Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, 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 (Xantia, 107 and "others")

Post by Zelandeth »

Not quite Jim, 1/2" tubular galvanised (I think) steel tubing and what appears to be marine timber of some sort given how well it's stood up to time.

It will be getting a quick clean then a blast of Hammerite for now (wood will be masked off) but long term will look to get it powder coated white to match the rest of the detailing on the car.

Edit, it's more like quarter inch than half, but still silly sturdy compared to a modern one. It's cleaned up nice with a lick of paint, will grab photos off my phone tomorrow.

Noted that the nasty clonking noise from the nearside front of the Lada has got a lot louder - unnervingly so, so will investigate tomorrow. While I know there is some play in the steering idler bracket it really is sounding like a duff ball joint to me, and it looked like there was movement in the one between the steering idler and the nearside track rod...hoping it's that as I have that in stock and it's a ten minute job to change.

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Got a few things done today.

Firstly gave the roof rack and all of its fittings a second coat of paint. Has covered quite nicely actually.

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Then spent a good hour hunting the noise on the Lada. Closer inspection suggested that it's not a clunk at all (there is a slight clunk through the steering which is coming from the idler bracket as discovered last week...that however is totally unrelated). It's a much sharper crack that seems to be coming from something that's binding. Having spent far too long crawling around under the car while the suspension was being rocked (handy having a full 6" of ground clearance), I *think* I've tracked it down to either one of the top wishbone mounts or the top ball joint on the nearside - I don't think it's the ball joint though because it doesn't do it when you move the steering - only when the suspension is disturbed from rest. It's silent if you keep rocking the car - it only does it when you disturb the car after it's settled. Really odd. I've had a creaky ball joint before, but that was a heck of a lot easier to track down than this one!

While I had the bonnet open Darren noticed the light, which I commented on the fact that I'd never actually seen work on any Riva or Niva...Of course this then resulted in us scratching our heads and poking it - I had the AVO to hand from yesterday when I was checking the output from the Lambda sensor after all. Sure enough there was no power to it - and then I had the thought of "I wonder if the headlights have to be on?" Sure enough, sidelights on, and it lit up probably for the first time since the car was new. Just need to find the shade for it now.

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Wasted us about 20 minutes from what we were actually doing, but that's often the way isn't it!

Back on track, I noticed this mess on the radiator fan shroud.

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This engine bay is full of these eeeeeeevil hose clips that the Eastern Bloc manufacturers in the 70s and 80s seemed to love - Skoda was full of them when I got it too. Thankfully Lada at least don't have the same obsession with the green self-destructing fabric braided hose that Skoda do!

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The antifreeze residue at virtually every hose joint suggests that even though this is the only one visibly leaking, that they're all less than perfectly sealed, so made a quick run over to Motorserv, and bought a whole bunch of hose clips...

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Figure if I've got to disturb the cooling system I may as well do the lot and just know it's been done. At least I don't need to do battle with those horrible things again in future then!

Turning my attention to the to do list inside, I set about investigating the floppy steering column shroud which was loose enough that it repeatedly interfered with my foot when coming off the brake pedal. It's cracked in several places courtesy of the scum who nicked the car a few years back (and thankfully lost interest only a few streets away and didn't torch it or anything), and as a result simply doesn't have the rigidity to stay in place as it should. I'll get a new shroud ordered soon, for now I've opted for the highly technical solution of wrapping a couple of cable ties around it...You wouldn't notice them if you didn't know they were there.

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While I was standing on my head doing that I noted that for some reason I could see daylight through the bulkhead somewhere up around where the heater hoses go into the engine bay. The penny dropped at that point, that the heater matrix and heater valve had been changed at some relatively recent point by the Russian mechanic who looked after the car. There's meant to be a rubber boot which covers the hole where the pipes pass through the bulkhead, but anyone who's done the heater valve on either a Niva or Riva will tell you that it's an utter pig to refit if disturbed. Now there's something I've learned having bought several cars off Russians - they seem to generally be fantastic engineers where it comes to keeping the oily bits going just fine, but often lack some finesse where other details are concerned...so things like little rubber bungs and such have a tendency to disappear. This also quickly explained why I seemed to have somewhat more mechanical noise in the cabin than I originally expected - of course I do, there's an inch or so diameter hole straight into the engine bay! A temporary repair was fashioned out of self adhesive aluminium tape normally used for air conditioning ducts, but I'll get a new cover ordered and then spend an hour or so swearing at it to get it into place when we're back from holiday. I can report at least a 20% reduction in in-cabin noise from the valve train has been the result of my temporary repair.

