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Citroën CX in the service station: Extraordinaire

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Citroën CX in the service station
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Little by little the Citro ë n CX the hearts of classic car lovers. The fan base for the extravagant vehicle, which was the successor to the legendary DS, is growing steadily. But some people who are considering buying a CX back down again in view of the special technology and the many prejudiced stories about this car. And many, who depend on the help of a workshop for every repair, fear horrific maintenance costs. But what does reality look like?

The biggest annoyance with the Citroën CX is corrosion and maintenance backlog

Jochen Heusel from the CX base in Graben-Neudorf near Karlsruhe mentions two points Can spoil the pleasure of driving a Citroën CX: corrosion and maintenance backlog. So whoever buys a CX with a good body and intact, not neglected technology, 'has a problem-free car', as Daniel Kunz from the Häfliger & Kunz garage in Däniken, Switzerland sees it.

Nevertheless, many people trust a vehicle with a hydraulic system and 42 meters of hydraulic lines. And the groans of many a mechanic also scratches the reputation of the Citroën CX. The latter, however, cannot be understood by those who are familiar with the CX or have even learned on it, such as Michael Polle from Polle KFZ in Bremen: 'You have to know where you are going and you mustn't lose your patience.'

The Citroën CX is badly installed

Because some things do not work in a rush with a Citroën CX as with other cars. This begins with the removal of the battery located in the front left, which can degenerate into fiddling, especially with the versions of the first series. With some versions, according to the operating instructions, even changing the air filter hidden between the engine and the right-hand side wall is a case for the workshop because of the additional hand movements required.

A model that is particularly tight in the engine compartment is the 2.4 liter injection engine with air conditioning. The air conditioning system creates additional costs for certain work, for example when changing the V-belt for the water pump because the air conditioning compressor is then in the way. In the Citroën CX, two V-belts drive the water pump (on some versions a toothed belt instead), one the hydraulic pump, one the alternator and, if available, one the air conditioning. Must all be changedcan be up to 150 euros on the bill.

It turns out to be treacherous if the belt suddenly no longer turns, i.e. the water pump is no longer driven. The reason: The camshaft of the Citroën CX has a toothing at one end, onto which a belt pulley with internal toothing is pushed, which in turn drives the large pulleys with the belt. 'And sometimes the internal toothing of the small pulley is worn out, which is often only noticed too late,' explains Jochen Heusel.

Maintenance costs stay within limits

A look at the service work on the engine of the Citroën CX in the table on the following page shows that the costs incurred are not utopian despite some exceptions that apply to certain models.

On the models with petrol injection, the setting of the valves is significantly more expensive than on the carburettor versions due to the additional dismantling work required, while the price for the Citroën CX engines with overhead camshaft is around 70 euros. The latter, however, require a timing belt change even after about 100,000 kilometers or roughly every twelve years, for which the customer should calculate around 320 euros.

A few words about the Citroën CX injectors, which incidentally come with a contactless ignition. Bosch L- and later Bosch LE-Jetronic were used, the components of which hardly cause any problems. You should only pay attention to the condition of the fuel lines, because due to age-related leaks, CXs are probably already flared.

Injectors with special weak points

In the 2.5-liter versions of the Citroën CX, one of the two ignition coils can suddenly fail. 'You hardly notice that while driving. And then suddenly the catalytic converter glows through and the carpeting in the footwell above it starts to simmer,' warns Heusel.

Another weak point with the injectors is the exhaust manifold is not particularly easy to reach. Especially if the stud bolts tear off when changing the manifold, it becomes expensive, because under certain circumstances a lot has to be dismantled in order to have enough space to drill out the bolts. If everything works without any problems, you have to plan around 400 euros for a manifold replacement in the Citroën CX.

Changing the clutch is not cheap because the engine has to be removed for this. Coupling failure is one of the occasions to come across the word composite work. Because especially with the Citroën CX, the costs for some repairs can be reduced if several things are done at once and assembly costs are saved.

When changing the clutch, the engine has to go out

Let's stay with the example of changing the clutch onCitroën CX, for which, as mentioned, the machine is being expanded. As part of this repair, you could, for example, seal the engine, replace the engine mountings that may have been damaged by leaking engine oil, check the transmission - or the suspension or the brakes or the steering or the axle boots.

To be on the safe side, you could do that Replace the intermediate bearing on the right drive shaft if you don't know how old it is. Because if it quits while driving, the drive shaft can damage the oil pan of the Citroën CX.

