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vulgalour

1987 Citroen BX

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Hopefully won't be taking you the 2.5 years it took me to find mine.

 

Somewhere out there is a barn full of CXs all owned by a fella named Dan Pearcey. S1s, S2s, Berlines and Breaks, he seems to have them all. Word is that he might even sell one or two of them in future. Here are just a few of 'em gathering dust.....

 

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Take your pick?

 

I've just shown this photo to a friend of mine whose father owned a series of CX Familiales in the 1980s and 1990s. He really wants to own one himself in the future (he drives a Saab 9-5 estate at the moment), so he had the online equivalent of a yoghurt truck crash  :mrgreen:

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I've just shown this photo to a friend of mine whose father owned a series of CX Familiales in the 1980s and 1990s. He really wants to own one himself in the future (he drives a Saab 9-5 estate at the moment), so he had the online equivalent of a yoghurt truck crash :mrgreen:

Will he be needing a towel?

 

There are 32 CXs in that barn, but it has been suggested that there are more elsewhere. Basically this Dan Pearcey fella is to CXs what Phil Blake is to NSU Ro80s.

 

Ever wondered why you see so few CXs on the road? Dan's been buying all of 'em and hoarding them away.

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Watching this thread with great interest! While I had plenty of experience with BXs about 10-15 years ago, the corrosion points have moved on, and there's now another entire (vehicle) lifetime of deterioration that could have occured.. and having recently aquired a 1988 DTR, I may have some new and interesting places to go looking for rust.

 

BTW... with the four front-to-rear pipes. Are you familiar with their function, and hence where they are routed to/from? One of them can be happily changed for plastic if you wanted to, as it's the height-corrector return, which goes back to the LHM tank via the octopus (and hence is at very low pressure.)

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Watching this thread with great interest! While I had plenty of experience with BXs about 10-15 years ago, the corrosion points have moved on, and there's now another entire (vehicle) lifetime of deterioration that could have occured.. and having recently aquired a 1988 DTR, I may have some new and interesting places to go looking for rust.

 

BTW... with the four front-to-rear pipes. Are you familiar with their function, and hence where they are routed to/from? One of them can be happily changed for plastic if you wanted to, as it's the height-corrector return, which goes back to the LHM tank via the octopus (and hence is at very low pressure.)

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I'm not familiar with function yet, but I plan to replace them all with the same copper-nickel piping that Dean did the other two with since it's got a proven track record and I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to even the low pressure bits of the system.  There's a possibility it's not one of these pipes that have burst and it's something else that's gone instead, but I'm going to replace them anyway as a nice bit of future proofing, they're certainly past the first flush of youth now.

 

Key areas for rust seem to be the sill ends, the front inner wing seams, the bulkhead (I'm not sure which bit exactly, I'm going to assume the seams again) the edges of the entire boot and the rear spats.  In addition, many cars now seem to have problems with A pillars at the door hinges and the entire windscreen surround.  The construction of these cars seems to make them very prone to the sealant/protection splitting on the panel seams and moisture getting in unseen, which then blows the whole seam apart and by the time you see the rot, it's usually pretty well advanced.  This car is good because there's rot, but it's not anywhere near as advanced as you'd expect and the worst bits have already been dealt with.

 

Lower spec cars do seem to survive better, I'm not entirely sure why.  Ones with sunroofs suffer particularly badly, and we all know exactly why.  It's incredibly satisfying to have found a BX without a sunroof or power steering, less stuff to cause problems!

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I'm very envious tbh! I spent an afternoon with the autoshite beige bx cleaning the interior (where is that now?) and it was a lovely place to sit,

 

Sadly all beyond my competence and time limits,

 

Alas most of the custodians are quiet.

 

-strangeangel doesn't post any more of course he's just resurfaced to say the AS bike estate BX is possibly dying

-Cleon-Fonte seldom does

-KruJoe had some involvement (if not $) but is in Thailand for winter.

