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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:02 pm 
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Light Pressure Turbo

Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:17 pm
Posts: 357
Location: Kent
Put all of your test leads in a supermarket type jute bag and hang that on the hook. If you look around you can get a plain non logo one on which you can stencil SUN, just to be fancy. Great project. Keep on posting.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:12 pm 
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Location: Milton Keynes
Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
Derek UK wrote:
Put all of your test leads in a supermarket type jute bag and hang that on the hook. If you look around you can get a plain non logo one on which you can stencil SUN, just to be fancy. Great project. Keep on posting.


Shouldn't be a problem once it's in situ as it will be going back on the stand and they all hang neatly then. It was just separated to get it into the house. Any leads not in use will just be stashed in the cupboard in the base.

Not sure if I'd made it clear before if I had the cabinet it's meant to sit on, but I do.

Image

Needs a good clean and one of the wheels replaced before it goes back into use.

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96 Xantia Activa, 93 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate, 90 Merc 208D, Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model 70


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:52 pm 
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Location: Milton Keynes
Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
Today was the day to get all the digital cards out for a check over and to get everything reseated.

So here are the digital boards, from left to right.

"CRT" - This is responsible for taking the data from the computer and converting it into a composite video signal which is fed to the monitor.

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"MUX" - Handles all the analogue to digital conversion, signal processing and such like. Initially I thought "oh my god bodge wires" when I saw this, before realising those wires are all shielded coax, so they have just decided it's a more reliable way of getting a clean signal across the board than using PCB traces. Even if it does look a bit shonky.

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The whole machine is astonishingly free of bodge wires actually...especially for a design from the late 70s where they usually would find *something* after the board's had gone to be made...

Lovely white ceramic package on the ADC.

"I/O" - No great surprise, does most of the heavy lifting with regards to the actual I/O side of things.

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"CPU" - Unsurprisingly, contains the CPU and the 64kB of RAM it makes use of.

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"MEM1" - Basically all the ROM. Interesting to see that while these initially all look to be EPROMS, they're not. While there are some, there are also a shedload of character generators. My guess is they're using this to give greater control over the display without going to the lengths of full bitmap control.

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"PP" - Pre-Processor. Not actually entirely sure what this does, though I have to assume basically just does some general housekeeping which we would normally expect to be handled directly by the CPU these days... purely a guess though.

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The EPROM here was losing its label, so a bit of black tape was applied to help keep the data safe.

Probably the main reason I would love to find an actual service manual for this (VERY unlikely as Sun kept really quite tight control over) is that it would probably give me a really good breakdown of the actual system architecture - sadly there's a lot of hardware in here I've never worked with before, so there's a learning process involved.

All of the socketed components on these boards were reseated while I had them out, as I knew this had already sorted one problem.

Turns out that while it's not fixed everything (the gas analyser is still failing the self test), it has definitely helped. Previously we had complete nonsense shown on the voltage readout. Now however we seem to have sensible data shown.

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The column on the right is showing the data from when I had a car battery connected to the voltage measurement lead, the one on the left is with the leads shorted together. Had to do that as it's smart enough to know when there's nothing connected and will just blank the display for that measurement. Helpful in the real world...but slightly awkward during testing!

Not worrying too much about a 0.2V offset at zero for an instrument of this type, the reading with a load connected was spot on...multimeter was showing 12.23V.

Worth noting that we appear to have more sane readings on the vacuum gauge as well now, that was tending to wander around quite a bit at rest too.

Definitely progress.

Know this is repeating myself to some folks I've spoken to about this, but I figure it's worth mentioning one of my plans for this thing long term to the world at large. One of the useful things about the monitor the computer is that it's simply a self-contained composite unit. The signal from the computer to it is simply carried by a twisted pair of wires. So it would be a truly trivial task to cut into that and introduce a switchable video source.

My intention here is to fit a small self contained computer (probably a Raspberry Pi because I know I can just throw Debian at it rather than having to muck around with it) somewhere in the case. This would then allow me to use the monitor there to view manuals, data sheets, instructional videos etc in the garage on something a bit more user friendly than a tiny phone screen. It's a really nice sharp screen so should do just fine.

