Xantia Turbo Sphere Time
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  1. #1
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    Default Xantia Turbo Sphere Time

    It seems that the time has come where I must replace the spheres on my 97 Xantia Turbo CT. It seems some recommend converting to the C5 style spheres, while some like the "comfort" version. I notice from sphere-shop.co.uk I can get a full set (all 8 spheres) for $A527.35. For an additional $A14.16 I can have the "comfort" spheres. The brand of the spheres is I.F.H.S.

    Are I.F.H.S. spheres good? Has anyone here dealt with sphere-shop? What opinions are there regarding "comfort" spheres, and converting to C5 style spheres? Is there somewhere better to buy spheres?

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    Thanks for any advice!

    Kim Howe

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    Hi Kim

    Standard front suspension spheres on Turbo CT are double membrane, and as such hold pressure much longer than single membrane spheres. Eventually (after about 10 years) the membranes burst, so they rarely need regassing - just replacing.

    My understanding is that these double membrane spheres are sometimes referred to as "C5 style" spheres - so at least for the front suspension you should expect "C5 style" anyway. If you can get the correct pressure and nozzle diameter in a modern dual membrane sphere, then I would say go for it. However I think you will have trouble matching the standard specs for the Turbo CT spheres among available double membrane spheres.

    As for comfort spheres - how much do you value the handling ability of your Turbo CT VSX? If your spheres haven't been regassed/replaced in 5+ years, then you are going to be impressed enough by the ride improvement without risking spoiling the handling with non-standard spheres.

    Cheers

    Alec

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimHowe View Post
    It seems that the time has come where I must replace the spheres on my 97 Xantia Turbo CT. It seems some recommend converting to the C5 style spheres, while some like the "comfort" version. I notice from sphere-shop.co.uk I can get a full set (all 8 spheres) for $A527.35. For an additional $A14.16 I can have the "comfort" spheres. The brand of the spheres is I.F.H.S.

    Are I.F.H.S. spheres good? Has anyone here dealt with sphere-shop? What opinions are there regarding "comfort" spheres, and converting to C5 style spheres? Is there somewhere better to buy spheres?

    Thanks for any advice!

    Kim Howe
    I have used the sphere-shop, it is not in uk, holland I think, very helpful people & spheres were ok.

    agd123

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! Greg's Avatar
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    Hi,

    You might do a much better price with CTA holland. Their freight will be much cheaper than freight from the UK.

    They are alway very helpful to make sure you get the right spheres.

    Best regards,

    Greg
    We Have:
    C5 HDI Exclusive 2.7 '09, Pluriel '09, Berlingo 1.6 HDI '10, C4 VTS coupe. C4 Picasso '08, 2CV Charleston '84 Grey, 2CV, '55 Australian delivered. 15/6 H '55, SM '74 BVM, DS21 EFI BVH, DS21 '67 BVH.
    We Had:
    1930C6F, '73 GS1220 wagon X 2, '75 G special, '75 GS panel van, '74 GS Birotor, '82 GSA panel van with factory AC, '85 CX25GTI BVM, 2002 C5 V6, 2006, C5 S2 HDI, '86 BX19GT, '72 DS21 BVM, '55 15/6H, '54 Lt 15,'73 Dyane, '82 Visa Super X, with Chrono Mecs & factory AC, 1972 SM.

  5. #5
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    Remember the IFHS spheres are like the old factory spheres that gradually leak. Unlike the later multi-membrane items with the dimples next to the filler that hold for many years before failing relatively rapidly. You will be up for regassing more quickly with those spheres compared to the factory items. If you go for the saucer spheres, they will presumably be riveted closed, so there is no way to regas unless you drill out the rivet and fit a valve like the Tecnosir items. So, with the saucer spheres, my guess wold be they will go flat like regular spheres, unlike factory saucer spheres, and then be difficult to regas. The upside is their volumes will be fairly high, so they should at least be fresh stock.

