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Fumbler's Crocks- Complete Fleet Refresh!


Fumbler

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I nipped out to the unit to do some fettling on the BX and to buy some paint at Halfords. I managed to do everything I wanted to:

  1. Fitted the new new new boot strut so I have a matching pair working in perfect* harmony
  2. Dialled the fast idle back
  3. Greased the sunroof runners
  4. Measured up the correct alternator
  5. Re-torqued the cam cover nuts

I was wanting to wash down the filthy engine bay, but that wan wait until the oil leak is fixed, which needs to happen because an oil change is due but I'm reluctant to do it knowing the oil isn't, well, staying in the engine. It's all ready to be carted back up to Chevronics for a follow-up appointment as they hadn't been able to get round to fixing the oil leak.

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I made a list of things that the car needs. In the spring I seriously need to get the wheels painted so I can put the trims back on. When it's back on daily driver duty I can focus on getting the Micra fixed and sorted. I have the suspicion that this summer I'll be dismantling the front end so I might as well weld it up and stick it in for an early MoT.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Rusty Carnage

Right. Let's start getting this rust shituation sorted.

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@The Moog's nuclear-grade ramps made short work of raising the car off the ground. The front end of the ramps are raised off the ground because of our drive is horribly uneaven.

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I then gave the innocent looking patch a few passes with the angry wire wheel. I'm now confident the ripples in the pinch on the sills is rust jacking.

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Chop chop

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Scaley. I imagine this goes on for a bit further, but I've whacked the metal with a hammer and it doesn't dent or deform so I'm unsure if I should carry on cutting until I find the end of the rust or keep it where it is right now.

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This is where I got to when the Sun went down. It's not too bad, all things considered. I haven't been able to open up any more holes, just knock off a ton of rust. What's happened here is exactly how the assembly line workers told me would happen, when I met them at FoTU. The outer panel is galvenised, and the majority of the metal I cut out was clean and still the original thickness. The reason for the rusting in the first place is because the sill brace bends down to pinch with the outer and inner sills. As it bends, the brace comes closer and closer to the outer sill and makes a super tiny gap between the two metal parts. This meant that they couldn't coat it correctly when the bodyshells were dipped. The way the brace is bent also creates a trough for water to pool up in which is especially a problem for Micras fitted with a sunroof. Because the sill cavity is open to the atmosphere through the drains, I have a feeling that condensation is what's caused the issue here.

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You can see there is cavity wax of some sort... and cobwebs. The camera couldn't focus properly but the wax stops about 3' before the sill.

The plan of action tomorrow is to finish setting up the welder, put the car in the garage and patch the car up. Hopefully I can do it with two- one to fill where the brace has rusted through and then another over top of all that, once I've decided if I want to cut out more outer sill to chase down the rot. I'll the drill a hole through for a cavity wax wand, prime, stonechip, paint, cavity wax, bung and then slap some grease on because Y not.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Mystery Coolant Loss

I've welded* the Micra's sill, which means I laid pigeon shit tacks down in huge lumps and then my gas ran out. I sealed it up best I could with grease and primer. Since then I've bought some die grinder attachments for the Dremel which'll help me finish the job off with the gasless machine, as I've no choice but to use it.

Anyway, the more pressing issue is the mystery slow and gradual coolant loss on the BX. At present, the low coolant warning comes on once every 2 months or so. The pressure tester showed nothing after 2 hours and the exhaust doesn't smell of coolant either. I'm hoping the oil loss issue has been fixed with replacing the distributor seal, but the real test will be after I service the engine.

When I bought the car, the rebuilt engine had ~50 miles on it. I've since put 6000 on it. I wonder if the head bolts perhaps need re-torquing. IIRC they're stretch bolts. I haven't done a leakdown test on each cylinder. The pressure tester was connected to the radiator fill point which is the expansion tank. The tank connects to the thermostat housing here:
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From the looks of things, this connection is after the thermostat so it's only part of the coolant loop when the thermostat is open:
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Would this mean it's a flawed test?

Other work I have done that involved tampering with the coolant circuit was replacing the intake manifold, which has a coolant passage in it which could also be leaking. With how the pressure tester was connected, I'm unsure whether this could have been picked up.

It could also be some form of HGF as these engines are known to do it.

Thoughts?

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31 minutes ago, Fumbler said:

I wonder if the head bolts perhaps need re-torquing. IIRC they're stretch bolts.

Stretch bolts do not need re-torquing.  The stretch in them is intended to take up the compression of the head gasket.  Also, it's not possible to re-torque any type of stretch bolt, as they are tightened by angle, not torque, and that only works properly when all the bolts are stretched at the same time.

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11 minutes ago, Talbot said:

Stretch bolts do not need re-torquing.  The stretch in them is intended to take up the compression of the head gasket.  Also, it's not possible to re-torque any type of stretch bolt, as they are tightened by angle, not torque, and that only works properly when all the bolts are stretched at the same time.

I should probably look up if they actually are stretch bolts or not. I had a hunch they were as they get replaced whenever the head is taken off.

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3 minutes ago, GingerNuttz said:

If you're attending the FOD and a Scotshitter is couldn't you have that primer collected ?

