Auction got themselves very competitive over this one https://www.brightwells.com/lot-details/551493



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

Post by Zelandeth »

Now that's a lovely colour. Bit spendy though!

Does make me kind of wish I had a dry storage unit I could just stick mine in for a few years... better than money in the bank it seems like.

That exhaust tip being too low would make my teeth itch though...also seeing cheap Chinese tyres on a car at that end of the market always makes me wonder what else they've tried to cut corners on. Has the same sagging rear headliner trim as mine did too...mine has stayed fixed so far too!

Nah... that's not how I operate.

I do have potentially have something lined up to take the daily driver slot...which is actually kind of interesting in its own right, though *absolutely* not something I went out looking for nor would have even vaguely considered. Absolutely knocks my practical requirements out of the park though and if it works out could probably take the award as the most all round *useful* vehicle I've ever owned.

If it works out that is - far from a done deal at this point. I'm really hoping it will though.

Very much one of those cases where I looked at the vehicle initially and was pretty nonplussed, right up to the point at which I looked at it from a practical perspective - and have already started planning small improvements (inclusive of things like paint) in my head!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

A Fiat Multipla?
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by mickthemaverick »

Here's an MOT exempt option which ticks most of your boxes Zel!! :-D

https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/auction ... tom-8j3dRg
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by bobins »

I reckon it's a Leyland Titan. Might want to extend the driveway a little.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

bobins wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 11:17
I reckon it's a Leyland Titan. Might want to extend the driveway a little.
Now that would be fun...sadly not though. Being small enough to fit through height barriers was a major requirement. Quite a few of the places I like to take the dogs around here have 2.1 metre barriers on the car parks - which is the real reason not to use the van as a daily. Besides that I'm quite happy using it...even if that seems to confuse a lot of people.

If I was going for a bus though it would probably be an Olympian rather than a Titan. Have driven this one a couple of times, and it just feels right to me.

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Grampian Transport Museum have done a lovely job of tidying her up, and I really do like the Grampian Transport livery from that era. If you look at the details you can see that while the pallete is different, the current First livery does have several nods back to this - and that was indeed deliberate I've been told.

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Just a nice bus to drive that too. Air suspension which means she rides better than most coaches today, beautifully light controls, and a Cummins L10 out the back which makes a truly lovely noise...you can hear the exhaust note from about 1/4 a mile away. Has a five speed ZF box and high speed diff fitted too so is very much limited by what is legal on the open road rather than what she will do - 60+mph is absolutely no bother at all. Which for an 80s decker is never a given.

Unlike this which lives in the same shed...which does about 40 downhill with a good tail wind.

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Though being from 1929 and having purely mechanical brakes, that's more than enough! Probably the most challenging thing I've ever driven. Absolutely an exercise in forward planning - at least a quarter mile forward of where you are given an emergency stop from walking pace is about 100 yards.

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Yes that cab is precisely as claustrophobic as it looks. You have to duck to see out of the windscreen with the steering wheel in your teeth.

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About 40 horse power on a good day I believe, and that's when all four cylinders have decided to join the party, which is never a given - especially as you have to continually manually adjust the mixture and ignition timing on the fly.

I don't even want to know what it's probably worth either, I was very surprised to be offered a chance to drive it though and wasn't about to say no!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by bobins »

Zelandeth wrote:
21 Dec 2021, 05:41
bobins wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 11:17
I reckon it's a Leyland Titan. Might want to extend the driveway a little.
Now that would be fun...sadly not though. Being small enough to fit through height barriers was a major requirement. Quite a few of the places I like to take the dogs around here have 2.1 metre barriers on the car parks - which is the real reason not to use the van as a daily. Besides that I'm quite happy using it...even if that seems to confuse a lot of people.

I do like the fact that the only issue of note worth mentioning that would put you off owning a double decker is that it wouldn't fit under the height barriers in the car parks :-D
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

bobins wrote:
21 Dec 2021, 08:06
Zelandeth wrote:
21 Dec 2021, 05:41
bobins wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 11:17
I reckon it's a Leyland Titan. Might want to extend the driveway a little.
Now that would be fun...sadly not though. Being small enough to fit through height barriers was a major requirement. Quite a few of the places I like to take the dogs around here have 2.1 metre barriers on the car parks - which is the real reason not to use the van as a daily. Besides that I'm quite happy using it...even if that seems to confuse a lot of people.

I do like the fact that the only issue of note worth mentioning that would put you off owning a double decker is that it wouldn't fit under the height barriers in the car parks :-D
Ah, I never signed up for normal!

Being fully honest, it's pretty much entirely just the hassle of finding somewhere to store one these days which has stood in the way of a bus/coach being considered.

There definitely is a plan for one one day, though that's in the 10+ year sort of timescale I'm thinking, and definitely after we've moved again.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

We have this on our doorstep, well alongside Lydney railway station. :) If you want to see a wide range of buses waiting to be sold this is the place.
If you want to hear land sharks (German Shepherds) barking stand close to the fence.
https://lydney.cylex-uk.co.uk/company/ ... 23462.html
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by mickthemaverick »

Gibbo2286 wrote:
21 Dec 2021, 18:31
We have this on our doorstep, well alongside Lydney railway station. :) If you want to see a wide range of buses waiting to be sold this is the place.
If you want to hear land sharks (German Shepherds) barking stand close to the fence.
https://lydney.cylex-uk.co.uk/company/ ... 23462.html
Not sure if you put the wrong link in there Gibbo, I think this is the direct link you meant:

https://londonbuspromotions.com/