4x4 BXs

Anything about BXs
Stuarted
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4x4 BXs

Post by Stuarted »

I had heard of 4X4 BXs and had heard that they were not hugely sucessful or popular. I assume this was because they were not as reliable as "normal" BXs, and presumably more difficult and expensive to repair. I have therefore been fascinated to read here about several which have been for sale in the last 12 months. I thought they were so rare that they would all have disappeared by now!

If they are less reliable and harder to fix, it's probably not sensible for me to think of buying one, even if I were able to find one. But just out of technical interest: does anyone know of a good guide to there rare beasts, please?

What models were available in 4x4 versions? Did they ever do a 4x4 diesel or turbo diesel estate? What was the problem with them? Were they really unrelaible? What went wrong? What were the difficulties in fixing them? How much more fuel did they use? Would it be ludicrously complcated and expensive to try to fit 4x4 mechanicals from a coupe into a non-4x4 estate?

Do any readers have any practical experience of one? What are they like to drive? What are they like to work on? How effective is the 4x4 whel drive? Are they any good off-road, or are they more useful just on snow or getting out of muddy field gateways? Is there a dedicated forum for them, does anyone know please?

I expect the 4x4s have some dedicated ethusiasts on here, who will be only too happy to try to educate me ...

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Tim Leech
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Tim Leech »

4x4 Models were only available in the UK as 1.9 carb fed estates or 1.9injection hatchbacks (Gti), manual only, no diesel, slower and more thirsty than the 2WD models, but with better traction. Ive never driven one but have been told they do handle well and have benefits in bad weather.

However they are renowed for failure of the splines on the 4wd system that connects the front and rear (sorry I dont know the exacty terminology), and when they let go the car is immobile and its not a cheap fix as parts are hard to get (if at all) and you just cant drive it as a 2WD as its not a feature, the exhaust system is also bespoke and made of unobtanium meaning you need to get one made at great cost. Plus the rear suspension is different to a standard 2WD.

Unless you really need a 4x4 (then I would buy a Discovery etc) I would stick to a TD estate as they are easier to live with, just as quick (as the 1.9 carb) and much more frugal....
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by mike22861 »

Tim you missed out what happens if you should need a new clutch! quite an onerous task but the 4x4 is a good car very sure footed not that much slower. You can drive them as a 2 wheel drive just remove the propshaft and put it in diff lock i drove the white 4x4 around for a year like that until i found out that the prop center bearing and housing is infact Mercedes and readily available.The spline problem is rare and can be fixed with a mod done in a competent machine shop. The problem there is you have to remove the gearbox , nightmare. Exhausts can be made lifetime guarantee in stainless for £300 which isn't a lot different to normal replacement. The rear spheres are remote, connected by pipe to the rams as there is no room for them in the subframe.
If you want a BX that has spirited sure footed handling and passes anything in winter get one. Note the ABS models have torque sensing (Torsen) diffs the non ABS don't, these do make a difference on ice and roundabouts.Just be aware you will need deeper pockets for some jobs
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Stuarted
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Stuarted »

mike22861 wrote: ... Note the ABS models have torque sensing (Torsen) diffs the non ABS don't, these do make a difference on ice and roundabouts. Just be aware you will need deeper pockets for some jobs.

PS I have one spare if you want one
Two helpful replies - thank you!

What is the difference in the behaviour of the two 4WD systems - which behaves in what manner on ice and/or roundabouts, please? I ask because I am just curious about 4WD generally; I might contemplate a Skoda Octavia diesel estate - these have the option of 4WD.

I don't want a SUV - I hate the great stupid, ugly, clumsy, gallumphing things. I want an elegant, compact estate car which (unlike most modest-sized SUV) actually has a load bay long enough to sleep in; and I want a diesel so that it will do at least 50 mpg (me tight git). I don't want a performance car - I've already got an MX-5 sports car - I want practical, economical wheels.

The possibility of 4WD is a relatively minor detail. I don't want to hurtle off across country, but it might be good to have 4WD for coping with occasional muddy roadside verges, driiving round a grass airfield, hauling a glider trailer out of a muddy gateway or for driving in snow.

I guess the problem of finding a good BX estate nowadays will be hard enough, without trying to find an infinitely rare 4X4 one! I suspect that only if I had to resort to buying something relatively new like the Octavia would it be worth seriously considering 4WD.