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Kim,

    Get your front spheres checked and just replace any that have failed with the factory spheres. You could get a dual membrance saucer accumulator as they have fitted well on both my Xantias. For the rears, I would just fit three of the normal factory dual membrane saucer spheres that were made for a hydractive model. Then you will be right at the back for 10 plus years. You will just need to get the antisink sphere regassed on the back. If you want, I can look up factory part numbers at the end of the week when I am back on normal internet.

    Otherwise you will have to be getting 7 spheres regassed every two-three years - what a bother.

    Cheers Ken

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    JBN
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    Originally, your Xantia would have had only dual membrane (dimpled) spheres for the front suspension. All other spheres and accumulators are single membrane. GSF UK sell spheres for about 59 pound (AUD $100). Take off 20% VAT and that should cope with the postage. If you type in all your vehicle details, they will detail which spheres you need where and the pressure of that sphere (which is a fairly important consideration).

    Are you a member of a Citroen Car Club. Does that club have sphere regassing and/or pressure testing of your spheres? In Sydney the Citroen Car Club does have that equipment and most technical days consist of people checking the pressure in their spheres and regassing as appropriate. It always feels good for a while after having all the spheres back to specification pressures.

    John

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    Thanks for the replies.

    A bit more background. I purchased this car after it had sat unused for just over 5 years. When I purchased it, we re-gassed the front spheres and attempted to do the back as well, but they were both had it. We re-gassed a pair off a Xantia wreck and fitted those. This got the car functional, and I proceeded to get it registered and have been using it since then. That was 11 months and 16,000 kms ago. I had been hoping to be able to get the remaining spheres re-gassed as well, but the CCCT hasn't got a gas cylinder for the gassing rig at present. I have a fairly complete service history for the car and the only sphere replacement listed is the accumulator on the 20/12/2010 - but only 20,000 kms ago. I haven't detected any signs of any issues with the accumulator. I suspect the centre spheres are not functional and suspect the anti-dive is weak. I bought the wreck Xantia for parts as well, and it would have a pair of matching centre spheres and an anti-dive which I could try and gas too - pending that being able to be organised. Recently the car went from being very stiff for a Citroen (no centre spheres) to hard as a rock. The rear still can be pushed down but the front is pretty solid, so I'm assuming one or more of the front spheres have given up.

    Armadillo: Yes I value the handling a lot, so I'll give the comfort spheres a miss.

    Greg: Are you able to suggest a link for CTA Holland? I haven't been able to find them.

    David S: So the IFHS spheres are not multi membrane and should be avoided. Thanks for that. Where would be best to obtain multi membrane ones?

    Ken W: I would love to have those part numbers if you have the opportunity to look them up.

    JBN: Would you have a link for GSF UK? A google search hasn't revealed them. As mentioned above I'm a member of CCCT. I'm about a year into the Citroen experiment and it's been good so far

    At present I'm thinking that my immediate problem is the front spheres and perhaps I should just try to find a quality pair of those, since the rears and accumulator still seem ok, and I can try gassing the centre spheres and anti dive - and I have got two of each.

    Happy to hear any further advice.

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    The GSF link is easy to supply:

    https://www.gsfcarparts.com/

    Best to communicate with them by email - from memory online ordering (via website) is really only for locals.

    If re-gassing is an option, then your proposed course of action sounds spot-on. Don't forget that even once all spheres are at the correct pressures you may not get soft ride - the electrovalves (one front, one rear - only on the VSX models) have to be working. These give a high pitched whine when in soft mode - should be audible (unless you've lost all upper-register hearing) after key is turned off for a minute or two - especially if you are in an enclosed space.

    If you are pressing up and down on a front corner, or rocking car (eg. using an open door as a lever) suspension gets noticeably stiffer when the whine or whistle stops - this is normal operation.

    Cheers

    Alec
    Last edited by Armidillo; 2nd February 2017 at 05:45 PM.

