Another "speared" Xantia strut top...Check YOURS!

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andmcit
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****minor tweaks to content and typo's!!

Post by andmcit » 31 May 2008, 23:02

Important lesson learned the hard way it seems.

The sphere bracket crown was as rotten as a peach on close concentrated
attention where I tugged all the rubberised covering off the underside, yet
to look at it without actual prodding it all 'looked fine'. The giveaway had I
taken the trouble to be more thorough was the paint lifting on the topside
ledge which flaked away in big swathes to reveal a less than happy more
regularly found bobbly rusty surface.

It would seem that removal to check isn't strictly necessary if you're
prepared to have a real go at the faces visible. I've had the car since
January and done little more than drive it, change the engine oil & filter
and all the Activa rear spheres with the plan to have a thorough going
over checking brakes etc when the weather improves and the light
evenings lengthen - seems events overtook me here.

I must be out of practice as it took me near 2 hours; that's after I'd
finished faffing about getting the bracket from Citroen, bought some
silicone sealant and then remembered I needed to get LHM fluid from
GSF before they closed at 2 just in case I spilled loads about the place!!

FWIW, I've taken some rough and ready pics with my mobile as I was
afraid of doing nasties to my damned expensive Canon Digital Camera.

This is the car as I managed to leave it outside my work with the system
fully depressurised - the bonnet is scrap but is still managing to just about
stop the weather getting into the engine bay.

Image

As Richard said earlier, in a nutshell you basically have to remove
everything connected to the 'sphere mounting bracket' or strut top;
the fluid feed pipe and it's clip/bracket, the main corner sphere and
then you need to undo the big nut on the crown that holds the end
of the strut's inner ram against a taper inside the strut top.

Image

sphere wrench from GSF:

Image

As the car is hydractive, the feed pipe for the hydraulics is the same
diameter as your finger as opposed to the usual 3.5mm.

The big nut of the top is usually very tight; here the whole strut head
swung around and round as it'd totally broken/separated off the wheelarch
- I had to put the sphere back on hand tight to brace it against the
surrounding engine bay fitments:

Image

Image

The next bit is my dodge to knock the inner piston downwards into the
main body - I've learned the hard way in the past that the thread on it's
end can be burred over if you're not careful hitting it as there's not much
to see or hold the nut - I usually have another identical nut to take up the
depth of a socket that I can then give a short sharp tap against - here I
used a small adapter from the socket set - the allan key head in the piston
end allows the nut to be threaded off if it catches and just turns:

Image

You then need a long bar with a slim diameter to compress the inner piston
downwards into the main strut body which will eject a fair bit of fluid about
the place and you could keep the main hydraulic feed connected until after this stage:

Image

The broken head was loose to simply lift out here though it would normally
be connected to the donut/collar attached to the wheelarch if it's still in one piece
- chance would be a fine thing...

you can see here the top face of the LHM covered bump stop:

Image

and this is that inner bump stop:

Image

Then the totally mullared collar/donut is undone:

Image

and dropped down the main strut leg:

Image

and fished off. I've been very nasty to it tugging it about before it got
removed and the lower rubber has hidden a multitude of sins behind it's
smooth rustfree outside surface...

A totally rusted lump of rubbish - no wonder it collapsed! :(

My dodge that is a 'bit hairy', is to have the car supported by a big trolley
jack (additional blocks/timber is additionally used to hold the bodywork up
with both wheels off the floor and the wheel of the corner in question is left
on - I've found it's easier to get a purchase on the whole strut leg and
move it about to get the right orientation

BUT YOU MUST WATCH THAT YOU DON'T PULL THE DRIVESHAFT
OUT OF THE GEARBOX OR SPLIT ITS TRI-AXE KNUCKLE ON THE
INBOARD END!!


