XM brakes – conclusions

So, I haven’t quite got the XM’s brakes sorted, but I’m getting closer! The offside front caliper has a new slider and boots and new discs and pads have been fitted both sides.

XM fettling frustrated by weather.

XM fettling frustrated by weather.

It was an absolute sod of a job that just ate up hours like you would hardly believe. Especially as rain often interrupted play. Ok, so some (er maybe lots) of time was spent hunting for tools – I’ve come to expect this. But an awful lot of time was lost just faffing about with stuff. Winding the pistons back in to clear the new pads was one such task, though that became a lot easier when I discovered that a 3/4″ socket fits on the piston, so you can wind it back in with a ratchet and apply the necessary pressure for the piston to go back. Certainly a lot easier than trying to wind them back in with a screwdriver.

Fitting the new slider seals was a pain too, and I’m worried that I’ve actually managed to damage both seals as I was fitting them. Frustrating. However, the protection is still better than it was. It’s been an interesting learning experience.

Yet, there is a problem. The offside caliper’s parking brake mechanism is simply not functioning. A fairly simple set-up apparently, so when it stops raining (oh please stop raining!) I’ll have to get the wheel off and have another go.

But it’s all rather frustrating. This job was really a complete faff only because the XM uses single-pot calipers. I’m sure the brakes would be far better AND far more reliable if twin-pot calipers were used. Then there would be no need for sliders and there would simply be less to go wrong.

In a conventional car, twin-pot calipers can still cause issues, as the pistons can seize in the pots. Not so much of an issue on a Citroen. Why is that? Simply because LHM is the best brake fluid in the world.

Seriously, I have no idea why DOT fluids are used. Why could it possibly be better to use a fluid which not only absorbs moisture (which then rots out brake lines and caliper pistons) but which will seriously damage bodywork if spilt? LHM does neither of these things, which is why issues with pistons seizing in the caliper are so rare.

It is kind of indicative for me of the general decline of engineering in the 20th century. We invent something as excellent as the disc brake, then spend the next few decades cheapening the design to make it less efficient. Go humanity!

If all the brake faff wasn’t enough, I then decided to replace the bulb in the clock. This required me to remove half of the dashboard and was also a stupid, annoying, fiddly job. This really does highlight that manufacturers really don’t care if a car becomes difficult to work on. It’s not on the design brief. That for me is another failing. Why would you design something that needs maintenance to be horrible to work on?

XM dash

All this just to change the bulb in the sodding clock!

I suppose I should consider myself lucky. It is at least possible to change a headlamp bulb without having to dismantle the entire front end of the car. Sometimes, old cars really are best.

Anyway, here’s my latest video covering the above!

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