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Fumbler's Crocks- Brakes Again


Fumbler

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Sale? Yeah, about that.

I'm rather embarassed to say this, but nevertheless I believe I jumped the gun a bit on jettisoning the BX. While my family was on board with getting rid of the car when the suspension went all wonky, my dad had a stab at the height control situation and made it sort of better. Then he booked it into a local specialist. Turns out he likes it. Who'd have known?
It's fair to say that in driving the Micra on the motorway and doing long distance, I began to really miss the space and comfort of the BX. Indeed, when I pulled up at home and saw it in the dark, I thought I should give it another chance. Sort of surprisingly, the car concurred... well, it would if it was a living thing, but it isn't one. What happened is that I made sure everything electrical still worked (which it did), then I had a go at moving the height control lever without the car running. Indeed, it was now stiff but moved throughout the range. Then, *clunk* and it moved easily thoughout all the settings. I started the car - took a bit of cranking to fill up the bowl but it started and ran. It sounds brilliant with the new starter, so at least that was a good replacement. Then, I ran it through every heing setting once pressure was built. This is what it looks like at normal ride height:
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Intermediate (slightly higher) ride height:
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Maximum height:
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I couldn't get it to raise to max height a couple of weeks ago. Something clicked back into position and it's now working 75% correctly.

Even though the rear raises up to the normal ride height, the front stays settled. When I set the lever to the interediate setting, the front raises and the car is at normal ride height. Setting the lever to maximum height makes the front and rear raise up. For the car to actually be drivable, the height lever needs to be set at the intermediate setting, which is what I'll leave it at so the garage can diagnose the fault. This points to a linkage fault as opposed to anything else. It'll be interesting to see what's failed under there. Needless to say, A ground clearance inspection and adjustment, once it's fixed, will be called for, just in case this issue has causes some mechanical borkage to occur.
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This is now what I have to set the car at to get the suspension running again.

The nearside strut has stopped squeaking as well. What hasn't change is the amount of horizontal play in the top mount, so it still definitely needs replacement. I also need to buy a strut vent/return hose from Chevronics, along with a large jubilee clip. Doing this will allow me to bodge the broken one at my leisure, for when the offside one eventually breaks. It'll happen at some point.

I also attempted to change the ignition coil. They said it would fit the BX. Great, but not my BX. The connector pattern is all different!
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Fortunately the correct one should be with me next week.

Languishing in failure, I decided I should re-time and tune the engine some more. After doing so, ignition is now 9 degrees BTDC, and I managed to make the mixture leaner with negligible idle RPM loss. That should help with the engine running and emissions. I've also discovered another oil leak: around the distributor mount. It might just require tightening down or something. Regardless, it ain't oil tight and helps explain why I've lost a touch of oil since changing it.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- F-F-F-Factoids

I've just remembered I was going to make a report on FOTU 2021, but that's a rather long time ago now and I've not much to add.

What I can add are a few factoids about the K11 Nissan Micra, which I learned when two Nissan Fitters stumbled across my car at the event. Here goes:

Weird Facts About The K11 Normal People Wouldn't Care About, As Told By Guys Who Worked There At The Time

  1. The K11 is fully galvanised apart from two pieces. Perhaps this isn't a fact few know about but I certainly found it interesting- I was sure it wasn't, hence why most have crumbled away to nothing. According to the fitters, the Micra is made out of Durasteel, which, if you type into a search engine, either comes up with a tiny Nissan ad from 1998, shit tons of Star Wars fanpages, or asbestos-filled fire doors and wall panels.
    The two places not galvanised are the front crossmember, which is just ED coated mild steel, and the inner brace for the outer sill. Why did many of these cars get scrapped after 10 years? Simply because the sill drains would clog if too much underseal was applied at the factory and the gap between the brace and the outer sill was so small that they couldn't get any protective coating to stick to it. Apparently, the gap was so small you couldn't get water between the two pieces of steel. So, it was left untreated and free to rot out. If you had a model with a sunroof, you were especially unlucky, as the sunroof drains deposit water behind the rear jacking points. Water would collect and after enough time, they would form their own drain holes and fail the MoT.
  2. The removable panel on the inside of the boot is recycled steel. They recycled scraps from their presses to then make the inside panel on the boot. It's secured around the perimeter with slippy-screwey things.
  3. The binnacle was inspired by a rugby ball. Nobody knows why.
  4. The engine sizes deliberately mimicked the Mini. I'm sure this is probably a well-established fact. Needless to say, Nissan engineers were obsessing over the Mini so much that they engineered their engines to have the same displacement.
  5. The Micra Super S wasn't very sporty. The only changes made were special bumpers and wheels.
  6. Pop-out window models are very easy to break into. One of the fitters told me they were doing PDI work on finished models. Their line manager came out and announced they were going to investigate an issue with pop-out rear windows making cars easy to steal. He walked up to a Micra SLX, punched the latch area of the window and it popped open. From there on, he could fish in a wire coathanger and unlock the doors.
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Pop-out window cars are TWOC bait anyway - someone had broken into my old Accord Aerodeck by levering one of the rear windows open. 
All it takes is one rear seat passenger that opens one and doesn't put the latch all the way back, and they just fall open. If you're really unlucky when that happens, you close a door and the window opens when air escapes, and if you don't notice... 

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- F-F-F-Fixes

All 3 Jobs done. I did the boot strut in the morning and didn't take any protos because, well, it's a boot strut. Not particularly interesting.

Firstly, the coil:
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Remove old.

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Inspect hole, then coat the new coil and bracket with approved* grease-

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Trust me, it's designed for it!

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Then I lost a nut down the hole. I suspect what PSA wants you to actually do is dismantle the whole bracket and then replace the coil. Fortunately I had the magnetic stick to save the day. It doesn't help they're using 7mm nuts and bolts for this. Oh well... French. Even Lancia thought this was a bad idea. Using the same coil, they installed it vertically meaning you only needed 2 bolts to fasten it down.

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More automotive* grease applied to the threads and the heads of the bolts. Interestingly enough, if you flip the tub lid, it turns into dielectric grease, so that was smothered all over the terminals.

OK, so with that out of the way and the car sounding beautiful, I moved onto flipping the carburettor lids. Yup, more fun to be had. I decided to do this because I was getting fed up with having to shim and pack out the intake to get it to fit on this fine* piece of Chinese workmanship.
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Frankly, I don't know why I'm bothering. I've bought a twin choke manifold now so I can call this done once and for all with a genuine carb that fits and has good parts support. Still, at least it looks clean in there.

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The Chinese workmanship on the choke is just excellent. I imagine they copied the design using loosely-done drawings. The indentations that allow the choke flap to slightly open under acceleration just don't exist.  Not only that, but there is a ton of axial play in the choke lever, as if the bolt they used is too long. I did swap the springs over as the new one was springier. I'm sure it helps.

Swapping floats and needle valves got us to here:
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I present to you the Frankencarb.

It would be all roses and lovely if it went on without problems. Ha lolnope. The Chinese carb mating surface isn't flat at all. There's a high spot in the middle meaning the lid would rock about and not sit flat. What it needs is a thicker gasket on there which I'll fit if I can get one. But instead I did the right thing and just torqued the opposite ends down and started rounding out the screws. She's tight.

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Buttoned up, taken for a test drive and everyone's happy. It starts better when hot which helps.

If anyone has a Solex 32/34, 34/34 or anything like that and wants to sell it, plz let me know thankz.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- BX visits a garage.

Delivered the BX to Triple 'A' Garage in Brede, which is near Rye but is apparently nearer to Halisham. These people are actual proper Citroen fanatics and the older mechanics working there do hydropneumatic Citroens all the time, but most are now LDS-suspended C5s and 6s. They performed work:
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I has new genuine sphericals.

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The accumulator/regulator sphere isn't genuine but it's a trusted part. I've also noticed how big the exhaust downpipe is. It's sort of calling out for a tubular header.

They haven't fiddled with the height corrector, just unstuck it. The height selection is still flaky and they want it back to get it on the 4 post lift and set the height properly. It'll give them the opportunity to look at stuff and get it fixed. I'm certainly booking it in with them again.

I purchased a new intake plenum and dipstick. I've been meaning to for ages and every time I've bought parts, I've forgotten!

