The Final Chapter of the Stripey Saga - RIP supermachine

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:47 pm

The handy thing about internet blogs is that you can see stuff you might not see on your own car. Reading through the Timex blog was particularly useful in this regard as I haven't yet got around to removing the rear bumper from Stripey, in part because I don't yet have the materials to rebuild what's left behind it but mostly because of CBA Syndrome.

So I now know that the wing behind the bumper should look like this, which it mostly does on the driver's side. There's a massive hole on the passenger side. Okay, not the end of the world, it's mostly just a large patch required.
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But then there's this picture.
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Umm... on Stripey there's a lot less metal than that. Thankfully it's a big flat panel so a repair should be easy enough even for a novice. Thing is, all of this bit is missing too, bar a little bit above the towbar under the car and that can be removed with your hand or a strong gust of wind.
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What's really weird is that the boot floor and the structural bits all seem in pretty good order, I've had a tug and a grope (stop sniggering at the back) at anything that looks particularly crusty or febrile and it's all as strong as it ought to be, it's like the rear crossmember has absorbed all the water and turned into soggy cornflakes, rather like a sacrificial lump of metal on a boat. Since the crossmember is missing so completely, I'm wondering if I should just remove it all, clean up the bits it would normally weld to and just weld in some bar cut to length and then patch up the relevant bits of bodywork to tidy things up rather than going for a full on restoration of the area.

I'll get out and get the bumper off if it's fair weather tomorrow so I can get some proper pictures to illustrate. If anyone has pictures of an estate without the rear bumper that I might use for reference that would be handy so I can see precisely what is and isn't missing. The above pictures SHAMELESSLY stolen from the Timex blog because I'm an internet pirate.

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mat_fenwick
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by mat_fenwick » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:57 pm

Does this help? Not the best photos, but I can take more if needed as the bumper is still off.
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1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:25 pm

yes, it does. I'm wondering what it should look like if you lay on your back under the car and looking at the back from the front, if that makes sense? I get the impression that the bit that's rotted out on Stripey should be a |_| shape with end caps. Instead Stripey just has ;

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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by mat_fenwick » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:50 pm

Further down my link (where I welded in a piece of bar as wing support) might help if that's what you mean. If not, you take a picture of where you want to see, and I'll take a photo from the same location - deal?
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1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:52 pm

I was going to get photographs of the car today for reference, but a family bereavement and horrible weather knocked me for six, so it didn't happen. However, I found out that when I checked the lower balljoint I did it wrong and from the noises and the other oddities with steering at speed I reckon it does need doing. LHM leak is no better or worse and the fuel filter is behaving rather like it's clogged again I think so I'll be putting the new one in once I get some good/dry weather. I'm fairly certain now that the power steering pump is in need of a clean out, refurbishment or replacement because prior to the power steering turning itself off I get a quiet thunking-clonging noise like an impeller that's getting jammed up.

Fuel economy is a bit startling. I put 37 litres (mixed veg and diesel) in for Brooklands and have done 380 miles but still have fuel left in the tank, registering about an eighth of a tank when the fuel gauge wakes up. I'm finding that on the whole I'm getting about 100 miles out of a tenner, which equates to something like 65mpg. Style of driving is to put my foot down to the desired speed and then back off completely and let the car just sort of drive itself, very relaxed and the only way to get good mpg out of the 1.6 auto Maestro I borrowed a while ago. I've always been good at getting decent mpg out of a car, but on the whole that's probably because I like to drive steady rather than fast or slow. If I can get 37mpg out of a Princess with a tired smoky engine, I find the mpg I'm getting out of the BX entirely plausible.

Soon, the BX will likely be pressed into commuter duties. I am not looking forward to trying to squeeze it into the works car parks I've encountered over the years, it was bad enough trying to find a big enough space to put the Maestro in when I was commuting in that. So, we'll have to see what happens with the agency work I'm told is available and then I can start throwing time and money at Stripey to continue that long tradition of French car owners everywhere.

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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by Dollywobbler » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:23 pm

Sorry to hear of the family woes.

