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Thread: Worth its weight in bottle tops!

  1. #1
    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Default Worth its weight in bottle tops!

    Over the New Year Mrs P & I went to the high country with some friends. Since we took her (relatively) new 307 for the jaunt, Zaphod was sitting unused in the drive for a few days.

    When I started him to move him yesterday, he first of all was baulky to start, but secondly wouldn't idle at first and then was reluctant to rev up off idle.

    While I don't suggest that cars can sulk, this had all the symptoms of a teenager being denied a visit to the rock concert of choice.

    This morning I dusted off the Lexia and went through the whole diagnostic routine.

    I've decided the Lexia is worth its weight in bottle tops, hence the title of this thread.

    After going through all the hoops, the system presented a "Permanent mixture fault" which, whilst daunting, was at least something to work on.

    I should mention at this stage that I've been tinkering with the motor a bit. I've got a fuel pressure gauge under the bonnet, am constantly monitoring the oxy sensor inside the cabin and have recently tried a different fuel pressure regulator from a 306 (Bosch 3 bar instead of the Marelli 2.85 bar)

    The motor has been running pretty well and the slightly increased fuel pressure resulted in slightly smoother running without a noticeable drop in consumption.

    Being confronted by a mixture fault indication I thought I'd change that back to standard first. Didn't seem to make any difference. Car would start on idle but was reluctant to rev, but if I got it revving it would stall when returning to idle. Stepper was showing activity and tested OK by the diagnostic screen that checks each parameter in turn.

    So I spat the dummy a little and simply reset the fault code. Zaphod is now running normally again!

    All diagnostic tests are happy and he drives as well as normal.

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    Apart from the aforementioned sulks, I'm at a bit of a loss to explain (a) where the mixture fault came from and (b) why it had the effect it had.

    Any suggestions will be valued.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    How about battery on it's way out? Sitting idle for longer than usual with the suspension solenoids clicking away merrily trying to maintain height can test a battery that is not 100%. This then can confuse the computer settings when you attempt to start with a low battery, requiring a reset to get back to the original settings.
    My theory for what it's worth !

    Richard

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Richard, a good theory as far as it goes. As a precaution I charged the battery overnight and it came up to normal figures. It's certainly getting old as it's still the same one that was there when I bought the car from Bruce back in 2007 (I think) but there's life in it yet I suspect.

    But more importantly, this is a plain Jane wagon with the normal 5 sphere suspension, none of those fancy solenoid jobbies to complicate the issue.

    I certainly am suspecting something electrical as this car has always had gremlins playing funny buggers.

    The charge light has decided recently to glow a little. This may be symptomatic of an alternator problem, perhaps a diode leaking enough to make it glow. However, the volts are charging steadily at 13.5 when the engine's running so maybe it's just a dodgy earth behind the instrument panel. Certainly a slow leakage from a dodgy diode would have lowered the battery level over a few days off.

    The alternator is a replacement (2nd hand) I fitted last year and I've since replaced the worn out brushes on the original (as well as burnishing the slip rings and checking the rest). If all else fails I suppose I'll have to bite the proverbials and change the alternator over. Not a fun job, but doable.

    However, while the voltage being low would explain the baulky starting, once the motor was running it was being provided with adequate volts, so I still don't understand the idle/stalling bit.

    Maybe it's just all part of life's rich tapestry!

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

  4. #4
    JBN
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    Rub your hand over the top of the alternator. Check if there is any trace of LHM.

    The Bureau de Bastarde placed the HP pump right above the alternator, so when the seals start to weep, the LHM drips into the alternator and it ends up charging less and less until you get battery problems and then replace the battery and the alternator and then fix the HP pump seals.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by pottsy View Post
    Richard, a good theory as far as it goes. As a precaution I charged the battery overnight and it came up to normal figures. It's certainly getting old as it's still the same one that was there when I bought the car from Bruce back in 2007 (I think) but there's life in it yet I suspect.

    But more importantly, this is a plain Jane wagon with the normal 5 sphere suspension, none of those fancy solenoid jobbies to complicate the issue.

    I certainly am suspecting something electrical as this car has always had gremlins playing funny buggers.

    The charge light has decided recently to glow a little. This may be symptomatic of an alternator problem, perhaps a diode leaking enough to make it glow. However, the volts are charging steadily at 13.5 when the engine's running so maybe it's just a dodgy earth behind the instrument panel. Certainly a slow leakage from a dodgy diode would have lowered the battery level over a few days off.

    The alternator is a replacement (2nd hand) I fitted last year and I've since replaced the worn out brushes on the original (as well as burnishing the slip rings and checking the rest). If all else fails I suppose I'll have to bite the proverbials and change the alternator over. Not a fun job, but doable.

