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Fumbler's Crocks- Pre-MoT Checking/Bodging/Panicking


Fumbler

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There's a lot to be said for light weight and good aerodynamics.

I wouldn't worry too much about a little bit of oil weeping from the head, the TU engines do tend to do that, especially from the offside rear corner.  If the engine is behaving otherwise I'd leave it well alone.  Just clean it up before the MOT!

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8 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

There's a lot to be said for light weight and good aerodynamics.

I wouldn't worry too much about a little bit of oil weeping from the head, the TU engines do tend to do that, especially from the offside rear corner.  If the engine is behaving otherwise I'd leave it well alone.  Just clean it up before the MOT!

The amount of oil on the block and the fact it consumes oil to the point of needing to be topped up was a cause for concern. The distributor also leaks, so I should probably fix that at some point considering how easy it is.

I had the car booked in to Chevronics already so they could have a stab at fixing the ride height. They suspect the valvestem seals aren't sealing anymore, which would be a possibility because the cylinder head, oil baffle, cam followers, camshaft and valve assembly are all grimy and original. It'd explain the white smoke, too.

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Update. White smoke has disappeared. The manifold-to-heater pipe has a leak in it which is why I had to refill with coolant- there's plenty of slack in it so there's always room to cut off the bad bit. That being said, running a new section of pipe wouldn't go amiss.

Still loving the extra powah. I had to re-tune the carb because I had the vacuum advance connected to the wrong place. There's a port on the baseplate of the carb on the front, connected to the secondary choke. It operates when at full throttle. I think it was for the throttle pulldown that I removed but pictures online show it being used for many different things. Regardless, I connected the vac advance to the correct opening and blanked the spurious port off. The car ran like shit (because without the port being open it was running super duper rich) so here we go again with fiddling with the idle mixture etc. It took around a lunchtime of work but it's operating goodish, so that makes me happy. I'm ordering a rebuild kit for it because the lid gasket isn't a lid gasket anymore. I'm sure the O rings are shot and the used power valve and accelerator pump could do with renewing.

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I'm seriously considering getting my BX transported to them for an assessment and unless it's totally condemned on other grounds just having them drop the rear subframe and replace any and all hydraulic lines with issues.  Plus anything else they find that's likely to be pushing the limits of a driveway repair between the car and an MOT.

The bill would sting that's for sure (I'd be budgeting somewhere in the region of £750 in my head), but given their experience it should be a hell of a lot quicker a job for them than your average back street garage. 

Just really would be nice to actually make some real progress...and my admittedly so far limited experience with them when I picked some parts up from them a couple of months back just gave the feeling of them being the sort of specialists I'd like to support.

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2 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

I'm seriously considering getting my BX transported to them for an assessment and unless it's totally condemned on other grounds just having them drop the rear subframe and replace any and all hydraulic lines with issues.  Plus anything else they find that's likely to be pushing the limits of a driveway repair between the car and an MOT.

The bill would sting that's for sure (I'd be budgeting somewhere in the region of £750 in my head), but given their experience it should be a hell of a lot quicker a job for them than your average back street garage. 

Just really would be nice to actually make some real progress...and my admittedly so far limited experience with them when I picked some parts up from them a couple of months back just gave the feeling of them being the sort of specialists I'd like to support.

I like your thinking. A lift is a godsend especially with leaky rear pipework. I'm also pretty sure they'd be interested to work on a mk.1 base too (I'm still on the lookout for a rear bumper, I may have found one in Holland).

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The brake pipes aren't all that accessible without removing the exhaust, but, with that removed, all the hydraulic components are easy to access. That area certainly does look like a good place to trap mud and leaves. You can barely see the coiled lines on either end of the axle tube. Every single line on this car, including these, were smothered in grease. I think the original owner knew about Citroen and their steel hydraulic pipes.

