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Citroën XM in the workshop: saving tips for the glider

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Citroën XM in the workshop
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V iele have respect for screwing on the big Citroën models . 'Too complicated, too expensive, too built-in,' is the saying everywhere. Built-in, for the XM specialist Bernd Schmidt from Bopfingen in the Ostalb district, these are more today's cars. He points to an Audi A4 next to him, from which he had to dismantle the rear light, trunk interior trim and the bumper including the trailer hitch, just to change a parking sensor.

Such actions are rather the exception with an XM, what hope for those who are enthusiastic about an XM, but have to have all work carried out by a workshop and are therefore afraid of high labor costs. Since the Citroën XM was available with different engines, we concentrated on the unproblematic 3.0 V6 with two valves per cylinder.

Citroën XM takes up to seven liters of oil

Because of the hydraulic valve tappets, regular valve clearance adjustment is no longer required as a service job. But to ensure that they always do their job correctly, Schmidt recommends changing the engine oil regularly. This is not cheap because 6.5 to seven liters of oil are filled in. On the other hand, changing the spark plugs is not a problem and is inexpensive, just not with the newer 24V engines, because the intake manifold has to be removed for this. The ignition system does not cause any problems, but due to age, a new set of cables and a distributor cap plus finger can be required, which costs around 350 euros.

The perfect function of these parts is important because a faulty ignition system and the resulting failure of a cylinder allows unburned fuel to enter the catalytic converter. That doesn't do it any good. In addition, a Kat with 450 euros including installation is not exactly cheap.

timing chain and toothed belt

A little more screwing work than with many other cars, the task is to change the cooling water thermostat or the water pump on the V6 two-valve engine. 'The latter work takes around 2.5 hours,' explains Schmidt, but at the same time points out that the pump lasts significantly longer compared to the engine versions with toothed belts.

The camshafts of the three-liter two-valve engine are driven by a chain that behaves inconspicuously. If you have an engine with a toothed belt under the hood of your Citroën XM, you shouldHave the belt changed approximately every 100,000 kilometers, preferably including a water pump. 'In the case of the toothed belt versions, you should definitely pay attention to the lower belt pulley,' warns Schmidt, 'because the rubber mountings will crack and loosen over time.' A whistling noise during the morning cold start that disappears later could be an indication of this damage. It is best to do a regular visual inspection.

Citroën XM with red badge

'You should be careful with the large diesel engines of the XM', knows Walter Esenwein from the Citroën dealership of the same name in Memmingen. These can reach their thermal limits when driving quickly on the motorway. However, since these models only receive a red fine dust sticker, there is little interest in them.

The V6 two-valve engine, which achieves very high mileage, sometimes sucks with the head gasket, but not because of overheating. 'The paper contained in the seal dissolves over time and compression pressure escapes into the cooling system,' says Schmidt. Repair is time consuming because the wet liners all need a new seal. Incidentally, in view of the low market value of the cars, expensive engine overhauls are the exception, usually a good used unit is installed instead.

The fifth gear of the V6 is vulnerable

Schmidt helps his customers save as best he can. For example, if only one exhaust flange has rusted away, he can replace it with an available repair kit for around 80 euros instead of replacing the entire exhaust pipe with the damper or even the catalytic converter. The clutch can be changed without having to remove the engine and gearbox as prescribed by the manufacturer, which also reduces costs. Fifth gear is prone to transmission in the V6, and overhauls cost from 750 euros and up. 'And with a correspondingly high mileage, the automatic transmissions can sometimes make problems,' says Esenwein. Most of the time, they failed to change the oil every 30,000 kilometers.

According to Schmidt, the cathedral bearings are often defective in aging Citroën XMs. Either the vulcanized rubbers loosen, encouraged by the formation of rust, or the plates even break. The bearings are no longer available as new parts, only in an overhauled version. But many then tend to trust good used parts. The front subframes, which are rusted through in the lower area, are now a major financial problem. Even if the workshop then installs a used part, it will not be cheap.

Citroën XM handbrake works on the front wheels

The DIRAVA steering, a speed-dependent power steering, occasionally draws attention to itself through leaks, especially in the older V6 models. If you track down the causes, you only need to partially turn the steering for repairsdisassemble, whereby the effort remains manageable. Defective handbrake cables are often found on the Citroën XM, strained by steering movements because the handbrake acts on the front wheels. Replacing them costs around 100 euros.

Oh yes, and of course there is the hydraulics. 'The crux of the matter here are the hydraulic lines, which begin to oxidize, especially when there is frequent contact with road salt,' says Esenwein. The spring balls last a very long time, provided that the maintenance is correct and they are refilled in good time if necessary. Replacing them is easy. 'However, up to nine balls are built into the XM, depending on the year of construction,' explains Schmidt. In addition to the four main spring balls, there is an additional ball in the center of the axle at the front and rear, which is deactivated in a flash, so to speak, in certain driving situations in order to make the chassis harder. There is also a pressure accumulator ball for the main pressure and one for the brake pressure. As far as the spring balls are concerned, Schmidt advises against the comfort balls that are now offered, because in extreme cases they could cause the vehicle to rock.> Avoid maintenance backlog

The table above provides information about other possible technical defects and the associated repair costs. Admittedly, although the XM sells at surprisingly low prices, it is not a cheap car given the financial outlay for repairs. So if you get a copy for little money with a maintenance backlog, you should consider that. Nevertheless, the XM is a special automobile for which the slogan 'Exclusivity has its price' is only valid in a pleasantly milder form.

Service tip: Literature for hobby XM screwdrivers is poor. Insiders prefer the English-language Haynes version to the Bucheli edition. Information is also available on the Internet at www.citdoks.de. Getting wearing parts is not a problem, other parts can be difficult. For example, there are no longer any window regulators for the driver's door in the Y4 series. A defect usually only affects the rope, Bernd Schmidt can repair it. No repairs are complicated with the XM: a defective heating radiator can be changed for 90 euros - without the time-consuming removal of the dashboard.

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