'The Estate'.............returns?

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Kitch
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'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:34 pm

Yup, that's right. I'm planning to return The Estate to the road and press it in to daily service. As long as rust hasn't taken a hold, expect to see it at a Citroen-type event sometime in the year :)

This is a thread I wrote for PH (mods can delete the other thread already running near the bottom of the blog page - this one kinda replaces it):

Bit of a readers' cars thread with a slight experimental element to it here. I'm planning to shortly press a car I've technically owned (with my good mate Si - S10GTA as he's known on here) since 2004 into daily service. The car in question is known to all (by all I mean me, Si.....possibly my Dad.....my wife (who rolls her eyes at it)....possibly some Citroen people....now you) as 'The Estate'. It is actually a 1989 Citroen BX 19RD (1.9 n/a diesel basic spec) estate finished in a rather un-fetching shade of silver with added lacquer crazing. It comes complete with a hole in the rear 1/4 panel big enough to fit your fist through (and give you lockjaw from the rust), diesel staining around the fuel filler flap and a front end that looks like someone's given it an uppercut. Oh, and it's been sat in an old barn near Romsey in Hampshire since 2006. It's the most dependable car I've ever owned, and I now plan to test that dependability by recommissioning it (in its current state) back to the road.

I guess I should probably explain in more detail, so bear with me - it rambles on a bit....

In June 2004, I purchased one of my top ten (I'm trying to look cool, it was actually top three!) wanted cars.....a Citroen BX 16v (yeah yeah I know). Both myself and the aforementioned Simon have been into the Citroen thing for some years now, and at the same time he found himself in possession of a Xantia Activa. I'm happy to admit that we were both a bit tarty over the Citroens we had; you know when you go to car shows, and amongst all the exotica you see a man polishing the shit out of a silver mid-80's Ford Orion 1.6GL with additional spot lamps nailed to the front bumper, mudflaps on every corner....complete with reflectors, anti-static strip on the back end, chrome tailpipe embellisher, tacky spoiler.....well we weren't like that. But we were a bit tarty with the polish, and the pampering.
It was this tartyness that prompted us to look into the possibility of buying a shed we could use for extreme situations, like driving through a council estate at night, or driving in the rain so as to protect our by now fully fledged classics (the Activa was only 8 years old for fuck's sake) from harm. We briskly concluding the agreed logic 2 minutes later once we'd happened upon a car being advertised on a European forum which went by the name of 'Citroenz'. This car was a 1989 BX 1.9D estate, with (what we thought at the time was) a whopping 172,000miles on the clock. It was taxed for two whole months, and MOT'd for another eight. It was located in Sheffield (we were in Southampton) but most importantly it was FREE! Literally priceless! We contacted the owner, who advised us that in his opinion it really wasn't that tidy and certainly not worth travelling all the way from Hampshire for. But we didn't care, it was free! The fact that we could have easily spent less money buying a £100 car up the road and not travelling 750 miles all told in two cars for, isn't here. And it certainly isn't there, either.
So in August 2004, we made our way to the land of the North and went to meet a lovely man called John and his wife.......who I shall call wife, as I do not even remember asking what her name was, never mind remembering what it is now. She made a nice cup of tea though! We saw the car, and immediately our first impressions were "we don't have impressions, of any stage....this fucker's free!" We went on to learn that John had, in fact, bought the BX brand new way back in 1989 when I was only 6 years old! He'd driven his family around Europe in it, camped in it, taken the kids to school in it....the lot. He was only getting rid because he already had two hatchback BXs, both of the turbodiesel variety, and didn't need the extra space of the estate anymore. He'd changed the oil every 3,000 miles, the cambelt every 30,000. He informed me that the car had NEVER failed to start since new, and NEVER broken down. He was genuinely sad to see it go - his wife was in tears as I drove it away. I kinda felt like a criminal! I managed to make the situation worse too; prior to my leaving, John had asked me if I'd like him to show me how to change gear. I informed him that though I was grateful for his offer, I felt I was ok to drive it home. I had made it there, after all. Three minutes later, I returned to John's house on foot (his road was quite steep) as I could only select 3rd or 4th gears in the Estate and I'd managed to stall it at the bottom of the hill. He came back and showed me the technique I'd so cockily passed on being taught 5 minutes previously. The gear linkages were (and still are) so worn that once in gear (any gear) you can move the lever to any of the other gear selection positions without actually changing gear. it's not so much like stirring a bucket of bricks, as stirring a bucket of water. But like all wonderfully characterful machinery, you get the hang of it.
We returned the car to my parent's house in Eastleigh nr Southampton, and were so excited by our new tool we set about fitting my original set of 16v Speedline alloy wheels to it. We also fitted a rocker switch to the heater blower motor, which aside from a dash light bulb was the only thing not working.