But I asked about the 4WD version of the BX because I had heard about them and was curious to know more, such as why they never became popular - it would have seemed to have made an already excellent and versatile vehicle even more so.

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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Mickey taker »

Get yourself a nice Volvo cross country or xc70, you can pick them up quite cheaply now
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Dollywobbler »

The main problem with four-wheel drive is that there's no difference at all in how they behave on the road. You can't corner any more quickly because tyres only have a finite level of grip - regardless of whether that wheel is driven or not. People became convinced that four-wheel drive meant more grip. Then Top Gear did a programme showing that if anything, you're more likely to lose grip because there's more weight (though the difference was marginal IIRC).

Four-wheel drive DOES improve traction, which means you won't get stuck so much when it snows. With more powerful cars, it means you can get the power down better coming out of a bend in slippery conditions - that's why it became such a success in rallying. Four-wheel drive was experimented with on track, but grip levels are usually high, so there's no point.

Skodas are pretty highly rated. After all, Audi, part of the VW Group, has a fair amount of expertise when it comes to normal cars with four-wheel drive. I'd be tempted to avoid anything too modern though, because when modern diesels go wrong, they REALLY go wrong.

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mat_fenwick
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by mat_fenwick »

I've never driven the 4wd and 2wd versions of the same car back to back (ideally with identical tyres) but surely if you're trying to put traction through a tyre that's not far from the edge of its cornering grip, it's likely to slide. With a 4wd car, there's less power being transmitted to each wheel, so less chance of that tractive force causing a tyre 'on the edge' to breakaway.
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Tim Leech
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Tim Leech »

Unless like Ian and Mat you live out in the sticks I dont really see the need for 4WD's, most Chelsea Tractors are status symbols and wont ever see a grass bank let alone the side of a mountain., I work for VW and most of the Tiguan's (our Freelander) we sell are the 2WD version fuel, because a AWD is more expensive on fuel, insurance (and on mondern cars) road tax and have more to go wrong, surely a set of winter tyres on a TZD Turbo would be a better option?
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Way2go »

It's mandatory to have a 4x4 to protect the precious cargo on the school run!!! :evil: Trouble is besides the jams they're more often than not the ones that cause the accident it seems. :roll:
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mike22861
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by mike22861 »

Actuallt the torsen drive 4x4 does give you more apparent grip as it feeds the wheels that accept most torque , On the BX the split is 53% front 47% rear giving it front wheel drive feel but when cornering hard on wet/slippery roads or very hard on dry roads, when the front wheels start to loose grip the Torsen shifts the drive rearwards regaining front wheel steering negating understeer. You can feel it the car just starts to under steer almost shuffles then becomes rear wheel bias and all is well. I can assure you it does make a difference over front wheel drive.
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MULLEY
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by MULLEY »

I believe you could get normally aspirated diesel 4x4's, but only in France, never exported to the UK, so you could always convert a petrol to diesel if you are desperate.
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mat_fenwick
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by mat_fenwick »

I think you're right, and there was even one turbo diesel 4x4 - not officially built though. It was fairly tight around where the turbo and transfer box were trying to occupy the same space, and they'd done away with the transfer box dipstick...
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by Dollywobbler »

To be fair, the Top Gear programme tested a Mondeo. I've no idea what sort of a system that used. If I was driving hard enough to push my BX into understeer though, I'd ease off a bit, which would also calm things down. I can't say I've managed that yet. Not since I replaced the aged Michelins not long after I got the Green Tiger.

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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by citsncycles »

Not driven a BX 4x4 myself, but I know Hilary had all sorts of fun driving his with the aged tyres it was wearing when first returned to the road, as you never knew which end was going to break away. On the other hand, with good tyres they're fantastic in slippery conditions.

I would still hesitate before buying one for regular use though - they can take a while to fix when they go wrong - not impossible, just difficult to get the parts for, as even when new the parts supply wasn't great on 4x4's.
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Re: 4x4 BXs

Post by assembled »

mat_fenwick wrote:I think you're right, and there was even one turbo diesel 4x4 - not officially built though. It was fairly tight around where the turbo and transfer box were trying to occupy the same space, and they'd done away with the transfer box dipstick...
Would there happen to be any additional information regarding such build? I wonder what kind of sorcery they did with the box and turbo as you mention.
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