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1987 Citroen BX - SOLD!

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@mat_the_cat I'm going to have to get it apart to find out aren't I?  I shall make use of @robinmasters offer of that removal tool once we're allowed out to play again.  I bet the boot having failed is what's caused any corrosion too since it was definitely letting some moisture in and some LHM out, which isn't ideal.

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Afraid so, although at least all the fixings will be free. I don't know if there is a source for new pistons, but if they do prove to be the problem then maybe Chevronics would be able to supply second hand.

It's been more common at least in my experience, for the outer wall of the cylinder to corrode through - with hindsight I'd have retained the pistons as spares!

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Had to do an essential run in the BX, first time I've taken a car out in a month.  It was a bit slow to fire up, which I expected given the time it's been sat idle, and was then fine until heading home.  At one junction while waiting for a gap in the traffic the idle started dropping and then, when I tried to set off, the car just stalled.  Fired up no bother and we carried on until a couple of junctions later when it tried to do it again.  Did it a third time when I stopped so I could three-point-turn into the drive.  Perplexed, I had a look under the bonnet for leaks both with the car running and at idle and couldn't find anything.  I also couldn't get the car to repeat this stalling trick.

Could it be residual air working out of the system?  Could it be another problem?  Is this a thing they do when they've been stood a while?  Answers on a postcard, please.

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Had another look at this today to see if I could find anything amiss.  The car isn't keen on starting, or restarting, and the injection pump is now making a wubbawubba sort of a noise so I guess that means something in the pump is on its way out.  The wubbawubba gets quieter the longer the car is running, but it required two attempts to start with or without priming, as though the pump wasn't pulling fuel through quickly enough.  The wubbawubba noise is similar to the one that a mechanical fuel pump diaphragm makes, that sort of wobble board meets air sucked through a straw type of noise.  I couldn't capture it on my phone because the engine drowns out the rest of the noise.

No diesel leaking out anywhere and while I'd like to say there was no air getting in, since I don't have see-through fuel hoses I can't say that for certain.  Once running the car is fine and try as I might I can't get it to repeat the stalling issue.

So I guess at a minimum an injection pump rebuild is on the cards to try and resolve this issue.  My concern is that the badly filtered used veg oil remains I found in the bottom of the fuel filter housing has perhaps but excessive strain on the pump and simply worn it out, which would mean replacement is the only option.  I don't know though, I'm learning as I go here on this one and not entirely sure what the wisest course of action is from here.

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Had a bit of a natter with some people, and we're going to try some injector cleaner first.  Theory being, with evidence of chip fat in the system I could have gunked up injectors and a bottle of cleaner is very cheap and could well solve the issue without me taking chunks of complicated things apart.

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Look at the fuel tank uptake if you can get to it on these. The filter gauze and uptake pipe can get full of gunge that grows in the tank on little used diesel vehicles. My Citroen was virtually completely blocked which led to fuel starvation.

The other thing I would replace, if not replaced recently is the fuel filter.

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Another possible culprit is the plastic fuel filter housing.  As others have documented online, the housing can crack causing air to leak in. If you've cleaned the housing out recently you may have inadvertently opened up a crack.  The fix* is to replace it with a BMW E46 320d fuel filter.  I tried this on my 406 that has a rough running/stalling issue when cold.  It's a 2.1 XUD. It didn't work unfortunately, but is something else to consider.

My next port of call is to replace what I think is one dodgy injector.  Hopefully yours could just do with a good clean out.

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Fuel filter is all metal on this one, and there's cracks or damage, it's not leaking  The fuel pre-heater hasn't been bypassed, it's still as Citroen intended.  I didn't want to poke that bit in case I found out it was something else like a blocked fuel filter or something so it's on the list, but not a priority.

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Earlier today I was hunting out some stuff in the garage and found some H4 yellow headlight caps that I'd bought for my old Renault 6.  I had thought I'd moved these caps on, they didn't fit the headlight bulbs in the Renault, and I didn't have another car to fit them to, turns out I hoarded them instead.  They literally just clip on to a H4 bulb and that's it.


