"Comfort Spheres"
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Thread: "Comfort Spheres"

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! pottsy's Avatar
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    Default "Comfort Spheres"

    I've read about, and heard reference to, spheres for various models of Citroen that have revised setting of damping for "comfort".

    What I haven't found yet is an indication of the differences.

    On the Xantia the front spheres are specified as 55 Bar with a 1.5mm bypass orifice, while the rears (for the wagon) are quoted as 40 Bar with a 1.25mm hole.

    I'm curious to know what size orifices?, orifi?, alright, holes, the "comfort spheres" have. Given that the damping bypass orifice has an apparently large effect on the "feel" of a hydropneumatic suspended car I'd like to get have some bases for comparison.

    What has prompted this is that I decided it was time to check Zaphod's sphere pressures since I haven't touched them since dragging him kicking and screaming away from the Apple Isle. According to the service records, it was at 177,000 Km in 2006 that the sphere were re-gassed. (Now 230,000 Km and 2011)

    The ride has seemed quite harsh on dirt roads for a while, so I figured at least checking the pressures would be useful.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find the front spheres holding around 40 Bar, not low enough to be of great concern, but probably low enough to reduce the front suspension's response to bumps by a factor. (Also should be capable of re-gassing comfortably)

    They also had 1.3 mm holes. I'm actually wondering if these were rear spheres either fitted in error or even necessity.

    A scrounge in the depths of the Shed unearthed a pair of spheres that were left over from a CX long ago. These measured at 55 Bar but have a bypass orifice of 2.0 mm. Reasoning that they may be too bouncy, but also that they'd do until I regas the others, I fitted them.

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    I'm pleasantly surprised at how much better the car feels at the front. Note that it felt amazing at first, as is usual, but once the system bled itself through it's settled down to still being well damped but much softer and more compliant.

    So now I think I'll try the ones I took out of the front, in the back. The orifice size of 1.3 mm is just slightly larger than the 1.25 specified, but I'm curious to see whether this will make a difference, as well as find out what the rear ones are. And since they test at 40 Bar, they should be spot on pressure wise.

    Sadly, (not really) a holiday is looming so I won't find out the next instalment of this saga for a few weeks, but in the meantime if anyone can enlighten me on the specs of Comfort Spheres for a Xantia Estate, I'd appreciate the data. (1996 2.0i non hydractive Image Estate)

    Oh, and by the way, if you feel like giving me a spray for daring to interfere with the way Mr Citroen designed his suspensions, please try to restrain yourself. It's my car and if I wasn't a fiddler I wouldn't enjoy having my cars so much.

    Cheers, Pottsy
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  2. #2
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Fancy messing with factory settings, that's dreadful!

    Just grab whatever you have lying around and try it. If it is too bouncy you will soon know about it.

    I think comfort in a fixed-damper sphere is a mixture of sphere volume, bypass hole diameter and gas pressure.

    You cannot alter sphere volume except by changing spheres.

    You can alter hole diameter by drilling a larger hole but I reckon it's risky. Might be OK with no gas in the sphere, otherwise the diaphragm is going to be right at the neck. And you would need to clean out the swarf. There is a big range of hole diameters on spheres already, so why bother drilling it yourself. You have obviously worked out how to measure the diameter of the bypass holes. In the absence of letter or number drills I use the set of tip cleaners from the oxy set and a micrometer to obtain a rough approximation.

    You can alter the gas pressure easily.

    I tried to ask GSF about the specs of their comfort spheres for my XM, but they would not tell me. In the end I bought a set of standard spheres from Chris de Jong in NZ and they were fine.

    I think comfort spheres are the off-the-shelf sphere that has the same volume and the next largest bypass hole, with the gas pressure adjusted to that of the standard sphere. You seem to have come to the same conclusion.

    The most comfortable spheres I have ever had on my XM were a set of half-flat CX spheres that Shane had lying around. They were so bouncy I had to set the suspension in hard mode to isolate the centre spheres, which meant I had no hydractive. That's how the hydractive in early XMs works.

    Roger

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    Fiddle away Ray, who cares if Rome burnt anyway!

    Briefly, the bypass hole is not the only indicator, it is the number,type and thickness of shims which also determine ride quality.

    From my limited experience, the Xantia has a better ride than a D on crap corrugated roads if the spheres are at correct pressure.

    Specified pressure, as it drops causes the ride comfort to decrease. A little extra pressure can sometimes be beneficial, depending on the rest of the set up.

    Putting the ex fronts on the rear won't necessarily hurt to any extent, the CX fronts might not damp as well, their being intended to have 75 bar and being somewhat down on that specified pressure.