In the October of 2004, it looked like this:

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(Don't ask me what was going on with that steering wheel....it's from an AX GTi (I think). The single-spoke original is now back in place)

Now, initially our plan for the Estate was a short-term one; we basically had decided we'd rag it around doing what we wanted to do until the MOT ran out, when we'd likely scrap it as there's probably little to no hope of it passing another one easily. We half-expected it to break down early doors, and call time on it early anyway. However, as the miles passed we started to get the feeling that it was actually still enjoying life on the road! It would zip around (as zippy as 69bhp gets) happily enough, returning decent MPG figures, giving a smooth ride and nothing in the way of issues. It didn't even smoke!
Slowly, but ever-increasingly quickly we started to gain respect for the Estate. It was just always there, whenever you needed it. Whenever a friend broke down, we could grab the keys to the Estate and know we'd not only make it to the stranded friend, but tow their broken down vehicle back if required too.

It would provide support at Santa Pod on RWYB days:

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Loaded with tools, jacks and ramps etc. It did actually have to drive to the finishing line to recover me after I had gear selector problems after a run. And yes, it towed me back!

We'd drive it through fords so deep, the water would lap over the bonnet. We'd carry engines around in the boot for weeks on end. We'd tow trailers so big, they'd get you pulled over at Fleet Services:

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Actually got lucky here....I was already parked up there as a T/O pulled in as the trailer looked a bit 'home-made' (it was) and had no breakaway cable. When I asked what a breakaway cable was, they got out of their Volvo and put their hats on. Turns out I wasn't eligable to tow, the car was likely overloaded (trailer was likely heavier than the car unloaded! Also had no ID plate so they couldn't prove it) and I wasn't actually allowed to drive the combination back! They waited as we had to call someone up to come and drive it back for us.

In not even a year, the Estate has proven to just have that feeling of indestructability that you so rarely find in a car, backed up by the fact the oil pressure light hadn't been working and it'd been driving around for months with not enough oil to even register on the dipstick! And yet not a single murmur! It passed the next MOT with a minor bit of welding and a ball joint.

In late 2005 the Estate was wearing something like 185000 miles on the clock. Si was due to get away to France, skiing or some shit, and foolishly I decided to try and replace the Estate. I made him aware of my plans before he left, however neither of us had the heart to scrap, or even sell the Estate! It was therefore decided that it would be parked in a barn....just in case. The fact that we had a car we trusted so implicitly we wanted to keep it within our possession in the event we needed a reliable car, yet not actually use it speaks volumes for the car.....and our combined IQs!
So the car was parked up in this barn. It was stowed in true Estate fashion......with no prior preparation; battery still connected, no extra air in tyres, still not been serviced since we got it.....the works.

In early 2006 (I think), Si returned. The Estate had been laid up in this barn for around 7 months, untouched. During some drinking down the local, we were trying to explain to a mate who was uneductated in ways of the Estate as to just how great it was. We joked it would probably start first time right there and then!
An hour later, it was decided that the best course of action for the evening was to head to the barn, in minus temperatures, armed with a spare battery and jump leads. We were going to see if the Estate could fire up first time.

We were greated by this. It was still sporting its battlewounds from when our man Si tried to take on a LandRover Freelander's spare wheel carrier:

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It fired up first time. :) Not a splutter, not a hesitation. It just started, and lifted itself up ready for action once more.