For this particular side of the car, I had the car with a slight left lock on it
to help prevent this happening so easily although it doesn't look very nice: :shock:

Image

Image

I then fitted the newer gaiter bellows before I forgot (guess how I found
it's IMPORTANT TO DO THIS BEFORE BEING DISTRACTED BY
EXAMINING THE OLD KNACKERED STRUT in the past...) :roll:

Old and new:

Image

Image

The new strut top has a noticeable bump on it's forward facing edge which
must allow easy identification of it's presence on prospective new Xantia
purchases:

Image

Rightho - the assembly!!

I'm determined that this one will be around as long as I can keep the car,
so lashings of clear silicone sealan**** applied:

****EDIT - not such a good idea I've been advised - Acrylic based? TBC

Image

Top of the strut has been swung out to allow access for the old/new sphere
mounting bracket:
Image

Now fit the lovely new strut top and FIT THE BUMP STOP - remember this:

Image

it's a fiddle but you need to fit it inside the strut top head from underneath!!

DO NOT FORGET TO FIT IT!!

I HAVE IN THE PAST AND NEARLY DID AGAIN TODAY!!
Yep, it'll all need to be dismantled to fit the offending item AGAIN...

only handy if you need the practice!! ;)

Now with the wheel aligned right by leaning against it, I can orientate the
strut and grip the inner strut and feed it upwards into the sphere mounting
bracket - it's a bit slippery with LHM so you may need a bit of paper towel
to get a grip on it.

Image

you will find with a bit of jiggery pokery and patience that you can feed the
inner piston up through the head to protrude enough to feed the nut onto
it's thread!!

I could now almost just reshow the removal pics and pretend they're
fastening it all but you get the general idea!! Take your time and reattach
the remaining pipes etc and the jobs a good'un!!

****EDIT - use loctite/threadloc on the big nut on the stru top to maintain
a secure fastening/seal - there are two o rings on the taper and this is the
only way to guarantee no leakage!!

I'm not saying this is the definitive method, just the way I find it works
for me, and if everyone finds a better procedure/sequence post it up with
piccies here!! ****Thanks Simon/Lexi for additional pointers/corrections!!

Image

Image



Andrew
Last edited by andmcit on 02 Jun 2008, 00:14, edited 1 time in total.
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andmcit
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Post by andmcit » 31 May 2008, 23:36

I forgot to mention, when getting the strut leg in the correct orientation to
feed the inner strut up, I've found it's handy to have various blocks/timber
to chock under the wheel in the right position so it can't get the chance to
be such a stubborn git to handle into the preferred position.

Really, the one thing I've found the hard way from past experiences
with this is be very careful getting the inner strut off it's top taper - GO
VERY CAREFULLY!! so as not to damage the thread of the strut, and as
mentioned don't tug the driveshaft about - the Xantia and Xm have a
wet spline joint onto the gearbox inasmuch as removal or even faint
movement will disgorge all the gearbox oil everywhere whereas the
older Cx and GS models didn't being dry!!

The more 'sophisticated method' involves swapping the whole strut with
the sphere mount bracket and main strut body undoing the pinch of the
hub off the bottom by undoing one bolt - that is of course if you have
another whole one or time to build one up!


Incidentally, looking at this picture closely:

Image

are Activa front wings fuller in their roundness as a pal of mine swears his
black SX has slimmer front wings - I told him he was off his head!! :lol:

Andrew
Last edited by andmcit on 31 May 2008, 23:44, edited 1 time in total.
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andmcit
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Post by andmcit » 31 May 2008, 23:40

I don't think the torque needs to be massive - I fastened it as hard as I felt
it would go - if you're turning the nut with a big bar and socket the whole
inner strut will turn, and if you grip the centre with an allen key, the torque
against that relatively small diameter with a big 27mm nut is disproportionate.

