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vulgalour

1987 Citroen BX

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I've not had any joy yet finding a supplier for the boots, I'm not entirely sure what they are properly called so that's probably not helping.  Any ideas on where to get them?

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On 5/10/2019 at 5:09 PM, vulgalour said:

Slight improvement on the front panel gaps today after spending some time faffing about, wiggling the headlight, loosening and tightening bolts, and all that tiresome jazz.  Before and after for comparison taken from as similar an angle as I could manage.

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Remarkable resemblance to C&H's Sleazy Guy.

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I've been away for a couple of days and I've driven a whopping (for me) 600 miles in the BX.  Stage one of the weird and protacted house move was being undertaken, you see, so the BX was loaded up with Stuff and we schlebbed off down the motorway.  Weather was muggy, roads were surprisingly okay and just before an accident that was being cleared I found myself beside a layby and ready for a lunch break, so I stopped just in time for a giant road caterpillar to rumble past, so that was neat.

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The drive home was a little more eventful.  It started raining just when I arrived in Maidstone and stopped just as I got back to Thornaby, for the duration of the drive home getting over 50mph was mostly impossible because the wiper simply couldn't go fast enough to clear the screen and many other drivers were experiencing similar issues.  It was a fairly horrible drive home because the car was empty so got buffeted about a lot more than on the drive down.  I was very grateful for the Uniroyals and having a lot of motorway miles where the vast majority of other road users were incredibly sensible.

Just as I got off the motorway I started to hear an occasional rubbing noise, that became a much more pronounced rubbing noise when turning hard right.  The only casualty of the trek has been a fastening on the splashguard which is now a little loose and sometimes rubs a tyre, so I'll have to replace whatever fastening has broken or fallen out.  BX was otherwise composed, relaxing, and trouble-free and proved itself to be everything Dean said it was and certainly felt well worth the investment of time and effort it's had.  It'll need a bath, it's a bit grimy, not that it shows that much which is unusual for a white car.

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Fuel economy for the way out was about 65mpg, and on the way back about 60mpg.  I expect economy on the way home would have been better if I could have kept the speed up a bit, 60mph seems to be the sweet spot for this car, though it'll happily wind up much further if you ask it too and we did spend a brief bit of time in the German Car Lane of the motorway which is something I never normally do.

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I decided today would be the day I replace those two blown bulbs in the instrument cluster.  I know this is a horrible job having done it before on my old estate so I did know what I was in for.  I found the selection of bulbs I'd salvaged from the other cluster that came with the car and Mike and I went through them to find out which ones were good and which ones weren't.  A good half of the salvaged bulbs were bad, and half of the good ones were such a sloppy fit in the cluster that they were unusable.  I will be modernising the binnacle insofar as I'll be fitting some new regular brightness LEDs, purely because the failure rate is usually much lower than that of incandescent bulbs.  I'm not interested in fitting ultrabright LEDs for this application because I don't like bright dials glaring at me at night.

The other thing I wanted to do was give some of the plastics a scrub since I hadn't done this side of the dashboard.  So, off with rather a lot of stuff.

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It's not necessary to remove all of this to do the bulbs, as it happens, I did it this way mostly for the purposes of cleaning the column shroud more easily.  I did discover that the lower panel is cracked on the ignition side and has a mismatched screw fitted.  I can either repair the trim panel or try and find a good replacement, the latter would be my preference in this instance.  To get the instrument panel out there's a trim piece that runs across the bottom of the instrument cluster, underneath on the outer edges are two tiny star-headed screws you need to remove.  Once that's done you can undo the two large flat-headed screws that secure the bottom of the cluster to the dashboard.  Then, you pop out the switch panel (or blanking plate panel in my case) to the lower right, and the oddments tray/digital clock bit in the centre of the dashboard (two cross-head screws).  That allows you to get to the plastic wing nuts that hold the top of the instrument cluster in place, providing you can jam your hands in to get to them.

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With those undone, the whole binnacle pod can be eased forwards.  Then, unplug the connectors along the top of the instrument cluster and ease the whole thing forwards.  It's actually easier to do this without the steering wheel fitted and since that's just a single nut it's worth popping it off to make life easier.  Then, it's a case of figuring out which bulbs go where, you can remove a bulb and angle the cluster so the light comes through the windscreen and illuminates the hole for the bulb you removed, that way you can see more easily if you've found the correct bulb that needs replacing.  The bulbs themselves twist out and are fairly easy to replace.  While it was all apart I gave the burnt looking vinyl a good scrub as I'd done on the passenger side.  The main difference was that on the driver's side it did lift quite a bit of yellowy dirt, though some is stubbornly clinging on.  I'll need to keep cleaning this to get it back to clean vinyl again, it's a bit of a slog because access isn't great even with the binnacle removed.

