Help for a Newbie!
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Thread: Help for a Newbie!

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! Motorgnome's Avatar
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    Default Help for a Newbie!

    Hi guys. My name is Jason, & I live on the NSW Central Coast (gosford area). I am a new comer to the Citroen world. I am 50 years old & have my own workshop (Mechanic) & have never opened the bonnet or worked on a Citroen in my whole 35 year career. I still love cars (unlike most other mechanics I know) & have always been fascinated by the hydro suspension & liked the concept of the BX, so, I finally just bought one. It's a BX19 TRI/122 5 speed. It's in pretty good order for such an old car, but I have a few issues that I need to sort out...Hence why I am here.


    Firstly, the front suspension is very "clunky" over small bumps..The hydro suspension works ok (more on that later), it's just noisy. I had it on the hoist this morning & prodded & pulled everything & it all seems ok..If it were a "normal" car, I would suggest sway bar links or mounting bushes, or maybe strut tops..but cant find any movement to speak of. Also, when on the hoist, & lifting the wheels up & down (like you would going over bumps) there is quite a bit of slack..I'm assuming this is normal, as the wheels are hanging right down & the engine off... Any clues here?

    Secondly, the Hydro regulator at the front of the engine ticks like a madman sometimes, but at least every 3 or 4 seconds when idling. I've done a bit of research on here & other forums & as I'm not getting any fluid back to the reservoir & have no residual fluid pressure once the engine is switched off, I'm going to point the finger at the accumulator. Would the knowledgeable ones here agree ? The suspension, brakes, steering all work fine when the motor is running. Where does one get a new accumulator?? Ebay?? Are all the Citroen accumulators the same or do I have to get a BX one?

    Thirdly, the small ball joints on the gearshift linkages at the gearbox end are worn (lost movement at the gearlever). Are these still available genuine (from Citroen) or are there other alternative places for parts that I should be accessing. I'm a legend on Ebay & don't mind searching overseas, but a lot of the stuff for sale is written in French, so that cramps my style a bit.

    I'm sure that I will have many more questions as I delve in to the car (only got it yesterday), so I hope you don't mind me quizzing you.

    Have a good new year guys.

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    Cheers!

    Idea's?
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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Hi Jason and welcome to the forum. Can't help you with the BX but there's plenty of members here who will I;m sure. I'm also was/are a mechanic but retired a long time now. Anyway have a happy new year yourself. Cheers Tony.
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  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Hi Jason, Welcome to Aussiefrogs,

    Yes you need a new accumulator - they are the same across GS, CX, BX and Xantia. Once the stores open again, try EAI or Caravelle in Melbourne or Auto France in Sydney.

    Suspension noise most likely to be what we call droplinks that connect antiroll bar to suspension.

    When you put it on a hoist and lift, the wheels drop and the car thinks its too high so it lets pressure out of the front suspension. As its on a hoist, the wheels never come up so it loses all the pressure and you are left with just the weight of the suspension and wheel.

    Try auto france or caravelle for the gearbox linkages. You will need your VIN handy.

    Greasing the top strut rods with silicon grease also improves the ride over small bumps as it helps to overcome some initial sticktion in the strut.

    Is there anyone nearby who could check the pressure in your suspension spheres and regas them if necessary?

    Over to more local AFers.

    Cheers, Ken W
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  4. #4
    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    First thing based on what you say is get the spheres regassed. That will probably calm the pump down. Then the other maintenance that I will bet needs doing is rear swing arm bearings, and the return 'octopus' for the LHM system, the rubber gets brittle after about 15 years.
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    A tip for putting a Citroen on a hoist and lifting body so that the wheels hang - put it on High suspension setting first (and give it time to reach the top of the suspension travel)!

    I believe that the wheels hanging under their own weight with suspension on normal setting can cause air to be sucked in. Certainly my suspension seemed soft and bouncy for a while after I forgot to instruct a tyre service on the need to raise suspension first .

    Anyway - welcome to the forum! I have a Xantia, which is next model after the BX. I agree with KenW re. droplinks - Xantia suspension sounded terrible until I replaced mine!

    Re. spheres - they can be regassed, but only if the internal diaphragm is still good. If left flat & in use for any length of time the diaphragm will generally fail when regassed (if it hasn't already). Unfortunately some of the local 3rd-party parts suppliers are losing interest in older Cits like your BX and my Xantia . A recommended overseas supplier of spheres is this mob:
    Buy new sphere Citroen Xantia, C5, C6, CX, IFHS, SM, XM, Bx, Peugeot, Rolls Royce, Bentley

    Cheers

    Alec
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  6. #6
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Hello Jason,

    The BX is an under-rated Citroen. And quite a good one to begin your Citroen experience.

