BXing on the Solent

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
Tinkley
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Tinkley » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:40 am

I did toy with the idea of putting the 1.6 115hp cylinder head on with fuel injection) from the 205/Visa Gti..... :wink:
Not sure but think the bottom part should be identical and gearbox ratios should be just about OK if a little short. Closer to a GT then.
Actually compared to some of the modern 'lightweight' (so called)cars around the same power (and a little more) the 1.6 is not too slow judging by quite a few performance 0-60 figures. That actually surprised me when I looked. Does not breathe quite as well as the 4 valve heads, but acceptable, of course after BAH it won't feel quick... :wink:

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Kitch
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Mon May 02, 2016 1:01 pm

Lifted from a blog on another forum, so apologies if there is any egg-sucking lessons contained:

Unexpected update for BAH, because the plan for this car was to sit 2016 out completely. I finished last year by going to the Chevrons Rally and drove the car back with no speedo, no rev counter, barely any warning lights and no cooling fan. Because the various dials and gauges were inop, I'd had a quick look to see if it was an easy fix (tried a different binnacle - made no difference) and left it in pieces. There are rust patches to sort out, a leaking heater matrix, the front bumper was hanging off (after it tried to ingest itself having trodden on the rope that was towing the car over a year ago when a bolt fell into the bell housing from the ignition coil bracket and munched the crank sensor) and there were many issues that had been lingering for years, that I'd always put off and say I'd sort out the next year. Had no plans to drive it this year, and had wanted instead to get the AX GT on the road, and finish my Dad's BX GT and my mk1 BX 16TRS off. I also have a TVR to sort out, so there wasn't going to be much time for the 16v.

And then I got asked if I could supply a BX for some filming for a TV programme in Chichester on 20th April. It was very hush hush, other than to say it was an ITV production. Almost too hush hush, in fact.
I was very curious as to why a BX was even wanted, to be honest. Sure, I love them, but the majority aren't fussed and most car programmes on TV are the boring, predictable types. If it's a classic car programme, there will be an E-Type, or a Morris Minor. If they slag a car off, it'll be an Allegro, or a Marina. It's all so shamefully generic.

It had been on TV previously, of course:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLXEf4rcfZQ

(Complete with leather interior, which I sold not long after that was filmed. Jason Dawe genuinely loved them, and Mallory genuinely hated them. Mallory was a bit funny, but Jason Dawe was a genuinely friendly guy).

In the case of this show, all they'd say is that they wanted a stand out car, and could I have it at Goodwood for 9am on April 20th? I said yes. I tend to grab opportunities, and if it's a chance to put a car you don't normally see on the small screen out there, then surely that's a good thing?
Only problem was it was still in lots of bits. Luckily it's still MoT'd until July, so I didn't have to worry about that. Was jsut a case of taxing it, and getting some of the issues sorted. First job, remove it from it's hidey-hole:

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I'm immediately reminded of one of the issues that plagued the car before I stowed it up last year:

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The low level warning light sensor in the header tank has a leaky seal. Being that it's running Evans Waterless Coolant, that's about £5worth on the floor no doubt!

I dragged the car into work (on the 18th...left it nice and late) and with work being massively busy, I put more stress upon my future self by taking some time out of the day to sort some bits on the car on the 19th. I also had to clean it up, though I'd polished it the year before with the T-Cut 365 stuff, which seems to last longer than any of the other polishes I've used on it, so this time around I spent more time fixing bits up like the dials and heater controls (which didn't work or light up) and less time cleaning. I actually started cleaning it at about 5pm on the 19th...just over 12 hrs before I was due to take it for filming. I put a fair amount of effort into getting it sorted out too. Even changed the centre console over, got all the heater controls working and lighting up with the rest of the dash again:

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That's an original A/C heater panel. I plan to fit A/C to it (I have all the bits from another car) but that wasn't for the 19th! So I made do with the heater panel, which gave me working switches, full lighting, and I even fitted an old CD player I had kicking around. Sounds surprisingly good!
I managed to get the rev counter working too! The fix? Fuse #1 (10A) had FALLEN out of the fusebox! That also controlled the signal wire to the cooling fan relay, so the rev counter and cooling fans were a delightfully quick fix!

So, at about 8pm on the 19th, having spent a good 7 hours fitting my tidier wheels, getting all the dash working and cleaning the bejesus out of it inside, it was ready! I was excited! Maybe it would be ragged around Goodwood by some cool car guy? James May? Guy Martin? Jay Leno?! I'm getting carried away, but I had hopes that someone would be on board with the idea behind the BX and what it brought to the medium hatch section back in the 80's. Truth be told, I was even more keen to see what other forgotten gems they might feature! Would I see a Starion? Would I see an MG Metro Turbo? I was quietly excited!

