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vulgalour

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

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I guess it's made like that for other models or something, part of the big PSA sharing scheme. Going to short term clean up the rocker gasket and head surface and probably use a bit of Hylomar until I get my big AEP order through. It should minimise oil leakage and allow me to still to Citaerobics while the car is sat on the garden.

 

___

 

Wheels. I've got some Lancia wheels that were going on the Polo, but I kept them back as I thought they might come in handy in the future. I've got a few more measurements to make, but they're looking likely as a candidate for the BX.

 

So, Lancia is a 4x98 while the BX is 4x108 so there's going to need to be an adaptor, I also need to space the Lancia wheels by 20mm to make them sit where the BX steels sit. Centre bore measures 62mm on the BX steel and 58mm on the Lancia alloy so that needs to be taken into account as well when ordering the appropriate adaptors. The Lancia wheels are only a 13", so I need to be extra sure they clear the brakes as at the moment I can't do that with the car sat on the floor and the engine in bits, I need to be able to make use of the uppy-downy lever to stop the jack getting trapped, you see. I can make up the difference in wheel size with tyre sidewall without it looking comical and it looks to be a readily available and affordable size.

 

It's still a way off as a plan, I've got to refurb the alloys, buy the tyres, source and buy the adaptors, make sure all the measurements are correct... it's a fair amount of stuff and money still to spend and quite low priority, but it keeps my brain busy.

 

What started this off was my brother wanting to swap the Lancias and the Tarantulas around as we've got limited storage and he has plans for the VW alloys. Propped one of the Lancia wheels against the car and oh look, that's not half bad.

 

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What else? Polishing, really. There's not a lot I can do at the moment beyond that and it's good to keep myself busy on something. The electric drill died just as my brother and I were starting some polishing efforts and I've really needed something monotonous to do today so I made a start hand polishing the rocker cover for the BX since it's a nice lump of solid cast aluminium.

 

Needs more work as there's still some minor peppering of pits on the polished side which is keeping it from a full mirror finish, but it's okay for about an hour's work. I'd've done more, but it turns out I have some sort of contact allergy with something I was using and with no gloves to hand I didn't want to exacerbate matters.

 

It's a bit silly really, polishing the rocker cover, as you can hardly see it with the normal BX set up. However, Peugeots 309 and 405 have the same engine with a different air intake set up that does put the rocker cover on display as well as improving general engine access which is something I plan to investigate further as I do like a clean and tidy engine bay.

 

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It's kept me out of mischief at least, weather has been miserable today so it's been good to have something to do.

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A mixed bag today, I seem to have spent a lot of time getting nowhere. I discovered quite by accident that Astonish brand bathroom cleaner, which is only £1 per bottle, is the best engine degreaser I've yet used. Applied carefully with a toothbrush and then wiped off it removes all the crusty stuff with surprising ease. You can also use it in small quantities to shift grease and oil from your hands, just be sure to wash your hands with regular soap afterwards. Here's a close up to show what it shifts with a single application and very little effort.

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This is after I'd done what I could reach of the head and the inlet manifold. I also removed the bonnet and scuttle for ease of access and to investigate for rust, of which I found nothing new, happily. I can also get some of the awkward bits of the plastic panels cleaned up and look at reinstating the spray bar a bit easier now.

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Bolted the freshly polished (needs more work yet) rocker cover back on which seemed to seat better than when I removed it, the gasket seems more flexible too, just so I could get the car started and keep it off the grass as much as possible. It's a shame the stock airbox obscures this polishing completely, but that's why I'm looking at fitting the Peugeot alternative that was used on this engine, I just have to investigate further as to what does and doesn't fit this lump and what other changes I might need to make.

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So, you'd think it would be a simple case of reinstating some pipes where they were disconnected (no fluids lost or drained) and bolting the six bolts back in that hold the airbox to the inlet manifold, right? Wrong. I managed to drop one bolt down the back of the engine and because it was getting dark and the car is sat on the floor at the front I couldn't see it to find it. I think I've also managed to cross thread a bolt and by this point was fast losing patience with myself. Things were seated well enough that the car should at least start, or so I thought. It made a spirited effort but I just ended up draining the battery to the point that it won't start now, just churn lazily.

