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 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:52 pm

Maybe? I've never heard of a BX rear lock breaking or going faulty... I guess it will have to remain a mystery.

I'll get that exhaust sorted eventually.

After the success of the tailgate central locking - which has been working perfectly fine with no issues so far - I determined to investigate the inoperative passenger door solenoid. I strongly suspect I'm the first person to be in here since the door was sealed up with the moisture membrane since the solenoid I pulled out was made in West Germany, which hasn't existed for quite some time. Annoyingly, while the door seal on the same door isn't leaking anywhere near like it was, it is still leaking, so I'll be getting a fresh generic door seal to sort that out because I cannot be doing with water getting into my cars.
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I hoped to open the case and find broken plastics or similar inside. Instead, I found that the case was almost impossible to open. I got there in the end with a model making saw, some screwdrivers, and a couple of trapped finger tips when the plastic snapped shut on them. Once inside, there was nothing obvious amiss, I'd managed to break a wire with a screwdriver, but I knew if that was the fault it could be repaired if needed. Nothing visually broken or missing inside once opened, and everything free moving as it should be, where it should be, so far as I could tell.
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Now I know what the inside of the door solenoids look like and have a rudimentary understanding of how it all works. Further inspection revealed the little electric motor was jammed and, after a little patience to free it up, it was found to be dead. I expect it's worn out brushes inside and even though it's potentially repairable and I could put the case back together and refit it to the car, new replacement solenoids are very easy to acquire, and affordable. So I've ordered a replacement, which isn't identical but matches where it matters, and has been a successful replacement for other BXers with this problem.

I can't go further with that until the new part arrives, probably early next week, so since the passenger door card was off for this I decided to try out the experiment. The reason, I believe, that the inner weather strips are rolling when the window goes down is that a lot of the fuzzy flocking is missing, so the plain rubber is grabbing the glass. Now, you can no doubt get this weatherstripping new online somewhere but I'm a little concerned at how fragile the door cards are so don't want to be fighting the clips off to remove the existing strip, and I fancied giving this experiment a go just in case it does work and can be used on future projects. The following picture is fuzzier than the the thing I'm trying to illustrate.
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After scouring shops - because I'm stubbornly trying to buy things in actual shops still - I secured some velvet ribbon of a suitable width and some hopefully suitable glue. If this was the exterior weather strip I wouldn't try this experiment because it's exposed to so much more sun and moisture, I hope being the interior strip it wouldn't receive quite as much punishment. The gecko on the packet is simply an added bonus and not the reason I went for this particular brand. It seemed more appropriate than a lot of the other offerings on the shelf.
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Applied the glue to the weather strip, carefully align the ribbon, and then apply a bajillion tiny bulldog clips to keep everything as secure as possible while the glue sets. I did check to see if the velvet has a directional pile as it sometimes does, and this one seems to be on the length of the ribbon rather than the width, so it shouldn't bind up against the glass.
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When I get the new solenoid fitted, I'll reinstall this panel and we'll see whether or not the experiment is successful. If it is, I'll do the driver's side too and we'll see how long it lasts.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:23 pm

I like having things to bits too, trouble is it would have ended like an explosion at a steam punk convention if I had done it :roll:
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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:23 pm

I was concerned that I might get a cog to the face, fortunately the cogs are pretty much impossible to remove.