And then the 20th came. I rocked up at the Chichester Park hotel at 8:15am and met with the team. We headed to Goodwood circuit, but they couldn't sort out a location. So we moved to Goodwood House and set up camp. I was uber excited to be on the Festival of Speed course!:

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And finally the moment came. The presenter (I'm not allowed to name him, signed a bit of paper and everything) arrived! He got out, discussed some stuff with the director, mentioned the phrase "Get it to the scrapyard" as something he could use in the ab-lib delivery, and moaned that it wasn't as easy to take the piss out of as the Allegro last week. In the end, the BX got about 10secs of time, which was enough for the chap to declare that cars are all about you and your sense of style. A well-designed car tells a story.....but he couldn't figure out what sort of story this thing was telling.

And that was it.

I'd gone to all that hassle, all that trouble and effort, for some rich TV personality to rock up and slag off my most prized possession. I can take a joke, and I get a fair amount of piss-taking for the BX love, but in those cases I can counter back. I can take the piss back. I'm happy to get ranty because I know the BX was a great car, irrelevant of how much I like them. I don't like Audi A4s, but I'd never say they're crap. The BX was a great car of the 80s, and I just so happen to love them too. In this case, the BX had been brought in to be the butt of a joke. That's why I was getting smoke and mirrors in the first place.

I nearly had a Paddy.

While it was all going on, I was pretty disappointed, but on the whole took it in my stride. It was only when I got home I started to feel really pissed off about it, to the point I emailed the producer and told him what I thought. He never emailed back. We'll all have to wait until October to see what actually came about.

That said, it wasn't the worst thing that's ever happened. If it weren't for this, I'd never have got it out of the garage and gone to town fixing it up. It'd still be sat in there now, part of my massive to-do list. The cooling fans would still be borked, the rev counter wouldn't rev....I definitely wouldn't be pretending to have air-con!
And, the day was a good one because I had a good day out with a mate, who also happens to be a shit-hot photographer. After we'd razzed it up the hill climb at Goodwood (had to be done) we headed out into the sticks, and he got to work:

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He's also a dab hand at videos, so with a compilation of what he grabbed that day, he made this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqpdoMK6l_Y

(Watch it to the end, it's not what you think! And it doesn't work on mobile devices, due to one of the songs having a copyright, or something)

After this, I popped the BX away again but found it was still taxed on Drive it Day, 24th April. So, it was off out again. The Goodwood.....again! I took some pics this time, but sadly don't have anything like the talent of my mate!

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All in all,I really enjoyed driving it again. I just never get bored of it, and it's easy to see why I'll never get rid. It's just such good fun, and the engine really is a gem. Sure it's not the fastest thing in the world, but for the technology and era it was made, it's pretty good. Certainly quick enough to have fun with, though something modern would destroy it! But it's comfy, it's cheap, it's reliable, it's interesting, it's fairly frugal. I love the thing!

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mat_fenwick
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by mat_fenwick » Tue May 03, 2016 6:09 am

That sucks. But it's strange, in a way - I'd have thought that the BX was sufficiently off the radar for most people not to make it worthwhile for a joke.

Still, at least you can look on the bright side now, and seeing those photos of yours on FB made me realise I really needed to get mine back on the road!
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Tinkley
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Tinkley » Tue May 03, 2016 7:31 am

Maybe it's QW? the presenter? or that d****** JC?...nuff said

Still at least they did not drop a piano on it!

But then you could get ALL their film gear and the people in the BX and they needed 3 cars to do the same thing.....
It's still one of the best 'packaged' medium family cars ever designed to this day for the length. The Mi16 is still the best non variable valve timing engines anyone ever developed. It is also one of the lightest cars, hence power to weight etc etc as you well appreciate.
The presenter must still think a Morris Ital is the height of 80s' tech.....but the faux wood looks so good.... :wink:

A guy I know has a Lancia Aprilia, doubtless the same program will slag them too, though you could say the 2CV is actually more advanced. Regrettably the opines of such witless journos informs the thinking of the pikey boys etc etc, do they read PH and your Blog there? actually do they read....

