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Technical - General Notes
Peugeot J5 (Citroën C25, and Fiat Ducato (mostly Petrol)) 

 


Disclaimer
: No responsibility can be taken for the accuracy or appropriateness of any information given on these pages. The information has been gathered from several sources including my own personal experiences, however the validity of the information cannot be verified and it is provided for interest only on the understanding that no responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage of any kind arising from any actions or behaviour in relation to the information contained herein. In particular If you are in anyway unsure of the potential consequences of your actions you should not undertake the work.

Workshop Manuals

There is no "Haynes" type of manual for this model although there are other manuals which cover the mechanicals as follows:

  • www.russek-manuals.co.uk  do a “Pocket Mechanic” A5 sized Manual  specifically for the Talbot Express/Fiat Ducat/Citroen C25. (Petrol and Diesel variants covered  by separate manuals) which covers almost everything the home mechanic requires except Gearbox.  The pictures are a small selection of those in th the official workshop manuals and the print quality is variable but they are useful, especially for the novice mechanic.

  • A Pair of Peugeot Official Manuals are available for the J5 but cost between £50 and £100 the pair in hard copy.  These manuals are intended for professional garage use so do not go into details of how to simple procedures but they do cover all the mechanical   ussues you need to know in great detail. They cover both  Petrol and Diesel models, inc turbo diesel, and gearboxes. These are availalbe on CD as part of the "Manuals CD" set in the "for sale section"

  • Haynes  - Peugeot 505 (some useful similarities)

  • Haynes – Peugeot 504 (some useful similarities

 

Overview

 

(This may not be entirely accurate).

 

There are 3 main  types of vehicle all very similar except for badging and some engine options.  All the models were assembled in Italy by PSA, a joint venture by Fiat, Citroën and Peugeot.

These are the Peugeot J5 (marketed as the "Talbot Express" in the UK) , Citroen C25, and Fiat Ducato.

Fiat was also in collaboration with Alpha Romeo to at the SOFIM plant ((Societa Italiana Motori Franco / Franco Italian Motors Company) which led to the marking of the Apha Romeo AR6 and some Diesel engine variations for the Fiat Ducato.

The Talbot Express etc was first introduced in 1984 with a range of Petrol (1.8) and diesel (1.9 and 2.5) engines (CRD93L U25/661). The petrol engine variant was very shortly bored out to 2000cc (the stroke remaining the same). It stayed that way till the end of the production of this model in 1993/4.

As Peugeot owned Talbot they called the British version of the Peugeot J5 a Talbot Express. The J5 and its European cousins are the original design and the Talbot Express a RHD variant of these.

UK model numbers refer to the load carrying capacity and can be determined  and measuring the suspension set up with reference to the factory manuals. For example 1300p and 1300d are both 1300Kg load capacity models, petrol and diesel engined respectively .  On the continent you will find model numbers listed as 280/290 etc referring to the pre-post facelift (the "MK2" was introduced in 1991 and can be identified by amongst other things, having sloping front side windows).

Engine ranges:

  • The petrol engine is the same unit across the whole range including the the Fiat Ducato of the same years.

  • the Citroën C25 and Talbot Express vehicles are virtually identical  apart from the badging and share the same part numbers.

  • The Fiat Ducatos are the same appearance as the other vans but could be fitted with different Diesel engines, an overhead cam engine made by SOFIM. This engine is also fitted to Fiat Daily, Renault Traffic 2500cc, etc. I believe it is the 8144.67 sofim diesel engine which was later developed into the S9UD7 2.5 td variant fitted to some facelift grille equipped mk1 master and b110 vans and developed 97hp in stock form with restrictive manifolds and low boost for longevity... (this needs to be verified).

As an aside it is possible to "Bleed" LPG into a diesel engine in conjunction with Diesel to boost performance. Set up of such a system should be entrusted to a specialist (if you can find one willing to do it) to avoid potential engine damage.


