Talking B____X

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
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Philip Chidlow
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Talking B____X

Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:57 am

Enjoying reading other member's blogs I thought I would start my own. I will try to keep it BX, (well, Citroen) - or at least car/motoring orientated. But I am known to wander off on a tangent so bear with me :D

So, where do I start? My recent acquisitions seem an obvious place: My 1991 BX 16v (which you might have read about elsewhere on the Forum) and my wife, Liz's 1995 ZX Volcane Turbo-D.

Work on the 16v is now stopped at the moment due to lack of funds, but I have done (or at least had done) everything that needed doing (spheres, rear arm bearings, radiator, alternator belt, exhaust, cambelt check (it's new-ish, as I was told), unbuckled Speedlines sourced and fitted with new rubber... and a few other little bits). Took her out for a drive in the country yesterday and along a fast winding B-road she showed her mettle. A fine handling car (enhanced by the new tyres now) and quick too. It would appear that (as has been said before) the way to get the 16v doing what it's made for you really do have to work within that 4,250-6,000 rev range. Which means you are serenaded by a really addictive engine sound. Very rewarding!

Jobs to do include cosmetic work on the back bumper - repair, respray and remounting (it's unattached on the o/s end so I'll have to work out a way of getting that fixed too) and some paintwork on the tailgate and n/s rear arch trim. I'm not sure the reversing lights are working. I'll check. Could be the switch I guess as it's unlikely both bulbs have blown.

As for the ZX we are designating that our run-about but also we have just booked three weeks away in France in the Summer and given it's economy we will be using it on holiday too. A bit small maybe, but I do have a virtually brand new set of Citroen ZX roof bars and a roof box...

This is probably a bit boring. Sorry! But what I will do is report on living with a 16v and who knows what experience will reveal. Also I will do a sub-theme, if you like, on France and motoring abroad: I used to live in France and my experiences there with our 1974 GSX and later my Visa GTi will be touched upon I'm sure.

Watch this space.
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

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nstarmore
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Post by nstarmore » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:31 pm

Not boring at all, that 16v sounds tidy and is just making me want one more (damn insurance). Its nice to hear of a ZX as well since they are never really enthused about, I wouldn't mind one myself if I had justification, much more interesting than a Peugeot 306 and just as fun to drive from what I've heard.

I look forward to hearing about the Visa, they are a bit before my time. Ever since I was gutted about not being able to afford the £90 to buy one locally a few years back (I was 16) I've hankered after one, awesome looking things.
Nic

- 1995 Xantia SX TD (daily hack)
- 1987 BX 16V (project)

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:12 pm

Well, the story of my Citroen experiences in France is basically this:

When we were looking to move over, we made a trip over in Summer 2000. At one point we visited a small market in Laroque-Timbault, close to where we were thinking of settling and I saw a photo of an orange GSX with a phone number. I took the number down and sort of left it at that, until, in 2001 we moved to France and I fancied a second car (at the time our Mercedes 300SE was a bit OTT for where we were). So eventually I got to buy it - for €400 - but it wasn't in totally brilliant condition, having been stood under a tree for 2 years. After two months, however - and a further €700 - it was sorted, a new CT (MOT), with all the welding done, a new exhaust, front discs (which were inboard I found out!) and skinny Firestone tyres. We also had rear seat belts fitted.The hydraulics and electrics were absolutely fine. Liz and I worked hard on the cleaning and cosmetics - it took two days to carefully scrape off the tree sap - using two pieces of thin aluminium which were soft enough not to scratch the paintwork. I drove it around for about a month before I took it in to the local Citroen specialist (who was a real gent) for a service and new spheres on the rear. I drove it home and spent the evening hand sewing a new leather steering wheel cover on!

The next day was Christmas Eve and we set off in the GSX 20kms up the road to a Christmas market, but never made it. Travelling along a deserted N21 I saw two cars waiting to cross our carriageway but seeing as they were just sitting there I thought they'd wait. Instinctively I did slow down though. Just as well as the Fiat Uno waited until just the last second before lurching out of the side road into my path. I would have missed her but she saw me and slammed on the brakes. I hit her front wheel at about 30 kph...

