Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Sooooooooooooooh - when does "sheepskin" become leather? Oh,when it's tanned, I suppose. :idea:

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

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van ordinaire wrote:
28 Dec 2018, 00:06
Sooooooooooooooh - when does "sheepskin" become leather? Oh,when it's tanned, I suppose. :idea:


Yes absolutely, when its hide is tanned - hence the expression directed at naughty children ;)

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Well the ghost in the machine really had it in for me last night: I used that post as the intro to the day's fun & games, at the end of which I remembered to copy it, so if there was a problem with submitting it, I could simply paste it back. In fact a further refinement I've adopted is to paste it into a document, so if (as has happened) it disappears later, I can retrieve it. Obviously the forum monster wasn't going to let be beat it so easily, so this time, when I clicked on "copy" - all but that 1st line disappeared! Given the time (23:06, it seems) I wasn't going to start again.

Here, then,is the potted version:-

Remarkably, the Xantia is the 1st car I've ever had with Europlates, which got me thinking about what to do about the soon to be irrelevant blue sidebar, which I never liked anyway (especially this version,with a postage stamp sized St George's cross sandwiched between the 12 stars & "GB"). If I do manage to reconcile the car with its original number then, of course, new plates'll be on the menu.

For the moment, removed the rusty screws from rear plate & put it back with a frame & new screws with those yellow snap-on plastic caps. So impressed was I with the improvement I replaced the screws for the front plate too. Unfortunately now realise the rear one is warped (it's one of those soft plasic, unbreakable, non-delaminating ones) so it'll have to go - whatever the DVSA's decision.
While in that area, discovered how simple it was to access the lamp units in the tailgate - so replaced one reversing light bulb with an LED; while, on balance, I prefer bluey grey to oil lamp yellow I have reservations about how much illumination it actually provides.

Post'd started trickling through again, so I got those, allegedly, 50w LED's, to upgrade the sidelights. They ARE insanely bright but a very snug fit & am a little concerned that, on removal, they'd snag in the hole, the bulbholder would come away - & the "bulb" drop into the headlight. Also on order are some alternatives, very compact but, equally improbably, are described as DRL's, made by Samsung though & it's unusual to LED's bearing a reputable brand name (apart, of course,from the usual candidates) so may be a quality product. Idea is to fit one on t'other side, compare the 2, then make a decision.

By this time the conditions had improved to the point when I couldn't put off swapping the n/s tyres: the front one scraped though the MoT, but want to do the lower ball joint rather than starting to knock out a new tyre & the back one is the odd one out so,as a temporary measure that seemed to make sense. Have to say, with the benefit of a jack that'll lift one side of the car & a rattle gun (used the Lidl's mains one, for the 1st time in anger, quite impressed!) it's not really that much of a job. With the front one off, I could see it wasn't just the outside shoulder that was worn prematurely, but the inner one - but not as much AND the centre was nearly down to the wear bars; which is not to say it was worn right across, there were those 3 different areas of wear. Seems like, come the Spring (when the winter tyres I haven't even collected yet, come off) I'll be in the market for a pair of tyres, unless . . .

Found the leather cleaning spray & finished cleaning the steering wheel ('though I don't know why I didn't just use saddlesoap, really) & applied a little
balm. Had also found some teak cream, so worked a little of that into the gearknob.

Time for a change now, so started the Eldorado (never ceases to amaze me, only about the 4th time since the 1st w/e in September!) & left it ticking over, while I prepared to replace the engine steady bars, which I was embarrassed to put back when I was changing the radiator in the Summer. By then, it'd got to the stage the remaining daylight would fade very fast AND, whileI was packing-up I detected a distinct drop in temperature.

Well that's caught up with yesterday (well, Friday actually) & today'll have to wait 'til tomorrow - or, more accurately, yesterday will now have to wait 'til later.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

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I was right about the drop in temperature, when I 1st looked out the window in the small hours, the roof of the red Cherokee was quite white - & when I got up, so was the bonnet! (quite a rare occurrence on the English Riviera). Had an early start, with a trip to the launderette, so 1st real tewst of the Xantia - & it didn't disappoint. The frost was starting to thaw & the ice on the screen was soft & presented no problem for the wipers. Interesting to observe how the rain sensing wipers responded to/dealt with melting ice.

While the washing was doing, I - very carefully - removed the gaffer tape that was swaddling the broken mirror. So far, so good but not going to tempt fate by trying to fold it in.

Turned my attention to the passenger mirror, adjusting it per the handbook - but when I took the car out of reverse, the glass didn't return to its previous position. Also noticed there is only a little movement AND it's very slow, i.e. compared with the driver's one.

Just happened to notice that the trim round the n/s side window was hanging away from the C-pillar, apparently because it had become unclipped. However the tangs moulded into the back of the trim are about 45° but one of the metal clips they locate in is vertical - & the other is missing. Anyway, I tried to pop it back into place - & the tang broke off: more fool me for tackling it on a frosty morning!

