So What's a Citroen doing here at Eddinsmoto?
Chris at Fantasy Junction loaned me the book: "How Citroen" the other day.
Well, by the third read I thought that hydropneumatic suspension would be great for these scruffy roads we have. Some research showed that most of the models are blindingly complex. I'm too busy to nurse another wicked habit, but I did notice the GS and GSA models came with the trick suspension but not alot of other high tech things to eat up spare time.
Easy then. I'll just find one in France and ship it over. How hard can that be? Couple that with the fact I don't know French, these models never made it to the states, most all of the good publications are in technical French which I will have to start learning, and the car I want will probably be in the country side with someone suspicious of foreigners who speak English, much less interested in helping me get it out of the country. Don't forget EPA & DOT clearance, plus US Customs fine print.
After an immense amount of energy expended, this is the car I found:
Looks great. What a color!
A price is agreed, Bank wires, assurances of "Bon 'etat" papers and more papers, the usual.
Knowing there wil be a scarcity of parts here, I inquire about any needs the car may have. Perhaps I should get a set of cam belts and gaskets, maybe a balljoint or muffler if one is really wearing out. I am told the car is fine, but there is a beautiful motor and some quality spares that may be available. Great. I am waiting for a description or photos of the parts, but as if by a miracle a truck shows up to tow the car to Holland with the "moteur bon 'etat" in the trunk. I duly send off what seems like too much money but am assured it was the right thing to do.
My fellow Lancia enthusiast in the Netherlands; Jurriaan, visits the car to put a Fulvia ring and pinion under the front seat and sends me a photo of the bits in the back:
Hmm. I'ts vague, but I see alot of rust on that motor. as a matter of fact that is all I see. And it is not crated up and boxed as I had paid for. Doesn't look good.
Three weeks later the car is towed to Emden in Germany to be shipped to san Diego. The shipping company refuses to ship the car with the uncrated motor in the back. Oops. Then they send me a picture of it.:
Uh oh. I've been had. It is a Manky nasty rat of a lump. This motor was left in a lake for a decade before it was hauled out and put under a shady bridge to grow moss. On top of the rust, there is no carburettor, no Alternator, no new parts to be seen anywhere, and on close inspection it is the wrong spare motor with the wrong brakes, and a 4 speed instead of a 5 speed gearbox. The previous owner has of course refused to return emails.
It gets better: The germans declare it Hazardous waste as there is still oil in the motor, and the 5 litres of new LHM hydraulic fluid I payed for turned out to be a 1/2 empty used can. Bio Hazard. The total they charged me to remove and properly dispose of the motor, & oil, coupled with the price I paid for the motor and "spare parts" turned out to be exactly $113 US Dollars less than I paid for the whole darn car.
Jurriaan, the proper Lancia man that he is, somehow dispatched a German to the ship yard and retrived my Fulvia ring and pinion set out of the dumpster.
All is not lost!
Three long months after waiting and waiting and waiting, the car finally shows up at Eddins Moto.
Wow! Great day for a delivery.......
Curious the suspension is high in the back and low in the front. I was assured "CT 'est Bon" : French for "No problems with the hydropneumatic."
I am learning alot.
For one thing I learned the previous owner, a citroen specialist of note in Valay with the initials C.H. perhaps owns the photoshop program, and may have used it to advantage to remove the ugly rust from the nice pictures he sent me. A modern miracle. Too bad I now own the car that spent some time with the motor in the lake or under the bridge. Perhaps I am wrong, but as an example review this patch of rust on the rear hatch with the original sales photo. No need to pursue further the rest of the newly found oxides, somehow missing in the fine photos, I own a GSA.
Let's start it up!
Hmmm. It doesn't start.
You would think I could have learned by now. Remember the 246 Dino I bought in Connecticut, that I had inspected by a Ferrari specialist, verified as good stock, that showed up with a seized transaxle? (step 1: remove motor and transaxle assembly. step 2: Sacrifice wallet.) How about that Lamborghini I bought with a 4 cam 3 litre engine that showed up with a 2.4 litre 2 cam? Bad enough that I bought it from the Lamborghini museum. Bad enough that the Noted Local Lamborghini authority verified it, Perhaps worse that the Lamborghini Museum of America chief mechanic never noted it, or insult to injury, having learned to do further research after the previous Dino debacle, I had a fourth source verify it.