    You need to understand how the hydro-pneumatic suspension works. It has two purposes. One, to cushion the ride, same as ordinary steel spring suspension. For that it uses an accumulator sphere for each wheel, which contains Nitrogen gas held behind a rubber diaphragm. The compressibility of the Nitrogen is what creates the cushioning. Gradually the Nitrogen leaks through the diaphragm, which makes the suspension go less supple. Sometimnes the diaphragm bursts and the suspension goes hard at that wheel instantly. That's why others are saying you need to regas the spheres. I agree with them. But if the residual pressure in a sphere is too low for ssatisfactory regassing you will need to replace that sphere. New spheres are not expensive (less than $100 each).

    The other purpose of the suspension is to maintain a constant ride height, at the height you set with the height control lever inside the car. To do this it has two height corrector valves, one for the front and one for the rear. They are connected to the centre of the anti-roll bars and they detect rotation of the anti-roll bar. If they detect the ride being too low they will allow fluid into the suspension cylinders connected to the spheres on their axle, which will raise the height at that axle. If they detect the ride being too high they will allow fluid to bleed out of the suspension cylinders connected to the spheres on their axle and back to the LHM tank, which will raise the height at that axle.

    Dedicated Citroen owners tend to have 4 post hoists, because to test the suspension you need to have the wheels on a firm surface, not hangong down as they would on a 2 post hoist. Ken explained what is happening, the suspension is not pressurised because the height correctors "think" the ride is too high and have let all the fluid out. So put the car on the floor and run the engine with the height control lever at normal height. Then go to each corner of the car and push down and see if there is any softness in the suspension. There should be, but almost all newly-purchased second-hand hydropneumatic Citroens have spheres that need regassing and I suspect yours will be the same.

    The ticking "hydro regulator" is the main pressure regulator and the ticking indicates the system has reached cut-out pressure. A flat accumulator sphere means there is very little volume difference between cut-in and cut-out pressures. A fully charged accumulator sphere provides a greater volume difference.

    Go to the thread of excellent threads at the top of this forum and look at the manual thread. Post 3 from Richo mentions the classic Citroen tech website that provides lots of scanned manuals. None for BX, though other sites have some. Look at DS green, then training material, and download the hydraulic course notes. They explain how the hydropneumatic system works in real detail. They are written for a DS, but the principles are the same in a BX. The pump is similar, the pressure regulator is almost identical, the spheres work the same way, the height correctors are almost identical, and the brakes use an ID control valve. The only difference of any significance is that the BX uses Peugeot low-pressure power steering and has a flow divider valve between the pump and the pressure regulator to provide low-pressure, high-flow fluid for the power steering (it's the thing that hisses).

    That ought to get you started. Ask questions and they will be answered.

    Roger
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  7. #7
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    I like your nickname. Cross Auto France (Artarmon) off your suppliers' list, as they are no more - Dapco took over after Wongie died. EAI in Thornleigh are a major parts supplier.
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  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger! Motorgnome's Avatar
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    Thanks Guy's..I had suspected the sway bar links (drop links), but couldn't get any movement out of them..They might be like a ford Territory, where you actually have to dis-connect them to test, as the sway bar has too much tension on it in the "Dropped" position.

    Thanks also for the tip on raising the suspension to the highest position before hoisting it... I don't have a 4 post hoist I'm afraid (4 x 2 post hoists though!)

    The suspension is quite soft when pushed down, so I am thinking that the wheel spheres are not completely flat, but I know what you mean about the Nitrogen leaking out over time, as my other passion is the Austin\Rover range of vehicles which have "Hydragas" suspension..A more primitive, but still excellent suspension system. The Citroen is just more advanced. The only way to be sure is to buy new wheel spheres, as I have no way of testing such high pressures (my test equipment only goes to 600psi), so that will be the place to start.


    The rear arm bearings...How are they best checked ?. I cannot get any sideways movement out of them, & they move up & down quite easily.

    I will look into the technical pages, as I'm like a big sponge at the moment, it's great, like learning about cars all over again! I love the many ways manufacturers used to "skin a cat" .. Doesn't happen much with newer cars..cost to much money for them I suppose.

    Anyway, I'm off to a new years BBQ.. Cheers all!

