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vulgalour

'91 BX Estate - 06/07 - End of the Road

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Bloody hell, for that price I would buy it if it didnt mean almost certain removal of both testis by my wife and her using them for ear ornamentation.

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In ref. to my wheels plea..im giving this some thought...its getting the work done tho as Im tool-less etc....its been my reason of insomnia tonight cos I haves soft-hard spots for these...wheres u based Volks...

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Fotorabia: Yesterday I got an offer of a storage solution that I'm awaiting final confirmation of, this would then end up taking the car off the market. As soon as I know (hopefully later today) for definite I'll update here accordingly. I'm going to drop you a PM anyway.

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The 'probably definite' offer of storage turned into a 'flat refusal' but an alternative solution has presented itself so the BX can stay and be fixed. What a fuss this has been, but at least I'll have a house moving/house alternative vehicle at my disposal when required.

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I do have a habit of disappointing people, rarely on purpose, so I accept no responsibility :P

 

Yesterday, I was encouraged to contact the local Police after a rather scary incident (as previously documented in the News thread, but I'm putting it in the blog for the sake of completeness). I had to run a short errand to collect some bits for the Princess and on the way I started getting a very odd banging noise accompanied by a thumping throughout the car. I stopped twice on my trip to try and find the fault but all I could work out was that it got less severe when I put my foot down and much more severe at anything over 40mph. I really was concerned I'd destroyed a drive shaft or similar so I got a second opinion when I arrived home. My brother drove the car a few yards and suspected a collapsed wheel bearing, but the noise was just getting worse so we determined to remove the wheels and inspect on the drive.

 

Scarily, someone had got there before me. Three of my wheels had wheel nuts loosened off, a total of 12 wheel nuts all of which were finger tight and some of which were nearly out of the hub. Once we worked this out, we wound one nut in on the front to take a picture for future reference - proved useful for the Police officer that visited - and this wasn't even the worst one of the bunch.

 

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I do wonder if the wheel trim I threw recently was the result of tampering, because of it I put the trims on my brother's Astra where they look much better so I'll obviously be on the lookout for some proper BX trims eventually again now.

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In the meantime, the car no longer lives on the street, not even for short periods of time, because I don't know that I can trust keeping it there. What with the wheel nut incident and the suspected party encouraging their children to ride their bicycles at the BX, the snide remarks, the insults and the abuse... it's not worth the risk. I've never lived anywhere quite so poisonous as this, I'll be happy to leave it all behind.

 

In other, more positive news, I adjusted the clutch so I can actually select gears easier. I think I need a new cable rather than a new clutch, I'll investigate fully when the car is off the road at the end of next month, I don't have much driving planned between now and then so there shouldn't be a problem. This job wasn't actually that bad, just a bit fiddly rather than trying to make my hands be a different shape.

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The gale force winds are preventing me from doing anything meaningful on either car, but the next project is a bit of modifying to the driveway so that I have off-road work space that's more sheltered and much more secure and will avoid any terminal drama with the drive sharing that is something of a joke. Nothing is ever easy.

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By the way - word of warning. That pin just to the right of your arrow is only held in by the pressure of things either side of it. When you foolishly operate the clutch lever by hand, it falls out. If you're on a gravel driveway at the time, this is inconvenient. Please do not ask how I know.

 

I find that the sound of loose wheel nuts is a VERY important sound to learn. My wife drove home from Oxford to near Daventry in her AX once and complained about an odd noise. I drove it 10yds and sussed what it was. The garage in our village had obviously failed to torque the nuts up! I wasn't pleased, especially as she usually drove at 80mph up the M40...

 

Learning this very distinctive sound saved me from disaster several times with the Maverick, as it was a sod for the nuts coming loose. A local friend had a wheel come right off on his. He never did find the brake drum... (held on purely by the wheel being bolted to the hub)

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@shevan: Sarcasm? Not sure, given recent statements by myself, I'm trying not to read too much into a pretty glib remark, this is the internet after all.

 

@DW: It's definitely a very distinctive thing now that I know what it sounds like, hopefully it'll never happen again, but if it does I'll at least know about it.

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@shedvan: Sarcasm? Not sure, given recent statements by myself, I'm trying not to read too much into a pretty glib remark, this is the internet after all.

 

 

Not sure what you mean?

