Hilly bought Orangina from our old friend and 2CV expert Steve Hill in 1992. The first picture (top left) shows Hilly winning a cup with the car in the early '90s. Still in good original condition, but was 'resting' for many years (Orangina I mean).
In 2014/15 we decided to 'recomissioned' her, and she is now in use as our second car. Because she was still in comparatively sound original condition, this did not involve a full rebuild - but everything required to bring her back into daily use.
Click in the thumbnails to see most of what was done:
Orangina was taken off the road some time after the 1997 2CV World Meeting in Holland, primarily because the engine was down on power. In the initial stages of the rebuild the engine was removed and treated to a new "Bretille" barrel+piston set. These are higher quality than some available, and (along with most of the other new parts) came from Ecas who were also very helpful with advice.
I had never undertaken serious A-Series engine work before, and the job was made more difficult because the left hand piston was seized. After soaking in oil, heating the barrel and trying various other methods, I decided to slit the barrel vertically to remove from the piston without splitting the crank case. I made a shaped foam plastic bung to stop swarf going inside the engine. The rest of the engine work was reasonably straightforward - but I would probably not have taken it on without a little help (and a lot of encouragement) from CitroŰn friend Jonathan Payens.
While the engine was out, the front brakes were overhauled and a new clutch fitted.
Hilly put up with me doing some of the smaller refurbushment jobs on the kitchen table (such as attaching the carburettor to the newly painted manifold, and rebulding the heat exchangers).
While the bodyshell was in generally sound condition (it had had some work done back in the '90s), the scuttle (below the windscreen) needed repairing properly. I took the car to my local 2CV specialist Alan Rogers at Citw´ns. The outer panel is produced by the 2CVGB spares organisation SPOG, and the inner box panel came from Ecas. Alan also made some small repairs to the floors. He also set the tappets and set up the front and rear brakes (new cylinders, shoes etc.), and replaced a drive shaft boot.
The car returned home in January 2015 on an A frame pulled by good 2CVGB friend Jim Rogers (Alan's dad). The reassembly could start . . . The aim was to get Orangina back on the road in time for the 2CVGB National at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire in May 2015. Sadly (for various reasons) this didn't happen.
In fact it was May 2016 before she was eventually MOT'd and on the road. And even after this, work has been on-going:
The early floor-mounted throttle pedal, kept falling off its pivot (common when the plastic section is worn). I got round this by having 2 lugs welded on to the pedal, which means it now pivots on a bolt as well as the plastic block.
2CV friends Ian (Wiltz) and Annie Wilson came over one day to help me fit new kingpins (well actually Wiltz did most of it). Made me realise that not doing stuff on your own is so much more fun.
We have had on-going running problems with the original rod-operated twin-choke carburettor; so the car is now going well on a later type carb supplied by Citw´ns. I should thank Alan for all his investigations into this. Advice from engine guru Ken Hanna says that the standard jets on the earlier carbs are not big enough to cope with modern unleaded fuel; so I plan to get the original carb re-jetted sometime - probably by Ken. Twenty-odd years ago he fitted Orangina with a Boyer Bransden electronic ignition unit. This prolongs the life of the points so much that we have never seen the need to fit the (now common) 123 ignition module in place of them.
The latest issue to affect the sweet running of the car turned out to be collapsed and perished fuel hoses. I should have realised that the last time the car was used, leaded fuel was still in use (and I already knew about the problems of old type rubber hose and modern unleaded petrol). I was stupid not to have thought about this when I replaced the metal fuel tank with the later plastic type. New rubber pipes and a new sender unit now means sweet running AND a fuel guage which works properly.
Next I need to tighten the front axle bolts to see if it eliminates a strange suspension creak Orangina has had for some time. That's it for now, but I'm sure I'll think of other things in due course.