Of course, it is also worth taking a look at the wheel suspension of the Citroën CX. While the lower ball studs are easy to swap, the top studs usually prove to be harder to access and the installer will need special tools to change them. Incidentally, a mechanic can hold his breath hard when it comes to rusted wishbones.

Composite work makes sense with the Citroën CX

Composite work is also an issue 'when you buy a Citroën CX with an unknown maintenance history and doesn't know how old the individual components are, 'says Heusel. In this case it makes sense to overhaul individual assemblies, even if a four-digit amount is then due for a complete front axle overhaul. But then this chapter is ticked off.

The hydraulic system of the Citroën CX does not pose an unsolvable puzzle. This can lead to leaks in the hoses or the spring cylinder sleeves, and the experts also increasingly register worn hydraulic pumps or pressure regulators.

You should also change the LHM hydraulic fluid on the Citroën CX from time to time. 'If it's almost honey-yellow, it has probably never been swapped,' says Heusel. Normally it is acid green and then changes to dark green.

CX problem: the rear axle

'Another not exactly cheap repair concerns the rear trailing arm,' says Daniel Kunz. In the Citroën CX, these move in tapered roller bearings that wear out over time. 'If the rust liquor runs out of the side, you can already guess that a change is imminent,' explains Heusel, who provides the handlebars with an additional grease nipple, which significantly extends the service life of the bearings - if you don't forget to grease it.

Of course, in this case, composite work is again an option, for example a spring cylinder check, replacing the rear spring balls or a brake service.

The prices quoted by us (see below) on the left apply it should be taken into account that the spare parts supply for the Citroën CX may have temporary gaps. In such cases, the prices for parts that are difficult to obtain suddenly rise. 'Currently,' says Heusel, 'it's like the DS a good 20 years ago. The original parts are slowly all sold out, and the reproductionsstart gradually. 'TRX tires, which Michelin produces at irregular intervals, are not always available.

Anyone who buys a Citroën CX is buying a very idiosyncratic car. You have to understand its character, to be happy with it. But that alone is not enough, because the owner also needs a workshop that is familiar with the characteristics of a CX. Then everything will be fine.

Service tip Citroën CX

The owner's manual already recommends carrying out specified inspections for the Citroën CX as 'the best life insurance.' It is therefore all the more important to treat old CXs to regular maintenance.

For non-professional screwdrivers little to do. You can watch for leaks in the hydraulic hoses or the level of hydraulic fluid in the container. To check the Citroën CX must be brought to the maximum position - with the engine running, the float should be between the two red rings of the clear cap. If you want to check the oil level of the C-Matic, you should do so when the engine is cold and idling. Shift several gears beforehand. The club: www.cx-club.de

Service and costs Citroën CX

Work on the engine Approximate prices *

  • V-belt change, each 70 to 150 euros depending on the number
  • Engine oil change with filter (depending on the type of oil) for 80 euros
  • Spark plug change for 30 euros
  • New breaker contact plus setting
  • the ignition and distributor check from 60 euros
  • check and adjust valve clearance, carburetor /injectors from 60/140 euros
  • timing belt change (light metal engine) from 320 euros
  • Mount a new air filter, depending on the model 50 to 130 euros
  • Renew the fuel filter from 25 euros
  • Renew the coolant thermostat from 60 euros
  • Renew the water pump from 280 euros
  • Install a new water cooler for 350 euros
  • New exhaust from manifold from 550 euros
  • Clutch change with release bearing from 850 euros
  • M otor overhaul, depending on the effort from 2,500 euros

Work on the chassis, brakes etc.

  • Check and set the axle geometry from 120 euros
  • Install AT steering from 1,700 euros
  • Replace the control unit of the steering 950 euros
  • All front tie rod joints from 450 euros
  • Renew lower front ball pins (both sides) from 140 euros
  • Installation of new spring balls all around from 300 euros
  • Replace spring cylinder sleeve, approx. 160 euros each
  • Replace both rear longitudinal swing arms from 450 euros
  • Renew wheel bearings at front (per side) 250 to 350 euros
  • Brake pad change front /rear from 80/70 euros
  • Change of handbrake pads plus adjustment from 110 euros
  • NewFront brake pads and discs from 280 euros

Work on the chassis, brakes etc.

  • Overhaul of manual transmission from 800 euros
  • New drive shaft sleeves from 420 euros
  • Changing the LHM fluid + cleaning sieves + containers from 110 euros
  • Renew rubber return hoses of the hydraulic system for 350 euros

* All prices are only guidelines. They can vary significantly depending on the spare part prices and additional work required, as well as the respective hourly rates of the workshop

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