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2CV Buyers Guide
by beetle • Sun 16 Jun 2013 12:42
2CV Key Points when Buying




Crash Test

Notice how the cab area is unaffected the engine and gearbox absorb impact and go down impacting the front suspension tube and collapsing the chassis at the focus point.

Triangular panel (bonnet,wing,cab)
Highest point next to cab.
Large gap tight at the bottom suspect impact damage to chassis.
Small/no gap at top large at bottom suspect chassis rot. (see steering)

The chassis is a composite of racing car 'Y' rail and saloon 'H' chassis forms, both together and enclosed.
The chassis is angled down at the front and down at the back with a focus point where the front suspension tube is attached.
This focus point is where impact damage can be found and as it is the lowest point, water will also gather here both within the chassis and cab = Rot.
Early French chassis quality was better than Portuguese.
Galvanised replacement chassis are available. Some cars for sale will have these. It is usually a 'selling point'.
Changing a chassis is not difficult.

Fuel Lines - perish. Flex them, to see if they have cracks
Cardboard Heater Ducting - first of all are they present? If so they need to be restrained / supported by cable ties otherwise stand a good chance of falling off onto the exhaust and catching fire.
Heater/Warm Air Control Flaps - direct warm air into the car or bypass out into the wings - often find cables attached incorrectly. So when you select cold or hot sliding the heater control in the car, one opens whilst the other closes. Easy to rectify - reconnect cables with flaps in same position and corresponding with control in the cab.
Cow Horn Exhaust Box - Three joints here - often if engine front mounts have not been slackened off before fitting the box, you will not get all the joints to seat correctly and because of this the box may also be left unattached to the gearbox.
Gear Change Linkage - sloppy gear lever often equals worn out rubber bushes at gearbox connection.
Gear Lever (inside cab) - very stiff to move this results if the chrome shaft has been oiled or greases, as the bushes within the black holder expand.
Wiring Loom Support Clip - located on the air filter support bracket this MUST have rubber insulation sleeve fitted or clip will saw through the wires, resulting in an electrical fire.
Accelerator Cable Adjustment - often cause of poor performance due to slack in cable. Pull out hair grip retainer, take up slack and refit grip in new position. (a little bit of slack is OK)
Starter Motor - located on top of the engine , it's bushes dry out slower turning over. Lubrication normally improves performance.
Fan Grill Starting Handle Support - Grease well if you use starting handle that also applies to starting handle dog (inside fan centre)
Starting Handles - Early design best as handle grip rotates. Later design inclined to bend. Remember to keep thumb on top to avoid injury if engine kicks back whilst turning the engine over.
Points - Located behind the fan. To remove first remove fan guard, then starter dog bolt. Refit bolt tighten by hand slacken off one turn, hit same with soft hammer (copper/ brass head) fan should bounce loose. Fan assembly locates directly on the tapered crankshaft nothing else but the bolt correctly torqued holding it on. Note some people have used Loctite in which case you destroy the nylon fan reduce the metal component until you can grind it down very carefully.
The points themselves are are straight forward to change and set. Timing without the use of a strobe - With engine running (fan not yet fitted) just slacken off the two bolts holding the points box move left or right until you obtain highest running speed then back off a little to allow for advance - test drive - adjust again if necessary - refit fan.
A lot of people now fit electronic ignition to avoid the above.

Held up at the right angle bonnet should slide left or right with ease. If not this can stress the hinge /cab and cause corrosion.

Easy to remove (best with wheels of ground), if captive bolt on the sill is sound - not rusted on, or sill weakened at this point by rust.

To inspect - best with wheels off the ground. Grab wheel top and bottom firmly rock in and out feel for excess play.
King pins are best replaced with the suspension arm removed from the vehicle.
Common fault new bushes inserted without aligning hole with grease nipple.
Buy a good quality grease gun and grease regularly they will last a long time.
Where the steering arm affixes (two bolts double lock washer and notch in casting) look for hammer damage caused by driving out the pin with suspension arm in-situe. A damaged notch is potentially dangerous.

located centrally on the outside of the chassis. If these make an EEH - AWW sound when the car is rocked this can be rectified by injection of castor oil into the cylinders.

Not registering - normally poor earth or corroded positive connection on top of fuel tank.

Early cars fitted with drum brakes (vegetable base brake fluid) later models disc brakes at the front (mineral oil brake fluid).
Brake shoes are centred and pivot on a cam assembly, these require servicing i.e. grease. Have known cars to pass MOT with only two leading shoes moving either side at the rear.
Rear brakes access requires a puller to remove drum and integral wheel bearing.
Small block of wood if present in boot is to chock a wheel if car parked on a steep hill and drums/discs hot from heavy braking.
Brake pipe ferrules are different for each brake system/fluid.

