Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

Post pictures and stories about your cars both present and past. Also post up "blogs" on your restoration projects - the more pictures the better! Note: blog-type threads often get few replies, but are often read by many members, and provide interest and motivation to other enthusiasts so don't be disappointed if you don't get many replies.
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Dick
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#831 Post by Dick » Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:47 pm

The ones i worked on were diesels. Great little cars and extra comfy.. i once drove from near Gloucester to hull and back in a 1.9 estate.. none of the fatigue that i would would have suffered with my normal car.
Looks like a tidy car, lots of pictures please! :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#832 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:39 pm

First job for the afternoon was to replace the knackered battery - which meant I needed to have a quick look to see what type I need, giving an opportunity for a 30 second look around the engine bay for issues.

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Nice simple looking engine bay.

Things immediately spotted.

[] Vacuum advance unit on the distributor isn't attached to anything.

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[] What looks to be the fuel tank return line isn't attached.

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[] Random 5mm pipe flapping around in the breeze which looks like it should attach to the hose stub on the back of the carb which is missing it's hose.

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[] Several hose clips are loose.

[] Oil level is quite a bit too high and stinks of fuel.

[] Coolant is low.

Nothing that's making me run away screaming...We had to pause at that point as I had to go to pick up groceries - which involved a run to Costco anyway so adding a battery collection to that run was easy enough.

Fast forward a couple of hours and I was back and could actually take a bit of a better look around.

Initial impression: While rough around the edges, I reckon there's the makings of a good car here. A good valet and a set of seat covers would go a long way to making it look better.

The bodywork seems astonishingly free of dents and scrapes for a 150K mile car. Quite likely more than that actually given the exact same mileage is still showing from the previous MOT...

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I'm betting the speedometer and/or odometer doesn't work.

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Can you get more definitively 80s than these graphics?

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The interior to be honest needs more help than the exterior and is looking a little sad.

Aside from just being generally grubby and dusty in that way all old, disused cars are the single biggest issue seems to be decomposing fabrics. It looks like the seats and door cards all suffer from degradation under UV exposure in the same way as seats on Skoda Estelles do.

Not sure what state the front seats are in under the slip covers currently in place (which are fit only for the bin), but I'm guessing not great. The cover seems to have been completely removed from the upright of the rear seat.

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While that looks quite dramatic, the foam doesn't seem to be in too bad shape so re-covering them shouldn't be too difficult.

The cloth on the door cards is clearly going the same way. They're flat though so should be easy enough to restore. The headlining looks in honestly miraculously good shape.

Given the reputation these series 1 cars have for plastics with the structural integrity of cardboard there are surprisingly few things that are obviously broken.

All of the driver controls are present and aside from a few scratchy contacts due to disuse seem to work fine.

Looking forward to actually getting to use these in the real world.

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They will look a lot better once they've been given a good wipe over to get a bit of life back into them.

The engine bay is filthy but seemingly pretty clear of the usual maze of wiring hacks I'm kind of used to on cars of this age.

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Mmm...crusty...

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Cleaning this engine bay is going to be immensely satisfying...

Right, let's actually get some things done. First up, new battery in as the one that came with the car seems to have had it.

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New one is annoyingly slightly larger than the plastic tray...so much for their fancy cross reference chart...It'll do just fine though, clamp still secures just fine.

My earlier glance around the engine bay revealed a few things disconnected due to prior investigation into poor running.

This one I initially thought was a vacuum line.

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Turned out that this was actually hooked up to the fuel pump inlet...my guess folks were trying to run the car from a can.

Figuring this out was helpful as it meant I wasn't missing a hook-up point for the connection for the distributor vacuum advance unit, that had me scratching my head a bit initially.

Sadly the line for that was beyond help.

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I didn't have nearly enough 3mm pipe in stock to run a whole new line...so being me it was time to improvise!

Two flexible elbows made line I did have, then connect the two with a bit of copper brake line.

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Not pretty but will do the job.

With everything put back where it belonged it was time to do a bit of experimentation. Before I went any further we did a bit of cranking to confirm we had oil pressure - we did. Know she's been running relatively recently, but it's just one of those things I like to do with any car it's the first time I try to start it.

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Didn't have any idea how much fuel was in the tank or how old it was, so stuck a can of nice ethanol free Esso Supreme 99 in the tank while I can still get it.

No interest in starting though, feeling like we weren't getting fuel. Turns out that I was right, a blast of brake cleaner down the carb throat would immediately result in the engine springing to life, sounding quite sweet. I was astonished how quickly the car sprang up to running height - far too used to the Activa which takes the best part of a minute to sort itself out.

After this started a good hour or two of experimentation while I tried to get the thing to take fuel. However no matter what I did I couldn't get any fuel into the float bowl.