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I'm not familiar with function yet, but I plan to replace them all with the same copper-nickel piping that Dean did the other two with since it's got a proven track record and I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to even the low pressure bits of the system.

The four front-to-rears are as follows:

 

High pressure feed to the rear height corrector. Originates from the main HP feed (which comes from the ACC sphere initially) which splits (IIRC) on the front subframe to be able to feed the front HC and the brakes. This provides full system pressure to the rear HC.

 

Rear suspension pressure return. This is tee-d into the rear suspension cylinder pressure (IE after the HC, before the wheel struts) and goes back to the Dosieur valve, providing load-variable pressure fluid to the brake valve for rear braking.

 

Rear brakes circuit. This comes from the Dosieur valve (IE is in essence a continuation of the one above) and provides brakes. It tees somewhere on the rear axle and then becomes the curly-wurly pipes that go down the rear arms to the brakes.

 

The last one is the LP (IE barely above atmospheric pressure) return from the Height corrector, which is where the fluid comes back if you take a heavy load out of the boot, or put the car in low. It's connected to the Octopus at the front of the car (the rubber return pipes) hence could be changed for 4mm nylon if you chose to do so. Leaving it metal is wise, but if you came up a bit short on metal pipe, this one could be extended with off-cuts of metal pipe joined with rubber hose (diesel injector leak-off pipe works particularly well for this). One of my old BXs had a large section of this pipe replaced with rubber hose, and it was fine.

 

 

The BX hydraulic system is actually beautifully simple. It's biggest enemy is corrosion, be it on the pipes or various bits of the rear cylinders.

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I can confirm the pipe hat burst was definitely a high pressure one. The speed it managed to deposit the entire lhm reservoir contents was impressive. Mind you my Xm won the style stakes last year for lhm floor deposits in Tesco carpark!

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Nicely bought Angyl, this thread is relevant to my interests.
 

Alas most of the custodians [of the Beige BX] are quiet.

-strangeangel doesn't post any more of course he's just resurfaced to say the [blue] AS bike estate BX is possibly dying

-Cleon-Fonte seldom does

-KruJoe had some involvement (if not $) but is in Thailand for winter.

 

I have recently been in touch with Strangeangel... expect progress this spring / summer.
The beige BX14 is still safe and dry in free storage, and has not been forgotten about.
 
Sorry Vulg, carry on with what you're doing.

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Part of the reason for me getting stuck into the BX so quickly is that I'm back at work on Tuesday so I wanted to get through as much as I possibly could before then. It's the busiest week of the month for me and I didn't want to be distracted too much by the desire to fettle the BX.  That means there won't be another substantial update now until probably Sunday.  There might be some smaller cosmetic updates, like the wheel trims I'll be restoring, in the meantime.  We'll see how I get on with work.

 

I managed to get in a couple of hours earlier today so that meant I could actually get some paint on the boot corner repair and have time to put all the trims back in.  There's nothing else to do at the back of the car now.

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Then I decided the best course of action was to strip the front end down.  I was going to have to take the bumper off anyway to sort out the passenger side, and it was so easy to remove the rest of the panels and lights it would have been daft not to do it all in one go.  Lots of cableties where captive nuts and bolts should be, presumably because the daft captive bolts Citroen used had all pinged off in that way they do.  I found a little extra work to be done in the front crossmember, nothing serious and all easy access stuff.  Overall, it's in pretty good shape.

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Next to have a look at the driver's side inner wing.  Dean had warned me it needed work in here, it was on his to do list, so I wasn't surprised to find stuff to do.  More of that white sealant stuff had to be dug out and it revealed a handful of smaller patches required of the usual sort.  The worst bit is on the outer wing side of the inner wing where the suspension sphere sits, a common place for BXs to go and not terribly involved to repair.  Happily, the front lower part of the wing that the bumper slots into is in excellent shape and will provide a perfect pattern for rebuilding the passenger side. Here's some before and after shots.