Perhaps some of these guys should actually design and build a real car, then they would learn how much is actually involved in all the aspects involved. I do get to drive the odd modern thing and while I do appreciate the work and design of a lot of aspects of modern vehicles, I am also aware of some of the trade offs. Not least of which are political ie legislation. What is surprising, is the relative lack of performance increase in the normal day to day family cars, whilst of course the true performance vehicles give immense power, unheard of back in the 80s'. Still with the increase in 20 mph limits, maybe we should be driving golf carts... :wink:

Be positive Kitch, BAH will probably outlive anything they turned up in, and it will still be the most comfortable drive on a long trip. IMHO the BX is still one of the best for that 400+ mile trip and leave you ready to go..... :wink:

I take it they also had a Countach there and slagged that off.... I can well remember seeing more than one or two of those broken down back in the late 70s' and 80s'.... :wink: more than I've ever seen BX broken down..... :wink:

Perhaps this fine new vehicle belongs to said presenter....

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/uk-worl ... e-11277852

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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by MULLEY » Mon May 09, 2016 10:53 pm

Sounds like he's never driven one, so his loss not your's, these are awesome machines & mine just makes me smile like no other car i've owned before, even if its being a little git and not wanting to be on the road for very long.
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: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:31 pm

Just over a year had passed since the last successful MoT test, so I decided to book the BX in yesterday and see if I could coax a another 'pass' out of it. I'm planning to take it to France in the Autumn, and it would be sensible to put some miles on it before then. You know, to give anything that's going to break a chance to break in the UK near my house?! Or, to accelerate the wear of any potentially EOL parts and bring the failure date further forward to coincide with a date that would have otherwise been after the trip overseas. Funny thing, logic.

The BX was last out and about at the end of April, for its TV 'feature' (on an as-yet-unbroadcast-so-I-can't-say-anything-as-I-signed-a-bit-of-paper-to-say-I-wasn't-going-to-say-anything-before-I-found-out-they-wanted-my-car-to-roast-rather-than-do-something-interesting-with-but-I'm-pretty-sure-it's-going-to-be-Ch5's Classic Car Show-levels-of-shite-programme). Since then I've been dipping my toes into AX GT, TVR, Hillman Imp and other BX-flavoured waters, so the 16v's basically just parked up and had the door shut on it.
Well, when I say shut on it, I mean opened on it. Yup, yesterday started fairly badly. I went out on Monday night and hooked up my last remaining battery charger, seeing as the battery wasn't exactly great before I parked it up in April (3rd hand, been on two other cars before, both of which also suffered long idle periods). It was yet another of those cheapo chargers you buy before you realise buying cheap means buying thrice. I went back in the house, watched about 90mins of The Car's The Star episodes on Youtube (remember those?) and went back out to the garage at about 11:30pm to check on proceedings. I opened the door to be greeted with the stench of hot plastic. I removed the charger, filed it in the bin and decided to go to work in the morning, grab some jumpleads and then come back for the BX. I left the bonnet open, as I'd been doing all this inside the garage.
Next morning, I drive to work in the AX, grab the leads, come back, open the garage door...SMACK! Garage door hits the open BX bonnet and gets jammed against it. I roll under the ajar garage door, manage to manipulate the bonnet into enough difference shapes to release the door (the beauty of plastic bonnets!) and wonder how the day will get worse.

The AX brings the BX back to life:

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I drive the BX out of the garage, to be greeted with a flat nearside rear tyre. I pump it up from scratch, with a handpump. It was a hot morning.

I go back into the garage, and see this:

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Petrol. Joy.

There's a drip-drip leak coming from the pump area all the while the car is running. Assuming either a perished hose, or a perished pump! I drive it in anyway. Bollocks to it. If I dies, I dies.

The MoT is booked for 11am, but we've got a Frogeye Sprite also booked in for 2pm, so I switch the appointments around and pull the pump off the BX. Yup, suspicions confirmed:

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Annoyingly, I gave away a good spare to a mate with an Alfa 75 who needed a new pump because (and you're going to like this bit)......his original one corroded through, and leaked while the engine was running.
Luckily I managed to find a replacement locally:

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And before long it was fitted along with a new filter, and some new hose (on the bit I could actually get to):

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MoT obtained that afternoon. First time pass, same advisories as normal. Bit of interaction on the OSR lamp (wiring, not just an earth) and a slightly blowy exhaust joint plus the rear tyres are just within the tread limit. To be fair, all the tyres are starting to crack a bit, and I know they're well past 7-8 years old now, so they really need replacing. They're rumbling pretty badly and it's lacking grip these days when you get your boot down, so I'll likely do those sometime in the next few weeks. Been really impressed with the Dunlops I put on the AX GT, so will probably do the same for the BX.

