Requiem For My ZX

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Requiem For My ZX

Post by RussellF97 »

Once upon a time when I was a dyed-in-the-wool hooligan, I’d previously enjoyed a series of 'proper' Minis fitted with increasingly larger engines, but after buying a house in France I needed something that was a bit more of a 'load lugger'; practical experience taught me that sacks of cement in the boot of a Mini definitely makes the steering go light.

Enter stage left my 1995 Citroen ZX 1.9D Elation hatchback, affectionately known as ‘Old Clanky’, a name acquired around 2015 from the piston slap when it started from cold (“...they all do that, sir”).

My ZX was built 24 April 1995 and sold by Yeomans, Fareham (still a Citroen dealership), being first registered on 12 November 1995. Yeomans did the first two services at 7100 miles in August 1996 & 13,439 in March 1997. Then SMP Motor Services in Fareham took over until the service book entries stop on 9 November 1999 at a recorded mileage of 45,672.

It's history after that is unknown until Jon, a friend of my son, bought it in 2007. In early 2009, £550 changed hands and I collected the car on 31 January 2009 at 98,678 miles.
There was half a forest's worth of receipts, so it had obviously been reasonably well maintained in the previous 10 years, but Jon couldn't find the receipt for the last cam belt change so it was handed over to the Colley Lane MOT Centre in Bridgwater for a new belt & water pump before we headed back to la belle France.

The winter of 2009/10 saw the paperwork completed for matriculation in France, losing her UK reg of N45FCR and becoming AK-757-KX.
Passing 100,000 miles, a few age-related things started popping up: leaking o-rings on the injector pump throttle spindle, a leaking rear wheel cylinder and n/s driveshaft change. What surprised me was how expensive car parts are in France, but this was before I discovered the website
I also started a regime of changing the oil & filter around the 4,500-mile mark using Shell Helix 15W40, my reasoning being that oil is cheaper than a new engine. The other filters were changed more or less when the book said.

During a 2,500 mile summer 2010 trip down to Portugal, the only drama encountered was on a Spanish motorway and it was happening to the driver of a Laguna, the engine of which was running on its own oil via the turbo oil seals and creating a smoke cloud that could be seen from space. Having been a mechanic for over 30 years, I managed to stop the engine before it dismantled itself all over the scenery to the great relief of all concerned, not least me. The experience of being firmly kissed on both cheeks by an excitable (& buxom) Spanish lady takes some beating!

In early 2012, Old Clanky started losing coolant, this culminated in my changing the head gasket at 136,424 miles. The power also felt a bit down so the injectors were checked and found to be only about 60% efficient. Reconditioning them restored the car's va-va-voom no end! It also brought on clutch slip so I fitted a new one at 139,583 miles.

In 2015 at 169,480 miles came the biggie; a rear axle change. On right-hand bends, the top of the OSR tyre had started rubbing on the inner wheelarch, the radius arm bearings having finally given up the ghost. A recon axle was sourced from Antalex in Poland for £230 inc shipping. Bargain! Easy to fit too.
Later in the year, starting problems were cured by replacement of the fast-idle waxstat and having the injection pump set up correctly.

100,000 miles in my ownership was passed on the 11th September 2018, and she clicked over the magic 200,000 mile mark at 16.20 on Monday 24th September 2018, northbound on the D767 about five miles south of Pontivy, in Brittany. However, the writing was on the wall. Having a poke around underneath one day revealed a large hole and galloping rust in the double skinning at the rear of the OSF wheelarch. Repairs would cost more than she was worth, so regrettably, on 10th December 2019, shortly after the CT (Contrôle Technique – the French MOT), had run out she was honourably retired at the grand old age of 24 with 204,810 miles on the clock.

She served me well during the years I owned her and, in my humble opinion, the Citroen ZX is one of the motoring world's unsung heroes. It did ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ with no drama or fuss.
Reliable, comfortable, spacious (my dog had plenty of room to stretch out on the back seat), quiet at motorway speeds, cheap and easy to maintain, and (in 1.9D guise) economical - my average was 55.82mpg/12.28mpl. Also, spares are plentiful and cheap, see the above mentioned website or a certain well-known auction site. Thanks should also go to the various members of the Citroen section of The French Car Forum ( for their help with, amongst other things, a list of the part numbers and thicknesses of the shims for setting valve clearances!

Whilst the custodian of Old Clanky, I spent the grand total of £15,921.47, which may seem an eye-watering amount but covers literally everything ever spent on her; from a packet of o-rings costing a few euros to the 8645 litres of diesel that gurgled into her 54 litre tank.
The overall cost per day - including the cost of the car, is a not exactly bank-breaking £4.40. She did everything I ever asked of her and, in almost 10 years and 106,132 miles, never left me stranded. I was sorry to see her go.
Last edited by RussellF97 on 08 Dec 2021, 00:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Requiem For My ZX

Post by white exec »

Phil - a really lovely and affectionate write-up for an obviously cherished ZX.
Have to agree - having run a ZX 1.9D Avantage NA auto (auto!) from new to over 90k miles in 3 years, as a work car - that it's a much under-rated and unappreciated car, exceptionally well screwed together, and lovely to handle.
Your XUD engine seems to have performed pretty-much as per the XUD9 script, and mirrors the same engine we had in our BX19D . . . which also went to Portugal, towing a caravan. Missed out on the warm embraces from appreciative señoras, though...
A great post, so thanks.
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Re: Requiem For My ZX

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Nice post Phil, interesting story, and excellent avatar! ... ine_badges

Regards Neil