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1987 Citroen BX - The Wafflewagon

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I'll happily give you a hand if you want.  It sounds as though you know the route of the wire (and that's half the battle).  I have the required stuff at work (crimps, soldering iron, tons and tons of wire)

Is the BX mobile?  I can offer the warehouse at the weekend (near the A20 in Orpington) and work on it there.

If not, I can load up the car with required bits and come to you.

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On 18/01/2021 at 10:20, Fumbler said:

I've seen it on YouTube before where people in Canada used this copper conductive paint to re-establish the traces on a HRW. No idea if it's sold in the UK, or even sold at all.

It used to be sold in Halfords although I never had much success repairing my 16's HRW with it - I wonder if the silver-loaded stuff used for flexible PCB repair would do? 

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On 4/5/2021 at 10:13 AM, dozeydustman said:

There was a chap in Gravesend when I lived there - Thomas Auto Electrics who did a great job on my Horizon in 1999, seemed to be quite busy and did on site work and was still going when I moved to sussex in 2015, but I can’t find him doing a google search so may have retired/died/moved away.

Does the car start and run at all? I can recommend a garage in Swanscombe who are chod friendly and probably would relish something simple to work on for once. And they have an automotive sparky.

I can make it start and run but I'd rather not drive it super far to be honest!

On 4/5/2021 at 10:14 AM, CaptainBoom said:

I'll happily give you a hand if you want.  It sounds as though you know the route of the wire (and that's half the battle).  I have the required stuff at work (crimps, soldering iron, tons and tons of wire)

Is the BX mobile?  I can offer the warehouse at the weekend (near the A20 in Orpington) and work on it there.

If not, I can load up the car with required bits and come to you.

Really appreciate that @CaptainBoom. I'm very much a soldering novice and also colour blind so sometimes tracing wires is a bit hard for me! I'll whatsapp you.

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On 4/7/2021 at 4:53 PM, SmokinWaffle said:

I can make it start and run but I'd rather not drive it super far to be honest!

Really appreciate that @CaptainBoom. I'm very much a soldering novice and also colour blind so sometimes tracing wires is a bit hard for me! I'll whatsapp you.

Normally on Citroen of that era each wire has its own number printed all along it, so as long as your close vision is ok colour blindness is not too much of an obstacle.

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2 hours ago, artdjones said:

Normally on Citroen of that era each wire has its own number printed all along it, so as long as your close vision is ok colour blindness is not too much of an obstacle.

I can assure you that my CX has no visible numbering on any of its wiring!

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3 hours ago, artdjones said:

Normally on Citroen of that era each wire has its own number printed all along it, so as long as your close vision is ok colour blindness is not too much of an obstacle.

That would all be well and good - if it hadn't been bodged several million times already it seems! Very little of the bit we worked on was original wire.

2 hours ago, loserone said:

Any news on impending fixage?


I appear to be being offered a BX project (not from this forum), is one of these something I need?

Feel free to PM for any advice - they are wonderful cars and very special in my eyes. The suspension, interior, the style - it's all really quite theatrical.

Starting it up to move it backward out of the garage for some room after it's been sitting since....whenever it was laid up - couple months in the cold with no movement or charge? After some wiggling of the wires and a hammer tap of the relay as it was stuck, a double cycle of the plugs it didn't hesitate at all:

Love this thing. Missed it greatly.

For clarity. both me and Captain had COVID tests before this for safety and stayed at a reasonable distance mostly outside/outside area.

 I literally don't have words enough to thanks @CaptainBoom. I replied to his message he sent offering help a day later and at 2AM. He messaged me at 8:30AM this morning and said he could be there at 2. Brought all the wire, tools and skill he could fit in the van - travelling 45 minutes from his place. Taking a good 5 hours out of his own spare time - he helped me identify various wires and did 90% of the work while I watched, learnt and held bits - all just for the love of an old car and helping someone. Easily the kindest, politest human I've met in the past year. Lovely to chat to.

I'd of course met him in the BX Rescue mission we did with a few others - but good to really get to know each other more.

If there were more people like him in the world - it'd be a much better place. Big, big respect and admiration as well as endless thanks.

Action shot:


Not any pictures of the during as it was just tracing wires, labelling, cutting, soldering, heatshrinking and crimping better connectors on. Also tidied up a few other little bits and realised that there was a different relay which the live wire connector was ruined and just falling off. No idea what it does but fixed that. Some of the wiring elsewhere is questionable but at least now I know that the ones that probably carries the most current isn't a hazard. Got rid of some random modular connectors too that served no purpose other than adding a point of potential failure.

