Today I mostly .....

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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:21 pm

Task number 1 today... changing rear spheres on the Xantia. Aside from knowing having it done will make the car far, far more pleasant to drive, I really want to get the sphere removal tool back to its owner. I'm utterly paranoid about losing other people's tools so always try to get them back as soon as I can.

Dodged the usual game of chasing the ramps around by doing the job on the lawn. They dig in enough there to stay put.

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Still hate getting the car onto the ramps.

Of course because it's the Activa there's a hydraulic line in precisely the right place to be in the way when you're trying to get the removal tool onto the sphere.

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Not enough to be a problem, just enough to be moderately annoying.

Offside one first, wound off without too much of a fight

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Only slight game I had there was the seal vanishing into another dimension (I did find it eventually) which had me second guessing if I'd got the old one out of the strut for a few minutes.

New one in. That's this side done.

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Nearside required a little more persuasion to shift, but I was still able to do it by hand just using the sphere tool. Didn't need to get any additional breaker bar or anything involved. It's really nice working on a car where the previous owner or a garage haven't overtightened absolutely everything.

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New sphere on.

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Tightened the bleed screw on the regulator back up, checked for leaks then that's that job done. Maybe 20 minutes?

Well it would be if the new spheres weren't flat. Knew it was a bit of a risk being NOS ones from 1998...but was worth a shot. Offside one is passable, nearside one though is just as bad as the one that came off.

No huge inconvenience really, as mentioned above they take about 20 minutes to change and they were given to me free, so I'm really not even in the slightest irked by this development - it's just one of those things that happens when you're tinkering with old cars and old parts!

We'll be playing this game again shortly then.


Second new belt was picked up for TPA today so those have now been fitted. Adjustment seems spot on with the six spacers split evenly with three on each side.

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The bit of trim that I re-stuck to the offside door appears to have remained firmly attached overnight - so if I have any more bits coming adrift I know going in what approach to use - basically loads of adhesive.

On the subject of trim, while getting the whole roof lined is definitely a job for "sometime in the future" one bit I really wanted to address was the rear C pillar on the offside, mainly because of an unsightly historic repair there.

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Conveniently I had a couple of offcuts left from when I did the carpeting job which I was fed up of shuffling from place to place in the garage. They were just big enough to do this.

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Far tidier!

Obviously made a matching one for the other side too.

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Have left them both wedged in place while the glue sets. I'd really like to replace the windscreen demister duct, however it's still a way down the list - especially at £25+ a metre!
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:55 pm

Well I don't know if it is the *only* oil leak on TPA, but the oil pressure switch is definitely a source of *an* oil leak. This was cleaned up and completely dry before I set off today.

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Will get a new one ordered from Prokschi later on.

Have to admit that I'm staggered at the difference changing the Dynastart belts has made. Not so much in noise, but I'd say it's reduced mechanical vibration by about 80%, the engine just feels so much smoother now. Wouldn't have expected such a small mass wobbling around a bit to make such a huge difference, but I know vibration can be strange like that once you take into account resonance effects and such.

It's definitely improved performance of the charging system too, it starts charging a good bit earlier than it used to.

The additional trim panels on the rear pillars has helped the overall feeling of refinement in the cabin I think. It vastly reduces the amount of unfinished fibreglass you can see when you open the door. The roof obviously being the major bugbear in that department now.

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Trying to decide when I get to that stage whether to trim the panel behind the sun visor the same dark grey I've used elsewhere or to match it to the lighter shade I'll be using for the roof.

Thinking probably stick with the grey as that will nicely blend in with the windscreen pillars.
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:44 pm

Nothing much to report from this weekend, though I did finally get around to giving the Jag a wash this afternoon. The amount of gunk that was accumulated around the window seals and such like was frankly embarrassing.

It's definitely one of the most awkward cars I've ever had to clean - especially the front and rear overhangs. Doesn't scrub up too bad though from ten paces.

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Hoping to get the van in for an MOT this week to find out if there's any work needed for that I'm not currently aware of (expecting a shock absorber and a couple of brake pipes as the ferrules are rustier than I'd like). Have had a couple of recommendations for a garage to use (my usual one can't deal with vehicles this large) so we'll see how that goes.
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Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:57 pm

Later this week I've got a couple of portable split system air conditioners to collect. I reckon that I *might* just about be able to Tetris both of them into the back of the Xantia...maybe. I'm quite braced for having to make two trips though. At the end of the day it's only an hour each way so if I need to make to trips it's hardly the end of the world. However if I had the van available that would make things far, far easier as I'd have bags of room to spare then.

Following a few recommendations on the MK Modern Classics group on Facebook, I've got it booked in with MOTest in Newport Pagnell on Wednesday morning for a test. My usual garage can't do me an MOT on this as it's too big and too heavy for their test bay.

I've been out and given her a quick once over. The brake hose ferrules are a bit more crusty than I'd really like. I wouldn't say they're bad, but I'd definitely expect them to at the very least to be an advisory. They'll be getting changed either way - just not before Wednesday.