Gear Boxes

The gearbox comes in 4 or 5 speed versions with different ratios (and speedometer drive ratio) to match 14" or 16" wheeled vans. The integral gearbox and bell housing casings means the gearbox will couple to 5 different engines. There are at least six variations.  The internals of the gearboxes can be changed over to suit many applications with internal bearing changes in later years when some weaknesses in the earlier models was identified. All gearboxes are now quite old and typical issues are worn syncronmech on 1st/2nd in particular, loose/sloppy gearlinkage in Righthand drive form (this can be fixed), oil leaks from the speedometer cable and/or differential (new seals are available). 

16" Running Gear

The 16" wheeled Maxi type vans being 3500kg gross vehicles have heavier drive train, larger brakes, bigger c/v joints, larger discs at the front and rear drum brakes, plus bigger wheel bearings all round. These models are more likely to have original-fitment power steering (it was an option on all models including petrol versions) but it is still rare.

 

Engine General

 

The Talbot Express base vehicles have what is considered very robust petrol engine. The Engine has a Steel Crankshaft, twin valve springs and duplex timing chain (almost twice the thickness of a standard chain) which allow it to turn very high RPM safely  (Max power is produced @ 5800rpm on some car variants, although the de-tuned van version is @ 5000rpm) and still retain a high degree of reliability. The engine is effectively “choked’ by the Carburettor, exhaust manifold, Camshaft profile and head to sacrifice BHP for Torque.

The 1.8 and 2.0 engines are virtually identical (the increase in capacity being achieved by increasing the bore size) but the 1.8s were not to my knowledge fitted to vans. Some Motor Factor’s parts books may list the 1.8 but not the 2.0 which is unlikely to cause any problems.

There were a number of relatively minor but effective upgrades to the engine/carburetion throughout production . Most Vans in the UK will fun the 180B petrol engine (XN1). Towards the end of production the XN1TA (170C) appeared with some useful tweeks and increase in power.  I have personally seen only one XN1TA van in the UK and this was a Fiat Ducato variant.   

The OHV Diesel engines are not considered as robust as the petrol versions  with noticeable head/overheading issues especially as they get old and (perhaps) have not been as meticulously maintained as they should be. They are also (like the petrol engines) a very old design by modern standards, rough and loud. Replacement parts for the Diesels can also be very expensive so factor this in if considering engine choices. . 

All engines are "adequate" for a standard van conversion (with the possible exception of the 1.9 Diesel NA), and all are underpowered when fitted to the Coachbuilt motorhomes with their Luton body shell which is close to maximum weight at all times. 

Engine comparison is to some extent subjective, however of the engine types available (2.0 petrol, 1.9 and 2.5 NA diesels and 2.5 Turbo Diesel) the petrol engine is by far the quietest and quickest to warm up, The Petrol and Turbo Diesels are the most powerful (the TD having a reasonable power and useful torque advantage (especially on Motorway gradients!)) and the N/A Diesels are rather poor. Other user’s experience and posted comments of the N/A Diesels over the years suggests they are significantly under-powered for a Coachbuilt body  (but I suspect probably ok in a van or possibly hightop conversion which has much less weight and air resistance).

Worth repeating that all engines are underpowered compared to the modern high-torque units found in cars and modern vans. Having driven the more powerful Petrol engined version (updated 1991 model which is barely more than adequate in a coachbuilt) and  I would not consider the N/A diesels in such a bodyshell. A Turbo Diesel is an attractive prospect for the additional torque, however given the relatively crude nature of the unit and the reliability issues (most noticeably overheating)  I personally chose the Petrol Engined model.  Practical Motorhome ran an article on these Petrol engines in early 2007 with the same conclusion.

Annual Mileage for a UK Coachbuilt is typically only 2-4k and therefore the fuel saving of diesel is negligible compared to the downsides. Again in a more frequently used van conversion the balance may swing towards the diesel, or if  one has a personal preference for such as there really is not much to choose between the Petrol and TD Variants when all things are considered. 

LPG conversions are available for Petrol Variants from with new kits from £550 up to  £1500 for professionally fitted. From personal experience and other's comments the engines run a lot smoother on LPG, however they can give approximately 10%  less power unless tuned properly (so advance the timing considerably) . The LPG tanks also weigh quite a lot and so reduce your load capacity (unless you keep the petrol tank level low). The installation is quite difficult  in relation to mounting the tank(s) correctly to withstand crash/impact forces and potentially dangerous if fitted incorrectly. Fortunately the insurance companies usually insist that the system has a safety check report issued by an LPGA Approved installer (cost approx £50 a few years ago) although recent experience has show not all of the "approved" LPGA installers adhere to the organisation's own COP11 installation safety guidelines!