 

When I can be bothered/it's light outside I'll have a proper look and put it all right again. It'll be something stupid, it always is. I did discover that the feed pipe from the pump to the first injector is just starting to collapse on one end so they'll be up for replacement, as is the diesel return pipe from the pump as that's perished at the pump end. I'm very tempted to drop the engine fully as I also need to do the timing belt and water pump, it would give me an opportunity to give it a clean and replace anything that might need it while also getting a good look around the engine bay without it being sat in there. However, I don't want this to turn into a full restoration, I'm only supposed to be fixing things to get the car back on the road in solid, MoTable condition as soon as possible.

 

in summary: yay shiny bits! Boo, I broke something.

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Lancia wheels ... looking likely as a candidate for the BX.

Sorry to break it to you, but I'm quite sure you'll not get them to fit (apart from everything else) over the brakes. You can see (or even have a feel with your hand) around the back of the wheel when it's fitted, just how tightly the original rims hug the brake components. And the fact they're alloys leaves even less room because the metal is thicker. You'd get 14 inch alloys on, just, but not 13s.

Finding alloys to suit a BX is not easy, though I quite like either the sporty Saxo ones, or those ZX Volcane four-spoke jobs. But they might be a bit modern for your tastes.

About the Lancia wheels, I think you should bring them to Chodley and let Will put them on the Samara - they'd suit it much better, and fit straight on!

 

PS, I hope you returned the Astonish and the toothbrush to the bathroom before your mum saw what you were doing!

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Not a huge difference in clearance on the steel and the alloy on the backs but I shan't know until I can get the car in the air again and measure everything properly. For me the ideal would be a 15" identical style of the Lancia wheel in 4x108 for the BX, I really like them as a design. A lot of the other wheels that would be an easy fit just aren't doing it for me. I suppose I could always fork out megabucks and get a set made.

 

Edit: I was supposed to return the Astonish and toothbrush? Ah... that could be a problem then now. Anyone know how to get oil out of toothbrush bristles? :twisted:

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Still, if it won't start and the fuel lines have been disturbed, I'd be giving it a good ol' pump.

One trick is to slightly loosen the unions on the injectors and then crank the engine until they all leak fuel - showing that the air has been expelled. If you can tighten them whilst it's still cranking then even better.

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For me the ideal would be a 15" identical style of the Lancia wheel in 4x108 for the BX, I really like them as a design. A lot of the other wheels that would be an easy fit just aren't doing it for me. I suppose I could always fork out megabucks and get a set made.

 

 

15", 4x114.3" PCD. Any good?

 

sterling1406007.jpg

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Those Rover alloys made me consider some options. I still really like the Lancia wheels, I'm struggling to find anything that matches them, they're a design I really, really like. However, I spotted these 14" speedlines that would also do the trick and they're a 14" rather than a 13". Still the wrong PCD as they're off an Alfasud.

 

IMG_4087-cf152.JPG?osCsid=0a00b44cb4995de6b047c0ab9febbf1a

 

In fact, of all the wheels I've seen I like for the BX, the strongest contenders are always Speedlines, usually Lotus or Italian car in flavour. Nice to know there's a theme, now if I can find some Lotus/Italian style Speedlines in a 14" or 15" and a 4x108 pcd... In the meantime, the Lancia alloys will get refurbished so that they're done, they're the sort of wheels I'd happily hang on the wall as ornaments.

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Still, if it won't start and the fuel lines have been disturbed, I'd be giving it a good ol' pump.

One trick is to slightly loosen the unions on the injectors and then crank the engine until they all leak fuel - showing that the air has been expelled. If you can tighten them whilst it's still cranking then even better.

 

Just don't do it on a windy day when the neighbours have their StreetKa parked next to your car, with the roof down. Didn't realise the diesel would spurt that far!

