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2CVGB News article – SPOG February 2018

I’ve always been told “you are what you read”. Indeed having no mechanical background before I started restoring and maintaining 2cvs, most of my knowledge has come from studying Workshop Manuals.  Amongst others, the Haynes publication was my constant reference point at the beginning. But what if things are written down incorrectly?

When one first opens up such manuals there is always written the clause “Whilst every care is taken to ensure the information enclosed is correct, no liability can be accepted for loss, damage or injury by any errors or omissions in the text. Fair enough, but when an alleged mistake is potentially dangerous as I recently discovered, then what? And it’s here that being a Member of an enthusiast Club and regularly attending Local Group Meetings is proving so invaluable. More help please.

Serious stuff.  However before I elaborate on this situation, may I offer a little promotion for our Local Group TROY’s Camp later this year, May 10 – 13th.  No Expectations 3 returns to Breighton Ferry aside the River Derwent with a pub serving breakfasts and evening meals right next to the well drained and flat grassy camping area. Nowt is planned although there is plenty happening in the vicinity eg. the War Weekend at the nearby Elvington Aircraft Museum. Therefore just a peaceful few days to meet up with friends and talk about 2cvs into the wee small hours if so wished. Love it.

I now return to the main theme of this article. With all of my cars I keep an individual record of what servicing and repairs I make to each particular vehicle. If something is found to be worn or sloppy I also make a note of that, “watch”, along with the mileage and date etc. Therefore when I recently jacked up the F Reg 80k plums and custard 2cv (regularly used for overseas runs) in order to grease the king pins prior to its impending MOT, I was rather shocked to discover so much wobble on the off-side front wheel.  Very strange. I checked my records to find that I had tested/greased these pins only a few months earlier, some 800 miles ago noting down at that time only slight play on both sides. Something was seriously wrong here!

Off-side tyre removed and replaced with an old rim plus out with the inspection lamp. Upon closer examination I found the reason for the sloppiness, the actual track rod originating from the steering rack was loose in the tracking adjuster sleeve as arrowed in the accompanying photographs. A spanner on the clamp bolts’ nuts found them slack. Yes, I tightened them up and the play disappeared. It was then that I noticed that I had, in previous times, positioned the openings of these clamps in line with the slot in the adjuster sleeve. However I also seemed to remember from TROY discussions that this was possibly wrong. So out with the reference books I have accumulated over the years. Firstly my favoured manual shows a diagram of the jaws of the clamp indeed in line with the slot in the adjuster sleeve with notes alongside to confirm this position as found on my own 2cv. Elsewhere is a cross-section drawing of the front hub and steering assembly with the clamp similarly situated as I’ve ringed in red pen. However other manuals would appear to give completely different advice, in fact quite the reverse.

Upon examination of the Citroen Repair Manual 8161 dated October 1983 there is the same diagram of the clamp/tracking adjuster sleeve, picture (5). But this time the associated description clearly states that the opening of the clamp’s jaws is not important SO LONG AS IT IS NOT DIRECTLY OPPOSITE THE SLOT IN THE ADJUSTER SLEEVE. Indeed another diagram as featured in the Autobooks Manual appears to repeat this Citroen advice.

But does the position of the clamps in fact matter? With the jaws of clamps as positioned on my 2cv being in line with the slot in the tracking adjuster sleeve, I am told that this can allow the track rod to open up the sleeve with disastrous consequences. Firstly, play in the system occurs … yes I had that … but such movement can, dare I say, ultimately lead to the tracking adjuster sleeve breaking in half between the track rod and the actual track rod end. Nasty that, with total loss of steering … ooops! Is this true ?

Therefore I slackened off the clamp bolts, moved the clamps around so that the two openings didn’t line up and then re-secured the nuts. Same t’other side. What a lesson learnt as you can see in the photographs of my car, but am I right in doing this?

Also in picture (3) you can see the head of a grease nipple standing proud from the track rod end castle screw. A timely reminder that SPOG supplies both variations of nippled castle screw “little and large” for all makes of A Series vehicles. Realistically one could say that regularly greasing the track rod ends of the Ami, AK400 and Acadiane is significantly important as new track rod lever arms for these particular vehicles are no longer available. Saying that, a new 2cv, Dyane etc track tod lever arm isn’t cheap, indeed somewhat more expensive than a nippled castle screw and a bit of grease now and them.

Finally all the reference books seem to specify that the clamps, or to be more technically correct locking collars, should be positioned vertically with therefore the securing bolts lying horizontally. I’ve also discussed this matter with my 2cv chums to discover that this directive possibly doesn’t warrant so much attention in comparison to the above. The reason why this is suggested being perhaps to prevent rain water collecting in the clamps causing rust and ultimately mechanism failure. But if you smother everything with waxoyl/grease etc to keep the muck out as I have done, this shouldn’t be a problem. So after this article please beware of clamp jaw and sleeve slot alignment. Also no harm in regularly checking to keep your nuts tight …. ahem.

As you can appreciate it takes considerable effort to accumulate all the necessary details for a SPOG article, and I repeat that most of my knowledge is gained from books. However I could be completely wrong with my interpretation of what is written down, indeed I am eager to establish the correct way of arranging these tracking adjusters/clamps. Please let me know of your thoughts.

David Eden