C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by rutter123 »

That may be worth a try but won't account for the foul smelling exhaust.
Might be worth checking around the filler neck and where it joins the tank, apart from that there is a breather that runs along the rear beam and another that couples to the filler neck. I can't see that any other fuel pipes can leak as they all attach to the top of the tank unless your supply or return lines are perished but this should be easily visible just in front of the o/s/r wheel.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by jamescarruthers »

Hope you don’t mind but I asked over on Club XM for a recommendation of a diesel place near you. Got one that’s far-ish and two warnings not to drive with the fuel timing out so much! Might be worth bearing that in mind.

Here is the link: http://www.club-xm.co.uk/forum/viewtopi ... f3cd0191d0

Will, Dieselman, is particularly good and helped lots with my 2.1 XM.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Having had chance to read through the link there, I will say it's very unlikely the timing belt is incorrect. The reason for that is the timing belt was one of the things that was done before putting the car on the road when I bought it and it hasn't been disturbed since, even when the pump was removed and refitted. It's more likely that the running issue is down to air ingress into the fuel, as mentioned in the linked thread above, which is messing up the pump timing and causing incomplete combustion.

As things stand at the moment, I'm unwilling to drive the car further than on and off a transporter or trailer to get it to a specialist. Diesel on the road is a horrible thing to encounter and I'm not going to inflict it on someone else, also I don't want to be stranded if something decides to let go spectacularly whilst driving.

I've got a week off work coming up in a few days so I'm going to make use of that time to get under the car (with it on axle stands since I like not being squished) and have a good poke about to see if I can find the cause of the leak. If it's anything like the other leaks it will be a really tiny pinhole, or a perished pipe end, or something hard to spot like that.

Hopefully I can just replace the remaining flexible fuel hoses and that will allow the pump to be timed properly and I can put this issue behind me. Had I not recently moved house and took an income hit due to the pandemic, I could just throw this at a specialist and pay them to sort it, as it is I'm having to be a little more cautious with big spends like that so it's pretty frustrating right now.

It certainly hasn't made me any fonder of diesel engines, that much is for sure, though given the carburettor issues they can offer I'm not sure I would have been better off holding out for a 1.4 petrol BX in this spec like I originally wanted. Ah well, it'll sort.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by jamescarruthers »

Well good luck with it anyway!

I’ve only ever owned petrol BXs. I’m sure you’re will be back on magnificent wafty hydraulic form soon!
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Hooray, time off work! Got myself under the BX this evening to see if I could find the source of the diesel leak, a leak that mysteriously hasn't reappeared. With the exception of the rear suspension sphere, nothing is wet under here. I'm pretty sure the reason the rear suspension sphere is weeping is due to the union between the sphere and the thing it screws into which is, I'm told, a fairly common BX thing. I haven't found the parts needed to sort this out and the weep isn't so bad that it'll fail an MoT, besides which it only manifests when the car has rested overnight and had a little sink. So, underneath the car then. There's nothing obvious at all from the filler neck to the fuel tank, and the fuel tank itself seems in decent shape, what I can see of it.
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There's a couple of steel lines on the inner sill that are a bit surface rusty, but they're not pitted or wet so while replacing this will probably be sensible, I'd be surprised if they're the cause of the issue.
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I made sure to use my special invisible ramp on the other side of the car. You can see there's a bit of rust appearing at the end of the sill, I'll need to address this soon and if the tank needs to come off, then would be a good time to do it.
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Other than that, everything is normal. Nothing is wet or damp, it's all quite dry back here, and there's been no reappearance of the diesel under the car so I'm not even sure what was leaking before. I know it wasn't LHM as it smelled like diesel and wasn't green.
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I have a mystery oil leak at the front too, the lower engine mount has a bit of oil on it but I can't figure out where that's coming from as everything I can see higher up is dry. This seems to be engine oil rather than LHM or diesel.
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Now for the annoying bit. With the car up on the ramp so I could roll around underneath it simply didn't want to stall, idled like a champ and behaved perfectly normally. As soon as I started getting it back on the floor it tried to stall, and then succeeded. It's not particularly difficult to restart, though it is notably easier to restart when the rear end is higher than the front end. I did read there was a reason for this when I was looking for what causes running problems with diesels but I can't remember what the reason was, typically.
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I had a look under the bonnet and the line to the preheater looked a little damp, but was dry to the touch. That could be the issue? I know the preheater can cause issues and while I didn't think my car had one, it does, it's a weird inline metal cylinder thing on the driver's side and is on the line in to the fuel filter. Next test is the jerry can test, I don't have that sorted today, and this will basically rule out everything from the tank to the fuel filter since we'll be bypassing them all.

