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2CVGB News article – SPOG August 2016

Following on from last month’s SPOG Article to complete things, more information regarding A Series track rod end joints follows. But before Taffy asks “Are your balls round or oval?” just a note regarding the forthcoming 2cvGB AGM. It is my intention to re-stand as your SPOG Co-ordinator for the next two years. Although we now have SPOG trading in its own right separate from 2cvGB, our web presence needs upgrading with the ability to supply more detail of SPOG parts plus the creation of an online shop. Let’s hope we can achieve that if I am successfully re-elected.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to purchase various Citroen original parts both here and in Europe to include two pairs of new 2cv/Dyane track rod lever arms. These are identified by attached strips of metal with the appropriate parts number embossed. Last month I quoted figures 95569500 (left) and 95569501 (right) for these vehicles. However the metal labels on my track rod lever arms retrieved from the loft are different although the parts are identical. So having cross-referenced these part numbers from old Catalogues I can confirm this additional nomenclature.

Dyane 1970 AZ 413 4   Left
Dyane 1970 AZ 413 4A   Right

Therefore when trying to gauge how worn the balls may become on track rod lever arms before being detrimental to the safety of the vehicle … why not measure new ones for comparison? Using a Vernier Caliper I can report that the diameter (always using the same reference points) between the functioning surfaces of a new ball is 21.75 mm. Therefore all second hand track rod lever arms with “used” balls will obviously have a lesser diameter than new because of wear, this particularly so if these joints are not regularly flushed with grease after fitting SPOG’s nippled Castle Screws.

Next I show you a much worn ball on a track rod lever arm that came from a 2cv near me. Clearly you can see the metal heaped up ridges at the limits of ball movement. Not good. Indeed whoever maintained this car (and it was a new owner who suffered the consequences) was under the impression that track rod ends are adjustable. So when the joint became sloppy (?? an MOT problem) the castle screw was simply tightened to take up the slack. Oh dear.

This misconception meant that at the limits of a full steering circle, the ball could not move within the housing so something had to give. Normally the neck of the ball will break through causing loss of steering control. However on this occasion the tracking adjuster sleeve simply sheared across with equally disastrous results. Fortunately this happened when the owner was turning into her drive, equally alarming all the same. Yes, this 2cv was suitably repaired but the owner lost confidence in the vehicle and it was quickly sold on because of such a basic error.  Indeed what other faults were lurking? Likewise a new 2cvGB Member was lost forever.

So if you are buying a car (as we’ve previously read within the confines of this Magazine) “all that glitters is not gold” buyer beware etc. What do you look out for to avoid such heartache? Difficult, because one does need to jack up the front of the car and remove the wheels for a closer look. Firstly though, examine previous MOT Certificates (if available) and see if there has been any question about the track rod joints and any repairs. Talk to the owner and see how honest and/or diligent the servicing/repair work has been. And lastly if still uncertain … take a look yourself. What you don’t want to see is the castle screw disappearing deeply into the housing with the securing split pin thereby redundant.

To finish then, some more figures ………

Comparison of track rod balls
Comparison of track rod balls

A) New track rod end lever arm with ball diameter of 21.75 mm

B) The track rod lever arm removed from my own 2cv, a 1981 602 cc drummer. Soon after purchasing this vehicle in 1991 with 58k recorded I stripped down both track rod ends and refilled these joints with new grease plus fitted new rubber gaiters. Sadly no nippled Castle Screws in those days. Despite this, no MOT problems since such work with the car being on the road continuously since that date. In 2012 after 123k in total, the gaiters had perished requiring replacement. On stripping down again this time I measured the ball’s diameters, the left side being 20.65 mm. The right was worse at 20.35 mm with both showing signs of advanced wear. Hence the pair was replaced with something better plus nippled Castle screws this time, these joints now to be regularly greased.

C) The terror example which lead to the steering linkage breaking. Unbelievably this track rod end lever arm’s ball measured only 18.55 mm in diameter, this 2cv having travelled 80k with the track rod ends never serviced from the birth. That’s over 3 mm of metal gone missing! Likewise the track rod end gaiters on this car were also practically non-existent thereby allowing the ingress of dirt to become a grinding paste. Indeed this does explain why such dust covers are now part of the current MOT examination.

So there you have it … have good rubber gaiters and grease your balls regularly.

David Eden
SPOGman

New original 2cv/Dyane track rod lever arm
New original 2cv/Dyane track rod lever arm

 

Measuring diameter of ball with Vernier Caliper
Measuring diameter of ball with Vernier Caliper

 

Oval not round
Oval not round

 

Sheared track rod adjuster sleeve
Sheared track rod adjuster sleeve

 

Close-up of trauma
Close-up of trauma

 

Castle screw disappearing into housing
Castle screw disappearing into housing