Is this bit important? - Xantiargh!
Ah, happy days. Been a while since I had a car that bits drop off as you drive along, last 5 years had Toyotas, bullet-proof but boring.

My Xantia has a bit under the engine that I can only descibe as a sump cover board. Its an oily horrible board that covers the bottom of the engine from the front bumper to the footwells and from wheel arrch to wheel arch.

I guess its intended to serve two purposes, 1. Aerodynamics to improve economy and 2. to stop oil dripping on the drive.

Mine has been always looked a bit saggy to say the least and to cut a long post less long I drove very fast, there was a bang followed by some rhythmic clattering. The aerodynamic board was not very, and had semi-detached due to turbulence.

To get to the point....
Is the board important?
Should I replace it?
Is it required for the MOT?
Will it being less than aerodynamic explain poor MPG and top speed. (I cannot get better than around 33-35 MPG which for a 1.9 TD is poor)

Still, made me smile, I thought the cat was blocked and the exhaust had dropped off (assuming I have a cat)! 8p

Is this bit important? - David Lacey
A new one will cost you at least £120!

It is certainly not important - I'd be happy to junk it but you might hear extra 'noise' from the engine as this panel has a certain acoustic use.

Not required for the MOT....

It *might* drag the car down a bit, but you won't notice it.
MG-Rover Problems?
Is this bit important? - IanT
Agree completely with David. My Peugeot 309 non-turbo diesel (1987) had an under-engine panel exactly as you describe. It was a real nuisance whenever the car needed servicing, so it has spent the last ten years at the back of my garage. No noticeable difference made to fuel consumption (consistent 49 MPG), noise or anything else.

Is this bit important? - David Lacey
I couldn't believe the price of the thing! We got one in for a Xantia back along and I almost fell off my chair when I saw the invoice!

Best place for it - propped up against the garage wall!

It used to make oil draining a pain - and the filter! Grrrrrr

MG-Rover Problems?
I'd say so. - M.M
With huge respect to the "junk it" guys...

Yes it is a pain at service time but if you are doing Xantias every week you get so used to them they only take 5mins to remove and replace.

I've modified my own car with a slightly larger sump plug access panel that swivels after two self-tappers are removed. This is better than the standard drop down flap that catches and splashes the oil draining off.

They do fall off when folks gradually lose the fixing bolts over time and don't bother to replace them. I've never been asked more than a tenner for one from the breakers because they look such an oily mess.

Finally if you drive these cars a lot and are sensitive to them there is an extra "buffeting" type sound when the panel is removed. You may not notice this in a car with noisy tyres or a noisy cheap exhaust. In a perfect example you will...well I do.

I'd say so. - David Lacey
Yeah - I know the oil flap "splash syndrome" only too well from when I was on the shop floor!

MG-Rover Problems?

Value my car