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Thread: My new Xantia CT

  1. #51
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    Hopefully this thread will be very useful for the next Frogger to buy a Xantia !

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  2. #52
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    Did you get the anti sink sphere off Cam? you need to wind off the pipe joiner with a 9mm spanner. It is different to all the rest with the spheres screwed in to their housings.

  3. #53
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    When the centre sphere seems very difficult to remove, it will usually still be pressurised because it has remained isolated by the valve in the Hydractive stiffness regulation block. They do not always depressurise as expected and anti-sink won't depressurise just by undoing the 12mm bolt. Where you have the anti-sink system, you depressurise the suspension by placing it on low and having the engine running with the 12mm undone. Activa maybe has additional steps, but I'm not sure.

    If the fluid in the middle sphere is yellow and the rest is fresh green, then it must have been isolated for a long time or dead flat and full of old fluid. Both seem unlikely as it should not have been hard to remove if dead flat and it should not be totally isolated as the solenoid will still click in, then out again even if there is a fault in the system.

    The height correctors do accumulate debris and it will eventually buildup to the level of the connecting passage between the front and back. That's when it can be stuck on high or become non-responsive. I don't think you can easily clean out the connecting passage on the Xantia corrector because the damper plates are under a pressed in plastic retainer instead of a threaded fitting. You might find, just lifting the rubber diaphragms and flushing the debris out is enough here. You are supposed to prime them on refitting, but if you don't it will initially overcorrect until it bleeds the air out.

    It's possibly not a bad idea for Xantia owners to pick up a few spare plastic corrector linkages. There are some listed via eBay at the moment and they are NFP from memory. If removing them to service the correctors, be careful not to cut or bruise the plastic.
    Last edited by David S; 8th November 2017 at 10:42 PM.

  4. #54
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Cam,

    The hydractive valves get very lazy with age and lack of use and it sounds like yours has gone very lazy. The one on my Activa would only switch to soft setting sometimes when I first bought my car. This was usually accompanied by a sharp drop in the height of the back suspension followed by a slow rise as the height corrector brought it back to normal height. The valves use a two stage switching system. The solenoid valve switches HP LHM to another slider which opens the centre sphere to the two corner spheres. So at the time of starting there usually isn't much LHM pressure so often the valve stays in firm mode which is where it sits while the car is turned off. Also to conserve power, after the solenoid gets initially a full 12 volts applied for a few seconds when the system switches to soft mode, this is then followed by a smaller holding current pulse train that you can hear as a humming sound when the car is stationary and you open the doors.

    I have found you need to make the suspension switch from soft to firm after the car has got up to full high pressure to be fairly sure it is switching hydraulically as well. The soft/firm switch doesn't do this for you, it only lowers the threshold of when the car will switch. I always run mine in firm these days so it gets more exercise. I also have a switch wired into one of the sensors so above 40km/hr, I can trigger a switch to firm and then back to soft to make sure it is working at the back.

    Cheers, Ken
    Last edited by Ken W; 9th November 2017 at 01:31 PM.

  5. #55
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    Yes used a 9mm to remove the pipe. It was leaking when I replaced it as I had not tightened up the pipe enough. As access is terrible to get more than 1/4 turn I was afraid of over tightening it. All good now.

    My car does all the usual clicks when the door is first open and continues to hum. It switches between soft and hard no problem. I think with a flush and a clean of the HC things should be even better. Its been lovely the last couple days. Makes me so relaxed while driving.

    Ken Ill have a play with the sport switch to activate the valves more often. Its always soft now the spheres have been changed but the rear just stays up or down sometimes about and inch either way. Usually pulling up to a light or after accelerating hard causing the rear to drop from weight transfer. It soon enough sorts itself out just takes a little time.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken W View Post
    Cam,

    The hydractive valves get very lazy with age and lack of use and it sounds like yours has gone very lazy. The one on my Activa would only switch to soft setting sometimes when I first bought my car. This was usually accompanied by a sharp drop in the height of the back suspension followed by a slow rise as the height corrector brought it back to normal height. The valves use a two stage switching system. The solenoid valve switches HP LHM to another slider which opens the centre sphere to the two corner spheres. So at the time of starting there usually isn't much LHM pressure so often the valve stays in firm mode which is where it sits while the car is turned off. Also to conserve power, after the solenoid gets initially a full 12 volts applied for a few seconds when the system switches to soft mode, this is then followed by a smaller holding current pulse train that you can hear as a humming sound when the car is stationary and you open the doors.

    I have found you need to make the suspension switch from soft to firm after the car has got up to full high pressure to be fairly sure it is switching hydraulically as well. The soft/firm switch doesn't do this for you, it only lowers the threshold of when the car will switch. I always run mine in firm these days so it gets more exercise. I also have a switch wired into one of the sensors so about 40km/hr, I can trigger a switch to firm and then back to soft to make sure it is working at the back.

