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1987 Citroen BX

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Further to the above, I had a few minutes spare so decided to try out the new plan for the rear badges since all the materials were to hand.  Total time from grabbing materials to removing masking tape was 20 minutes, so this is a quick one.

Tools for this job:

Isopropyl alcohol and cotton buds or similar for cleaning the badges before paint

Some paper and good masking tape

Molotow liquid chrome pen

Humbrol acrylic varnish in Satin (not matt or gloss, this is important)

A steady hand


It's really straightforward.  Before you start, clean off the surface of the badge with the alcohol based product to remove any dirt and polish residue and prep your surface.  Then simply colour the surface of the letters on the badge with the Molotow pen.  If you go slowly with the pen you will reduce the streaking you sometimes get and stubborn streaks can be carefully removed by dotting the pen on them and letting the paint/ink in the pen flow out and smooth.  With all the letters coloured, let the chrome flash off, no need to wait for it to fully dry, which will take a while with these pens, and it might even be favourable not to given what happens next.  If you get the chrome anywhere you don't want to, a dab with purple methylated spirit will remove it in most instances.

Once you've done the chrome, mask off around each badge (I find it easier to do now, you might find it easier to do this first before the chroming).  I stuck some tape to the paper first and then slid the edge of the tape under the edge of the badge, this gives a nice clean finish and while it's a bit fiddly to slide the tape under sometimes, it is worth the effort.  After that, give everything 2-4 light coats of the satin varnish.  The chrome paint didn't react with the satin in my case, and hasn't any other time I've done this, but I offer no guarantees since we're mixing brands here.  The chrome paint should start to flow a little under the varnish and will sparkle a bit as it resettles, this is not a problem for the finish we're going for on this.

When the varnish is touch dry, pull off the masking et voila!  Badges redone.  It's not exactly the factory finish, I suspect they're tampo or pad printed from new rather than painted like this.  The satin dulls down the chrome enough to make it look more like the bright silver of factory and looks less spray-painted than if you use something like wheel silver.  The varnish also helps seal and protect the black plastic of the badge, preventing fading, and providing everything has gone as it should you shouldn't have issues with the varnish peeling off later since it is designed for use on plastics.


Another small detail that really helps the car look fresher and less tired.


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2 hours ago, barrett said:

Cracking effort on that. Every one I've had had faded door surrounds, and every one I thought to myself 'I'll just give that a quick rattle can blowover' and every one I never did. Maybe you could make a bit of money on the side selling making templates?


I have to say I did this on mine last summer, but I was so underwhelmed by the end result (probably because my BX is tatty) that I didn't bother writing it up in the thread. I think my initial reasoning was correct, as it has a far more noticeable effect on a much tidier car such as this one!


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I parked my new Range Rover L322 on the drive when vulg came back from the shops in the BX.

Everyone else has been lovely with comments about how nice the 322 is, but what was the first thing vulg said to me?

"Get that MONSTROSITY out of the way so I can park my BX."


But I moved. Because BX.

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Another small cosmetic update, this time eliminating some rust spiders.  First up was to sand back the problem area to see what I was dealing with, I was surprised to find a lack of holes and the rust was easily removed, the surface given some rust treatment, and we were ready for paint fairly quickly on this one.


I masked off on the lines of the car that would make a hard edge least visible, except the trailing edge which in hindsight I should have left open all the way back to the rear light.  Never mind, this can be sorted later.  With some primer, top coat, and lacquer the rust spiders were gone.  It's not a bad finish for an outdoor rattle can job and in a few days when it's hardened a bit I'll be able to give it a polish to improve things further.  I've a bit of hard line to deal with near the filler flap, and a bit of overspray to remove from the rubber trim strip where the tape failed, other than that I'm pretty happy with the end result and the defects can be dealt with when I polish, I'm not stressing about it.



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That looks much better. I checked those bubbles out when I bought it and it did seem solid. I thought at first it was from dirt building up by the fuel tank inlet pipe was causing it but it definitely from the outside in. Glad there were no holes there, just a mystery how it developed in the first place. 