They have the added advantage of making it impossible to touch the bulb glass once fitted.  I had to wait until I'd finished work before I could see the result and while my camera overcompensates with blue, making the photos it takes look like an early Star Trek set, I've got photo editing software and I'm not afraid to correct the balance.  In person, the yellow it puts out looks just like it should, no a dirty old-bulb sort of colour, nor a harsh brilliant yellow, just this very mellow glow reminiscent of news footage of France in the 80s.



Time will tell if they're actually horrible to drive with at night and whether or not they actually keep their yellow colour.


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Must admit, although the 11 looked rather sexual with yellow bulbs fitted, the night vision was shite so I've gone back to normal ones.

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I'm hoping the BX isn't too bad as the night time light output without the caps is actually surprisingly good.


BX needed to be moved today since I was doing a spot of garden maintenance.  It started up with a bit of reluctance and after I'd parked it elsewhere I went back and found this big puddle of diesel under it.


That's a lot of diesel.  Before opening the bonnet I had a look underneath to see if I could find it and all I could really see was a lot of diesel had leaked from somewhere higher up in line with the injector pump.


Hmm... let's pop the bonnet and see what's what.  Ran over the various fuel connection points and saw that the top of the injector pump was greasy with diesel.  With the engine not running it wasn't readily apparent where it was coming from aside from a slight dampness on the outlet/return on top of the pump.


I had inspected these hoses recently and had seen nothing untoward.  Indeed yesterday they weren't causing any diesle to come out and the pump didn't have a greasy sheen of diesel on it like it does here.  Better start it up and see what's what.  Car was a bit reluctant to start up.  These shots were taken after I'd removed the hose clamp for the bigger non-braided hose when I'd had chance to clean my hands so I could use the camera.  With the car running it soon became very clear where the leak was.


A bit of throttle and it was REALLY clear.


That's a surprise, to be quite honest.  Easily rectified at least... but wait, what's that I see in the camera that I didn't see in person?  *tickatickaticka* Enhance.


*tickatickaticka* Enhance.


You have got to be kidding me!  Another failed hose, and another fairly new one at that.  I bet that's sucking air in and cocking things up isn't it?  I haven't got enough hose in stock to replace this with and the hose itself isn't long enough for me to trim the end off so I'll have to order a new length and replace the whole thing.  These cracks are not visible in person, I only saw them because of the camera showing them up.  The digital camera, the tool we all forget we've got when it comes to spanner time.

Oh well, I trimmed the leaking portion off the braided hose and refitted it.  I will be buying enough hose to replace all the leak-off pipes as a precaution when I buy the other hose to replace that big cracked one.  Maybe that will fix the issue.  When the braided hose was removed it was almost impossible to see the crack that was causing the leak, it's no wonder I couldn't find it until it properly failed.



Hooked it all back up and the car, unsurprisingly, started much more willingly than before and didn't leak any more diesel out.  Gave it some throttle and it was fine, no leaking out of diesel.  However, on pulling back onto the drive it did that trick of the idle dropping until it stalled.  It did fire up again quite willingly so it's slightly improved which ties in with the slight improvement I made by trimming down that bad hose so perhaps when I replace all the other fuel hoses it will be okay and this problem will go away.


I also learned quite by accident how the driver's side mudflap got broken at some point in the past and why you shouldn't park too close to the curb.




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Bloody hell that was genuine mercedes Benz leak off pipe. I remember buying for a Merc I had and it didn't get used and got used on the bx instead. Doesn't inspire confidence really in the quality of parts on the market at the moment. At least it was an easy fix.

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s'funny, when I was driving it up and down the country it gave me much less issue than it has while it's been sat more idle since moving house.

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Right then.


Getting the old return fuel hose off wasn't too bad.  It helped having someone wiggle it at the engine bay end so I could see which hose it was underneath the car and then it was a case of wiggling it out of the metal clip on the inner wing and the two plastic clips that hold it to the other fuel hose.  It's just a push fit onto the metal pipes at each end, there's no additional clips.  The rubber hose had welded itself to the hard line under the car and had to be sliced off with a Stanley knife, it was otherwise fairly plain sailing.  Checked it against the length of hose I'd ordered and fortunately the hose I ordered was exactly the same length, so no cutting required.  That's also when I found this large crack in the old fuel hose that had been hidden by the metal clip on the inner wing.


Fitting the new hose wasn't too bad, the fit was a little looser than the old hose so I added a hose clip just to be certain it wouldn't leak or fall off, it does measure the same size as the hose I took off so the difference must be very tiny.