    Cheers, Ken
    There is no doubt about you Ken .. not just a pretty face !
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  7. #57
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    Apparently one can take the Hydractive valves apart and 'adjust' the spring to keep it 'youthful' in movement. Im pretty happy with it at the moment. It 'clicks' everytime I open a door and runs soft as until I drive like Dani Ric and it then firms up fractionally and then back to soft mode. The rear just sometimes stays a little higher.

    When the clutch gets done in December Ill pull the HC out and clean it. Along with the dog bone connectors so everything moves nice and freely.

  8. #58
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    Small update

    OE stereo was cutting in and out so Ive put a new (second hand) system in it from my youth. Plenty of sound now + phone connectivity etc. What a shitty job! Skinned fingers abd knuckles from trying to keep all the wiring hidden.

    The rear of car is now starting to irritate me. As soon as I touch the brakes the rear raises up. If I continue to brake it will pull itsslf down after about 1.5 seconds. If feel like it only pulls itself down about half of what it used to when braking before replacing the centre spheres. It sits about 1-2 inches high at the lights until I press the brake pedal and it then lowers back to normal height. If I accelerate quickly and change gear (weight transferrinf to front from back) it raises in the rear higher than it ahohld and remains there until I accelerate heavily or hit the brakes to activate the 'anti dive'.

    Along with all this behavior if its riding a little high its very hard on small details in the road. Once it lowers itself (higher speed helps) it becomes nice and soft again. When hard and going over small bumps it sounds like the spheres have marbles in them rattling over anything that is not baby bum smooth. When it lowers and goes soft ALL rattles and shakes are removed.

    So far all shperes are either new of regassed originals. Im tempted to replace the rear accumulator as its the only one that was regassed in the rear and apparently xantia spheres are double membrane and dont always respond to a regassing? It is also taking an age to return to normal height if cycling through high an low modes.

    Does this make sense? Any suggestions?

    What causes the car to run hard when the rear is running a little high?

  9. #59
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    If the rear is rising under braking it suggests that the rear brakes are not working, as torque reaction with a trailing arm suspension will drag it down.
    If the height corrector is not responding & the rear is too high,braking will be reduced as the proportion of braking to the rear is dictated by the pressure in the rear suspension required to level the car.
    Sort out the cause of height variations first. Sticky linkage to the anti roll bar. Dirty height corrector. Arm bearings on the way out.
    Keep having fun !

    Richard

  10. #60
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    This will be cold comfort, so my apologies.

    From brand new, my Activa exhibited a few bad behaviours, such as coming up with a thump when first started,
    and dropping rapidly when turned off, and always taking a somewhat long time to rise.

    I took it (under warranty) for a while, then later, when not under warranty, to the best Citroen mechanics.
    I also scoured the web, and asked for advice. But overall, it was a brilliant car to own and drive.

    I think (over time) we replaced spheres, pressure tested, etc, but no fiddling ever really changed the quirks.

    "It was said" that: the Activa (CT??) is different to the other models because of the extra spheres, that the hydraulic pump is inadequate because of the extra spheres, etc, etc. Web searches usually led to differing views on what to look for, and indeed, we did check out some of the advice on offer.

    In the end, I lived with the quirks (they were not terrible after all), but no-one seemed to have the complete expertise on these models.
    Personally, I think some of the rear-end hydraulic components have to be better understood, adjusted, etc.

    You may need to become the ultimate expert yourself!

    I must add that I loved the car, and owned it for 16 years, and only sold it with reluctance.
    Very rewarding, and over the years, it was reliable and not expensive to own.
    I hope you get yours running well, and maybe you will have to live with (minor?) quirks?
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  11. #61
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    Thanks Gents

    I love the car and will be keeping it. Although 'irritating' it is quirky which I enjoy. I guess its just frustrating that as a 32yr old is unable to google every answer and fix it. Ive really enjoyed learning and trawling through all the post here on AF and the UK french car forum. Theres a wealth of knowledge out there thats for sure.

    Is there somewhere in Sydney that can test the system via a computer to check what its doing?


    What causes the rear brakes to 'not work' ? I understand that they activate to pull the car down but they are doing so at a slower than expected rate. Slower than before with old spheres etc. When its good its mighty fine. As soon as its not, its all over the place.

    Maybe and air bubble somewhere?

    Does anyone have a spare Height Corrector I can buy/exchange? I can afford to have the car off the road to service it at this point.


    Again, thanks for all the replies. Im definitely enjoying the car, they are much better put together than I thought affer installing the stereo. Plush carpet!

    Cheers

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    try Continental at Punchbowl? Denton at Eurpean Autocare Penrith? Jason Hantos?

    I followed your lead on droplink replacement and the suspension has improved dramatically, the old ones were cactus. Thanks for that Cam.