On the list for Chevronics at the moment is:

  • Diagnose oil leaks and cause for it consuming 1L of oil every 300 miles
  • Fix dash bulbs
  • Fix suspension ride height selection issue
  • Set correct ride height and make sure all 4 settings work reliably
  • Examine rear spheres
  • Verify hydropneumatic system is working correctly
  • Check coolant system
  • General look-over
  • EDIT add coolant change because the coolant in there is falling out and is a bit too watery.

I'm going to drive it up there and leave it with them. A train ride back isn't expensive at all. The bonus is that I'm in no rush to get it back so they can keep it for as long as they desire*

I'm rather glad that the white smoke has gone, making me suspect the cylinder head needs re-torquing down. It's very wet underneath.

I'd love to do a side-by-side comparison between the two one day. The Mk.1's bonkersness fascinates me, as does the engine.

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I've already replaced the brake caliper to centre pipe with the coil on the nearside as I thought that's where the leak was...however turns out it's the main feed to the rear brakes.  It's gone somewhere up above the frame where I can't even *see* it - there's just a fine mist of LHM spraying on the underside of the floor when the brakes are applied.

A fair few lines look past their best in the general vicinity.

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I'm not handing them the car and a blank cheque, but equally I'm going in knowing it's a big job and prepared for that, not going "but it's just a pipe!" and expecting it to be fixed for £50.

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5 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

I've already replaced the brake caliper to centre pipe with the coil on the nearside as I thought that's where the leak was...however turns out it's the main feed to the rear brakes.  It's gone somewhere up above the frame where I can't even *see* it - there's just a fine mist of LHM spraying on the underside of the floor when the brakes are applied.

A fair few lines look past their best in the general vicinity.

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I'm not handing them the car and a blank cheque, but equally I'm going in knowing it's a big job and prepared for that, not going "but it's just a pipe!" and expecting it to be fixed for £50.

Oof the ARB collar for the height corrector looks a little crusty. They'll find the duff pipe- if that's the only leak you've suffered so far you've done quite well. I wonder what the front strut returns look like?

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5 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

 my admittedly so far limited experience with them when I picked some parts up from them a couple of months back just gave the feeling of them being the sort of specialists I'd like to support.

That's my feeling as well, although only with parts purchases. Yes, they are pricey, but they put money back into getting obsolete parts remade. I'd rather they make enough money to stay in business so I can buy that obscure part I may need in a year's time, than stock up on every NOS part I see on eBay just in case I need it!

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10 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

That's my feeling as well, although only with parts purchases. Yes, they are pricey, but they put money back into getting obsolete parts remade. I'd rather they make enough money to stay in business so I can buy that obscure part I may need in a year's time, than stock up on every NOS part I see on eBay just in case I need it!

This 100%

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Brakes Again

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Changed the offending caliper. Took all of 15 minutes, making it the quickest maintenance job I've done to date!

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The Ovlov followed me home in case I ended up dying a fiery death thanks to the brakes completely falling apart.

Fortunately, I, including the car, didn't die.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Up In The Air

The BX was driven to the venerable Chevronics. It's in good company:
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26000 miles no less. I spotted this absolute beast at FoTU and didn't think I'd see it again. Same age, same engine, same nearly everything apart from the trim and maybe the gearbox. I forgot to check the centre console sticker.

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15 minutes later and its having its undercarriage inspected by Rob, the owner, and one of the (super duper experienced) mechanics. Off the bat he noticed:

  • Gearbox is separating from the engine 😲
  • Diesel pattern exhaust fitted, which is what I thought it was too. They'll fit the correct backbox to stop the bumper melting
  • Tuning fork bolt on the front suspension linkage is fouling the height corrector- this may be our smoking gun with the weird height problems
  • Subframe caved in (not too badly) because of a trolley jack being used in the past (not by me)
  • Timing belt covers missing
  • Fuel return line corroded but not leaking yet
  • Body-wise, both he and Rob are impressed at how solid it is. They've given me additional places to point the waxy wand once I pull my finger out and get to work rustproofing it.