Just a thought.

Indeed I could! What a good idea.

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The bottom hose on the radiator goes back to the engine on most cars and does not have a thermostat to divert or stop the flow for a quicker warm up. So if the radiator was under pressure in the test I would assume the whole system is.
*been a few years since I worked on a citroen bx.

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Just now, louiepj said:

The bottom hose on the radiator goes back to the engine on most cars and does not have a thermostat to divert or stop the flow for a quicker warm up. So if the radiator was under pressure in the test I would assume the whole system is.
*been a few years since I worked on a citroen bx.

Ah, that's true. The next test I'll probably do is put a glove over the filler and see if it inflates any before the thermostat opens. I have a sneaking suspicion the head gasket may be failing already.

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remember, most thermostats don't actually seal 100%, and as there is only one of them in the system, any pressure can always get back "the other way" round the system.  It matters not whether the thermostat is open or not, pressure in the system is pressure in the system.

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29 minutes ago, Talbot said:

remember, most thermostats don't actually seal 100%, and as there is only one of them in the system, any pressure can always get back "the other way" round the system.  It matters not whether the thermostat is open or not, pressure in the system is pressure in the system.

Which is why, if the exhaust was passing into the coolant jacket, I'd expect to see the glove inflate with nasty gases pretty quickly after I start the engine.

I can't think of many places where coolant would escape, while meanwhile being invisible to a pressure tester.

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Silly question, but have you confirmed via a visual check whether or not the coolant is going down? Some Citroens like to tell you they have low coolant for giggles and/or when about two drops have disappeared from the system... 

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6 minutes ago, Mrs6C said:

Silly question, but have you confirmed via a visual check whether or not the coolant is going down? Some Citroens like to tell you they have low coolant for giggles and/or when about two drops have disappeared from the system... 

Indeed, I checked and confirmed it was actually telling the truth. It usually takes 500ml or so to get it full again. If I ignore the warning, the light does go out as the engine warms and coolant expands, but it'll come back on again next cold start so it's definitely low.

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2 hours ago, Fumbler said:

Indeed, I checked and confirmed it was actually telling the truth. It usually takes 500ml or so to get it full again. If I ignore the warning, the light does go out as the engine warms and coolant expands, but it'll come back on again next cold start so it's definitely low.

OK, good to have confirmed it. Are either the passenger or driver's side carpets damp and/or smelling of anti-freeze? A seeping heater matrix can often account for slow water loss, especially over the winter months when the heating circuit is used more often.

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7 minutes ago, Mrs6C said:

OK, good to have confirmed it. Are either the passenger or driver's side carpets damp and/or smelling of anti-freeze? A seeping heater matrix can often account for slow water loss, especially over the winter months when the heating circuit is used more often.

Checked that as well, nothing is wrong in that department.

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Have you replaced the expansion tank cap?  

If the seal is perished/the spring tired it will stop the system correctly pressurising and will likely to cause a gradual loss of coolant.

The van used to use a bit when I got it, don't think I've ever had to top it up since I changed the cap, and that was about two and a half years ago.  That's including two 600 mile round trips up the length of the country on basically 100% throttle for most of the trip!

It's a cheap and easy thing to test by substitution at least.

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1 minute ago, Zelandeth said:

Have you replaced the expansion tank cap?  

If the seal is perished/the spring tired it will stop the system correctly pressurising and will likely to cause a gradual loss of coolant.

The van used to use a bit when I got it, don't think I've ever had to top it up since I changed the cap, and that was about two and a half years ago.  That's including two 600 mile round trips up the length of the country on basically 100% throttle for most of the trip!

It's a cheap and easy thing to test by substitution at least.

Good call- the cap is crusty and original. Seal looked okay though.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Boring Service Update

Despite ordering from BuyCarParts which is basically Autodoc with a UK URL, I had a ParcelForce E-mail saying my radiator cap shall be delivered on Monday. Grand, although I won't actually be at home so it'll need to be reposted to college.

Anyway, the task today was to do an oil and filter change on the BX, which, all things considered, is frightfully easy. There's soooo much space in the engine bay making basic jobs like this honestly a joy to perform.

I firstly put the date on the filter, just so I know how long ago 6000 miles was
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Then the actual oil change happened.
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As it turns out, I did this prematurely as I first serviced the car in July last year. It's no real biggie, though, as when I first serviced the car the oil in there was OLD and INCREDIBLY BLACK, so I was looking forward to when I could at least see some light through the oil instead of a bunch of carbon. I also added the oil change mileage to a label I first put on the dashboard, but it wouldn't adhere, so I put it on the part of doorcard that is only seen when the door's open. This'll hopefully ensure I next service the car at 6000 miles.

When I had a look underneath the engine, I noticed the block was wet, but only from where the head bolts onto it. I also appear to be leaking LHM from the accumulator return, which is wht there's a drip on the sphere.

 

When I got home, I also attended another BX common fault, which is the washer bottles wearing away the paint on the scuttle and rotting everything away. I removed the offside bottle and mopped the area out:
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And was pleasantly surprised to see not much rusty stuff had happened. I spritzed some paint on the worst of it and then fitted some silicone feet to the bottom and sides of the washer bottle
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It seems it's done the trick, but I'll probably have it out tomorrow to A: wash the filth off the bottle and B: repaint the area properly before forgetting about it. It's a fairly easy job to do.