  9. #9
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    First thing to do is check the LHM level. It's done at the high suspension position and checking it once it's settled will most likely mean it sucks air once it's come up to normal ride height. If the spheres are very flat, then the volume of each flat sphere will need to be drawn from the reservoir before it even begins to rise.

    Read the sticky thread about working on a Hydraulic Citroen to avoid being squashed or killed. A rookie error might be your last! You have a hoist, but you will not always have the car on that when fiddling with it.
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  10. #10
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  11. #11
    JBN
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    Welcome Jason and your BX. I have owned two BX 19TRi 112 automatics (my wife doesn't drive manuals). Currently I have a Xantia and a couple of 2CVs.

    Apart from absorbing all that has been mentioned above, may I suggest you join the Citroen Car Club of NSW. There are a number of our members on the Central Coast and occasionally we have a Technical Day where we regas spheres, do minor mechanical repairs but above all whinge, cry, curse the French and Citroen in particular and have a BBQ lunch.

    I live at Sutherland, so we are about the same travel time from my mechanic at Kooaburra Place, Hornsby Heights, also called Jason (Hantos). He is a very handy person to know, has been brought up with Citroens (his father is an Aussie Frogger) and he specialises in Citroen mechanics (with a bit of Peugeot on the side).

    The BX is a much lighter car than the Xantia with about the same engine. It is a serious fun car when you get used to the Citroen body lean in corners, remember the body may lean but the wheels keep their grip. The soft suspension deals with bad road conditions and the car rarely loses its balance. The square hatchback can take an 8' X 4' sheet of chipboard, or a band of clay pavers (92 pavers) and the car will correct its height so as to ride level. Braking will be automatically adjusted, as the rear disc brakes are bled from the rear suspension spheres. That means that with a heavy load in the rear, the front/rear braking ratio will automatically change to compensate for the increase in load. The front steering will not become light as in most cars when the bum drops because of the heavy load.

    Enjoy your new toy.

    John
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  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Hi Jason,I have bought numerous bits on ebay fr .Fortunatly internet explorer translates automaticaly,it just does it!Like you I prefer a 2 post hoist because it makes working on the suspension and brakes so easy.

  14. #14
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    It's a javascript bookmarklet. These are available online for all browsers, if yours doesn't come with a button. Most of them call translate.google.com rather than Microsoft translator.

    Here's one put out by Google (one line, no spaces):
    http:;var%20e=(document.charset%7C%7Cdocument.char acterSet);if(t!='')%7Blocation.href='http://translate.google.com/?text='+t+'&hl=en&langpair=auto%7Cfr&tbb=1&ie='+e; %7Delse%7Blocation.href='http://translate.google.com/translate?u='+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+'& hl=en&langpair=auto%7Cfr&tbb=1&ie='+e;%7D;
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  15. #15
    Fellow Frogger! CXVingtCinq's Avatar
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    Hi Jason,

    Welcome to Aussie Frogs. You are going to love the BX. I don't have much to add to the previous advice from the learned gents above. The ticking pressure pump could indicate a leak in the LHM system somewhere or lack of fluid as per David S. As he says, put the suspension up to highest setting and check fluid level with the car idling. I'll bet it needs a top up. New spheres are the best bet and not too much more expensive than re-gassing unless you can DIY the re-gas. I got a new genuine Citroen sphere (silver, not green) from DS Motors in Brisbane back in June for about $160 plus freight. They were very helpful at DS Motors, but Jason Hantos is closer for you to collect it and/or freight will probably be cheaper from him. They are simple to install: Lower the suspension to lowest setting. Turn off engine. Dab the brakes a few times to reduce pressure in the system. Loosen the little bleed screw on the regulator just under the sphere itself (I assume BX is the same as my CX) but only about 3/4 of a turn. Unscrew old sphere with a strap oil filter removal tool. (may need some "encouragement"). Place the new "O" ring seal on the sphere and rub with new LHM. Screw new sphere onto regulator and tighten up firmly by hand (only by hand or you won't ever get it off again). Start engine and run for a minute or so to bleed any air out of system. Tighten bleed screw up. Check fluid level with car at highest setting. Et voila.! Bob est votre oncle.!!

    PS. We'd love to see a photo of your new toy.
    Cheers, Peter J
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  16. #16
    Fellow Frogger! brycedunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post

    Apart from absorbing all that has been mentioned above, may I suggest you join the Citroen Car Club of NSW. There are a number of our members on the Central Coast and occasionally we have a Technical Day where we regas spheres, do minor mechanical repairs but above all whinge, cry, curse the French and Citroen in particular and have a BBQ lunch.
    I would second this. At the last event I was at there were a few BX owners, so you would be able to learn from their experiences.

