Xantia sphere change query

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Afternoon All,
I tried to change the front spheres on my 99 Xantia estate earlier but spent an hour mopping up hydraulic fluid instead ... what did I do wrong?
1. Set the suspension height to low 2. Undo pressure relief screw on front regulator unit 1 turn (according to Haynes) 3. UNscrew suspension sphere 4. Watch hydraulic fluid pi$$ everywhere at high pressure soaking the entire engine bay, me, my drive etc etc ...
Most of the fluid seemed to come from the sphere itself as I unscrewed it but the suspension unit continued to ooze fluid until I screwed the shere back on.
Second problem (?) was the replacement spheres from EuroParts - the valve arrangement wasn't the same as the old unit. It looked sufficiently different that I want to check to out before swapping them (and risking further LHM floods ...). Does anyone have experience of the pattern units sold by Europarts? mine is a 99 HDi estate and I have Pt No 620 54 5410 (XZ 70 FR) from them which doesnt seem to have the right valve. Rather annoying the picture on the box shows the correct valve type!
Any help much appreciated.
Steve
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drd ( snipped-for-privacy@CITYZOO.COM) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

With the engine running, then wait until the car sinks completely all round.

How easily did it unscrew once the initial seal was broken?

At pressure? Seems odd.
Unless... Was the car completely flat all round? '99 Xant would have an anti-sink sphere, which will keep the suspension pressurised after the pump and reg pressure is off.

If it just poured out in volume, it sounds like it could have been way over-ready for changing and completely flat, with a pierced membrane. But if it came out with pressure, perhaps there was still some system pressure present.
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Adrian wrote:

Then wait another minute or two, keeping the engine running. The suspension may have hit the bump stops, but there will still be LHM in the spheres. You need to wait until this is expelled by the sphere pressure. You need the engine running to keep the anti-sink valve open......
Alan
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drd ( snipped-for-privacy@CITYZOO.COM) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

Yep.
Yep. On later Xants - around the first facelift. Location? Don't know. On my XM, it's hidden above the rear subframe and is a pain in the arse to change. But worth it.

Yep. Most important of the lot. If that's flat, you've got no emergency pressure reserve - so if the engine fails on the motorway, you've got no braking in reserve, and you'll start to lose suspension immediately instead of gradually. You'll also have nothing to damp the pressure pulses from the pump, and eventually the pipework can fracture and even the pressure regulator/accumulator assembly can break.
For a good overview of how it works, look at www.citroencarclub.org.uk/ds - that's a 1950s Citroen publication explaining how it all works on the D, but the Xant is *very* similar for much of it.

Yellow?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! Please tell me you're colour blind. It should be a vivid green, going black as it ages.
That needs changing IMMEDIATELY. God knows what's in there, but it shouldn't be. I'd definitely flush it out.
Procedure :-
Drop the car to flat. Remove the tank (fairly straightforward). Empty. Wash with petrol. Refit the tank. Fill with flushing fluid (from GSF, Euro Car Parts or Cit dealer if you're feeling rich) Start car. Raise to full height. Top up to the right level.
Drive for a thousand or two miles.
Repeat, but this time put nice shiny new LHM in.

That sounds like you've got an anti-sink, hydractive centre or anti-sink sphere. There's no photos (this is a non-binary newsgroup, so you can't attach pics), so you'll need to either email 'em to me (the email address above works) or put 'em on a website.
The valve arrangement is the damper.
You need to get 'em swapped back over.
Basic analogy - the sphere, with the gas behind the membrane, does the job of the spring in a normal car. It absorbs the bumps.
The damper valve - the bit you're missing - does the job of the damper ("shock absorber" - which it isn't...) in a normal car. It controls the reaction of the spring, and stops the car bouncing down the road merrily. In a sphere, it does this by forcing the fluid in and out via a fine hole. Think about a bottle of washing-up liquid. Take the cap with it's small hole out, and you can fill and empty it quickly. Leave the cap on, and it comes out in a much more controlled fashion.

No. That's "Activa" - which is basically Hydractive, but with the addition of anti-roll bar links which can vary in length hydraulically.

