Xantia has been off the road since just after I moved up here because of the craziness of insurance. It's due for new tax and insurance on the 1st of October and while I've been ferreting away at jobs that needed doing, like welding the rear arch, it seems a shame not to treat her to *something* in preparation for many miles of winter service.
I've already priced up brakes, clutch, glow plugs, &c. and that's a lot of money. It'll all get done, of course, but I wanted to find something a bit better than all that boring everyday stuff so I hopped on eBay and what should I find but something I've been after since I first got the car...
Mk1 GRILLE! I'm super excited about this and really hope it arrives safely, I've only *just* bought it. Yes it's the wrong colour, but it looks in good order and it's an easy swap to make. That gives me the debadged nose end I've been after to match the debadged rear. I need to get some paint to tidy up the repaired arch anyway so I can do them both together.
If anyone out there has a pair of clear side repeaters they'd like to swap for some orange ones, do shout. Saxo, 106 and Xantia all have the same side repeater lens so finding a pair isn't difficult, or particularly expensive, but I used some of my glowplug budget for that grille.
Other thing she'll be getting are the Fido Dido stickers I got before moving house, I just haven't figured out where exactly I'm putting those yet.
I can't make further progress on the welding and I'm loathe to sit idle when it comes to the Princess. I haven't actually been able to even look at my car for a few days due to an issue at the unit, I can't really go into details about it, but suffice to say the best way to keep me and my car safe was to stay away for a few days... bit of a mess really, but now resolved.
It's a case of what to do. I've not been short of other work to be getting on with, but I've wanted to make sure that when the welding is done I've got as much as possible of the interior modifications and retrimming sorted while I've got some time to get on with it. Easiest thing to work on is going to be the parcel shelf, something which I'd already marked out for fitting the spare door speakers into to give myself a factory looking four speaker set up. Interestingly, I found that when I looked at the marks for cutting out the holes there were some factory perforation lines in the board that line up with the factory holes in the metal parcel shelf of the body tub. I suspect BL planned to offer parcel shelf speakers for a four speaker set up but to my knowledge this never actually made it to production, it should make for a very neat job when I'm done.
Once I'd cut the hole to the factory marks the door speakers dropped in perfectly, I'll show you what they look like when I've refitted this to the car. While I was checking out the condition of the parcel shelf trim I've had a rethink about my original idea of hiding the previous owner holes in the vinyl with some chrome trim. Opportunity has presented for me to retrim some door cards in vinyl that are a very similar construction to this panel so it will likely be sensible to retrim this panel to show what I can do. I can't do the heat-press detailing as I haven't the tools for that so rather than copying the factory detail exactly, I'm thinking I'll use some stitch detailing to put a simple fake-pleat panel in the middle mimicking the existing design. This will also help prevent that horrible kit car look of a smooth vinyl panel in an otherwise very tidy interior.
Another job I've been plodding away it is the rear seat cover. I know the colourful crochet covers have divided opinion in the past, but that's not deterred me. I like them and that's all that matters. I am considering making a second set in purple cotton and lace, Japanese taxi style, but that requires me to spend money so it'll have to wait. The primary purpose of these covers is a minimal cost sun and wear protector as I've got the time and the materials to put them together. This needs to be 12 x 12 squares and is presently 9 x 9 so we're well on our way with it.
The last thing I've been working on is the dashboard. I've now got all the new chrome* detailing done, with the Radiomobile radio it really does look really smart. This is just with everything dropped in the respective holes so the final fit is much better. I can't do final fit until I finish off what was formerly the wood insert which will be metallic purple. I did consider covering the wooden panel with fabric for the ease of it, but it's going to cause issues with how tightly the plastic components fit into the panel and I don't want to be spending hours fettling for no real gain.
I can also get the rebuilt head swapped on. I removed the head from the orange car and found it to be in quite good order, rebuild the innards and gave it a really good clean. The rebuilt head has the benefit of a good, if not perfect, thermostat housing and valve stem seals that shouldn't let oil past them like the ones currently on the car. The big difference between the two heads is the oil filler, on the orange car it's the earlier rocker-cover filler while my later car has a remote oil filler that fixes to the side of the engine. I'll need to swap the rocker covers ideally as I suspect the later version is the better one in this instance and it's not too much hassle providing I can get the rocker cover bolts to actually shift on the beige car which is mainly what stopped me rebuilding the head on it previously.
I'm also at a point where I keep flip-flopping between getting the car on the road so I can use it and getting stuck into a full restoration. I know a full restoration with renewed lines, cleaned up engine, repainted bodywork... is going to get very, very time-consuming. But I also know that my own business and the unit will be much quieter over the winter so it may be the ideal time to actually make a start on this sort of thing.
If I decide to go the restoration route I'll need to get everything for prettifying and repainting the engine bay, and that means making my mind up properly on the colour. It would go a long way to getting things looking how I want them and it's by no means the conventional way of restoring a car as I'd have a spiffing engine bay and interior with a scabby looking rest of the car for a while, but it might be the best solution for me.
Get the beast restored and get the purple vibe going on sir... I reckon that's the best way to go! Strike whilst the iron is hot!!!
Just to throw one last curve ball in there though, I saw a new Ford Fiesta the other day that was in a surprisingly attractive shade of purpley pink! Almost cerise I suppose... Could be a good choice for an accent colour or such like?!