I've proved the line to the tank as I was able to pull a good stream of fuel through under vacuum. Seems there's an issue with one/both of the check valves in the fuel pump so it's just not delivering any pressure whatsoever. Most likely it's got gritty rusty particles in it.

Will pull the pump apart tomorrow for s clean and then see where we are.

Once it was dark I was able to have a look at how much of the dash lighting works.

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Ah.

We have *one* working illumination lamp it looks...above the blanked off space above the fuel gauge. Zip from anything else. Yep...that will need to come apart then!

Speaking of lights that are out, noted that we have no light working in the hazard switch or dash tell tale for the fog lights.

The light in the glove box is working though!

The dash light for the indicators initially wasn't working, but I blinked and it came back to life without requiring any intervention.

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The radio works... though a car with only an AM radio really tells you how long ago this car was made and that it wasn't a high trim level!

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Things which so far I've found don't work/have issues.

[] Fuel pump doesn't.

[] Dash lighting 99% dead.

[] Fog light tell tale dead.

[] Hazard Light switch tell tale dead.

[] Fuel gauge showing nothing... though there may just not be enough in the tank.

[] Heater blower inoperative. Doesn't seem to pull any current so hopefully just sticky brushes.

[] Slight blow from exhaust somewhere towards the rear it sounded like. Looks brand new so probably just needs a clamp given a tweak.

Expect more tomorrow. Hopefully the fuel pump will respond to a good clean out.

If the folks working on this car have been fighting a low fuel pressure issue all along they could have been chasing their tails for a while. It's helpful in that it now won't start at all as it gives me a solid fault to hunt down rather than hunting a random intermittent issue!

Cautiously optimistic at this stage. She sounded sweet when she was running, even though it was only on brake cleaner!

Proof she has run though as the suspension has raised!

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Watch this space! There will be more.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

Dick
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#833 Post by Dick » Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:36 am

Love it!

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#834 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:27 pm

Annoyingly today I had barely any time to look at the cars, though I did drop the last two instruments into their holder on the Invacar when they arrived. Not wired up yet, but they look far better than the cheap modern tat I had previously in there.

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Yes I'll clean all the finger prints off once the wiring has been done. I'll need to pull them out again to so that so it would be pointless doing it now.

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Location seems a good blend between out of the way and clearly visible.

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My garage is about a worst case scenario where reflections are concerned because of the lighting. If I have issues with that on the road I can adjust the angle of the bracket a bit as required.

Once I was finally released from my boring actual responsibilities I really was only left with just over half an hour of usable daylight to look at the BX. Based on yesterday's testing first task was to remove the fuel pump.

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Pretty trivial to get to, all of those coolant lines nearby have enough give that you can push them out of the way as needed.

Five minutes later we had the pump off and in bits on the workbench.

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Not too dirty actually. The diaphragm isn't as supple as I'd like but I've seen far worse still working. I couldn't actually find any cracks or pinholes in it.

After it was cleaned and put back into the car...absolutely nothing changed.

Best I can tell one of the valves is damaged or the diaphragm has a pinhole I can't detect. It just doesn't seem to be able to generate any decent pressure. I've checked again and can get a solid flow of fuel from the tank under vacuum, so this pump looks to be to blame.

I did note that the oil smells quite strongly of petrol, I had put that down initially to the reported miss and lack of a decent run in forever, but if the pump has been leaking internally that could also explain it.

If I'm not mistaken This looks to be the right part even though the body design is slightly different.

There is at least some electrical oddness going on too. The clock resets every time you turn the ignition off, so looks as though the permanent 12V feed for that has gone walkies somewhere. Also there's no side light position on the switch - first click takes it straight to dipped beam. Would have thought 84 would have been early enough to escape the need for dim/dip devices wouldn't it?
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

suffolkpete
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#835 Post by suffolkpete » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:04 am

Zelandeth wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:27 pm
There is at least some electrical oddness going on too. The clock resets every time you turn the ignition off, so looks as though the permanent 12V feed for that has gone walkies somewhere. Also there's no side light position on the switch - first click takes it straight to dipped beam. Would have thought 84 would have been early enough to escape the need for dim/dip devices wouldn't it?
I think dim/dip may have been around in 1984, it was certainly around in the 1987 205 we had. In any case there should be a sidelight position on the switch and the sidelights only should come on with the ignition off, changing to dim/dip when the ignition is on.
1974 Rover 2200 SC
1982 Matra Murena 1.6

Aaron
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#836 Post by Aaron » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:58 pm

I worry that one day, as you are reaching for the frozen peas, you will be burried by a landslide.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#837 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:05 am

Aaron wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:58 pm
I worry that one day, as you are reaching for the frozen peas, you will be burried by a landslide.
Most of the stuff above waist height up there is just cushions from the garden furniture so there's no real weight there!

-- -- --

I was determined that today the BX was going to run.

Borrowed the fuel pump from the Invacar.