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Still slightly irked that the garage last year didn't even get a mention last year given the number of as far as I can tell non existent faults with the braking system that they found and charged me for sorting...Would have expected the rigid lines to have got a mention too - though those at least just need a clean up I reckon.

The front shock absorbers, particularly the offside one look quite crusty (and it has a dust cover held on with a cable tie), but they both work as far as I can tell. Like the brake flexible lines, I'm going to plan on swapping those out in the near future anyway for peace of mind.

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I've sorted the spurious brake pad wear warning light issue - by disconnecting the sensor leads. I'm not proud of it, but the problem is a simple fundamental issue with the system design which results in false triggering with modern brake pads. Rather than the way for instance BMC did where they just have a light in series with a metal tab in the brake shoe, which grounds the circuit through the disc when the pad gets worn down, Mercedes have the switching done by a transistor - meaning that even the tiniest bit of leakage to ground at the brake end of things brings the light on. I don't think I've ever actually seen one of these vans where the wiring wasn't snipped off decades ago... guessing this may be why! I've not cut anything, no need to. There are two connectors that can be unplugged in the engine bay. So if somewhere down the line I feel like modifying the system to be less hyper sensitive I can easily get it going again. Though being honest on a van that's doing a couple of thousand miles a year it's really not necessary. Obviously would be far more important a feature if she was a van in heavy commercial service doing thousands of miles a month!

Discovered the nearside indicator repeater was out. This turned out to be a bit of poor design. The ground for the repeater is via the mounting screw - however that's just a self tapping screw into a plastic plug on the inside of the wing. A bit of rust on the screw where it passed through the wing = dead light. I've done away with that and replaced it with a nut and bolt with a shake proof washer, and a big blob of grease over it to keep water out.

There could be a thousand things I've missed though...it barely moved last year. Obviously being an old Merc rust is the biggest fear!

I then went and cleared what felt like about two tonnes of dead leaves and dog hair out of the interior.

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I'll get back under there tomorrow and give all the rigid brake lines a rub down and see if I spot anything else needing attention. I will say it's really nice having a vehicle that you can comfortably work underneath without needing to faff about with jacks or ramps! In the interests of seeing off Murphy's Law, I do stick an axle stand under the chassis rails though just in case a spring decided to snap while I was crawling around under there. Unlikely? Yes. However I know my luck and it takes all of thirty seconds to do. So let's just play it safe.

I'd by absolutely lying through my teeth if I didn't say I that even just on the run to the testing centre that I was massively looking forward to driving the old bus again. It's been far, far too long. I do find it highly amusing the degree of decision paralysis that I sometimes suffer as to whether to go out driving in a Citroen Xantia Activa, 2.8 tonnes of camper van with 78bhp, a V12 Jag XJ-S, or an Invacar. I enjoy driving all of them...Though honestly the Invacar probably has caused the biggest grins from me lately.

They all have their moments though...

Xantia: Seeming ability to totally ignore the laws of physics where changes in direction are concerned and the addictive shove in the back when it comes on boost.

Jag: The sheer degree of torque from a standing start is absolutely ridiculous...oh, and the noise when you go anywhere north of 3000rpm. Comfort goes without saying...and the looks.

Van: She's just a lovely old thing to drive. Gearchange, steering, ride and strangely enough, the smell all say vintage bus to me.

Invacar: Hard to point at any one thing, as it's just such an utterly unique driving experience...and far, far more capable a vehicle than you'd ever think to look at.

In other fleet news, for the last month or so I've been unable to get the boot on the Xantia unlocked. Wouldn't unlock with the central locking or the key. No amount of fiddling around with either on a dozen or so occasions had any effect. Yeah...right up to this afternoon when I went outside to properly investigate and fix it.

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When I unlocked the car to undertake this task the bootlid unlocked perfectly normally. The lock has then proceeded to work absolutely perfectly, and pulling the trim off didn't reveal anything amiss which would have caused any issues. Yep, that's pretty much situation normal then!
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Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:07 pm

Had a few errands to run today, the weather was decent and as we weren't boxed in by school traffic for five minutes I took TPA out.

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Another fifty or so miles done today without really thinking about it - even though I could have done without the monsoon that descended on the A5 about halfway home. She handled it fine though and about 90% of the water stayed outside the car, reckon it'll be fine once I replace the window channel rubbers.

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The windscreen is at least fully weatherproof now it seems so I don't wind up with water dripping on my knees any more - that used to get old in a hurry.

Dynastart belts are squeaking a bit just now at idle but I reckon they'll shut up once they've bedded in a bit.
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Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:03 am

Well that could have been worse.

One sticky brake caliper (41% imbalance on the machine - though it felt like it was improving on the way home) and a couple of silly minor things that will take five minutes to sort.

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I've got it booked in for next Tuesday to have the brakes sorted - though if I have the opportunity before then I may well whip the wheel off and see if it will respond to a clean up and grease of the caliper slides.

