Engine start

With everything assembled, and with TomB engineering’s assistance, it was finally time to see if the engine would start.

The engine was checked over and all the torque settings were confirmed.  For the heads this meant an initial tightening followed by a final tightening when the manifold had been bolted on.

The engine was mounted up to a refurbished gear box I’d acquired earlier, along with a starter motor that was sold-as-seen.  With no clutch between the gearbox input splines and the engine flywheel this mean that the starter motor would be able to turn the engine over without driving the gearbox.  With the wiring loom attached to provide power to the ignition and fuel pump, the coil and HT leads in place to provide juice to the spark plugs and a battery wired up to the starter and earthed to the gearbox it was ready to go.

The initial push of the ignition button was rewarded by a click and whirr from the starter motor, so at least that was good.  The ignition is the same 123 unit fitted to Judith  so the indicator light showed that it was powered and the timing could be set.  However, the fuel pump wasn’t priming.  Once we’d worked it out it was obvious: the loom had no earth – when it’s in the car it has all sorts of earths that make their way back to the gearbox but that was missing here.  One fly lead later and the fuel pump primed and filled the carburettor.

Now we were ready to go again but the battery was now flat from turning over the engine whilst we were trying to diagnose the fuel pump’s missing earth – the starter would click but not whirr.  Running jump cables from Lotte gave us the power we needed and, after a few seconds it caught!  It ran for about 20s before starting to die and I cut the ignition.  Still, that’s pretty impressive given the choke and throttle were set at about half as a guess – some dynamic adjustment of them could probably have kept it alive.

2CV engine, gearbox and wiring loom

All in all I’m very happy with this: I’ve rebuilt an engine and it ran.