Shortly after this first momentous occasion, the Estate was required for more duties. Si took over full-time running of the car and used it as his daily and got another MOT on the car (this time needing headlamp adjustment, and the rear seat latches tightening up!) He even cleaned it and treated it to a set of ZX wheeltrims, as I'd finally realised my 16v was best left as Paris intended:

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A little while later, this picture was taken. If you've ever felt your heart warm over the efforts of a son or daughter, who have tried their best at something and not quite managed to pull it off, yet the result didn't matter because the fact they put their heart and soul into it bowled you over.....well that's how I get when I see this picture. It's ratty, it smells, the door used to fall off.....but once (just the once) we drove it to a Citroen show in the midlands and plopped it amongst all the minty-fresh examples of the marque! I guess it was kinda like a selfless wife who's been caring for her seriously ill husband to the point it's making her ill, being given a day off to just do what she wants....or something:

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The red BX next to the Estate has just been used in the Bet Victor adverts - it's the golf car that pulls up outside the restaurant at the beginning.

Wind to the end of 2006/early 2007....Si is using the Estate, but the MOT is nearly up, so shortly another stay in the barn is looming. I have a Rover 216i Coupe. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) has a Saxo. We book a trip to Devon for New Years, as it's our anniversary. A week before the trip, the Rover dies (HGF would you believe?!). Two days before the trip, the Saxo pops its radiator, managing to spray the gearbox with coolant to the point the the clutch got wet and either slipped, or stuck completely. We were kindly offered the use of a Fiesta Zetec S (with no heater.....in December) but I knew what I had to do. I had to get the Estate out!
And so, one week before it was dumped in a barn once more, the Estate took us to Devon in some of the worse weather I've ever seen!

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By this time things were getting worse. It still hadn't broken down, but the clutch was (and is) so worn that you have to switch the engine off to engage a gear when stationary! The release bearing is also fubar'd and the radiator is leaking badly. It has no coolant gauge, so when the heater stops blowing hot, you have to put more coolant in. And yet, even with all the issues and niggles it had ploughed on. Not a single complaint or glitch, despite the fact it had really been treated badly over the years.
I'm sorry to report that the Estate was ungratefully dumped in the Barn after that trip, now wearing some 203,000 miles. I moved into my first house with my girlfriend, Si took more trips to France and eventually I had kids.

In early 2009, I had to go and visit the Estate; I'd fitted my 16v's interior into it as I'd bought a leather interior for the 16v. I'd now decided to sell this and revert back to the original French '80s soft buckety seats in the 16v, meaning I'd need to dig the Estate out and retrieve the interior. Because of the way the car was rammed into the hay bales, this would involve trying to get it going. Like the first time, we'd taken no precautions with it.

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It started third time, including accidentally letting go of the key the first time. It had been sat there, untouched, unprepared for over 2 years.

It had to remove itself from the barn:

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The interior was duly removed, and the Estate was parked back up in the barn. Neither of us still had a use for the car, and the questions started arising from Si's parents, who own the barn. Questions along the lines of "so, are you going to scrap it or what?" The answer was no.

In 2010, we'd sourced a replacement interior for the Estate. A trip was made back to the car to fit it. Neither of us were quite sure why - Si had ideas about returning it to the road for himself (but anyone who's read his car threads know he changes his mind each time he farts).

It was looking worse for wear this time....

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It didn't start first time. It wasn't even close! The starter motor had jammed!
The second attempt, it was cranking, but clearly getting no fuel. I took a risk and started priming the fuel filter (risky because it can bust the seal, leaving you with permanent air in the fuel.
Third time......it spluttered into life! And, same as before, it removed itself from the barn:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cfX-ILFYTM

The interior was fitted...

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And the Estate was returned to the barn:

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In a rather retarded fashion, as now we'll have to climb over it to jump start it!