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This got a decent amount of fuel flowing through the filter. Still no interest in starting though. I did block off the return line just in case the pump was having issues with the return. No difference.

Pulling the top off the carb revealed we *did* actually have fuel in the float bowl which was progress from yesterday. I was able to blast a bit of gunk out of a few of the passages. There's definitely something amiss with the accelerator pump though... doesn't feel like the plunger is moving at all. So I'll need to pull the carb and do some detective work there. Hopefully I can find a decent exploded diagram so I don't need to reverse engineer it in my head.

Back together and we tried again. Result?

YouTube Link

That's progress. Huge progress. She still dies if you give her any real throttle because there's no accelerator pump working, but other than that she seems happy enough. Bit of a miss now and then, but the fuel coming through the filter is the colour of weak black tea, so think we need to put a couple more gallons of fresh fuel in the tank before we read too much into that. No smoke whatsoever, no rattles, she sounds pretty good. Even though that puff from the front to mid exhaust join is going to drive my OCD mad now I've noticed it.

With the engine actually running I could check things out better. Clutch seems okay. Brakes (based on 3 feet of movement) are working.

Suspension comes up very quickly and settles down fine. Based on the regulator tick rate I think the accumulator sphere is fine. The bounce test seems to show the front spheres are fine...very floaty - the amount of travel is huge compared to the Xantia. The rear ones...not so much. No notable travel. We'll need some new spheres for the rear then.

Yeah, these have been on there for a while.

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I was pretty happy with where we got to today. Meant I could move the car forward a couple of feet so she wasn't blocking the path.

Oh, and I put the wheel trims back on, which has vastly improved things.

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This was the first time I was able in decent weather conditions to have a look at the car.

The bodywork on this car is (aside from the one obvious dent just forward of the nearside rear wheel which looks repairable) is astonishingly straight. Like ridiculously so. The lack of scrapes and dings just blows my mind.

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I didn't realise that the front bumper is actually brown rather than beige!

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I couldn't resist hitting one tiny bit with the polish. I reckon she's going to look decent once she's had a polish.

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The exterior has an appointment with the pressure washer then a load of polish soon.

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I knew I wasn't going to have time for that today though, had about an hour of daylight left at that point. That was plenty of time for a first shot at the interior though.

First order of business there was to get rid of the disintegrating slip covers on the seats. Front seats aren't in terrible condition under them, though they're grubby as all hell and the fabric has come away from the foam which is why they look so baggy.

After an hour or so, some attention with the vacuum cleaner and a first wipe down of the plastics this is where we were.

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Still a huge amount to do but it's got rid of a lot of grime, and the dash looks so much better.

Did spot one area I'll need to break out the welder for though... hardly catastrophic though!

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Only real grumble there will be the sheer amount of interior I'll need to dismantle to get to it without melting things.

Looks like the weather will be going downhill again tomorrow, if it does stay dry I'll try to get some exterior cleanup started.

Finally made a point of noting the paint code as well so I can get some made up for touch in purposes.

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Quite happy with the progress so far.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#838 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:50 pm

A decent wash can make quite a difference.

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Bit of moss on the bumpers...

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Didn't go crazy under here, just knocked the worst of the gunk off, not least the aluminium oxide dust that was absolutely everywhere.

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One of the main water ingress points I reckon was the passenger front window as it had come out of the runners and wasn't closed quite all the way. The gutters being totally choked so the water was just running straight off the roof into the door seals won't have helped either.

A really nice touch is how much on this car is colour coded...gear lever and handbrake both are which is a nice touch.

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After another load of treatments the dash is starting to look a lot better.

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If I can coerce the carb to behave enough to let her run for more than a minute at a time tomorrow (I should just take the blasted needle valve out and see if it's full of gunk) it'll probably be the point at which I get the oil changed. Will probably be the last time for a bit though as a few jobs need done which will affect running ability.

[] Carb needs to come off so I can try to get the accelerator pump working.

[] Rear spheres *desperately* need changing.

[] Dash needs to come to bits to sort out the plethora of dead lamps...the fact that neither the low coolant or overheat lights work makes me nervous. Though I did determine the cooling fan works yesterday.

[] Stealing the fuel pump back now I've proven the one on the car is an issue - which will immobilise the car until the new one arrives.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#839 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:28 pm

Quite a productive hour or two this afternoon.

Fuelling mystery solved. Well, functionally anyway...

There were two separate issues I'd been having. One was that initially I struggled to get things primed at all - this was quickly traced to the fuel pump being very weak - which it definitely is. However even with a known good electric fuel pump fitted I was still having a huge hassle actually getting fuel into the float bowl.

Today I decided to dig into things to find out what on earth was going on there. With the top off the carb the mystery was solved the moment I removed the float bowl needle valve (the needle and seat are an integral assembly in this carb) and I found this.