    However, while the voltage being low would explain the baulky starting, once the motor was running it was being provided with adequate volts, so I still don't understand the idle/stalling bit.

    Maybe it's just all part of life's rich tapestry!

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Hi Pottsy,
    Two points !
    13.5 volts is not nearly enough. It should be in the 14.2-14.5v range. Look at the alternator for sure

    Because you fitted the higher pressure regulator the computer may have been continuously compensating for the extra fuel by adjusting the mixture back in reference to the O2 sensor. However it may have reached the stage where it needs to log a fault and complain to the driver. the system presented a "Permanent mixture fault" . That sounds exactly what I would expect the computer to say if you had put a permanent mixture adjustment into the system
    jaahn

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    It can also happen when the oxygen sensor is old and "blunt". Number of idle stepper steps at hot idle will offer more information.

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    The charging rate is around 13.5 to 13.8, within the limits of the el cheapo multimeter I'm using. Happy that it's around there as if it was lower I'd definitely be replacing the alternator. It probably should be a tad higher but I'm confident that it's at least charging. Battery is definitely an oldie so that may be a contributing factor as well, but I'm working on the "gravity maintenance"* principle with this car at present.

    Interesting though re the mixture. That makes perfect sense. I've gone back to the original pressure reg so we'll see what happens there. The mixture level shown in the parameters was around the +035 level. Not sure what scale that indicates without further delving into documentation, but with the reg changed it seemed to be lower and with excursions to the - range.

    Idler steps seemed to settle in the 70's with either pressure reg. Idle stepper checks OK with the test function as well.

    The reason for monitoring the oxy sensor was because it's never been changed as far as I know. That being said, it's showing all the right voltages it seems, but the "sharpness " is probably low. Another job I've been putting off!

    Cheers, Pottsy


    *Gravity maintenance: Only deal with it when it falls off!
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    That's too many steps on the idler. Warm ought to be high twenties, low thirties.

    Have you got a vacuum leak?

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Hmm. Now you've got me thinking. I'm not aware of a vacuum leak, and as I said before, the car is now driving normally. Not to say there isn't one and the system is compensating.

    I'll re-check the parameters and have another look at the idler steps. More news as it comes to hand!

    I've managed to avoid a deep relationship with fuel injection mostly, but I'm really getting into it now. I've fiddled with it sporadically over the years, ever since my first DS, a 1976 IE Pallas but not getting right down into the nitty gritty.

    All this diagnostic stuff on Zaphod is setting me up nicely to get moving on the Megasquirt project for Moby Dick. Since retirement is now looming, time should become available. Now all I have to do is get my completed ECU back off the mate that's using it to add a program to his dyno.

    Just another project on top of getting two 2CV's on the road and keeping the Mini up to scratch!

    Thanks for the input Ad.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I'd further look at oil sludging of the throttle body.

    One clued-in bloke pointed out the petrol XU engine's rings typically last 160 000 miles, which was about bang-on for my car (although the impact of a badly blocked cat can't be ignored in hastening their demise). So you certainly get more oil mist being thrown into your intake area.

    I've also found the intake O-rings turn to wood after ten years and the aftermarket no-names are frequently not worth a cracker - if they fit at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    I'd further look at oil sludging of the throttle body.

    One clued-in bloke pointed out the petrol XU engine's rings typically last 160 000 miles, which was about bang-on for my car (although the impact of a badly blocked cat can't be ignored in hastening their demise). So you certainly get more oil mist being thrown into your intake area.

    I've also found the intake O-rings turn to wood after ten years and the aftermarket no-names are frequently not worth a cracker - if they fit at all.
    The image of a constipated cat trying to shit on your engine makes me smile.

    BTW, I do know what you mean in reality.

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Now that's an image I didn't need!

    My cat has been replaced about 10,000Km or less ago.

    However, since the engine is approaching 260,000 km I guess the rings are probably well past their use-by date. Also using oil at about a litre every 1000km give or take, some of which is leaking from the crank seal and/or the torque converter seal.

    I cleaned the throttle body a year or two ago, but that's not to say it isn't sludgy again. Another thing for me to check I guess.

    All points to the beast getting old (aren't we all) but unless I can source a replacement Xantia wagon with a manual box and low kms (at an affordable price) I can't see Zaphod being let off the hook for a while. (Manual 'cause I really don't want to have to deal with AL4 issues, whereas the ZF is great)

    Thanks for your input chaps. Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    OK, had another little play.

    Car warm, idling happily. Took this screenshot. To me all these readings appear normal, but not having the experience with what should be shown I'd welcome interpretation from someone with more smarts than me.

