Project BX: Prize winning!

Last weekend, I took the BX on a mighty trek to the X Rally in Lincolnshire, taking in the excellent Pride of Longbridge rally on the way.

The BX coped with the 300+ mile trip in typical unflustered manner. It may look dreadful, it may be far from healthy mechanically but it does just keep soldiering on. It’s getting better too. An awful lot of work has gone into the car over the winter, and it’s paying dividends. Sadly, many problems still remain and I still need to get the hydraulics working properly. On the way to Birmingham, the intermittent power steering made driving on unexpected snow rather too exciting!

Citroen BX 19RD estate mk1

Prize winner! Ok, so the prize was for Shed of the Show, but it's still a victory. (picture courtesy of Tim Leech)

Things improved with mileage, but the BX remains an absolute sod to drive around town. For a start, you can hear the hydraulic pump cut in every couple of seconds. It shouldn’t do this. My plans to buy a new accumulator sphere at the X Rally were thwarted by there not being anyone there selling them. The lack of consistency from the steering doesn’t help either, though this does improve when the car and ambient temperature are warmer. The biggest problem is the drivetrain though. First gear synchromesh is long departed, but it’s very tricky to try and double-declutch into first. This generally results in hideous crunching. I suspect some engine mountings are knackered too, as there’s a lot of shunt and judder at times. There’s also some excitement generated by the fact that the brakes are sometimes a little slow to react as I need to re-bleed the front brake lines following a caliper replacement.

However, despite the issues, the BX did get me to the X Rally and amazingly – it even won a prize! Ok, so the prize was for Shed of the Show, but the Citroen purists knew how rare it was. Not just a symbol of its dreadful state! The bottle of beer will be enjoyed by my wife and I’m trying to use the unexpected prize win to boost moral for the continuing project. If I can get the engine and hydraulics performing better, and sort out some of the drivetrain issues, the car will be transformed.

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