 

It does sound like you're reading something into it, but like you say this is the internet and that seems to happen to people sometimes

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Happened to me, purely self inflicted though............wheel came adrift, and wedged under a rear wheel arch............at a red light at a very busy junction. I managed to comandeer three stout lads, who lifted up car whilst i re-attched wheel using nuts purloined from other wheels, and then drove slowly [and sheepishly] home........oh the shame!

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@shedvan: It's probably my brain. I have this lovely thin formica veneer of good humour and normality running just lately, but like said stylish veneer, it's prone to chipping and cracks with the slightest provocation. Pay my paranoia no heed.

 

@colc: a lucky escape!

___

 

I meant to update on the grounded BX situation, so now I am. I've known about a leaking return pipe for a while and it was on my planned maintenance list but I thought it would at least hold out for another couple of weeks until I can take the BX off the road and work through all the issues properly to get it ready for a fresh MoT. Recently, my brother's Astra broke down in Mansfield and it was arranged that it was easiest to use the BX to go and bring people home that needed to. I was cool with this so off we set only to find that my power steering went all uncharacteristically intermittent and then the STOP and ! lights started flickering on the dash but not staying on. Another mile or two and the brakes started to feel a bit odd, but sometimes the lights would go off, all would be well and I could carry on. Then the suspension felt distinctly wrong and I pulled up. Had a good poke around and couldn't find anything amiss until we saw that the LHM indicator was right at the bottom, a look underneath confirmed that the BX was leaking out LHM. Gingerly I got back in and we limped home with the back end getting saggier and lower all the way and my brakes feeling decidedly more like a normal car rather than the on-off that I'd grown used to in the Citroen. I was close enough to home to risk it and thankfully I know the car well enough to know when something is wrong now, regardless of what the dash lights tell me.

 

I was pretty sure it was a burst pipe, and I was pretty sure I knew which one, but I was worried when it was suggested the car might have been vandalised again even though it was kept well out of the way and my wheel nuts have not since been tampered with (I know, I've checked them regularly). Only one thing for it, which was to get it jacked up and get the wheel off.

 

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So the back of the wheel, the back of the tyre, the brake disc, all of the inner arch, any mechanical components that are in this area, the suspension and the floor are sticky and green. That LHM return pipe has a split, it's okay for crawling along the drive and the BX will haul itself up off the floor when I need it to, but driving along the road it just has a big green wee, so we're off the road for now. Thankfully, I can borrow my Dad's car if I get really properly stuck, but with the job search going the way it is I'm not hopeful that anything is going to come my way before the Princess is fully road legal in a few weeks time.

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As I said on BXC, I'm slightly worried about the amount of LHM it's losing. It may be that the strut internals are failing and over-pressurising the system. Fitting a new return (only buy from AEP Direct or you'll get Ebay shite) is easy and not too expensive. With it fitted, keep an eye on it. If the pipes get blown off, then the strut is iffy. If they stay where they are, then you're ok. The return pipes must NEVER be tied to the body-side pipes - they just push on. The pipe is held to the strut by a big metal clip, but cable ties can suffice as long as you use the metal backing plate from the original metal clip.

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As replied over on BXC, I reckon it's probably down to having to use my brakes much of the way home forcing more LHM out of the split in the return hose. I've got an AEP shopping list that I'm going to order all at once, with the car off the road and not being used there's no rush to get this pipe sorted just yet. The source of the LHM spray does seem to be entirely from that return pipe, I can't see evidence of it spurting out of anywhere else but I will obviously check everything when I place my AEP order.

____________

 

Ever more complaining about my car taking up dead space on the drive and not blocking anyone in resulted in me having to move the BX off road onto the most unsuitable bit of ground available. I'm not thrilled about this situation, but it's either this or scrap the car and that's something I really don't want to have to do. I'm supposed to be minimising stress in my life to help my mental health improve, so having people constantly nagging me whenever I try and work on my car or whenever I try and use the shared off road space is something I cannot deal with. Never mind, at least a solution has been got.

 

First job of the day was to knock a panel of the fence out so that the car could be moved onto my parents' back garden. Yes, I'm putting a rusty BX on grass, go me. We needed a ramp due to the unique way in which the driveway is constructed and while we had bricks and wood to build something approximating a ramp, it wasn't ideal. Hauled the old Princess bonnet out, checked it for strength, and used that on top of our lumpier ramp. Turns it was ideal for purpose.