    Perhaps I should narrow that down as most of the known world has more smarts than me. Lets say more smarts about Lexia readings than me.

    It should be noted that the idle steps dropped to around 43 a bit later on, and the injector duration to 2.3mS.

    The oxy reading seesaws between around 300 to 700 mV on a fairly regular cycle, which I took to be the system in "closed loop" mode, but should it really be a steady reading? As mentioned before the oxy sensor has been around for ever as far as I know. I certainly haven't replaced it and there is only mention in the sheaf of previous servicing from new of it being replaced under warranty at 30,000 kM. Since it's now on 259,993 kM I reckon it might be getting tired perhaps?

    Input will be valued.

    Thanks Chaps, Pottsy
    Last edited by pottsy; 6th January 2014 at 11:08 PM.
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Probably should have attached this before I hit the submit button!

    Worth its weight in bottle tops!-xantia-screen-shot.jpg
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

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    If you had coolant around 80į then it's too many steps on the idle controller. Injector dwell is low; that's good.

    Manifold pressure between 350 and 450?

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    If you had coolant around 80į then it's too many steps on the idle controller. Injector dwell is low; that's good.

    Manifold pressure between 350 and 450?
    Yes, temp was around the 80 and manifold pressure was around the 450 mark as I recall. The little screen on the "Eee" only allowed what you see to be captured. Must put the software on the big laptop one day.

    On what do you base the idler steps estimate? Is there a definitive list of the expected figures and tolerances for all of the parameters that I could find somewhere? I'm back with the original pressure regulator and idle pressure is around the 2.6 bar or so, rising to 2.8 approx as manifold vacuum falls with acceleration.

    Of course, the desired figures could be somewhere in the documentation on the CD but I haven't really gone looking I must admit.

    Thanks, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

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    Tadpole
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    Mr Pottsy,
    Re the suspect alternator diode and aging battery: It's possible you have ripple on the 12V line to the ECU.
    If the battery has been sitting unused for a while, and therefore partly discharged, starting could be a bit
    sluggish. When the old girl finally starts, the alternator will be charging at a high current rate to bring the
    terminal voltage up to the regulator voltage (~13.7V). Although the battery might measure ample voltage
    with a meter, with a faulty diode you can have significant ripple across the terminals, and therefore the ECU,
    due to the alternator running "one phase, two phase, skip phase" for the 3 phases! An old battery will have
    a higher internal impedance (resistance),resulting in less filtering of the ripple.

    Once the battery has been chaging for a while, the charge current will reduce, as will the ripple, and the engine
    will then run normally.

    Many ECUs get upset tummies with noisy food...

    Andrew
    David M likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deskpilot View Post
    The image of a constipated cat trying to shit on your engine makes me smile.

    BTW, I do know what you mean in reality.
    JohnW

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    Renault Scenic 2007 (mine)
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    Quote Originally Posted by DyneDude View Post
    Mr Pottsy,
    Re the suspect alternator diode and aging battery: It's possible you have ripple on the 12V line to the ECU.
    If the battery has been sitting unused for a while, and therefore partly discharged, starting could be a bit
    sluggish. When the old girl finally starts, the alternator will be charging at a high current rate to bring the
    terminal voltage up to the regulator voltage (~13.7V). Although the battery might measure ample voltage
    with a meter, with a faulty diode you can have significant ripple across the terminals, and therefore the ECU,
    due to the alternator running "one phase, two phase, skip phase" for the 3 phases! An old battery will have
    a higher internal impedance (resistance),resulting in less filtering of the ripple.

    Once the battery has been chaging for a while, the charge current will reduce, as will the ripple, and the engine
    will then run normally.

    Many ECUs get upset tummies with noisy food...

    Andrew
    You know, this is very interesting and shows I'll have to lift my electronic game one of these years. Our Xantia just runs and runs so I've never needed to... So far.

    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Re replacing Zaphod, I don't know what you'd get. The C5 is apparently a nice machine and most work well, but there is much more to go wrong.

    A friend bought a good C5 wagon for $1500 recently, incorrectly diagnosed as needing a new diesel pump ($5000 or something like that) and fixed it eventually with a relay change.

    I'm just for keeping the Xantia and fixing it as needed. Of course, you could just go "simple"!

    Cheers
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Worth its weight in bottle tops!-ready-go-sml.jpg  
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1951
    Renault R8 1965
    Renault Scenic 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic 2007 (mine)
    Renault Scenic 2006 (daughter's)
    CitroŽn CX Pallas 1980

    National Co-ordinator, Renault 4CV Register of Australia

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    I'm posting some meanderings in the Pond about an alternator filled with oil from drips onto it.