I'll do doing nothing which cannot be reversed easily. The only thing I'll need to fit to the outside of the case will be a switch to change video sources. Luckily I won't even need to drill a hole for that as there's a convenient rubber bung by the remote control input for an option port...so I can just put a hole into that rubber bung rather than drilling a hole in the actual case.

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Just seems a really nice way to bring it functionally into the 21st century somewhat to help it perform the sort of tasks it was originally designed for. Quite often I find myself in the garage with a wiring diagram of something open on my phone and getting really fed up with the screen turning off every five seconds...so having a fixed screen which I can't drop under the car will be most appreciated.

So that's what will be getting done to improve it in addition to the actual service and repair work.

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96 Xantia Activa, 93 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate, 90 Merc 208D, Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model 70


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:42 pm 
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Light Pressure Turbo

Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:17 pm
Posts: 357
Location: Kent
Googling for manuals found several posts from guys who got them from Bob Masters in Kentucky. Unfortunately his website seems to be defunct. He could be retired or no longer with us as the posts are quite old. Extra searching might give you a lead.
Example: But the big consoles, cool as they are, are not the centre of this market. Bob Masters (Masters Company, 30 Willow Drive, Suite A, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, 41075, www.distributortester.com, (859) 441-8778), who operates a full-time business buying, selling, and working on these old dinosaurs, tells us that the distributor machines, in their various configurations, are far and away the lion’s share of his business.
I suspect you might have seen this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQebyTlZLAc

Keep striving. :geek:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:09 pm 
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Location: Orpington, Kent
Car Model: 1987 SAAB 900i
Wow, this looks tremendous! I love the idea of a 'restomod' in giving the monitor an additional purpose.
If you need any IC's or components, we have dozens of PCBs from old laboratory analysers (spectrometers) at work from a similar era. Also if you need optical filters etc, we have contacts. Hopefully though, all it needs is TLC and a clean and you will have an amazing addition to the garage.
Lastly if you need anything for your vacuum pump, I have an identical Gardner Thomas pump (seen in video that Derek posted) that can be salvaged for spares if you need seals or diaphragms

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:28 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 9:03 pm
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Location: Milton Keynes
Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
CaptainBoom wrote:
Wow, this looks tremendous! I love the idea of a 'restomod' in giving the monitor an additional purpose.
If you need any IC's or components, we have dozens of PCBs from old laboratory analysers (spectrometers) at work from a similar era. Also if you need optical filters etc, we have contacts. Hopefully though, all it needs is TLC and a clean and you will have an amazing addition to the garage.
Lastly if you need anything for your vacuum pump, I have an identical Gardner Thomas pump (seen in video that Derek posted) that can be salvaged for spares if you need seals or diaphragms


Useful to know! Hopefully a good clean and possibly realignment will be all it needs. It's a pretty simple bit of kit really and the electronic side of it looks to be mostly discreet components without any obvious custom ICs or anything that newer kit would be riddled with.

Completely irrelevant to this project, but a decent diffraction grating is something I've always been keeping my eyes open for.

Derek UK wrote:
Googling for manuals found several posts from guys who got them from Bob Masters in Kentucky. Unfortunately his website seems to be defunct. He could be retired or no longer with us as the posts are quite old. Extra searching might give you a lead.
Example: But the big consoles, cool as they are, are not the centre of this market. Bob Masters (Masters Company, 30 Willow Drive, Suite A, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, 41075, http://www.distributortester.com, (859) 441-8778), who operates a full-time business buying, selling, and working on these old dinosaurs, tells us that the distributor machines, in their various configurations, are far and away the lion’s share of his business.
I suspect you might have seen this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQebyTlZLAc

Keep striving. :geek:


Useful information there, thanks for looking. Also yes, I do know of that video, have been a subscriber of that gent since well before that video was originally uploaded, so that was a bit of a trip down memory lane.

-- -- --

Is this the point where I should cue the classic mad scientist manic laughter?

Image

The display is actually a lot sharper than it looks there, my camera is unsurprisingly not too keen of taking photos of an interlaced CRT display. While it's not exactly a 1080p TFT screen, it's perfectly usable and will be more than good enough for looking up the odd bit of information or watching instructional videos on.