Andrew
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Post by AndersDK » 01 Jun 2008, 00:21

2 questions Andrew :

1) what was the pricetag on the struttop you purchased ?
2) does the new top in any way look sturdier in construction - than the old one ?
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Post by Mandrake » 01 Jun 2008, 00:31

Andrew, fantastic job documenting this for everyone :D

I have replaced the strut cylinders before, not the tops (those were replaced before I bought the car) but the job is quite similar.

andmcit wrote:I don't think the torque needs to be massive - I fastened it as hard as I felt
it would go - if you're turning the nut with a big bar and socket the whole
inner strut will turn, and if you grip the centre with an allen key, the torque
against that relatively small diameter with a big 27mm nut is disproportionate.

Andrew


I wish I had my service book on hand - I have the torque figure but I have no idea where the books are at the moment because I am "in between" at the moment :D If I find the books later on I will add the torque figure to this message thread...

However I will add that it is recommended to use (medium strength) loctite on the threads of the big nut on the top when re-fitting, according to the Citroen service manual.

When I did mine I at first thought "nah, doesn't need that" but I was wrong - as it was weeping oil past the threads of the nut, nothing serious, but a constant weep, and the nuts would start to work loose after a a few weeks - I re-tightened them a couple of times over the next 6 weeks and finally admitted the book was right and put loctite on - no weepage or coming loose in the year since then.

It's easy to do after the fact - with the suspension fully depressurized just undo and remove the nut (the taper still supports the load) and thoroughly clean the thread, face, and nut with oil solvent such as petrol so there is no trace of oil, then apply loctite to both the thread of the shaft and the flat face the nut screws down onto it, retorque the nut, and leave the car for an hour or so before pressurizing and driving - presto, all done :)

Also when I did my struts, I did it with the wheel removed, no reason to have all the weight of the wheel interfering and trying to pull the driveshaft out of the gearbox - I also tied the top of the hub to the inner guard with a piece of copper wire to help support it so it wouldn't lean out and pull the driveshaft out.

Regards,
Simon
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Simon

1997 Xantia S1 3.0 V6 Auto Exclusive in Silex Grey
2011 Peugeot Ion Full Electric in Silver

1977 G Special 1129cc LHD
1978 CX 2400
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1998 Xantia S2 3.0 V6 Auto Exclusive

andmcit
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Post by andmcit » 01 Jun 2008, 01:51

AndersDK wrote:1) what was the pricetag on the struttop you purchased ?


I paid what the bloke at the Parts counter quoted to me - £GBP 93.58
all inclusive of our 'lovely VAT' though others have stated a figure
over £GBP 110. Not sure what's going of here but I'm not going to
grumble about any minor reduction in the not insignificant amount
these cost. I guess from Citroen, if it were priced according to weight,
they'd manage to justify a price that is double this amount.

Thank heavens it doesn't as I'm planning to fit a new one on the other
side before the car gets treated to a new bonnet though a replacement
bonnet may take some time to find so I could save my spare small
change to take the sting out of another wallet bashing at the Parts Counter.

AndersDK wrote:2) does the new top in any way look sturdier in construction - than the old one ?


No to be honest; not really - the newer gaiter may be one ridge longer
in length which may prevent it from coming undone and the collar where
it clips onto may be a different design which could possibly point to an
attempt by Citroen to try and stop the weather getting in and wrecking
havoc on the vulnerable metal of the collar.

The thickness of the mounting collar still looks quite lean where a nice
reassuring additional thickening to double the current offering wouldn't
go amiss. In fact, the only thing that is new about it's appearance is the
gobstopper bulge on the front which frankly doesn't suggest a cunning
new improvement to save future Xantia bonnets and drivers....

Simon:

good point about the Loctite - there are obvious signs of this on the
threads so it's a job worth doing - threadlock has been recommended
on Citroen suspension components over the years and I should have
considered it when I planned to do the job earlier - thanks for the
reminder as it sounds like from your experiences there is a genuine
need for it.

I've changed these with and without the wheel fitted and whilst there's
less weight dragging on the hub, I've found the wheel useful to lean my
shoulder against and still comfortably reach the strut leg in one hand
and the inner strut the other - it sounds like a weird contortionist
challenge but with the wheel helped into a useful position by blocks etc
I find I have more control over the relative positions of everything!!