Running on LPG requires a significantly advanced timing point which is not so good for petrol although acceptable on these low compression engines. A compromised engine set up is required. Personally I tolerate a slightly reduced Petrol performance (only  noticeable when cold) and run at 14-16 degrees BTDC which gives excellent LPG performance. Some say that the different burn characteristics of LPG require the spark plug gaps to be altered (reduced from .7mm to .6mm)  and LPG can overload the engine’s electrical ignition system, however I run new standard plugs at .7mm and have not noticed misfires under any load conditions, indeed on LPG the engine runs much smoother, particularly a lower RPM. In summer one need never use the petrol system at all as the vehicle starts immediately and runs off-choke with full power almost immediately  . Based on my average annual mileage of 3-4k per annum it has taken just over 2 years to break even on a DIY Set up (see LPG pages for more info), but the real advantage to me is that the much lower "cost per mile" (or effectively higher mpg if you prefer) LPG consumption typically ranges from 14 - 17 MPG which by price equates to 25 - 30+ Mpg petrol and slightly more compared to Diesel (due to the higher price of Diesel).

 

Engine Specs / Power outputs:

 
It is proving difficult to obtain accurate power output figures as these very according to which publication you read and the date it was published.  There is quite a bit of variation so bear this in mind when considering the Specifications listed below.

In reality there is not much to differentiate between them.

 

 4 cyl Petrol
(every UK model I've seen has been a 170B unit)

 ABA/169 (XM7T) : 1.8
 ABT/170A/B (XN1T) : 2.0
ACU/170C (XN1TA) : 2.0

 4 cyl Diesel

Citroen


Peugeot

XUD9A (D9B) : 1.9

CRD93L (U25-661)  Citroen 2.5
CRD93LS (U25-673)  Citroen 2.5 Turbo

CRD93 (U25/661)  Peugeot 2.5
CRD93LS (U25/673)  Peugeot 2.5 Turbo

1.9 Litre Diesel

 

2.0 Petrol

 

Capacity

1905cc

Model

280p / 280Ll (170B) XN1T

Max Power

71PS (51kW) @4600 rpm

Production Years

   9.81 -> 9.90

Max Torque

12.5mkg (122 Nm) @ 2000rpm

KBA-Nr

   3003 208

 

 

Capacity

1971cc

2.5 L Diesel

 CRD93 (U25-661)

Max Power

75hp (55KW) @ 4750rpm

Capacity

2500cc

Max Torque

15.5mkg (152 Nm) @ 2500rpm

Max Power

75PS (54kW) @ 4100rpm

   

Max Torque

15mkg (147 Nm) @ 2000

Model

 290p / 290L  (170/D) XN1TACP

 

 

Production Years

   10.90 onwards

2.5L Turbo Diesel

CRD93 (U25/673)

KBA-Nr

   3003 684

Capacity

  2500cc

Capacity

1971cc

Max Power

  95PS  @3700rpm

Max Power

 84hp, (62KW),  @ 4750rpm

Max Torque

  21.4mkg (210 Nm) @2000rpm

Max Torque

18mkg (175 Nm) @ 2500rpm

 

 

   

 

Latest Engine Type figures
(added August 2010 and not yet x-referenced with above)

Model Engine KW PS (HP) Eng Type From To
280L/280P 1.8 51 69 169B (XM7T) 1/83 11/1988
  2.0 55 75 170B (XN1T) 1/86 11/1988
  2.0 58 79 170C (XN1T) 1/83 11/1988
  2.5D 54 73 CRD93 (U25/661) 9/81 9/1990
290L/290P 1.9D 51 70 D9B (XUD9A) 10/90 3/1994
  2.0 62 84 170D (XN1TACP) 10/90 3/1994
  2.5D 54 73 CRD93 (U25/673) 10/90 3/1994
  2.5TD 70 95 CRD93LS (U25/673) 10/90 3/1994

 

Engine Number Locations (Petrol and Diesel)

Engine Type identification Plate (1991 Petrol)
(These plates are held on with a rivet and prone to rusting off!)