I'd try a Hydraflush before doing anything more serious. Obtaining flushing fluid is the trickiest bit (I got some from Chevronics). Draining the LHM and putting the flushing fluid in is fiddly and messy, but not too challenging. This cured the problem entirely some 40,000 odd miles ago on that car and it's probably due again. I gained some improvement from just putting fresh LHM in and cleaning the filters, but I reckon there's probably a fair bit of filth in the LHM system now. Remember the pump is everything, not just steering.

I'm amazed at your MPG. Best I ever got in that car was 54mpg, but I do tend to push on a bit. Any car that can deliver 48mpg while being driven pretty foot to the floor (but rarely if ever above 3000rpm) is good in my book.

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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:11 pm

Right, update time. After finding a source of fuel at 99.9p per litre available in a maximum of 30 litres per purchase, I could divert some funds elsewhere. I'm not as wealthy as I'd like to be, but I could at least do some under bonnet stuff. The rear wing has got no worse on the rust front, I seem to have arrested progress of the cornflakes there so I'm happy about that for the time being, though the new holes I made do make a funny noise at certain speeds.

I decided to finally get on top of the sluggish and stubborn starting issues. First up was to replace the suspect fuel hose that was pretty hard. I also found the fuel inlet pipe was leaking slightly where it meets the filter so that got a jubilee clip which appears to have resolved the issue nicely.
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This in itself made starting a bit easier, so I'm guessing there was probably a very minor air leak on one of these pipes. Next up was the glow plugs, I got a set of four NGK regular glowplugs for about £25 inc. VAT and, having done a spot of reading on the job, it looked like a quick half hour job. I set an hour aside just in case and set to work. It did look rather like the plugs were ready for replacement, they were all pretty tired looking though I'm basing this on how I'd expect spark plugs to look so maybe this is normal for glow plugs?
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All went very smoothly, it wasn't that difficult... here's a picture that illustrates the procedure.
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Impossibru? Why yes, that was the last glow plug I attempted to remove and it happened to be cross threaded. That hour I set aside for this job became three just because of that one glow plug. However, I did finally get it out with a little help from my friends and managed to install the new plug without cross threading it and the refitting procedure was swift and easy even with the back of my knees aching and numb fingers. Waited for the plugs to warm up, turned the key and the car fired up almost immediately. Things felt decidedly more practical now that I shan't have to wait for up to a couple of minutes before I could start the engine. Whether it's the replacement of the plugs or the fuel hose the engine feels smoother now too and less grumbly and willing to stall at lower speeds and junctions, though that may just be the euphoria of not having to be bent over the engine bay any more tonight!

The other day I found a litre of suitable oil bought for my departed Polo that went into the BX which also helped smooth things out a little. I've priced up a new thermostat as the existing one has a leak and a replacement is never a bad thing, and the lower ball joint since I now have the tools for the job and it needs doing. The LHM/PAS issues will be resolved fairly soon too, just a case of having the capital to resolve them as is often the case.

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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by Dollywobbler » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:34 pm

As said elsewhere, sorry if I crossthreaded a plug back in early 2011, but I would be surprised. Given how I've lived with 2CVs for many years, I'm well aware of how easy it is to knacker threads up with plugs (I've never done it on a 2CV with the spark plugs, but it is very easy to do). I am wondering whether the plugs were changed when I didn't own it, but this seems unlikely.

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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:03 pm

The important thing is that the new plug went in with ease. I had assumed they were much older plugs, I wouldn't have pegged a cross-threaded plug as being something you'd do... not a problem, issue resolved now and car improved :)

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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:19 pm

Stuff paid for:
Car - £250
Water pump & timing belt - £30
Delivery - £60
Glow plugs - £25 (ish)
1 litre of oil - Free. Things bought for other cars don't count >.>

Bodywork & misc. trim (parts, not labour) taken from a donor - £40
Good second-hand welding machine from a friend - £100

Parts from AEP
Pair of brand new door mirrors - £9.46
Ball joint - £10.42
Timing Belt Tensioner - £15.67
Rocker Cover Gasket - £5.76
Strut Return Pipe - £14.63
Free Delivery, total cost: £55.94

Grand total - £561 (near as damn it)

I reckon that's a good price for what will be a fully sorted BX diesel estate, don't you? Of course, it may cost me more, but it's the first time I've added things up and found it comes out with a head-over-heart type number. I was planning to spend about a grand just getting everything tidied up and continuing DW's maintenance so this makes me happy that my money is going to go a lot further than anticipated.