Andrew
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Post by DickieG » 01 Jun 2008, 07:16

andmcit wrote:are Activa front wings fuller in their roundness as a pal of mine swears his
black SX has slimmer front wings - I told him he was off his head!! :lol:
Andrew
Yes they are wider on S1 Activa's (2.1 TD's as well), whereas on S2's the wings were wider for all models.
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Post by lexi » 01 Jun 2008, 09:40

Brilliant job!.. Might I be humble enough to say don`t use high mod silicone near steel ............it produces acetic acid on curing. Better with polyurethane (Sikaflex Tigerseal etc). These sealants also take paint better.
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andmcit
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Post by andmcit » 01 Jun 2008, 11:06

lexi wrote:Brilliant job!.. Might I be humble enough to say don`t use
high mod silicone near steel ............it produces acetic acid on curing.
Better with polyurethane (Sikaflex Tigerseal etc). These sealants also take
paint better.


Damn! Sounds like my plan here wasn't such a good idea at the end of that
day after all - I've used acrylic based sealant in the past where it was easier
to paint over. I'm no scientist so will be led by you; is this something I
need to worry about and dismantle to rectify or just something to be aware
of the next time around on the opposite strut?

How much potential damage am I adding to this already volatile
location/duff design defect!?

Andrew
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Post by andmcit » 01 Jun 2008, 11:16

DickieG wrote:
andmcit wrote:are Activa front wings fuller in their roundness as a pal of mine swears his
black SX has slimmer front wings - I told him he was off his head!! :lol:
Andrew
Yes they are wider on S1 Activa's (2.1 TD's as well), whereas on S2's the wings were wider for all models.


Thanks for that Richard!

I was beginning to have similar thouhts as my pal sitting looking at that
picture last night - the black masks it a bit but my pal deserves an
apology!! I thought he was just winding me up. :lol:

Glad I fitted a s2 silver wing to my silver Activa now too. Dammit, why do
Citroen manage to meddle around with things like this. Makes finding the
correct parts more challenging. :roll:

Andrew
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Post by red_dwarfers » 01 Jun 2008, 19:39

Had a look at my struts then my face looked a little like this - :shock:

The OS rubber has perished a little revealing lots of flaky peely off rust about a mm or 2 thick, NS didn't look too bad from the outset but soon after jabbing a screwdriver in the rubber this was also flaking badly, though not as much as the OS.

Only bought the car 3 months ago for £300, now looks like I've got to spend another £200!!
I gather the only places to get hold of them are Citroen and GSF?
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Post by andmcit » 01 Jun 2008, 20:05

GSF don't sell them.


It's a bit sketchy, but IIRC there was a mention a while back that GSF
were considering getting hold of them though obviously nothing came
of it. Wonder who is sub contracted to produce these for Citroen and
what the base unit/trade price is - I may need to buy a job lot of the
damn things.

The main collar mounting plate is only about 3-4mm thick when it's new
so if it's now halved in thickness you're going to need to find alternative
ones, either second hand if you're lucky, new from Citroen (Main Dealer
part at full whack price unfortunately) or make sure you have a spare
bonnet the right colour handy...

Andrew
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Post by ACTIVE8 » 01 Jun 2008, 23:38

Thanks for the step by step guide andmcit very useful.

It's strange that GSF do not do them as they obviously do fail, and owners do need them, if GSF could get them from the same supplier as Citroen, then they could certainly make them more affordable than the main stealer prices.
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Post by AndersDK » 02 Jun 2008, 00:05

Pricetag in DK for a sphere-bracket/strut-top varies from £105 to £133 according to type - PLUS 25%vat.
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Post by red_dwarfers » 02 Jun 2008, 17:34

Just rung up the local scrappy, he's got a couple of strut tops from a W reg Xantia, going to whip down tomorrow to have a look at the condition.

Before I do is the only difference in the strut tops the hydractive/non hydractive pipe width?
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