  10. #10
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    OK Kim,

    Here are some part numbers for the slimline dual membrane spheres:
    527243 Slimline Accumulator - 385cc 62bar
    527176 Front corner dual membrane sphere - 450cc 45bar
    95669124 Front Centre Hydractive dual membrane sphere - 450cc 75bar
    527610 Rear Centre Hydractive Slimline sphere - 385cc 50bar
    527249 Rear Corner Slimline dual membrance sphere - 386cc 30bar (listed as no longer available.)
    527236 Rear Corner desmopan membrane - 400cc 30bar
    527146 Rear Corner urepan membrane - 400cc 30bar for extreme hot and cold climates

    I would check pricing from this link below. Looks like prices have gone up over the last year.

    http://www.citroen-accessories.com/

    Cheers, Ken
    Last edited by Ken W; 4th February 2017 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Correct part number

  11. #11
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    I wasn't asserting you should avoid IFHS spheres, but rather observing that they are not always directly equivalent to the original factory item. Citroen cars performed very well over a long period of time using the spheres with a simple rubber membrane, but they tended to go flat over a few years. The multi-membrane spheres were a response to that and they do last a long time in regular use. You will find quite a lot of early C5s with their original spheres still in good order.

    It's not that the IFHS spheres are a bad option, just that you should choose what you want and pay and maintain accordingly. You'd need to check any spheres without the multiple membranes every couple of years and possibly regas, whereas any multi-membrane spheres should require less maintenance. Remember the static filling pressure is a nominal value and there is usually an acceptable range of pressures for each unit. The 62 Bar accumulator spec is usually seen as still being OK above 30 Bar. Also note the slimline accumulator is a smaller capacity than the original welded accumulators and you may want the extra capacity of the older shape accumulator.

  12. #12
    JBN
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    I have a VSX and as soon as I open the boot or the driver's door, I can hear the high pitched hum of the solenoids. There was a time when this did not happen and I removed the suspension CPU (easy to get at on the right hand top of the engine bay. I then added two diodes (sourced from Jaycar) and the hum returned.

    If you have a suspect solenoid this stops the centre sphere from cutting in and gives a much harder suspension. The expensive solenoids have a diode attached to them. Citroen dealers would have normally replaced the complete solenoid if the 20c diode has died. Cheaper to solder the 20c diode on the PCB or the suspension CPU (there are purpose built posts to do so.

    In your instance, since you have found most spheres to be below pressure, regass/replace all the spheres. If the ride is still not OK or you don't hear the hum when you open the door/boot first thing of the day, then get in contact with me as I may have a working suspension computer for you. I will find some time to check which old ones I have that work. Alternately, search this Forum for some old articles on the topic. I did one in about 2009/2010. At worst, I have pictures of the soldering required and the diodes required.

    John

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    Ah! I wondered what that noise was! I guess they're working then

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    John I would appreciate a copy of that cheat sheet for the diodes as I have no hum! I am assuming the repair is effective for a 97 CT turbo possibly?
    Cheers Steven
    will pm if you can confirm, thanks.

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    JBN
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    Anyone that wants a Word document showing the appropriate parts of the suspension PCB and where to solder the diodes, just PM me with your email address and I will send it to you. The other replacement part which can effect the Hydractive suspension are VN05 drivers. Unfortunately, they are no longer made. Anyhow, if you have no hum, PM me. Try to diode's first and if that doesn't work - PANIC.

    John

  16. #16
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    RS Components had the VN05 drivers available recently so I ordered some. Not sure if they still have stock.

    Cheers, Ken

  17. #17
    JBN
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    How recently is recently. I looked in 2016 and they were no longer listed. I bought the previous ones from RS-Online some years before but have filed them away very carefully - too carefully for me to find them.

    John

  18. #18
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    John,

    Mine are a bit like that too - but I think I know which room they are in. I think I probably bought mine in 2015 when Armidillo was having troubles with his Activa suspension computer. Maybe I got the last packet.

    Cheers, Ken

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    they have these listed but I don't think for a second they are the same, https://au.rs-online.com/mobile/sear...earchTerm=VN05

    You wouldn't have two spare Ken?

    I noticed with my car yesterday it made a squeal first thing but after numerous short trips nothing, its like the rear windscreen wiper blade wasn't working for a year and fortunately now its raining has decided to come on again.

  20. #20
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    I have just corrected one of the sphere part numbers above. Thanks to Citronut for pointing the error out.

    Cheers, Ken W

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