C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Today, it's cold enough to be a stubborn start, and dry enough too, so before doing anything I lifted the rear seat base to get to the two plastic grommets that allow access to the stuff in the tank.
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The only thing in here that shouldn't be was spider webs and spiders casts. No signs of any damage, leaks, or anything untoward. They're both done up really tightly and while I did have a go at undoing them, it felt a bit futile, they didn't really want to budge at all. Just in case I gave them a knock the other way to ensure they were as tight as could be and then left well alone. The hoses look healthy with no signs of perishing or pinholes, nothing was showing up to the eye, ear, or nose with the car running and my gut feeling was that this was a dead end for fault finding.
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Today, I was expecting it to be a bit awkward to start, it's cold enough, dry enough(even though it rained a lot last night) and the car has been sat idle long enough that I expected it to be one of those many attempts start. I decided to use no throttle, a single warm up of the glow plugs (waiting for the relay to click off, as usual) and turned the key. It fired up first time, no hesitation. That flies in the face of everything I've learned so far about what causes this problem, it should have been incredibly difficult to start today.

I did turn the car off, have a poke around things, and try again and it started perfectly. Oh well. I had a look at what was going on with things in the engine room anyway, might as well. I noticed a blue spade connector hanging loose, I didn't check in the book but I assume this is for the oil pressure sender since the thing it plugs onto goes into the block, rather than a temperature sender.
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This made absolutely no difference to anything. The other thing I checked was the fuel lines. When I turned the engine off some bubbles came back down the line heading towards the back of the car, as they usually do. Bear in mind, the car started and ran like there was nothing wrong with it, so I wasn't expecting to see any air in these lines at all.
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That's quite a large section of air. I'm lost on this starting issue now. Shouldn't that much air in the lines make it an absolute bear to start? I am very confused.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Jaba »

I forget what you have actually eliminated but the fuel feed pipe can rust almost through and become porous to air with out actually leaking.
Have you swapped out the fuel pump primer ? That looks a lot of air. The leak back pipes can give starting probs on the Lucas pump. Dunno about your Bosch's susceptibility.
Does the air come back if you purge it through with the primer ?
The Joy of BX with just one Citroën to my name now. Will I sing Bye Bye to my GTI or will it be Till death us do part.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Things we've done to fault find on this:
Glowplug relay - checked, found good
Glowplugs - new fitted, also checked and found good
Replaced filter feed and return lines - hoses fitted had split, clear hose fitted so I can see what the fuel is doing
Fuel tank inserts - visually checked by popping the covers off under the rear seat, everything appears to be dirty, but otherwise fine, including the bit of hose you can see.
Fuel filter - checked, found clean, recently replaced
Fuel filter housing/water trap - checked, no water to drain off, no sediment or other contaminants present
Priming button - not replaced, but doesn't seem to be introducing air, nor making any difference to how well the car starts.
Cold start cable - checked, nothing obvious found to be amiss
Throttle cable - checked, nothing obvious found to be amiss
Economy - exactly as it should be, whether the car is starting badly or normally

Suggestions not yet tried:
Bypass fuel filter with an in-line filter - I've got a filter to do this with, I just haven't had time to do it.
Valve clearances - it's been suggested the clearances could be tight and since I've never checked them, it's worth doing anyway. Need some tools and shims to do this job which I don't have yet.

Until I can find for definite what the cause is, I'm loathe to throw money at parts that might not cure it. The other complication is that the problem is intermittent, so even when you think it's going to mis/behave, sometimes it doesn't, usually when you're trying to show someone else the problem or record the problem, as Sod's Law dictates it should.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Jaba »

Thats a lot of work to no avail yet! But no great expense that I can see.
In your position I would now be considering other known poor starting causes that are cheap and easy to replace. Fuel primer, front to rear fuel supply pipe for example. They are going to fail at some time in the future anyway so there is some benefit to be had even if they do not fix it.
The Joy of BX with just one Citroën to my name now. Will I sing Bye Bye to my GTI or will it be Till death us do part.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

It was cold and dry today, just the sort of conditions the BX hates to start in. Look at all this luscious ice all over everything.
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Me: I'm going to diagnose the heck out of this starting problem.
BX: Starts without any issue.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

