The 2Cv’s exhaust cross box is hung off bolts that go into the gearbox casing.
This does the job of holding the cross box in place – as well as the brake “cooling” ducts – but it is somewhat awkward to assemble everything together. As with the fuel pump and engine breather, the SPOG make a set of studs to replace the bolts to make assembly of parts easier. Fitting is “simply” a case of removing the old bolts and screwing in the new studs. The catch being access, even with the wings removed it’s hard to get to this area – especially to fit the studs – with the exhaust still in place.
With patience, perseverance (and some swearing) the studs went in and the exhaust cross box and brake ducts were secured with the supplied nut and washers.
Of course, the real key to the operation was the supervision of the car’s owner.
Having fitted a three bar grill I needed to fit some chevrons to the bonnet to complete the look. I hadn’t been able to track down any that were designed to fit over the curve but had sourced two options: a pair of modern plastichrome ones for sprucing up number 4 grills and a pair of new-old-stock AX era chevrons.
I preferred the look of the older chevrons and they had the added bonus of being genuine Citroën parts. For reference they are 75mm across the tips and 35mm between the mounting pins.
Having got the measurements of 120mm from the tip of the top chevron to the top edge of the grill and 10mm spacing between the two chevrons I made up a cardboard jig to figure out the correct placement for the holes.
The notches are to help align the jig on the centreline of the bonnet which is hard to see if the jig is covering it. (The lower pair of holes here are from “measure once”, the upper quad are the holes from “measure twice”.)
The location of the holes were then transcribed onto some masking tape on the bonnet. This has the added advantage of protecting the paint from the drilling and leaves a clean hole.
Then the bit I was least looking forward to: drilling holes in my bonnet. The masking tape is useful again here as it helps stop the drill bit sliding on the paint – even when centre punched this is a real risk. Once the drill had started a high speed and gentle pressure were the order of the day to slowly and evenly get through the bodywork. The chevron mounting pins have plastic barbs which compress as they go through the holes and expand to grip the bonnet. After measuring the size of the pins at the base a 3.5mm drill bit was needed.
After some treatment with paint applied with cotton buds to provide some kind of rust delaying effect on the edges of the holes, the chevrons pressed in. This was a bit nervy as the force required to get the barbs through the holes was – I felt – very close to the braking strength of 20 odd year old plastic.
Once fitted they complete the look of the three bar grill.
Not being shaped to fit the curve of the bonnet they do stand slightly proud but this is only noticeable up close and from certain angles.
The final item I had left on my to-do list from the re-chassis was to replace the axle bolts. Whilst doing the re-chassis we re-used the old bolts but they were showing signs of necking (although TomB engineering assessed they were within tolerance).
The bolts are held in place with lock washers which are bent over at the ends to prevent them working loose so the first step is to bend these back to get access to the bolt heads. As the bolts are what’s holding the axle to the chassis removing both at once could allow the axle to move relative to the chassis which would mean it’s no longer possible to get the thread to engage in the axle mount and, given the forces from the weight of the car and the spring tension in the suspension, it is very difficult to re-align things if they move (thus spake the voice of experience).
To avoid this it is best to replace them one at a time. To do this first loosen off both bolts just enough to free the lock washer, then take one bolt out, rotate the old lock washer out of the way then insert one new bolt and the lock washer ensuring the threads are fully engaged in the axle.
Now take out the remaining old bolt and lock washer before fitting the remaining new bolt through the lock washer.
The bolts are then tightened up to 50 N m and, using a persuadatron and a cold chisel, the lock washers are bent around them to… well… lock them in.
The later models of 2CVs come with a twin choke carburettor with the primary (smaller) being used at low revs and a mechanical linkage opening the secondary (larger) as the throttle is depressed further. Fuel is allowed into the venturi from the bowls by small brass jets (screws with calibrated holes in the middle), the size of which controls the fuel/air mixture. As standard the primary jet is a 102.5 which, for modern fuels, is slightly undersized leading to a slight flat spot in acceleration from low revs. To eliminate this fitting a 107 jet is recommended.
The secondary jet is easily accessible at the base of the fuel bowl but the primary is a bit more complex. The first step is to take the top off the carburettor, with the elephant’s knee (air intake pike) removed there are six flat head screws – one of which holds the choke cable in place – and the top of the carburettor lifts off. As the jets are at the bottom of the bowls they will need any residual petrol in them removing.
Now comes the tricky part. On the back right (as you look at it when standing in front of the car) corner of the carburettor is a 12mm bolt head – this is the access port to get to the primary jet. With that bolt removed there is now a head on approach to the primary jet – shown arrowed here:
The jet has a slot cut in it for a flat head screwdriver which needs introducing through the access port. Fortunately in my tool box I happened to have a long electricians’ screwdriver that could have been specially made for this exact job as it extended clear of all the obstructions in this area and made this job much easier than I was anticipating.
With the jet unscrewed it will need removing from the carburettor. As it’s brass the traditional use of a magnetic pick-up isn’t an option so I found a cocktail stick worked well as it wedges in the middle of the jet without damaging it and holds it just enough to withdraw it.
Fitting the new jet is, of course, the reverse of removal – making sure to reconnect the choke cable when replacing the top of the carburettor.
When everything is buttoned back up check the car starts and runs – it will probably need some cranking to re-fill the carburettor bowls. Then, when the engine is nicely up to temperature the idle will need re-setting.
When replacing Judith’s chassis we had to go with the front bump stocks that were on the shelf. These use hold the rubber onto the mount with folded metal [shown on the left below] which isn’t the best method (although it’s cheap). The better option are the bonded bump stops from ECAS [shown on the right].
This borne out by the fact that the near side (why is it always the near side) rubber had fallen out on the old bump stop.
Access to the bump stops is pretty easy, with the front of the car jacked up the swing arm clears a reasonable amount of space and, once you’ve worked out the best angles of attack, I found they came out with minimal persuasion – although a small pry bar was really helpful with this.
With them coming out so easily, fitting was the reverse of removal: finagel the bump stop bolt into the hole in the chassis plate and do the nut up to the standard torque setting of FT.
Being an air/oil cooled engine the pipes that feed oil to the 2CV’s cylinder heads are a key part of the system. They take oil fresh from the cooler and distribute it to the cylinder heads where it passes round the exhaust valve sleeve to cool it before entering the rocker covers to keep that area well lubricated, then returning down the push rod tubes to the sump.
The factory fitted steel pipes which, as they carry hot oil and are right at the front of the engine immediately behind the cooling fan, are somewhat susceptible to rust. When carrying out previous work I had noticed that there was a lot of surface rust on them but there’s no way of knowing how structurally compromised they were – and the consequences of a failure would be spraying high pressure oil onto the hot cylinder barrels, a situation that would be classed as far from ideal. A preemptive replacement with new, corrosion resistant, pipes was thus in order.
Whilst replacing them “only” involves three bolts, those bolts are located behind the tinware, which in turn is secured through the front engine mounts. And it’s behind the headlight mounting frame for good measure.
Removing all that lot falls into the category of “not technically difficult but laborious and time consuming”. However, once it’s done, access to the feed pipes is very good.
Removing the three banjo bolts (taking care to track which one came from which location as the one on the block is different to the ones on the heads) allows the pipes to lift off cleanly. Some new copper crush washers that came with the pipes were fitted, these are one – folded – spectacle type piece which are much easier to fit than individual washers that were used on the original.
The banjo bolts were refitted and tightened to a torque of 11 Nm (8 ft lbs) – being steel bolts going into lumps of aluminum this torque is both low and very important to observe. (It’s also less than the lie of 13 Nm printed in the book of lies Haynes manual.)
Whilst you’re here…
With the tinware off it was a good time to do another job whilst the access was good: replace the manifold seals. (TL;DR: unbolt the manifold, lift it up, replace the seals, then bolt back on.)
In order to do that the manifold had to come off which made it a good time to do another job: re-torque the heads. (TL;DR: slacken off the head bolts then re-torque per the manual.)
The 2CV’s boot is spacious but the floor isn’t very flat which makes it a bit impractical to use.
To improve this I’ve added a boot floor. This is a piece of 680mm x 940mm plywood with a notch cut in the back edge to fit round the central support for the back seats and a couple of notches in the front corners to allow it to slide forward through the boot opening thus allowing the back edge to clear the back seat and lift out. There’s also a small block of wood glued and screwed into the middle of the front edge to stop it sliding forward.
With the basic shape fitted I covered it with some bluegrey automotive carpet which provides a nice usable boot floor and the tools and spare wheel live happily under it and out of the way.
To set the ride height on a 2CV you really need two things: a flat and level surface and a 9-22mm tie rod adapter. When changing the chassis we had the former but not the latter and when I subsequently acquired the latter I didn’t have the former. Now I have both…
To make measurement easier I cut two bits of wood to the lengths of the required chassis height as measured between the axle bolts, 195mm at the front and 280mm at the rear (±2.5mm).
To adjust the ride height the tie rods need to be screwed into, or out of, the eyes that connect to the suspension arms via the knife edges. To facilitate this, the tie rods have 9mm flats on them. Whilst you can use a 9mm spanner you need the shock absorbers off in order to address the flat – which is what we did when we were putting it back together after changing the chassis. The right tool for the job is a 22m hex that has a 9mm slot cut in it.
Whilst access to the tie rods is still a bit restricted, with the adapter on the tie rods the 22m spanner can address it in 12 possible ways which, whilst a bit fiddly, is adequate for the job.
Ensure the tire pressures are correct and the car is unladen (except 5l of fuel if you’re being precise). Using the appropriate wooden measuring stick you can see how far off the ride height is. Then, with one side of the car jacked up to take the weight off the suspension and hence the tie rods, you can screw the tie rods in to raise the car or out to lower the car – a rule of thumb is one turn of the tie rods is about 5mm. After making an adjustment, let the car sit back down on the suspension, give it a bounce to settle it, and re-measure. Then, if needed, jack up and re-adjust. As I needed to raise Judith I put a bit of WD40 on the tie rods where they entered the eyes as that made them a bit easier to turn.
When you’re done the wooden sticks should just fit under the chassis between the axle bolts.
The rust proofing – or rather lack thereof – that came from the Citroen factory is well known to 2CV owners and mine was no exception. One of the areas that this manifests is the rear wheel arches as they’re hard to get to with the wings on and they get whatever’s on the road effectively deposited over them by the rear wheels. When we changed the chassis I had a look at them and there was a suspiciously iron oxide tinge to some of the mud brown so I put this job on my list.
With the rear wings off the wheel arches are easy to work on. The first step was a thorough clean of the clart to see what was going on. Mostly the surface was OK and the paint, although not great quality, was still holding. There was still some underseal in evidence but not uniform as evidenced by the areas of surface rust. The main areas were the bump stop mountings and the seat belt reinforcement panels (that had been replaced in 2004).
Treatment for this was a wire brush in a drill to take it back to good metal followed by rust remedy. A top coat of blue hammerite finished it off, this turned out to be much lighter blue than I was anticipating but it’s in an area that doesn’t show, will be covered in underseal and when the rust returns I’ll be able to see if it’s in a new area or the same place which would indicate a deeper problem.
With the rust treated it was time for a decent coat of underseal, not very pleasant stuff to work with but when it’s been warmed up it at least goes on easy enough.
The final part was the leading edges where the wings are affixed. There were a few places where the tin worm had established colonies so these were attacked with the wire brush followed by rust remedy. After some creative masking they were treated to etch primer, primer and two top coats.
With all of that done, this area is now much better protected than when it left the factory, hopefully that should put a crimp in the style of the tin worm which was close to getting established in places.
Of the four variants of 2CV grills the third (number 3) is my favourite – this is the three bar aluminium version (1965-1974). As the bonnet opening was the same shape for grills number 2 to 4 was the same they are interchangeable and the plastic number 4 grill on Judith was broken I picked up reproduction number 3 grill to replace it.
After taking off the old grill, the mesh stone shield that sits behind it and the numberplate I was faced with the old enemy: iron oxide. Round the edges of the bonnet opening the paint had been chipped, the numberplate rubs on the central fold of the bonnet and had gone back through the wafer thin paint, and the mesh was starting to pick up some surface rust. There was also a slight dent in the bonnet at the offside top corner of the opening.
Still, an initial dry fit of the new grill looked good.
After a somewhat inexpert bit of panel beating on the dent, a clean-up of the rust, some rust remedy, etch primer on the bare metal and a keying of the old paint, the bonnet opening was ready for a re-spray.
My rattle can technique needs some work as there were a few runs in the paint (holding the can too close and trying to put too much paint on in one go) and it was quite cold so it dried a bit matt. However, it’s going to be hidden behind the grill and numberplate so a good place to practice.
After the paint had been left for at least a week to cure (another learning moment) and the final touch ups had been done (and left to cure) the grill could be fitted.
The plastic number 4 grill clips in but the number 3 needs bolting in at the top: for this I used countersunk, 16mm, M6, stainless, hex socket bolts with nylock nuts and a broad washer. It has two tabs on the bottom that need bending over to secure it against the lower lip of the opening. The mesh had been coated with the trusty satin black and is held in at the top with the new bolts and at the bottom with the original screws and washers. Finally the grill surround needed a bit of gentle bending to conform properly to the bonnet.
The last thing before re-fitting the numberplate was a strip of anti-rub “helecopter” tape down the centre line fold of the bonnet to protect the paint from rubbing off again.
All that’s missing now is a set of chevrons for the bonnet.