At this point I'm thinking the sensible course is to drop the fuel tank and replace all the fuel lines that I haven't already. It's not a particularly expensive job, just an involved one. It will also give me a chance to have a look at the end of the sills where you can't really see and deal with any issues that might be developing there. I'm pretty sure all of this fuel issue is down to the previous owner that ran the thing on unfiltered used veg oil and it's just taken this long to work through the system and start causing problems, if nothing else it's another good reason for dropping the fuel tank so any gunge in there can be got out.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Jaba »

Tickover good on ramp: That's because gravity is helping the fuel flow from the tank to the pump so there is less suction from the pump. The conclusion to be drawn from this I leave to you. BXs have been known to behave similarly when parked facing downhill.
The rusty fuel feed pipe could well be the culprit here. Could you bypass the preheater to eliminate this from the equation ?
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Right then. Let's isolate the fuel pipes and fuel tank from the equation by running the BX off the jerry can. Initially this went well and after a while I turned the car off and back on again, and it was going fine until it wasn't. Hmm... a few repeats and it wasn't actually improving. Right, so the problem is likely between the jerry can and the engine then, and most likely between the jerry can and the injection pump so that means it's probably a blocked fuel filter.
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Took the fuel filter off, emptied it out and honestly, there wasn't anything of note to see. The diesel was nice and clean, there wasn't any gungey deposits or big chunks, the filter and seals still looked in great shape so I just put it all together again. It now needed a lot more throttle to idle so I took a chance and adjusted the injection pump to a more normal looking location than where I had it before and it just... works.
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I mean, I waited a while for the car to stall and it just didn't. I gave it a lot of revs and then let off which would normally make it die and it wouldn't. Took it for a drive around the block and it was perfectly happy with no attempts to stall or anything. It just works. I have no idea what I've fixed, I don't know what was wrong, all I know is that it works as it should now... or at least it does today. We'll see if it's still behaving tomorrow.

So... er... it's anybody's guess what was actually wrong with it. I guess 'Gallic shrug' is the answer.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Jaba »

Well congrats to you for perseverance. Alls well that ends well unless the fix,whatever it was, turns out to be a midsummer nights dream.
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 »

Yesterday, 21st July 2020.

BX news, since it's a new day so it might well behave totally differently. Will it start? The answer is technically yes. It requires more cranking than it should and a bit of throttle, but it does start, it's behaving like there's a tiny air leak. The next question when taking it to the shops is; Will it stall? The answer is technically yes. It will stall under two circumstances; the first is when you're stopped with the front higher than the rear, the second is when you're reducing speed rapidly as on the approach to traffic lights etc. It does restart again fairly willingly and it won't reliably stall, you can sit with it idling for ages and it'll behave perfectly and then you can start it and it'll stall almost immediately.

Another oddity on the errand today was the car had some sort of hiccup, or cough... it felt like a backfire just with no backfire noises, that's the best way I can think of to explain it. Once it happened, the car ran perfectly fine, none of the idiot lights came on, the guages behaved normally, so I've no idea on that one. Only did it the once, and hasn't done it again.

If the car is pointing downhill, it is much happier and runs far more normally, both at idle and on the move. If you have to give it some throttle it behaves normally too, it really plays up the most when you're off the throttle and slowing down, or sat at idle with the nose in the air, which from what we've learned so far seems to point at a blockage of something.

