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 - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Definitely need to investigate the Skoda more. Had to move it this afternoon to deal with the major level of overgrown foliage in the corner it lives in, so topped up the coolant and shuffled it over to the other side of the driveway. It doesn't seem to be blowing bubbles into or over-pressurising the coolant (quite easy to see on that as the header tank is by far the highest point in the system), didn't have it running long enough to see if it would overheat again. Also started straight away on four cylinders unlike it used to when the head gasket had originally failed. It'll have to wait a bit yet until I have some more spare time. As it is, that corner of the garden is more accessible now as I've essentially "nuked it from orbit" in gardening terms. In other words, I attacked the entire vicinity, bushes and all with a large lawn mower. The mower won.

...It's nice being able to open the car door without getting attacked by an overgrown bush! Being able to actually see where the edge of the drive is, that's a bonus too.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

This morning when starting the Saab up there was a definite few seconds of gurgling from the heater...Not good as that's an almost sure sign of a dying head gasket. ... They're usually good for about 100K apparently...And I'm on 132 from memory. Unlike the Skoda where it's the work of minutes to get the head off, the Saab has an overhead cam engine with a nicely difficult to get at timing chain. Hmm...

In other news, attacked the trendy but useless floating glass washbasin in the en suite bathroom today. It's now long gone, and has been replaced with a more conventional one with a cupboard built into the base so we have some storage.

...The supply lines to the tap are also held together by proper compression fittings now rather than epoxy and sticky tape (I wish I was kidding) before. I'll need to change the waste pipe that goes through the wall at some point as it's badly corroded - but I'll either need to smash a hole in the wall or remove the bath tub on the other side of the wall for that as the idiots here before were apparently allergic to leaving any sort of service access for anything.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Hope the Saab HG is not failing Zel :( If you need some assistance in doing the job, you know where I am...

This floating glass washbasin intrigues me ;) Any pictures?

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Will dig out a photo when I'm home later Jim.

In fairness to the Saab, I've had the old girl going on five years now and have yet to have any major mechanical issues. Worst I've had is the odd bit of welding (which you accept on a 28 year old car), and changing a couple of brake hoses, and an exhaust last year. Hard to complain!

Still half eying a scruffy Cherokee in Coventry though as a beater... They're having a laugh at the list price of a grand. It's up on miles, has a history of welding on the MOT history, the body's as rough as old bolts and the interior basically wants gutting for cleaning. Seriously tempted to put a really cheeky offer in...

Never going to be pretty, so I'd be thinking either Matt black paint or a different (as clashing as possible) colour for each panel...Cosmetics are irrelevant so long as the oily bits are happy.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

That's not so bad the Zel, I guess the Saab is now entitled to a bit of serious attention...

How about looking out for an early C5 Estate as a daily hack? They can be picked up surprisingly cheaply now... Saw a decent-looking one for £350 not so long ago... Looked in fairly tidy order too...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

The early C5 I have to confess to really not liking the look of, it's purely a personal thing though! They're a bit complicated by my usual standards as well, and we all know that Citroen parts supply is only going to get worse, multiplexed electronics are really something I'd rather steer clear of (can't remember if that covers all C5s or just the X7)...

Being honest though, I've always fancied a Cherokee since I first encountered one back in 1993, and they're only going to get more expensive now they're getting more rare and people are noticing that now. Parts support is still pretty decent as well from what I can gather *casts accusatory glare in the general direction of PSA* which is always a bonus.

Definite attraction to something that's truly cosmetically scruffy as well that I don't have to really worry about - that was half the plan when I picked up Gabriel originally, but she was too good a car for that treatment I reckoned!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

yes, an early C5 estate is not bought for it's looks. I think they look bloody hideous but there's no escaping their practicality...