Got back, the Nightbreakers were in the post, + more LED's, but not, unfortunately, the ones I wanted to try as sidelights, so didn't rush out to upgrade the dipped headlights as really want to do it all as one job. One thing I did though was to clean the back window, inside & out to, hopefully, further enhance the performance of the wiper. On thing I did discover that the mark which I'd assumed was ghosting from when the wiper was "parked" in mid-sweep, was actually on the inside!

Oh well, back to the Eldo: finished that job in short order & while I was under the bonnet, replaced the strut brace nuts with stainless dome nuts & washers. When I'd had the brace off, to replace the brake master, I'd cleaned up the rust & painted it - so this was just the finishing touch really.

So that was it for the day, really - but, for some reason, I was prompted to check that foglamp which only just escaped damage still worked, & guess what? - it didn't!.

This morning off out up to Princetown for breakfast (a treat I've gone without since the red Cherokee refused to start). So, I've got upgraded headlight bulbs not fitted, one foglamp that doesn't work & - it's foggy!

Back, via Trago's to pick up oil, wipers (for the Cherokees), diesel treatment & some maintenance spray (GT85) - all with 15% off. Filled up with diesel (ouch, even at £1.25!) & while zeroing the trip, realised we're only a couple of 100 miles off 186,000 - so not bought that oil a moment too soon. Used
the GT85 almost as soon as I got out the car - to cure the slight groan from the driver's door.

No post today, shame that - still there's New Year's Eve . . .

Had wondered about yellow bulbs in the fogs & there are "golden" H3's in the green Cherokee. Good job I didn't liberate them 1st because, despite what the handbook says, once I'd eventually wrestled the bulb out, it's an H1! No spares down here (not that I can find anything like that back in London) so - pirate the dip beam bulb - & fit the new one afterwards. If working out how to remove the bulb was a challenge (both the handbook & bol are, in their own ways, useless - was there a change between the X.1 & X.2 neither author acknowledges, perhaps?) replacing it was a real pain, a test of initiaive, dexterity & perseverence. Still, could've been worse, could've been t'other side - which is actually impossible, at least by an adult human, without, it would appear,major disassembly. NOT getting yellow bulbs then!!

Thinking about ordering oil filter I wondered if there was anything else as, if my arithmatic is correct, a 36,000 mile service is quite major. Now car had been described as "while not being maintained regardless of cost, if anything needed doing, it was" (& there are some bills to support that) & I was assured by previous owner that it had had a recent service - at 180,000, presumably! So, thought I'd have a look at the air filter which, I thought, would give me some idea of what'd been done when it should've been. Of course, nothing is straightforward, one of the filtertop screws didn't want to undo & when I removed that hose clipped along it, one of the clips disappeared into the bowels of the engine compartment. Of course this was all taking longer than anticipated - & it was getting dark! Good job I remembered one of those flexible, cable operated grabs - with a little LED in the tip.
Filter didn't look too bad - 'til I removed it & saw that the foam on the underside was as black as Anna Mitchel's bonnet! Only thing is, when shopping on-line for filters, according to the illustrations, there is no foam! Oil, air & fuel filters now on order - looks like next w/e will be busy!
Last edited by van ordinaire on 03 Jan 2019, 21:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Not much today: re-attached a loose corner of the Xantia's undertray, spotted while struggling with the foglight bulb yesterday, presumably another victim of the rockpile incident. Destroyed the clip getting the seriously seized bolt undone - fortunately there was a spare in the back of the red Cherokee, only about 6' away! Gave the dashtop a wipe over with some vinyl trim cleaner, discovered where the foglight adjuster are - & realised that removing the indicator provides much better access to the foglight bulb!

Finally gave up any hope of getting the remains of the mirror screws out of the Visa door in the shed & started prep. for drilling them out (a job I sooooh wanted to avoid).

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Zelandeth »

I don't suppose you can get at the other end of the screws from inside the door with the door card off can you? Figure if so a decent set of mole grips matched on might be able to screw the stub all the way through the door...

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Thought of that approach, although I had in mind winding a couple of nuts onto the thread, the hope I could just get a couple turns, which would break the seizure AND provide a bit more purchase. Unfortunately that would mean taking the window out - something else I'd rather avoid! Particularly as there's no guarantee of success.

Anyway had already started the job, fortunately the holes in the doorhandle square were exactly the right size AND there was just enough of the front screw for the bar to locate on. Still went a bit off-centre but there seemed to be enough material left to tap a thread in; hopefully I can relieve the (plastic) foot of the mirror to accomodate that. The back screw is proving altogether more difficult, as it sheared off even closer to the door - & at an angle, not helped by the fact that the drill bit is now pretty blunt. Ironically, it's 1/8" & I bought a small "drum" of those for another job - but even if I was in London (where I'm sure they are) I know I wouldn't be able to find them.

