C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:29 pm

Today, Mike found some Maserati tri-tone airhorns. Neither of us know where they came from but they're mine now. Very loud, much beep. That's one potential MoT fail now fixed.
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The rear wiper that looked okay decided today was the day it was going to fall apart. Mike found a box of wiper blades that he forget he bought and had one the correct size. Best price!
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I gave the interior a much needed vacuum, wiped down the vinyl, cleaned the glass... it needs a proper deep clean at home but at least now it smells nicer in there and isn't covered in dust and workshop grime.
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At the back, I removed the Chevronics sticker which was looking a bit faded and worn out, and both of the France badges because I really didn't like where they were situated. The rear end looks much tidier now.
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I am putting the little aluminium France badge back on, next to the number plate, because it's a nice little thing. I repainted it and gave it a coat of varnish and I'll stick that on when I'm next at the unit.
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The only thing to do before the MoT now will be to make sure the tyre pressures are as they ought to be on the day.

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

Post by vulgalour » Thu May 02, 2019 7:47 pm

Back from the MoT and I am pleased to report it is a CLEAN SHEET PASS.

The drive out was fairly uneventful apart from one of the front wheel trims flying off for no reason. We did recover it after we got home and it's a little bit damaged, annoyingly, the one it threw off was the one I restored too.
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The other thing it did, on a long uphill slog, was put the STOP light on and the low coolant light. Quite alarming after so many uneventful miles so we pulled over onto the hard shoulder to investigate. Loads of coolant, nothing too hot, and a wiggle of the coolant sensor/temp plug resulted in the lights both going out until after the MoT (phew!). Problem here is just a corroded connection. The lights were on most of the way home, intermittently going out, and the glowplug light kept flickering too. Both are down to slightly crusty connections since a very quick sandpaper of them at the unit managed to get all the lights that shouldn't be lit to go out again. I need to get some switch cleaner and sort this out properly.
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There's few things more alarming than that angry STOP sign when you're bumbling down the motorway. The other issue on the way back was a very sharp corner catching me out and the Michelins doing their usual trick of trying to understeer me off the road. I don't really get the raving for Michelins, whenever I've driven a car on them they give absolutely no warning that you're past their limit. I will concede the tyres are quite old and the roads were wet, but I was well under the speed limit so it shouldn't have happened at all. Just as well new tyres all round are a job for as soon as I can get it booked in locally. That was really the only drama for the entire day. Drive out and back was otherwise uneventful and it really is a pleasant car to drive, I could easily rack up many miles in it. Now its home I can get on with a proper deep clean once the wheather improves somewhat and I've a schedule of maintenance to work through.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Warren Nel » Thu May 02, 2019 10:10 pm

Brilliant! Absolutely top job.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky » Thu May 02, 2019 10:19 pm

I never doubted it for a minute, you've put so much work in I would have put money on a pass.
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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Thu May 02, 2019 10:33 pm

Here's a little silent video of some of the trip home. I like to see what the car actually looks like on the road when I'm driving and my overall impression is small car is small! I really want to fit a high-level brake light too, just for peace of mind.

https://youtu.be/4Hs2wQaMEQU

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky » Thu May 02, 2019 11:09 pm

I had a Ford Sierra before the GTi and although the BX was aimed more at the Escort sized market I found the interior space better in the BX than the supposedly bigger Ford.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by TizzyD » Thu May 02, 2019 11:43 pm

Well done on the MOT =D> =D> great feeling when they pass first time (mines only passed first time once in the 7 years I've owned it)

Size wise the BX is on the smaller side of cars on the road these days in a world full of cross-overs / 4x4s and SUV, even against other saloon cars the BX is small but the boxy shape is a big part of that, modern cars have just got flabby.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Fri May 03, 2019 12:44 am

The perception of size with the BX is peculiar, it feels like a larger car inside than it is on the outside and it's much narrower than I expect it to be. You're also fairly low down and yet, somehow, you don't feel particularly vulnerable.

