Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

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

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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

So, yesterday's tomorrow is - today AND,yes, Xantia now has a pair of yellow foglamps! Was dramatically reminded of that other royal pita: thosehateful bulb-holders which don't positively secure the bulb: at one stage, an attempt to fit the holder in the lamp resulted in the bulb becoming detached - AND jammed in the back of the lamp.

Was it all worth it? Well, looks nice (i-m-o) but probably won't know now 'til the Autumn.

Bangkok man ask for address, so he can send me replacement loom - so can start chopping-up (modifying) the one that's fitted BUT, what is that discarded mystery component? Come on you guys who know more about such things than I,please put me out of my misery.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Got the replacement loom last w/e (well done that postman, for hiding the package away from prying eyes - & inclement weather, & leaving such full instructions on the card through the door). Very similar in appearance - yet clearly made by someone else AND, surprise, surprise - no mystery component!

However, that was not the reason for kickstarting this blog (or possibly just kicking it around) but an unexpected MoT!

I had the red Cherokee booked in for today (well it was when I started this), but that in the firm belief that John (the friendly neighbourhood mobile mechanic I now think more of as my friend, the mobile mechanic) would've got it going after all this time, only to find not only hadn't got it started - but had gone off with the battery. As it was too late to cancel the test & I didn't want to sour a good relationship with the garage, I took the Eldorado in. Now it's just been standing since I took it back down to Devon the w/e after I came back from Austria August BH & it did have a couple of issues: it's been plagued with changing, random faults with the n/s rear light ever since I resolved to fix the too fast indicator I bought it with (which PO blamed on replacing the bulb) that having fitted an electronic flasher can has settled down to the indicator lighting up with the brake lights. While working on that earlier in the year, with the brake pedal jammed down, a warning chime (how the Yanks love these) came on & when I went to investigate, the ABS & TC lights were on. Still, I thought, for £30 & a free re-test I might just as well find out if there's anything else that needs attention. I did spent a couple of hours on the rear lights & finally booked it into an auto-electrician, before setting off for the test station. At the first right turn, that indicator started flashing too fast, which I put down to a dodgy earth (a Scotchlock I'd had to re-make), although I had a fiddle with it when I got there & it seemed OK.

The tester (the owner of the garage) mentioned the ABS light asked me if I wanted him to re-connect the loose sender lead he'd found. Knowing what I did I couldn't see that would solve the problem but agreed. After, i asked him if it had done the trick, but it hadn't. Anyway, he said, it's a "pass" - the ABS should re-set after so many stop-start cycles, & if it doesn't, it's something you'll have to do before next year - oh, & you've got a bulb gone! "O/S front?" Yes, he said (obviously missed the errant n/s rear indicator!). Of course, they're peculiarly American (5/21w AMBER) & virtually unobtainable in this country. So, I paid the man, booked in the Cherokee for next Saturday & left. When I got back, had I quick look at the front indicator - & as soon as I unplugged it, remembered the bulb holder was toast, so much of the metal bits within the plastic unit was rusty (that which hadn't rusted away) I'd had to effect a temporary fix with a copper panel pin, to hold the bulb in place & maintain continuity. I'd bought a replacement in America last year, but there were always more pressing matters - now, where is it? In the oddments box of Cadillac bits, of course - with 3 male & female crimp-on bullet connectors! (bulb-holder has flying leads). 10 mins later, all done!

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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

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I suppose not a lot's happened since May, C15's been gamely shuttling back'n'forth 'tween London & Devon most weekends (but I might try to recap - if there's really any point in continuing this exercise.) so let's try another tack: last w/e, not the one just gone, the previous one, I'm in the C15 on the Upper Ferry over to Dartmouth when the Captain comes over to talk to me about it, presumably prompted by not having seen one for a long time & was quite complimentary. Got to my destination, a country life show & the girl on the gate said I should have entered it, it's a classic (there's a small classic vehicle section) & how she's always wanted one.
Working my way X-country from the event towards the A38 had to stop at some temporary traffic lights & as I did, glanced at the oddometer & it was reading - 199,000. So 200,000 is a reality, not so much if or when but where.
In the event it was Saturday just gone, rolling into Sconser (on Skye) - but it was all a bit of an anti-climax, because all the noughts weren't in a line - & I'd done another mile before the bottom bar of the "2" appeared.
I'm thinking at this rate 200200 will be up soon - & it was, the following day, another ferry & 2 islands later, BUT I missed it; all my attention being on that glorious single track switchback with passing places that is the main road across Benbecula!