He's going to give it a thorough inspection and diagnosis of the oil consumption, oil leak, stiff rear end etc. etc. I'm assured there will be a list of stuff he'll find which I then can sit down and see which ones need doing. Hopefully this'll ensure the car is mechanically sound for some time yet.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- MOAR REPAIRAGE

I'm going to break this down into parts, because this went from 'meh' to OMGSOMUCHWORK!!1!!!111!!!!!.

PART ONE:
Here's an invoice of work done to peruse:
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They want it back next year so they can get to the bottom of the oil leak and fix the blown bulb in the binnacle etc. Lots of work was being done on it, but were halted due to Crimbo.

The oil leak wasn't fully sorted as they were relying on getting a new distributor O-ring and then carrying on seeing where the oil was coming from. Despite buying from Citroen and then a third pary, neither arrived. They had the rocker cover back off again, adjusted the tappets, inspected the gasket and fitted the correct type of breather hose. A new leak has opened up by the timing belt cover which makes me wonder if the rocker cover is warped and pissing oil no matter how much I tighten it down.

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For now, they've cleaned the block and told me to occasionally inspect for fresh oil.

I still chuckle looking at the gearbox problem-
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The rest of the work included replacing the rotten fuel return hardline with the big job being fixing the suspension goofyiness once and for all.
I now haz new grenadez-
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The dark patch on the fuel filler hose suggests the old spheres were blown like I suspected. It now feels so good to drive, like, no longer stiff and weird-feeling, which is nice 😉
They also removed the centre console, cleaned and lubricated the ride height lever linkages, set the ride height and fixed the clunk-no-full-height-for-you issue I had. Even intermittent intermediate height now works! Nice.

The drive home was absolutely horrible, though. No fault of the car -it was great!- it was the Christmas traffic. On the A1(M), we were bombarded with arsehole van men doing racing lane changes and making everyone else panic and brake, then on the M25 we had foreign HGVs using every lane slowing everyone down. The sheer weight of traffic wasn't great either. Certainly wasn't the nicest drive I've had.

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I think it deserves a wash now.

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The mighty BX soldiers on. 

£800 might sting a bit at first but everything on that list looks like money wisely spent, to me. 

Given these are a bit "specialist" these days, £48 quid per sphere strikes me as being a very reasonable price for such a significant component. Even compared against mass-produced coil springs.

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11 minutes ago, Crackers said:

The mighty BX soldiers on. 

£800 might sting a bit at first but everything on that list looks like money wisely spent, to me. 

Given these are a bit "specialist" these days, £48 quid per sphere strikes me as being a very reasonable price for such a significant component. Even compared against mass-produced coil springs.

Indeed. Unlike last time, I decided to save up so it's not hurt as bad. It's still money well spent in my book.

 

Stay choond for tomorrow when I write up the saga that is when Lucas (and their fucking horrible vintage reconditioned parts) tried making PSA bits.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Trust* Lucas

Part Two

I arrived home at 15:15, weary but pleased I got back. So naturally I then embarked on changing the alternator. Easy job..... right?!

It all started so well... I firstly went about loosening the wrong tensioner bolt
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...this one's the locking bolt for the hydraulic pump. I found out after I tried to push the altenator down and off for 5 minutes.

So that was a good start. Then, when I took the old alternator out of the vehicle, I discovered it was absolutely pooched.
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So that's not going back in again. The rear bearing was dry as a bone. The front bearings on these are sealed but the rears are just normal unsealed ball bearings with a plastic grease cap over them. As you can see, this one had the cap busted off.  I wonder if  the bearing started rumbling or something and someone attempted to repack it with perhaps the wrong grease. This was futile as A. the grease would have been flung out owing to a lack of grease cap and B. this side is right next to the hot exhaust manifold, so the grease would have evaporated if it were the wrong type.

By this time it was 15:50 thereabouts and light was fading fast. "Better get the fresh new alternator in!"

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Oh. I can't. Alright then, Lucas, you win for a second time.

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This is on the fecking compatability label on the damn box.

Does it fit? Does it fuck.