So, while yesterday was so promising and the car is at least now tolerable to drive, if not perfect, more investigation is in order I suspect. I waited for the weather to cool down a bit before reinvestigating. Rear seat base up, cover caps off, and unscrew the bits that house the sender and the fuel pick up. Last time I tried this was on a much colder day and they didn't want to budge so I left them be, today it was actually fairly easy to do. Looking in the sender hole didn't really tell me anything, the sender works perfectly fine so I had no concerns here really. I couldn't get light into the right spot to see into the tank.
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The pick-up hole is a bit shallower so you can actually see into the tank a bit. There's something in there, though no great big gloopy deposits or anything alarming, being a plastic tank there's no corrosion or similar to worry about.
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The pick up filter itself again had some bits on it as you'd expect, some bits inside it which you wouldn't so much. I did flush out the pipes and removed and cleaned the filter, there were some bits inside one of the pipes, looked a bit like dead algae, and may well have been. Given how easily it disintegrated I doubt it was caused the problems.
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Refitting the sender was very easy, the pick up not so much, especially since I had to fit new clamps here as it was still on the factory crimp types.
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With it all buttoned back up I tried to start the car and it was exactly the same as before. There's no leaking of diesel at the back where these access caps are and it is behaving more like an air leak than a fuel starvation now, though a very small air leak. The pipes going to the tank seem to be in really good shape, no signs of cracks or pinholes or any deterioration to speak of, so I'm happy to leave those alone for now. I'm also happy enough with what I could see in the tank and on the pick up that I'm not feeling in any rush to drop the tank at the moment. Instead, I'm going to turn my attention to the next known fail point on BXs which is the preheater. I'll pick up a length of suitable copper pipe tomorrow since it's a generic size that's needed and I'll insert that in place of the preheater. If that eliminates the issue I'll then order a suitable length of fuel hose to replace the whole run from filter to hard line, removing the preheater from the equation.

The items I've chased air leaks and diesel leaks out of so far are:

Fuel filter head and primer button
Fuel filter (twice)
Preheater to fuel filter rubber feed line
Fuel filter rubber return line
All spill off lines
Refurbished fuel injection pump

Suffice to say, it would have been better to just remove the entire fuel system from this car and renew the lot, and that's very nearly what I've ended up doing. Some of the problems are probably just down to age. I suspect the problems have been accelerated by the car having been run on unfiltered, or badly filtered, used veg oil at some point in its life, that seems to be what messed up the pump and it definitely hadn't done the filter any favours. As frustrating as this all is, at least when it's done I'll know it's done. I may still have to drop the tank and get it cleaned out properly, I'll only know if that's necessary if the preheater bypass doesn't work, and given how often I've thought I've cured the problem only for it to pop up again somewhere else, I'm still expecting to have to drop the tank. We shall see.
Last edited by vulgalour on Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

Today, 22nd July 2020

Next on my list of possible air leaks was the preheater pipe. The lower clamp is a little awkward to get to, it's not that access is bad particularly, more that the hose keeps trying to run away whenever you attempt to get hold of it. After a little while, I had the preheater removed and the clamp that came off was definitely past the first flush of youth. The rubber hose itself looks in pretty good shape so I don't think that's the problem and I've left it alone for now.
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Earlier in the day I'd gone out in the Princess which is finally working again (again) so I could try and get some suitable 10mm OD pipe. I was originally looking for copper since that seemed a sensible option, the only thing available in 10mm steel pipe with a slightly thicker wall than I was after. Importantly, the internal diameter isn't far off that of the preheater ends, and the external diameter is suitable for the rubber hose. Chopped it down to size and then chamfered the edges with my bench grinder to remove any burring, as well as running a hand file around the inside to get rid of any swarf and snags that might be hanging out in there.
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Fitted it to the car, which was nice and easy, new clamps on each end, primed the system...
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...and it works. I've driven the car about a bit and can't get it to stall under the usual conditions and it seems quite happy. The only issue that persists is a reluctance to start without throttle which could be the injection pump timing being off or another air leak I haven't found. The improvement to running and lack of stalling does point at an air leak related to the preheater. It certainly hasn't been the only air leak, I just hope it's the last one I need to find. One major difference is that before bypassing the preheater you could press the primer button to improve running if it tried to stall (not while driving, obviously) and now if you press the primer button while it's running, it's already primed and there's enough resistance that you're making no difference. Hopefully that means the air leaks are now fixed.