Bit irked at the headlight aim...that was last touched by the previous test station and I always reckoned it was off since they fiddled with it. Though given the overall standard of their workmanship I shouldn't be surprised I guess...
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Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 02, 2021 11:11 pm

Absolutely nothing to do with the cars this weekend - I'm absolutely wrecked now as it's been flat out yesterday cleaning and gardening today.

Turns out that the BBC want to do a brief segment (like a couple of minutes in one of their regional news shows) on the 40th anniversary of the Homeworld 81 Expo...And of course given that our house was built under contract to the then Money Programme, they want to get a bit of footage both from outside and looking into the house through a couple of the frontage windows.

This will be happening sometime over the next few weeks...Which means that a SERIOUS bit of tidying up needed to happen. Especially in the Atrium which has been basically buried for the last year and a half. With getting to the tip being a major hassle and charity shops not accepting donations, things have just slowly built up in there.

So over the weekend we started tidying it up. Took *all day* yesterday but it's mostly done now. Have had to recycle a lot of stuff we would normally have donated, but that's just how things have gone. Xantia is full again so will be doing another tip run on Monday, and a huge amount of stuff has just been chucked into the shed...I'll curse myself for that next time I need to get the mower out.

This does mean however that for I think the first time in at least a year and a half, we can actually see the pool table again!

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Once that pile of stuff at the far end is cleared enough you can absolutely bet it'll be getting used again. Really do need to get the poor thing re-covered at some point though as the cloth is in really poor shape. Well, cosmetically it is - it actually plays astonishingly well all things considered. Just would be really nice to get it properly tidied up.

In the same vein, we got any graphical wizards here? One small cosmetic issue that really bugs me is that the original makers badge is really badly faded.

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It's a small but quite prominent detail and really bugs me. The fact it's right in front of you when you come in the front door doesn't help.

The background should be black, the HGM logos and lettering frame white and the fill of the lettering a deep green. I *think* the "shadow" should be a 75% grey. Shouldn't be that hard to remake, but figured it was worth asking before I spend forever doing it the hard way.
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Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue May 04, 2021 6:10 pm

So the van was back in for remedial work and a retest this morning. Something became immediately apparent pretty much the moment I pulled out of the driveway - and that was that she was now pulling up in an absolutely perfectly straight line, rather than pulling hard to the right under braking. Apparently whatever was causing the nearside caliper to be lazy has cleared itself. Sure enough, on the rollers at the test station the brake balance was spot on. One headlight adjustment later...

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Advisories:

[] Corrosion on brake hose ferrules. Knew that going in. I'll look to get the flexible brake lines changed in the near future as I agree they've seen better days. While I can't see any perishing the rubber just has that "old" look to it that doesn't inspire confidence. There are only three on the van and they're not expensive.

[] Corrosion on rigid lines. They're fine I reckon and just need cleaning up and given some protection. If anything looks even vaguely suspect though I'll change it.

[] Frayed nearside seatbelt. It's been on every test back to about 2003 I think. Someone obviously used to regularly shut it in the door. If I come across a breaker at some point I'll change it, but I'm not worrying about it in the meantime.

[] General underbody corrosion. Yep...It's an 80s/90s Merc. The underside of the cab is basically a series of patches held together by some bits of vaguely cab-shaped metal...Though it doesn't look to have got any worse over the last couple of years - I do think that a Vactan/Dinitrol party will be in the van's near future though. I did actually think about doing that before the MOT, but I'd rather the tester be able to see it warts and all given it's the first time they've seen the vehicle.

[] Missing exhaust rubber. It isn't...There are about half a dozen exhaust layouts used on this van and the hangers are present on the chassis for all of the variants - the one that's "missing" is positioned in such a location that on this system there is physically no way you could fit one there, it would pull the pipe into direct contact with the bodywork - not that there's a hanger on the pipe there for it to attach to anyway.

The initial issue with the brakes though is a clear signal that she's telling me that the calipers need to be given a good clean and inspection though. Aside from anything else the front brakes squeal horrendously when you're coming to a halt and have done as long as I've had the van. I'm seriously tempted to just to fit the new pads I've got in stock to see if that stops the squeaking as it's absolutely maddening in stop/start traffic.

Did mean I could get her out for a decent run this afternoon though which I'm sure has done the world of good. Also finally got around to replacing the horrible aero hybrid wipers which just looked daft.

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If you couldn't see them so obviously from in the cab it might have annoyed me slightly less. Anyhow, standard wipers now on...and again have confirmed that there's nothing for making you realise how badly degraded your old wiper blades were than fitting new ones.
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Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 08, 2021 8:28 pm

Seems to be a week for disintegrating wiper blades - Xantia decided to start shedding the rubber from the driver's one while I was out this morning so that too has joined the New Wiper Blade Club.

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Disappointing to see the hybrid blades fail so quickly. They performed very well, but at more than twice the price of normal ones they would need to last at least twice as long as they did for me to consider putting them on again...so back to conventional ones it is. To be fair, they look absolutely daft on anything made before about 2010 anyway so probably for the best.
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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