Sunday, 16 December 2018

Engine Start-Up!

This was so rewarding. A definite milestone that put a silly grin all over my stupid fat face.

I guess I could have tried this several months before - even before the gearbox was joined to the engine. However, keen to feel I was making visible progress, I cracked on with other peripheral and superficial jobs instead - such as fitting the ancillaries and pulley belts.

With the car now out of my garage and back at the barn, I was kind of at a loss for further productive things I could do. One thing that had been at the back of my mind though was whether or not the rebuilt engine actually ran! Before the year was out I wanted to know - one way or the other - whether all the effort thus far had been worth it, or whether I would have to start all over again.

In planning to start the engine, one of the first things I needed to do was remove the pulley belts from the ancillaries......With no radiator and cooling circuit, no LHM reservoir and no voltage regulator, I didn't want to be running dry pumps and alternators. So all the set up work had to be undone. I'm sure there's a lesson there for me somewhere. If only I was clever enough to learn it.....

With the engine out of the car, all I can do is a basic set up of the timing (known as 'pre-setting the static timing') - which is only enough to get the engine running. The process for doing this is covered in Operation D.210-0 in Volume 1 of Manual 814. It won't be accurate enough for optimum engine running under normal driving conditions. The actual setting of the  'static timing'  (sometimes also known as 'distributor timing' or 'advance checking') checks for the correct advance of the timing at higher than ticker revs and needs to be carried out with a tachometer and stroboscope.

I had discovered some time ago that my car has got the wrong distributor fitted to it for the engine. My DX engine should have a Dx-05b distributor but has a Dv-010 - as used on D Specials (and then DS23s). I searched but couldn't find the correct distributor so eventually I gave in and bought 123 electronic ignition. It can be set up to mimic just about all (if not all) the mechanical distributors originally fitted to various Ds over the years, by virtue of a small selector hidden behind a hex nut cover. However for the purposes of this trial start up I used my mechanical dizzy. Although not intended for my DX engine, it would be good enough for pre-setting the static timing.

Preparations. With the rocker cover off I lubricated the rockers, shafts and pushrods. Refitting the rocker cover I filled up with 5 litres of engine oil and 2 litres of gearbox oil. Spark plugs were cleaned and the gaps were set. The point gap was set on the distributor.

The first major task was to find the timing firing point. The technique is that a 6mm pin (many people use a twist drill) is inserted in the timing hole under the alternator. 
6mm twist drill in timing hole under the alternator
WITH THE IGNITION SWITCHED OFF AND/ OR BATTERY DISCONNECTED, the engine is cranked using the starting handle or, for five speed cars, by jacking up the front of the car and rotating one of the wheels. It will be easier to crank the engine if you remove the spark plugs. At a particular point, the pin will engage in a shallow slot on the flywheel - locking it in that position. It's easier if you get a willing assistant to press gently on the end of the pin while you crank. 

With the firing point identified, I MADE SURE I REMOVED THE PIN FROM THE HOLE IN THE CRANK and did not turn the engine any more. You don't want to start the engine up and bend the pin in the slot.......

I fitted the base plate to the distributor and loosely tightened the pinch bolt so that I could still, just, rotate the dizzy independently of the base plate.
Base Plate and pinch bolt on the Distributor
I located the distributor lugs of the distributor drive in the grooves in the drive socket at the bottom of the distributor tower. You need to take care when you do this as the lugs and grooves of the drive socket are not central to the axis of the shaft: for the distributor lugs to correctly locate, the distributor shaft needs to be rotated until it is the right way round. It should then push home into the drive socket at the base of the tower.
Drive Tower: as the piston is before TDC, the grooves of the
 distributor drive have not yet rotated parallel to the camshaft line
The lugs on the distributor base are off-centre  - 
there is a 'small half' and a 'big half'
With the distributor pushed home, I did up the nut that holds the plate to the distributor tower. The next step was to correctly orientate the distributor within the tower.

As the engine was out of the car, I rigged up a 12 volt supply to mimic the car battery - though you could just as easily use a car battery! I temporarily mounted the ignition coil on one of the legs of the stand I had made and connected the condenser terminal on the distributor to the negative terminal on the coil. 
Distributor connected to negative terminal of the coil
I took a lead from the positive connection of the power supply to the positive terminal on the coil. The negative of the power supply was earthed to the engine - just as the battery would be.
Power supply to the positive terminal
Using a 12 volt bulb in a holder, and with crocodile clips on leads on it's terminals, I connected one lead to the negative terminal of the coil.......
Test lamp on the negative of the coil
.....and earthed the other end to the engine.

