500 miles in a knackered BX

The wedding of two very lovely friends saw us travelling to Cambridgeshire last weekend. An ideal first trip for the BX that has recently returned to the fleet. We decided to catch up with friends in Lincolnshire on the way, so with pre-flight checks completed, we headed east.

It took a staggering five hours to get to Lincolnshire, thanks to little more than heavy traffic and the odd burst of heavy rain. It’s a credit to the BX that after five straight hours at the wheel, I felt fine! Which is more than can be said for a night in the bed of our B&B…

We did almost run out of fuel. The gauge got stuck due to a faulty sender and it took me a while to notice. I decided that a full tank should easily get us 400 miles. I hadn’t filled up before we left but had shortly before, and reset the trip. Then I remembered that due to a leaking filler neck (now repaired) I’d short-filled last time! Oh dear!

We then got stuck in Stamford. Horrible traffic ruining a beautiful town. We eventually got through and found a fuel station where I squeezed 47 litres into the 52 litre tank. Pretty close, especially given that I don’t like to let the car go below quarter of a tank normally!

With wedding joy completed, we headed back home on the Sunday – a much better run.

Citroen BX estate

The Green Tiger rests in Lincolnshire after a 200 mile drive

The BX wasn’t exactly problem free, but given how it had been pretty badly neglected for the previous 30,000 miles, it did remarkably well. The niggles were just that really. An iffy fuel gauge, a rattly gearknob, a squeaky steering wheel and intermittent power steering.

Ok, that last one wasn’t much fun at all truth be told. However, I’ve cured that today with little more than a dose of spring cleaning. How nice it is to dispel the myth that BXs are horribly complicated! While intermittent power steering could be a knackered pump, a knackered steering rack or aged LHM (the lifeblood of the Citroen hydraulics) it actually turned out to be nothing more than clogged filters. The LHM must be exceptionally clean. The filters protect the system but like any filter, if they get clogged, the flow gets affected. The steering is one of the systems that requires most pressure, so if flow problems occur, it’s usually the first thing to go wrong.

I pulled the filters out of the reservoir, soaked them in petrol and wiped them down with clean rags. They weren’t in a horrific state but what a difference it has made! The steering is now as light as it should be – and at all times. All thanks to a job that took less than ten minutes. I should have changed the fluid – it’s been a good 40,000 miles since that was last done – but having had to put quite a lot of LHM in when I got the car, I’ve opted to leave it a while longer yet. I’ll see how quickly the filters clog up again.

The BX is very likely to find itself clocking up more miles over the summer. We’ve got a lot on and it’s so good – especially now the steering problems are overcome. It’s smooth, relatively quiet and does 50mpg. What more could you want from a car? The only slight concern is the clutch. The pedal is heavy and the bite is not particularly strong. My suspicion is that it is worn out. I’ve not done a clutch change on a BX yet. Perhaps it won’t be too long until I do…

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