There is a little screen burn, but it's really not noticeable in person unless you were actually looking for it. The camera makes it look far worse than it really is.

Test video to see how that looked was of course Aussie50's infamous washing machine destruction video where there really did look to be - as he himself put it, "a real life physics engine malfunction" at one point.

Image

If you want to see what happens when you throw a few kilograms of unbalanced weight into a washing machine which has has the counterweights removed and had the motor hard wired to the mains, the video is over here on YouTube.

Definitely shows that the idea to use the display for dual purposes isn't a bad one. Sure there will be more to follow on that project at a later date.

Edit: Earlier in the evening I was out in the garage executing boring household tasks, namely extracting some stuff from the chest freezer that's been in there for years and is obviously never going to be used. Once I was done with that I figured it was really about time that I gave TPA at least a brief run as I don't think she's been started since I had the wheel stud snap. Decided that while I was at it, I may as well stick the camera recording...the result was a 15 minute or so ramble about the fleet in general and my tip of a garage with some Invacar noises in the middle.

Video is over here on YouTube if anyone wants to watch.

Apologies for the portrait format. I realised I'd made that mistake about five minutes in but really didn't want to start over or have to mess around editing two videos together for what was meant to be a really quick job. Will try to do better next time.

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96 Xantia Activa, 93 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate, 90 Merc 208D, Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model 70


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:08 pm 
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Location: Milton Keynes
Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
Well that's maddeningly unhelpful.

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Car was last running a few days ago. Battery is less than a year old.

Image

Currently on the charger, though then I need to find out why it's flat. Really hoping the alternator isn't having issues, as having to replace that in addition to all the other work that's coming up really might be the straw that broke the camel's back. Especially as it looks like it will be a royal pain to change due to poor access.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:29 pm 
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Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
Alternator seems to be charging okay and so far the battery has behaved after a proper charge. I'll probably look to get it changed under warranty in the near future though as it really shouldn't have died like that and having been that deeply discharged is unlikely to ever be quite 100% again. Probably be a bit of a while until I have time to get to it though.

Today I've got it booked in to get new tyres fitted on Monday. Full set of Uniroyal RainExpert 3. Unsurprisingly they didn't have any 205/60 R15s in stock. Formula 1 are asking £83 apiece, which isn't unreasonable. The best I found online was £73 I think including fitting, and I'll happily pay a few quid more to support a local business. Not like when I was looking for tyres for the Invacar and it was like £44 online Vs £79 there...I wasn't willing to stand for that.

We'll have a look while on the ramp to see if we can do anything with the exhaust...the tailpipe is definitely past it, but can probably be bodged for the MOT, allowing me to investigate that in the near future. Likewise she could really do with a set of corner spheres...but they'll have to wait until the financial dent this next couple of weeks is making has recovered a bit first!

She's also booked into BL Autos on Thursday to have the front end sorted out.

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96 Xantia Activa, 93 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate, 90 Merc 208D, Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model 70


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:03 am 
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Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
This afternoon an envelope containing four 3/8" BSF bolts dropped through my door.

The big question of course was whether they would fit the hub of the Invacar, given the hassle we've had on that count so far.

Image

Yaaaaaay!

I can now confirm that the threads in the hub are 3/8" BSF.

With a little fermangling the old wheel nuts (which mostly had somewhat mangled threads) were drilled out to act as conical washers for the time being.

Image

These were destined only for the bin so I had no worries about messing with them.

This meant that for the first time since September I was able to attach the wheel to the car again.

Image

...Which meant the car is actually sitting on its wheels again rather than axle stands.

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Obviously won't be getting driven on the road like this, especially with the remains of the original stud still being in there. However it will mean that I can at least move the car in and out of the garage until such time as the replacement hub turns up. Given that I need to shift it to get the Crypton machine out of there...that was getting kind of important.

While I was in the garage I figured it was time to have a better look at the booster fan for the heater.

Bit of experimentation was needed, but eventually found somewhere to put it where it was out of the way.

Image

I hadn't been successful in tracking down the correct reducer to attach the ducting straight to the fan housing...so out with the duct tape. Not pretty but it's air tight.