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by white exec »

No better place than the Isle of Skye to put all your ducks (000s) in a row.
Down a Talisker or two for me while you're there! :wave1:

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

:)

Leaving Lewis for Devon in the morning.

Will be well overdue for another oil change by time I arrive - if I'd realised I was going to cover quite so many miles, I'd have packed the necessary.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Zelandeth »

That's one advantage of digital odometers...only way I was able to catch my Xantia turning 200K cleanly. Getting 123456 on the Saab was a good snag I thought.

Good to see the C15 still earning her keep well. Saw one here a couple of days ago and thought of your one.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Interesting that you've seen a C15 recently, as I've noticed they seem to be coming out of the woodwork of late (though I doubt the one I saw in a fairly remote part of Lewis will ever escape the long grass into which it had been pushed).

In fairness, it's really the Xantia that's been earning it's keep - as an uncomplaining family hack (not that it does the mileage, although it has had 3 trips to the seaside & a w/e in Cardiff.)

In the event the C15 wouldn't have got in oil change on the road, as the due mileage - 201,000 - came up negotiating the M8, 74,77 merger leaving Glasgow in heavy traffic & rain. However as soon as I was parked up in Torbay, I pulled the sump plug & left it to drain while I snatched a few hours sleep - so it was only actually 500 miles overdue. A few hours later, popped the plug back in & put in fresh oil, threw the stuff I'd gone down to collect in the back & set off for 5 days at the Great Dorset Steam Fair - where it served admirably as a "tin tent" for the duration. I had every confidence, having spent the night I was on Skye in it, after I found a sheltered spot less than 5 mins from the ferry terminal (for the 1st crossing to N. Uist in the morning) to be awoken during the night by the noise/intensity of the rain on the roof, to find it was gently rocking in the wind - in the lee of a very tall, dense hedge! (So much for those who mocked me at w/e rallies when I've said I'll simply crashed out in the back on the Saturday night.) This I've almost decided is its future, but will first have to apply my mind to the ply lining - or rather the wheel boxes which are, literally, falling apart; they are only attached to the van by 2 (wood) screws each plus large dollops of "No Nails" or some such, & their integrity is largely dependent on long panel pins into the edges of 3-ply. Amazing really it's lasted as long as it has, obviously not designed to withstand island mountain road G-forces!

The other thing I did during that brief sojourn in Torbay was to swap the front & rear tyres as the fronts are really at the end of their legal life, I thought they'd comfortably last 'til the winter treads went on but under-estimated how hard that Scottish trip was going to be on them. Would've changed them before leaving Stornaway - but couldn't loosen the front wheel bolts (lesson learnt: more care when using the mains rattle gun!). Will return to tyres another time, as really feel I've gone on for quite long enough but will just mention how impressed I was with those front tyres (s/h Serbian Rikens - part of a job lot of wheels & tyres). In all the circumstances, I would've felt more confident with something a bit classier (or just with more tread) but they never gave more cause for concern. If anyone's in the market for budget tyres, they could do a lot worse - AND they're now fabrique en France, only fitting really, as have since learned the brand belongs to Michelin.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Happy New Year.