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I'm guessing a stone chip caused it, the rust wasn't very deep at all, it was only just underneath the paint so came off really easily.  Looked much worse than it was, which is unusual for rust.  Makes me feel optimistic for the other little bits I need to address which don't look anywhere near as bad as this bit did.

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Here's an easy one; front bumper trim inserts.  Mine was missing almost all the original coating and was dented on the corners, both sides.



It was the one bit of black trim on the car that looked bad and I'd put off doing it for no particular reason.  Thankfully, a tip off on the BX forum demonstrated that it was a simple matter to remove the trims by putting a screwdriver behind the insert and gently popping it free of the bumper.  All 6 clips both sides came out no bother and I soon had both trims cleaned and stripped of the last shreds of factory coating.  Normally I'd use generic satin black paint for this but since that wasn't at home, I used the black stonechip I had instead which turned out to generate a moderately close finish to the original and has the benefit of being well suited to a high impact part like this.  All 12 clips cleaned up well and none had any damage.  Here's one side after painting.


The easiest way I found to reinstall the trim was to click the clips into the trim, three on each half, and then slide the clips along the trim until they line up with the bumper holes.  Then gently push the clips in at one end and pop them all home and the trim will pull snug to the bumper.  I also spent a bit of time straightening the dents and bends in the aluminium trims before painting so they sit a little nicer now.  Here's one trim fitted, you can see the holes in the bumper on the other side which is where the plastic clips click in.


It's another of those small jobs that adds up with all the other small jobs to make a general improvement to the look of the car. Here it is with both fitted.  It has unfortunately highlighted that I need the little trims that go on the end of the bumper where it flares out to meet the wheel arch, a part that tends to be a bit on the pricey side when you do find it.  As a stop-gap, I could just paint that part of the bumper, I'd just rather do it right with the proper trim and a bit of adhesive to stop it escaping.



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Just a heads up with using black stonechip on parts exposed to the Sun, it tends to fade to grey and then white in a fairly short time.  I did a pair of wiper arms in it as it was all i had to hand and they went grey in a few weeks.

Hopefully yours will be fine and it was just the particular brand I used.

I do agree that they make a huge difference though and the car really is looking much fresher.

Cheers Ben 

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New numberplates arrived today. Entirely by chance, I found that A1 Showplates are still a thing (I'd not been able to find them when actually looking recently) and they have an exact Serck font available.  Thanks to  https://www.flickr.com/groups/serck/ for the link on their page and plenty of lovely Serck-y goodness.  The original plate had started delaminating which not only looked scruffy, but might have caused problems at future MoTs, so it's best to sort this now.  The only thing that had stopped me doing the plates sooner is that I couldn't find a supplier until very recently.  Here you can see the differences, and similarities, between the two plates.  If I'm being super picky, I did select the wrong font for the dealership details but we're not going for concours here so it doesn't actually matter, what matters is they look the part and are a very good replica of the original plate, which was the goal.





It just makes me happy to see the car on proper plates rather than mismatched ones.  The fixing screws were moved to be through the letters, front and rear, so that black caps could be used for a smarter finish.  It's the little things.

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5 minutes ago, vulgalour said:

..... plenty of lovely Serck-y goodness.  The original plate had started delaminating which not only looked scruffy, but might have caused problems at future MoTs, so it's best to sort this now.  The only thing that had stopped me doing the plates sooner is that I couldn't find a supplier until very recently.  Here you can see the differences, and similarities, between the two plates.  If I'm being super picky, I did select the wrong font for the dealership details but we're not going for concours here so it doesn't actually matter, .....

Super-picky means getting the Serck font embossed in pressed aluminium, and nobody does that anymore. Or do they.....?