With hand brake applied pull out centre of umbrella style handle turn through 90 degrees and hand brake is locked. Reverse procedure to free.

Pull out drop in pins on rubber restrain (bas of pillar) and door opens wider.

Material subjected to uv will degrade.
Seat suspension - canvas centre held by rubber doughnuts/hooks, easy to replace if perished.
Front seats can be remove when drop in pins are lifted out of central rail,adjuster lifted and seats pushed forward.
Rear seat - release central peg lock turn approx 180 degree's to free, tilt forward and lift out of fully open door.

With everything disconnected just grab hold of each exhaust manifold and lift out mind chassis cross member!.

Adjustment up or down - knob to turn inside the cab.

The are best dosed with Waxoyl before fitting as rust quickly.
Lots of little studs and nuts under chrome strip behind plastic dash trim.

If very stiff suspect front impact damage or weak rusted chassis.

Half Way - Release clips either side of windscreen lift up and back secure to press stud on cab cross-member.
All The Way - As before but pull roof material outwards adjacent to cross-member to release internal retainer from lip (both sides) roll fully back till draped over bumper (inside of hood facing you) then roll up with external pattern facing you. Clip to press studs using grey straps normally found inside the car.
If you have a hood without a lining then on a cold and frosty morning the frost will drop like snow inside the car.

I'm certain to have missed something, but really they are easy to work on and are built to last unlike my modern car which is designed to fail after five years! Electric window winders failed! That will £400 to replace or perhaps we can interest you in our new model? I wish I had a 2CV the cost would, well there would not be!

Les Gendarmes Luis De Funes
If you never find what you seek, you never wanted it badly enough in the first place.
Dec 2007
Re: 2CV Buyers Guide
by RobertArthur • Mon 17 Jun 2013 15:25
Thanks for this assessment. Memories, my Dutch 2CV instruction manual is still there, together with those for the Rover 2000 and many others.

Let's jump to the future, and go back in time to September 15th 2009. Vintage time. Will the old deux chevaux ever give birth to a child? Is a DNA transplant possible?

Perhaps: have a look at La construction de la nouvelle 2CV étape par étape, TF1 news.

It's an item of only two minutes, but the 2CV Mk II is hiding somewhere in the rest of yesterday's news, some patience required.

For the more efficient and time-conscious readers of today this shortcut: frome here to there?

Since 2009: lots of silence.

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Mar 2009
Re: 2CV Buyers Guide
by dissid32 • Wed 19 Jun 2013 10:55
Wonder what happened to the 2CV for tomorrow? Interesting bit of film. I think the problem would be that we like the 2CV for its basicness. In the film they were aiming for sophistication.
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Feb 2006
Re: 2CV Buyers Guide
by RobertArthur • Wed 19 Jun 2013 12:09
Aiming for sophisication is - or was - what the designers of PSA were doing. In Le Figaro exactly the same comment: Avec la Revolte Citroën veut faire du luxe à la française.

Trying to surf along on a long vintage wave called 2CV, and offering something completely different. From a utility vehicle for everybody to a plaything for those who were rich before something happened on the financial markets in October 2008.

Nice try this Revolte study, but I'm aftraid even the French prefer cars you can rely on, made in France or not, bringing you from A to B, low maintenance costs. One of the reasons why minister Arnaud de Montebourg doesn't like Hyundai.

Rumours: this Revolte study has been promoted to a drawer somewhere in the PSA headquarters, and the 2CV Mk III could be based on the C-Cactus design. Estimated price: about 16,000 euros. Not something the designer of the original deux chevaux had in mind.

Fiat and BMW have been more successful with their remakes of the 500 and the Mini.

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Mar 2009
Re: 2CV Buyers Guide
by beetle • Fri 21 Jun 2013 13:06
Like a good wine the 2CV evolved through careful nurturing of a concept 'keep it simple'.
This 'Equinox' program from 1986 (6 x parts) charts it's evolution and explains its nouvelle design and function.

2CV Historie
If you never find what you seek, you never wanted it badly enough in the first place.
Dec 2007
Re: 2CV Buyers Guide
by dikdok • Sat 16 Nov 2013 16:49
That strange "revolte-ing" object is no more a 2CV than the new "DS" series is a DS. If it's not the same then call it something else.
"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the great ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
Jun 2005
Re: 2CV Buyers Guide
by RobertArthur • Sat 16 Nov 2013 22:14
They probably already took note: the buzz word is now un modèle inspiré de la 2CV. Design philosophy based on the C Cactus, but it will look different. To be produced in Madrid, for sale somewhere next year, should be the Citroen answer to the rather popular and reliable low cost Japanese and Korean cars. And the Dacias made by Renault. We'll wait and see what happens.

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Mar 2009
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