  13. #63
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    Glad the info helped!

    Its amazing how easy they are to replace and how different it makes the car feel! There also fairly cheap to replace!


    Ive just been out and bled the rear brakes. The was a tiny amount of air in the fluid. Ill get some long hose and run it back to the tank to get a proper go at it! So far not much changed. It was a little different. Im going to replace the rear accumulator as it was regassed and I have a feeling its duff considering whats happening.

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    No suggestions for your problems (but enjoying reading about your journey of discovery ), however:

    a) No doubt there are now double-membrane replacements for most CT/Activa spheres (probably specified for C5s), but originally only the two front suspension spheres were double membrane.

    b) (for garyk) - a CT has 2 less spheres than an Activa, and lacks the anti-roll hydraulic rams. A CT is therefore normally much less fussy than an Activa.

    It was apparently normal for my CT to rise a bit if I sat with my foot on the brake, then drop when I took it off. It would usually drop too low, and putting foot back on brake before height corrector could react would then cause it to raise rear even higher! (Small things amuse small minds).

    Cheers

    Alec

  15. #65
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    Ive just been out for another drive and have to say that bleeding the brakes has helped the rear rising up when braking. Its the flattest its ever been under brakes which feels really weird and cool!

    Its still tending to stay high at some points during the journey. When is does it hard. When opening the door there is no longer a 'click' fron the rear of the car. I have a friend looking for a new electrovalve and also a spare HC to refurbish.

    Another recommendation is to bleed your rear calipers if your car is diving under braking. Its helped mine quite a lot.

  16. #66
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    Hmm. Our non-Activa Xantia always dropped the rear under braking, since the rear brakes were activated from the rear suspension spheres. As I understood it, one of the points of that braking system is to avoid nose-dipping under hard braking - they should just squat down under braking if I undertand it properly. Superb brakes. Nose dipping? NO.

    If I sat with my foot pressing the pedal at lights, it would drop dramatically at the rear after a while, when I released the pedal, then slowly return to normal height if the lights stayed red long enough. I presumed I was depressuring the rear spheres, perhaps by slow leakage through the doseur valve, but I never really got my mind around exactly what was happening to be honest.

    Interesting thread, for which thanks. And good luck sorting it out.
    JohnW

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  17. #67
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    try running it parked on low with the regulator bleed screw open for a few minutes, pump the brakes and turn the steering back and forth, might shake some trapped air out. Someone else will say no but could help!
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  18. #68
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    JohnW thats right. Thats whats its designed to do as far as my limited research and experience tells me! When theres a small or any amount of air in the rear lines it causes the rear brakes to not apply enough pressure which allows the rear to raise due to weight transfer.

    The idea behind the system is to utlise the design of the rear trailing arm suspension. Eg When the car rises at the rear essentially the wheel base shrinks which also raises the height. (Think of your legs doing the sideways splits and then sliding back up!) This is because (as Im sure you/we may know about) as the moment of weight transfer happens the rear calipers are activated in the brake valve at a relative (calculated?) pressure to the front calipers. This activation of the rear calipers stops (your legs when split on the ground!) from 'coming together' or rising in height. Effectively keeping the car flat front to back as you brake.

    Bleeding the air out has now proven to me that the rear rising under braking is due to the brakes/calipers at the rear were not activating allowing the car to dive/raise under braking. The next assessment is ( as Richard has pointed out) to work out what is causing the height issues ( rear being high and riding hard/harsh). Im replacing the electrovalve and cleaning the HC along with flushing the system and cleaning the tank filters and the tank

    Its been a great learning experience. Most problems Ive had/have are covered online and consider myself lucky others have asked these questions online. Thanks for all involved getting to bottom of these issues.

  19. #69
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    it definitely reads to me like your height corrector is misbehaving.
    But I don’t know much!

    Be very VERY gentle when loosening off return hoses back at the resevoir because they are old and most likely brittle. I can’t stress that enough.

  20. #70
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    And don't mess with the height corrector or its linkage if you are under an unsupported car..... It just might be a wrongly adjusted linkage, maybe as well as dirt inside and air....

    Personally, I'd be inclined to get new return lines if you can. And there's a wee rubber tee-piece in there somewhere at the rear above the exhaust too - I used to keep one in the glove box, so naturally I never had a problem!
    JohnW

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  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by forumnoreason View Post
    try running it parked on low with the regulator bleed screw open for a few minutes, pump the brakes and turn the steering back and forth, might shake some trapped air out. Someone else will say no but could help!
    Yes, it's possible to release the bleed screw at the regulator, place some bricks on the pedal and work your way around each caliper with spanner, tube and glass jar in hand. Easier than bleeding conventional brakes. Brakes are dead-ends too, so it's not a bad idea just to flush out some old fluid.

    The rise/fall at lights happened when the Xantia was new.
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