Yup. It still showed up with the wrong motor; a 2 cam 2.4 litre.
What have I learned? Don't bother to pay people to look at cars for you even if they are specialists. Save the money for parts you are going to need anyway. Be ready for the worst & relax. In 50 years none of this will matter, and what could be more fun than some neat old car that you had to track down in a Barn & wait for?
Now this is where it gets challenging. Of course the car won't start. The starter turns but the engine doesn't. BaWheeeee is the sound. It might catch one time in 10. Or not. Sure would be handy to have that spare starter I just paid to have thrown away. Oh well, I'll just pull this one out & have a look. Hmm. It seems the easy way to get the starter out is after you have removed the frozen rusted exhausts or the motor. As a matter of fact the exhausts are completely blown out and the only way to access them is with the motor out. This is grim. We push it down the street, it fires up and sounds like a dump truck. There's exhaust holes everywhere. And the front suspension is frozen. Ow. I have really bought a Dog, But I still like the color!
OK the Engine must come out. Well, let's try to drive it home first & park on a hill so I can start it tommorow. Just so I can get an idea of what this thing drives like. I discover the clutch slips so badly I cannot clinb the hill to my house in second gear. I have to traverse other streets in first .
Now it reallly is Engine out time. First step, remove the nose of the car.
And here it is. A nice little motor.
Interesting design: Flat 4, air cooled, overhead cams, very smooth at revs.
Find a clutch, clean up some leaks
Fabricate some exhaust modifications, (Do I really need those heat risers that are rusted out? Nah. )
Easy to get the starter now!
A notchy overrun clutch was found. As they are sealed for life, it was flushed with cleaners & chain lube & now it tests fine on the bench. Great! Re-assemble the starter.
Let's see. As long as the engine is out I should inspect a few things.
What about that stiff suspension? Some new sphere's? A new accumulator? Still stiff? What's this thing?
A height corrector. Very interesting. Never seen one of these on a Lamborghini.
Out it comes, though it won't come apart. Hmmm.
It turns out those rubber seals are held in with press fit metal hoops around the outside. Good thing I didn't dig a hole in one trying to pry it out. If I bust it there are no more around here. It sort of ups the ante for the Mechanic.
Another try, gentle effort, Apart, cleaned & inspected, new hydraulic fluid in the system, Flushed & bled.
A bit better.
Engine back in.
It put up a nasty fight, & really refused to line up. At this point I am deep in hours on the project. What am I doing with my time? Shouldn't I be mowing the lawn or working on my music ? ( JaanHjorth.com
) Ouch. What on earth have I gotten myself into. I like the look of the fan though. Remainds me of a space car in a comic book.
Bawheeee Bawheeee Bawheeee
Aloors. Dead starter. Again. Oh no. What could possibly have gone wrong? It worked perfectly when I tested it on the motor before I installed it in the chassis.
At least with my exhaust mods I can get it out without pulling the engine or exhaust system. (pat on the back)
How about that overrun clutch? Good luck finds me a new one on eBay of France. Wait 2 weeks. Beach the car & glare at it on occassion.
Surprise! The vendor sent me 2 as there are different starter manufacturers for this model. Great! What a guy. We've got the bases covered.
Huh. Turns out there are 3 different Mfgs, & I have a starter from the 3rd. Nothing is interchangeable. Shucks.
Well, let's bite the bullet & cut one open to see how it works.
Once again the Lathe comes into play. What a machine! With a thinly ground parting tool I can cleanly split the housing & press it apart.
Now that I have some practice should I cut open the original? No turning back. If I kill it the car is dead for good, I'll have to find another way home, & I'm out of parking spots. If I leave it outside the shop the Hookers will fornicate in it. (We had a chain put up to keep them out, but someone came by with boltcutters & stole the chain. Not the way I want to introduce this new import to California living!)
Just do it.
Well look at that, dead springs inside. Mooky everything.
Clean it all up.
A little shimming & fresh springs. It feels great. What an improvement.
Carefully TIG weld it back together.
Back in the car.
Works great! Time to celebrate.
Once again the lathe saves the day
To be continued of course. What could possibly go wrong (next) ?