While I was fiddling around inside the car I decided to have a poke at the none-working rear window washer. The voltmeter in the dash told me that it was drawing power, but there was no sound from the motor suggesting movement. Offside trim panel off in the boot gains access to the washer bottle (it's actually attached to the trim panel rather than the car), and operation of the pump was restored by the highly technical process of whacking it a bunch of times with a screwdriver. I then added some screenwash...and discovered that the tank leaks like a sieve. The fact that it's leaking through what is patently obviously a manufacturing defect suggests that it has leaked since the car was built in 1993 and probably never worked. It does deliver screenwash to the rear screen though, so I'll get a new tank ordered and hopefully get that ticked off.

On the plus side...Unlike certain other automotive manufacturers, Lada still supply virtually any parts for the Riva (only bits they don't are the steering gear bits bespoke to the RHD cars - and fair enough, there are probably a couple of hundred of them left in total), and they cost pennies. *Usually* they're easy to change too...Usually. There are exceptions mind you...You never, ever, ever want for example to change the steering box.

...You know how the interior of the Xantia is built around the heater matrix? Well, the Riva engine bay is similarly built around the steering box!

Soaked in screenwash by that point and running out of daylight I decided to call it a day.

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

Post by CitroJim »

What an excellent update Zel :D Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and what good progress on the Lada. It's going to be better than when it was new very soon!!!

That really is a proper roofrack 8-)

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Roof rack looks even more the part on the car - especially as she's now sitting on the correct white painted wheels and 165/80 R13 tyres. The ones it came with were mostly new - but were four completely different brands (two of which were seriously cheap ones), and it made behaviour under braking on anything other than a perfectly smooth and dry road somewhat sketchy - and these cars tend to squirm quite a bit when you put the anchors on at the best of times! The two on the front are currently barely worn but quite old, so will be getting changed next week - let's face it, they're hardly expensive and being a safety critical part, it just makes sense to change I reckon. Bit irked I forgot to take the centre caps for the wheels when I went to get the rear tyres done and the wheels swapped over though...Will get that done when I go back for the fronts.

Can you tell that I've settled on the whole red with white detailing being the general theme for the car?

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It's notable as well that the Estate usually (but not always) came with the larger format rear number plate which fits the bootlid better - but I'll probably just stick with this given the headaches involved in getting one made these days with the correct typeface and fact that it does still have the original dealer mark on it and such...

I reckon the roof rack looks really good on the car - but it won't be staying there for two reasons: One, it makes a horrendous racket anywhere north of 40mph. Two: It would be very easy to nick if someone decided they wanted it for the metal.

Been a quiet week on the car front though because we were off on holiday. This was what the Lada looked like before we set out...

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We're just a perfectly normal family off on holiday, and aren't in any way, shape or form eccentric!

Suffice to say, we got some slightly baffled looks from folks as we went up the M1.

She coped just fine with all the weight in the back and on the roof rack, though a gremlin has surfaced now which I reckon is just a bit of crud floating around in the carb, which I'll investigate this week. Intermittent severe misfire on medium throttle openings, which clears after a second or so on full throttle. I'm also not discounting fuel starvation due to a leaky fuel line, blocked breather (it does have the classic 90s charcoal canister under the bonnet, so the breather from the tank has to go all the way to the front), or an ignition fault - have a spare coil, ignition amplifier and entire distributor assembly in stock, so that shouldn't be too big a headache to sort if that's the cause. Should be able to check that pretty easily by throwing it onto the Crypton diagnostic machine as well - knew that would be a handy bit of kit to have!

Also further proof that I do not understand the concept of over-engineering...the bike and C5 were sufficiently well cable-tied to the roof rack that the million bungee cords were actually totally redundant...and they were then cable tied in place to ensure they couldn't go anywhere...Took me probably the best part of half an hour to free the thing when we got there!

Now also needs to be valeted again as one of the bags containing some of the crafting projects we were working on while up there fell over and decanted its contents in transit, resulting in faux fur that had recently been trimmed spilling all over a corner of the boot - result of that when I disturbed it is that it now looks like a cat has exploded in there. On the plus side, it vacuums off easily, unlike the real fur from our dog!

Expect the usual regularish nonsense to resume now we're home!

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

Post by CitroJim »

That's a real time-warp picture Zel, who'd think that was taken in 2016 ;) Bike might give it away a bit but most would not know...

The Lada is looking very lovely indeed. period roof-rack complements it perfectly and one could be mistaken for thinking it was part of the car.. Back in the day all Lada estates seemed to have one fitted...

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

Post by Zelandeth »

The bike next to the Sinclair is a pretty generic late 90s thing I think, the real giveaway is the Audi crashing the party in the background.

Will need to get a shot of my driveway at some point which could really mess with people's heads just now with the Saab, Skoda and Lada visible with some painfully 80s architecture in the background!

Need to make myself a to do list for the Xantia this week to see how far she will be from an MOT, as ideally I'd like to stick twelve months test on there before putting together a for sale ad. It'll still be more along the lines of "here are four year and a bit year old Falken tyres, a full timing belt set, a tank of diesel, four new spheres a new XUD radiator, and a free car to go with them" though as she owes me nothing and I just need to make some room at the moment, and I'd rather not have the car sitting in the corner all winter as that won't do any favours.