A few jobs to do over the next few weeks, like sticking some new non-OE front spot lamps in (want to preserve the originals as they're getting stupid expensive now) and a couple of coolant leaks to attend to, one of which involves taking the dashboard out. At that point, do I start bolting all in the A/C gear in? Decisions....

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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:38 pm

Once again, treat it as a netural, not a BX lover:

Time for a quick update on the BX. Back on the road as of today, in preparation for a trip up to the Midlands Air Museum on Sunday along with my AX GT. Wife and all the kids in tow, family day out kind of thing. There will be some crossover with my other thread on the AX GT along the way, though it'll be less Marvel Cinematic Universe, and more amateur shite.

So how's the BX doing? Well, a few weeks back I had a Facebook message come through to tell me someone had seen it in Classic Car Weekly! indeed, they had:

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Short story is I know the editor, and he put a request out on Facebook for cars to feature in that.....well, feature. Still, Shows the market is changing all the time, as it wasn't long ago BXs were scrap value. I paid just under £800 for BAH back in 2004, and it was strong money back then!

Yesterday and for a small portion of the afternoon today, I set about some quick jobs before its trip on Sunday. It's not just the Midlands, as next weekend I'll probably take it to Buckinghamshire for the last Citroen do of the year. Then, in October me and S10GTA are taking it to Paris to what is effectively Citroen's museum. I'm trying to squeeze some miles in as it hasn't done many this year, and if anything's about to let go, I'd rather it did it in the UK!

So first up it was onto the ramp:

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While there, I switched the tidy(ish) wheels for the scabby spares I have, as the tyres on the tidy ones are 14 years old! They're cracking around the sidewalls, and have gone hard. I'm not up for the wife and kids travelling on them, so I switched for some fresher rubber on the scabby rims. Problem with that is that they're Toyo Proxes CF2, and anyone who's tried driving on CF2s in the wet will know they're bloody awful at it! But they will have to do.
I also sealed up an exhaust leak that's been an MoT advisory for the past 2-3 years, and did a general check over. And that's when my heart sank! I've known for some time that one day I will need to plough some time into the car, and each year I say this will be that year. And then each year, it isn't; I just whip it out of the garage, wind it up to 7000rpm occasionally and forget about the hole in the rear inner arch.
This time, I had a reality check. For the first time, it looks like it needs help:

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It's not dead, or terminal, or anything dramatic like that. But it's enough to warrant some fairly heavy work. I've known this day was coming, so I can't say I'm too surprised. On the flipside, I felt sad when I saw it, almost emotional. Normally I just think "Oh bollocks" when I see something like that, but for this particular car, it's more than that. It's almost a part of me, and like a human it's almost vulnerable. It's not immortal, and the realisation of this is like a gut-punch. There are a few small holes, nothing dangerous but given time they'd become dangerous, and probably end the car. It's not as bad as my Dad's GT was (it had only just been MoT'd!) but it's bad enough to actually say this time "No, it's not going on the road next year."

So like an aircraft, a major is on the cards. There are a number of small jobs to be done, like fitting aircon, refurbishing subframes, renewing fuel hoses etc. Lots of jobs that would be better tackled while it's having a big one. And before that big one, I've got my Dad's GT to finish, the other red early BX to get ship shape (I'll use that to fill my BX void while the 16v is out of action), a Hillman Imp to design and fit a clutch for, a TVR S to fix loads of other bits on.....and a business to run/customer cars to sort.
Gets a bit overwhelming sometimes, but I think I must enjoy it in some small, masochistic way.

Today was better. Some little bits and bobs, like finally changing the locks over to the new set, so now I only have one key again. It means the original BX key is lost, as it's now on a Xantia/Saxo style blade, but those are a bit harder wearing and harder to bust open, so it makes sense:

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I also changed the front speakers, which was something I'd been meaning to do for ages. The originals are components, and to be fair they were pretty good for the age/era. An ICE-loving guy I know once said they were pretty exotic given the car they were fitted to! But, I had some Fusion drivers kicking about and judging by the size of the magnets they were going to be much better!:

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I can confirm they sound much better too. Still running standard tweeters, but the extra oomph from these has improved the sound a bit. It's still nothing special, but it's strong enough to crank it pretty loud without distortion.

Can ya tell?! ;hehe:

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So we'll see how Sunday goes. Hopefully I'll have some cool pictures of the day to cheer myself up knowing that this is the last year it's on the road for what will realistically (because these things always happen like it) be about 2-3 years. :(

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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:39 pm

Had a good weekend just gone in the BX. The AX had a fairly busy fortnight too, but I'll update that one later.

