Swallowed a spider to catch a fly

A while back I replaced a missing bolt for the rear door retaining strap. Also missing was the strap that holds the rear seat belt away from the door opening1 as that’s held in by the bolt that had departed. After obtaining a replacement strap (they’re the same as the door handle straps) I set about restoring everything.

Unfortunately I managed to drop the nut from the surviving original bolt down into the mounting bracket for the rear door strap, this being nothing more than a curved piece of metal welded onto the B pillar.

2CV rear door strap body mount

To give you and idea of the restricted access, the above photo is the best I could get with phone camera – the Mk. 1 eyeball can get a slightly better vantage point. It’s too narrow for either of my magnetic pick-ups and too deep for most of my tools – about the only thing that would get down there was a pick. I tried to magnetise the pick but it really wasn’t going to cut it so time for plan B: more magnets.

A trip to an online market place provided a large range of available rare earth magnets – after some consideration (and some measuring) I settled on 10 5mm cube magnets. These duly arrived by first class post and, at the next available opportunity, I set about retrieving the errant nut. After plenty of trial and error – the latter mostly involving the magnets also getting stuck inside the bracket – the spider magnets finally came out with the fly bolt.

spider and fly

Reassembly from this point was straight forward using the equivalent off side components as a guide. However, this time I was much more careful when handling the bolts.

2CV rear door strap and seatbelt retainer

Now this might seem a lot of effort for one bolt that nobody would ever have known was stuck down there – and it was really. However, it’s this kind of attention to detail that separates a classic car from a utility vehicle.


  1. Three point, inertia reel, seatbelts post date the design of the 2CV’s body shell, there will always be some compromises when retro-fitting things like this.