Wait until it's right...
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snip
snip
Just a news-group-related footnote - some news-servers don't block binary posts to text groups; my ISP doesn't, for example, which is where I got
although Individual.net didn't carry it of course. So some people will see it, some won't.
It's actually a pretty good photo, technically speaking (said with my amateur photographer hat on).
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Whiskers ( snipped-for-privacy@operamail.com) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

Yeh, I've been emailed it. It's definitely not got a damper, so not a wheel sphere.
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Spheres are something I have yet to encounter; my Citroen experience is limited to a late lamented 2CV6 and a ZX 1.9D. Sounds like a bit of a 'specialist subject'.
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Adrian wrote:

1994 on IIRC
It's at the front of the rear subframe, in the middle right next to the height corrector. Be warned, it doesn't just unscrew like the others, you have to disconnect the pipe first (if you don't, you'll probably twist the pipe and shear it!).
Another (simplified) look at how it works: http://web.actwin.com/toaph/citroen/work/work.html
Alan
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many thanks all.
I spoke to a most helpful chap at Europarts t'other day who said he'd sort it out and get me the right spheres the next day ...
A package duly arrived the next day and ...
I now have 4 accumulators and 1 antisink sphere but no suspension spheres !!!!! AAGGHHHH !
Are there 3 other Xantia owners in Brighton area who need new accumlator spheres .... ?
Does anyone know of another cheap source of spheres I could try since (the normally excellent) Europarts are clearly having problems with this ? Citroen main dealer is quoting £50-£65 per sphere
Yours hopefully
Steve
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all sorted ... £22/sphere from my local motor-factor - clearly "old" Citroens aren't as specialist as they used to be ...
the car is transformed and feels a lot safer for it! I had a scary moment last week when I needed to stop quickly and the front wheels spent most of their time bouncing in the air ...
many thanks to all (especially Adrian) your advice etc
Brgds
Steve
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drd wrote:

Glad to see you're sorted. For future reference, try GSF (German Swedish and French): http://www.gsfcarparts.com/ They have branches all over the place but also do mail order.
You can also get help/advice from the Andyspares forum: http://www.andyspares.com/discussionforum/ (Andyspares are now the 'F' in GSF).
Alan
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top tips!
thanks v much!
Steve

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now "Xantia rear height query"
the front of the car is now sorted - which has served to highlight an issue I've always had with the rear ...
the rear of the car will lower itself some inches over a few seconds for a few seconds before then rising to the corect height again some seconds later. I only notice it when stationary but suspect it is happening randomly at all times - I can sometimes convince myself it coincides with taking foot off brake when stopping for lights and applying handbrake ... but then perhaps not ...
I have read of the "height compensator valve" - is this sticking?
Yours hopefully
Steve
PS Does news group etiquette allow the changing of Subject halfway through a thread or should new post always be used ?
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The Xantia rear suspension can only move when the wheels are turning. When you block the wheels with the brake, the suspension cannot move. This will give the level indicator the false impression that there is too much pressure in the rear spheres. Then the system lowers the pressure, but the suspension is still fixed by the brake. If you loosen the brake, then the rear end of the car drops down quickly and needs some seconds to get up to normal level again.
If it's that what you are talking about: This is normal. I have gotten used to set my auto gearbox to neutral and take my foot off the brake pedal at every traffic light.
Frank
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haute in die Tasten:

You can play with it in that way, and look at the people in the car behind you ;-))
DJ
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hmmm ... you may be right ...
I'll give it more thorough testing this weekend and report back
Cheers Steve
haute in die Tasten:

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Rob Beech ( snipped-for-privacy@robbeech.com) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

Facelifted Xant? Chevrons in the grille, in the centre of the car?

So they'll be good, then - we'll assume it was just the five done.

Could well be. Could also be the brake valve leaking internally - BXs were notorious for it. The rear brakes take their pressure from the rear suspension, so there's inherent load-sensing and proportioning - the heavier the load, the harder the rear brakes work. The brake valve can wear and start to leak pressure back to the reservoir - no external "leak", and no danger, but it just means the back drops more quickly when at rest.
How long does the front stay up for?

Yep to "without the others" - I've not done a Xant anti-sink, but it certainly ain't easy on the XM - and the Xant sounds like it's going to be similarly hidden.
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gurgled happily, sounding much like they

alot longer. unless i leave it a number of days the fron wont drop much at all.

what isn't difficult on them. (ok i dont want a list but the jobs i've hadto do have always been teh tricky ones)
Thanks for that Adrian Rob
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Rob Beech ( snipped-for-privacy@robbeech.com) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

Sounds like the brake valve, then.

If ever you need to do a heater matrix... emigrate. Everything else will look easy in comparison.
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gurgled happily, sounding much like they

i'll get a new car if i need to do anything like that. its Air Bag unit steering wheel off entire dash out just for a bulb in my temperature guage. needless to say its not getting fixed.
i'll look into that then. Its due a "service" which i'll do myself. so i'll tie it in one
i actually own a garage. but electronics is my thing. s access to the tools and a ramp is no problem at all.
Rob
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