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Some shuffling back and forth had to be done, this wasn't a straight forward procedure and I had two spotters so we could navigate the uneven garden surface, the fence edges, the bonnet ramp, the unmovable stump and the drain cover that probably won't support the weight of a car. Fun times.

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Eventually, we got lined up so that I could leave the comfort of the concrete driveway.

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Some more shuffling, and we're in the final resting place. Usefully, the wheels sit higher than the sills on this bit of ground so even when the car sinks to the bottom of the suspension it won't be resting fully on the floor. In time, some paving slabs will find their way underneath to prevent the damp ground being a problem and hopefully the car will only be here for a few months. The fence panel was put back in and the car is now as secure as it'll ever be.

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I even have a guard dog, he was having loads of fun running around the garden and generally being a nutjob.

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The next stage, obviously, was to start working on the car which I shall tell you about in the next post.

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Shared driveways VolkAngyl are a DIABOLICAL NIGHTMARE, end of story.

 

Still its not going to be there forever and theoretically we are entering what is quaintly thought to be the dry part of the year (hohoho).

 

I am liking the sight of the Princess lurking about on the street in the first shot, it looks quite mean!

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Moment of truth time. I'd already had a good luck underneath the car to assess the rust and while it looked fairly extensive it didn't look as extensive as some BXs I'd seen so I was comfortable that it could be repaired. My brother is quite skilled at panel repair having done so for many years on a wide variety of cars and he has much more experience than I with this side of things. The decision was made after getting the BX into it's new resting place and having a cuppa, that we should start stripping the rear end down to properly assess the damage.

 

First job, remove that rear bumper. This went surprisingly smoothly with a lack of cornflakey drama. All the metal that's missing is part of the same single flat sheet and will be remarkably easy to replicate and repair. This was actually a very pleasant surprise as I was expecting far less metal to be left here.

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I had noticed some rust underneath the damaged plastic arch spats so I decided to remove them. They can be repaired and reused, but I shan't be reinstating them as I don't like what they've caused. Thanks to DW's diligence in the past the hole in the arch is limited in size and the rust is not too advanced here.

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This is the worst bit on the entire car. I didn't realise this, but apparently diesel fumes can accelerate rust and with this being a spray and dirt trap and having had a bit of fibreglass 'repair' work before it was never going to be pretty. However, again it's nowhere near as bad as anticipated.

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After some prodding, a hole did appear where the fibreglass repair had been done. This would explain where some of the water was getting into the boot.

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The real surprise was waiting for me on the other side. This panel is very nearly perfect with only some extremely minor surface corrosion that just needs a bit of fresh paint to resolve. This will also serve as an ideal pattern to reverse for the other side of the car. I'm delighted about how solid this is.

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It's not perfect on this side of the car though, the arch where it meets the sill is worse than the passenger side. Dirt and water had been trapped under the damaged plastic spat and I think that's what's caused the damage here more than anything.

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With the interior trim and (quite damp) floor mat removed from the boot we could clean it up and really assess this area properly. This is the worst part of the entire car and would make or break it. I'm comfortable that this is all entirely repairable and certainly no worse than many cars that have been restored that are nowhere near as capable, distinctive or worthy as the BX.

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It isn't perfect, there's a rot hole in a similar location to the passenger side on this side, focusing on the seam where the hatchback tub ends and the extended estate tub begins. We marked out where the rust was suspected to be to cut it out fully. One big advantage to the BX (and possibly with it being white) is that where you see rust on the paint you know the metal is rusty underneath, but where you don't see rust there doesn't seem to be anything hiding. It makes finding the areas that need repair much easier.

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Grindy action.

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Back to clean metal. You can see we've marked and started removing areas of the floor pan too. There's actually a lot of really solid metal in this area, far more than I'd expected.

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At the end of play, this little lot had been removed.

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We then tidied up the work area ready for another day when we'll continue cutting out rot ready for welding in fresh metal. We have various welding solutions available to us at the moment but my brother is of the opinion that much of what needs replacing is going to be easier to weld in that it has been to cut out.

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The plan of attack is to continue removing the rust and welding in fresh clean metal in this area before moving on to the next zone. This is going to be a practical restoration rather than a show winner because I want to use this car every day. Repairs will be strong and as much rust as is sensible will be removed but I'm not going to the extent of a nut and bolt rebuild because this is never going to be a show car, rather a tidy daily driver. For me, this car is well worth the effort and to find that the back end isn't as rusty as feared is just an added bonus.