The wind deflectors are great for getting lots of fresh air into the cabin but, since mine are a bit crazed with age (rather like its owner some days) they can obscure vision a bit at junctions so I probably need to replace those at some point. The rear view is also odd, in my old estate the rear view was excellent but in the hatch the roof seems to dip down quite a long way so it's a bit disconcerting to have so much less view of the road behind me through the rear window, especially after being so used to the roofline of the Princess. The mirrors do make up for it, they're excellent, and I've found that the C pillar isn't as much of an issue as I thought it might be, though that is perhaps because I'm used to them on the Princess and use my mirrors to look around them, as it were.

On today's drive (which is the first time I've actually properly driven this car) I was impressed at just how quiet it is even at motorway speeds, not at all what I'm used to from an old school diesel. Bags of torque whenever you need it which makes up for the seemingly very short first to fourth gears, and suits the seemingly very tall fifth gear. The gear change is much closer than I'm used to (again, Princess stuff) but has a nice positive clunk to the gate which is particularly satisfying to use.

I was most impressed by the ride. My old estate was fairly worn out and even that was impressive compared to most so in this car, whose accumulator seems to rarely tick and whose suspension seems very healthy, the ride is quite impressive. It's unflustered by broken road surfaces, glides over the rare nice bits of road, and when we did hit a particularly nasty pothole, if it weren't for the noise of hitting it, you'd barely notice it had happened. Speed bumps are not an obstacle.

The steering is surprisingly light for being manual and just direct enough without being twitchy at speed. Even when parking, the steering isn't too heavy that the thin single spoke wheel is any sort of problem. The arm rest is perhaps a little far away for me to be comfortable but this is made up for by the angle of the steering wheel allowing you to rest your hands and arms on it to some degree in a way that's quite nice.

Brakes are brilliant. My only issue with the brakes is adjusting my application of them to come to a nice smooth stop. I'm still in the jerky-on-off Citroen brakes thing at times because, again, I'm used to the Princess' good but older brakes with their combination of drums and discs. The other thing I had to remind myself is not to brake TOO hard, because the brakes do seem comparable in their efficacy to modern cars, which you don't expect from something this old.

The controls are, for the most part, easy to use. The wiper stalk is still taking some getting used to, I keep wanting to push it up rather than down to turn the wipers on. Similarly twisting the stalk to turn the lights on feels counter-intuitive, even though I've had cars with that system before. Hazard switch is exactly where you think to go for it, so that's good. Radio is in a daft place, as is normal for cars of the era, but since I pretty much always drive with the radio off (again, the Princess influencing me here since it has no radio) that's not been an issue. I do particularly like how clear the instrument layout is and how easy to read without taking your attention off the road. I also like that the seatbelt just fits nicely, it doesn't feel like the buckle or the B pillar mount is in the wrong place as it can on some cars. Some people really dislike the single wiper at the front, I personally love it, I find it very effective.

At the moment, I feel very lucky indeed. I own two of my favourite cars of all time, both are road legal and both, for the most part, are in pretty good shape and shouldn't be too difficult to keep that way now.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Jaba » Fri May 03, 2019 9:15 am

All of us here would agree with you about the pleasures of BX driving. Enjoy !
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Tim Leech » Fri May 03, 2019 10:53 am

looking good, white does polish up well, the trick is to get the paint cut back and then seal it, you can polish flat paint and it looks shiny for a shirt while.

As for the hubcaps, heat the lugs up and bent them back, sometimes its best to remove the wheel nuts and fit the trim first.
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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Fri May 03, 2019 11:26 am

Today's task is clean-up, the weather is just overcast enough to make it a pleasant job and I'm hoping it stays that way. Once it's all been clayed and deep cleaned I'll see whether or not it needs a machine polish and then, of course, it will get a good dose of wax all over to keep it nice. New tyres ordered last night too. I *might* be making the Citroen Car Club meet at Wetherby later this month, if work allows, especially since Meter Rat and Dean were hoping to get their BXs over there for the event.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Fri May 03, 2019 4:58 pm