One thing about driving to & from Devon is that I don't have all that spare time on the train (I'm now about a year behind with my magazine reading) but, really, not a lot's happened since last my post - apart from the C15 deciding enough was enough, well chronicled elsewhere, & it being unceromiously dragged out into the road, so the Xantia could take it's place on the drive, as it's had to be SORN'd pending some pre-MoT work.
Been thinking about reverting to the train, as don't need the C15 at weekends now the red Cherokee a going concern again, since I got back from India in October [nothing much to report there, as spent too much time on main roads - so driving was about as boring as it can be - & a Muruti SUV (that's a local Vitara) is not going to do anything to improve the experience]. Perhaps if I'd made the decision sooner I wouldn't be in the present situation but there's now point dwelling on it - even if I've really no idea what the solution is. Earlier today I suddenly realised there was 3rd important 'phone call I meant to make yesterday or Monday: call Medway Cirtroën & see if they'll take on the C15; who knows now when I'll get the chance - & the MoT runs out at the end of February!
Of course there weren't any trains over the Christmas period so the Sunday before I drove up to London in the Cherokee (& it did 19mpg, I was quite pleased with that, I reckon 16 around Deb'nsheer lanes), just so I could drive back down on Christmas Eve (only did about 15 - BUT, I was in a hurry!).
Christmas Day, set off across the county to Woolacombe which is now established as a tradition.
Come Boxing Day, set off for breakfast at my regular stop in Princetown using my usual circular route but anticlockwise for a change. Part of my preferred route between Paignton & Newton Abbot is no more than a farm track & this way means there's an uphill stretch, after a right angle bend which can be a bit slippery & is further complicated by an uprooted treestump making it quite narrow. Not wishing to lose momentum I pulled well over as I approached it but with 2 wheels in the long grass on the bank there's some scrabbling for grip but traction &, therefore, onwards/upwards progress is maintained (I should mention this is in 2WD, in all the years of been using this route I've rarely resorted to 4WD & am reluctant to at the moment as the transfer box sounds like it's on the point of self-destruction) - & in the middle of all this excitement, the ABS light comes on. Then, just as I'm thinking, hopefully it'll going out now all this frantic wheel spinning's stopped - the brake warning light came on. I was more concerned with getting to the top of this slippery slope than stopping but well before I needed to stop, where I rejoin a proper country lane, I tried the brakes & they were fine. During the rest of the journey their behaviour changed but at no time did it cause concern & I convinced myself it was the master cylinder. OK so it's Boxing Day, weather's foul & I've got to drive back to London on New Year's Eve! Anyway, back at the ranch, I find (a) the reservoir's virtually empty (b) so is my last litre of fluid. Time to go indoors & think about something else.
Friday morning, long before the rest of the world (well my particularly sleepy corner of Torbay, at least) is trying get back to some semblance of normality, I investigate the feasibility of removing the master cylinder from the parts Jeep, with the few tools at my disposal, as nearly everything is up in London in preparation for lies in store with the Xantia, drain the last of the brake fluid into the reservoir &, having satisfied myself I do still have brakes, set off cautiously to get some fluid & try to analyse the symptoms. Brakes are no different, so no cause for alarm but, having refilled the reservoir outside the shop, 6 miles later - it had all gone (well, not ALL -'cos the brakes still worked).
Somewhere in these hallowed pages I'd mentioned fettling/tinkering with the C15 over Christmas & that those attentions would have to be transferred to the Cherokee & one of those things was adjusting the back brakes (the inoperative self adjusters having been discarded whenever it was I rebuilt the brakes), simply because the handbrake came up further than I'd like. I thought then, I'd do that 1st which should also have the effect of reducing the pedal travel & see what difference, if any, that'd make. With the back up in the air high enough to bring the access hole in the backplate to about eyelevel when adopting a fairly comfortable sitting position underneath I noticed a pipe hanging down in front of the back axle. I could not see where the loose end had become detached or the other end, buried as it was in the mud & straw matting caked to al the plumbing along the inside of frame rail. After a bit of probing and peering I realised it was the rear brake flexi - no longer attached to the back brakes. Now, I don't know if this is a peculiarly Jeep thing but rather than the flexi screwing into a 3-way union, its end is a hollow cube into which the pipes to each wheel cylinder screw, the underside is radiused so it sits in top of the axle - to which it's attached by a hollow bolt, which is the end of the axle breather, which seems to vent into the frame. Have to say I wasn't relishing the prospect of salvaging this from the parts Cherokee, much less satisfactorily re-installing it, when I remembered I had a set of flexis that I'd never fitted to the green one. Miracle of miracles, I managed to lay my hands on it quite easily - so now the fun can begin! The back brakes were only about 15 months old, so the bleed nipples shouldn't be seized & undoing the unions shouldn't be any more of a headache than silly little, soft metal unions are by definition. Removing the severed flexi from the front-to-rear pipe (I suppose, strictly speaking, that t'orher way about) , however, was likely to be something else again. The flexi is held to a bracket, not with a nut but a rather nasty horseshoe clip with which I am familiar - although they are much more accessible on Cadillac IRS - but that seemed to be the least of my problems. As there's no nut, there's no external thread on the feral, so no decent sized female union but a ridiculous little male union (NOT as bad as Citroën ones I was yet to learn). On the plus side, the pipe was apparently cunifer as it gleamed coppery when I took a wire brush to the section just behind the union, & the union flats were unusually wide, so much easier to keep a spanner square to them - except I didn't have one (or so I thought) so I was extremely lucky to very carefully undo it, without difficulty (or damage) using a pair of needle nose self-locking grips. That clip was a real struggle though, well & truly rusted in, freeing agent & judicious use of a hammer & misuse of a screwdriver one the day - & left me with clip which, with a little fettling (& a generous amount of grease), I could re-use. (I think the flexis came with a fitting kit - but I was never going to find that).
At last, all set for nerve wracking re-assembly, the oh so careful starting those unions by hand, then nipping them up, a tad at time, when they weeped, for fear of over-tightening. It was at this stage that (in a date box in the drawer of the bench in my late father's shed) that I found a truly vintage 3/8" open ender, a perfect fit for that union on the end of the front-to-rear pipe.