This weekend included AX and BX activities. We drove to an event called 'Parking With Planes', organised by the Midland Region of the Citroen Car Club. The event is held at the Midland Air Museum, and basically consists driving into the museum grounds, and parking amongst the aeroplanes. If you think long and hard, Parking With Planes is a pretty good name for it.

First time I've taken two cars to an event for quite a few years now, and definitely the first time I'd bundled the entire family into the convoy! Mrs Kitchski was given the choice of the BX or the AX, and chose the BX. She chose wisely; The AX is admirable at long journeys and is much more adept at it than you'd give it credit for, but it's still no where near as good at them as a BX - even a noisy, buzzy 16v version!

So we hit the road. Picture from the AX GT, courtesy of Jack, one of my 7 year olds:

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Quick stop at the services, partly so the kids can have a wee, and partly because the boys wanted to swap seats!:

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So we arrive at the museum. I knew they had a Vulcan, but also know it was unlikely anyone would be able to park near it. I also knew they had a Starfighter, a Lightning and a Canberra, so kept my fingers crossed I'd get to park up near one of those.

Got lucky:

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Special mention for the museum: Looks small, but a good collection of Cold War Jets (the best kind of jets) and lots of content inside. Plus, you're allowed in the Vulcan! I'd recommend it if you're a fan of winged-things.

340 miles covered since Sunday morning, and another 300 mile round trip due on Sunday to the last Citroen event of the year (that's if I take the BX over the AX, which I'm likely to do). I reckon it nudged 40mpg on that trip to Coventry!

Trip to Paris in October and then the BX will officially go SORN at the end of that month. I'd love to say I'll crack on with the overhaul right away, but the reality is that it'll sit in my garage for another year at least while I get the other cars done. Only when I'm done with the other projects will I make a proper start on it. Even as I sit here and write this, I get a quick thought of "Oh, I suppose I might drag it out again next year and put the work off" which is what I normally do, but this time there's an instant gut-clenching moment where I remember that this time, I can't just get it back out and use it. Not unless I want to risk the car, or the passengers. I know one guy who had a rear axle come off the back of a BX. Imagine that happening mid-bend on an A-road! Mine's not that bad at first glance, but who knows how strong it'd be in a year or two.

Getting some miles in while I can :(

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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by mat_fenwick » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:01 pm

Kitch wrote:a Hillman Imp to design and fit a clutch for
I can't think what you might ask, but Lana used to be a clutch designer so if you want, I can run things past her. It was surprising how much of the time different clutches were made up of differing combinations of the same parts - bit like lots of things really, cheaper to re-use existing parts for a new design rather than tool up for something completely new.
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:48 pm

mat_fenwick wrote:
Kitch wrote:a Hillman Imp to design and fit a clutch for
I can't think what you might ask, but Lana used to be a clutch designer so if you want, I can run things past her. It was surprising how much of the time different clutches were made up of differing combinations of the same parts - bit like lots of things really, cheaper to re-use existing parts for a new design rather than tool up for something completely new.
Cheers Mat. The issue is the release mech. I bought one of those concentric slave cylinder jobs and it just leaks all the time. The original used a release arm and external slave, but that wouldn't work as it is as the gearbox as an adapter plate fitted, and the throw would need to be longer.

Plan now is to make a collar for a bearing to slide on, and then have the collar move by the arm with the bearing on the end of it, rather than the arm moving the bearing alone. Total faff, not really worth it, walking would be easier!

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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:56 am

The last big update on the BX 16v, for a while at least. Lifted straight from my PH blog:

The first thing of note is that I think it's going to end up on the telly sometime in the next couple of weeks. Some may remember back in the spring that it was used to film a new car show, and may also remember my tampon-throwing response to their use of the car! Well, it seems the show is about to air on the Travel Channel (I know) so we'll see how it comes out. Still trying to work out if I've taken it all to heart a bit too much or not, but my gut reaction at the time it was filmed with strong annoyance at the fact I'd bent over backwards to help them, and they basically used it to take the piss out of. I'm more mellow about it now, but then time has passed. Seeing it on the screen may well reignite my rage, but then I've seen what they've done with some of the other cars they used as verbal cannon fodder, and it's all very mild. Paddy McGuinness is the host, and it was clear on the day they've employed a guy who knows not a lot about cars to present a car programme, so it's a lot easier to laugh anything negative they say away. If James May ripped into my BX, I'd genuinely be heartbroken :laugh:

Much more important thing of note; I took it back to France! Been meaning to do that since I got it way back in 2004, so it was an ambition fulfilled.
The trip was to Citroen's Conservatoire in Aulnay-Sous-Bois, a grotty rundown cesspit of a town just north of Paris, near the airport. Aulnay was actually home to a large PSA plant until a few years back, and both the AX and Saxo we have in the household were built there. It predominantly produced smaller Peugeots and Citroens, but the first CX right through to the last was also built there.