Downtime today coincided with a pleasantly overcast day which meant it was ideal for doing claybar work. Anyone that's tried to clean a white car outside will know how annoying it is to do if it's a sunny day, overcast is far better.
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The roof was much dirtier than I expected especially since the car had mostly been under a cover. I couldn't do the whole car today, I didn't have time, so I just focused on the top half and the driver's side half and I'll do the rest over the weekend when I have more time.
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Top of the doors were also surprisingly dirty.
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One great thing about the claybar is that it will, with persistance, get rid of that sort of dirt tidemark you get around badges. Before, during, and after shots. It takes a while, but it does eventually clean off all those stubborn marks.
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The bonnet was much the same story as the roof. The bumper I treated to Cillit Bang degreaser and a scrubbing brush which got a lot of the oily dirty off, now I have to go at it with Cif bathroom cream cleaner to get the ingrained dirt out and bring the plastic back to its original colour.
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Paint on the roof is reasonable. I know there's a section of repaint at the front from windscreen repairs before I got the car, it could do with some very fine wet and dry and a polish just to blend it out nicely. There was a lot of grinder spray across the roof where it hadn't been repainted and this seemed to be the bulk of the dirt. However, once cleaned back and given a coat of wax, the paint was looking and feeling much nicer. It's more obvious in person than on camera.
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At the back I did the driver's side of the tailgate and tried out my chrome pen on the Citroen badge, which worked pretty well. I'll give the badge a second coat with the chrome pen and then I may mask it off and give it a coat of satin varnish just to make it look more like it was when new and take the edge of the chrome shine.
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BX was on shopping duty today, which it did without complaint as you'd expect. Filled it up too, and was surprised how small the fuel tank is. I hope the weather is nice this weekend so I can carry on with the deep clean.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Meter rat » Sat May 04, 2019 10:09 am

That is starting to look the business. Look forward to meeting you at Wetherby. Mind you, I parked next to Dean at the X rally and still didn’t meet him!

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat May 04, 2019 1:36 pm

Delighted for you that you have the MOT pass and can enjoy driving it now.
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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Sat May 04, 2019 7:20 pm

Was supposed to be recuperating today, but got a bit cabin fevery, so took my time getting through a bit more work on the BX. Namely, I wanted to get the bumpers looking good again. As before, I just used Cif bathroom cream cleaner, it's just abrasive enough to clean up textured plastic like this without doing any harm and when used in conjunction with a bit of water and a nail brush and toothbrush, the results are pretty good. Afterwards, I give the plastics a wipe down with Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber care to prevent fading and keep them clean. It's quite a rewarding job, especially on the white 'body coloured' bumpers the BX has.
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I got the other top half of the car clayed, which required a lot more work than I was expecting. Then I T-Cut everything I'd clayed which took the polishing down to the bodyline just above the door handles, and then waxed everywhere I'd T-Cut to protect the finish. T-Cut is ideal on the solid paint on the BX and dealt with some of the marks that the claybar couldn't remove, leaving the bodywork very smooth afterwards. I did it all by hand, there's no need to get into machine polishers until I've got everything cleaned right back and waxed so I can see what I'm dealing with.
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Since it was a nice enough day I thought I'd go to the spot I took some shots of the Rover when I'd given it the deep clean treatment. The location is quiet and the lighting there shows the car in a fairly honest way. The one thing it doesn't do is show just how much of a difference in the colour on the car there is between the bits I've cleaned and the bits I haven't, the lower portion of the bodywork is quite yellow in comparison to the top.
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One thing that was bugging me on the way back home was the sunvisor clip jiggling a bit. I knew this was broken when I collected the car from Dean and hadn't investigated further. Fortunately, all that had broken was the spacer column and the break itself was clean. A black sealant of some sort had been used to attempt a repair which hadn't held but that meant it was really easy to clean back and repair more properly.
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Once set, I put it back in the car and now the sunvisors aren't jiggly any more. It feels quite solid and I hope it lasts. I tacked the two pieces together with superglue first to get them located, and then filled the void in the back of the piece with the epoxy, since I had some epoxy left over I put it in the good side too since it wouldn't hurt for that to have a bit of extra strength as well.
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Last of all, a short walkaround video of the car and some of it's idiosyncracies.
https://youtu.be/Bc568tP1n0M