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This had all taken rather longer than you might expect, so I wasn't going to get any welding done today.  Instead, I focused on getting things started on the passenger wing, so the first job was to explore the rusty bits to see what I was dealing with.  The bumper hanger on this side had sat in a modified bit of bracketry wedged into the rust hole, which worked and wasn't done in a way that damaged the bumper or original hanger.  I'll now just be putting it right again with fresh steel.  Thankfully, the reference point for the bumper slot on the leading edge hasn't rotted away so I shouldn't have too much trouble lining the repair piece up in the correct place.  Everything from the suspension point back looks in good shape, there's been at least one reasonable repair made that I don't see any need to redo.

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With things explored, I had enough time to start chopping out the rusty bits.  Almost every piece I need to replace is flat, with excellent access, so this should be about as enjoyable as these jobs get.  I chopped out quite a large square for the piece next to the suspension.  This was so it would be easier to both clean up the inner skin which needs a small patch letting in, and so I could more easily weld in the repair patch which I'll make out of fresh steel.

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I then started cutting back the rust in the inner arch.  Again, this is a much simpler shape than it first appears since it's essentially a long curved rectangle for the most part and won't be difficult to fabricate.

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From  inside the engine bay you can get an idea of access a bit better, especially now I've moved the wires out of the way.  The little outrigger type piece under the car is still really solid so I just need to finish trimming out the platform that goes between the headlight and the inner arch where it's rotten so I can let a new square in.  That bit will be a little trickier just because I can't dismantle things further for access, other than that it should be easy enough to repair since it's just another rectangle to go in here with no fussy bends and wiggles.

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I saved the pieces I cut off for reference, even though I can template from the other side if needed, there's nothing of them I can really use again beyond that.

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Then it was time to go home.  Car looks a bit forlorn with all the front stripped down.

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The last one is the LP (IE barely above atmospheric pressure) return from the Height corrector, which is where the fluid comes back if you take a heavy load out of the boot, or put the car in low. It's connected to the Octopus at the front of the car (the rubber return pipes) hence could be changed for 4mm nylon if you chose to do so. Leaving it metal is wise, but if you came up a bit short on metal pipe, this one could be extended with off-cuts of metal pipe joined with rubber hose (diesel injector leak-off pipe works particularly well for this). One of my old BXs had a large section of this pipe replaced with rubber hose, and it was fine.

 

I once had an MOT fail for something like 'unsuitable method of repair' when I spliced in a length of rubber hose. Tried to argue the point, but no joy - comes down to lack of widespread understanding of the system really.

Never actually traced where the rear suspension leak-off returns head off to - do they link into this?

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Another BX update!  I found myself with a few hours to kill so it seemed as good a time as any to see what I could do on the car in the time I had available.  I wanted to start with the most gaping hole first which is the passenger inner wing.  That meant cleaning back to good metal, a surprisingly easy task since it really does seem on this car that the rust you can see is all the rust there is.  I was surprised to find evidence of previous welding but no sign of patches being let in.  There was a random line of welding on the inner wing near the suspension turret that didn't make any sense.  The other thing that made no sense was the big patch of filler I hit that was covering nothing.  Underneath the filler was the original paint and good steel, and the filler itself mostly came off in big chunks.  Very odd.

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With that out and the last of the rust cut away on the inner wing that I needed to, I cut out some fresh steel and made up a piece to go in.  I'm welding the patch on top of the original steel rather than butt-welding because this is repair work, rather than restoration, and the BX steel is very thin and difficult to butt-weld.  Before welding the piece in I was sure to cut away all the rust and access to both sides of the repair is very good so I can be sure to paint and seal all of this afterwards so that it hopefully lasts for many years to come.

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Getting that panel in suddenly made the remaining repairs look a lot less daunting.  This was the most complicated shape I needed to make and it went surprisingly smoothly and welded very nicely compared to the rubbish I'm used to working on.  Packed up and left the car feeling a good bit better about the work left to do when I get my next bit of time off.