Here's the issue. The alternator I've got will fit on a Suitcase engine, but, for some strange reason, they also claim it'll fit on a TU... either that or Lucas engineers thought the 1.4 BX used the Suitcase engine throughout its production run. I didn't take a side-by-side picture of the two (and I wish I did but oh well) but not only is the hole for the hinge bolt lacking in width (so it flaps around when bolted in), the hinge bolt hole is on the opposite side to the old alternator, so it won't fit in the first place! What a fantastic waste of my time.

Unlike the starter motor, which was cheaper and had no hopes of ever fitting, I noticed the actual alternator portions of both were the same, with both being made in France. So, instead of throwing in the towel, buying another (but correct!) alternator and living in misery, I threw caution to the wind and made a modernist art installation.
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I crown thee: "Trust* Lucas"
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Violence was used to get the front cover off the old alternator
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Which involved cutting the alternator shaft, using a puller and other violent instruments. This part alone took about 1 hour. In just getting to this stage, I was whacking the thing, I sheared one of the bolts tieing the the alternator parts together... Basically it was a fight.

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I then tried to remove the NOS bearing, firstly by hijacking the cooker so I could heat up the cover and not the bearing. This ultimately failed.

By contrast, I stripped down the new alternator in a fraction of the time. I then retreated into the warmth* of the porch which had a little more light than the Anglepoise lamp I was using:
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The good news was that the innards were well and truly identical, so that's a win. I cleaned up the alternator front plate and rotated the bearing a bit to see if it was as ruined at the rear one was. The good news is that it isn't, although there's radial play and it feels slightly gritty. I can try to replace it but I doubt there's much chance of it failing anytime soon. I iused an improvised parts heater to expand things a little, and the thing slid onto the new alternator like butter*. Well, more like a block of lard you've just taken out of the fridge.

Fast forward a few more minutes and there's this:
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Good, good. Now, onto the slight* problem of fans and pulleys. Because I managed to cuntfuckulate the old one and couldn't reuse it. Yep, I bent one of the pulley sheeves and fucked the fan up completely. This is wonderful, because the new fan and pulley don't exactly work with the engine, either. Of course not, because fitting perfectly would be silly.

The old alternator fan and pulley arrangement consisted of washers, a spacer between the fan and pulley sheeves, and the sheeves themselves. Once you undo the bolt that secures everything in place, they all fall off the shaft in a confusing arrangement to ensure you'll never be able to reassemble them again. The pulley was seriously, seriously worn anyway, so even if I did use it, It'd still be having problems in the future. I discovered that the fan on the new alternator was plastic and the pulley was metal, so I inserted a screwdriver and *pop* they separated and flew across the room. Once I retrieved them, I then used a combination of old and new parts to get it roughly similar to the old one:
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And a test fit on the car proved this would work. By this time it was well and truly dark and around 20:45. Oops. Now all would be well and good, but the shaft on the new alternator is shorter than the old one, and as it happens I've destroyed the old one and canae use it. Because of the new spacer, the pulley was resting on the threads instead of the shaft, so it was able to wiggle side to side. Bad. Very bad. So I did the right thing and made a shim out of a coke can I cound in the bin:

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And after 3* attempts (well, maybe 5 but I've forgotten) it was just about ready to put on the car. I tightened down the pulley bolt and washer, made sure everything still spins correctly, and bunged it in the car.
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...with the usual tensioning nightmares because the belt is the wrong size. Even though it looks old it isn't cracking and isn't too glazed, so I left it be. I do have a replacement in my parts stash. The glazing may disappear now that a new pulley is being used.

With fingers and toes crossed, I started the car, put the headlamps on and held the revs at 3000-

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We has an victoree.

That was at 21:19 for crying out loud. I still don't know how I did it, but I did. Today I woke up super early to take my brother back from getting jabbed, in pain and stiff as a board from yesterday's palava. At least nothing fell off/exploded/caught fire on my journey.

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Yesterday's surgery.