I then finegled the hose down through the rats nest of other stuff to get it under the car so I could connect it to the hard line.  It was easier to pop the hard line out of a couple of its clips to line the two halves up.  I then secured it at this end with a hose clip too, just in case.  It's worth noting that the interference fit on the hard line underneath the car was much better and a clamp probably wasn't needed.



I then moved on to the leak-off hoses.  The new hose measured the same as the end I'd disconnected from the pipe on top of the injector pump, and it turns out this is too big for the injectors, so now I have to order some smaller hose so that I can sort those out.  Interestingly, when I popped off the leak-off hose furthest away from the pump (passenger side), it was very dry, especially when compared to the others.  I don't know if this is normal, or if it hints at a problem with this injector.


I reconnected the hose and started the car up.  Whatever had been leaking diesel - and honestly, I couldn't find anything underneath the car or down the back of the engine that looked like it even had diesel going in or out of it anywhere remotely near where the diesel leak had been - now wasn't so perhaps it was some diesel trapped in a nook from the previous leak, or perhaps it was that return hose I've just replaced leaking in a way that wasn't obvious.  Either way, the car did start much better on restarts and while it did stall once on doing the three-point turn to come back on the drive, it was otherwise vastly improved.  If you give it a lot of throttle and then let it idle, it will do so without the wandering idle for much longer now, and is far less inclined to stall.  I hope that means replacing that one hose got rid of a large air leak, causing the improvements, and that the remaining issue can be solved by the injector cleaner I'm waiting on being delivered, and replacing all the leak-off hoses when the correct size I order arrives.

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The new leak off hose arrived so I thought it'd be a quick job just to pop out and fit that and then the air leak issue will be solved, right?  RIGHT?  Let's pull off the old ones.


These didn't look particularly bad, a little stiff perhaps.  Fitting the new ones was nice and easy.


Once primed, and a fair bit of cranking, the car did fire up.  It restarted willingly too.  This was good.  I left it to idle for a bit and then the car just slowed down and stalled.  A restart was more difficult and when I primed the pump this time I could hear air squeaking from somewhere near the pump or the filter, just not quite where.  Car was an absolute pig to get to start again and wouldn't idle for very long so I knew I had an air leak somewhere and it must have been a pretty bad one.  Not sure where it would be exactly, I checked over all the connections I'd disturbed and noticed some chafe marks on the new hose going into the new fuel filter housing, so I repositioned those.


While this was good for routing the pipes, they squashed right up against the bonnet and the pipe going to the injector pump was a bit too close to the mechanism for my liking.  I readjusted everything again to fix that so now the pipes can't chafe or touch any moving parts.  The shorter hose has a bit of a kink so I will probably have to replace that with a slightly longer piece and then I'll cable tie the hoses together so they don't flap about.  I wish I could just get the proper kind of original filter top new, then I wouldn't have this routing issue.  I did try fitting them to the opposite side of the filter housing and the LHM reservoir gets in the way.


That done I tried to start the car and could see diesel bubbling, literally, out of the top of the fuel filter.  I reckoned I'd found my air leak and, annoyingly, it was where the new parts were.  Removing the fuel filter confirmed it.  The top O ring has stretched massively and I don't know why, I was very careful installing it and didn't pinch the seal.  I put the filter and top together off the car when I replaced them and then fitted it to the car, so nothing should have been unseated.  Suffice to say, I've ordered replacement seals, perhaps that will cure the air leak issue.  It is annoying when new parts fail, this filter and seals have done maybe four miles total.


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I had bought a Volvo 240 high level brake light for the BX, something I was going to make brackets and whatnot for.  Then while shopping for something unrelated I had the sort of high level brake light I actually wanted to fit pop up in my suggestions.  The algorithm worked!  So today, I'm going to show you how I fitted this without a soldering iron and with the help of a C clamp.


The first task is the scary bit, I had to remove the inner C pillar trim to check the wiring route I wanted to take was viable.  There is wiring that runs into the tailgate for the central locking, so that gave me access from the tailgate into the car so that's the route I chose to take since it should be the most straightforward.  First job is to remove the two small screws holding the top of the C pillar trim in place and then gently prise each of the fir tree studs out of the holes to get the C pillar trim off.  I did not enjoy this part of the job one bit.  You also need to be aware there's a plastic hook on the point at the back of the car, you don't want to be snapping that off.