to be continued . . .

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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

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Well I started, so I'll finish - or, at least try to.

Finally those 2 troublesome unions wept no more (& nor did I, but I was coming very close, believe me) & I could start the tedious business of bleeding - although on past form [& I do seem to have done a disproportionate amount of hydraulics work on all 3 Cherokees (over the years) & the 1st STS in particular] Yanks are easy & forgiving in this dept. So, crack the n/s rear nipple - & nothing, dry as a bone! Yet I knew all too well there was fluid within a ft of the cylinder - & there was no reason for that to have been empty anyway. After the 3rd session pumping the pedal, there was maybe 1/2" of fluid in the bottom of the jar - but the bleed pipe was empty! However the pedal wouldn't pump any more, so I didn't even bother with the o/s, beyond cracking the nipple, out of curiosity really - but nothing happened! Brakes are fine - but I'm still not happy, t'aint right! Probably have another go over the w/e, in fact if a I can fight my way into the carport, I might liberate the Eezibleed from its home, take that with me & have a play (don't have any recollection of ever having used it; it's remarkable I not only remember I have one - but know where it is. But I digress; too bad none of my efforts extinguished the ABS light - AND, it IS BRIGHT, so much so that I decided at my 1st break on the way back up to London on New Year's Eve, I'd stick a bit of insulating tape over it. Whilst occupied with that airbag light decided to keep it company. Oh, deep joy, that'll be the clockspring - an almost impossible job, without destroying at least one - AND, they're fearsomely expensive, even in the US. I'd discovered all this when I discovered that, as purchased, it had no working horn - & I'd opted for an alternative switch, with the advantage of it being a huge improvement (not difficult) over the totally useless combined airbag/horn push that's been wished on us. There's a certain irony there because the one bit of tinkering I indulged in over Christmas was putting a relay & appropriate weight cable in the horn circuit (Jeeps are infamous for only using wire suitable for dash lights). Now it seems I can't avoid replacing the clockspring - or do I? Came out of Lidl's this evening, got in the Cherokee, turned on the ignition & the airbag light lit - & went out, as it's supposed to. Didn't see it again on the short drive back to the house, just have to see what happens on the return to Devon tomorrow. The brake warning light comes on apparently quite randomly, & just as you've got used to it's baleful red eye - it goes out! Now, it works correctly as a handbrake on light, it's definitely not low on fluid & doesn't have low pad indicators. Another reason to try bleeding again but beginning to suspect the low fluid light sensor - which I've yet to find/identify.
Why was I coming back to London when I did, thereby cutting short my Christmas/New Year? So I could devote a day to the Xantia, that's why! The advisories (I could remember) from last MoT were back brakes, hand brake & front flexis. I, almost immediately, bought pads & flexis but it never seemed convenient to tackle the jobs, so all those warm &, (possibly, more important) light Spring & Summer evenings came & went - & suddenly, it's Oct/Nov & there's no putting it off. In fact I tackled the back brakes probably 6 weeks ago, couldn't find anything untoward, certainly didn't need pads (ironically the fronts are now at the point where they don't actually need doing - but I wouldn't put them back, if I had to remove them for any other reason); maybe a couple of paving slabs in the back for the Mot. That same evening I moved on to the handbrake - but could make absolutely nothing of it all. However I did think the trackrod end moved a little too easily for my liking - but what really concerned me was the bottom swivel, or rather its nut, which was only about 3 threads from the end - & loose! i.e. it was only finger tight, in either direction , BUT wouldn't tighten up, or come off. That would explain certain curious behaviour which he who drives it regularly had mentioned - but now refused to drive it all. So, I reasoned, either the nut's stripped or the stud's waisted at that point. In any event the nut's got to come off, so having wasted £6 or 7 on a nut splitter, determined that life would be easier if the swivel could be sacrificed as the solution might well be more drastic. Seems that they can be got cheaply enough, although my preliminary research suggested they were well nigh impossible to remove - even with the Citroën special tool; but needs must & all that. So, while everyone else was doing Christmas shopping/getting presents in the post, I was garnering Xantia steering components, oh & the superior gas torch I'd long thought about getting!