    Comfort spheres, if nothing else, will give you a softer ride. you may like it, you may not, it's all a matter of personal desire and taste.

    Do it and let us know. Have a great holiday.
    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    JBN
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    My understanding of "comfort" spheres (in relation to the BX) was a sphere of greater volume than the ones originally fitted. From memory, they were more the size of CX spheres, rather than the smaller standard BX spheres. I have no idea about any differences in damping, but the larger volume certainly gave a more comfortable ride.

    They may have reduced the road holding a little, but on 2 BXs and over 300,000 kms, neither fell off the road, so I was happy with the result.

    John

  5. #5
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    It is true, as Richo says, that damper configuration is also important. Perhaps I should have mentioned it, but as it is not able to be determined on a one-piece sphere without destroying the sphere I did not. I suppose if you had enough spheres you could sacrifice some dead ones to determine their damper disc configuration.

    Give me rebuildable spheres any day.

    Roger

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    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Thanks Pottsy - interesting!

    Were the CX spheres you put on the Xantia front suspension front ones or rear ones?

    If the front Xantia spheres still had lots of pressure, being 5+ years old, they'd be genuine front spheres in the right place for sure, as the Xantia has multi-layer membranes on the fronts that hold pressure very well, unlike the more conventional sphere membranes on the rear.

    It's time for another set of discussions on this subject, after your holiday of course.

    Cheers
    JohnW

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    Fellow Frogger! pottsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wilkinson View Post

    Give me rebuildable spheres any day.

    Roger
    Can't argue with that Roger.

    As far as the Xantia goes, though, I'm working on the theory that if the damping feels right on the car, as in less than 2 and a bit bounces like the old empirical shocker test, then it should be fine for a trial.

    From the sphere tables on Xantia World it seems that the largest "corner" sphere used is 450cc with a 500cc being used for the centre sphere in Hydractive.

    Normal Xantias are specified as using 400cc jobbies all round. You've got me wondering now whether the ex CX spheres I'm using are in fact 500cc units. I'll have to do some careful measuring and calculation I suppose. They don't seem to have too much in the way of id on them, but maybe a really close inspection will reveal all.

    I'm keen to try the ex fronts on the back now because I suspect that the slightly larger bypass hole and the 40 bar inflation pressure will make the car ride way better than currently.

    Thanks for all the feedback so far. The one piece of information I still haven't been able to glean is the specs of the 'comfort spheres'. Maybe it's a proprietary secret. Only time will tell.

    Oh, and Richo. In the cleanup I found I've got three rebuildable spheres with removable dampers. I'll be talking to you later next month in regard to rebuilding these. (And maybe seeing if you can source a fourth?) Since they're painted black I suspect they may be original ID ones. One of them has obviously put up a fight on removal judging by the bit of chisel damage to the outer rim! (Not by me I hasten to add!)

    Cheers for now, Pottsy
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    1982 ex UK 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    Half of a 1984 2CV6Special ("The Alleged Vehicle")
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    Quote Originally Posted by pottsy View Post
    Can't argue with that Roger.



    Oh, and Richo. In the cleanup I found I've got three rebuildable spheres with removable dampers. I'll be talking to you later next month in regard to rebuilding these. (And maybe seeing if you can source a fourth?) Since they're painted black I suspect they may be original ID ones. One of them has obviously put up a fight on removal judging by the bit of chisel damage to the outer rim! (Not by me I hasten to add!)

    Cheers for now, Pottsy
    The fight involved in the removal is usually due to a lack of finesse on the part of the remover.
    Know thy beast, I say!
    External scars can be removed. Internal condition and condition of the dampers is important.
    Be pleased to assess and advise when you're ready.

    Happy holidays as the Septics would say. Actually I like the expression and the sentiment.
    Last edited by richo; 25th October 2011 at 11:14 PM. Reason: put the cart before the horse

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    Within reason as sphere pressure goes up, suspension compliance increases, as it goes down suspension compliance decreases.

    The by-pass hole, for the most part, has its greatest effect on small bumps and ripples. Internal shims and fluid holes in the damper control larger undulations. And to make matters a bit more complicated, the actual design of the suspension arm geometry as well as piston diameter also factor in.

    Steve

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    Fellow Frogger! pottsy's Avatar
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    Time for an update.

    A window of opportunity presented itself tonight so I seized it and have replaced the rear spheres with those originally in the front.

    Wow! I'm now asking myself what took me so long to do this!