 

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- More Boringness

Stilt car
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Rust
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More rust
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Thankfully nothing much worse than just surface stuff though. There's at least 3 layers of stonechip on the sills for some reason. It was so thick I didn't notice the drain hole that was there until I ground all the shite off. I then dug out a plug in the wheelarch that was made of seam sealer and then did this-

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Which promptly caused this
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And also this
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I managed to get cavity wax halfway down the car which was a nice bonus. I also managed to cavity wax the driveway and my rotary tool thing.

Rob at Chevronics said the sills also extend up into the rear of the cabin and there's a flap you can lift to shove a wand in. I moved the rear squab out of the way and got to work
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This caused more wax to pour out of nowhere. Looking back, this is probaly why I've never been able to replicate the results- I'm just not thinning the stuff out enough. I was never able to get the stuff to creep as much as Bilt Hamber can.

Because I destroyed the old plug, I had to find something else. I did the right thing and shoved in a spray paint nozzle😁
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Fits snug and like a glove lol.

While all this was going on, I pulled both washer bottles out the front, cleaned up the perches and painted them
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Y tho

I finished things up be giving the other areas a second coat of red oxide rust stopper stuff
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Realistically what I need to do in future is take a wire wheel to both sills and take them back to good metal, as the stone chip stuff has cracked all along the sill's length and is is starting to peel away. This shitty black stuff that's currently on them is just scrubbing off with every wash.

 

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- You Dipstick

With the BX dutifully swallowing my entire college room, it was home time. Bye bye accommodation block. Your asymmetry will never cease to annoy me.
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Somehow spent 1.75 years here... still wondering where all that time went! It kind of was a sad moment having to say goodbye to all my friends. I'm sure we'll meet again sometime soon.

Anyway, car. The car did well, really well, I think, with the extra load in the back. It impressed me some more when it also decided to keep all its oil.
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So at least it's keeping its oil for the time being.

This also means the drip I've been seeing for ages on the reg sphere is LHM, so I proved it with the Tissue Test and, indeed, the tissue turned green. Oof. The source of the leak looks to be a simple one, however-

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It looks to me like the reg sphere's seal is blown or the return spigot has cracked. Though, if it was the spigot, I'd expect the majority of the oily mess to be on the pipe. The first picture seems to suggest it's leaking from the sphere seal and then down. I think some brake cleaner action is needed here.

 

PXL_20220407_123619557.jpg

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1 hour ago, Fumbler said:

With the BX dutifully swallowing my entire college room, it was home time. Bye bye accommodation block. Your asymmetry will never cease to annoy me.
PXL_20220407_041555323_MP.thumb.jpg.31622c710d641095801cdd713b793eb2.jpg
Somehow spent 1.75 years here... still wondering where all that time went! It kind of was a sad moment having to say goodbye to all my friends. I'm sure we'll meet again sometime soon.

Anyway, car. The car did well, really well, I think, with the extra load in the back. It impressed me some more when it also decided to keep all its oil.
PXL_20220407_123523717.thumb.jpg.4dc01e097d5461b8843af1b76a537172.jpg

 

So at least it's keeping its oil for the time being.

This also means the drip I've been seeing for ages on the reg sphere is LHM, so I proved it with the Tissue Test and, indeed, the tissue turned green. Oof. The source of the leak looks to be a simple one, however-

PXL_20220407_123739053.thumb.jpg.b60f364a0d7e48bdfdf1617b00023044.jpgPXL_20220407_123748884.thumb.jpg.1fbf72467751071e5af64bc2db63854a.jpg

It looks to me like the reg sphere's seal is blown or the return spigot has cracked. Though, if it was the spigot, I'd expect the majority of the oily mess to be on the pipe. The first picture seems to suggest it's leaking from the sphere seal and then down. I think some brake cleaner action is needed here.

PXL_20220407_123619557.jpg

Welcome to the Real World!

 

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2 minutes ago, Crackers said:

Are you finished with your apprenticeship now? (Except for exams, potentially) 

Got 2 years left, but I'm now on-site permanently. I have a L3 extended NVQ and then the apprenticeship endpoint assessment to now get sorted. Fortunately, it's nearly all coursework.

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1 minute ago, Crackers said:

Ah cool. Couldn't remember if you were in a 2 or 4 year one. 

Yeah it's a 4 year one. It's called the Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician apprenticeship scheme. It's definitely general enough to be used by other industries but it's probably called something different by other people.

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Just now, Crackers said:

Sounds like the sort of thing that would land you in my place. 

Not that you'd want to... 

Probably more thrilling* at your place, mind.

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On 4/7/2022 at 11:47 PM, Fumbler said:

It kind of was a sad moment having to say goodbye to all my friends. I'm sure we'll meet again sometime soon.

You will do. It is a surprisingly small Island. in some job sectors and with flexible contracts means constantly moving work force. Just hope you meat up with the folks you liked.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Complete Fleet Refresh!

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