That done, it confirmed the wiring route I wanted to take could be taken quite easily, didn't even have to drop the headlining, just ease the very corner out so I could see when the wire had been fed through.  Before committing to anything, I then took a look at what the book suggested was the wiring diagram so I could determine which was the wire I need to splice into...


er... NOPE.  I couldn't figure out how any of this, or any of the other wiring diagrams, related to what I saw on the car so instead I chose the practical approach.  Built into the back of the light clusters is sort of a printed circuit board, only it's made out of a sheet of metal, that's held in place by melted bits of plastic.  Looking at this I could understand which sections of it powered the brake and running lights and that it correlated to the brown plug on the back of the light cluster.  The green plug is the piggy-back for the other light cluster, and the small yellow plug deals with the indicators.  What I didn't know is which of the pins on the brown plug related to the brake light and I didn't know where my multimeter was (typically I found it when I was putting tools away after this job was done), so I went the practical approach.  I stuck the wires from the new brake into the slots for the pins on the brown plug until I got a pair that lit the brake light up.  I have no idea if this is good practice, but it seemed low risk as the worst I could theoretically do I assumed was to blow a bulb or a fuse.  After a bit of trial and error, the only pins that operated the brakes were these.


Then I had to figure out the best way to connect the new and old wiring.  After a bit of jiggery pokery, I figured out that you can prise the black part of the plug out which gives you access to the back of the pins.  The factory wiring just pushes into these pins to make a connection so, in theory, it made sense for me to do the same and stack the new wires on the old ones.  A little nerve wracking prising the plug apart since I had nothing to replace it with, I found the best way was to prise it up with a screwdriver from each narrow side and then push the locking tabs in as you go, eventually it pops out.  Then fiddle about with the new wire and test several times to make sure you had a good connection before putting the black insert back in.  I did have to resort to a tool not commonly found in an electrician's kit which was a small C clamp so that I could press the black insert home, using pliers or similar got one side in and not the other, so this worked quite well.


More testing after that and the light was still working reliably.  Good.  Next was to tidy away the wiring.  I didn't have the sort of clips I wanted for the one short bit of exposed wiring at the top of the tailgate, so I improvised with a clip I did have that was just bit enough.  Eventually I'll replace this with some more suitable edge clips.


The extra wire was tidied away and given a cable tie so it didn't end up hanging down outside the trim.  Yes that is a recycled cable tie, something I picked up from @KruJoe


I carefully reinstalled the trim I'd disturbed and the wire was mostly invisible, quite a satisfactory job.  Further testing showed that the light was still working.  There's no trim to hide the wire behind in the side pockets in the boot, what you see in there is literally the bodywork of the car.  Fortunately there's a trim bracket you can hook the wire over to keep it close to the back of the light cluster so unless you go looking for it, you don't see the wire.


I'd already figured out any rear visibility issues, as in what it blocked from inside the car and where it was most visible from the outside of the car, which is why I settled on having it at the top of the screen instead of at the bottom.  I did double-check this before instalation since there was enough wire to put the light at the bottom of the screen, it just didn't work as well there.



It's an unobtrusive bit of kit that gives me a little more peace of mind since I now have a brake light at eye level for other drivers.  I like that it's not very obvious inside, or outside, of the car.  Oh, and I suppose I should show it lit just to prove it does work.  A little difficult to see in the daytime with the tailgate open, at night I'm sure it'll be much more obvious.


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Spurred on by the success of that brake light install, I was delighted when the new fuel filter arrived today.  I was very hopeful that I'd finally get to the bottom of this air leak that was making the car undriveable.  Fitting the new filter gave me a eureka moment on the fuel pipe routing between injector pump and fuel filter housing so I finally resolved that.  Everything is a bit snug, but nothing is kinked or chafing so that'll do me fine.  The filter isn't on upside down, that's the only way up it goes, for some reason the print on it is upside down to usual.  The new seals with the new filter fitted very well and, after bleeding the air out and priming the system, the car did eventually start and none of this leaked.


