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1987 Citroen BX - SOLD!

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45 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

"Just make sure to check your local planning regs, how they handle stuff like that seems to vary from authority to authority.

Here they require full planning consent for any structure which extends beyond the original frontage of the house -"

I believe that's fairly standard - the original building establishes the 'building line' and thou shalt not build anything in front of it.


"I've also had hassle from the council here for "unauthorized litter picking" for fishing crap out of my hedge while standing on the public footway."

WTAF! What boils my piss is the combination of older residents who still have hedges at the front of their gardens (and much preferable to a concrete sectional wall they are, too) and the local scrotes that believe any hedge is a suitable receptacle for their discarded Red Bull and Carling cans and their spawn's Capri Sun and Haribo packaging. Same as the local woods are for their old sofas, mattresses and push chairs.

MK council evidently want a good shoeing for that sort of attitude. Grrr.

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I'll be double-checking before any money is spent, for sure.  That said, there's quite a few houses locally with odd extensions and car ports and such so I imagine the local Council are less insane than Milton Keynes.  That said, it's probably not difficult to be less insane than MK Council.

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On 1/3/2020 at 4:28 PM, chodweaver said:

WTAF! What boils my piss is the combination of older residents who still have hedges at the front of their gardens (and much preferable to a concrete sectional wall they are, too) and the local scrotes that believe any hedge is a suitable receptacle for their discarded Red Bull and Carling cans and their spawn's Capri Sun and Haribo packaging. Same as the local woods are for their old sofas, mattresses and push chairs.

MK council evidently want a good shoeing for that sort of attitude. Grrr.

The rubbish is annoying in the extreme, however it's the drug paraphernalia which really grates.  Especially as the kids from round the corner insist in playing hide and seek in there (I couldn't care less about that, it's on the other side of a 6 foot fence).

General consensus seems to be "What do you expect?  You live in town."

Meh...the hedge is going later in the year and the fence will be getting pushed back to the highway boundary as I'm sick of cleaning up this nonsense.  It's another thing we inherited with the house, having been left to run wild by the previous owner - oh, and they're full of brambles.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The starting problem is back again.  However, this time I have some extra information to perhaps identify the issue.  I do now know what makes the issue worse since this problem has persisted long enough for me to collate some information.

- If it's 2C or below outside, the car will have trouble starting

- If it's damp outside, or actively raining, even if it's below 2C, the car usually has less trouble starting (I have no idea why this would be)

- cycling the glowplugs before attempting to start the car makes no difference

- Using a bit of throttle when starting helps only to half pedal. Use full pedal and it will struggle and die quicker.

- If the car is having a non-starting sort of a day, the colder it is the longer it takes.

- A long run at motorway speeds eliminates the starting problem for several days, regardless of temperature or humidity, and it will operate as a normal car

- Repeated short runs in a short period make the starting problem much worse, sometimes to the extent that even trying to start the car once warm will take a second attempt before it wants to go.

- A quarter of a tank of fresh fuel, or more, will eliminate the starting issue usually for a day, regardless of outside temperature etc.

- Some days, it just starts with no fuss, regardless of all the variables, as though there's no problem at all.

I'm still at a bit of a loss on this one.  I've gone through the fuel etc. to try and eliminate the usual suspects and everything appears to be operating as it should.  Sometimes there are bubbles in the fuel line sometimes there aren't, and the presence or absence of bubbles does not directly correlate to the difficulty or ease of starting the car.  The bubbles in the fuel line are only present when you turn the car off, at which point you see them returning down the hose (I fitted clear hose to see what's happening).  The glowplugs, which are new, tested fine with the multimeter and while I know new parts does not always equal success, it seems very unlikely those are the culprit.  Fuel consumption is normal, so the car doesn't seem to be running excessively lean or rich, and it doesn't smoke, so I assume that side of things is good too.

For now, I'm running the fuel tank as empty as I dare just in case there's some old fuel or something sloshing about in there that's perhaps causing an issue, it can help with petrol cars, I've no idea if it helps with diesels, and given that it always runs a bit better with fresh fuel in I'd say it can't do any harm.  Worst case it'll drag something through from the tank and block the fuel filter (which is clean and moderately new, I did check).

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I have maybe something for you to try. Before trying to start the car in the mornings (or whenever you do try) prime the fuel bulb or head (depending if Lucas or Bosch) the see if it starts easier. I think it might.

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The only thing priming does is make the car smoke while it's trying to start, it otherwise makes no difference.

That’s a shame, I had a BX estate that had a slight air leak - the priming thing showed it up.
Have you checked the glow plug relay and that the plugs are actually drawing current when switched on?

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I don't have a definitive answer, but the change in behaviour when primed could be a clue. It suggests that if you don't prime (on the occasions when you have the problem) you aren't getting fuel. Although, when you do prime you are obviously getting fuel, but it's not igniting, at least properly. Do you have a video of the symptoms, showing the smoke too?