    Basically, what should be loose dust is "glued" inside the regulator housing/brush holder, this forms a carbon sludge - which conducts quite well. Net result is a variable short to ground...

    Personally I've never been afraid to degrease the guts of an alternator with spray and a low pressure hose. You can hear a dying bearing but current leakage isn't so audible.

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    JBN
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    In the mean time, sticking a Modess pad onto the top of the alternator will absorb the oil and remind you to have the HP pump seals replaced.

    John

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    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Andrew, I knew in kindergarten you was a smart cookie!

    A good point about the ripple. Sort of fits the symptoms because things mostly came good once I'd charged the battery up.

    It's amazing how we can forget something so simple, more so when one considers our background in the electrical industry!

    I think I'm replacing the alternator tomorrow. It's not been deluged with LHM but it was from a wrecked car so could be end of life anyway. At least I know my old one now has good brushes and the regulator was fine.

    Time will tell.

    And Addo, yes, we always forget that the carbon dust from worn away brushes is conductive, so you could be on to something there as well.

    As far as replacing Zaphod, I've contemplated a C5 but seriously would like to stay with a really good Xantia, the last (I believe) of the green fluid cars? If I could buy a new one I'd probably place an order soonish.

    Lacking availability of a new one, here's my wish list: Latest model Xantia wagon (2001?), preferably white (paint won't go weird in the UV like the darker colours) and preferably manual ('cause the later autos were the AL4 of dubious repute). A sunroof would be nice, and less than 100,000 kM would be wonderful.

    Wouldn't you know one like this was available earlier last year, but I lacked the resources and time to follow it up.

    Ah well, if anyone knows of such a car coming on the market, please think of me.

    Thanks for the responses so far. I'll let you know how the alternator swap goes.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Last edited by pottsy; 7th January 2014 at 08:49 AM.
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

  23. #23
    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    In the mean time, sticking a Modess pad onto the top of the alternator will absorb the oil and remind you to have the HP pump seals replaced.

    John
    John, not sure about this. Zaphod may object.

    In any case, I don't believe that LHM leakage is an issue as far as the alternator is concerned. I've never noticed any leakage from the pump or anywhere else for that matter.

    I changed the pump last year and while doing so made sure had large rags all over the alternator while doing so. Neither this one or the old one had leakage issues.

    Not to say the alternator hasn't received a dowsing of scunge in the past, before being installed in Zaphod.

    But thanks anyway. Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2018 C3 Shine ("Oscar" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1982 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1975 GS Pallas ("GiSelle") Also waiting in the wings
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

  24. #24
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    Pottsy,

    I used to say the same about wanting a new R16TS, but with power steering and AC.

    Our Xantia has 88,000 on the clock so naturally is not for sale, and it isn't a wagon. Given that they are capable of well over 300,000 km, ours should last for another 63 years, factoring up the kilometres vs time. Please find two as our BX wagon is ageing and I can't think of anything other than a Xantia that combines load carrying capacity with some many good things and relative simplicity!

    So I think your spec. is spot on.

    Sounds as if your current issue is just about over. Andrew is indeed clever! Very instructive thread.

    Cheers
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1951
    Renault R8 1965
    Renault Scenic 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic 2007 (mine)
    Renault Scenic 2006 (daughter's)
    CitroŽn CX Pallas 1980

    National Co-ordinator, Renault 4CV Register of Australia

  25. #25
    1000+ Posts Bruce H's Avatar
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    I think there's too many of us looking for the same thing

    Despite the fact that Zaphod's replacement (96 SX auto hatch) is still behaving quite well at 212... k's, and that I hope to take over mum's 99 SX auto hatch (iirc about 69... k's) when she no longer wants it, I keep a constant watch for a low kilometre wagon. Unfortunately the wagon's versatility seems to mean that they usually get used rather a lot. I'd be prepared to buy an AL4, but I might also in the process buy all the necessary bits for a manual conversion to keep in the shed as long term insurance.

    Does anyone know how many manual wagons were sold in Australia?

    Given the competition, maybe I should redirect my efforts into getting a GS wagon back onto full registration



    Via the aussiefrogs App
    Bruce H

    Now 99 Xantia SX x2; 96 Xantia SX; 76 GS Club Estate x2; 76 GS Club; 74 GS Club; 88 VW T3 Reimo
    Before: AX Gti; BX 19TRi Estate; CX 2200 Super & Pallas; CX2400 Pallas; CX 2400ie Prestige auto; DS3 DStyle; GS Pallas; GSA Club; Xantia Image Estate; Xantia Exclusive; Xsara VTR R4; 1.4 Special Estate; Virage; R16TS

    Contact for the Australian Citroen GS GSA and Birotor Register http://australiancitroengsgsaandbiro...com/index.html

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