Hints & Tips
This page is designed to give brief solutions to common problems on 2CVs
If you have any tips please e-mail them to us and we'll add them to this page.
HOT STARTING PROBLEMS
If your car starts easily when cold but is difficult to start after a run, when the engine is hot, suspect the ignition coil. Carry a spare in the boot and when the trouble occurs rest the spare coil between the original one and the oil filler. Transfer the two HT leads and two ignition wires to the spare and try to start the car. If it starts, the original coil is faulty and should be replaced. Make sure the small ignition wires are a tight fit on the coil.
NOISY SUSPENSION
Noise from the suspension canisters under the car on rough roads or when the car is bounced up and down indicates a need for lubrication. Refer to the diagram in the 'Suspension' section in the 'Technical' index. Fill an oil can with castor oil or vegetable oil. You will need to put a plastic tube on the oil can, long enough to insert into the canister. Slide the rubber gaiter away from the canister and push the plastic tube into the canister and pump the oil in. Do not use any other kind of oil.
LIGHTING FAULTS
Many lighting faults can be traced to poor earth connections. This sometimes results in bulbs going black. It can also result in rear lights doing strange things when brake, rear lights and indicators are all on together. From time to time get an assistant to help you. Turn on the rear lights and indicators then press the brake pedal. If the brake or rear lights go dim as the indicator lights up there is a poor connection. One by one pull the bullet connectors in the boot apart. If they're corroded clean them with a fine abrasive paper and make sure they fit together tightly. The same applies to the connectors on the lamp bar. Remove bulbs and check that they are also free of corrosion. The earth connection for all the bulbs in the rear lamps is made via the 3 nuts which hold the lamp units to the number plate panel. Make sure that the panel is not corroded here and that the nuts make good metal to metal contact. The same applies to the various earthing connections on the bulkhead.
OIL LEAKS
If the source of the leak is obvious you probably need to renew a gasket or tighten a fastener or both. We use 'LOCTITE 598' gasket compound. But if joints or gaskets which have been oil tight for ages suddenly start to leak check out the
WATER LEAKS
If the footwell in the front gets wet there are several possibilities. It's important to try to stop such leaks or the result will be rotten floor panels.
Firstly it could be the windscreen seal in which case use a sealer such as Comma 'SEEK 'N' SEAL' which can be applied without removing the glass.
Secondly check the windscreen wiper spindles. If they are worn and there is a lot of 'play' then replacement is probably the only answer. Some people have tried removing the wiper arms and putting brake cylinder end caps over the spindles. It might work but it doesn't look great!
Thirdly, if you have a manual windscreen washer, check that the pump and the tubing aren't leaking.
If you're sure it's none of the above your only option will be to remove the instrument panel and full width dash panel and get an assistant to hose the car with water while you look for the drips. Remember that where the drip occurs on the inside may not be where the water enters on the outside.
SOFT BRAKE PEDAL
If your brake pedal goes further to the floor on the first application than it does if you release it and immediately press it again, don't ignore it!! If you're not losing brake fluid there is either air in the system which needs bleeding out or there is a fault in the master cylinder.
If fluid is being lost then you should be able to see a leak at the master cylinder or wheel cylinder (check for drips on the bottom of the backplate first before you go so far as removing the drums). Also check front calipers and joints in the brake pipes. Or it could be the brake pipes have rusted through.
Ignore it at your peril!
SOFT TYRES
If you experience a tyre going soft the first thing to check for is obviously a puncture or faulty valve. But it could be due to rust in the wheel. The wheels are made in two halves welded together and it is common for them to rust round the join which is clearly visible on the inside of the wheel. If rust is bad enough the two halves can separate sufficiently for air to escape and even to the extent that, if fitted on the front, the wheel hits the bottom of the king pin as it rotates. (If you run a strong solution of washing-up liquid round the join you will see bubbles if rust in the wheel is the cause of your tyre deflating.) On no account should you fit an inner tube as a cure. The only solution is a new wheel.
(Wheels fitted to early vans were riveted together and these should have an inner tube.)
EMERGENCY TIMING LIGHT
Use the front side light bulb and its wire as an aid to setting up static timing. Simple and convenient, especially when dealing with a roadside breakdown when the points pack up. (see Points & Timing in the Technical section regarding use of a timing light and how to connect it).
STRIPPED THREADS
If you don't know your own strength and strip a thread holding the oil filler, don't panic. Use a slightly longer M7 screw and fit a nut where it emerges below the flange. You will have to file off a couple of the corners from the nut to get it to fit snugly. The good news is it will then not turn when you tighten the screw. The bad news is that it's a very fiddly job but easier and cheaper than fitting a thread repair such as a helicoil.
Going to USA or Canada? Buy a 1 3/4" AF socket while you are there. It's exactly the same size as the 44mm socket needed to remove the 2CV rear brake drums, but it'll only cost you half as much over there. Please bring back two, as I forgot to get one before I left!
METRIC OR AF
BONNET CATCH
If the return spring on your bonnet catch breaks the bonnet could fly up which would seriously impair your view of the road ahead. We suggest auxiliary catches mounted on the front bumper. There are several styles to choose from, either rubber (as shown>>>) or spring type.
Engine Breather / Oil Filler
THE WESSEX DUCKS
THE WESSEX DUCKS
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