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I almost forgot, we also got the rear washer jet working again by removing it and putting some compressed air through it to clear a blockage.  I had been concerned it was a split hose somewhere and I'd have to pull the car apart to find that, so it was a relief to discover it was just a blocked jet.

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Tiny BX update for you.  I wasn't feeling up to doing welding today, I'm saving that for tomorrow.  Instead, I got one of the wheel trims cleaned back and with a fresh coat of paint on.  Rather than using sandpaper, I'm using thinners and plastic bristle brushes with regular wiping off with paper towel.  I've used this technique before to good effect on plastics and as long as you don't leave the thinners on too long and rinse everything down with water when you're done, it doesn't do any harm to the plastic and leaves a nice clean surface to paint afterwards.  It is quite a smelly process, so worth doing in a well ventilated area, and be patient since it's not a job that will whizz all the paint off in one go if there's been several repaints as there has on these.

 

The results do rather speak for themselves.  The plastic primer I'm using is ever so slightly darker than regular grey primer which brings the silver I'm using that bit closer to the factory shade and knocks off that too-new look of bright silver wheel paint without going as dark as 'steel' or 'anthracite' finishes.  I'm being a bit picky about these wheels, get the wheels right on a car and it's amazing what other cosmetic issues folks will overlook.  The steel wheels I may have to do with the tyres mounted since I haven't a spare set of wheels to swap in, I'll cross that particular bridge when I come to it.

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Nicely bought Angyl, this thread is relevant to my interests.
 

 

I have recently been in touch with Strangeangel... expect progress this spring / summer.
The beige BX14 is still safe and dry in free storage, and has not been forgotten about.
 
Sorry Vulg, carry on with what you're doing.

 

 

Yes indeed, the beige hasn't been forgotten. And mine will battle on for a while yet, I'm sure.

 

But, yes, as you were. This all looks great.

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Right then, a proper update this time.  My goal was to get the passenger inner wing finished today, no matter how long it took me.  Then, naturally, the welding wire ran out just as I was starting to get the most awkward repair piece stitched in.

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Luckily, that happened at the point it was sensible to have a break for lunch, so Mike went and got a new reel of wire - the one in the machine had lasted us for a good four years, so there's no complaints here - and by the time he got back lunch was consumed and I could crack on afresh.  The job went fairly smoothly, all told.  I do wish my welding looked nicer than it does, it's slowly improving as I do more, I just wish I had the knack of making it consistent.  I'll get there eventually.

 

I didn't take any progress pictures of the welding, it was just one of those jobs I got on and did.  The inner wing near the suspension turret needed a square letting in before the outer panel was replaced, and I made sure to douse it all in as much protection as I could as I built it up.  Once I was happy that all the welding that needed to be done was done, I went around all the seams and welds with seam sealer, keeping it slightly tidier in the engine bay by using a bit of masking tape to keep the edges tidy, being sure to peel it off before the sealant had cured.

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The slot for the bumper was a little tricky to build, I don't realy have a suitable small tool to cut it out.  I found that a combination of the bench grinder and hand files got me a good enough shape to mirror the other side which is intact.  I made sure to put a second bumper bracket plate on as a strengthener, as seen on the other side.  With that all done, and the sealant ready enough, I went over everything with some fresh Alpine White.  I didn't have time for lacquer or underseal today, that will come later.  I need to clean out the rest of the inner arch this side to be absolutely certain no more welding is required before finishing off the paint and applying weather protection.  After that, I can rebuild this side and put the wiring back properly again.

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The harsh lighting is not at all flattering.  It doesn't matter, these repairs will be barely visible once everything is back in its proper place and the important thing is that the rust is now gone on this side.  The other side should be much easier because the shapes I need to make are much simpler and I shan't be working in the dark as I have for most of the welding I've done so far.  Not sure when I'll next do work on the BX, I have a moderately busy week ahead and possibly a busy weekend too.  We shall see.

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