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It does behave a lot like a car with a carburettor that has a full float bowl but the pump isn't working at first.  Then, after a couple of attempts to start, it's like the pump starts working fine, if that makes sense?  But as far as we can tell, fuel is being delivered when it should on start up, the glowplugs are doing their thing as they should too, the relay is working as it should, etc. so the problem is a bit of an odd one since it doesn't seem to be manifesting in the usual way.  Unfortunately I have no video of the starting problem because whenever I've tried, the problem simply hasn't been there and there hasn't been anything to record, typically.

Today, it was raining.  The good news is that means the BX was, as usual, much easier to start and it highlighted that the sealing I had done behind the washer bottle had improved water ingress issues quite a lot.  I also learned that the driver's door only drains out of the front drain hole once you open the door and while it does drain very fast since the drainholes are all nice and clear, it does seem a bit weird that it won't drain when the door is shut.  And no, that isn't how the water is getting into the driver's footwell, I did double-check.  So, the thing to do before starting the car was to disconnect what I understand to be the cold start cable.  There wasn't any slack in the cable before doing this, nor when I reconnected it.

Now, the car did start slightly easier than on a dry cold day, but no easier than usual than on a wet day, so the results of this were inconclusive.  There didn't appear to be any external bits to adjust at the pump end of the cable so I assume the adjustment would be done on the arm on the back of the housing at the other end of the cable.  The two adjustment screws are very stuck, but there is a little movement in the arm anyway, which I assume is as it should be, I didn't fiddle about with it for fear of making it worse and due to not having much time spare to faff with this today.



Here's a wider shot of where that cable above actually runs.  I took both pictures from opposite sides of the engine for extra confusion.  The accelerator cable doesn't have excessive slack, nor is it excessively tight, and it moves freely.  I can't see anything obviously amiss so I imagine the fault I'm looking for that's causing the cold start problems is a hidden part.


Typically for a rainy day, the car started perfectly happily throughout my errands and ran perfectly fine.  The very first attempt to start the car with the cold start cable disconnected did fail where normally it would succeed on a rainy day like this, the second start was reluctant, but did go eventually from a sluggish chug to normal running within a few seconds.  I'm not sure if any of the above information helps clarify the problem, or just muddies the waters further.

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I've just remembered something. I don't know how it would relate to cold days/damp days/fuel etc but...….  Years ago these had a reputation for being a bit of a pain to start if the valve clearances were a bit tight, what with them being bucket and shim they didn't get checked/adjusted very regularly. Might this have a bearing here?  Ignore me if I am being stupid. 

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I was about to say that wouldn't explain an intermittent problem, but actually it could. If you had a valve that was sticking, rather than badly adjusted.

To check, 'just' pop the valve cover off and check the clearances next time it fails to start quickly! Hmmm...

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I was about to say that wouldn't explain an intermittent problem, but actually it could. If you had a valve that was sticking, rather than badly adjusted.
To check, 'just' pop the valve cover off and check the clearances next time it fails to start quickly! Hmmm...

And therein lies the problem. I suppose you could just check/do the clearances on the off chance as good practice and see if starting improves, but who wants to bother with that nonsense?

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Today, it's cold enough to be a stubborn start, and dry enough too, so before doing anything I lifted the rear seat base to get to the two plastic grommets that allow access to the stuff in the tank.


The only thing in here that shouldn't be was spider webs and spiders casts. No signs of any damage, leaks, or anything untoward. They're both done up really tightly and while I did have a go at undoing them, it felt a bit futile, they didn't really want to budge at all. Just in case I gave them a knock the other way to ensure they were as tight as could be and then left well alone. The hoses look healthy with no signs of perishing or pinholes, nothing was showing up to the eye, ear, or nose with the car running and my gut feeling was that this was a dead end for fault finding.



Today, I was expecting it to be a bit awkward to start, it's cold enough, dry enough(even though it rained a lot last night) and the car has been sat idle long enough that I expected it to be one of those many attempts start. I decided to use no throttle, a single warm up of the glow plugs (waiting for the relay to click off, as usual) and turned the key. It fired up first time, no hesitation. That flies in the face of everything I've learned so far about what causes this problem, it should have been incredibly difficult to start today.

I did turn the car off, have a poke around things, and try again and it started perfectly. Oh well. I had a look at what was going on with things in the engine room anyway, might as well. I noticed a blue spade connector hanging loose, I didn't check in the book but I assume this is for the oil pressure sender since the thing it plugs onto goes into the block, rather than a temperature sender.



This made absolutely no difference to anything. The other thing I checked was the fuel lines. When I turned the engine off some bubbles came back down the line heading towards the back of the car, as they usually do. Bear in mind, the car started and ran like there was nothing wrong with it, so I wasn't expecting to see any air in these lines at all.



That's quite a large section of air. I'm lost on this starting issue now. Shouldn't that much air in the lines make it an absolute bear to start? I am very confused.