Then it stopped running.  It was an absolute bear to get going again, much worse than usual, and I was having trouble getting it to idle long enough for me to get my eyeballs and earholes into the engine bay to try and find any visual or audible leaks.  One injector looked a bit damp, but that soon dried off, I couldn't see any diesel coming up from the engine side, or down from the pipe side so I'm not sure what that's about, maybe a duff injector seal?


I triple checked every connection, every hose, trying to find somewhere the air was getting in or diesel was getting out and there just wasn't anything to see.  I wondered if it just needed a bit of a blat up and down the street to maybe clear some air out so after checking for the umpteenth time that there were no leaks, I did that.  Particularly pleased at how much better the ANT brand (never heard of them before) fuel filter and seals seem to fit than the FRAM one I had on there previously.  Pretty disappointed with the FRAM one in all honesty.


Anyway, the car would run if you held the gears and gave it a lot of throttle, come off the throttle too quick and it would just die, whether you were at idle or not.  Then it just wouldn't want to restart at all.  At one point it was so unwilling to start I began to wonder if I was going to have to push it home and then it started chugging slowly and puffing clouds of smoke, and then very suddenly decided it was fine and set off quite happily.  It's impossible to drive now.  Parked up, the car died before I even got my hand near the ignition key, and checked for leaks again.  This time I found that all under the injector pump is wet with diesel.  It's not pouring out, it's just a constant weep here.  Also, on some of the attempts to reprime I could hear the telltale squeak of air being sucked in somewhere in the vicinity of the pump, it wasn't the fuel filter like before, the nose was definitely coming from the injector pump on the fuel inlet side of it so I suspect that's where the leak is.


I also had a dig in the kitchen for a potato so I could take a video of it running for diagnostic purposes.  If I had an apple I would have used that instead, I hear they do better quality video.



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So do you think all these slight running issues have at least in part been because of a gradually failing injector pump (or seals within) all along? Then again it's strange that the fuel filter change would finish it off like that if the pump is indeed faulty.

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I think something has been leaking and slowly getting worse combined with the leaks we've already found and rectified.  Whatever the original leak is has just continued getting worse and now it's pretty much at the point of total failure.  The trouble is, I don't know what that something is yet.

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On 4/4/2020 at 1:41 PM, Cleon-Fonte said:

Has the fuel heater down the back of the engine been blanked off yet? It's a well documented air ingress point and bypassing it shouldn't make any difference.

This, this and this again.

All XUD engines from this era had a sintered aluminium fuel pre-heater bolted on to the water pump inlet elbow, IE right down the back of the engine in the most inaccessible  area of evAR.  They go porous for a laugh and will give all the same symptoms you are currently getting.  Trace your pipework from the tank up to the filter head and be absolutely sure that this has been bypassed.   I used to bypass these even before they failed as it was very much a case of "when" rather than "if"

Another trick to find this diesel leak is to put a bit of pressure in the fuel system.  Easiest way is to find the tank breather and shove about 1psi of compressed air into it.  Any leak, even on the suction side of the injection pump, will then weep diesel out.  Found a few very odd leaks this way.

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      Try the other one. Whirr, whirr, the engine spins over. Let it spin until the oil pressure light goes out.
      Clean the plugs with a wire brush (not that they appeared to need it) and replace them. Reconnect the HT leads, making sure they are in the right order. Chug, chug, chug. Engine reluctantly turns over but not fast enough to fire.
      Remember we have a the tiny but powerful Chinese jump pack in the glove box of the Zafira, so this is deployed. Chug, chug, cough, splutter, BLOODY HELL IT'S ONLY RUNNING!
      Remove jump pack and it is still running on the alternator output.
      Leave it running while we check the condition of the spare wheel. Full size alloy, not one of these horrible space-saver things. Appears to have some air in it. Pump it up and fit it to the nearside rear. Try driving it up and down the drive to test the brakes. As we expected they were not great, but worked well enough to stop it eventually. Unfortunately the handbrake would also stop the car but the ratchet would not re-engage so having freed off the brakes it now insisted on rolling down the drive. So we took a deep breath and, leaving everything behind, we set off for home.
      No collection thread as the distance involved was about 500 yards, but target achieved with no problems, except for the power-assisted steering, which apparently now isn't. Have a cup of tea then walk back round to pile all the detritus back into the Zafira and drive it home.