With my power supply (in lieu of a car battery) switched on, I SLOWLY rotated the distributor in an anti-clockwise direction until the test bulb just lit up. I rotated the distributor clockwise a little, then anti-clockwise again until I was satisfied I had found the 'sweet spot' - the point at which the bulb JUST lit up. Like this:
VIDEO: setting the contact opening point

Without moving the distributor anymore I tightened up the pinch bolt on the base plate, then disconnected the power supply.

The point I had just found was the point at which the contact breakers just opened and, since I had started by setting number one cylinder of the engine to it's firing point, I had now pre-set the static timing! - in other words the approximate ignition firing point.

I did a test fit of the distributor cap. It only fits on the distributor one way round as it has a lug that sits in a notch in the distributor body.
Protruding lug on distributor cap edge
Locating notch for distributor cap lug on the distributor body
If you are following this and have done it correctly (firing position of number one cylinder correctly set, distributor correctly located in the drive socket on the tower, distributor rotated until the points just open), the cap will be pointing past the oil filler and back towards number 3 or 4 spark plug.
Distributor cap points towards number 3 or 4 cylinder
Putting the rotor arm on the distributor I could see, and confirm, that the distributor was orientated as I expected it to be. As a rough guide, the rotor should be pointing roughly towards the number one spark plug position of the rocker cover. This was the firing position for number one cylinder.

Rotor arm points roughly towards number one spark plug
With the number one firing position determined, by matching the rotor arm position just established to the contacts inside the distributor cap, I could identify which HT lead position on the cap needed to go to number one cylinder. The firing order of a DS is 1,3,4,2,  and the rotor arm rotates clockwise so, working around the cap, I could also then work out which HT lead positions needed to go to which other cylinders. 
Knowing which contact aligns to no.1 spark plug, the rotation of the
 rotor and firing order, the location of the HT leads can be worked out
I connected the HT leads and refitted the distributor cap. I fitted a short length of wire to the choke pulley on the carb.
I rigged up a choke cable
I rigged up my car battery, connecting the positive to the starter motor lead and also running a cable round to the positive of the coil. The negative from the battery was earthed to the chassis. I took a length of fuel pipe from a can of fuel into the fuel pump and I was all ready to go......
My car is a 1968. Note the positions of the battery terminal posts
Using the piece of wire I had fitted I set the choke. I used the button on the bottom of the 'daisy' on the battery terminal to start the car.  It took quite a bit of turning over to prime the petrol pump and carburettor, as both had been rebuilt and were bone dry inside.  When the car did eventually start, it startled me: with no exhaust it was loud.

With the choke engaged it ran fast and I quickly put the choke off to slow the engine down. I gently blipped the throttle a couple of times but didn't let the engine run for more than about 10 seconds. I was worried that with no coolant it would overheat. 

I made a cup of tea and came back for seconds - and with a video camera this time. This was how it went:
VIDEO: Trial Start-Up

I'm very pleased with the experiment. Even though it sounded more like a tractor than a DS, the engine seemed to run smoothly and with no missed 'beats'. And even though it was stone cold, I reckon it would have ticked over quite happily - well, at least until it seized!

I discovered I had a fuel leak from under the lid of my rebuilt fuel pump. Turns out some idiot had failed to screw the lid on tightly enough. That wiped a little of the silly grin off my face, but a further test run confirmed all was now working fine and with no fuel leak.

I will set up the timing properly once the engine is back in the car. I plan to follow the settings of the factory manual, but need to work out how I adjust any settings to compensate for modern unleaded fuel and possible engine 'pinking' - which can damage the engine. When I eventually get to that job, I THINK that the timing will need to be retarded more than the factory settings to compensate for the use of unleaded fuel - which ignites more slowly (fractions of a second) than leaded fuel.

Even though I have 123 electronic ignition to fit, it's good practice to carry a spare distributor with you. With that in mind I might strip and rebuild my mechanical dizzy and keep it in the car for emergencies. I'm pretty sure there are instructions for a rebuild in manual 518.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Interlude: Anticipating Citromobile 2019

Only 157 sleeps until Citromobile 2019! That’s less than half a year!

The ‘Citromobile’ event is an annual, large indoor Citroen auto jumble. In recent years it’s been based at Haarlem on the edge of Amsterdam. In 2019 it will take place over the weekend of 4 and 5 May.