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Work included:

  • Replace split and broken lid gasket
  • Replace idle jet O ring
  • Replace power valve diaphragm and spring
  • Replace accelerator pump diaphragm
  • Replace needle valve and washer
  • Replace the carb-manifold gasket

I've still yet to find where the choke pulldown diaphragm connects to. The vacuum port to the rear does the vacuum advance on the distributor. The port on the front is blanked off at the mo because its opening is directly below the second barrel's butterfly. I've found few images of this carburettor with the same arrangement, and Weber state it's an emmissions thing on their versions, so it has me stumped. When I had the vac advance connected there, it did nothing and the car ran really lean. I may leave it blanked and tee into the vacuum advance line instead.

Functionally the car works fine with the pulldown disconnected, but it means I can't use anything more than half choke so I have to leave the car to warm up a bit before I drive. Any ideas on how I should get it reconnected? I can't find a diagram for it anywhere either, which is annoying.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Pre-MoT Checking/Bodging/Panicking

As the BX's MoT on Wednesday slowly creeps on me, I ventured up to the unit to do some things. So far I have:

  • Replaced a dodgy boot strut
  • Fixed the choke pulldown and the car is happier for it
  • Filled with £15 worth of petrol
  • Checked lights
  • Found there is indeed no exhaust leak. Instead it's condensation boiling off the manifold
  • Found the spare key does start the car- it's just the barrel is a bit stiff with the spare.

All-in-all, a good hour's work done. Here's hoping it doesn't fail (too badly)!

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      What do you get after 16 hours and 800 miles of driving on a Sunday to collect two cars? Well @sharley17194 picks up a 1997 Citreon AX from the depths of the Lakes on the North West coast past Keswick. However, we actually started the day by driving to just near Cromer on the East coast to pick up this!
      An Austin Montego poverty spec estate with a 1.3L A-series engine! Yes you did read that bit right! Yes I know the DVLA lists the model as 1.6... Yes its correctly registered as 1.3L. No I dont know if its a factory 1.3L! 😂
      My favourite part of all this??? (Apart from the doom blue colour and the absolutely terrible interior!) 281,000 miles on the clock!
      Collection went really well and the below posts follows my initial assessment of what is quite frankly the best car I have ever purchased.



    • By cobblers
      Right so! I was looking to lease an EV through the business, but completely failed due to hating new car dealers, hating touchscreens and eventually settling on a hybrid which is out of stock until mid-late 2022. 
      So I gave up and decided to get a Land rover. I failed at that too, after my mate sent me a link to the advert for this on ebay, at about 9pm. Ten minutes later I had arranged to drive down to see it the next day.

       
      I'm a glutton for punishment, and I really miss my last t25 so it was pretty inevitable that I'd buy it. It was more money than I'm used to spending on these, but overall I was pleased with the deal.
      A dawn raid by our very own @worldofceri had it delivered on Friday morning:
       






      It's a Swedish van originally, and was imported in 2006. Incredibly solid, never been painted and a fantastic "worn in" look. It's a 2.1 "DJ" engine which is pretty healthy but as usual is weeping coolant from various places, they all do that sir. A friend has a rebuilt engine on his shelf so I budgeted that into the purchase - We'll see how it goes.
      Totally original other than someone put some mega Fox/Gowesty suspension on it, proper mega bypass shocks with external reservoirs and stuff, so I reckon I can probably take it off jumps or something. I won't.
      My plans are to (after cleaning the filthy interior) to just run it about, more or less as it is. It would benefit from a set of tyres - these are worn very ridged on the fronts that makes it even more noisy and harsh to drive, and has no spare wheel.
      I've rotated the tyres so now the front ones are smoother, we'll see how I get on. I do need to source another matching wheel for a spare as these are full time 4wd so you need to keep the tyres rotated regular and within a very similar tread depth. look - there's even a sticker telling you to:

       
      I really need to get some new number plates for it! If anyone knows a place who could make some OE style ones with that font all the VW dealers seemed to use in the 1980s, that would be grand - I want some with the dealers logo putting on the bottom:

       
       
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