To be or not to be...

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TB2
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To be or not to be...

Post by TB2 »

Hello all,

well, I got myself a 1989 BX TRD a few weeks or months ago and I had expected that I'd need to only change the front spheres to get it running smoothly. Obviously, I was quite naïve.

The car is generally a pretty thing, skaï leather seats, only 88k kilometers, no rust, strong and economic TD engine. Sounded like a good deal. But as I went out of the garage to go change the spheres, a pipe blew off from one of the spiders and I had to have it towed away. Later on, the mechanic told me that all 5 spheres need changing and I let him do it, which cost me ~400£ and then I realised that I'll need to change the cambelt, too, as there's no sign of it ever being changed.

So until now we invested ~1200£ and now there are another ~950£ coming for the cambelt and servicing. The guy at the garage told me that it would take at least one day of working on that car to change the cambelt as many of the other things need to be removed and things like that. By the way, the servicing journal ends at 40k kilometers...

So the question is, should I just try to get rid of the car with as little financial damage as possible, or: If we put some more money into this car, replace the cambelt and water pump and service it properly, will it last for at least another 5 years or will there most likely be more problems. Because it could still be that the HP pump, the doseur valve, the spiders or any other part of that thing will fail. At least, these are the things that make me suspect more problems:
- The engine is leaking a bit of oil. It's not a lot, but it definetly drips.
- If I brake hard, and then release the brake pedal the car will sometimes rise at the back, or drop at the front. Or at least, its height will change in some way. And I heard a new doseur valve will easily cost another 500£. Same for the pump.
- There's some funny noise from the back. I'm actually surprised how silent the diesel engine is, but I think the exhaust needs replacing, too.

It's the most confortable ride I've ever been in, driving over railroad crossing with the BX is an amazing experience... ^^ Or all those bumps, they just go away. But still, for those 2000£ or more in total, I might just as well get some well service Audi or something like that. I doubt I can sell the car now without losing money, but well...

...

But that's why I'm asking. I bet you'll all tell me to keep the car, but what do you really think? If we service it now, will it just cause more problems all the time, or will it sustain for a couple of years? We will not be pushing the car. It will be garaged most of the time and only be used for longer rides and trips, because we have another small car for short distances.

It's just that, even as the ride is confortable, it's an awful feeling driving a car and suspecting something to go wrong all the time. Blowing off another pipe or landing on the ground, the brakes failing or anything... :roll:

What a dilemma :?
Carl

1989 TRD "Entreprise" Turbo Diesel
1989 16 Valve
---
Parts needed:
- One black leather headrest.
- FDV overhaul kit (95.669.034)
Please contact me through PN if you have any of this.

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow »

Personally, I'd be tempted to sell it on and put it down to experience. BUT it depends how much you like the car. If you get it all sorted - and the prices you are paying for all the work are reasonable, you'll end up with a nice drive. I recently bought a 16v that in the end has cost me £875 - That is, more than I bought it for. But in the end I have a pretty uncommon car which goes, stops and rides well. Who's to say if I bought £2,000 Audi I wouldn't need to spend money on that too?
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• 2006 Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v

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Kitch
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Post by Kitch »

Personally I'd look for another garage....those prices are mental! :shock: (assuming they're in ££?)

If you've thrown alot at the car so far and whats left to replace are wear and tear items, I'd probably go for it. If they're not, then I'd think about cutting and running.
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1983(A) 16TRS (Rouge Valleunga) - 1987(E) GTi 16v (Noir) - 1990(H) 16Valve (Rouge Furio)

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow »

I assumed the prices weren't in GBP (£)'s - as TB2 refers to KMs - so I assumed in Euros??? If pounds - I'm with Kitch... ludicrous prices!!!! Even in Euro's seems high.

Where are you based TB2?
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• 2006 Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v

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TB2
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Post by TB2 »

No, the prices I posted are roughly in GBP. I live in Switzerland, where everything is horribly expensive, especially labour. And those garages told me that they'd need one mechanic working at least one full day on changing the cambelt. To post the prices in CHF, changing the spheres costed 850 CHF, and the lowest offering I got here (at A.T.U. - a cheap chain based in Germany) was 1200 CHF for the cambelt plus 400 CHF for a complete service, adding up to 1800 CHF which are 840 GBP (ok, not 950 as I posted at the beginning).

Still, it's quite a bit of money. I got a lower offering at a garage on the German side of the border, 570 Euros just for the cambelt. Anyways, it leaves me thinking. But as you might know the wages are higher in Switzerland, so that does compensate a little for the high prices you have to pay for everything...

I asked 4 garages, and the 840 GBP, 1800 CHF are the lowest price I was able to find in Switzerland. Taking the offering from Germany into account, I'd still reach at least 1400 CHF with fuel and everything. A pain in the *. I wish I could do all this stuff on my own. But how could I ever learn that stuff being busy with other things and not having anyone explaining it to me.

I guess I'll put it on ebay for 2000 CHF (which is not that much for the Swiss market, but still a little high), and look if someone buys it. If yes, that's fine, I got rid of it with little loss. If not, then that's fine, too. I'll let it be fixed and serviced, and just enjoy it... ;) I paid 1500 CHF (700 GBP) for the car, and spent 850 CHF on the spheres. Until now, it was a great deal.
Carl

1989 TRD "Entreprise" Turbo Diesel
1989 16 Valve
---
Parts needed:
- One black leather headrest.
- FDV overhaul kit (95.669.034)
Please contact me through PN if you have any of this.