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So, today I finally got my arse in gear and set to on Stripey again. I decided that I'd check the health of the battery before charging it and discovered it needed a wee drop of de-ionised water just to hide the little feet inside. Nice to have a battery I can do this with, I'm sure it'll have a longer lifespan than a sealed jobbie.

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Gave the primer a test push and realised I had indeed been a derp. So I unbolted the airbox, discovered I have cross-threaded one of the inlet manifold threads, and rebolted it down less a bolt in the cross-threaded hole. That'll be the bolt that's under the car somewhere. All went together without a hitch and the rocker gasket is, unsurprisingly, already leaking again but I can at least see where from now. Not worrying about that in the short term, it'll be fixed before the car is returned to the road.

 

While I waited for the battery to charge I had a go at removing one of the front wings. I wanted to see how bad the common grot spot was. I did have a bit of a scrape on the inner arch where there were some bubbles and was quite surprised to find solid metal beneath. Looks like it's going on this seam and I expect I'll have to drop the suspension to do all the repairs in this area which I'm not looking forward to. VIN plate modified to hide identity, it doesn't actually look like that.

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Bashed the door pin back in which I'd been meaning to do for ages but found easier with the wing removed. That counts as a problem fixed, one point to me.

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So, that wing. On the whole it was fairly easy to remove. The front bumper has had a bash on this corner so it was unseated from its mount and was therefore easy to move out of the way. Crud catchers were a bit of a battle, but not as much as the upper A pillar bolt whose captive nut wasn't and which was cross-threaded making for a right ballache of a job. Got there in the end, but it's made a bit of a mess of the wing bolt hole when the captive nut span and chewed it up and I'm going to have to weld a new nut in as the old one is fubarred.

 

Otherwise, there's not really any rot under here. Yes, there's the usual grot spot where the arch lip has crumbled away, but it's not the horror I was expecting to find and I was quite jabby with the screwdriver. Looks like it's going to be a fiddly repair rather than a large one. Because the inner arch has been well treated with black gunge there's no rust to find.

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For all I was expecting this to be quite a rusty car, it's really not that bad. Certainly, having to weld patches measured in inches rather than feet is a surprise. I'll remove the other wing and the bumper to fully inspect the front end, but it might make more sense to get the front repaired, cleaned and rebuilt before sorting out the mess at the back because of there being that much less to do.

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H&R would do the right sort of adaptors for your car VA.

 

http://www.venommotorsport.com/manufacturer_product.php?manufacturer=HR&category=wheel&product=PCD&make=VW&model=Polo%20Mk%204

 

Without wishing to derail the thread, if you wanted to keep the basic design of those wheels and go up a size, Piazza Turbo wheels are very similar. They're 14x6, 4 x 100 and run a +24 offset. I could also get you a set for around £120 from the IPTOC, the only problem is finding a set of decent 195 \ 60 \ 14 boots made by a proper manufacturer. Arrowspeeds don't count, you might as well wrap plastic bags round your rims.

 

If you wanted to go up further, have a look at the Compomotive TH range.

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Like these?

modelpicture.php?id=8836

 

There's a lot of Piazza alloys I like, and they'd all work on the BX. Venom are one of the sites I'd found that had the adaptors, reputable firm and not an appalling price. Wish I had the money for a set, but I shan't for a few months.

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I read somewhere else that...

 

 

...the BX has gone due to terminal rot (sad times) and I've replaced it with a 29 year old soft top VW, because that's sensible.

 

What the..?

When/why/how?  :cry:

 

Is the last chapter of this story missing?

 

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Hmm... I guess a closing chapter would be sensible.

 

We all knew this was a rusty car, that's why it was so cheap.  We also knew it was borderline but I was under no illusion that I might be the last owner.  I've seriously enjoyed my brief BX ownership and haven't been put off the prospect of owning one again but I got to experience just why there's so few of them left.  Sadly, this one has had to be scrapped but it was a decision I didn't hesitate about once I got stuck into finding out the extent of the rust damage.