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Today has been a busy day and, hopefully, a productive one as a result. The first thing to arrive was the new door seal, ordered from https://www.carbuilder.com/uk and I have to say I have absolutely no problem with their service or product so consider them recommended. After failing to cut the corners on the Princess door seals in the way I wanted to, someone suggested using a mitre saw... I don't have one of those but I do have a model making saw, which is suitable for the task and allowed me to make a nice 45 degree cut.
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I'd already measured the door hole and found it needed 3.5 metres of seal for the front door, which meant having to order 4 metres which came out at about £25. Fitting is very easy, I loosened the screws on the door trims but didn't remove them because that way I can still fit the seal without having to try and re-find the screw holes. Seal went on lovely and fit really snug, I was very happy.
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Then I saw the mistake I didn't know I'd made. The old seal has a fatter profile than this one so while this one fits on the door rail perfectly as it should, it doesn't get squashed to give a nice seal. This isn't a fault of the supplier, this is entirely my fault for fudging up the measurements on the old seal because I hadn't compensated for how squashed it was. This means you could see through the top corner of the door and, presumably, all the water would get in through there too. Putting the old door seal back on was not an option, since it seems intent on funneling water into the car through the damaged section of it.
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My solution, since I'm out of cash until I get paid again, was to make use of the left over foam sheet I bought for the tailgate panel and make some strips of foam to take up the gap and squash the door seal down. This is such a giffer fix that I'll be off to collect my bus pass shortly since I clearly now qualify. I used the same foam to replace the bit around the door lock too so the pin doesn't rattle in the door. You can also see the new membrane I fitted here, because the new door solenoid arrived today.
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Happily, the giffer fix did seal the gap and the door has that nice fresh seal resistance when you try and shut it. I'll probably leave this as is if it keeps the weather out and save up to get all four door seals replaced with new since the old ones are clearly very tired, I just need to find an edge seal that's fat enough.
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The other job I did today was the door lock solenoid. The replacement isn't a direct fit, I did know this from other BXer's threads. Before getting the drill out, I tested the new solenoid to be sure it was a mechanical failure of the old unit, and not a problem with the wiring. Happily, the new solenoid works as it should. To fit, I knew from other BXer threads this wasn't going to be entirely straightforward. The first problem is that the bolt holes are in different places and the throw on the new solenoid is longer than on the old solenoid. My initial plan of using one existing hole and drilling a second one for the other bolt hole had to be changed to drilling two fresh holes to compensate for the 10mm extra throw. Once that was sorted, I then had to bend the lock rod end around 90 degrees because the new solenoid requires that. Putting the new solenoid in the vise I could at least use the original bolts to tap threads into the bolt holes in the casing so I didn't have to rummage about for replacement bolts. All done, it was fitted in the door and while it's a little noisier than the other solenoids, I'm pleased to report it works perfectly and I now, for the first time in my life, have a car where the central locking works on all the doors properly. Feels dead posh does that.
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Working locks, door all sealed up, hopefully a waterproof door seal, the last thing to do was refitting all the door furniture and trying out that velvet ribbon experiment. I'm calling this a partial success. Initially the window did not like going down but after a few ups and downs, it worked as well as it used to. The door seal does still try to roll under and get stuck but nowhere near as bad as before the ribbon treatment, and the window goes up much nicer now than it did. With a bit of use, the ribbon will probably wear down a bit and might even stop rolling the tiny amount it does in that one spot, but I'll be buying some new weather stripping instead and fixing this properly, in the future. It'll do for now.
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So there you go, that's today's antics up to date. Oh, and water is still getting in on the driver's side somewhere. I think I know where, it just means broggling about behind the sound deadening panel in the engine bay and getting my head in the wheelarch, and that's going to have to wait for a day when I have more time.

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

Post by vulgalour » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:05 pm

BX had been a bit grumpy about starting first thing lately, and since the weather has been getting a bit colder that probably means the glow plugs need doing. I've done glow plugs on my old 1.9 non-turbo BX, and on my old 1.9 turbo Xantia, and neither were particularly joyous experiences. I was expecting this to be similarly unpleasant. I needn't have worried, it was fiddly on the two outer plugs because of access with the pump and air filter, but was otherwise very straightforward.

I don't know how you diagnose the condition of glowplugs so I have no idea if the old ones are knackered or not by looking at them. There was goop of some sort on all the threads on the old ones, it looks to have been put there on purpose, there's no signs of diesel or oil leaking down from further up the engine, so I'm going to assume it's some sort of anti-seize and, if it is, that it did what it was supposed to do. I didn't have any anti-seize, so just put the plugs straight in the holes.
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After doing that, the car didn't really start any better or worse but then, it was still warm from driving around. I'll know if it's improved things tomorrow morning. The other good bit of news is that the passenger door seal appears to have stopped letting water in and the carpet is drying out nicely. We've not had much more than a short shower since I fitted the new seal so I'll wait and see what happens when we have a proper downpour before considering it actually fixed.

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

Post by vulgalour » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:25 pm

As the saying goes; out with the new, in with the old. The car came to me with a Clarion DXZ388RUSB head unit. It does radio, CD, and has a USB port. It's also impossible to use on the move because the buttons are too small and laid out in a way that makes it near impossible to build any sort of muscle memory. It looks smart enough, and sounds okay, but it was so difficult to use I'd taken to not using it at all. I'll probably stick it on eBay or something.
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The replacement was kindly sent to me by Steve79 from the brown forum, and is a Clarion 918HP radio-cassette with that very period function of having a handle so you can pull it out of your dashboard so it doesn't get nicked. Plugged it all in and it all works fine, including the tape deck, though I did take a while to figure out the eject button because my manual for this head unit doesn't have an English section. I now know espulsione is Italian for eject. Turns out you press the fast forward and rewind buttons together and it becomes the eject button. I actually prefer the sound quality from this older head unit, it matches the speakers in the car much better, sounds richer and less tinny than the head unit I removed. I also much prefer the feel of the controls on the old head unit, everything has distinct shapes and locations, so I don't have to look at it to figure out what I'm doing. Absolute doddle to fit because the wiring in the car hasn't been butchered by anyone so it was simply a case of unplugging one unit and plugging the new one in, along with a little bit of fettling to swap the cages around.
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panky
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by panky » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:30 pm