We cut the live back down to where it came out of the firewall - behind that it went behind the dash and all sorts so didn't fancy that - and redid it all with new wire and nicely soldered/heatshrunk joins. Split it into the glow plug relay, that other mystery relay and the injection pump - as well as redoing the other wires to the glow plug relay.

We did have a moment when it was back together where we thought it was wired wrong even after our labelling as it didn't seem that the relay was clicking off when the glow plug light went off. After much confusion and wondering what we did wrong - and referring many times to the badly drawn relay diagram I'd sharpied on the garage wall - turns out it actually has some sort of overrun and clicks off 2-4 seconds after the light goes off. Unsure if that's what it's meant to do and can't remember if it did that before - but it clicks off every time and we ran it for a while a few times to check it wasn't staying on and it's reliable. Pretty sure now I think of it I never heard an auditable click when the light went off the same as when it goes on.

Final product is....well just looks like new wire so no pictures really. But neater, healthier and longer. Relay back in place on the wing now it has some slack so it's not pulling everything else about and stretching to it's limits. Will put the bonnet back on tomorrow and secure the battery - then run it next week as my daily and see how it goes!

There was also a pipe that went to the injection pump and slipped over a metal tube. Happened to notice it was super, super, super loose. Pulled it and it came off along with a little diesel. Secured it back on and tight. I assume I might have put some air in the fuel system as it struggled to start the next few times but it seemed to work itself out. Now it starts better - and the stuttering/smoke it used to do when the back rose up seems to be gone. Time will tell!

Huge thanks again to @CaptainBoom. Saviour. 

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The relay clicking off after the glowplug light going out is normal, nothing to worry about.  With the other BX I had, I found it best to wait for the click rather than the light before starting.  Here's hoping this resolves the intermittent running/starting/stalling issue.  A good sparky is worth their weight, they really are, especially since it's a craft that always looks like you've done nothing when you've fixed a problem, even when you've spent hours on it.

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No probs, glad to have helped - I'm often on my own when working on cars, so it's great to have someone to talk to.  Give me a shout if you need anything in the future, especially if you want the relay corner tidied up a bit.  I'm sure that we have some sleeve at work that would neaten it up.

I did get down to Winchester in the end, all was good, and I'm now furnished with a set of Saab 900 bumpers.  Quite where I'm going to hide them, I have no idea.  That's tomorrow's issue.

The BX is a peach, a nice honest car, I really enjoy its idiosyncrasies.  I must resist the urge to look on here and eBay listings for one!

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All seems well. Bonnet back on, there was an earth that fell off of the negative terminal that we replaced yesterday but it was still dicking about as it was an awkward angle. Ended up cleaning up a wing bolt and securing it to that, seems fine and much more secure. Only goes to a relay. 

Carpets in, cleaned out a bit. 

Now the 405 is on the drive awaiting welding, other halves Corsa on the nice bit that doesn't get covered in bird poop - BX blocking them in and something much more appropriately sized in the garage. 

Ooh, I also fixed the steering boot thing that I think was causing some water ingress. I'll update it properly later. 

Happy days. Will go on the first run soon. 



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Okay, proper update!

Pic before I put the bonnet back on because why not:


How the steering rack boot was sitting:


Which means it was just flopping so this could happen:


Lots of road under there, so that's a prime candidate for a wet carpet on a wet day.

After much much sodding about (it was so fiddly as it's a perfect fit) I got the groove in the plastic into the metal bit and it's very secure and sealed;


Feet are warmer now too. Happy days.

Carpets put back in after that which is always nice.

Had a trip out to my dads to transform the top of an office desk into a more reasonably sized Puzzle board for my other half:



Some time later:


Lovely. Just have to felt it.

Anyhow - it performed faultlessly, didn't struggle when the back rose up like it usually does (maybe it was that loose fuel pipe!), started on the button and no inconsistency in the glow plug relay (so far - touch wood!) - and it's the absolute best feeling being back driving the thing again. Even got a thumbs up from a chap on the way there who seemed to love the car - I've missed that. And oh my god it's so comfy. So so comfy.

Aaand back home:


Needs a wash. As always. Looking forward to going to work tomorrow just so I can drive it again.

It's kind of annoying as where it was sitting in the garage and I have some big life changes coming up - I'd almost resigned myself to selling it. As soon as I got in it and started it up - even moving it backwards to fix it in the garage - immediate love - rare to feel that way about a car. Probably worth taking care of. :-)

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Drove it for a couple days - all good! A lot for work and all is well. Happy days.

