Save the 2CV

You Thought It Was Over?

   posted on Saturday 7th of October 2006 by Mark Warner

I thought I'd give an update on how the car was fairing. I've been on a few trips other than going to the wedding, and have been enjoying having the freedom to drive again. I have had an incident or two as well... mostly due to the odd mistake, probably made at 3am the night before an M.O.T.

I was on my way to see a friend in Cambridge a couple of months after the wedding and there was a strange vibration coming from the front of the car. It was getting worse so I pulled into some services worrying that something in the suspension had worked itself loose. I jacked her up and gave the front wheel a quick wobble by hand, and the front left was ridiculously loose. After the stress of replacing them my mind immediately thought the king pin had completely busted, but then I realised the more simple answer that the wheel nuts had all come loose. Note to self, always tighten your wheel nuts.

So continuing on my journey (with tighter nuts...) I was coming off on a slip road when an almighty clunk and thump resonating under the car. I looked behind and couldn't see anything (like a gearbox) bouncing along the road and wasn't in a position to stop so I convinced myself it was just a stone until I got to my destination. I was already shaken up from the revelation that I hadn't put one of the wheels on properly, had a quick look around and couldn't see anything obvious missing (like the engine) so thought nothing of it.

After the weekend I was driving around my home town and another more sinister rattling had started, and the exhaust joint from the expansion box to the pipe that goes to the silencer was blowing. Whilst fixing that, I found out what the clunk had been. At the back of the gearbox are two long bolts that bolt through a supporting plate (which is attached to the chassis) into the gearbox and holds that in place. With the two mounts at the front of the engine (and the drive shafts) that's what holds the engine and gearbox in place.

One was missing.

The other wasn't where it should be either.

The engine and gearbox had basically jumped about an inch to the right at the back, probably working themselves free from the rattling of the loose wheel. One bolt had worked free and fallen out (it's somewhere in cambridgeshire, if you find it let me know ;) ), the other was now resting in the middle of the plate.

I got some more bolts from ecas. They're not in the catalogue, I'm guessing because they're not the sort of thing you lose! Ross and I spent a rainy lunchtime from work outside my house trying to lift the engine with a claw hammer and almost got here. The next day I got dad to come round with another hammer and levering up against the chassis the gearbox popped back into place and I got the new bolts in. The new bolts have locking washers, a feature the old bolts lacked, although as they'd lasted 20 years so I'm guessing I may not have tightened them enough. Sigh. Here's me levering the gearbox with the hammers.


So with the engine back in place I took the opportunity to finally replace the points with my funky new "DC Ignition" I bought from 2cvcity a long time ago. I hadn't been able to replace it up until now because the 14mm nut holding the fan/starter dog on had eaten all my box spanners for breakfast. Armed with a new 1/4" drive socket set the nut was at my mercy, and came off easily. The dog took a few knocks before it came free (as prescribed in the Haynes manual) and then behind a rubber protective sheet was the points box...

The old points box

Out it came, following the instructions that came with the dg ignition, along with the condenser, ignition cam and weights. They were all replaced with two little magnets and a shiny thing with an LED on it. An LED in a 2cv... what will they think of next?

DG Ignition in place

It didn't work first time because I forgot to put the magnets in. Then there was a black wire, white wire conversation which the instructions helped out with. Given that it consisted of just three parts it's hard to see how I made a meal of it. I guess it was a Saturday morning and I'd only had one cup of tea. Here's a bit of RTFM...

Instructions... what a good idea.

To finish we just had to put the fan and grill back on. She didn't start first time, fired strangely and then made a few weird noises. I found that the earth from the starter motor was loose so sorted that and tried again, and she purred. The new shiny thing has some feedback mechanism for the timing so I guess it takes a turn or two for it to work out the right timings. I went for a spin around the block and she honestly hasn't felt that nice since she was drinking good old leaded petrol. I'm immensely chuffed and can honestly recommend the DG ignition (which I'm told is more-or-less the same as the 1-2-3 ignition only cheaper). I cannot stress how much I also recommend attaching your wheels and engine properly.

... all is not done. Bodywork and painting are to come, and we're told that compared to that what we've done is easy. Pah.