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The thing which interested me the most if it's not clear from that photo is this...

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I assume that this little ball is meant to be part of a check valve, probably to assist in stopping the fuel draining back to the tank. However for it to work as intended it would need to have a spring under it, without a spring it would simply sit quite happily against the fuel inlet port under gravity...only sealing more tightly as fuel pressure was applied. Essentially working nicely as a check valve...just in the wrong direction! Clearly the reason that I was really struggling to get any fuel into the carb. For the time being, I've removed the ball, bagged, labelled and stored it with the rest of the spares in the car.

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I'll see if I can find a suitably tiny spring shortly and use that to refit it. Though it's not shown on either of the diagrams I have for the carb...which leads me to think there are two possibilities. 1. It actually belongs somewhere totally different in the carb (I know something is amiss with the accelerator pump). Or 2, that it's a later addition to the design (no idea if this carb is original to the car, given the mileage it's entirely likely it was replaced years ago) so not on my old diagrams.

For now though this has resulted in a car which starts first touch and *stays* running properly.

With a view to getting it run properly up to temperature for a while (not least to try to dry off some of the moisture I'd introduced to the engine bay yesterday when I attacked it with the pressure washer), I went to stick a couple of gallons of fresh fuel in. This went fine right up to about a third of the way through the second can when this happened.

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Which took me a second to realise was because the tank actually appears to be full.

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Despite the claims of the gauge!

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The gauge never even twitches from the stop. I'm hoping that this is a grounding issue at the tank or a faulty sender rather than a fault with the gauge itself as finding a replacement for that I would expect to be quite a challenge.

With fuel delivery behaving itself and the engine properly up to temperature I was able to tweak the idle down to a slightly more sensible level, think it was sitting at about 1800rpm before.

YouTube Link (0:13)

With the carb behaving itself better I did another little experiment...Spot the difference?

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Yep, she's running on the original fuel pump. I know from testing that it's weak though so it'll be changed as soon as the replacement arrives. I wanted the Invacar's pump back though as I'd like to be able to drive that again.

Trying to decide which job to tackle next on the BX. Fuel pump is scheduled to be here Thursday, so probably pull the carb and see if I can sort the accelerator pump. Oil change is waiting on the correct filter arriving - nowhere locally could source one so I had to resort to eBay.

Hoping once the fuel pump is changed, if I can also get the carb fully behaving that will get the car *running* reasonably well. Then I'll feel more free to tackle the less fundamental but more involved jobs like sorting out the instruments, trying to get the heater blower working etc.

Do have one obvious suspension job to do - the strut gaiter on the nearside has totally disintegrated.

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Not particularly surprising to be honest, and simple enough to sort - albeit a bit of a faff because of the amount of stuff you need to dismantle to get to it as I recall. I've done this job on a Xantia a couple of times albeit a number of years ago - I'm assuming the process is pretty similar.

One real good thing from today as well is that I think I've tracked down one of the main spots where water is getting into the cabin.

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This is the only place I've actually seen water dripping in, and the passenger footwell is by far the wettest bit of the car. This seems to be coming from the intake grill for the fresh air vent, guessing the gasket has just failed due to old age. Re-sealing that should be pretty simple hopefully.

There's a bit of damp in there though - not helped by the heater blower currently being dead. The rear window heater kind of almost works...

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While having a rummage around in the boot I found the bits of trim that are currently missing from the front wings, just need to get some really good strong double sided foam tape so I can reattach those as it will tidy the car up no end.

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Also discovered that the low coolant warning light does work (on test at least), just the test button has some seriously scratchy contact issues going on.

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Feels like a pretty productive day though. Figured out why the carb has been playing up, got it running far better, found what looks to be a major contributor to the water ingress, found a couple of bits of trim I was missing and am just waiting on a couple of parts now to move forward really.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Luxobarge
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#840 Post by Luxobarge » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:48 am

Regarding the partially working heated rear window, I can vouch for the efficacy of the silver paint-on repair kits for these. My wife runs a 2001 BMW 330D Touring, and every single line on the HRW had failed at BOTH ends - it's because the rear window opens independently of the tailgate, and the rubber window seal rests on the edge of the HRW elements, and had held condensation water against the elements and corroded every single one away - a BMW design fault IMO. So I set to with the silver paint (I used conventional masking take to get a neat line) and repaired every line on both sides, and now the whole thing works and has done for the whole of the winter. I've also installed some tape along the edges of the screen where the rubber seal sits to stop it happening again. It's relatively expensive for what it is, and you only get a tiny amount in the bottle (I used the whole bottle on just this job) but it does work. It was quite easy to use a multimeter probe to check for voltage along each line and check where the breaks were - as I say, on mine it was right at the edge of the screen on both sides, on every heater line so it took some time to fix!
Some people are like Slinkies - they serve no useful purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them downstairs.

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