That looks the part. Most people would think it's factory, we likes it.
I can't play CD's on the old Kenwood set in my Mini because it just skips as I bounce along on the rubber suspension, toying with the idea of one of those retro looking Chinese sets off ebay. Apart from the radio it only takes SD cards and USB sticks but for about £12 it might be worth while.
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vulgalour
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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:04 pm

I've never wanted to risk my CDs to a car player, so I never used that function in the one I removed. Tapes, on the other hand, I will risk in the player since I've only had one get killed in all the years I've used in-car tape decks, hence fitting the older Clarion deck.

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Re: C'est Bleriot - 1987 17RD Hatchback

Post by vulgalour » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:30 pm

This weekend just gone was a trip to Lincolnshire to sort out the Princess head and visit an old friend. The journey is only 140ish miles from here and mostly A1(M) so it's usually a fairly straightforward run. I'm a bit of a plodder so it usually takes me about 3 hours, 55-60mph is where the car and I are happiest and while I can drive faster and sometimes do, I prefer not to. Heading out on Friday the weather was pretty poor, and it didn't improve. For some reason, the A1(M) was sluggish, there had been a couple of accidents and busy exits, and the rain kept everyone's speed down but I can't have averaged more than 40mph on the entire run. It took nearly 5 hours. I was grateful of the very comfortable seats in the BX and the very good heater, and very happy I'd fitted the head unit that I could actually use so for the first time in ages I could listen to tape and radio while I was sat in traffic waiting for things to move.

Once we got onto the last 30 miles or so of the drive, the satnav kicked me off onto a road I didn't know. When I'm driving in Lincolnshire I go by what little landmarks there are, usually, but in the dark I always end up lost very quickly as a result, so the satnav is a bit of a godsend for me. I have no idea what road it chucked me onto but it was unlit, narrow, and in places flooded. This is also when I found out for definite that one of my headlights was badly out of adjustment so it was like driving on a single headlight, and main beam was no great improvement. I can confirm that BXs plow through flooded roads you don't see quite well! Two pheasants attempted suicide a little further on and I was grateful for the BX brakes since I didn't fancy trying to remove pheasant from inevitably shattered plastic should we have collided.

Then I was kicked back out onto a more main road, again with no lighting, that again I didn't know, and daren't go more than 45mph because my headlight aim had got worse and I could barely see where I was going. I kept as left as I could and while the traffic behind me had plenty of opportunity to overtake me, they decided to do so just before a very well lit roundabout and didn't go any faster than 45mph once they'd got past me so I did wonder what the point was. Never mind. Got to my destination tired and a little frayed, but none the worse for it. BX seemed to respond favourably to the run, as diesels tend to and it settled down for the night while my friend and I got pizza and caught up on plenty of stuff and things.

Saturday, we sorted the Princess engine out, and did some errands including going to visit a friend of my friend who had a rather lovely bare-metal Riley special to admire (no pictures, though I believe it was going to the NEC in the near future) and come Sunday it was time to head home. The drive home was much better, the weather was beautiful and while it was a little windy to begin with it soon cleared up and it took me nearer 2.5 hours to get home. We did some overtaking and some chugging along with trucks, but I was too tired and suffering from some sort of virus I'd picked up over the weekend (still am, not much voice to use), so I couldn't really bomb along that much. There was a good amount of traffic, but it was smooth moving, so it wasn't a particularly stressful drive home. Happily, my friend had fixed the adjuster that had stripped the threads on the plastic portion and corrected my headlight aim so when the sun did go down as I approached home and unlit country roads, I actually had some lights to see by.