Image

The messy assembly was stuffed back in the corner.

Image

It will be bolted onto the top of that rear wheel tub. Currently it sticks out like a sore thumb. It will however be getting painted in hammered black before I'm done which should make it blend in and look like it's meant to be there.

The airflow isn't fantastic, but is far better than the original setup was unless you were going flat out. Plus you can switch it off...which couldn't reliably be said originally.

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96 Xantia Activa, 93 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate, 90 Merc 208D, Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model 70


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:13 pm 
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Light Pressure Turbo

Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:17 pm
Posts: 357
Location: Kent
Something like this or similar ? https://plumbing4home.com/drain-waste-p ... m-to-32mm/

Silver duct tape for the win.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:09 pm 
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Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
Derek UK wrote:
Something like this or similar ? https://plumbing4home.com/drain-waste-p ... m-to-32mm/

Silver duct tape for the win.


Have to admit to having never looked at plumbing stuff...just ventilation. We need to go from 80mm on the fan housing to 55mm on the ducting.

To be fair once I've wrapped the join more tidily and painted the fan body hammered black it should be a good deal tidier anyway, but I'll definitely go digging through plumbing stuff now to see if s proper reducer in an appropriate size is readily available.

A centrifugal blower definitely would have been better suited but I was struggling to find one sensibly sized and priced when I looked.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:09 pm 
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Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
Xantia is now wearing a nice new set of Uniroyal RainExpert 3 tyres.

Image

Tell you what I wasn't expecting...that changing the tyres has reduced road noise by what feels like about 70%. It's not something I was expecting at all, so took me a good few seconds to figure out what had changed.

I'm glad to be back on these tyres to be honest. Have been on others for a few years now down to availability and what cars came with...but the RainExpert has been my tyre of choice going back pretty much to the start of me driving back in 2003.

Annoyingly she will definitely be wanting rear discs for the MOT as they've only been working on a small portion of the rear of the disc - quite likely due to the usual Xantia issue of the caliper alignment being screwed up by dissimilar metal corrosion between the axle and caliper.

Deceptive this problem as the rear brakes don't do much in the Xantia unless you've a lot of weight onboard - the brakes in this one feel quite capable of stopping the rotation of the planet itself as they are.

Front discs will do a bit yet, but the pads are definitely getting towards due for a change.

Image

Couple of weeks over two years and ~20K miles.

The exhaust has also decided to be annoying, having somehow managed to part company with the rearmost hanger.

Image

Still not quite sure how it's managed this...though the whole system appears to have managed to get twisted somehow and this is the first day it's not rattled in several months. Will see if I can convince it to behave tomorrow.

If I can get this exhaust through the MOT I'll be happy...as I'd really rather not have to add another hundred or two onto the bill (and finding systems that actually fit well for the Xantia is a pain at the best of the time, irrespective of price). I'd like to get a stainless system made...but I could do with a chance to recover from the work about to be done before having to pay for that too!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:53 am 
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Well that was a waste of a morning.

Turns out the last email I sent to BL Autos never got through, vanishing into the aether somewhere...so they weren't expecting me to appear this morning as they'd never had the message from me saying I'd be there today. This meant that they had nowhere to put the car and their courtesy car was unavailable. So I was left with no option other than to drive back home and book it back in for the tenth.

Not their fault by any means...just annoying. Could have proven really awkward if I'd got pulled over on the way there for driving with no MOT too as the garage wouldn't have had any idea I was on the way. Luckily that didn't happen.

On the plus side it gives me the opportunity to clean the car up a bit before it goes in. I've removed a load of detritus from the door pockets and boot, and will be able to give it a wash to get the moss out of the window rubbers.

The exhaust was reattached to the rearmost hanger (again) and removed the demountable tow bar having smacked my shins on it for about the 78274638th time.

Image

Just a bit of salt on the roads today...

Image

Turning my attention to the van briefly I wanted to address one of the biggest shortcomings of the saloon heater. Most notably that this is it notionally "off."

