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Our Cars: 1994 Citroen XM Exclusive

28 April 2014: Fighting on another year...

The Details

Current mileage 153,000
Actual economy 23mpg
Costs since last report £250

So much for my XM being a 'rolling winter restoration'. I'd picked up my cherry red Citroen XM Exclusive at the tail of 2013 in order to get back on the road, and enjoy during the winter months. It seemed like a simple plan - get it tested, and then work on the niggles, before enjoying in the coming months.

We've all done it - bought something cheap and interesting, and considered running it, before deciding life's too short. Well, it kinda went that way with the XM, with much of the winter being spent in my friend Richard Kilpatrick's barn (above), while I went about my business in newer, flasher cars. But part way through, and with Christmas nothing but a distant memory (so I could no longer use that excuse to justify my inaction), I decided that I needed to have my XM back on the road.

The real catalyst for this change of heart was quite straightforward: the Techno-Classica in Essen. As always, I stay with my friend, Alexander Boucke, who lives about an hour's drive away from Essen. He's recently bought a Citroen XM of his own - a growling V6 estate - and although I had my own wheels to get to the show, I'd forsaken them in order to have a run in his XM. Sitting in there, being cossetted up the autobahn in only the way a Citroen can was compelling enough - but then seeing a lovely XM hatch, like mine, in the show was too much. I love these cars, and at that moment, I decided to get it on the road again.

First problem was the MoT, which had run out at the end of January. So, with a test booked at my favourite MoT testers, CityCall garage in Burton Latimer, I set about extracting the XM from Richard's barn, and getting it prepared for the test. The first job was to sort out the tyres. Stewart, who I bought the car from threw in a set of recent Uniroyals, which needed fitting to replace the worn-out covers that were already on. Which was good. I drove gingerly up to a local classic-friendly fitter, threw the tyres at him, and asked him to fit them. 

With (nearly) new rubber on, it was now a case of patching up the hole and making sure everything else was spot on. I did the usual checks, cleaned the car, and rather than welding it myself, entrusted the guys at CityCall to sort it for me. Why? They're classic-friendly, know how to weld, and as they are also the guys doing the test, I'm sure they'd get it right. 

Needless to say, the XM didn't pass first time, although the failure points were a surprise. There was very little braking efficiency at the off-side rear, a steering rack gaitor was perished, and they'd need to sort that at the same time as the hole in the sill. A couple of days later, the call came - they'd sorted the brakes, welded it up, and had issued a new MoT. Surprisingly, the tester commented that the XM was seriously clean for a 1995 car, but that the rear brakes still weren't as good as they could be, despite passing. I responded that it was more than likely down to the hissing hydraulics - a sure sign that the system's Flow Diverter Valve was needing replacement.

Still the car's back on the road now, and at least I now know I have some time to sort out the list below - which since the last update has - at least - shrunk a little bit. Time to enjoy some magic carpet drives now. 

  • Cure hydraulic hissing
  • Cure the heavy clutch
  • Sort out front suspension tracking
  • Investigate the height corrector
  • Remove tow bar
  • Feed and clean leather interior
  • Look for unscuffed front and rear bumpers
  • Replace chrome inserts on rubbing strips

As with all Citroens, that list is bound to grow before I get on top of it - but for now, at least we're back in business, and I can start turning up to jobs again in a certain sense of style.

Citroen XM (2)

« Earlier: Getting some spit and polish...    

28 April 2014: Fighting on another year...
The Citroen XM has had a quiet winter and spring so far - with the MoT taking time to prepare for - but the good news is that with some jobs, it's through. But there's much more to do...
The Citroen XM gets an on-road work-out, followed by a bit of a session with the polisher - it's the first step to knowing how long the fix-list is going to be...
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