To celebrate, on my way back on the test run the BX decided that every time I used the brakes while the left indicator was on, the brakes would turn the indicator off. That was a fun problem. After some investigation it looks related to my wiring of the high level brake light, because when the left indicator or the hazards were on, the high level brake light thought it was an indicator. Press the brake pedal and the indicators and high level brake went off, while the brake lights came on. Close inspection of the light cluster shows it had been getting warm around the pins that I'd used to provide a feed to the high level brake light, the plastic a little smoother around them then the others. I don't know why it decided to show up now instead of ages ago when I installed the light. The solution was to simply disconnect the high level brake light and as much as I like the peace of mind it offered and spent time to route the wiring neatly, the safe option is probably just to remove the whole thing. Cars, eh?

We shall spin the Wheel of Citroen tomorrow to find out what prizes we win.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

BX NOW FOR SALE

Runs, drives, stops, goes up, goes down, barely uses any fuel. Has MoT until the end of October. Everything works as it should.

New things:

Rear suspension boots
Four new Uniroyal Rain Expert tyres
Nice new steel in the front inner arches where needed, a little bit in the boot too, all documented in this thread, followed by seam sealer, paint, and underseal where appropriate
OEM Citroen rubber floor mats
Professionally rebuilt fuel injection pump (about £500 for this job alone)
New glow plugs
Restored original wheel trims
Yellow headlight bulb caps
Cleaned LHM filters and new LHM
Some new LHM hard lines

There's probably more, it's all documented in this thread. It's a really well sorted BX, cruises happily with modern stuff on the motorway, seats many adults in comfort, fits loads of stuff in the back even without folding the back seats down. It's astonishingly comfortable long distance, and great around the doors too. It's all the car you could ever want. It should go through its next MoT no bother, but it's an old car so I can't guarantee that.

Full disclosure, there's three flaws I'm aware of:

Minor LHM weep from the back. This is probably the rubber o-ring between the sphere and the bit it screws into. Only leaks when the car is parked and sinks on the suspension after a while, it's a return-leak so not a problem or dangerous.
Had to delete the original fuel preheater due to it having an air leak, car sometimes requires a bit of throttle on first start to compensate. Again, not dangerous and typical of this engine.
The new injection pump would benefit from fine tuning to get it spot on. It's close enough that it works fine, it would just be nicer if properly tuned.

Comes with a handful of spares, including at least one headlight, the original white bonnet, a pair of head restraints, a couple of manuals, some wheel trims, and a few other bits and bobs I can't remember off the top of my head.

I'm in Allington, which is in Maidstone, Kent.

I'd like around £1,000

Fairly flexible for viewing times and dates, afternoons very much preferred, and of course Covid rules to be observed when viewing at least for the time being. Drop me a PM on here if you're interested. I'd like to keep it in the fold if I can.

I'll do a proper for sale thread later, I just want to give regular readers first dibs before it goes out into the wild.


Oh, and the main reason for the sale is acquiring this, a Lanchester LD10. It's pretty much the BX's polar opposite.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky »

Ahhhhh bugger, I'll miss your updates on the car but seeing it's replacement I'll allow it :wink:
Good luck with the sale, and the new project.
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour »

It'd have to be something very special to get me out of the BX, even though I have been a bit out of love with it lately chasing out the air leak problem. Feels like the best time to sell it when it still has MoT and the problems sorted, it'd be a great car for someone wanting to get into BX ownership because it's not too fancy they wouldn't be afraid to use it, and not so worn out they're going to be constantly battling problems with it.

The Lanchester is my first foray into pre-war type motoring, something I've been wanting to try for quite some time, and it's just the perfect example at the perfect time, I'd be kicking myself forever if I didn't go for it. Just a shame the BX has to go to accomodate it.

I'll miss making the BX updates, it's been a good journey with that car, but hopefully someone will pick it up and continue the journey and, at the very least, the info here will be useful to other folks with BXs that have annoying problems.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by Tim Leech »

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

Post by vulgalour »

Sorry, Tim! Can't keep them all and this one has gone and annoyed me further.

Got the BX running up today, sorting out the spares and removed personal stuff from the car in readiness for selling it. Annoyingly, it then stalled while idling. This doesn't seem to be an air leak issue as priming the filter made no difference so it's more likely a fuel injection pump timing issue.

The car does drive perfectly normally, it just stalls after it's been idling for 5-10 minutes again and I no longer have the patience to deal with this.

Instead, PRICE DROP TIME!

£500 and it's yours.

I reckon a fresh pair of eyes on it will sort whatever is wrong out pretty easily, I've just had enough of it and need it gone.