      Gone. Mossy piece of tarmac blinking in the sunlight for the first time in 7 years.

      In its new home. Bob is not impressed by this non-French interloper and turns his back on it.
      Let's see what we have.

      Nicely mouldy steering wheel. Oh look, footwell lights. I say, how posh, did I mention it's a Ghia.

      Illuminated vanity mirrors. Can this get any posher?

      Optional giffer pack included.

      Lots of damp and mouldy boot trim now basking in the sunshine.
      So, what is the overall assessment.
      On cursory inspection it appears to have zero rot on the bodywork or the underside.
      Haven't tried everything yet. A few of the lights don't work (hopefully just bulbs or mouldy connections). Nor do the screenwashers.
      The two main problems seem to be the non-working power steering and the ABS warning light being on. But haven't had time for in-depth investigations yet, so here's hoping an MoT can be passed eventually. No rush, it is a lockdown project after all.
      By now I am sure you are all bored to death so I will stop rambling.
      Bloody hell these threads take a long time to compile.
      Stay tuned for more developments. Or not.

    • By L fallax
      I’ve been considering making a topic for progress with my Felicia for a little while, I want to reflect on what’s been done in a more organised fashion compared to flicking through photos on my phone. 
      I’ve had a keen interest on older generation Skoda for quite some time (100series-Facelift Felicia), I bought this 1999 T reg Skoda Felicia mid April. Would of loved to buy the pre-facelift model but sadly most seem to have been scrapped, however mine does come with the 1.3 OHC engine -the same used in Rapid 136’s, albeit slightly modernised and with Bosch fuel injection producing a whopping 67bhp. 

      First pic after a wash. Missing headlight trim, dinged rear OS door, NS fender is a bit bashed in as the original owner must of had a bit of a bash, the whole bumper sits a little lopsided. Hopefully can get the bodywork pulled at some point.

      This is my first car that I’ve bought with my own money, so naturally wanted to put in the effort to get her running smoothly with some maintenance: new oil & filter, air filter, coolant flush, wipers, bulbs, spark plugs, valve cover gasket etc.
      Engine bay needed multiple washes to clean up, looked a right bombsite when I bought it, some neglect was evident from past owner!
      Three and a half months later and my Felly is now road legal (due to issues with DVLA and V62), what a jolly little car to drive though! The exhaust blows like a wet fart when you press the accelerator but it’s very comical. (Obviously will fix this when I’ve the money, haha.) 

       Driving around aimlessly I’ve covered around 160 miles in a couple of days.  I decided to drain the gearbox and refreshed it with some 75W90 SS Gl4, after a few embarrasing car park CRUNCHES into reverse gear enough was enough, definitely was well overdue a change and now it’s silky smooth. 

      Blue Lagoon Metallic is the colour for anyone wondering.
      (Removed the faded Skoda badge and sprayed the 3D Favorit badge and grill black - perhaps not to everyone’s taste but it’s my car 😄)
      Next to do is fit new brake discs & yellowstuff pads which have been sat in the boot for a couple months, need to file the edge of the pads down a tad and find a way to remove the locking pin screw from the disc- I can’t seem to get them to turn using an impact screwdriver but perhaps I just need to hit harder!
      The goal is to fit a few unnecessary modifications,  just some stiffer lowering springs and alloy wheels with good tyres. Nothing too crazy. The ride is pretty good, very little body roll, the strut brace seems to work well. A very throwable and responsive supermini, town and rural road driving is an awful lot of fun. 
      If anyone has some Favorit "Skoda" mudflaps let me know as I really would like to replace the ones that are fitted!
      Updates to come.
      All welcome to share thoughts and stories alike 🙂 
    • By strangeangel
      I thought I'd start a thread for this as I'll probably end up asking all sorts of questions, given that this is my first 'proper' Citroën.
      So... the ground clearance lever won't go all the way to the highest setting (all others work), which is bad 'cos the book says I need it to do that in order to check the LHM level. It feels like something's seized, so I don't want to force it. Any ideas for a plan of attack would be much appreciated.
      Next up are the wheels. I now have a set of 205 pepperpots that have just gone off for powder coating & I need to get some tyres for them. The handbook says the car should have 165/70R14s on, the wheels came with 185/65R14 on. Any thoughts about what size I should get please? Cheers.
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