So 1st light of the New Year, I'm out in the drive, about to devote as long as it took with my head stuck under the front wing of said Xantia. In the event that nut wasn't the nightmare I was afraid it'd be; after it quickly becoming apparent that all this intervening period doused in 50/50 acetone/ATF (present freeing agent of choice, as it's come out well in several independent tests & being evaluated) wasn't going to help (or maybe it did) & having reservations about applying heat to nylocks - for fear it makes things worse, I broke out the rattle gun - & it just spun the nut up the stud, now time was when I'd have been satisfied with that but I've got new swivels now, so reversed the gun, pulled the trigger - & the nut just came off in the socket! A little gentle persuasion with a hammer & (blunt) chisel just to give it the idea of what was expected, a strategically positioned pair of Stilsons - with 5' of scaffold pole over the handle, a firm tug & definite movement (not the Stilson jaws slipping on the flange!). Discard scaffold pole, re-position Stilsons & gently unscrew the swivel, at this point it'd probably been easier to have switched to a pair of water pump pliers - but that didn't occur to me 'til I came to fit the new one. What surprised me was that when I unpacked the new one, it was almost impossible to move by hand, whereas the old one, while not floppy, was very free moving &, there was slight up & down movement within the joint, can only imagine how that would translate into play, in situ. (only reminded tonight that "slight" play in that swivel was also an advisory last year). Next, the TRE, the 24mm lock nut was surprisingly tight but the rattlegun made short work of the nut on the stud, a few strategic hammer blows & the taper broke & I could just lift the TRE free - & now, wind it out of the trackrod. No big deal there then - but then I found the new one was the wrong size (wouldn't be surprised if they weren't right for the C15). What was a little disconcerting was there was no distinguishable difference between the play in new & old. Anyway, reassembled it, fiddled about a bit with the handbrake & gave up, 'cos I simply can't make any sense of it all - or very much of the conflicting (& sometimes downright wrong) info. that is available on the subject. Right well that can wait to another time - it'll have to, can't waste precious daylight not getting anywhere.
So, on to the brake flexi, 1st, make sure the bleed nipple won't be a problem - check! Apply a little effort to spanner on the flats of the ferule, crack it with minimum fuss, so it will wind out of the caliper, when the time comes. Now, t'other end, now this is more like the Jeep (except the splines holding it in the bracket are rather more sophisticated than a nasty bent, rusty clip) than the Girling/Lockheed set ups with which I am more familiar, with a male union on the brake pipe, that screws into the ferule on the flexi. Now, I do have the right size union spanner (the only one I have left) for this - but there's not enough room to swing it, I'd be quite prepared to cut it down - but then I'd not have enough leverage. What I do have though is a very clever bit of kit which, as best as I can describe it is a swivel headed, wall drive, ratcheting ring; the ratchet movement being due to a lever (rather like a carabiner) which means it can be hooked over the brake pipe, closed & slid up onto the flats of the union, using that, with a 17mm deep socket on a 10" extension over the other end, after the application of freeing fluid AND heat (a cheap chef's blowtorch is ideal for this sort of application) only resulted in bending the bracket. Light's starting to fade, it's got noticeably chillier, there's a fair amount of tidying-up & putting away - AND I've got that wheel to put back on. For the moment then, have to accept I can't separated the flexi from the metal pipe & go away to think about it. Strange day really, started off by achieving what I believed might be impossible, only to end up, not being able to undo a brake pipe union. C'est le vie - et bon nuit!
Last edited by van ordinaire on 05 Jan 2020, 00:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Zelandeth »

Yep...that sounds like a day in my life back when I was commuting to college in the first Saab. The jobs you expected to be an absolute swine and/or impossible just work, yet the really simple one turns into a multi day (or week) saga.