And that, PH chums, is where we're at! That is the last photo we have of the Estate, dated 15th August 2010. It's still there (it's probably on Google earth!) and shortly, when time allows, I plan to head over to the barn, get it running (all documented on film of course) and this time, bring it back with me.
The only thing I will check for is rust. BXs are pretty good at resisting rust as a rule, but if they do start then there's not much stopping them. This is a do or die bit for the Estate by all accounts.....if it's rotten, it could be curtains.
But I've got a (hopeful) sneaking suspicion that it might not be soft. And if it isn't, then I give you my word....I will put it in for an MOT test in the condition it comes out of the barn in! I don't plan to change any parts, other than what is needed for the MOT, the aforementioned clutch and the cambelt (seems no point in not changing it - I'm not proving anything by having it snap and bend all the valves) if it gets the MOT pass).
And once it has that MOT pass, I will bring it to a Sunday Service (or similar PH event) again in the condition I found it in.
Big plan is to eventually take it to Germany and storm the Autobahn with it (pointless really....you barely break the UK limit by V-maxing it) hence the title.
I'll keep running it as it is (I might clean it by then) and keep reporting how it's faring. It's a big ask to get a car to do this, but I've got a sense of intrigue about whether all this being sat around and heavy use can actually be tolerated by a car (especially an old one). And what better car to entrust it all to than one I trust completely!?

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Tim Leech
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Tim Leech » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:35 pm

Good luck Kitch, another stalwart of th BXC which I ha forgotten all about. Lets hope shes not too rotten.
1985 BX 19GT Mk1
1991 BX 19TZI Auto A/C
1994 Xantia 1.8i SX
1972 Morris Marina 1.8 SDL
1979 Rover SD1 V8-S
1980 Morris Marina 1.7HL
1998 Rover 75 2.0V6 Connoisseur Auto
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2002 Rover 45 1.6i Spirit S Special
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vulgalour
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by vulgalour » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:56 pm

Looks in better nick than Stripey on the rot front, so I'd say you're okay ;)
RIP 1991 1.9 Citroen BX TGD estate "Stripey" aka ex-dollywobbler's The Green Tiger
1980 1.8HL Austin Morris Princess 2 "Serendipity"

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Kitch
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:40 pm

It was largely rot-free when it was parked up, so we'll see.

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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by mds141 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:12 pm

Excellent Kitch. I'd love to see a BX estate sleeper car. That is completely boggo on the outside, but running a 16 valve motor.
Mark Smith

Is it just me or is everything shit?

1989 BX GTi 16 valve. Blanc Alpine. Completed the Citroen Classic Challenge Ecosse and 1337 miles without a hitch.
2000 XM VSX 2.1 td Auto. Rouge Magenta.
TGD saloon many years ago.

1990 Swift 'Corniche' 12/2 aka BXClub HQ.
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MULLEY
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by MULLEY » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:24 pm

Brilliant post :) Look forward to reading more updates.
2002 C5 2.0 HDI Estate - Remapped - It goes better
2011 Mini Cooper D Clubman - it does over 60mpg
1992 TZD Turbo - SORN - slowly getting there
1991 Gti 16V - Blaze is back on the road since 2008
1990 Gti 8Valve SOLD - looks like it's been scrapped
2002 Mini Cooper S - SOLD - i miss this car
1992 TXD - Scrapped in March 2014

I'm not just a username, i'm also called Matthew.

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Kitch
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:13 pm

Mark: No sleeper for this one, not yet anyway (the only 16v engine I have to my name wasn't kicking out much in the way of power last time I RR'd it :lol: But this'll probably stay diesel for now.

Mulley: There will be more.....


.....this Saturday morning, because we're going to attempt to wake it up!

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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by BX Bandit » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:41 am

I believe I've seen this car in the flesh. I remember the 'no oil' and 'no coolant' scenario, I think you intended to run it, doing nothing, until it died! Just as a BX should be, she's a proper work horse, and boy I miss my TGD Turbo (RIP)
Great stuff Kitch, get her rollin dude
have some balls
1990 BX 16V Platinum Grey
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docchevron
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by docchevron » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:33 pm

that car is a total ledge! I reckon those 69 rampant horses will tear the autobahn a new arsehole!
Smokes lots, because enough's enough already!

Far too many BX's, a bus, an ambulance a few trucks, not enough time and never enough cash...

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Kitch
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:09 pm

Bandito: You did, you were with the Doc.