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There was the usual grime hiding around the edges of trim which all came off fairly easily, then it was time to reassemble.  For all this job is fairly hateful, dismantling and rebuilding the dashboard components isn't too terrible.  In not too much time, I had it all back together again.

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Typically, as you deep clean one area it highlights another that needs more attention than you thought it did.  I plan to remove the seats and carpets to shampoo them and when I do that I'll be able to give the centre console a proper scrub.

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Then it was a case of waiting a while to test the lights because I decided to do this job on the longest day. Happily, the lights that had blown are now working.  Unhappily it looks like the battery telltale has now blown and possible a bulb or two on the right hand side of the cluster, so I'll get those LEDs ordered as soon as I can.  So much for improving things.

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one of the rules of the lighting trade, when it comes to multi lamp fixtures, if 1 lamp fails then replace all the others as they most likely wont be far behind either

im guessing most of the dash bulbs would of been lit at the time right? so if 1 or 2 failed then the rest probably where not far behind EOL either, so I would of just ordered a bunch of new ones to replace all the bulbs instead of salvaging nearly dead ones where half where at EOL anyway so again the others would not be far behind

 

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Oh I know the risk involved, I just thought it was worth a go since I had spare bulbs and it allowed me to clean up bits of the dash I was going to be taking apart anyway.  Incandescent bulbs of the correct fitting are fairly easy to get, LED ones not so much if I want to buy from a supplier that isn't a no-name Chinese manufacturer.  I've learned my lesson with LEDs, the cheaper end is a false economy and it's generally worth investing in products from a reputable supplier if you can.

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Not looking forward to dismantling CX instrument lunule when it's time to go the LED route. The 'door open' indicators don't work for the front doors, and neither does the "fasten seat belt" pictogram.

Not possible to dim the LEDs using the Citroën rhéostat wheel; need a PWM circuit for that.

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Well, I'm glad I mentioned the LEDs now because I'd totally forgotten about the polarity thing and that they're usually incompatible with the rheostat.  In that case, I'll order a massive pile of incandescent bulbs since I know they'll work and if they pop, they pop.  So much for modernising.

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51 minutes ago, vulgalour said:

Well, I'm glad I mentioned the LEDs now because I'd totally forgotten about the polarity thing and that they're usually incompatible with the rheostat.  In that case, I'll order a massive pile of incandescent bulbs since I know they'll work and if they pop, they pop.  So much for modernising.

I still plan to go all LED and the non-dimming doesn't really worry me. What is important is hopefully never needing to open up the lunule again after they are fitted.

Same goes for the "PRNA21" gear indicator - the "A" in mine hasn't worked since I bought the car.

Some of the 286/T5 "twist-in" bulbs can be removed from their holders and LED equivalents inserted in place; others cannot, so be careful about the ones you choose.

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Why is called a lunule on the CX and not a binnacle?  Is it because of the shape of it?

---

Let's go over to the unit and sort these brakes out on the Princess and... oh, the speedo has stopped working.  FINE, let's play this game again.

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The cable had tape around it, I noticed this when I had it apart and chose to ignore it hoping that if I let it be it wouldn't be a problem.  WRONG!

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I unwrapped the tape, relocated the cable properly, and then re-wrapped the broken bit first with foil tape and then with duct tape, a repair that's usually good enough for this sort of application.  Happily, reassembly of the dashboard proved it was an effective repair.  The only supplier for the upper cable (two-part cable on the BX) I've found is Chevronics and the asking price is just a little bit too much for me at the moment with other things I need to spend on.  Slightly annoying that the break is just the plastic bit that holds the cable to the back of the binnacle, and a really easy part to break if you're unfamiliar with what's behind the instrument cluster.  Normal service resumed I then made several attempts to get the steering wheel back on straight because I didn't straighten the wheel before removing it or mark the centre point, which was silly of me.

I've ordered replacement rear gaiters and wire clips to cure that LHM leak at the back, having to find Chevronics (again, the only supplier of this part I can find) on eBay since their website didn't want to accept my card for some reason.  The Princess brakes job, predictably, did not go smoothly so it's just as well I could fix the BX since I couldn't drive the Princess home today.

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7 hours ago, vulgalour said:

Why is called a lunule on the CX and not a binnacle?  Is it because of the shape of it?

---

That's what I understood it to be, although I think it looks more like a flying saucer.

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9 hours ago, vulgalour said:

Why is called a lunule on the CX and not a binnacle?  Is it because of the shape of it?

Because some English-speaking Citroen owners like to call certain components by their French name. It's a load of pretentious bollocks.

(It doesn't seem to affect English-speaking Peugeot or Renault owners as far as I can tell.)