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Good stuff. On the hydraulic side, the return pipe has nothing to do with the brakes. They're a dead end effectively. It'll purely be suspension movement causing fluid to leak out - especially when the car drops down.

 

Someone on BX club has just cut up a hatchback rear driver's side quarter. Might be worth asking if you can have the front edge of the wheelarch. I think they're the same on hatch/estate. Will make repairing the wheelarch that side a lot easier. EDIT - I see you've already done this!

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Glad to hear that you are cracking on with the repairs. The repair sections do not look complex and should be easy to sort out.

 

A car isn't a true shitter unless it has been parked in a garden, so huge increase is AS points for that alone.

 

Keep going!

 

Ken

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Glad to see things are progressing. Hope that welder I let you borrow is of some use, I'll (probably) never use it again now that I have a Turbo MIG unit so feel free to keep it until not needed anymore. It's a decent little unit.

 

From someone who's been at your house regularly I still can't see the problem with the guy next door and your car being on "his" part of the drive. I think he just doesn't like the car, end of story.

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Today, I have mostly been dismantling the BX. First though, I dumped the bottle of LHM I had into the system to make things happier. A litre of the good stuff made the STOP and ! lights go out and the car rises much faster now. Tick time is back up to 10-11 seconds too, which is acceptable. No fresh leaks apparent under the car either.

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Little yellow bobble is where it should be. Need to clean the top of the drum, it's all covered in oily gunk of some sort, not sure what that is.

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I had difficulty removing this in the past, I couldn't find all the bolts for the crusty oil all over it, but with a manual to hand I managed to find the other 4 bolts I couldn't find and lifted it free. The whole thing is covered in engine oil and there's oil in the top of the inlet manifold that bolts onto the engine. So much oil.

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Rocker cover removed too. The gasket has gone hard and doesn't seal at all, it's a wonder any oil stays in the car at all really. It's on my list of things to order from AEP later this year so I can fully sort out the engine anyway, in the meantime I'll clean it all up.

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I can now see a bit better what I'm doing. You can just make out in the middle of the head where I've cleaned some of the gunk off, it's really quite thick but does come off easily enough once you get around all the pipes and whatnot. In the meantime, I've put some tissue in the inlet holes and a plastic sheet (not shown) over the head so nothing can get into the engine while I'm cleaning the rocker cover and top box. All the bolts were put back in their respective holes so I don't misplace them.

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With the air box off, I could see a bit better where possible leaks would be. The return pipe from what I assume is the diesel pump is perished and in need of replacement as are one or two other hoses that look a bit past their best now. It's much the same job as I've done on the Princess so it'll be a case of replacing just about every rubber component I can find to freshen everything up and get the engine back into good health. The other thing I noticed is what looks like a missing pipe on the thermostat, there's no sign of it knocking around the engine bay so it might not be supposed to be there, but it seems a bit odd to me that there would be a flanged pipe with no hose or blanking plug attached.

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I've also found where my water is escaping from for definite. Once I have a new thermostat I'll split and clean up the housing so it doesn't make this mess everywhere. It seems to leak most at start up and then seal as the engine gets hot which means it takes a while to lose enough water to light up the dash, but doesn't lose enough at once to leave puddles. Easy fix this one, I've had to do it on every car I've owned.

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Once I've cleaned all the excess oil off I'll put the engine back together so that I can perform regular Citaerobics. Happily, I can report the height adjuster is getting easier and easier to use and while I still plan to remove the rear adjust to clean it fully, in the meantime I'm happy enough that I don't have to fight so much with it to keep the car off the grass.

 

I've not had chance to practice welding any further or to cut out more metal in preparation for repairs as I've had some health issues to work through. Doing less involved work is the order of the day for a while, but as long as I do something it'll help with therapy and with getting the jobs worked through on the car in readiness for returning to the road later this year.

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The gunk on top of the reservoir will be spilt LHM and general engine bay dirt sticking to it. I really must get a little funnel...

 

The thermostat gasket is indeed knackered. That's my fault as I mangled it and used sealant to 'improve' it. That was the first time I owned it, so it's done 30,000 miles like that! Not a bad bodge. I don't think anything is meant to be connected to the top of it. I mean, it's a dead end IIRC.

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