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Actually, pressed aluminium would have been incorrect in this instance.  The pressed aluminium plates were an earlier option (with some overlap, chronologically speaking) and while I do have a pair off a dead Princess, it seems the aluminium plate stopped being used just before the BX was released to the UK market, so it's very unlikely you'd see those.  Also, since my original dealer plate is an acrylic Serck, that's what I got made, because that's the super-picky thing to do.  I believe Tippers or Framptons do a pressed Serck plate, not cheap obviously.

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I got to investigate a stash of spares at a local specialist looking to clear some old stock he's been keeping hold of since the 90s when BXs were pretty much worthless.  Anything you see that's of use or interest, do please PM me and I'll get the ball rolling on parts.  It's difficult to navigate the space this stuff is kept in and while everything is very dusty, there's no damp or mould on anything.  It's just difficult to get anything out for better photos than the below.

Tailgate, complete, with a very nice rear seat wrapped up on top of it.




Full set of red doors in reasonable shape.  He wanted £100 per door, though that doesn't include the door cards.

There's another rear seat hiding in the stash too.  I couldn't find any front seats so I don't know if those are available, and I couldn't find all the interior trim panels.  It was very difficult to get anything out due to the way things are stored.



A centre console with rear window switches, a really nice condition black single spoke steering wheel, and a red C pillar vent trim.


There was a small selection of binnacle switches, a spare heater control panel, and some spare stalks.


Glovebox, instrument cluster, LHM reservoir filter insert thingy


Front and rear 16v bumpers in white with red trim, the front still appeared to have its foglights installed.  I couldn't pull it out because of all the other stuff so I'm not entirely sure of condition.

Parcel shelf with speaker holes cut out, the blind looked in good shape all the same.

Some rear arms and miscellaneous bits and pieces too.


He's open to offers on items but also realistic about cost for most things.  The doors were a bit expensive for me since I only want the driver's door glass.  If there's anything you see here that is of use, I'm happy to pass your offer on to him and organise postage, etc.  Just be aware you're not going to get doors for £20 or whatever and everything is covered in years of dust and stored in a cramped loft, so getting stuff out for pictures, etc. beyond the above is pretty difficult to do.  Or, to put it another way, no timewasters please.

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I didn't come away empty handed for my own car, of course.  I splurged £80 and got myself this little selection.  Unfortunately, all of the really nice interior bits and pieces he had were black, or higher trim, so I didn't have a great deal to choose from but I'm still happy with what I did haul away.


Pair of really nice rear lights (one of my originals has a little crack), a good headlight (nicer silvering than the ones on the car), a spare heater control panel, FOUR grey heater knobs, a pair of nice side repeaters, a really nice (if dirty) scuttle panel, and a pair of generic rubber mats that will look far better than what's currently in the car.  This weekend this will be scrubbed a lot and installed where necessary to make those little improvements I'm so fond of doing on this car.

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I've been cleaning the recently acquired parts and they've all come up quite well, though I was a little disappointed to find quite a few paint chips on the scuttle panel.  Never mind, I have a spare now so I can paint one while it's off the car and make it nice and swap it with the less than perfect one on the car and nobody other than the fine folks reading all this will know I've done anything at all.  It rained a lot again last night and, predictably, the passenger carpet was damp when pressed, so I determined to investigate and see if our theory of water ingress proved good.  I undid the screws holding the sill trim on but didn't remove the trim because that meant removing the seat since it sort of hooks around the back and is held down by the seat rail, it seems.  The carpet lifted out easily after that which makes drying out the car and cleaning/replacing the carpet hugely easy, good job Citroen!  Under the carpet I found a soggy bit of history.


With the carpet out and the door seal lifted it was immediately obvious where the water was coming from, mostly because you could still see the path the water was taking.