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

Post by CitroJim »

The gatecrashing Audi doesn't even register Zel.. Until you mentioned it I did not even see it ;)

Nothing upstages a very tidy classic!

Whoever has your Xantia will have a good 'un.. Should be no problem to sell at all...

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Topped up the oil in the back axle as I noted it had been weeping a bit (normal), a lot has to be said for cars you can work under without needing axle stands - just chocking the wheels to make sure it can't roll off. Pretty sure I can get to do the gearbox too...

Have noted parked next to a current Range Rover the other day that the Lada actually has more ground clearance!
Faffed around with the emission control system a bit more today - actually achieved nothing, but at least I now know both of the carb solenoids are both clean and working.

Think tomorrow I'm just going to pull *all* of the vacuum hoses off and reassemble as per the diagram, as I spotted today that the EGR valveas it is currently connected is only ever going to see vacuum and open with the throttle wide open - which is the last time on earth you would want it open! So that surely can't be right...
Last edited by Zelandeth on 03 Oct 2016, 20:17, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Zelandeth wrote: Image
Now that has to be a prime candidate for "Picture(s) of the Day" or maybe "Tartan Travel Rugs and other Nostalgic Motoring Accessories".

Looks absolutely fantastic!

Regards Neil

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

Post by daviemck2006 »

It really looks the part with the Sinclair c5 up there with the cycle! I had to look for ages to find the Audi so not visible on I fone screen lol

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Some further digging done.

Found a couple of poorly fitting vacuum hoses, so got those changed and can now confirm that everything is piped up as per the diagrams. Well, almost. The EGR hose us currently plugged as checking revealed that the actuating diaphragm in the unit has split and that the whole thing is jammed. I'll get a new one ordered shortly and get that reconnected once it arrives. The fact that it's jammed also makes me curious as to whether is is fully closed or stuck partly open, which wouldn't be helping the engine idle. May pull it off at some point this week to check.

Also have discovered that the switch in the carb which detects and tells the AFR unit when the throttle is closed appears to be open circuit. That surely can't be helping the operating of the idle system. Not sure how easily that can be sorted, as I don't know whether it's actuated by a relatively conventional and accessible microswitch, or if it's something more specialised buried deep within the carb.

Digging out the engine analyser showed that when things are running in open loop mode things are doing roughly what they should - The dwell angle shown on the idle solenoid sitting rock steady at 44 degrees (which translates to a 51% duty cycle), though as soon as things go closed loop it starts to wander all over the place, though seeming to tend to hover around far higher than it really should. What I'd really like to do at this point is to stick the thing on an exhaust gas analyser to that I could see whether what's coming out the tailpipe coincide with what it's doing. I do have a Colortune somewhere, if I can find it, that might tell me something.

Given that I know that it's spent a significant portion of time with things piped up wrong and miswired I do wonder what state the lambda sensor is in - the voltage is swinging around as it should do, but I don't know if it's doing so *when* it should. Hmm...

I did stick it on the ignition trace mode as well and that at least seemed to suggest that the HT side of things is doing exactly what it should do and there's no noise in there which would suggest problems with the coil or distributor.

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

Post by CitroJim »

Surprised it has an EGR valve Zel..

Still, some excellent detective work there ;) You'll have her running as smooth as silk soon :)

Bet that system caused the garage trade a few headaches back in the day and a bodger's paradise by the sounds of it..

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Oh it did! The dealers were generally in the clear because they both had training in dealing with it and had the documentation which explained the correct fault finding routine...However the moment anyone else so much as breathed on it and all bets were off.

EGR valves seemed to be all the rage in the late 80s and 90s to try to bring emissions down, Saab used one on the carb fed 900 as well which invariably gave problems.

The one on the Riva is at least pretty easy to get to. It's roughly centre frame in the photo below. As you may be able to guess, the hose with the screwdriver bit stuffed in the end is the feed for the EGR diaphragm via the red thermovalve.

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The biggest single headache with the system is that it is hyper sensitive to even the tiniest of vacuum leaks! Here's something which gives you an idea of how many vacuum hoses there are...This doesn't include all the mess around the charcoal canister that deals with fuel vapour etc either! That's where the one I forgot to label by the distributor vanishes to.

This is an edit of an ancient diagram that I grabbed from Autosoft.ru back in the late 90s...Hopefully they don't mind my having edited. ...Not that I haven't seen it reposed in various mutilated forms about a dozen times since I first found it.

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It's a bit of a mess...

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

Post by CitroJim »

That's a really complex system Zel.. makes you wonder why they never went straight to monopoint injection and be done with it... Overall it would have been simpler and less trouble!

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Looks like the plumbing system used by Citroen for their 'octopus'. I wonder who came up with it first?