Xantia- oversensitive steering

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IanR
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Xantia- oversensitive steering

Post by IanR » 19 May 2002, 21:12

Well, sold the BX, and bought a Xantia 1.8 (petrol) Nice car, in many ways better than the BX, one thing I don't care to much for is the power steering - I've always preferred manual steering anyway.
On this car, the steering is fine in a straight line, precise and without any play, etc. -Although the action is extremely light.
However, when cornering at speed it seems to get progressively even more sensitive still, the harder you corner. Eventually you reach a point, well before the point of skid, where it's so oversensitive that it's almost impossible to corner smoothly.
Is this a known fault? Or is it simply a feature of the car? Can the power-assist be reduced? (Which I think is what's needed)
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Dave Burns
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Post by Dave Burns » 21 May 2002, 02:33

Might be wise to have the tracking checked and look for any signs of accident damage, suspension geometry could be out if it's been in a scrape.
If it was a one of the ealry model's with a flow distributor, it might be possible to adjust the assistance, but on the later car's where the steering is on a seperate circuit you are stuck with it, short of fitting a smaller diameter ram, not something that's on the shelf anywhere though I'm afraid.
Besides all that the amount of power assistance at speed is reduced anyway, so I would be looking elsewhere for the cause.
Give me power steering over mandrolic steering any day, love to be able to spin the wheel using just the palm of my hand, none of that push pull malarky.
I'm on my second Xantia now, neither of them reacted in the way you describe, in fact I find The Xantia does'nt throw up any nasty surprises at all, but then it's not a sport's car and I don't drive it as such.
Dave
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IanR
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Post by IanR » 21 May 2002, 04:01

Hmm, doesn't show any obvious signs of tracking errors, tyres are healthy enough and it runs straight if you release the wheel, even under heavy braking. No detectable play on wheels. If it has been repaired it doesn't show any signs.
It's a '96 model. Not sure if it has a flow distributor or not. On that score, I think I really need to see if I can get a genuine Citroen manual for it - The Haynes manual for the BX was adequate, but the Xantia one has huge gaps in its coverage, most noticeably no hydraulic plumbing diagram at all.
I was thinking along the lines that if the steering feed is regulated then it's possible it's too high for some reason. Might be worth asking the local Citroen guru, I suppose. He'll probably know where/how to check the pressure and what it should be, save me some searching.
It isn't a desperately bad problem, but I think the car ought to handle a lot better than it does. The BX was far more precise and controllable, despite its age and high mileage.
Thanks for advice anyway. Much appreciated.
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Might be wise to have the tracking checked and look for any signs of accident damage, suspension geometry could be out if it's been in a scrape.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>
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iancook2000
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Post by iancook2000 » 21 May 2002, 13:48

What year is the Xantia you bought? Later ones have much fatter tyres on 15" rims and these give better grip on corners, but might give the symptoms you describe.
I now have a 99 HDi and it rides and corners significantly differently ("sharper" on corners) from my previous 94TD which had narrower tyres on 14" rims - your previous BX is likely to have been shod similarly to earlier Xantias.
Worth a thought?
Ian Cook
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alan s
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Post by alan s » 21 May 2002, 16:02

I had a similar problem with a CX which turned out to be spheres down on pressure coupled to a couple of "rogue" spheres fitted by an "expert" which had wrong sized dampers for the car. I have also had a similar experience on my BX 16V when it started to handle a bit weird and in that instance it turned out to be spheres deflating on diagonally opposite corners. Once the spheres were replaced and with the correct ones in both cases, the steering & handling returned to normal.
Alan S
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IanR
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Post by IanR » 22 May 2002, 02:28

Thanks for comments.
The tyres are 185x14s, and the front spheres were replaced not long before I bought the car. Will check if they're the right ones.
To give a more accurate description of the fault, it's as if the car goes into the corner normally up to, say 30% of the turn angle, then suddenly displays oversteer, which calls for a yank back on the wheel to get the car back on line.. once you're through the oversteer it handles normally again. Does this in both directions. Doesn't have to be cornered all that hard to show the problem, in fact it's just about noticeable on typical 30mph urban driving.
Today when crossing some huge speed ramps at crawling speed with the suspension on the higher setting, a vibration started in the steering, which lasted for a few seconds afer leaving each ramp. It was as if the power steering was showing some kind of mechanical feedback. I'm wondering if there might be play somewhere that I haven't noticed. Intend to check track rods, etc again. Hoping I don't have a faulty rack, that's all, as that could be costly.
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alan s
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Post by alan s » 22 May 2002, 11:18

Ian,
The vibration when set on a high setting isn't all that uncommon & it's doubtful that it is associated with ypour problem.
To give you an idea of how much dodgy spheres can be; when I had my problem, it didn't show itself until I had a new set of tyres fitted. My wife was dubious of driving it above 40 KPH (not M PH) so it was real bad.
With spheres, they can pop like a light bulb; without warning particularly if they were someones old stock. You should be able to track down the specs for your spheres. There are 3 figures you need to find.
1st. Volume (400cc or 500cc)
2nd Pressure - shown in "bar"
3rd Damper size or Bore, shown in mm.
As an example: It could be a 500cc with a pressure of 55 bar and a bore or damper size of 1.65
The pressure can be seen stamped on the top of the sphere near the fill plug whilst the bore size is stamped on the bright silver section on the base & can only be accessed after the sphere is removed from the car.
All three of these measurements are critical to the handling and ride and it is not all that uncommon for people to experiment whilst trying (Unsuccessfully I might ad) to make the worlds smoothest riding car even smoother. The pressure can only be tested by someone with a sphere tester however, anyone knowing Citroens can usually gauge how far down the spheres are by pressing down. Basically it should be smooth & firm at the front & "floaty" at the rear.
It may also pay to check your lower control arm bushes in the front end for wear.
Alan S
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IanR
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Post by IanR » 27 May 2002, 21:11

Just in case you were wondering, Alan, I found the problem. A fellow XM owner pointed out as I drove past, that the nose of the car looked rather high.
What was happening was that although the height lever seemed to be working, when being driven the front ride height was varying at random, and not returning to the mid position. Sometimes it would approach max height, and then the steering misbehaviour would show. (along with rough ride, which I'd noticed but put down to road surfaces)
Lubed the height-corrector linkages, and that seems to have cured it.
When working on Citroens, think laterally... <g>
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