I distinctly recall one brake pad change immobilising my car for nearly a week.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Michel »

Zelandeth wrote:
03 Jan 2020, 14:48
Yep...that sounds like a day in my life back when I was commuting to college in the first Saab.

I distinctly recall one brake pad change immobilising my car for nearly a week.
If this was a front-handbraked 900, then snap. Pretty much exact same thing happened to me!

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Zelandeth »

Michel wrote:
03 Jan 2020, 17:32
Zelandeth wrote:
03 Jan 2020, 14:48
Yep...that sounds like a day in my life back when I was commuting to college in the first Saab.

I distinctly recall one brake pad change immobilising my car for nearly a week.
If this was a front-handbraked 900, then snap. Pretty much exact same thing happened to me!
Yep...discovered that someone had rounded out the holes in the piston you had to use to wind it back in. Plus the retaining pins were worn out (that would be the rattle then), and I seem to recall something then snapping, resulting in a weekend borrowing my parents car madly scouring every scrap yard in northeast Scotland trying to find a car I could cannibalise. Eventually found one...but the scrappy wanted as much for the caliper as a new one...though I needed the car mobile so grimaced and paid it.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Yes, I can see how those holes would make using the proper tool (or even a "cube") problematic but it wouldn't matter what size/shape the holes were if using a pair of longnose pliers - which is, presumably, what the last person to do the job used.

Considering what was entailed in replacing the rear flexi on the Cherokee, it's extraordinary that a front one on the Xantia is proving so much more difficult. I will have another go at it, the 1st evening I get back from work at a sensible time - but the more I think about it, the more driven I am to the conclusion that I will need to resort to surgery. An alternative, once I've replaced the TRE's, is take it for an MoT & hope the flexis get through as advisories again (so I can tackle it in the Spring) - & if it dips on the handbrake, tell them to sort it out (I will try this standing on the pedal 3 times pantomime - but my faith in Citroën self-adjusters being the only ones that work is in tatters).

New TRE's ordered from CP4L, only because their discount code actually worked tonight - although I can't access my a/c 'cos they don't recognise my e-mail address anymore (probably because I had the temerity to try & change it) AND by credit card provider won't authorise payment to them (if it's not one thing, it's another!). Parts in Motion will refund me on receipt of those they supplied - or, at least one of them, because I had to open one to find it didn't fit. I'll have to ask them about that, as there's no point in paying the return postage, if I'm not going to get my money back.

In the morning, I have a little unfinished business with a stubborn track bar on the Cherokee - which is preventing me having the tracking done. Not mentioned that before - there was just tooooo much going on.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Perhaps as a result of its 2 return trips to London I noticed that the Cherokee's f. tyres were showing wear on the outside shoulders; now these are the wheels & tyres off the green one (long story of almost certainly minimal interest) & they didn't wear on that, but then neither did it's own tyres. Anyway took it into TTS in Totnes last Monday, where 2 willing lads set to - but with both of them hanging on a Stilson, the tie bar wouldn't shift. Now we've been there with the '96 when, I recall, it took me about 1/2-day to free it off. So we have an arrangement, I do all the heavy, time consuming, stuff & then only pay them for their expertise. Now I did make an ill prepared start later that day & only succeeded in turning it about 1/2 a turn, but couldn't get it back, & shearing the pivot on my late father's "Footprints" - which upset me somewhat.
Anyway mission accomplished today, not without a struggle, but only took a couple of hours (including an abortive attempt to swap the end for a better one - but it just wouldn't pick up the thread in the end of the bar*) - thanks to my trusty Stilsons, the vastly superior gas torch I treated myself to for Christmas (with that bottom swivel on the Xantia very much in mind!) - & copious quantities of acetone/ATF. With the clamps undone, can now turn the bar by hand: result! The boys at TTS WILL be pleased when I return on Saturday.

*did replace the boot though, with one in much better nick which, quite by chance, I'd found in the back of the Cherokee on Saturday - what it's off/where it came from, I've no idea. That in turn lead me to have to grease it so, obviously, did all of them & when turning to the top swivel on the other side, I noticed a damp patch through a hole in the backplate - so it seems the brake saga is not over yet.