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I haven't, but I'm not sold on that being the problem anyway because today it's been running impeccably on my errands, starting willingly, and generally just being An Car.  I'm not convinced that the problem really is air in the fuel and until I am, I'm not willing to start throwing darts blindly in the form of new parts.

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The tank only has a level sensor in it, right? No in-tank pump? If there is the latter, I'd be looking at the wiring connector shown in the pic of the second grommet hole. It's probably brown plastic on the plug, but it don't half look like something well rusty that would struggle to make a good electrical connection...

(Prolly barking up a tree that doesn't exist)

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Since the fuel gauge works perfectly fine, and always has while I've had it, I can't imagine that connector being any sort of problem. As you assume, pump is up at the front on the engine rather than at the back in the tank, so I doubt that connector would affect it in any way, even if it were super crusty.

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Today, big progress was made on a job that needs to be done before the Princess arrives.  We're fortunate enough to have a double-width driveway with a full dropped curb.  We're also unfortunate enough to have a fairly well established mixed hedge planted across half of it.


It means getting in and out requires some planning ahead which hasn't been a problem so far, but will be once the Princess is delivered.  So today's attempt to trim the hedge back a bit to give us less work on Wednesday, when we'll be stump pulling in earnest, got a little bit out of hand and now we almost have proper access.


There's a couple of stumps to pull which, thanks to the very nice loose soil, is actually surprisingly easy.  There's also big run of concrete footing for the original wall which was demolished at some point in the past, its nearly a three man lift if we can't break it up into at least two pieces.  Then we can flatten the gap between the existing drive and the path, steal a dozen paving slabs from the back garden in an area we want to return to lawn anyway, and we'll have better access and space for two cars down the side of the garage.  Eventually, we'll be re-paving this whole area to make it a nice uniform work and parking space and adding a car port on the BX side of the garage, and even later we'll be demolishing or extending the existing garage to turn it into a reasonable sized double garage.  A lot of work ahead of us, for now it's a case of making things as practical as we can with what we've got.

We met a good number of our new neighbours just doing this job, which was a nice added bonus.  The house to the left of the photo has the most awkward driveway to access on the street, it's just as well they have a small car because otherwise it would be a real struggle.  Our plans for improvement on this area has actually been of benefit to this neighbour since she can now not only see for getting in and out of her driveway much easier, she also has more space to maneouvre.  Visibility is the biggest bonus of all too, because of the jetty/gennel/walkthrough/alley/[insert local variation here] that runs down the side of the house there's quite often pedestrians to look out for when you're backing on or off the drive, usually with kids or small dogs or the like, so it's good for safety for all concerned.

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Given that I'm 300 miles away from said unit yes, that is a sacrifice I have been forced to make.  Mike is stopping on with it, obviously, since it's his unit.  He's not so good at doing the updates though.

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14 minutes ago, vulgalour said:

Given that I'm 300 miles away from said unit yes, that is a sacrifice I have been forced to make.  Mike is stopping on with it, obviously, since it's his unit.  He's not so good at doing the updates though.

Ah, I hadn't really clicked it was his. At least you have the potential, level space for car ports now. Exciting times ahead!

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That is a very strange set of symptoms. The rain thing makes no sense at all to me. Air in the lines is like the problem I had on my Range Rover P38. On that it turned out the in tank fuel pump was faulty. Replacing that solved a whole list of issues and now it runs great. Does the BX have a in tank pump? Even if not I would look inside the tank for a blocked gauze filter or something like that. Other than that the symptoms would suggest injector pump to me.

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Current theories are filter housing leak (common), valve clearances too tight (not so common), damaged fuel hose (common), or a faulty cold start waxstat (common).  Trouble is, with the weather being that bit milder down here the problem is likely to go away before too much longer because it only manifests when it's quite cold.  Another theory offered was that when it's rained, there's enough moisture sitting on whatever is sucking air in to seal the leak for long enough for the car to start, after which point things are warm enough to seal up the leak to make it air tight again.

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      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
    • By Peter C
      Woke up this morning, had a little time before I had to leave the house for work, had a quick look at what’s new for sale on Retro Rides and saw an ad for a W124 200E manual, located 15 miles from home. I had no intention of buying a car today but I had to have it! I called the seller and arranged a viewing.
      2 x rusty front wings (TADTS)
      1 x rusty rear arch
      Needs a polish
      Tracking is out because new track rod end was fitted for MoT
      Engine has oil leak/s
      Good points:
      It’s a W124 200E!
      5 speed manual transmission
      New clutch
      Brand new MoT
      Superb MoT history
      4 x as new Continental tyres
      Last owner for 15 years, her husband before that for 4 years
      Very tidy MB-Tex interior
      Drives well
      All electrics work
      The dealer kindly delivered the car to my house but I managed a pez station shot on route:

      Remove front wings, cut away rust and apply plenty of wob.
      In-situ similar repair for rear arch
      Clean and polish
      Service engine
      Adjust tracking
      Leave patina and enjoy the car as it is
      I will update this thread once progress is made.









      Hopefully these two will become good friends.

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