I must admit to sharing your concerns about complexity and shortage of parts...
Zelandeth wrote: Definite attraction to something that's truly cosmetically scruffy as well that I don't have to really worry about - that was half the plan when I picked up Gabriel originally, but she was too good a car for that treatment I reckoned!
True, barring the lacquer peel and the odd war wound - one added by me :twisted: - she's not scruffy at all... Especially interior-wise...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Had a quick rummage around my PC and I can't track down the photos I was looking for of the en suite bathroom, so I dug out one from the original property listing when we were looking at the place. Some major fish-eye distortion going on, but you get the idea.
bathroom_before.jpg
Problem with the thing is that there's no lip around the edge, so as soon as you put more than about an inch of water in the bottom, as soon as you put your hands anywhere near it, it just sloshes over the sides. Plus there's absolutely no way to get to the last couple of millimetres between the bowl and the shelf it sits on - so there's always gunk in there that you can't clean out - but can see through the bottom of the bowl, because it's glass! The plumbing all crammed into the tiny space under the shelf was a complete and total mess too. The complete lack of a vacuum breaker was a pain as well as it meant that every time you drained that basin, it would suck all the water out of the trap in the shower.

Now there's an actual sink in place, with proper plumbing and some storage under the base.
bathroom_after.jpg
Replaced the trap with one containing a vacuum breaker as well so the water no longer gets pulled out of any of the traps. The actual waste pipe that goes through the wall will need to be changed at some point (the old one is very cheap chrome plated brass), but because there's no access that will be a pretty major project...so that's going to wait until I've got more time available...My choices are basically to drill through a bunch of tiles to make an access panel on that side (they're a non-standard size, so if I break any of them I'm in trouble), or to remove the bath tub on the other side of the wall...neither of these exactly sound like fun!

Had a closer look at the Saab today, and it definitely looks like something is amiss.

It's hard to tell if the system is being pressurised by squeezing hoses as this is one of those cars which runs the system at quite a high pressure anyway. However revving the engine with the cap removed results in the froth you can see in the attached photo appearing.
IMG_20170210_160923_1.jpg
Also looks like there's oil weeping out of the head to block joint at the rear end, though that's been there since I got the car - and to be honest could well be coming from the timing cover and just getting into the groove there, it's hard to tell...Let's face it, it's a Saab engine, so there are more places it leaks oil from than where it doesn't!

Don't worry about the tiny surface cracks in the expansion tank that you can see, they all do that - however new ones are north of fifty quid and I can't remember ever hearing of one failing.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

That washbasin looks absolutely gorgeous Zel but yes, I can appreciate all the problems with it, especially in the hideously hard water area we live in :twisted: Just keeping normal sanitary ware clean and good around here is a nightmare... With my household OCD and need for 100% cleanliness it would have driven my potty by now!

The basin sadly is form over function; the new one you have installed is far better, practical and looks good too...

That is not looking good on the Saab front :( Bubbles and froth in the coolant is never a good sign.

How much of a job is it to do? Hopefully easier then doing heads on transverse PSA engines leaning way back in the bay and having lots of barely accessible bolts around the back around the turbo...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

To be honest it's not that bad in the grand scheme of things - there's a lot less faff involved than in the 16v version simply because there's a lot less faff in the engine bay. The only thing which is a bit of a fiddle is that fact that the (duplex) timing chain is buried down the back of the engine so is a bit awkward to get at. Despite being alloy, it's also a bloody heavy head.

I really hope that once it's off that it turns out that it doesn't need skimmed (the engine has never been anything close to hot, even during a brief track excursion a few years back!), as that will involve getting the exhaust manifold off the head, and I *know* that's almost invariably a real pig on these. It also means there are a million bits I have to keep tabs on...especially as the valve clearances are set by solid shims on this head (rather than the hydraulic tappets on the 16v version), so I need to keep them all in the right place! Odds on me dropping them?

Had a look at my current temptation now while I'm at an actual computer...It really is a bit of a scruffy beast...which I reckon works in my favour.