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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by MULLEY » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:13 pm

Sounds reasonable to me, you'd pay more than £500 for a car in the condition that you'll end up with after your work, so money saved in the long run & at least you know that the work has been done.
2002 C5 2.0 HDI Estate - Remapped - It goes better
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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:54 pm

Let my brother borrow the BX as we're insured to drive each others cars. He was low on fuel in the Mundano and mine needed some fossil adding to the veg. He'd forgotten just how much he likes BXs and having driven Stripey - which he says is one of the best BXs he's ever driven - he's found himself wanting one, specifically a non-turbo diesel hatch. I'll keep an eye out for him, but I've told him to investigate insurance costs first. In fact, everyone that gets in Stripey is surprised at how refined and comfortable it is, particularly given what a racket that old French diesel lump makes outside the car! I was even asked if my car was broken when I started it up, gleefully I informed them "It's supposed to sound like that, it's a diesel" and pootled off in a cloud of veg smoke.

I'm just waiting on a break in the weather and getting through my gran's funeral next week so I can set to on that Lincolnshire BX with an angle grinder to fix all my rear end rust issues. Anyone in my neck of the woods fancy doing some fairly extensive BX welding?

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vulgalour
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:53 pm

Some updatey things.

1) Strange jingling noise turned out to be one of the old glow plugs that, for reasons I don't understand, was left on the front wing rail and I hadn't noticed.
2) handling improved by checking tyre pressures; 29psi and 28psi on the back, 26psi and 23psi up front. Bumped all four up to 32psi as that seemed a best guess from the manual and now it's not so squirmy or heavy on the steering as it was yesterday.
3) Weird occasional 'graunching' noise that is sometimes a hum and sometimes a zinging is entirely dependant on which bit of the big rust hole the rear bumper is rubbing/vibrating against. Annoying, but soon to be resolved (honest!).
4) Exhaust has developed a knock somewhere towards the back, nothing appears to be loose and I'm due to fit a new backbox as soon as Mike (my other half) remembers to bring it down so I'm just putting up with it.
5) Uppy-downy lever almost completely inoperable and the snow and biting wind put paid to any attempt to fettle it. Disappointing.
6) The Perfecta Sava tyres currently fitted while okay in the dry and the damp, are not very grippy in the wet and are next to useless on snow.

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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by vulgalour » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:36 pm

Right, miniature update. I've been feeling pretty crappy about my cars of late thanks to my current situation and the appalling extended winter we seem to be under the spell of. Since getting back from Brooklands I haven't had chance because of the snow or motivation when there's been a window in the weather to actually clean the old bus, so that got done today. It's very unlike me to leave it nearly 500 miles between car washes and even though I've got all the crap off the car the weather was too cold for me to get any polishing or vacuuming of the interior done, it's very much an it'll do job. However, I did manage to finally get the ghost stripes off the back panel of the tailgate which means I'm a step closer to the next phase for this particular panel.
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Remember that rear wing I dressed up quickly? I knew the paint I used wasn't ideal and unfortunately some rust staining has appeared around the edges. It's not got any worse over the last few weeks and hundreds of miles so I'm just going to live with it for now, after all when things improve I should be able to weld in fresh metal here anyway so it's not the end of the world. I'm just happy that I'm not seeing rust bubbles getting worse week on week, the progress of the tin worm seems to have been slowed almost to a stop.
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Sod calling the car Stripey, I think I have to start calling it BX-xon Valdez. Prime suspect, looking around the engine and engine bay, is the rocker cover gasket and the fact I squirted some degreaser on the block which washed some of the old oil off... at least I hope that's what's going on here. I don't seem to be losing a great deal of oil, I just need some decent temperatures to be able to clean off the block and find the source of the leak more easily.
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Re: The Stripey Saga Continues

Post by Paul296 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:16 pm

The rust would have started grinning through again no matter what paint/rust treatment you used, but it does slow everything down and stop it getting any worse. As you rightly point out, fresh metal or bust, if you want to completely cure it. Looking good though 'ol BX-xon Valdez'! =D>