So the GSX was a write off. :cry: :twisted:

On reflection I wish I'd bought the black vinyl sports interior off the scrappy as it was sooo cool!

Here's the GSX before that fateful day:
Image

Three months later I spied a red Visa GTi on the roadside with an AV in the window and, well couldn't resist. I discovered the owner was a mechanic at the local Citroen garage. We had a test drive and I have to say it seemed very nicely set up - and a lot faster than I'd imagined... it soon became apparent why: he'd fitted a 30,000-mile 1.9 litre 8v BX GTi engine into it.

'Pig' - as we called her was a fantastic drive, (not so much fun for the passengers maybe) and the only problem I had was a bad gearbox leak. Took ages to fix, but got there in the end.

Image

Image

So what happened? Why haven't I still got 'Pig'? After all there was no rust :shock: and the car was still red, not pink! Well we had to return to the UK in 2003 and I asked the local Citroen specialist I'd used before to find a buyer for it... He couldn't and time ran out so I offered it to him for not much (€300!!!). Still didn't want it (more a 2CV man he was), but he said he'd hold onto it until a buyer came along.

We returned to the UK but three months later 'Pig' still hadn't been sold, so I asked him to service the car, do a check-over and report back. It needed a new radiator - but that was it... So I arranged to fly over and pick it up.

To cut a long story short I went out, with my 10-year old daughter for a short break, We picked up the car (I paid him €100 for the work and rad - which wasn't bad!) and off we went. Agen to Calais (well over 600 miles) without a hitch, and then Dover to Chelmsford. This was the time of the run up to the Iraq war and the French were not exactly flavour of the month. No one believes me when I say we were nearly forced off the M25 twice by, let's say vans driven by big tatooed guys with short hair - once as we approached the tunnel we had to brake hard and swerve to avoid the wall!

At that point I really wished I hadn't come back to this country. :evil:

Anyway, the Visa was later sold on eBay for €800 to a Belgian enthusiast, so it might still be around somewhere!

Two months later we bought DGK - our fine GTi auto, which stayed with us for over four years and kick-started the whole BX thing for us!
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

M

Re: Talking B____X

Post by M » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:18 pm

Philip chidlow wrote: But I am known to wander off on a tangent so bear with me :D
Fly off at a tangent with pleasure - its far more fun than "I changed the oil this weekend".

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nstarmore
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Re: Talking B____X

Post by nstarmore » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:29 pm

Marty wrote:
Philip chidlow wrote: But I am known to wander off on a tangent so bear with me :D
Fly off at a tangent with pleasure - its far more fun than "I changed the oil this weekend".
Agreed, all that is 10 times more fascinating than anything on my blog.

Both the Visa and the GSX are stunning, and the stories behind them equally interesting. Sounds like you've had some fun (and some scary moments), fair play.
Nic

- 1995 Xantia SX TD (daily hack)
- 1987 BX 16V (project)

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:32 pm

I'm getting to understand the 16v a bit more now. It takes a few hundred miles to get used to a car and I can now relate to the enthusiasm demonstrated by other 16v owners. It's not - as I always suspected - as good a day-to-day BX as the wonderful silver GTi auto we had... but it is more economical. Around town it's under 30 mpg, on a run I get upper 30's maybe.

Interesting facts: A 16v has a power to weight ratio (OK, when new, but not run in!) around the 152 bhp per ton mark. Interestingly a new BMW 3201 M Sport has 126 per ton - and even the Focus ST has less than 160 bhp per ton. There's a lot to be said for the lightweight BX.

This got me thinking of 30-70 times: the 16v has - on paper - a 7.5 second score on that front. What about other cars of that ilk? I know the 405 Mi16 was about a quarter of a second slower than that (not that it means much). Does anyone know of a good, general purpose car statistics website?

What also amazes me - and really confirms the essential good design of the BX - is the amount of commonality/standardisation of parts across the range, with a BX14TGE sharing many parts with a GTi. It' would appear the 16v was singled out for a few extra special components, but even then much remains standard.