Outside...
_12.JPG
Note the filler on the roof above the windscreen and rear offside corner...
_13.JPG
Interior looks in good order, just needs a really good clean, I've yet to have a car with wood in, and I really prefer when it's lighter in colour like this (Volvo used *really* pale wood in I think it was the V70, which I thought looked fantastic). This is one I'd pull the seats and carpets out and hit the carpets with detergent and the pressure washer, and the seats would get a proper clean and leather treatment.
_14.JPG
_15.JPG
_16.JPG
_18.JPG
Missing trim on the one rear sill too, and the rear bumper is scratched to hell. All the alloys have blown their clearcoat, and the bonnet looks to have gone totally matt.

However, despite all that it's got an MOT to next January, four nearly new tyres, and a surprisingly decent amount of mechanical service history. It just strikes me as being scruffy enough that I don't think I'd be too daft to stick in a cheeky offer and see what happens. Call it £350-450 for a year or two's motoring with no worry to anything aside from the mechanical bits and keeping the interior clean, that doesn't seem too far fetched. I might say £500 if the welding underneath has been done decently well, but given the appearance above the sills I'd not be expecting too much! £350 or so is okay as even if I broke it for parts after a year I could easily get that back. Especially in Limited SE spec so there's electric everything, A/C and cruise fitted.

£1500-2000 seems to be the going rate for a decent one at the moment, so they're having a laugh asking a grand.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Zel, I actually quite like the look of that vehicle, especially the interior... Is that leather?

Working on the basis that vendors usually pitch the price well above reality I reckon a punt at £500 would stand a very good chance of acceptance... At least the long MOT gives time to get things resolved...

Hopefully the vendor is keen to sell... Hard cash is always a good incentive too...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by mickeymoon »

I had a slightly later (P-Reg) Cherokheap for quite a while. Lovely old thing, surprisingly comfy, nice interior. It ran on LPG so wasn't awfully expensive to run, working out at about 35mpg in monetary terms vs petrol.

It wasn't slow either :) I regularly had over 110 out of it.. obviously on the autobahn. I'd like another actually! It'd complement a Leaf very well.

You need the 4.0 High Power version though, the diesel couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding. Imagine a Rangie with a 1.8 BL diesel in it... That's about how good they are.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

The badge bottom left of the tailgate suggests a 4.0l engine in there.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

4 litre straight six that's all torque, and low gearing in 1st and 2nd = a frankly stupid ability to smoke things off the mark. Seriously, it's hilarious to watch, the thing basically stands on its back end. Makes a lovely noise too. The 2.5 petrol is at best acceptable, doesn't make half as nice a noise and isn't much better on fuel in the real world.

Loads of leather inside there, Jim. Nice soft leather as well like you used to see in the Renault 25, nothing like the cardboard which seems to pass for it these days. It's basically a high velocity squidgy leather sofa, and I'm okay with that.

They lost my interest in 1997 when they facelifted it. Little changed mechanically, but they "modernised" the interior to appeal more to the European markets...which for me defeats the purpose of it...if you want European interior styling go buy a Range Rover or Land Cruiser already...

Reckon my plan would be rust proof the snot out of the underside, gut and clean the interior, then attack the exterior with rattle cans. ...The Multicolour Swap Shop plan sounds good...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Edit: (for some reason the edit button doesn't work sometimes on this computer...never figured that out)

I've pinged the seller an email asking for some clarification. Most notably whether the off colour body bits are just mismatched paint, or are actually filler covering holes, and what general state the underside is in. I know these cars have some truly exciting rust traps, and the MOT record shows that it must have had quite a bit of welding done over the last few years - my question is what's the general standard of that - does it look half decent work, or is it a "get me through the MOT as cheaply as possible" job? Obviously the answer will be taken with a significant lump of sodium chloride, but it'll largely shape what my opening offer might be, and whether I honestly want to bother with a hundred odd mile round trip to take a look at it. If I'm going that far with things I'd really like to be pretty certain that my intention is to buy it - both for the sake of my time and because I hate wasting other folks time - whether they're used car salesmen who signed up for that sort of nonsense or not...

Will see what we get back...