Apart from that, what else have I achieved? The Xantia now has matching dip beam bulbs, a working n/s interior light (those bayonet fitting bulbholders are very clever by, mon Dieu, aren't the contacts tizzacky?) & one above rear window that comes on when the tailgate's opened - but not the back doors, as I would've expected.
The "other" sidelight LED's arrived by courier (man in a silver 406 estate!) - seem to have made the same mistake when ordering them, as Mandrake did with his "Nightbreakers"! Fitted one on the o/s, for comparison purposes, &, for a compact bulb of inobtrusive appearance, it really is quite impressive (NOT DRL bright - as described, mind you) - in daylight - & I would probably have been rather pleased with them. However, decided to see what I could see in the dark & I the "50w" ones definitely win - if only they weren't such fiddle to fit, with the lurking fear that removing them might be even more problematical. Still a final decision has to be made before returning to London, later on this New Year's Day.
Last edited by van ordinaire on 04 Jan 2019, 23:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

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Couldn't resist starting the New Year out on the Moor, so did my usual circuit, but ant-clockwise - & with a couple of tweaks, so saw some parts, & drove some lanes not seen for far too long.

Back in Torbay, it was bright, sunny & - remarkably mild! Fitted the other "50w" LED sidelight - & wondered if (how soon?) I'd regret it (hmmmmmm!). Investigated how to fold the backseat down (curiously, something not covered in the handbook), removed the rear shelf (ditto - never have been able to work out how to secure the luggage cover in the extended position) & wrestled the semi-rigid liner out of the loadspace: only put it back the day before!

Arranged collection of the winter Michelins, ready mounted on steelies - thanks Kev.

Fiddled with der kaput Bosching machine & determined (a) the motor doesn't turn (b) to claim refund for the Haynes manual which is neither what I ordered nor as good as the one I already have but couldn't find. Looks like another machine then, as I doubt a replacement motor'll be less than a s/h machine.

Thought I could spare that Visa door some more time. Looking at it in daylight, my success with drilling out the 1st screw was shortlived, I'd actually run the drill down the side of the screw. A little judicious use of small hammer & drift succeeded in moving the remains of the screw into the new hole & was then able to tap out the original hole. A little surpised it was 5mm (I'm sure the corresponding screws on the C15 are M6) AND that my el cheapo (Lidl's) taps don't include a 6mm one. Not sure how to proceed now, there are a few possibilties - but think it'll be trial & error. The other screw, though, is far more of a problem - but, I've realised that, because it's a one piece window, when its down, it isn't an obstacle to the underside of the mirror mounts AND, if BoL's right, the moulded door pull can be removed without having to take off the interior handle & that will provide very usefull access to the end of the screw (sooooh, Zel, I might've dispaired too soon). However, that's all for another time, as the light's going - & I've got to drive back to London.

Soon as I'd cleared Newton Abbot & got up to, maybe, 70 mph, there was a dull clunk - & the drivers mirror was dangling on the wires again. Seemed the glue was fine out in the country & around town - but can't resist higher speed wind pressure. Stopped at next layby & re-applied the gaffer tape. Nightbreakers proved a massive improvement & were well tested working my way from getting the wheels/tyres, cross country to the 303. Stopped for coffee, at Hazlegrove services - so no great distance/time - & having parked, nose in to a hedge, as I turned off the lights something was obviously amiss - yup, one of those super LED's had failed! Rest of the journey passed without incident & was remarkably traffic free, even the M25, quieter than an average Sunday!

Last evening's job was supposed to have been the C15's flat tyre - but, instead, I thought I'd better do something about only having one, albeit, very bright, side light. I was right about those LED's being an almost interference fit in the aperture, but wasn't expecting with all the care I was using, for the bulbholder to come of the bulb. leaving it lodged in the back of the lamp. Ideally I needed forceps or, at least, a pair of needle nose pliers - neither of which, of course, I could find. It'd been tricky with the right kit but having to make do was doomed to failure - & so it was: I didn't feel - or hear- anything but the LED must've dropped into the lamp, as I was afraid it would, although, peering through the lens, I can't see anything. Oh well, there's nothing to be done - except fit another LED & snap the cover back into place.

This evening, started the C15 (just rattled into life, having not been run since 22 December) & left it ticking-over while I re-inflated the flat tyre. Went shopping & as I got back in, saw the tyre was already noticeably soft: obviously more'n slow puncture then. Must remember to bring the rattle gun back on Sunday - &, finally, fit its winter tyres.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

S'posed to've had Xantia's screen repaired yesterday but for various reasons, not least that insurance companies are in thrall to that useless bunch of self-interested time-wasters at Autoglass, that won't now be done 'til Wednesday.