 

When my brother and I started to make an attempt at fixing the bad rear wing we thought we'd need to put a large patch in, but it wasn't particularly daunting as the rust seemed localised and we thought there was a good amount of decent metal.  However, what we found was that the entire rear quarter needed replacing as the rot had got in between the metal and the underseal and whenever you got back to anything like good metal you'd find the back of it coming off in flakes and what you thought was good metal was a tissue-thin layer of steel over rusty flakes.

 

It was actually quite alarming, I had expected some extensive welding but I hadn't expected the car to be quite so bad.  Other places we took back where there was tiny blisters in the paint we were getting holes of 1"-3" diameter in the metal, again with the panels having rusted from the back where you can't see and making the metal really thin and impossible to weld to.  Some of the good looking metal was so thin you could push your finger through it without even trying.

 

We decided to cut our losses when we realised just how much of the car needed rebuilding.  The thicker structural steel in the chassis might have been good, but everything between wasn't.  The sills were soft in more places than expected, the front inner wings needed quite large patches, the windscreen needed coming out for repairs, it needed at least one entire rear quarter and large patches in the inner rear wings.  The boot floor was worse than it looked at first and the rear cross member was toast.

 

Add to that the fact it needed a clutch, LHM pipes, new tyres, various bits of trim and niggly engine bits, ball joints... it was just too much to take on even before you factored in the worth of the car against the cost of the work.  I didn't scrap the car with a heavy heart, I did it with considerable relief if I'm honest.  Everyone knew it was bad, but nobody expected it to be quite so terminal once we started picking it apart for repairs.  An MoT would have been extremely difficult to obtain had they even thought about prodding it, I'm pretty sure they'd've given me a car back covered in yellow chalk.

 

When we took the car to the scrapyard we got a really good price of £160 - I have no idea how - and the yard owner asked us why we were scrapping such a good car.  Once they lifted it with the forklift to move it into the shed for draining the fluids he got to see what was hiding under the shiny paint and was heard to say "ah, yeah, that's dead." and if a yard owner says that then it probably is.

 

I have no regrets though.  Turns out that the car returned me a tiny profit a it prevented me from having to hire a van, I ran it almost exclusively on used veg oil which was free, got £40 back from the road tax and got to experience a car that I've wanted to drive since the late 90s.  Yes, I'd have another BX in the future, but perhaps one that isn't quite so rusty as this one turned out to be.

 

There wasn't much I could salvage from the car as it had to be driven to the yard, but I do still have the parcel shelf, the tools that were generously sent to me, the HBOLs and the timing belt and waterpump I never got the chance to fit.  I also kept back the wheel brace and bottle/screw jack as they're good bits of kit to add to my meagre collection.

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Aye, it is a bit sad but to be honest, the damage was really done when I sold it the first time around. If I'd knuckled down and sorted out its issues then rather than flogging it to someone who really did run it into the ground, things may have been different.

 

As it was, Vulgalour got a cheap BX experience - he's done far better with this one that I'm doing with the red turbo diesel at the moment in financial terms!

 

The car packed some fun into its final years though, and 190,000 miles isn't a bad innings.

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Its always sad when a car like this is scrapped. But at least it had a good few more years under the ownership of DollyWobbler and Volksy (as in, VolksyAngyl, or Vulgalour). I guess there is only so far you can go with a car like that.

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 under the ownership of DollyWobbler and Volksy.

 

I never owned this car, you can't prove a thing ;)

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That seems a bit unfair. Show me a 1980s family saloon that doesn't rot. The suspension falls out of the back of Cavaliers and Astras if they're not looked after, and Sierras and Escorts aren't exactly rustproof. Any monocoque is going to create tricky-to-repair issues. That's why I'm going back to separate chassis stuff!

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Most Fords and Vauxhalls don't appeal to me at all so I wouldn't be buying one anyway. I'm sure some monocoques are easy to repair if they do get grotty, like old explosive-cabbage's Samara.

 

I'm not having a go at BXs, it's just something that scares me about buying one.

Maybe old Vulga's BX suffered the CURSE OF WAT, his bile and bitterness weakened the structure thoroughly.

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