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The new plenum was cleaned up and the crankcase filter was flushed through. I also deleted the emissions pipework that basically mixed a tiny amount of air from the filter box with the small amout of crankcase fumes that is fed straight into the intake manifold. Eventually I'll bypass the system completely and pipe the crankcase vent straight into the filter box, to be dealt with by a replaceable element like on most engines.

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The plenum was the clipped and bolted on. It was a much better fit and the car is certainly less noisy. Result!

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Then I installed the new dipstick. "Oh shit!" I said. It turns out the old dipstick was overreading massively and I was a litre low. A trip to the petrol station enabled me to get a litre of oil and a full tank. Happy in that department.

I then destroyed the old plenum to get out the crankcase filter and the vent connection. This is what it looks like
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It was absolutely clogged. Why PSA didn't make this replaceable, I don't know. Needless to say, I obtained the vent connection as I'll use it for when I re-route the crankcase pipework to the air filter box. It was properly manky.

I can't say how much of a relief it's been to have the suspension work done by a garage that is local and a specialist. They looked it over and said it's mechanically sound, performed the work in just 2 days and for a very good price. The car drives like new, literally. The new accumulator sphere has meant that the regulator is now clicking when it should, the new suspension leg is tight and free of clonks or creaks, and the new spheres have made driving so much more comfortable. It's excellent!

 

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12 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

Glad you found someone decent to work on the car.  If they were on the right side of London I'd probably get some work done on mine done by them...

Indeed, they're fantastic. I'll definitely be calling them again for things that need doing.

I'm going to go with their recommendation to send it back in a few weeks' time to get the ride height sorted. I might also ask for a coolant change as what's currently in the radiator is brown. I don't think it's supposed to be brown.

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4 hours ago, Ghosty said:

Big Enough | Know Your Meme

That's very reasonably priced work from the garage imo. 

 

Very reasonable. I'll definitely send the car in their direction again when more work is required.

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Mirror, Mirror, on the door,
How can you make me hate you more?
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Of course, by requiring removal of the entire doorcard. Haynes, in their infinite wisdom, decided only to show steps to remove the mirror on the Mk.1 BX, which has a separate mirror trim panel. Suspecting this was too intuitive to carry on using, PSA engineers decided to integrate the whole panel into the doorcard and make it look like it was a separable piece. Oh how I laughed*

PXL_20211017_134028492_MP.thumb.jpg.fb8e7188491a8d086ef118091d63366b.jpgPXL_20211017_134042319.thumb.jpg.01bb7abe19c944011de429b14cf12132.jpg

At least the interior of the door is pristine.

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And at least my replacement cleaned up really well and wasn't faded.

 

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The old mirror is slightly buggered. The bottom hinge has sheared off completely allowing the mirror to twist and wobble. The hinge pieces are cast aluminium so being walloped by a tree branch while you're negotiating a narrow road isn't going to be nice.

You can get replacement mirrors for £VERYGOODPRICE but it depends on what car model you search for. BXs are more expensive than Peugeot 309s despite being the same mirror, save for the swappable outer trim panel.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- BX Hibernates

PICTURE HEAVY- I have a bit to work through.

Firstly:
I had the ride height changed by Triple A. While it was on the lift, I had a look underneath. Here is what I found:
PXL_20211029_111244866.thumb.jpg.018810bb7f8b94fcdc82ab50083d0d55.jpgPXL_20211029_110928982.thumb.jpg.7851158b0570f6c10d56e97b82ed1c0b.jpgPXL_20211029_111239985.thumb.jpg.06177d6e2b605091073d788b9d8ef149.jpg

Not a drop of rust. I'm impressed. Every suspension pipe has a shit ton of grease covering it and, subsequently, they've still got the black paint on them.

I did my part and applied more today-
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Over the winter I'll jack up all 4 corners and undercoat it with super thick oil, like it has had before. I'll cavity wax the chassis rails, sills, subframe and doors as well. I bought cans of the stuff months ago.

