Citroen Xantia suspension

I wonder if somebody can help me with some Xantia hydraulic problems? The car is a 96/97 ish SX 1.9TD model with ~100k miles and has been in the family
almost from new. It is immaculate, comfortable, extremely economical and as a second car, we like it a lot. It has however developed a problem that I cannot identify from the many other ‚ÄėXantia suspension‚Äô posts on this site and I would be grateful for any assistance.
Firstly for a very long time, the rear-end has sunk overnight which I now believe from reading other posts is a faulty anti-sink sphere. A relative who had a BX advised that this was a common Citroen fault and we lived with the minor inconvenience.
Then around 1,200 miles ago after not being used for a year (the car was in storage while we were out of the country) a fault appeared where the rear suspension would only lift from its sunken position if the engine was run at fast idle for 15 seconds or so. If the car had been stopped for a period and not sunk, as soon as the engine was started, the rear end sunk immediately and required the 15 seconds of fast idle to regain its composure. Until the suspension reaches its full height, the brakes barely work at all. When at normal height, the suspension is comfortable and the brakes are excellent although I have never really liked the on/off nature of the brakes, the lack of feel through the pedal and ease at which the ABS modulator cuts in. Is this another fault?
We believe all spheres are original so would it be sensible to replace all six of them together and is this likely to fix all three faults?
Many thanks for your time.
Ian. Cumbria.
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saying:

Yes, together with a worn brake valve (think master cylinder) allowing the rear suspension pressure to leak back more easily. The rear brakes take their pressure feed from the rear suspension, to ensure that the braking effort is load-related.
It's merely a minor inconvenience and causes a small extra delay in rising. Nothing serious.

Partially down to the problem above, because the system's losing pressure more quickly than it should, but it's not helped by a flat accumulator sphere. Think of the pump as the alternator and the accumulator as the battery. The accumulator stores pressure, which is then released through the system. If there's no store left, the pressure can't be supplied as quickly - hence the slow pump-up.
When the engine's idling and the car's at normal height, how long is the cycle time? You should hear a psshhht-click-<pause>-pssshhht-<click>. The duration between clicks should be a minute or so, but can be almost nothing. The psssht is the pump working to recharge the accumulator.
If you've got a flat accumulator, and the engine cuts whilst you're moving, you will have NO BRAKES in very short order.

Ummm, you don't drive off until it's fully up.

No. That's down to the fact that your foot isn't creating pressure, like a normal master cylinder, but opening a valve to release stored pressure into the system. Expect the pedal to be have in the same way as a normal one, and you can over-brake very easily. It's not as "bad" in Xants as earlier hydraulic Cits, because there's a spring in the pedal linkage to give some artificial pedal travel - but some people never do get used to it. By the sound of your comment about "on/off nature", you may be one.
The other possible cause is that the brakes need bleeding. That's quite likely if the accumulator sphere's totally flat, as the little gas left in it will have been released into the system when the diaphragm punctured. Whilst the suspension and steering are self-bleeding, the brakes are a "dead end", so need to be done as on a normal car. Rather than give a spongy feel, air in the lines on a hydraulic Cit leads to a delay when you start to brake - during which time, you naturally brake harder. As a result, when they do kick in after a few moments, they do so too hard.

ORIGINAL? After 12 years? They're meant to be replaced roughly every three years or so... Definitely get 'em all changed. Being an SX, you've only got the six - the anti-sink's a bit of a bugger to get at, but the rest are easy. Definitely change the fluid, too. If the fluid's never been done either, it'll be filthy - change it for flushing fluid - available from GSF etc. After a thousand miles or so, change it for clean LHM. The actual fluid change is dead easy - don't forget to bleed the brakes through fully to get all the old out and the new in.
If you think the suspension's comfortable now, wait until you try it in full health. I'd be amazed if you don't have several completely flat wheel spheres, leading to no suspension travel on those wheels.
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Hi Adrain,
Thanks for the advice; very much appreciated. I cannot check the accumulator 'psst' noise as I am abroad again, 4,000 miles from the vehicle! Sounds like I have some work to do when returning in March.
Is there a recommended place to buys the spheres from? I have looked at the Pleiades website but it jumps to another site which appears to have little to do with Pleiades!
The Xanita is definitely worth putting some effort in. It was my mother-in- laws almost from new and is immaculate, reliable (until now!), amazingly economical and has I'm sure at least another five years of sensible life left in it.
Thanks again.
Ian.
Adrian wrote:

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Message posted via http://www.carkb.com


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sounding much like they were saying:

http://www.citroen-hydraulics.com / Spheres, LHM and flush are also available through GSF and others.
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I've been recommended to take my Xantia to this place http://www.westroen-spheres.co.uk/Prices.htm if/when mine need replacing. The website was last updated in 2003 ! But I was assured they're still around, there's a phone number on the site.
If you're anywhere in the Manchester area, they're supposed to be cheap and very knowledable.
It's all 3rd-hand info though, I've had no personal experience.
You pays yer money....
--

Tony Bond / UncleFista

www.bradford7.co.uk
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happily, sounding much like they were saying:

He's been around for donkey's years, and is very highly regarded.
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Presumably this is behind my problem as well. My Xantia's back brakes feel laggy - they come on OK but won't release for a couple of seconds. Overnight the rear suspension sinks and I have lousy brakes until it rises (were I silly enough to try, of course!)
Does anyone know where I can get a seal kit for the brake valve and also for the PAS ram?
Failing that, where's a sensibly priced place for a ram and a valve?
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like they were saying:

Are the rear calipers lazy? Because they do very little if there's no weight in the back, they regularly stick. It's worth giving 'em some good exercise - pads out, plenty of copaslip, exercise the pistons back and forth with the suspension on high to get full pressure on them, put a load of weight in the boot for a week or two.
The good test is always to stick the car on full high, and whilst standing on the brake pedal, put it into full flat. The back end SHOULD stay up, creaking and groaning, as it tries to sink but the brakes hold it up - the wheelbase lengthens as the height decreases. Release the pedal, and it should sink RAPIDLY.

<whistles innocently>

Pleiades will sell you recon ones, don't think they're DIYable.
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I read their site and they said they weren't worth reconditioning.
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like they were saying:

Ah. There's your answer, then...
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<snip>

Bodger! Coperslip belongs nowhere near breaks and certainly not in quantity anywhere near friction linings...
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