This is a fairly crude blockhouse, presumably because one of the quality found on the real Atlantic Wall would have been very costly to build – especially on the side of a Scottish hill – and it’s only going to be blown up anyway. The front (“seaward”) side has been extensively damaged.
The interior is where the crudeness of the construction is most evident.
Behind this there is a well concealed sunken bunker that, with a thick grass covering, looks like little more than an undulation in the ground.
It is only when you are passed it that the rear entrance gives away its position.
There may well have been other structures in this area as well given that there are tussocks of grass with rebar sticking out of them.
To the north of the sea wall section there is another sunken bunker, this time with a trench system leading to the rear entrance.
The defining feature of this bunker is the two Tobruk pits on the top. On the Atlantic Wall the Germans used these to mount turrets from captured tanks – predominantly French models – to create gun emplacements.
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.)
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.
We have a space by the back door that’s south facing and an ideal spot for a climber. Being from Kent I decided to try and see if I could grow a hop in this spot. As a bonus I found a nursery that sells hops a few miles up the valley from where I grew up.
Hops are a rhizome so need space for the roots, from what I’ve read they will grow in containers – provided they are big enough. As this is by the access to the back door space was at a premium so I got two narrow planters, took the bottom off one, and fixed them on top of each other to create more volume. Growing in a container will probably dwarf them and reduce the crop but as I don’t want it growing onto the roof of the house and as I’ve selected an ornamental variety I think it’ll be fine.
The hop comes as a bare root wrapped in moss for protection.
The planter was lined with a bin bag to help protect the wood and the bottom half was filled with topsoil I had for the lawn and the top half with garden centre compost. Then I hollowed out a space for the roots and filled that with compost from the bin.
Following the hop planting guide, the crown is below the surface of the soil which was then well soaked from the rain water butt.
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.
In the Tintin adventure of King Ottokar’s Sceptre the Bordurian Air Force are shown operating Messerschmitt Bf 109s.
However, these were added in the redrawn and colourised 1947 edition. The first, black and white, edition – that was serialised weekly from August 1938 to August 1939 – shows them operating Heinkel He 118 dive bombers.
Whilst the individual panel compositions have basically remained the same, the page composition for this sequence has been changed in going from four pages down to two:
Heinkel He 188
The photo of an He 118 from Wikipedia matches one frame of the book exactly. Hergé was known for keeping extensive scrap books and using them as reference when drawing Tintin books so it is likely that this photo ended up in his scrap book before becoming the basis for this frame.
The He 118 was a prototype German dive bomber design that lost out to the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka in the mid 1930s and was never ordered by the Luftwaffe. So, whilst it would have been contemporary when Hergé was initially writing the book, the Bf 109, being the main fighter of the Luftwaffe during WWII, would have been much more recognisable to readers in 1947.
It seems that Hergé didn’t have many reference images for the He 118 as the inboard sections of the gull wings are drawn as wing root fillets in most images.
Which Bf 109 version is it?
The Bf 109 was probably drawn by Edgar P. Jacobs who, as part of Studios Hergé, oversaw a lot of the background detail work of post-war Tintin books. It doesn’t exactly resemble any one specific variant of the Bf 109: the nose – and specifically the chin mounted radiator – most closely resemble the Jumo engined B that saw service in the Spanish Civil War but the rounded wing tips most closely resemble the F.
Other details that don’t match between versions are the fixed tail wheel (it was made retractable in the F); the lack of bracing struts for the tail plane (they were first removed for the F); the small triangular panels in front of the cockpit are shown as unglazed (first seen in later F models); and it’s shown with five exhaust stubs on each side that would indicate a V10 engine which was never used in the airframe.
It does look somewhat like the Merlin engined HA-1112 but the details of the nose and the lack of under wing radiators don’t match.
Perrin acoustic locator
The Syldavians are shown as using what looks very much like a Perrin acoustic locator to detect the approach of Tintin in his Bordurian aircraft.
This was designed by French Nobel prize winner Jean-Baptiste Perrin and the locator featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics in December 1930 – which may well have found its way into Hergé’s scrapbook.
Had a ride along in a very nice soft top Trabant, with 26hp it’s very similar to a 2CV (with 29hp) in that it’s all about the conservation of momentum!
This car dates from 1983 and the soft top conversion was done in 1994. There are rails down the side of the car that were added during the conversion and you have to step over them getting in and out of the car. Numerous parts in the interior are from a Golf – including the front seats.
The engine is a two cylinder, two stroke – inline and transverse.
The black box at the back with the red diamond is the fuel tank, it’s gravity fed and there’s a control inside that turns a stop cock on and off for the fuel flow and a third position for reserve which opens a lower fuel pickup. This has an additional fuel level sender behind the fuel cap.
On the left of the bock it has a crank driven fan that’s blowing under the jacket and out through the heating system. Seems that the main causes of overheating in a Trabi are under maintenance and/or over driving. back in the day K’s grandad drove his to Romania for a summer holiday with no issues.
It’s not got the magic carpet ride of a 2CV but it’s sprung to ride rough surfaces and the owner was similarly loading it up into corners. As an air cooled two pot it has a similar rasp but being in line and a two stroke it doesn’t have the whirring hum of a 2CV. Bit hard to see but it’s got a transverse leaf spring across the two front wheels.
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.
All in all I’m very happy with this: I’ve rebuilt an engine and it ran.