TTFN :D
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:56 am

More time spent with the 16v. I am so relieved that the car is transformed from the car I bought a few weeks back. I must confess as to having had severe doubts as to the wisdom of my purchase... But now je ne regret rien... Except maybe not haggling on price! With the new rad/hoses/ clips/ coolant change the temp stays doggedly at 88 degrees - even sat in traffic. Which is a good thing. Oil pressure's good - even better after the service, and starts fine hot or cold... Now I must consider the cosmetics. Can anyone offer advice on removing a 16v bumper? (Vanny's gone quiet on me re: the 'spare' bumper he had - understandably given the 'Billy' incident lol)...

I am impressed with the ZX. It is pretty well put together, having a nice solid feel, and in Volcane form looks quite good even these days. We are going to use the ZX to take us on holiday - if all goes well - this year and I imagine even the lack of air conditioning won't prevent it from being a good choice. Except - it's small. So roof bars and roof box will be going on. I wonder what effect that'll have on economy? I assume losing maybe 4 mpg? So all in it might cost us £12- £15 more for the holiday... Not too bad.

Of course, half the 'fun' of holidays is navigating through unfamiliar territory - our recently acquired TomTom will take some of that 'fun' away, but I'm not worried. I must say that device has proved itself on several occasions now and I am a convert. Especially if I have to find somewhere on my own, where stopping to check a map is a thing of the past...

eBay is a blessing and a curse, isn't it? I spend money I don't have on things I really don't need some of the time. But when you are at a loss as to where to get something locally - especially we've found, furniture and domestic fixtures/fittings, it's brilliant. But my advice is don't forget the local paper - it's the place for sheds, garden stuff generally, but especially children's things like bikes.. cheaper too!

One last thing - is it me, or is Ashes to Ashes a waste of time? Not a patch on Life on Mars, and why does she have to look so Eighties in the first place? And Hunt get's fewer good lines. And the Italian restaurant is surreal... almost like a parallel universe... (hang on, maybe I'm getting the point? :lol: :roll: ).

Anyway, I won't know 'cos I've stopped watching it.
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

tim leech

Post by tim leech » Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:48 pm

Rear bumper s a easy diy job, its only 6 torx screws, you will need to remove the rear lamps and pull the boot seal away to get at the top 3 but these are both dead easy, I would advise to coat the 3 screws underneath the bottom of bumper with WD40 first as they have a tendency to seize up.

Your haynes manual should be with you today if you have any problems :D

Satnavs are a god send, I couldnt do without one now, one reason is the speed camera detector and also having a more accurate speedo, the ones on some of my motors are way out.

As for ebay, dont get me started lol!

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:38 pm

Tim, the manual arrived today - thanks!

Re: Bumper. I will have a go with the bumper sometime next month. While it's being repaired and resprayed I can make sure all is well behind it.
Last edited by Philip Chidlow on Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:39 pm

Another weekend flies by. The joys of parenthood: my 14-year old daughter - was I ever that lazy? My 4-year old daughter - was I ever that noisy?

Anyway, it's back to the relative calm of work today... and guess what: I'm designing a number of books at the moment and the two in the forefront are: one aimed at 5-7-year old girls and the other aimed at 10-14-year old girls - is this some sort of twisted destiny? :lol: Luckily I have the book I'm writing, illustrating (in part) and designing to keep me sane.

Nice 16v cropped up on eBay (see Spotting). I think I recognise the plate - possibly from the CCC National or even FCS? Is the owner known, I wonder to any of us?

It lists a few things that have been done that intrigue me: "Engine Mountings replaced with Stiffer, Competition type"... "Engine Breather Hoses replaced with SILICONE ones (Last forever)" (where do you get a set of those from?... " Gear Selection Rod Linkages replaced with ROSE-JOINTED Type"... Seems it's been cared for. Makes me a bit upset that I paid more than his reserve for mine bearing in mind what needed doing! :lol: :roll:

Now on to a particular pet interest, so to speak, of mine: Why didn't Citroen - in the years of continuing WRC successes during the last ten to twelve years - capitalise on it by 'doing a Subaru' and bringing out a Xsara WRC? But hang on, they did, sort of... http://cgi.ebay.fr/xsara-citroen-sport- ... dZViewItem ... and this got me thinking: What Xsara (RHD) model - the VTS maybe? - would make a good starting point? Thing is, you don't see many red Xsaras in the UK, full-stop.