So, last Sunday morning, S10GTA and I set about the journey:

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Rather than bore it along the A26/A1 peage routes from Calais to Paris, we wanted to make more of a road trip of it:

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Simon decided we'd be going sans-SatNav. so as soon as we got off the chunnel, we avoided the motorways and headed for the coast:

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This was a good idea. The coast route along to Boulogne-Sur-Mer is lovely. Didn't realise what a good view of the white cliffs you could get up there:

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That's the road we're off to take:

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The only drawback of this beautiful route, was the time it took. in the UK, motorways really do shave some time off a journey. In France, they can make a MASSIVE difference! We exited the back roads near Les Trois Fontaines and dove onto the A16; a not boring peage, full of viaducts and scenery:

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We managed to cover almost three times the distance in the same time immediately after! We took the A16 down as far as Amiens, and then began to head cross country again. I have no issue paying to use roads like those. The BX probably didn't drop under 80mph the whole way, and the surface was smooth and quiet.
Having left the A16, our cross country route to Senlis (where we were staying) was easy and event free. And pretty, again:

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We had a nice run across the countryside all the way to Senlis. It was one of those drives you remember!

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[quote=Kitchski]The next day, we arrived at the Aulnay site in preparation for a visit I'd wanted to do for so long, and was never sure I'd get a chance to. The Conservatoire isn't open to the public (though that may all be about to change as Citroen's marketing team have suddenly remembered they have this thing called 'Heritage', and that Citroen's heritage is actually quite a big and impressive heritage. Unless you've got a DS (don't get me started on the 'DS' brand....)

So, Aulnay:

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A bit of reading for those interested in the plant and its history:

http://citroenvie.com/last-citroen-roll ... sous-bois/

And inside Aulnay:

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The BX was (I believe) the oldest car that made the trip from the UK. A few of the other guys have some older and more interesting models, but they wimped out and brought their modern versions along :hehe: I suspect the BX was the only one to nudge a speed in France that S10GTA could attest, but I couldn't possibly divulge. All I can say is that I chose to back off - it was still pulling!

I won't bore everyone with pictures of the inside (I took 600!), but I'll do a public album or something soon and link to that for anyone who's interested. But it had the most important stuff in there:

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Along with less important stuff, you know...like history:

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The prototype TPV's hidden from the Nazis during WW2. Discovered behind a wall a decade or so ago!:

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This is also worth a watch, if you want to know what it's like inside this place:

https://youtu.be/oFcNlBl_cjc

The place is brilliant! It's oozing innovation and history. And to cap it all off, an old bloke I saw smoking outside in a Citroen overcoat. He couldn't speak English, but we deduced that he worked in the factory until it closed and ordered a brand new CX in the 70's and walked with it along the line as it was being built (he still owns it). He was still upset that the plant closed, and said the new range had no passion behind it. No true innovation, or desire to be different if different proved to be better. It was all profits and corporate bullshit. This guy was one of the best things about the visit.
There's something about Citroens, and other true French cars (cars actually built in France by the French) where you can sense that the reason they've done something different, is because different is better in that respect.
I had a little moment of clarity when I was driving home. One of those moments that kinda freezes you in time, and it was only a silly little thing. As I drove along, I was fresh with all things Citroen. Me being positive, for once! And it was in that moment that, for some reason, it sprang to my mind that there were quirks about the company and they way they did things that could also irritate. The BX rear wiper, for example. The switch doesn't latch, it only sweeps if you push the button. The reason? Because the aerodynamics of the BX mean that the rear screen doesn't get wet, and the airflow just blows the raindrops over the glass. "Total rubbish!" I thought, as I drove along a French motorway in the pissing rain. I clock the front wiper sweeping the screen, prepare to push the button for the rear wiper and move my gaze in the direction of the rear view mirror. Rear screen is bone dry, obviously. As I pointed this out to Simon, a single drip cascaded down the glass. Bastard French cars!

Incidentally, I watched something that drove the whole French engineering thing home the other day. Jay Leno's new episode on YT featuring his Panhard. Worth a watch, very cool car, and he nails the whole French design/engineering thing perfectly:

https://youtu.be/zcfVO6-UHgY

So anyway, brimming with French enthusiasm, we left. Nothing could dampen our spirits! Simon's non-SatNav map reading skills had been spot on, and the mood was good.