 

Ignition Sequence (Firing Order)

Firing order is 1-3-4-2,   No.1 is at the gearbox end, 
On the Distributor cap No.1 Lead is the lead at the front (Nearest the Radiator)

 


Tappets (set fully open / Adjust)
E1 / I3 E4
E3 / I4 E2
E4 / I2 E1
E2 / I1 E3
E=Exhaust I=inlet, 
inlet:0.10mm, exhaust:0.25mm

 

Engine oil:

Service Interval: At least once per annum (in the event of exceptional use such as short journeys and towing shorten this to every 6 months)

Viscosity:(Factory Recommendations)

Petrol: 10w40   ( I use Castrol GTX )
Diesel: 15w50 or 15w30 Diesel Motor Oil

Capacity (Litres) Petrol Diesel
without replacement of the Oil filter 3.5 4.4
with new replacement oil filter 4.0 4.9

Type: Mineral (non-synthetic, there is no advantage to synthetic oils in an engine of this age)

Additional Notes:  Any good make will do. Personally I use GTX

Gearbox Oil:

See separate gearbox page regarding level and dipstick re-marking.

Type: Original Handbook 75w/80w GL5 spec

My preference: 75w90 GL5 spec Semi-synthetic

Shown opposite for info are:

  • Top: Gearbox/final drive dipstick
  • Lower Left: Final Drive Drain Plug
  • Lower Right: Gearbox Drain Plug

Note TWO drain plugs. This is due to the baffle that exists between the gearbox and final drive sections to prevent the oil surging under acceleration/braking. The owners handbook states that you must fill the gearbox through the reversing light switch and NOT the dipstick hole otherwise there is a risk of under filling the gearbox as the level in the final drive (where you are measuring it with the dipstick) .
 

Tyre Pressures:  See separate Tyres page

 

 

 

Known Issues
(excluding those specifically related to the Diesels models)

There are only a few issues specific to the Talbot Express base vehicles which are regarded as having pretty much “Bullet proof” petrol engines and rust-free chassis (Van conversions do have the usual body-rust problems of any van but not the chassis-cabs which are very well protected)

Exhaust Manifold

The manifold studs corrode badly and can snap off eventually. They snap due to:

  • flexing of the exhaust which is caused by worn Rear engine mount (mine was badly worn after only 30k miles). 

  • Overly-tight manifold to system joint (exacerbates the above engine mount issue).

  • the manifold warping - cause unknown but believed to be poor quality control on earlier models (manifolds not subjected to stress-relieving process during production)  as problem does not seem to affect later variants.

The manifold to head gaskets can fail (symptom is a "chuffing" noise when driving) allowing additional air into the exhaust on the over-run and possibly contributing to “popping”/backfiring through the exhaust. If you get this symptom first try relocating (or removing) the flexible air intake hose from behind the grill (under the spare wheel) as it "ram-air" the carb and causes excessively weak mixtures on the overrun when the carb is worn.

Removal of the studs can be accomplished from underneath. Tip: soak the nuts in easing/penetrating oil (not WD40!) prior to attempting the job.

If you can’t get the studs out then the head needs to be removed . This is a relatively simple task on this engine (as heads go) but still to be avoided if at all possible. The studs can then be  drilled out professionally (approx £20 per stud) and the head skimmed (£40). Re-assembly with new gaskets (and head bolts if “Torx” type). Total cost excluding labour <£100 and unlikely to happen more than once in your ownership of the vehicle (provided you don’t persist with a worn rear engine mount or refit a warped manifold of course). Try not to over-tighten the manifold to Exhaust bolts either.

Special note1: if purchasing a second hand manifold be very careful that it is not already warped (even from specialist breaker). They tend to cost a lot and will be no better quality than the original. Personally I would pay twice as much to get a guaranteed new one of better quality from a main dealer.