Now onto what I went to Triple A for- I wanted to see why the front was sitting lower than the back. We adjusted the heights and prodded the linkages a bit in the hope that it'd fix itself. Nope. It's not fixed. There is still something wrong with the linkages as the suspension height selector sometimes jams and won't go to full height, then sometimes it'll clunk back into poisition and work sort of fine. The car is driveable, which is good, but not correct. Selecting between normal and intermediate height only makes the front go up, but not down again. The rear stays where it is. We verified both height correctors work, so what's the deal? I think the next course of action is to send it up to Chevronics or somebody and get the height selector system refreshed. Something has fallen apart and is stopping the system from working correctly. The front end linkages are worn out and sloppy, but that doesn't explain why the manually selecting the height won't work and the ride is subsequently strange. It definitely isn't how it was.

To distract me from this dilemma, I fitted new plates. This is what I was contending with:
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This is what I've got now
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Lovely stuff. Oh, the Jazz has been replaced by a Honda E. Jazz was sold back to Honda for a profit, despite us buying it 2 years ago.

 

So there we go, it's now tucked up for the winter. I disconnected the tank from the fuel pump, ran the carburettor float bowl out of fuel and then connected up a bottle of Redex. This filled up the float bowl and pumped some down the return line. I dumped the rest down the filler neck. I'll continue working on it closer to Christmas, but the Micra will be commuter machine for the next 4 months. One parting shot-
PXL_20211031_162125486.thumb.jpg.af82e52f8c70824d1d274ea1b28df5f9.jpg

 

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Shock Horror Japanese Fail

OK- so back in March I was taking two mates at college to a nearby park in the Micra. As soon as we were on the approach road (and after having to do an emergency stop on a single-track road) the car started smelling of brake material... then stinking of it. It turned out the nearside caliper had hung up and wasn't retracting after I let off the brake pedal. Once I got it back home, I tore the thing apart and greased it up.

It's now November and it's happened again: I was driving home from college (which is in lovely lovely Bridgwater. I hope I never have to go there ever again) and just before the A303, I realised I couldn't go faster than 45MPH. When I pulled over I was greeted with the nearside wheel billowing horrible acrid smoke. Bollocks. I phone home to say I may be back later than expected and I carry on with my journey, being bogged down by the lousy caliper. I made it to Sparkford and noticed it wasn't smelling of brakes anymore. When I got to the M3, the smell had gone completely, despite having to use the brakes to merge and slow down for a mobile crane. I managed to get home brake smell free, somehow. I've ordered a replacement caliper to fix the issue when I have more time at home.

 

In BX news, it's been booked into Chevronics for 3rd December. Here's hoping for no frosty weather. I'll take the train home for a whopping £23.00. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!

I bought this thing
1462069 carburetor citroen zx 1.4 1.4i avantage 283601

Because it turns out the Citroen ZX 1.4 had a carburettor if you got an early and base enough model. Here's inside-
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Oh look some ethanol corrosion. I then emptied a can of carb cleaner, making sure every orifice was unblocked and unrestricted.

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That's a nice amount of damage. I found more corrosion in the accelerator pump and power valve, so I replaced both and madesure it was corrosion-free.

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I have also gone ahead and replaced the electrical idle jet with a conventional one, re-piped the anti-flood reservoir (the black cylinder thing on a bracket), deleted a vacuum pulldown device for the secondary barrel (most didn't have them anyway) and capped off the emissions inlet on the carb baseplate. I have also bought the plenum that this carb uses and cleaned that up with oven cleaner and the dishwasher (don't tell my parents!).

 

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2 hours ago, Fumbler said:

Bridgwater

It used to be worse when the Cellophane factory was operating. The smell was awful.  That has now been demolished.

I believe the town is a host to the builders* of Hinkley Point power station.

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1 hour ago, Remspoor said:

It used to be worse when the Cellophane factory was operating. The smell was awful.  That has now been demolished.

I believe the town is a host to the builders* of Hinkley Point power station.

British Cellophane is now the housing complex for the HPC construction workers. Back when Hinkley A was being built back in the 60s, they built a village outside the site so it's kind of an homage to the first power station that was built there.