One of the jobs at the new house to make it easier to park up the cars, is to sort out the driveway. Originally, it was just a single-width concrete strip, at some point a previous owner expanded this to make a hard standing of paving slabs next to the garage. Now, since there's a full width dropped curb and potentially a double-width driveway, it seemed daft not to make use of it. The only problem is, a mixed hedge had been planted in the way which meant it was a little awkward to get both vehicles in and out.
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With some effort, we got most of the hedge out in one day, and some of the concrete footings for the original wall was still buried in the ground, in the way. First day of labour proved promising.
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We were left with a couple of stumps to remove but could already see access was going to be much improved. It's good for our neighbour to the left of the shot too since her driveway is really difficult to get in and out of, by removing the hedge and trimming everything back it's a lot easier for her to see when getting in and out of her drive.

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Today, we got the last of the stumps pulled, the concrete footings smashed up and removed, and started laying slabs that we don't need from the back garden. The advantage of using the slabs from the back garden is that they match the existing driveway perfectly, by the time we're done it won't look like we've done anything at all, which is perfect. Plenty of space for 2 cars when this front bit is finished and we'll be gaining a little more when we replace the muddy strips that pass for flower beds along the side of the garage and fence. Another 9 slabs to lay at the front, and 17 for the back, with about 40 slabs on the back garden to make use of means we've got plenty of materials for this. For the car port we're looking at extending the roof joists on the garage out for the roof frame since the end of the joists are visible from outside the garage due to the way the garage is built. You can buy pre-made car port kits, but it looks to be cheaper to get the raw materials in higher quality and custom build so that's probably the way we'll go.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

We got the driveway finished and I have to say, it's lots better to be able to use the access properly now.
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In addition, whatever was making the BX difficult to start now isn't. It's been good as gold the past few days with the exception of the low coolant light coming on due to the slightly dodgy connection at the plug. I'm not sure if the coolant level sensor plug should have one of those metal hairpin things on it, but mine doesn't, which I suspect is why it doesn't always make the best connection.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

I have been giving the BX a few doses of Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure. The last few times it's rained I'd been having a look at what parts of the car were staying dry, rather than wet, in an effort to find the root cause of the water ingress. This led me to the assumption the leak must be either the windscreen surround or the roof gutter seam on the driver's side.
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Having found out the roof gutters are bonded on and something of a nightmare to remove, I wanted to avoid that job. So, an application of CTCCC was duly applied and the roof gutter and a good portion of the driver's side of the windscreen seal slurped up a decent quantity. Then I just had to wait for it to rain, which it did, and I was rewarded with a car that while not bone dry inside, had certainly allowed much less water in than previously. usually, that black floor grommet is full of water, this time it had collected just in front of it in a much more managable quantity.
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Since then, I've run some more CTCCC along the gutter which is no longer accepting any (probably means there was a leak there, now plugged) and then a couple of applications along the entire top edge of the windscreen surround. What was interesting was watching the successive applications disappearing in less and less places, presumeably as it was filling up little tiny holes that have been letting water in.

Now I just have to wait for it to rain enough to see if the leak reappears. I've tried using a hosepipe to simulate rain to show up the leak and for whatever reason this never actually works, the car seems to have to sit in the rain for several hours before it lets any water in so that must mean it's a fairly tiny leak, wherever it is.

In other news, BX has been on donkey duty today hauling furniture and Stuff to the new house when I spotted a skinny locker propped up against a garden wall. After a couple of door knocks, I learned it was put out for scrap, so duly scooped it up as potential garage storage since it's a nice solid thing. It was only after getting it home and showing pictures to a couple of friends that I learned it's a gun locker, which explains the weird bottom-hinged door. I'm planning to use it to store metal bar stock and garden canes and other skinny bits of useful stuff. I daresay I did alright for free on this one, it even still has the key.
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Oh, and I should add, the BX has magically self-healed. Whatever was causing the starting problem has gone away of its own accord and it's gone back to being completely ordinary about starting. It's been so useful while setting up the new house, the massive amount of load space when you drop the rear seat means I haven't had to lean on the other half for use of his Fiat Doblo very often at all. It's difficult to think of a better all-round car for what I want and need really.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky »

Capt'n Tolley's is great stuff, used it on my Minor windscreen with good results. It does need further applications as it seems to wash out after a while but great stuff non the less.
Fantastic result with the locker and starting issues =D>
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