Was.

It began when we saw this:

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The Stade De France. I love football, so this was cool for me. But not at that time, because it was rush-hour last Monday morning, and we were driving into Paris. The directions had massively gone to cock!

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We got dragged in as far as the inner ring road, but managed to navigate back out again. The sense of relief was massive as we headed back up the A1, where we came off near a village called Arsy, which is what I was by this point. So we stopped and grabbed some more pics:

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From Arsy, things got good again. We decided to head back over to our trusted friend, the A16, and the cross-country route we took was one of the best driving memories I think I'll ever have. Wide, empty French countryside roads passing through pretty villages, sun going down and in my favourite car with a best mate alongside me. It felt like a proper roadtrip!

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Hit the A16 all the way back up to the chunnel, and made it there 30mins early:

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Sailed straight in! It was so empty, the train was loaded on the bottom floor only, with every other carriage empty. Made getting to the toilet easier at least:

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Back into the UK 30mins before we left France, and headed home. BX performed brilliantly, with the only glitch being that the speedo started clicking near Aulnay on the Monday morning. It's 26years old, and spent most of the previous day spinning around and on that frosty morning in Senlis it wasn't feeling like playing ball. That said, it didn't die and as soon as we got going again, it shut up and perfomed fine again.

Brilliant trip, brilliant venue, brilliant memories and the car was brilliant! Erm....brilliant!

So that's the BX done for a while................












........apart from a possible magazine feature coming up. And not a crap magazine either. In fact, it's probably the best one it could possibly be featured in as far as I'm concerned! Watch this space on that one, however after that, it'll be parked up in the garage until I've finished all the other projects. Then the major overhaul underneath can commence.

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jamescarruthers
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by jamescarruthers » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:48 pm

Nicely written. I would absolutely LOVE to do a similar trip!!
1987 Volvo 480 ES
1992 Renault Master Mk. 1. Machzone Chateau camper. 2.0 LPG

Previous BX's:
A966 XRL -- BX 16 TRS
H767 BEG -- BX 14 TGE
B316 AMP -- BX 14 E

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mat_fenwick
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by mat_fenwick » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:30 pm

That write up reminds me of everything I love about driving in France - the roads, the villages, even the evening sunlight (although that's maybe because I don't get to see the sun much in Wales).

Brilliant, thank you.
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1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
2006 Renault Kangoo
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2004 MINI Cooper (hers)

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Kitch
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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:26 am

You probably get some pretty decent drives around your neck of the woods mate........when it isn't raining!

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Re: BXing on the Solent

Post by Kitch » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:24 pm

Well, I knew today was coming. It's the day I take the BX off the road. Normally I'd need to distinguish between BX's by stating it was the 16v, but seeing as that was the only BX that was actually on the road in the first place.......

Anyway, it's SORN. Currently residing in a garage, and apart from the quick trip to get it back here in a few months time, that'll be it. Bit gutted, and I know I'll miss driving it, but if I don't stop using it, the rot that is currently there will turn into major rot that either turns into a mammoth rebuild task, or even threatens the existence of the car. My Dad's GT only got through by the skin of its teeth (I expect it'd be a cube by now if I'd have seen just how bad the rot had got) and I don't want the same again. Besides, there are quite a few little niggles cropping up now, and I like my cars to work properly. If they don't, I don't get the enjoyment out of driving them.

Been a good few days for the BX though. Friday saw the editor from Modern Classics travel down to do a feature on the BX. It's a great mag (if you've never read it, hunt it down, because if you like the BX you'll probably like 90% of the other stuff in it), and which is possibly the best mag I could hope for it to be in! The photographer was great and I reckon it'll be a brilliant feature when it's done. It's not a feature on my car in particular, but more a feature on the BX 16v as a model. I went down with my mate Andy (who also happens to be an awesome photographer; Look up Lurntwubber on Instagram or Facebook (here: https://www.facebook.com/wubberphoto/ ) to see the kind of stuff he can cook up.

A couple of his shots:

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He also spotted some raw images on the mag photographer's tablet, and said they take it to another level entirely. BX fans are in for a treat come January :D

The day didn't go without fault though. By 3pm on Friday afternoon, we had issuez:

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LHM. LHM that powers the steering, brakes and suspension. Nothing important, then! Just the life-blood of the car.