The event includes many new old stock and used parts for Citroens of all ages and many of the well known traders and sellers of reproduction parts are there. You can browse new, old stock parts, used parts or buy new reproduction parts.
Watch displays and ask awkward questions.
The Dutch DS-TT Technical Team in action
Harry Mertens five speed bvh gearboxes
Go green with envy at the show cars 
It's just as well the key wasn't in it.
You can buy whole, restored cars......
Cars for sale
....or simply marvel at the wonderful selection of visitors cars lined up in the car park.

A lot of people will be heading over to the Citroen ‘100 year’ celebrations in France in July and I’m assuming that is equally like to include a big auto jumble. However my diary isn’t going to see me there – so I’ve booked up for Citromobile again. And talked Richard Burch into it again too.

From the UK it makes for a great and productive DS weekend. This is how we do it:

-        Choose your biggest, spaciest car
-        Take the Friday night ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland
-        Good company with like minded souls on board
-        A comfortable nights sleep and wake up in Holland.
-        A hearty breakfast and an hour or so’s drive up to Haarlem.
-        Browse and buy all day
-        Camping Saturday night
-        More browsing and buying on Sunday - last minute bargains
-        Quick dash back to Hook of Holland for the overnight ferry back to the UK
-        A comfortable nights sleep
-        Arrive back in the UK on bank holiday Monday
-        A hearty breakfast 
-        Drive home and unload our treasure.

From my wants list, this was some of my haul in 2018:
In the space of 48 hours I found bits that might have taken months or years to find.
Can't wait. I'm going to start a 2019 list

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Interlude: Back To The Future.....

Well...... I hadn't anticipated this. My DS is back up at the farm and languishing in a barn! It's like de ja vu all over again! 
"Big Barn" - 11 May 2004
..........."Big Barn" - 10 November 2018
A few things have changed since my DS was last there: I'm pleased to see that the caravan conversion seems to have been finished - it's been transformed into two tractors by the looks of it - and that black DS in front of mine (Richard's) may look the same as previously but it's a different car.

At least it's the 'BIG barn'  - as that one is rodent proof (allegedly) as the farmer uses it to store grain in the summer. Previously my DS had spent many unhappy years in the 'Little Barn'  across the yard - which is airy and a rats paradise. That's where my DS was back in 2014 when I woke up and decided to restore it. It had sat there for 10+ years and had been in one or other barn for even longer.
Sleeping Beauty - 'Little Barn', 14 September 2014. Can you spot it?
So anyway - if it has to be back at the farm, then 'Big Barn' is the place to be. 

What's going on? Well, having moved house a couple of years ago and gained a lovely garage for DS restoration..........
DS arriving - 15 October 2016........
...........we are having an extension over the garage. That means everything's got to come out - especially the DS. 


The engine is going to stay at home. I'm close to finishing the rebuild and have vowed not to put it in the car until I've tested it, and until the engine bay is tidied.

And so the big move. Once again I'm indebted to Doug the race driver for use of his trailer. He's based up at the farm, so it's very handy to use. Richard picked up the trailer and brought it over to Bedford on Saturday. I spent the the first part of the morning putting air in the tyres and replacing the broom handle pieces that were in the suspension cylinders. As the car was going to go on the back of a bumpy trailer, I substituted the rods for one with rubber doorsteps cunningly screwed to the end. I reasoned that this would at least provide a little flex on the bumpy journey to the farm.
Suspension Props
Overall length of each of three of the props is 9cm. The fourth one is 13.7cm to allow for the  suspension cylinder extension piece fitted to the front right side (exhaust manifold side). You can use 29mm diameter broom handle for all four - but it's a pretty close fit in the extension piece, so I used 23.5mm broom handle in that one. Some people don't like this method of holding the suspension up. partly because of the risk of splinters in the cylinders and partly because of potential damage to the dampers on the ends of the spheres. I sanded the ends to remove rough bits and fitted sacrificial, expendable, welded spheres.

I've been using the half-room over the garage to store a few DS things - nothing much: one and half leather interiors, rear screen, spare front screen, steering wheel - that kind of thing....... That space will also have to be cleared for the building work, so I spent the rest of Saturday morning loading my DS to the gunnels. I used every inch. The only way I could get everything to fit was by taking off the interior door handles and window winders!