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow »

Wow. Wages must be a lot higher than here! I am like you, I don't do the work myself, but as a guide a cambelt change costs me £80 (cash price), rear arm bearings (both sides) on my 16v cost £220 and four new 16v spheres cost £160 fitted. Four new tyres (good ones) cost £208 fitted. Changing the alternator belt, replacing the radiator and a couple of hoses, with good coolant cost £150 including parts.

So I do end up paying a fair amount and I'm sure there are those who can, and do all the work themselves who will be shocked that I do pay out like that... but in the end, it is still cheap motoring if I can get a good BX running reliably that will last me for a while before needing much else other than regular servicing.

I would say, on reflection, that you might be better finding a BX that doesn't need all that work, and pay correspondingly a bit more. A 1990-93 might be a good bet as the pipe-work will be better protected for instance...
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• 2006 Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v

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MULLEY
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Post by MULLEY »

You'd be better off geting in contact with a good independent garage in France & get all the work done over their instead, which should be quite a bit cheaper. And with all that money saved you could have a cheap french holiday thrown in as well & have money left over...

Let us know how you get on, those prices are ridiculous......

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TB2
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Post by TB2 »

Good idea, Mulley, I sent three of the nearest French garages a mail asking for the price. We'll see abouth those prices.

The mechanics around here told me that they charge around 125 CHF (60 GBP) for one hour of work. And they told me that at least one machanic will need a whole day of work for that cambelt. So that easily adds up... The parts themselves are cheap...
Carl

1989 TRD "Entreprise" Turbo Diesel
1989 16 Valve
---
Parts needed:
- One black leather headrest.
- FDV overhaul kit (95.669.034)
Please contact me through PN if you have any of this.

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MULLEY
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Post by MULLEY »

A whole day to do a cambelt, that doesnt sound right to me, i thought it would only take a few hours. Those that are in the know may be able to throw some more light on that aspect??

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TB2
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Post by TB2 »

Well, I read somehwere around this forum that a beginner, who had never changed a cambelt before, needed 2 hours, then got timing problems and redid it in half an hour. That was on a petrol engine. Maybe the TD is more complicated. At least, one of the mechanics told me that they'd probably need to remove a lot of other components to remove things like the water pump (Besides, it has got air conditioning, too). And he pulled that price out of his machine (A.T.U. is a huge chain, they've got preset prices), so it probably wasn't just him imagining stuff.

Anyways, I guess a citroen garage in France might indeed have more experience in changning that cambelt, and the labour prices are surely lower. I'll let you know how much they want as soon as they answer me.

By the way, I guess the air conditioning needs to be refurbished. Won't they need to remove that belt again to do that, or should I rather let them do that when they change the cambelt, too?
Carl

1989 TRD "Entreprise" Turbo Diesel
1989 16 Valve
---
Parts needed:
- One black leather headrest.
- FDV overhaul kit (95.669.034)
Please contact me through PN if you have any of this.

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MULLEY
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Post by MULLEY »

If you dont know what you are doing, then probably best to leave it to a garage, as you might cause damage & more work anyway....

I'm sure you will find some much cheaper prices than those quoted in Switzerland....

Are those labour rates just for back-street garages? or are they official citroen dealers?

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TB2
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Post by TB2 »

The 125 CHF was for the cheap German A.T.U. chain. They're as cheap as it gets for Switzerland. I also asked a citroen dealer and they wanted around 400 CHF more for the whole thing.
Carl

1989 TRD "Entreprise" Turbo Diesel
1989 16 Valve
---
Parts needed:
- One black leather headrest.
- FDV overhaul kit (95.669.034)
Please contact me through PN if you have any of this.

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MULLEY
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Post by MULLEY »

Sounds like a trip to France could be on the cards then :D

An alternative idea might be to join a car club? they might have members who like to help out etc.. or could recommend mechanics who are a lot cheaper than what you've found yourself....

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mat_fenwick
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Post by mat_fenwick »

For what it's worth, the first time I changed a BX TD cambelt it took me 4 hours, so I would imagine any mechanic who changes cambelts for a living would be able to get this done in less, especially if he's done one before.

Good luck in finding a suitable garage and don't give up!

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DavidRutherford
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Post by DavidRutherford »

TB2 wrote:The mechanics around here told me that they charge around 125 CHF (60 GBP) for one hour of work. And they told me that at least one machanic will need a whole day of work for that cambelt.[/color


That is ludicrous. That TD engine has been used on so many different pugs and citroens that any mechanic should be able to change one in a maximum of 2hrs. The first one I did took about 4hrs too, but then I didn't know where anything was. I can do one in about 1h30 now if there's no problems.

the £60 per hour sounds high, but then if everything is expensive there I suppose that's not bad. I do think you should look at taking the car to a french mechanic. Any French mechanic over about 40 should be able to work on a BX with his eyes closed, and charge about 50euro/hr

Hell, looking at the prices you've quoted it would be cheaper to drive the car to the UK to have the work done. My local Pug specialist will change a TD cambelt for £150 all in (that's including the belt)
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