So yes, regardless of model, it's an instrument "cluster", "binnacle" or "panel". ;)

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I shan't bore you with the details of getting the dashboard out, nor the fact I had to re-tape the speedo cable (because no adhesive heatshrink and plenty of impatience... a job for another day when I buy a replacement cable probably) but I can tell you that all 25 of the dash binnacle bulbs have now been replaced.  The problem with the ones that weren't working was poor fit more than it was blown bulbs, the replacements are a slightly different design that actually works better.  All the telltales work that should and a first look is promising.

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I was going to go the LED route until it was pointed out that they're not compatible with the rheostat and you have to be aware of the polarity.  Then there was the added issue of actually finding LED versions of these bulbs that looked like they were from a reputable supplier and the cost difference was such that I was as well going with incandescent types, so that's what I did.  I don't often use the rheostat, it's just nice to have what few options the car has to actually work, so here's the dimmest and brightest settings for the light bulb geeks out there that might like this sort of thing.

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Much better!  I suspect the centre console will require the same treatment, I haven't actually checked to see if what should illuminate there actually does since I never really look for the controls in the dark, they're chunky enough to find by feel.  The other important thing to arrive today was the new rear suspension gaiters and clamps so once the Princess is sorted I'll get those replaced.

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There is a blub illumination that spot, Mr Tidybeard, it's obscured by the adjustment peg which is casting a shadow.  Not so obvious in person as it is in photographs because you sit at a slightly different angle to where I took the photograph.  And thank you, PBK.

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As previously mentioned, I've been trying to source the missing accessories on this car, so I've been keeping an eye out for three things; headlight protectors, door handle scratch protectors, and a tailblazer panel.  I missed out on a fairly good tailblazer recently that needed one section regluing, I wasn't really prepared to pay £130 for a broken bit of plastic tat.  Amazingly, another one turned up and I got it for a mere £40 and it wasn't really any more broken than the first offering.  However, it needed a fair bit more cosmetic work before it could go on the car.

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Looks dreadful, doesn't it?  It's had the top half sprayed with tint spray very heavily to match the later facelift rear lights, has a crack in the left hand side and two splits on the top edge.  The tint spray hides most of the damage in photographs, and none of it in person.

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Someone also appears to have used a machine gun to put number plate holes in rather than just going with the two holes that are cast into the part.  Time to get the potions out.  After a bit of trial and error I found that purple methylated spirits would slowly shift the spray tint, rather too slowly really, so I risked cellulose thinners on a hidden portion and found that worked much better.  The thinners worked best when put onto a square of folded paper towel (same way you put a cloth over the top of a T-cut bottle and tip the bottle up to blob a bit on the cloth to use) and worked quickly over a small area at a time.  I didn't get any fogging issues or problems with the plastic under the spray tint and a bit of clean water and T-cut after the thinners brought the plastic up nice and fresh.  I'd recommend this method on very hard plastics like this, with the caveat to be cautious.

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The damage is more visible with the paint removed and in some lights the crack is more visible than others and is quite visible, especially since there's a bit of polish in the crack here.

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For the sticker residue I tried out WD40, as suggested elsewhere, and that worked surprising well.  Spray on quite liberally, leave for a little bit, and then scrape off with a scraper.  I had to carefully use a metal scraper because I'd misplaced my plastic ones, I'd recommend using plastic ones instead, there's no risk of damaging the plastic panel then.  With all that cleaned up I could clean off the old glue as much as possible and tack the joints with a tiny bit of superglue and later I'll go over the cracks on the reverse of the panel with some epoxy resin glue to give it some strength back.  For the front of the cracks where there's some small bits of plastic missing I'll fill with epoxy resin for strength and a better finish since it can be sanded and polished.  With all that done, I'll repaint any of the filled areas that are showing clear with some clear red paint (Citadel or Tamiya, most likely) on the back before a fresh coat of bright silver.  This should eliminate the visible damage almost entirely.  There will still be a crack visible, there's not really anything you can do about that, but it won't be that noticable most of the time.  Time spent so far is only about an hour.

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Superb! I looked for one for ages with no success. Just need the door handle protectors next and it will be back to how it was. Apparently it also had genuine Citroen fitted mats too, but they must have been removed by the same person who took the door handle trims and tail blazer off.

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I'm just waiting for epoxy to cure now.  Done the back so it's nice and strong again, just done the front which fills in the chips and such.  Looks promising so far.  I am after a set of mats too, even if it's just front ones, need to get @Lord Sterling on the case since he's the Marquis of Mats.  I've seen the headlight protectors on other cars, but this remains the only car I've ever seen with the door handle protectors so I suspect they're going to be pretty much impossible to find.  The tailblazer should have been much harder to find too, so it's weird two came up in such short succession.

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