That looks far worse than it actually is most of it is just stains.  A good go over with an abrasive tool will remove most of it and we might even get away with not having to weld this area.  It looks like water has sat on the sill-to-a-pillar join and over time it's rusted unseen until it expanded the door seal out which, in turn, has allowed water into the car.  There wasn't even enough water to make the carpet wet so I think this has been caught early enough to not be an issue and it gives me something fun to do this weekend.  I left everything to dry out, which it did pretty quickly, and I've left the front carpet out until I've got this bit fixed to prevent any other issues.  The rest of the floor looked in great shape.  I then removed the mismatched front mats and disposed of those to replace them with the smart generic ones I picked up which fit the footwells much better.  Proper Citroen ones would have been nice but I'll take these smart generic rubber ones since they don't look out of place.




Finally, I replaced that one black dial that was really annoying me.  After cleaning up the control dials I picked up recently I found them to be a perfect match so picked the best three from the six grey dials I have and I'm now much happier that everything matches.  It quite literally is the little things that make all the difference.



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The leak may be that water has found its way into the U section of the seal at the top, and then tracked round to the bottom - that seems to be not uncommon. I like the fact that you're sorting out all the little details, things that would bug me too!

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I stopped by today to see if I could get a price on a part for someone and he's away until the end of next week.  Something to do with Horse of the Year.  I'll ask him more directly about seats, he might be more inclined to part with one if there's a buyer, we'll see.


It was supposed to rain loads today and didn't, which was really handy for getting through a good few jobs on the BX.  I cleaned back the rust and found a hole that was too small to warrant getting the welder machine out and that I could fill with some seam sealant so that's the route I went for.  This might even be a better solution since I sealed it after paint which means there isn't any bare metal to rust as a result, I hope.



I gave the whole sill top a sand back before laying down a fresh coat of paint and lacquer which has rather dramatically improved the look of the thing and eliminated all of the tiny little grinder speckles and scuff marks from years of shoes being bashed against the sill.  Got the seal slotted back on but haven't reinstalled the carpet as I want to be absolutely sure no more water is getting in before doing that.  There had been more rain overnight and the water did only seem to be coming through what is no longer a rust spot so I'm cautiously optimistic that things will stay dry now.


Since that took barely any time at all to sort out, I also tackled the other scruffy bits on this side that I wanted to do.  Again, no welding, just a sanding off of the rust blisters, rust treat, and nice fresh paint to stop anything getting any worse than it was.  Being a white car, the rust always looks more alarming than it is.  I haven't used any filler because it felt a bit pointless, the areas affected simply aren't visible enough for me to faff about with the tiny amount of filler that would be required.  It's much nicer to open the doors and be greeted by bright white sills without any orange-brown stains and spots.  The area at the bottom of the B pillar, the bottom of the arch where it meets the sill, and the lip of the rear arch were so much more solid than I expected them to be.





A couple of small improvements were had round the back.  One number plate light rubber seal was sagging, it was easy enough to pop the unit out and reseat the seal properly before refitting it.  I also replaced the driver's side rear light cluster with one of the new ones due to the old one having a star crack in it I noticed every time I washed the car.  The silver on the badges is holding up much better this time around too, I'm pleased with those.



Mike spotted the other day that I had a sidelight out.  That's not that unusual for a BX, the sidelight design at the front is pretty rubbish.  What was unusual with mine is that a length of wire had broken and fallen off.  Mike spent some considerable time faffing with recalcitrant wire to make it the correct length again and get the connector refitted and now I have a working sidelight... when it feels like it.  Better than not at all.


Trying to remove the plug on the back of the headlight bulb - it was easier to remove the whole headlight to repair the wire - wasn't happening either, I ended up having to unclip the bulb to remove it from the headlight to get the headlight out, and  then remove the bulb... then this happened.  I've never had the collar fall off a halogen bulb before.


Luckily, there was a good replacement in the headlight I bought so I swapped that in and fitted the new headlight in place of the old one.  The silvering is much better on the new one.  I'm going to go back and grab a driver's side headlight from the stash when he's back because the silvering on mine is incredibly poor even though the lights are quite bright.  Quite difficult to photograph, but here's the passenger side old and new to give you some idea, the driver's side on the car is much worse than the first picture below.