Special Note2: The manifold design is poor for gas flow however there is no aftermarket 4 into 1 or 4-2-1 sports manifold available except for the XN1TA  version which costs 600€ and is incredibly rare. There are a couple of home-made ones about, but if you find a professionally made  aftermarket version let me know and I'll put the details here for the benefit of others. Thank you. See the Performance Tuning page for further details on possible the XN1TA 4-branch fitted to my vehicle.

 

Head corrosion

The engine is sensitive to having the antifreeze/inhibitor to coolant water ratio maintained. Unfortunately this is often overlooked particularly when the vehicle is seldom used. A complete coolant flush and renewal should be done every 2 years (or longer if using a long-life antifreeze). If it does develop a (minor) internal water do not attempt to seal it using Radweld or “Barrs Leaks” as they don’t work. Halfords Block Sealer (horrible stuff) does work but is an emergency product only which is not anti-freeze compatible. If you’re looking at purchasing a vehicle and it has a lot of red residue in the header tank then you should be concerned!

 

Final Drive / Gearbox Oil Leak / Level

 

Also see Gearbox Page here:

 

Typically leaks from where the Speedometer cable enters the box and is clearly visible from under the vehicle. Easily cured with instant-gasket (the blue jelly-like stuff not Hematite) or by purchasing a £25 cable support bracket from Peugeot (I’ve not tried this). This gearbox has a very strange design and filling arrangement. The case is divided internally by a baffle/dam which rises from the floor to a height just below the filler level on the gearbox dipstick. It has separate drain plugs and It should be filled from the Reversing light hole but please see the Gearbox specific pages (link above) for further details.

 

Gearbox Linkage

Notorious (unjustly so in my opinion) the linkage is prone to wear in few specific points and can even be bent out of adjustment by rough handling.  It is adjustable but not always easy to get right (trial and error) especially if the engine mounts are worn. Adjustment symptoms may include bashing your hand on the dashboard when engaging 1st,3rd,5th  or being unable to select specific gears. The good news is that this is not a fault with the gear box and the linkages can easily (and cheaply ) be repaired / adjusted in most cases, or if not the linkage can even be replaced with an refurbish one (the latter being a rather an expensive option though). For more detail see my gearbox page here.

 

General Technical Issues

Misfiring / Lack of power

 

IMPORTANT  -  check at all the usual suspects first as this is most likely where any misfire or significant loss of power is occurring. Only after discounting these should you move on to the more unusual problems that might arrise:

  • Distributor cap / Rotor

  • HT leads (£32 ouch!)

  • Spark plugs (cheap <£2 each , NGK BP6ES )

  • Air filter (cheap <£8, or can be washed if foam but ensure it is totally dry before refitting)

  • Blocked Carb jets

  • Ignition timing, etc etc

 

 

Failing that try the following :

  • Rust in Carb (from petrol tank), symptom: Brown Fuel / sludge in the carb float chamber / blocked fuel filter(s). This is quite common where the vehicle has been laid up for a longish period of time – Strip and clean carb with compressed air (blowing through a small tube such as windscreen washer hose may suffice). If you remove the jet to blow through them be careful not to damage them or drop them down the inlet manifold! Under no circumstances poke something through the jets to clean them. The jets are very soft metal and the slightest internal scratch will alter their specification. Be VERY careful not to damage gaskets as the carb is now obsolete (see links page for carb gasket/overhaul sets). Replace (or fit if not already fitted) the disposable fuel filter. The brown fuel will not damage your engine but you may need a couple of tank fulls of petrol before its fully disappeared. To avoid it happening in future store the vehicle with a full tank.

 

 

If you are running an old fuel tank be sure to fit a disposable filter and change it every 6 Months or annually depending on mileage.

Below shows the rust deposits on a small disposable petrol filter after 12 months fitted to a 20yr old fuel tank. You don't want this rusty grit getting to the carburettor.

  • Water in the fuel, again if it has been laid up for a long time. To check remove the fuel feed to the carb and crank the engine few times to pump fuel into a clear (dry) glass jar. Leave the jar to stand for a while and see if the petrol floats above a layer of water. Unfortunately water in the tank can only be removed by draining the tank and is best left to a specialist. Under NO circumstances drain fuel into the sewer/drains. It is extremely dangerous (to yourself and others), grossly irresponsible and illegal for very good reason.