Today, I'm still feeling a bit grotty so I shan't be doing any outdoor jobs like head swaps or car washing, but I gave the car a check over anyway. I tried out the new Turtle Wax paste polish a little while ago and I have to say I'm impressed at how much dirt it's kept off the car. The roads I was going along were pretty disgusting in places with plenty of mud and debris and I followed a lot of trucks but, apart from the wheels looking a little dull, the car really doesn't look that bad and the water still beads nicely.
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here was a little bit of bug-maggedon happening, which was surprising for how late in the year it is, and you can see the dirt streaks here.
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I did have a couple of minor issues with the car on the trek. At precisely 62mph something on the driver's corner of the dashboard and/or the driver's doorcard where the electric window switches are, rattles. My solution was not to drive at precisely 62mph, since I couldn't find where it was. The exhaust drones above 65mph in a way that's not pleasant, it's one of those drones that you sort of feel in your teeth and cancels out anyone speaking, a strange sort of white noise effect. I suspect the exhaust is just resonating on something since I know it still needs the alignment looking at, I just haven't found the time to get it done, my suspicion is another worn out rubber hanger. The most annoying issue though has to be the water in the car. On the drive it got drier, even going through the rain for several hours, so I'm moderately confident no more water is getting in. The problem is the last of the water is struggling to get out, so while I have been driving with heaters on and windows cracked open as much as possible, I'm going to have to put some dehumidifier pellets or something in the car to get this last bit out.
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All in all, a thoroughly comfortable 300ish miles over this weekend, and an utterly reliable car to do it in. The new glowplugs have made a huge difference to first start ups and the long run down the A1(M) certainly seems to have done the car some favours. It did draw a bit of attention to itself mixing with the moderns and going by some of the points from passengers in vehicles overtaking me, some confusion and surprise. It has one huge advantage over the Rover it replaces in that the rear window is shaped such that even the wankeriest of headlights behind me are somehow mitigated, so night driving is hugely more tolerable.

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

Post by vulgalour » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:43 pm

I have a BX update and this time, it's problem hunting. Very recently, I've been having issues with the first start of the day. You'd do the usual ignition on, wait for glow plug light, turn key to start, and it would chug and behave like it wasn't firing on all four, and puff out clouds of grey smoke... just about get going... and die. Repeated attempted restarts would see this same thing until, eventually, it got going fine. Except on those days when it just started normally. No rhyme or reason to this, it was just something it was doing sometimes and, like all intermittent faults, when I tried to investigate further and trouble shout the car would steadfastly refuse to be uncooperative and behave perfectly normally.

Some reading and suggestions later, I learned that potential culprits for this behaviour are most likely air getting in where it should, a dodgy fuel pre-heat block, a blocked fuel filter, dead/dying glowplugs, and just because it's something they do. What I couldn't find was a definitive solution to the problem with some owners experiencing this behaviour from their cars for literally years. For me, that's not good enough, I know this car can start normally and easily and the fact it sometimes isn't is something that I find unacceptable.

So, first thing was to inspect the fuel lines. First potential culprit found with the fuel feed to the pump which had started to crack around the clamp. I bought some replacement hose that looked to be the same size, but wasn't (I bought 1/4", this is 7.6mm, something I didn't know until removing the hose and finding the stamp on it) so resorted to trimming off the split portion and reconnecting until I can find suitable replacement hose.
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Another common air getting in point was the leak off pipes. I suspect it's not these both because they look in excellent condition with no leaks or damage apparent, even when wiggling them about, and the previous owner had done them not long before I bought the car. The latter point is perhaps moot since he'd also replaced the fuel hose not very long ago that had split, as we all know modern hose is of variable quality no matter where you get it from or how much you pay for it.
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So, I did the only thing I could and dredged through as many forum posts as I could to soak up what knowledge I could and came to the conclusion that this starting issue is something BXs suffer from, especially when the weather starts to go cold as it has recently. There are far more posts on the problem than there are the solution, so I was down to experimentation and gut feelings on this one.

My usual starting method is ignition on, wait for glowplug light to go out, count to 6-12 (depending on temperature), turn key and car starts. Or sometimes, car chugs, makes smoke, and dies, and then I have to try again. Today, I tried ignition on, wait for glowplug light to extinguish, listen for the other relay clicking off (the blower fan speed also picks up slightly when this happens) which I suspect is the fuel pre-heater relay, then turn ignition off and repeat before starting the car. This method meant the car started normally, no smoke, no chugging, no pathetic chuntery death.

So, what have I fixed? Is this just coincidental? Was me trimming the hose a cure of the air leak or did this new starting method somehow help? Are the brand new glowplugs I've just installed actually already knackered? I have no idea. Suffice to say the car behaved perfectly normally all day and only once had issues starting which may have been user error since on the second turn of the key it fired up no bother even without me waiting for the glowplug light to extinguish.

Problems like this are incredibly annoying. There's nothing obviously amiss, no mixing or loss of fluids, no loss of power, no strange behaviour from the engine. It's just this occasional reluctance to start.