Despite this Bridgwater, Cannington, Combwich... basically everywhere in Sedgemoor (apart from Stockland, which is rather lovely) is fucking grim.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Unhappy Car

In 2 hours of work I went from this:
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To this!
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Welcome To Jazz Club Fast Show GIF - Welcome To Jazz Club Fast Show The  Fast Show - Discover & Share GIFs

I didn't take many photos, but here's what I've got.

 

Goodbye
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New manifold and gaskets
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A quick test fit

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Finally installed

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Completed  it m8

A few things were altered during install- firstly the anti-flood vacuum reservoir was removed as I needed a few more vacuum lines which I didn't have. I'm not too fussed about it. The choke is stiff and some WD-40 has helped with that. It could be better though. I've done a rough tune and it sounds lovely. Bled the coolant system and refilled with water. The car flies now. I rather like it.

And now it's taking me to college. Again. Damnit 😆

Yeah the Micra's brake caliper isn't getting any better and is now stuck on permanently. I also just filled it up with petrol 🤦‍♂️

 

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I like this BX very much. I hope you track down the ride height culprit. Excellent work on the carb parts swapping and scavenging. 

What's the 1.4 like, I always imagined it wouldn't be much fun being bASe but then again it was a rip-roarer in a 205 XS. Despite all its complexity I think the BX remains relatively lightweight thanks to plastic bits and bobs. And of course weight-saving monospoke tiller.

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1 hour ago, grogee said:

What's the 1.4 like, I always imagined it wouldn't be much fun being bASe but then again it was a rip-roarer in a 205 XS.

It's fun! Very zippy and geared well for the motorway. Granted, the BX16 was better for long journeys but this is very good for its diminutive displacement.

 

I've been trying to get the white smoke from the back to disappear. It's not OMGHGF as there's no mayo or drop in the water level and this has happened for months, changing the fuel mixture doesn't help either. Could it be valve stem seals perchance?

EDIT the block is wet with oil from the cylinder head, so re-torquing the head bolts wouldn't go amiss.

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1 hour ago, Fumbler said:

It's fun! Very zippy and geared well for the motorway. Granted, the BX16 was better for long journeys but this is very good for its diminutive displacement.

 

I've been trying to get the white smoke from the back to disappear. It's not OMGHGF as there's no mayo or drop in the water level and this has happened for months, changing the fuel mixture doesn't help either. Could it be valve stem seals perchance?

EDIT the block is wet with oil from the cylinder head, so re-torquing the head bolts wouldn't go amiss.

If those valve stem seals are any relation to 1.6/1.9 injection engine then almost certainly they'll have gone hard. Sucks in oil on overrun then burps it out in a big cloud when you put your foot down. Often smoky on startup too

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21 hours ago, Fumbler said:

British Cellophane is now the housing complex for the HPC construction workers. Back when Hinkley A was being built back in the 60s, they built a village outside the site so it's kind of an homage to the first power station that was built there.

Despite this Bridgwater, Cannington, Combwich... basically everywhere in Sedgemoor (apart from Stockland, which is rather lovely) is fucking grim.

I know the area very well It used to be part of my "patch". I loved working in The Levels area. But hated a number of towns that way.

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1 hour ago, Remspoor said:

I know the area very well It used to be part of my "patch". I loved working in The Levels area. But hated a number of towns that way.

Indeed, I'm at the nuclear college just inside Cannington as part of my apprenticeship. The college is fine, everything else is nasty. Luckily for me I've only got 2 more months left.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- The BX Saves The Day

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As if by magic, the bloody thing has redeemed itself and wafted me to college. It stepped in after the Micra cooked it's nearside front brake and boy it's nice to drive in comfort again. The new carb has given so much power on tap, but it does need a new lid gasket as it's smelling of petrol a bit and is damp.

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On 14/11/2021 at 16:12, grogee said:

I like this BX very much. I hope you track down the ride height culprit. Excellent work on the carb parts swapping and scavenging. 

What's the 1.4 like, I always imagined it wouldn't be much fun being bASe but then again it was a rip-roarer in a 205 XS. Despite all its complexity I think the BX remains relatively lightweight thanks to plastic bits and bobs. And of course weight-saving monospoke tiller.

quoted top speed for an 1.4 BX is 104 mph! so they are in 1.6 territory really

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