Get yourself a nice red BX GTi or 16v and put some white 15" rims on and, well you could sort of make a WRC 'statement'!

There's a rather OTT C2 'round here: all red, white OZ alloys and Citroen sport stickers and I must say it is certainly head-turning... Not sure I'd want to go balls out and do a BX 'homage' - something I wanted to do once upon a time:
Image

On another subject, the 16 valve's front bumper. There are two 'ducts' moulded into it that, well, aren't ducts...
Image

One might imaging that these would be the position of brake cooling ducts. Is it really just a 'style' feature, or does anyone 'unblank' them (putting in the requisite mesh for protection)?



Cheerio
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

tim leech

Post by tim leech » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:32 pm

I think there just styling Phil, one removes to uncover the towing eye. I have considered cutting the backs of mines ad inserting mesh to help with cooling,

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:15 pm

I reckon the benefit of additional brake cooling (and it's debatable that there'd be much extra) is academic as the brakes don't like being cold - mine are much better warmed up :D
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

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Post by Kitch » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:03 pm

You could open the vents up Phil, but all they'll do is cool down your shit-shields, and they're usually pretty cool anyway :P

On a different note I'm trying to sort out your login, but in honesty the place has kinda died of late so you're not missing much!

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Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:06 pm

Cheers Kitch :D
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol

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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:49 pm

Councils and traffic policy.

A shambles.

I read a letter in a magazine yesterday that sums up my feelings on the matter of speed humps and so on - with one important proviso.

To summarise, the writer couldn't understand that the council, concerned as it was to reduce carbon emissions from private cars, introduced 20 mph limits all over the place, when it is acknowledged (according to the AA amongst others) that the emissions from cars doing 20 mph are higher than when they're doing 30. And then, because no-one stuck to the limit, they plastered speed humps everywhere. Which exacerbates the problem of emissions further (not to mention the environmental/emissions factors involved in putting these in place). Why, the writer asks, (slightly off on a tangent) doesn't the council use that effort into filling all the potholes and improving the road markings?

All this strikes a chord. I hate speed bumps, I have four one direction and 10 in the other direction from where I live and it is BORING! to say the least.

BUT, surely the point is about speed - not the environment? We don't want cars speeding along in a residential area at 30 mph? Do we? Hang on, it was OK before... what's changed these days? It's not like the streets are full of children playing football, cowboys and indians or whatever (like when I was young).

I do not want a single child hurt by a car, of course, but part of the problem is not the speed at which the cars go - 30 or under seems fair enough as a guide - but the awareness and attitude of the driver. It seems to me that the root cause of much of the problem with 'our roads' is the driver or the road planning.

In my opinion, the sooner we (OK, the authorities) reinforce the message that the driver is responsible at all times the better. Where there is a clear case of causing death by dangerous driving, the offender should be punished as severely as any murderer. Driving tests should be harder and more rigorous, but subsidised to make them at least no less accessible. Probationary period restrictions should be strictly enforced. Limiting what cars inexperienced drivers can drive initially is an option. Providing incentives for advance training. More TV 'public information' broadcasts highlighting common errors and misconceptions. And so on.

But most importantly, rather that removing responsibility from drivers by applying increasingly draconian control measures (even self-drive cars are being designed for Christ's sake), and by tracking our every move at the cost of hundreds of millions, why not EDUCATE, TRAIN, ENCOURAGE and PUNISH (as appropriate)?

Similarly councils have an obligation to ensure that danger is, where possible, designed out of road layouts: everyone knows an example (or several) or where this plainly isn't the case.

I am in agreement with those that suggest after retirement age, drivers should take a special retest - and every five years thereafter. Maybe we introduce a maximum age as well as a minimum age for driving? I also agree that young persistent offenders cannot be allowed to drive until they've taken a special course (as in done in some areas already).

Basically, we, as drivers, acknowledging our responsibility, should be treated more fairly by being allowed to drive. The freedom the car gives is unparalleled, but let's not make it such a guilt trip. It just needs sensible governance. Something that's in pretty short supply.
• COMING SOON... 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
and some Ford tat lol