Image

The controller stays on so long as there's power. This is hooked directly into the leisure battery so doesn't shut off when the DC stuff in the back is turned off at the control panel. This won't be a huge issue long term as a proper controller will be replacing this piece of tat at some point (the controller is where they skimped most on the production costs), but for now I'd like to be able to turn it off.

Half an hour later this was sorted.

Image

Image

So it's now possible to turn it properly off without having to stand on my head in the side locker to remove the fuse every time.

Obviously you need to wait for the heat exchanger to cool and the fan to stop before you can power it down though or you'll damage it.

Yes it does mean the clock resets to 00:00 every time you turn things back on...but as the clock keeps laughably poor time (loses about five minutes a day!) that's not really an issue.

... I'm trying to resist the very strong urge to reposition the controller so it's level given it will be getting replaced and be returned to the original location on the wall...but it's really bugging me.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:41 am 
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OCD = Old Controller Droop.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:48 pm 
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Well that was unexpected. Someone has just made me a distinctly left field potential swap offer for the Lada.

My initial reaction is an equal mix of the following:

"Hell yes! Not going to get another shot at that! You only live once."

Plus...

"Oh my god...what are you thinking...run for the hills!"

Not going to drop any more details yet as nothing has been agreed yet...but definitely considering the offer.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:24 pm 
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Well that visit to the garage could have gone better.

Image

They reckoned somewhere in the region of £1500 worth...even taking into account that I had some of the required parts already in the car.

I already knew about the stuffed lower control arm bush (that's the main thing it was in there to sort), the rear brakes were spotted at the end of last week when the tyres were changed, and I knew the exhaust was ropey but was kind of hoping we could scrape a couple months more out of it as I've been hoping to get a stainless system fitted, and there's always been a creak in the front end, so I was expecting a bush or two to need attention. The rest however was a complete bolt from the blue.

I'm a bit of two minds about the reported LHM leaks...those areas have been slightly damp with fluid for the two and a half years I've had the car...but in those two and a bit years and 20+K miles she's never used a drop of fluid...so it can't be leaking that much!

The rear arm bearing has me slightly puzzled... usually those failing give a load of warning years before they actually become an issue, with creaking, groaning etc...but aside from a rattle from the exhaust recently, the rear end has been totally silent...and I've never noticed it graunching or anything when dropping or raising the suspension. No abnormal tyre wear or anything like that either. Just slightly surprised that I've not seen that one coming...

Will need to do a bit of a part sourcing binge and see what I can get ticked off on my own driveway to see if I can get that bottom line down to a slightly less painful figure.

The work will be done though... despite the fact that it's probably going to still wind up exceeding the value of the car...because let's face it, what on earth would I replace it with?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:42 am 
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Car Model: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T
So the Xantia is likely to be in "dry dock" until after the Festive period...This combined with a taker being pretty much lined up for the Lada means I've given myself a metaphorical kick up the back side to get it back on the road.

Currently awaiting the arrival of a brake caliper overhaul kit (the offside front one weeps slightly), but nevertheless I've got it booked in for an MOT on Friday. Hopefully nothing else will drop up, if so I've no worries about popping back next week when the brake parts arrive. The garage I use is less than ten minutes from my door, so it's not a huge chore to get there and back.

Much as I enjoy it, I'll be quite happy to see it moved on. Not to mention being excited to get to know the car replacing it...

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:47 am 
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Location: Wigan, Lancashire
Car Model: 99L, 9000cse, 9-5s and a Panda
Zelandeth wrote:
Well that was unexpected. Someone has just made me a distinctly left field potential swap offer for the Lada.

My initial reaction is an equal mix of the following:

"Hell yes! Not going to get another shot at that! You only live once."

Plus...

"Oh my god...what are you thinking...run for the hills!"

Not going to drop any more details yet as nothing has been agreed yet...but definitely considering the offer.

"Left field"? Looking at your current collection I'm wondering just how far left I need to guess. Chieftain tank? Commercial hovercraft?
:corn:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:52 am 
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DeeDub8 wrote:
"Left field"? Looking at your current collection I'm wondering just how far left I need to guess. Chieftain tank? Commercial hovercraft?
:corn:


Fuel economy probably on par with either of those...

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:32 pm 
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I'll get some more popcorn

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