    The ride is right up there now with the DS, at least in a short setlling down run around the block. The test will be a trip I'm doing tomorrow, so I guess I'll have to seek a few rough roads on the way!

    The surprise was that the spheres I pulled out were down to 200 and 150 psi. No wonder it was feeling the bumps at the back.

    Anyway, for future reference and the guidance of others in posterity (and taking place of a memory in me) here's the state of the nation.

    Front:
    Spheres are supposed to be 400cc at 55 Bar (800 psi) with a 1.5mm bypass.
    Mine were 400cc with 40 Bar (600psi) and 1.6mm
    Replaced with 500cc units charged to 55 Bar (800psi) with a 2mm bypass.

    Rear:
    Supposed to be 400cc at 40 bar with 1.25mm
    Found were 400cc 13 Bar (200psi) with a 1.2mm bypass
    Replaced with 400cc at 40 Bar with 1.6mm.

    Time will tell.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

    The Fleet:

    2006 307 Auto 5 Door ("Spike" Mrs P's)
    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1982 ex UK 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    Half of a 1984 2CV6Special ("The Alleged Vehicle")
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

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    Administrator GreenBlood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pottsy View Post
    Time for an update.

    A window of opportunity presented itself tonight so I seized it and have replaced the rear spheres with those originally in the front.

    Wow! I'm now asking myself what took me so long to do this!

    The ride is right up there now with the DS, at least in a short setlling down run around the block. The test will be a trip I'm doing tomorrow, so I guess I'll have to seek a few rough roads on the way!

    The surprise was that the spheres I pulled out were down to 200 and 150 psi. No wonder it was feeling the bumps at the back.

    Anyway, for future reference and the guidance of others in posterity (and taking place of a memory in me) here's the state of the nation.

    Front:
    Spheres are supposed to be 400cc at 55 Bar (800 psi) with a 1.5mm bypass.
    Mine were 400cc with 40 Bar (600psi) and 1.6mm
    Replaced with 500cc units charged to 55 Bar (800psi) with a 2mm bypass.

    Rear:
    Supposed to be 400cc at 40 bar with 1.25mm
    Found were 400cc 13 Bar (200psi) with a 1.2mm bypass
    Replaced with 400cc at 40 Bar with 1.6mm.

    Time will tell.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Hope it all goes well, it would have been good to have been able to make a direct comparison with the car up to scratch with original specifcations and then fitted with your modifications.

    Cheers
    Chris
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    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    I bought some comfort spheres for the CX from CX Basis. They are now back in the box. Just too soft, suspension bottoming on big bumps, I prefer soft with control.

    Sounds like you have got it just right though. I tried these comfort spheres on my wife's Xantia, she ordered them removed after the first drive. I have never tried with standard CX spheres, but might now.

    I find that if the spheres are down 15 bar it will make a big difference if they are regassed, unusual that they have lost that much pressure, they should be double diaphragm units.
    Mine

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  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger! pottsy's Avatar
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    Well perhaps it's just the luck of the draw, but Zaphod seems to be back to what I would expect from such a design.

    I've just got back from a drive to the other side of town and back, mostly freeway but with some broken surfaces and a few speed bumps thrown in.

    Despite being a tiny bit "floatier" than I'm used to, the suspension appears to be totally under control and nicely damped.

    Certainly, a sharp speed hump will bump and thump, as I would expect anyway, but the harshness on rough surfaces is almost completely gone.

    I guess I'll look at replacing this combination with the right ones eventually, but being able to re-use the old CX ones rather than have them sitting in a drawer is a bonus. I guess the biggest reason for a difference is the extra volume and the larger bypass hole. But so far nothing's bottomed out and I've been attacking speed humps like I would in the DS.

    I have no way of determining whether the CX spheres are front or rear ones so the damping is a mystery. All I can say is that the bounce test on the front results in 2 oscillations and the rear maybe one and a half. I'm happy with that for now.

    Thanks for all the input.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

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    2006 307 Auto 5 Door ("Spike" Mrs P's)
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    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1982 ex UK 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    Half of a 1984 2CV6Special ("The Alleged Vehicle")
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    Administrator GreenBlood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pottsy View Post

    I have no way of determining whether the CX spheres are front or rear ones so the damping is a mystery. All I can say is that the bounce test on the front results in 2 oscillations and the rear maybe one and a half. I'm happy with that for now.

    Thanks for all the input.

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Proof of the pudding etc. sounds like you have struck a good compromise to gain a softer ride, (as any suspension will be anyway).