This occured just as we were getting told to "GET OUT, AND STAY OUT!!!" by the jumped-up mini-Hitler failed-traffic warden security patrol executive (aka ugly little fat man with an inferiority complex) in the Southampton industrial estate we'd been shooting in, without realising it was private land. I nursed the car back to the workshop and within 2 miles of the target we had STOP lamps and the steering was starting to die. But, the BX soldiered on and made it to the workshop.

This event threw my plans for today into doubt. I wanted to get one last drive in it, taking the long way to my destination near Southampton, but the leak was pretty severe by the time it got to the workshop that Friday afternoon. When we left the angry egg-shaped man, it was just a few drips. By the time we arrived back at the workshop, it had evolved into a piss. Just have a look at the green accumulator sphere in the picture! So my plans for today were up the shitter, unless I acted or changed my plans. In the end, I went back in on the Saturday, dug out some tunes (forgot just how good Feeder were) and went about finding the leak.

It didn't take long to narrow it down to the supply pipe from the high-pressure pump into the flow-diverter valve. The steering is the most thirsty component of the system, and takes more of a supply of fluid than the suspension and brakes combined! The flow-diverter valve sits just after the pump, takes what it needs from the supply, and just returns what it doesn't. It then feeds the height correctors and doseur valve (what these Citroens use instead of a brake master cylinder - they're fully powered brakes remember, not power assisted like conventional cars).

So, being that the FDV is the first port of call for the pressurised fluid, it's a pretty bad thing to spring a leak! It also required either removing the radiator, or removing the inlet manifold to get to it. Advantage of removing the radiator: You can still run the engine and watch where the leak is coming from. Disadvantage (in my case): Cooling system full of Evans Waterless Coolant, which is very slippy and would need straining and filtering before putting back in, as I'm bound to get loads of crap in it! So the inlet, even though I can't run the car once I have access, was still the way I went:

Found the leak (the union on the left was leaking everytime the pump cut in):

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So it needs to be removed:

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The pipe I'm going for is the one that runs just over the bell housing, almost above the starter motor. It comes over in a curve, then heads down into the black FDV.
It's a bit gutting that I'm having to remove it, as believe it or not that pipe has gone before. Back in 2008 (ish) me and the wife to be were heading up to Wigan area to see some of her relatives. Around Coventry, I noticed lots of black smoke and oil trails on the rear window. I had a major LHM leak, and had to buy £40 worth of LHM just to get me to our destination!
When we got there, I managed to locate another pipe off one of Vanny, who lived (kinda) nearby. My wife's cousin drove me over to get it, then on our return insisted he'd fit it for me as he had all his tools/grubby clothes there etc. I said it couldn't be done without removing rad or inlet, but he reckoned he could do it. He'd lost some bits of his fingers over the years, and reckoned he could get into the small gaps. He only bloody did it too! Sadly, he died (way, way too young) a few months back, so it was cool to have that pipe on there and the memories that went with it. He was a top bloke.

The reason the pipe failed the first time, and the reason it failed again is because the p-clips were missing off of it. Side by side with my LAST spare:

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I swear the one he fitted had the brackets on, but I could be going mad. I might have even removed and refitted it myself since, without the brackets! Who knows, but without brackety, you get fracture.......y:

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Probably quite a lot in the way of vibration going on with everything bolted solid to the engine! 1400psi trying to find its' way out too.

So, new pipe on, car running again and today was the day I had accepted as reality. I headed to the garage it was to reside in for a few months, stopping on the way to attempt to grab some nice photos:

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I gave up after that one, as once you've seen what other people can do, you realise there's little point dicking around with a £99 Fujifilm point-and-shoot! But, I managed to mix two of my interests together here; Cars, and Disused Railways (the interest my missus wished I didn't have!) I quite like trains, but in the same way as planes or big ships. I like the noise (mostly the noise), the massive engines, the history etc. But, for some reason, I have an even bigger interest in railways, specifically railways that aren't even railways anymore. I think it's more the appeal of trying to see history in a changing landscape. You can easily follow the routes of old railways that aren't there anymore, as many of the boundaries of industrial estates, farmland and even modern housing follow the old routes. I don't really know why I find it so interesting. Maybe it's because it's so quiet and calming!
Anyway, now that I've come out of the cupboard as a person who isn't a trainspotter, but spots where trains used to go before but don't anymore (or just 'Beeching' for short), I can reveal that photo was taken above the MVR (Meon Valley Railway) which used to link up Fareham to Alton (onto what is now the Mid-Hants Railway). Would have been a cracking one for preservation, and a shame it got ripped up. I think one of the main things that interest me about it is the WW2 connections, specifically D-Day (look up Droxford station, D-Day plans on Google).


Anywhoo, it's under that bridge.