My long term goal is to pull the existing screen out and have a new one fitted. I don't want to do that until I've got my welder up and running again (more money!) because I know there's a good chance I'll find some work behind the old screen when it comes out. Rust never sleeps. Until then CTCCC seems a pretty good option and if it can seal up a Minor it can probably seal up anything... well, apart from Series Landrovers maybe.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky »

Worked great on the screen, didn't do anything for the rotten woodwork :roll:
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by rutter123 »

I've recently fitted new metal f to r fuel lines using 8mm and 10mm copper pipe from a local plumbing merchant, easy to work with and £12 for both and they won't corrode. Quite a saving on the £60 for o/e.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Jaba »

rutter123 wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:40 am
I've recently fitted new metal f to r fuel lines using 8mm and 10mm copper pipe from a local plumbing merchant, easy to work with and £12 for both and they won't corrode. Quite a saving on the £60 for o/e.
CAVEAT: Yes copper is a very easy to work with option. BUT and I have no evidence to quote, it is only suitable for diesel not petrol. Something undesirable chemically happens when copper is used with petrol. This is why I have stuck with using the standard steel fuel lines on my GTi. When fitting newlines it is easy to spray them over before fitting.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Not a problem for me if I do go that route since mine's a dirty diesel. One to bear in mind for the future.

---

I opted for the logical (amazing, I know) approach of using a cable tie and we'll see how we get on with that. If it still throws the light on erroneously I guess another round of vigorous cleaning is in order followed by another attempt to squish the connector for a tighter fit.
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In other news, after a couple of days of dry weather we had some rain. Normally not a momentous thing in and of itself.
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In this instance it is, because finally, after trying to track down where the water was getting in, it appears to not be any more. The footwell was bone dry, not even a dribble from the little spot where it had been seen coming in before. Looks like the final leak was somewhere on the windscreen surround and that the CTCCC stuff has done its work. In celebration, I refitted the carpet.
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That means the outstanding issues on the BX - reluctance to start, water leak, erroneous low coolant light - are all now resolved. That doesn't mean there aren't things I want to sort out, there's a few spots of surface corrosion here and there I'd like to address and a few other cosmetic niggles.

The other thing I did today was measure the garage and the cars (approximate dimensions on the cars, since I don't have a helper to hold the other end of the tape).

Garage
Width (door opening, narrowest point) - 6'11" | 290.5cm
Length - 15' 4 1/2" | 468cm

Princess
Width (to door mirrors, widest part) - 6'1" | 185.5cm
Length - 14' 6" | 447cm

BX
Width (to door mirrors, widest part) - 6'5" |194.3cm
Length - 13'9" | 418cm

The problem with the garage isn't so much the length of it as it is the width. You can get both cars in there but then it's almost impossible to actually get in or out of the car because there's no room to open the door. I'm not a big guy and even I struggled to get out of the gap I could open the BX door into. The Princess would be easier to get in and out of, the mirrors being tucked in make the car a bit narrower than the BX with it's big sticky-out mirrors. Even without that as an issue, once you've got a car in the garage there is no storage space, let alone work space. Seriously disappointed about the garage situation really as ideally I wanted the Princess in there out of the weather, it's just not practical if I want to use the car at all rather than storing it.

So that's why the garage is actually a glorified shed. A much smaller car wouldn't pose so much of a problem, obviously, and it seems the garage was designed for just that. We did learn the house was built in the 70s, one of our neighbours moved in 43 years ago when the houses were brand new, and ours was put up at the same time. That still doesn't entirely account for the size of the garage, the Princess is pretty much contemporary (the overall design didn't really change much throughout production) to the house and is just the sort of car the people buying a bungalow like this would have had then and it won't sensibly fit. I suppose it's no different to modern houses with a 'garage' that you can't even get the smallest contemporary car into, the garage is more of a selling point than an actual viable structure.

Oh well, guess I'll have to build a new garage then won't I. Oh dear. What a pity.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

It's Dad accessory time!

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There is a good reason for these, I've found a few places I park have low walls and I've been dinking the edge of the doors because the wall doesn't line up with the paltry bump protector on the door. Now, I'm aware that I could get a modern 'invisible' edge protector but why would I when I can get period ones? Chopped them in half so one pair does all four doors and so they actually fit the door, which is totally okay since this was also a period thing to do.

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I can now fling my doors open with gay abandon!