    I can see Xantia owners scrambling for old CX spheres - well done

    Cheers
    Chris
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    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    I have been using slightly flat (?) CX front spheres at the back of the CX Prestige. That gives a really nice ride and because of the extra long wheel base it wont rock too much (or it does but you dont feel it).
    C5 Touring 2008, CX 2400ie Prestige '81 (with dead gerbox), CX 2400 Pallas C-Matic '80, CX2400 Super Familiale C-Matic '79 (to be scrapped very soon) , CX2400i Familiale 5-spd (to be scrapped), GS 1220 Wagon '78 (next project), ID19 '64
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    Potsy, is Zaphod Hydractive or standard set up ?

    Richard

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    Standard setup (5 sphere) with the anti-sink gizmo at the back.

    As much as I'd love to play with Hydractive,I'm not sure that the wagons ever came with it?

    Cheers, Pottsy
    Buvito Ergo Sum!

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    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
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    1982 ex UK 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    Half of a 1984 2CV6Special ("The Alleged Vehicle")
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  18. #18
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    While on the subject of SPHERES.
    I own a C5 Citroen HDI 2003 and would like to know if any one knows a Citroen mechanic that can remove/replace a pair of REAR SPHERES AND THE RUBBER PROTECTION BOOTHS on this car at a fair price. Problem, the booths are cracked and some of the fluids have escaped, but I assume that because of the HARD RIDE (rear) spheres may need replacing? Car has done 160.000km. Hope this is the correct posting location. Tx &quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-citroen_76.jpg&quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-citroen_77.jpg&quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-citroen_78.jpg&quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-citroen_81.jpg&quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-citroen_92.jpg&quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-citroen_93.jpg

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    Hi Johannes
    You might like to go to the coming soon French Car tire kicking day as found in the section below: Oct 18th.
    Social Events & Meets

    Meet some people face to face and have a chat.
    A place that sells and works on exclusively Citroen is Continental Cars in Punchbowl. They will do the right thing for you. Been doing that for a lot of years.
    Jaahn

  20. #20
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    Changing the rear spheres is relatively easy, follow the rules re depressurisation etc & put the rear of the car on stands (not jacks for safety). My only problem was getting the old ones to unscrew (in place for too many years? done up too tight?) I had to fabricate a "spanner" to unscrew the spheres which was a bit of square tube with a 3mmx25mm steel strap welded on so that it fitted nicely over the largest part of the sphere. I then drilled a hole in the strap & welded on a nut about 6mm by memory so that a short bolt can be tightened onto the outside of the sphere, worked a treat! Having made the spanner the other spheres took only a few minutes each to change, well worth the work. Don't bother with strap wrenches etc, I found that they did not work in this instance

    Regards

    agd123

  21. #21
    Fellow Frogger! pottsy's Avatar
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    Can't agree about strap wrenchs.

    I made this one many years ago and it still works fine on spheres as well as oil filters. Old seat belt webbing, a cheap 1/2" drive extension, a bit of scrap aluminium and two M6 screws. Extension drilled and tapped M6. Bob's yer Aunty!

    Mind you, your creation sounds like a lovely bit of clever. Love to see a pic.

    Cheers, Pottsy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails &quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-strap-wrench-home-made.jpg  
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    1974 D Special Manual Sedan ("Moby Dick")
    2006 C5 HDI Wagon Auto ("Mephistopheles")
    1957 Slough 2CV ("Alphonse") Waiting in the wings
    1982 ex UK 2CV6 ("Gaston") On the road! (Woohoo!)
    Half of a 1984 2CV6Special ("The Alleged Vehicle")
    And for Fun, 1968 Mini Deluxe ("The R & D'luxe" 1078cc, Grin Factor 100!)

  22. #22
    Fellow Frogger! blahblah's Avatar
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    Default &quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;

    I have a selection of spheres (accumulator, BX/CX suspension spheres) available for the Perth based experimenter - let me know if you’re interested!

    Free for pickup - they all have positive pressure and most have psi marked on them.BX ones include early 700cc fronts. These were viable on CX front with CX pressure in them.

    I always found the damping to be better on genuine spheres over aftermarket ones. I suspect the damping was more accurately tuned. CX Gti spheres were the ducks nuts - always found the standard too squidgy.

    Cheers

    Chris


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    Last edited by blahblah; 14th October 2017 at 11:28 AM.

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    JBN
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    This is the best oil filter/sphere removal tool. Works in very confined spaces as when you have tightened the nut, the lever starts to undo the sphere instantly - there is no take up of belt or chain to consider.
    &quot;Comfort Spheres&quot;-oil-filter-tool.jpg

    John

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