    Especially when I first got my DS I found the tech days very helpful to learn about the various things that are different from what I was used to.
    Motorgnome likes this.
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  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger! Motorgnome's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link..They look like a great supplier. Cheers!

  18. #18
    Fellow Frogger! Motorgnome's Avatar
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    Thank you seasink..That is most helpful+

  19. #19
    Fellow Frogger! Motorgnome's Avatar
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    G'day all. Thanks everyone for your help thus far.

    I've spent a bit more time with the BX today & it certainly needs some "loving". Body wise, it's pretty good, but the more I look & understand about the different mechanical bits & pieces, the more I find wrong..But I suppose this is normal with cars that are technically different (and old too) Both the RH & LH engine mountings have collapsed (ordered), the suspect sway bar drop links are confirmed noisy (ordered), & there are various LHM leaks around the place, Some in scary places like the steering rack pinion shaft & the main pressure pump. Both the rear suspension fluid "thingo's" are leaking as well, & the rear "droop" stops have failed because of it ( And being old).

    I'm going to put a timing belt, seals & tensioner in it first & investigate a whirring noise from the belt area's , then work my way through the various problems as parts arrive, + tuning & servicing as I go along, also, Is the LHM pump serviceable?..

    Lastly, your thoughts on tyres ? The ones on the car are date stamped 2001 & are cracked & quite noisy. My first thoughts were Michelin of course, but I thought I would ask if you guys reckon they are worth the extra, or are they still trading on their name. They are 185/60/14, so they are not an expensive size.


    Anyway, I'm off to bed. Thanks again everyone for your thoughts & well wishes. I will be joining the NSW Citroen car club, so some of you will put a face to the name.


    Cheers!

  20. #20
    1000+ Posts michaelr's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are making progress Jason. Happy to hear of one more BX finding a good home. They are.mostly under rated car but I love mine. The light weight, great brakes and suspension together with more than adequate power make it a great car to drive in city or country.

    There are quite a few BX owners active in the CCCNSW and plenty of spare parts available so if the body is sound all can be fixed. The club also has sphere tester and regassing rig operating at most tech days.

    Just ask if you run into problems. As you have gathered there are plenty of people here on AF who are willing to help.
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  21. #21
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    You will definitely have to replace the rubber return hoses soon, the main mode of failure is failing hoses, often people scrap the car due to its frequent failure usually in very inconvenient places & they scrap them rather than do the hoses. Go to a nearby hydraulic hose supplier & they should have reinforced oil proof hose by the metre in lots of sizes (fuel line I think). Then you can get brass barbed tees etc which will let you join hoses, use hose clamps to keep them in place. This is a better than trying to get a new octopus & better quality pipe I think. You may need to reroute the return pipes as some of the places are quite difficult to thread pipe through, they are in Xantias.

    It would be much easier to do with the engine out of the car, but that is beyond my capabilities.

    Regards

    agd123
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  22. #22
    Fellow Frogger! frog's Avatar
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    Don't mind me, just to adding some resources to this excellent thread:

    CitroŽn BX do-it-yourself | Now with XM Pages...
    The BX DIY site is great, particularly:
    http://citroen.tramontana.co.hu/fuel...ems-components
    a good overview of the efi system for all BX's and how to test error codes of the ECU etc.

    This site http://www.mars.dti.ne.jp/~ynar/bxor...s/index-e.html Published by Japanese BX enthusiasts in the early 2000's and has great info regarding the octopus and rear arm bearings. I followed their rear arm bearing guide when I did mine.

    BX Club Forum - Index page is a great resource also.

    BX Project Forum Another forum that is now very quiet, but the moderator has started uploading the citroen bx workshop manual into the technical section. Very useful stuff.

  23. #23
    Fellow Frogger! Motorgnome's Avatar
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    Thanks Frogman..You can never get enough information.

    Jason

  24. #24
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    Just to add to it, a sorted BX is a superb car, way more than the sum of its parts. They are just remarkably competent drives, especially the last of them like yours, with the power and the upper spec for Oz cars. Fast, comfortable, commodious and reliable. They also have sensational air conditioning capacity.

    Personally, as we did years ago, I wouldn't mess with repairing the old return lines (the "octopus"). Once they start splitting, the rubber is tired and old, and they were available again about a year or two back. Prick of a job, but I'd replace the lot and get the pain over. We did this and it didn't drip in ten years.

    Enjoy. We did.
    JohnW

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