Despite an accident on the M25 slowing things down more than somewhat, was indoors in Devon by 9:30 (arriving before 10 is a big psychological thing - makes me think of comuting).

Got the n/s botom balljoint on the Xantia done this morning. Seemed expensive to me (although the part was only a tenner - from CP4L) but I'm not really used to garage prices. However, apart from needing a special tool, glad I didn't tackle it myself, because there was a problem with the part & they had to get another one. Didn't charge me for it though as they will return "mine" to Europarts, where they got "theirs", as faulty. What goes round, comes round.

So that's the 1st of the advisories done, which means I won't feel so bad about new tyres, perhaps in the Spring - by which time I'll try to have done the track rods, so that'll be a couple more out of the way.

Changed the oil & filter, plus air fuel filters. The oil filter I fitted was not the one I'd bought but one ostensibly for the 1st STS for which I'd got a refund, so ii didn't owe me anything, it's not cluttering up the garage (although a single oil filter is the least of my problems there) & already have filter in hand for the next change. Actually, I think it's better than the listed one because it is smaller diameter, but a little longer,soasimilar capacity. The test will be when I come to remove it, but I think it'll provide better access. The air filter's different too (well, has a different No: although same brand) but is a perfect fit, the biggest difference is the absence of the foam (which I mentioned before) but, on closer examination, it crumbled to the touch, so apparently not aircleaner quality foam, & had been stuck to the pleats with 2 lines of adhesive, albeit very professionally. Does that explain the different part Nos? Does it really matter? Does anyone out there really know?

By now, light was starting to fade - & t'was decidedly nippy. Howver, before calling it a day, did manage to clean the back window, having remembered this time, to hoik the glass cleaner out the back of the C15 & bring it down with me.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Zelandeth »

Pretty sure I read reference somewhere to the foam backed filters being specified for arduous environmental conditions etc...no idea where though so might have more it up.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Ah, like fine dust, that would pass through the paper pleats - that makes sense (a cheap alternative to an oil-bath I suppose), but surprised such filters are even listed, never mind available, here.

Curiously the filter suggests the car had spent a lot of time driving through clouds of soot but now have no qualms about the perfectly ordinary filter now in place; thanks.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Seems these filters come(at least from a couple of manufacturers) in two thicknesses but not clear whether that includes a layer of foam, or just deeper pleats - but they are considerably more expensive!

Yesterday morning, thought I'd better regularise the position with the sidelight LED's. Even with the use of a pair of forceps I ended up with the oversize LED lying in the bottom of the headlight. Oh well, not much I can do about it - own silly fault for disregarding my own better judgment!

Went off over the moor in search of the missing mudflap; assumed it would be in the vicinity of that small "cairn" I ran into before - but nowhere to be seen. Still it was a nice drive out.

Had another go at repairing the driver's door mirror, using a later formula Araldite. Only time will tell if it'll work - but at least the silver gaffer tape is not so obvious as the green stuff I had to use at Christmas!

Apart from the unexpectedly active oil temp guage (mentioned elsewhere) another remarkably unremarkable return journey up to London.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Got back from work early enough to tackle flat tyre on C15, but 1st to move Xantia so it's outside the house when Autoglass pitch up tomorrow - only to find the mirror hanging off, again! So the "instant" Araldite didn't hold AND, it fell off with the gaffer tape still in place. Or did it get another knock?

Parked it behind the C15 & set about changing the wheel, only to find I'd left the rattlegun battery down in Devon. So won't be swapping both front tyres tonight after all. Once all done, re-inflated the flat tyre & looked for obvious cause of sudden, & rapid loss of air. Not a puncture as I assumed/feared but the valve: hissing so loud you'd think it had no core. All I have to do is find the jar of valve cores, dustcaps AND what I'm sure is my last remaining key; another time though!

One thing I noticed when I started the Xantia was how long the oil-level light flickered. Perhaps it's a little low, THAT might explain the over-active oil temp. gauge - but I carefully poured the correct amount in AND, when I checked it, the level on the dip-stick was spot on. Will check it tomorrow though.

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by myglaren »

Have you tried Gorilla Glue for the mirror?

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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Yes - & I thought it was going to prove Jim wrong but, while it worked for, maybe a week, once I hit 60 on the way back from Devon it let go.

Autoglass man said he couldn't repair the screen as damage was twice the size they could, contrary to what the website says! Gave the impression he was only really interested in selling a new screen (as though they'd have one in stock). Not a word about refunding the £15 I'd already paid, of course, - so I suppose that's another fight I'll have on my hands.

If only insurance companies would let us sort out the repairs & just settle the bill (less any excess, of course) then Autoglass would go down the pan, as they richly deserve, because I can't imagine anyone actually chosing such a ramshackle bunch of comediens to come anywhere near their car.