Docco: First stop.....dyno :lol:

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docchevron
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by docchevron » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:13 am

bah ha ha ha, well, if Sandre's can GAIN BHP, then I reckon by now the estate must be putting out near 4980000000BHP at the wheels. Let me know in advance so I can shutter the house and strap the cars down, dont want it all floating away when the earth starts rotating backwards!

I remember it well! We were down at Toms!
Smokes lots, because enough's enough already!

Far too many BX's, a bus, an ambulance a few trucks, not enough time and never enough cash...

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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by BX Bandit » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:06 am

That was it, Tom's yes! Fit a free flow filter and a cherry bomb Kitch and you'll be up with the 16vers!
have some balls
1990 BX 16V Platinum Grey
1990 BX TZD (with A/C) Pink
1990 BX TGD White
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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:08 pm

Dum dum dummmmmmm:

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Update to follow :)

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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:57 pm

So here we go folks!

Day started out early for me, as I was playing musical cars around the south coast moving cars to get other cars into garages, moving cars out of trailers, cars into trailers, cars into other garages, and finally on to The Estate!

At about 10:00am we arrived at the field. I was immediately ridiculed as a townie as I struggled to cross the boggy field leading to the barn (my feet did get wet too.....horse shit-flavoured water....great!):

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Each time we've left The Estate in this barn, we've returned to find massively shrubbery blocking our access to said barn. On the last occasion, a severed Rabbits head was found next to the car. Today, nothing quite as dramatic:

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Though a horse had made its feelings clear as the stern of The Estate (what the fuck does a horse know anyway? Half of them think they're cows!):

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Initial thoughts over the back end of the car were favourable, but it didn't look quite as well preserved elsewhere:

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Guessing that's a Fox/Badger home in that hole. Half expected to get attacked!

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Hard to see the front!

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The result of our efforts:

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So, did it run? Well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d2dyH06 ... e=youtu.be

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Re: 'The Estate'.............returns?

Post by Kitch » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:24 pm

So, after effectively having it start first time it was reversed out of the barn and straight into the mudpit behind. Managed to dig it in pretty deep:

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The Estate soldiered on and we managed to rock it up enough to gain enough traction to get it mobile again:

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The worst part of the quagmire was the entrance to the field:

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It drew a crowd trying to get through that, but a guy watching commented how he pretty much wouldn't have believed what he'd just seen if he hadn't seen it! You could attack the bog at something like 20mph and it would just bring it almost instantly to a holt! Plenty of rocking, bouncing and pushing by S10 saw it leave the field for the last time:

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(It took the small Ivy branch with it)

Loaded up, ready for the journey to salvation:

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Back at base, the 'issues' were assessed more closely:

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What I thought briefly to be bad corrosion, turned out to be mouse shit:

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Still looking strong in most places:

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But work needed here:

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Here too, though it won't be pretty when it's finished (it'll be quick!):

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New mirror needed after that big bale of hay fell onto it:

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And so rather abruptly, there you have it!

Now originally I mentioned trying to get the car through an MOT in the state I find the car in. Well, without wishing to sound like a complete pansy, it's worse than I thought! I'm not sure if it would be considered a piss-take to present it like that. I've also felt a slight change of heart already on the car....the fact that it started so eagerly has only increased my affection for the car. Being that they're getting so rare, I think I might chance tactics slightly from 'totally beaten up bus that's been hit with an ugly stick' to 'slightly below average but mechanically sound bus that's been hit with an ugly stick, but with a bit of make-up on!'

I know it needs:

* Handbrake cable
* Radiator (hopefully can be sealed....not cheap new!)
* Clutch (have a kit ready to fit)
* LHM suspension flush (have stacks of it....easy)
* Timing belt (imagine it's going to want changing)
* Small bit of welding for MOT (so far....all could go tits up once it's on the ramp)

While it was running once back at base, it started to struggle to idle, and for the first time EVER The Estate cut out :( Good news is that it only seems to be air in the fuel (it's the only thing it really can be, apart from timing or major mechanical failure!) but bad news it that's often a bitch to find!

Did some quick maths today, and if I use The Estate to replace my MG ZS 180, I'll go for 2 months on 3.5 week's worth of fuel in the MG. I'll have have a much smoother, if not slower ride :)

Over for now.