Although - drove home for lunch yesterday and started to smell a big whiff of diesel....opened the bonnet and that pesky fuel line has come loose on the injector pump again and put diesel all down the front of the engine. Tightened it, put a rag there and left it as I had to get going. Assume I just need to screw it tighter - might replace it with a proper jubilee clip so it's less likely to loosen!

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"I've got an air leak but you'll never find it, teehee!"  ffffffff...  yes, use those kinds of clamps, they're much better if you can get them to fit in, which you can't always because of the crazy octopus approach to pipes.  Good to know the big water ingress problem was a straightforward fix.

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Okay....interesting week.

Tightened the clamp up as much as I dared - didn't want to kink the metal pipe. Tight enough to just start to visibly squeeze the pipe which is pretty darn tight, ran it for the rest of the week and all seems happy so far.

Was driving home and I'd noticed the brakes feeling a bit weird and some hesitation/flat spots every now and then, then I had the stop light flicker on just as I came around the corner to my house on Friday.

I'd neglected to check the LHM for a while and it was low. Put it on high and and set about filling it up, ended up putting about 1.5L in (I had some LHM spare that the owners of house we looked with the derelict BX gave me!). Did it carefully with a bucket in the overflow when I'd done it - then I put it on low and awaited the sea of green because I'd overfilled or misunderstood the marker on top of the tank....but all was well. Zero spillage whatsoever!

Then I put the bottle on the ground and kicked it as I turned around. 


Of course. Bollocks. Cleared up well with some paper towel and dirt. LHM is crazy green though.

I did notice that although the glow plug relay was reliable and worked in the week - there was an increasingly large delay from the ignition going on to the glow plug light going on....got to 2-2.5 seconds or so by the end of the week. Just after I'd filled the LHM above and was talking to a friend about how glad I am to have it back and it's been behaving - I went to move it onto the drive annnnndddd.....no glow plug light.

Tried again, flicker. Again, nothing. Nothing. Nothing again. Nowt. Weird.

Checked all the wiring to it - all seemed as perfect as it was since it was done  by the wonderful @CaptainBoom - who then briefly arrived around to pickup something and  helped me test the voltage on the live to the relay - it was low. 

Weird. Then I noticed that the positive for the relay went into a junction box before it went to the + battery....


Lets bust it open.


They look dirty. Maybe it's a resistance/dirty connector issue. Cleaned them all up with some sandpaper on both ends. Much better.

Also saw that the positive terminal on the battery was very dirty, so I sandpapered that and it came up nicely - same with the connector. Put it all back together aaaaanddddd....consistent immediate glow plug relay light. Works rock solid (touch wood) every time, zero hesitation, no flickering, no messing around, just works every time. Took it out a few times - still performed as expected. Chuffed - hopefully that puts the matter to bed! Really shows how you should check the simple things first!

I also spotted that there was a bullet connector that went to another relay which had become fucked. No reason for it to be a bullet connector so cut it out, and tried my hand at some soldering (barely done any really):


Not pretty - but strong and better than twisting and taping for sure.

I gave it a pretty jacket:


Happy days. No idea what it does - but now it does whatever that is better I suppose.

On the high of figuring out things and fixing it myself I was feeling good. Driving around all smug.

Sadly - the BX has a built in smugness sensor in the base of the drivers seat - on my way back from the Chinese on Saturday night I was (again) just about to pull onto my drive and it coughed. Weird. Then coughed again and died......okay.

Start it back up, ran for a bit as I turned it around in the road (I'd parked weird on the drive with my other cars so no room sadly) and it stalled again. Nice. Started it up again, drove down the road and it was running rough. Wouldn't accellerate, stuttering, bit of exhaust smoke and then just nothing. Didn't start again - just turned over. Fuck. Coasted it about a ft from the kerb at an angle and apologised to the person who's house I was outside of.

After I'd spilled house special curry in footwell (thank god I put the mat in the other day) and ran the chinese into the house I popped back. Couldn't see anything obvious in the bay. Very odd.

Then I thought maybe it was the injection pump, primed it, still nothing. Then I wondered if the pump was getting power, so I poked the live to it aaand:


Well played BX, well played.

Cba so I left it overnight, stripped it and popped it tightly under the bolt this morning to get it back to the drive (driving very carefully) - last time it came off it shorted on the metal and burnt some of the loom. This wire was what my mechanic at the time did - it's a little thin and a little tight so I figure it's just fatigued with the movement of the engine.

Going to get some thicker gauge wire and another o-ring, cut that live out and make it a bit longer and more protected then we should be back in business.

I do love this car so much - but it's really trying my patience recently. Builds character though. He's an old lad just trying his best - I'll give him a break. :-)

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