  • Note that wear is quite common where the throttle spindle passes through the throttle body even on relatively low mileage vehicles. Always lubricate the linkage and throttle spindle with light oil / spray grease. If there is excessive wear here it will bleed air below the throttle plate an lead to a weak fuel/air mixture most noticeable in the low-midrange. If you think this is a problem then remove the throttle spindle and pack it with grease when refitting. Road test to see if this has improved the low-range performance. If it has then unfortunately there is not a lot you can do except a new carb (£150) as the throttle spindle runs directly in the throttle housing with no separate bushes (very silly design). You could try taking the throttle body to an engineering firm to see if they can drill it out and fit metal bushes. If you do this please let me know how you get on and I’ll include the details here.

  • Coil failure (usually but not always a gradual degradation over time, possibly more noticeable when engine (and coil) have warmed up) – swap coil with a new one to test, not expensive (£20 new or £5 from a scrap yard).

  • Fuel starvation caused by Fuel tank pressure/vacuum device fitted above fuel tank – it is not clear that all models have this although my 1991 facelift model does and these is a way of testing it as follows: Remove the device and blow through it in both directions. Blowing into the tank there should be virtually no resistance at all. Blowing out of the tank there should be noticeably more resistance but air should still pass eventually with the valve acting as a pressure relief valve i.e. it is perfectly reasonable  for the tank to be slightly pressurised and a hiss of released pressure when removing the filler cap. Pressurising the fuel tank is very common (on modern vehicles as well) and is an emissions control feature.

  • Incorrect fuel cap has been suggested but is unlikely to make much difference. If your ignition and fuel cap keys don’t match then chances are it has had a replacement. The fuel cap should NOT be vented as this is controlled by the tank pressure valve mentioned above. However, personally I find it hard to believe a vented cap and subsequent loss of pressurisation would cause any problems.

  • Don’t forget the fuel pump. It is a very old mechanical design and if it fails you may be better off purchasing a universal electrical one instead. If going for an electric one choose a LOW Pressure model.  You can try clamping the fuel return pipe to test if the increased fuel pressure at the Carb improves performance. Some people block off the return pipe completely (and remove the "T" piece) which is acceptable provided you block the return pipe to tank in a very secure manner with no risk of spillage (even if the vehicle is inverted) or vapour escaping. Personally I fitted a new standard pump and left the return pipe etc exactly as it was.  It is worth noting that the "T" piece has a restriction built in (on my 1991 model at least), i.e. one of the pipes is much smaller internal diameter than the others. This is the case on my 1991 Vehicle and the narrow pipe is the one to which the return pipe to the tank attaches.

  • Check for water ingress into any ignition-related leads, particularly those behind the grill which are subject to road spray. Disconnect and clean any electrical plugs especially to the ignition amplifier module (electronic ignition vehicles only). Eelectrical switch cleaning spray is cheap and worthwhile, available from computer stores.

 

Idle Cut-Off Valve

The idle cut-off valve sticks out the left side of the carburettor (RH when viewed from the front of the vehicle) and has an electrical connector on the end. The function of the valve is solely to shut off the idle fuel feed when the ignition is turned off, so  preventing 'running on'. This fuel circuit in the  carb also provides fuel at low medium revs,  acting in a similar way to the idle jet, so if it is not working the engine will be unable to idle and suffer very weak mixtures at low revs.

The idle cut-off valve is wired into the same 12v wiring which powers the coil so it opens whenever the ignition is on, allowing the idle fuel to flow. If it fails in the shut position the  engine will still run (roughly) on the main jets at high revolutions but will stall as soon as you take your foot off the throttle. If it sticks in the open position the idle fuel circuit will remain open, so if the engine is still turning it will still draw fuel through the idle jet, resulting in possible running on if there are hot spot in one or more cylinders. With the idle cut-off solenoid working correctly, hot spots in the cylinders don’t matter so much, since there is no fuel available to keep the engine running once you turn off the ignition.

It is very easy to check the idle cut-off valve to make sure it is functioning properly. Turn the ignition on (but do not start the engine). Disconnect the electrical lead from the valve, then touch it to the connector again. If it's working, you'll hear a clicking sound as the relay pulls in. If you do not hear this clicking sound, it's time to replace the idle cut-off valve. They are cheap enough from Peugeot or Citroen.