Then I wanted to tackle the loose A pillar trim... and snapped it.  I didn't feel too bad, someone has had this off before and cracked it, repairing the back with some good old duct tape.  The reason it wasn't sitting right is the two wires that run up the A pillar were snagged in the wrong place by the dashboard, after some finegling I got them situated correctly and the A pillar then fit perfectly fine, if in two pieces.  The really irritating thing is that it took no force at all to snap this trim, it just seemed to be incredibly brittle.


You'll notice I've got a generic sunstrip, I fitted that recently and I'm really glad I did, it helps counter some of the hideous LED streetlight glare at night, and a lot of the high level sun glare on those nice sunny days.


With the A pillar trim at home, I cleaned it up and got it all ready for more Gorilla epoxy.  This stuff is great, I highly recommend it for repairing plastics.  Luckily both breaks in the trim are clean so the repair will be near invisible.  I also noticed it has stamped LUDOVIC WATTERLOT 20 MAI 1987 on the back, I assume this is the person that did the quality control, or fitted it back when the car was build since it looks like it was done with a hand paint stamp, there's REYDEL cast into the part, which I assume is the actual manufacturer.



With the glue cured, I very carefully refitted the trim.  The cracks are there when the light hits it just so, it can't be helped.  Happily, it fits better now and doesn't stick out at the top like it used to.  I'll keep an eye out for a replacement, a non-cracked one would be nice to have.


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It started raining quite heavily here and, even though it's dark, I wanted to see if the repair I'd done had stopped the water getting in.  I'm happy to report it has!  However, water is still getting in.  Hmm.  Sat patiently in the car with a torch watching for water appearing and it became clear it was coming from behind the soundproof panel somewhere.  Happily, it's not coming from high up the bulkhead, so I have to assume the items I thought were waterproof up there still are.  A bit more investigation, removing the glovebox (which is a fun* job) and more poking and finally I spotted the water twinkling in the torchlight as it was running into the car through what looked like a blob of factory seam sealer.  The area isn't crusty, there just seems to be a gap in the seam here and the sealant has simply failed.  It's a tiny hole too and now I've poked it, water is pouring into the car rather more than I'd like.



Plan is to get the wire wheel on this to clean back all the loose sealant in the area, rust treat and/or weld, depending on what's required, and apply fresh paint and sealant to keep the water on the outside.  That should hopefully cure the water ingress.  At least the windscreen and door seal areas that have been sealed have stayed dry, so I'm happy about that.


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There was a break in the weather today and since I couldn't do this repair indoors - clashing schedules, full workshop - I had to do it outdoors so I took my chances.  Cleaning off the old sealant was hard work but the water damage was still very localised afterwards and there really was no point hauling the welder out for this so I cracked on with drying everything out while the rust converter did its thing.  Weather was still holding, the water I cleared out stayed out, and I set to with the sealant and paint.  Then it started raining... this was going to be one of those jobs.


The rain just got heavier and, because of work, I didn't have a huge amount of free time so I knew I was going to have to chance it.  A drive about doing what needed to be done and there was no water ingress, even as the rain got heavier.  I was feeling hopeful right up until the point I got home and noticed a small spot of water that had bled through the fresh sealant.  Prodded it and sure enough, water has started to get behind there so I'll be redoing this.  On the positive side the ingress is drastically reduced so hopefully it's not going to be too much of a headache between now and when I can get the car indoors.  I'll pull off the arch liner and seal this from both sides, smoothing it out so the water is encouraged to flow over rather than through.


When I have my break later I'll deal with just how much water is still in the car from last night.  I really shouldn't have prodded it.  It's remarkable how much water has got into the car through such an insignificant little hole, and really quite annoying.



I did check for other leaks, this seems to be the only one.  The door seals and the entire driver's side is bone dry.  All of that water has come through from that tiny hole because it's right in the path of a drain route, it's like having a gutter directed straight into the passenger footwell.  It's okay, I bought a big car sponge to deal with it.  Stupid rain.  Stupid leaky car.

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