To someone else perhaps as I've already got a very good, very comprehensive workshop manual. Thank you for pointing it out though, it is good value for money as there's no eBay fees to contend with.
In celebration of getting the Xantia insured for a mere £450 I was very excited to head to the unit today... got delayed but that turned out to be a good thing as my Mk1 grille arrived and it was in tip-top condition, though obviously the wrong colour.
Up until now I've had no problems with the alarm in the car, so imagine my annoyance that every time I opened or closed any door the alarm went off. It couldn't be turned off with the key in ignition and push button method, and indeed the alarm won't disarm at all. I thought I'd try and reset the alarm as per the manual which means removing the scuttle, a job I thought would be easy. I thought wrong and quickly gave up, it's something I'll do another day, like when the windscreen gets replaced which it will likely need in another couple of years given the stone chips it's collected.
Instead, I cheated and did what everyone else does and just pulled a fuse. That has also meant the radio won't turn on, I thought they were on separate fuses going by the list in the manual, but maybe not. I also went a bit OCD and put all the fuses in the boxes so the numbers all sit the same way around. I think the problem is the remote plipper which has completely given up any notion of working since the car was taken off the road, I'll have to see about getting a new plipper and reinstating the fuse as I don't like not having a fully functional alarm even though the immobiliser does the trick.
So instead I made some effort with that unfinished rear arch. Some tiny rust spots had come through but thankfully it was just where the hastily applied Hammerite hadn't covered the bare metal fully so was easy to clean back. I got as far as a coat of primer, discovered there's still a bit more filling work to do and then it rained a lot. No space in the unit at present so I had to call it quits... it was getting dark anyway.
Certainly a much better line. While I was waiting for bits to dry on the arch I'd done some rough and ready prep on the grille and given it a splash of primer, white and lacquer.
I was going to get the grille fitted tonight, but it looks like I have to take the entire front of the car apart to do it so I'll do it tomorrow instead. The car is also filthy inside and out from being stood for so long so I need to get on with giving it a decent clean.
Shall be back on the road on the 1st of October, I want to make use of the Direct Debit payment method rather than sticking 6 months on it now, in part because it'll offer me quite a decent cash saving which is very much needed.
EDIT: I got the road tax thing wrong, I thought that the direct debit and tax disc abolition came in simultaneously. Of course DVLA wouldn't be doing this, that's the sensible way to do things. :END EDIT
Last Edit: Sept 29, 2014 19:43:45 GMT by vulgalour
Does it have the IR remote fob? Put new batteries in it and you can then test if the IR sender is working by looking at the LED in the fob through a camera (phones are best for this) and seeing if it illuminates when operated. The human eye can't see see the IR light frequency but cameras translate it into light. If it works, It may then just need RR-synchronising, I'm sure Google will throw that up. Been a few years since I had to do a PSA fob that old.
I had the fob apart again tonight, the batteries are loose, in the past someone had put a too-large battery in there and damaged the clip, I only found this out when replacing the old dead battery with new not-dead ones. The new ones won't seat properly so I suspect they're not connecting. I can't get my camera to pick anything up on the infra red LED and the regular red LED isn't doing anything either. Not having any joy on the Google front either, this is something that is completely alien to me as all my cars up until now have been a key only rather than a button thing.
In other news, Morettes won't be happening. In part because 433 Euros is a lot of money, but also because I think they make the nose look worse. Shame, they're a very 90s thing.
Got some options for the alarm problem that I shall try another day. For now, here's an update on the old bus.
Did a bit more work on that rear wing. It's still not right, I need to ideally flat the entire wing back and repaint it but I seriously CBA with that. Also did a bit more filling on the arch this side to eliminate the last of the old scrape damage. Again, it needs a bit more work to make perfect but it looks about a gajillion times better than it did.
Other side had a bit more filling work today, again still not perfect but better than it was. I almost had enough paint to finish things off... almost.
Made a template for the new rear oversized number plate I'm going to order if I can find someone to make it for me. The existing plate might get highlighted as an issue at MoT in November so I want to deal with this before then.
But the best bit was getting the newly repainted grille on. Turned out to be a fairly simple job to fit in the end and looks superb, I'm really happy with this.
Once it turns midnight I can get tax on and then drive the Xantia home so I can unload washing machine #4 and all the Princess spares currently living in the back.
It's true, the Xantia is just a lowly turbo-diesel and it's just a generic 90s estate car that can run on veg oil with suspension that goes up and down and styling that belies the fact it's 17 years old. It's capable, and cheap to run, and not particularly fast. It's not even that exciting or challenging to look at, a forgotten car from the era of forgettable cars.
But it is retro, to the newer end of things yes, but still retro and it's pre 2000 both in design and build date so it's pro-RR. Remember, everything has potential.
You're right though, the Princess is far more interesting, and work has been made on her but not much. I'm running out of things bar welding to be doing on the Princess and with no gas for the welder that's unlikely to change. I've got the dashboard ready for sparkly paint and rebuilding but after that there's not a great deal I can do on her.
So for now you'll have to put up with some Xantia updates.
orangecords: well there's the retro credentials the Xantia needed, its very first 'My dad had one of those' its ever had.
I'm a Dad and I had one of those, Xantia that is although mine was a bit more interesting as it was a 16v petrol. Not as nice as a the BX 16v I had but still a good car. I did test drive an Activa which was pretty sensational going round corners.
1990 Mazda MX-5 2004 Land Rover Discovery II TD5
2007 Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon