Number 3 grill

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.
Reproduction aluminium three bar 2CV grill
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.
Three bar grill fitted to a 2CV
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.
2CV numberplate and grill mouth ready for respray
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.
2CV numberplate and grill mouth after respray
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.
Three bar grill fitted to a 2CV, no numberplate
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.
2Cv with three bar grill
All that’s missing now is a set of chevrons for the bonnet.

Climb classifications in the Le Tour de France

Apparently the climb classifications (4,3,2,1,HC) in the Le Tour de France are based on the gear you’d need to use in a 2CV to get up that hill. This is quite clearly horse poop and – as the owner of a 2CV – I have a 100% subjective personal anecdote to prove it:

The Le Tour has been past the village were I grew up twice (’94 & ’07) and both times there was a 4th cat near by. There’s no way you’d get a 2CV up those hills in 4th – they’re solid 3rd and maybe a quick dip to 2nd near the top if you didn’t get a good run at them on the way in.

As for HC (which is supposedly impassable to a 2CV) I similarly call horse. 1st gear in a 2CV is so low it won’t even get you half way across a set of traffic lights without needing to change up – you’ll run out of grip on the tyres long before you torque stall the engine. (Admittedly the grupetto would be faster up the hill but that’s not the point.)

Generally your biggest problem on hills in a 2CV is some idiot in a modern car in front of you that slows down for the corners – it’s all about conservation of momentum, as this person ably demonstrates.

FACT.

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.

Blade fuse box for a 2CV

The original 2CV fuse box uses glass fuses in a plastic case glued to the firewall at the back of the engine.  As long as nothing goes wrong with it this works as well as it needs to but it’s not a solution you’d choose to keep if you were changing things.

2CV glass fuse box

As I’ve got a bare wiring loom for my Burton project, and I’ve done the hard work of identifying which connector is which, it was a relatively simple – if time consuming – task to replace each of the old glass fuse terminals with a female blade connector and cover them with an appropriately coloured piece of heat shrink.   These then fit onto the male blade terminals of a generic after market fuse box.

2CV blade fuze box

Whilst there are only five fuses in a standard 2CV fuse box I’ve gone for eight as that gives me room to add fuses for some of the additional circuits I’m going to be adding – notably an electric fuel pump.

2CV wiring loom debugging

Whilst still not objectively easy, having a stripped wiring loom makes it significantly easier to identify which connector is which.  To start with I’ll need the ignition and starter circuits so I can run the engine but having five holes in the wiring loom where the fuses are supposed to go makes figuring out what’s what more difficult than needs be.

So, after an evening probing around with a multimeter I’ve now identified both ends of all five fuses and which of those ends match up.

2CV wiring loom fuse connectors

To make my life easier I have numbered them from 1 to 5:

  1. Instruments, indicator, wipers, alternator field (16A)
  2. Stop, interior and hazard lights (16A)
  3. Near side running lights (10A)
  4. Fog light (16A)
  5. Off side running lights (10A)

Next step will to be connect these up to a blade fuse box which will make life significantly easier and allow for fusing additional circuits.

Continued De-clarting of tinware

After the initial de-clarting of the tinware I now moved on to trying to clean them up further. However, after the best part of a day (or what passes for daylight hours at this time of year) with various abrasives and power tools I’d not made much more than an impact on the surface.

Dyanne tinware

As this has now sucked more than enough of my time I’ve opted to pay to have them sand blasted.

In the mean time I’ve picked up a new set of fixings to hold it all together when it’s done.

Burton 2CV tinware fixings

De-clarted tinware

I’ve got some Dyane tinware for the Burton engine, this has the “back end of a horse power” forced induction take off and the cylinder covers are metal rather than whatever it is the later 2CVs used. However, it’s seen better days so needs some renovation.

First off the engine mounts needed removing with the aid of heat, Super Crack Ultra, and an impact driver.  With that done I’ve declarted them using pound shop oven cleaner.

Dyane tinware being cleaned

Next step will be to give them a thorough going over with various grades of abrasive.

Specialist tool

I was doing a bit of tidying up work on the fuel tank which involves inserting some bolts vertically upwards.  The problem with this – as I learned before – is that, under the influence of gravity, they will drop back into the socket which doesn’t leave enough thread protruding to bite into the nut.

Following the principle of the sump plug socket I put a slice of fuel hose into an 11mm socket.

11mm socket with fuel hose in it

The bolt now sits on top of the fuel hose with the full amount of thread available.

11m socket with fuel hose in it holding up a bolt