When replacing the idle-cut off valve in the carburettor, don't screw it in too hard ... it has fine brass threads and it's screwed into the soft metal of the carburettor. Also check that the valve hasn't worked loose in the carburettor -- they do sometimes, and then work only intermittently. And of course make sure that it's properly connected electrically as the lead can break off.

 

Engine / Gear Oil

Change Engine Oil regularly (at least annually for the engine) even if the 6000 mile service change hasn’t been reached. Use the appropriate good quality mineral oil and  not some thinner (and more expensive) synthetic oil for this engine. Personally I'm a fan of Castrol GTX and have used it in all my older vehicles for over 25 years.

 

Use GL5 spec gear oil for the gearbox (check the specs in the manual). I get best Gearbox  performance from Full/Semi-Synthetic 75w90 which is only slightly more expensive given the small amount required, and well worth it!. I should stress that I have not experimented with other oils in the Gearbox/final drive, only that the 75w/90 gave noticeably improved performance compared to the standard EP90. I change the Gearbox oil at least every 3 years, usually every 2 years.

 

Unusual Oil leaks such as around the timing chain cover can  be and indication of excessive crack case pressure which may be caused by blocked (collapsed) breather hoses and/or blocked flame traps (the round items with wire mesh inside them on the breather hoses). Clean the flame traps using fuel or degreaser making sure they are thoroughly dry afterwards and replace any collapsed hoses. Often this will cure unusual oil leaks.

 

Note that a small amount of “mayonaise” in the Engine oil is not uncommon when looking where the oil is filled and the breather pipes on these engines due to their design and nature of use (i.e. infrequent use leads to moisture condensing from the air in the filler housing and crankcase)  however the dipstick and oil drained from the engine should be clear.

 

Brake fluid

MUST be changed at 2 yearly intervals irrespective of use as the fluid absorbs moisture from the atmosphere (hydroscopic) which will degrade its performance and contribute to brake fade (very serious). The brakes are not that big and have a lot of work to do on these vehicles particularly given that Coachbuilt Motor homes typically run at close to their Maximum weight at all times. You might get away without doing this so regularly on highly braked modern car but with a fully laden coachbuilt on a steep hill it is not a risk I'd be prepared to take.

 

The task is made considerably easier with the use of a one-man pressure bleeding kit such as Gunson’s “Eezi-bleed” (£15 from Halfords), and takes less than an hour (excluding tea breaks!) doing it this way. I find 10psi is perfectly adequate for the task. Do not use too higher pressure or the Eezi-Bleed seals may fail introducing considerable air into the fluid. You do not have to jack up the van but it may be worth spraying the bleed nipples with easing oil (e.g. WD-40) the night before and be careful not tighten them too much afterwards. Snapping a nipple off in a calliper could be very time consuming / expensive. As a guide New callipers are £165 and reconditioned ones are £95, new flexible hoses for the front are £10 - £15 each. These are 2005 prices from an excellent local motor factor ( Swindon Auto parts, Lagos Street, 01793 512344 )

 

Follow the bleed sequence in the manual which is rears first, then upper front cylinders, then lower fronts. I’d recommend you bleed most of the existing fluid out of the reservoir prior to adding the new fluid. Some people suggest using the Eezi-Bleed empty to blow out the old fluid first but unless you are confident you can get all the air out afterwards this isn’t recommended. Note that it is a split-system where one circuit operates the Rear and smaller front pistons and the other operates the larger front pistons.

 

Buying brake fluid in bulk from a motor factor is often cheaper, e.g. 5lt can work out as cheap as 2 x 1 litres. Note that DOT 5 is NOT compatible for mixing with older fluids therefore  ONLY use DOT 3 or 4. If you have a lot left over and intend storing if for any length of time be sure to make the container as airtight as possible otherwise it will degrade in the bottle. Obviously this is not an area to economise on, particularly as moisture in the fluid is likely to boil just when you need the brakes most (e.g. on long descent) so if in doubt just buy new fluid every 2 years. Be sure to dispose of the old stuff responsibly at your local recycling depot.

 

 

 

 

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