Richard arrived early afternoon and we spent an hour or so drinking tea and chatting DS - just long enough for the rain to start...... We then spent another 30 mins fashioning a tarp. cover to keep the car dry during it's journey. The car has no rear screen and the last thing it needs is to sit in a barn with a boot full of water. Luckily I have a car port area in front of the garage and we worked in the dry. That handy car port will be reinstated after the building work. 
.......DS Leaving - 10 November 2018
With the car secured on the trailer, we set off. As it was already hitched to Richard's car, we left it that way and I followed behind in convoy.  With no engine in the car, it's easier - and safer - to tow and, other than the tarp billowing away and threatening to tear itself off, the journey was uneventful.

We arrived in rainy darkness. The barn is a working barn and as well as the farmer, others use it for storing cars and caravans and, in Richard's case, their collection of Citroens. We set about shuffling the other cars in the barn to make some space for my DS at the back. There are no lights in the barns, so this wasn't as easy as it sounds.  We positioned my car headlights and worked amongst the elongated and exaggerated shadows.

Richard's DS was moved back into place and we were just about done - other than parking and locking the trailer.

Once again, another task successfully completed only because of the kindness and support of others. Thanks Doug. Thanks Richard.
Teamwork: Richard on the right, me on the left
Now all I have to do is to find room for this lot!

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Dressing The Engine (Part 4) - Hydraulic Pipes on Ancillaries

With the main ancillaries on, I was able to add some of the hydraulic pipes that connect between these, and to the wider hydraulic system. Some of the lengths are 'simple' pipes with a male flare nut fixing at each end. If need be, these pipes can easily be replicated using a pipe flaring tool fitted with the appropriate Citroen flare dies. 
Other pipes are more complex and have a flange plate at the end. These pipes are harder to fix or replicate. It's not impossible - just difficult to get a suitable seal between the pipe ends and the opening on the flare. Luckily some of the more common flange-plated pipes are now being reproduced and are available from the usual DS parts suppliers - but be careful as there are some differences in the routing and arrangements of pipes over the various years and models and so replacements may not fit!

Partly because of these differences, I was keen to press as many of my original pipes back into action as I could.
Collective nouns: A 'vipers nest' of hydraulic pipes?
After the vapour blasting I rinsed all the pipes in the bath to flush them through, and blasted them through with compressed air. Finally I gave them a rub over with an oily rag - just to provide a protective coating. Where they were badly bent, I re-shaped them as best I could - but that meant a lot of trial and error fitting for each one. 

I had cleaned and zinc coated all the clips that hold the pipes in place and had bought new rubbers to go in these.
Pipe Clips and Rubbers
Different cars have different pipework - certainly depending on whether they are bvh or mechanical gear change. I've seen photos of early (red fluid) DS21s with no bleed nipple on the centrifugal regulator for example. The exact routing also varies between years.

Anyway, here is how mine is plumbed. Lots of test fits were required and, when I thought I had the shape just right, I added on the clips and rubber collars as necessary.

First up was the flange and pipes from the side of the CRC.
Flange sealing plate and 'O' rings on the CRC
One of the pipes goes around the front of the distributor tower......
Clutch Cylinder Pipe Passing Under The Distributor Tower Bolt the clutch cylinder - tucked away under the water pump housing.
Clutch Cylinder PIpe
The other pipe from the flange ducks down beside the fuel pump and will eventually join to a pipe on the chassis leading to the 'gear brain'. 
Red Capped Pipe Is From The CRC
Next up was the flange and pipes from the top of the centrifugal regulator. 
Centrifugal Regulator Pipework
I'd managed to find a 'new old stock' (NOS) pipe as the one from my car looked pitted and corroded in a couple of spots. One of the pipes from the flange crosses the engine behind the water pump.......
Pipe Passes Behind the Water Pump Housing
.....where it passes the distributor and CRC........
Long Flange Bolt On The CRC
.........and then does a quick loop-the-loop to (eventually) join the mounted union above the 'gear brain'. The 'loop-the-loop- in the pipe is to reduce stress and the likelihood of cracking.

The other pipe from the flange goes forward over the top of the regulator.......

.......and then down alongside the bracing bar between the centrifugal regulator and the HP pump.

There it is joined to a second length of pipe.....
Pipe Join Alongside HP Pump Bracing Bar
....that goes to the clutch lock mounted on the front side of the gearbox.
Hydraulic pipe to the clutch lock
Next up was the long pipe from the side of the centrifugal regulator.  

This bolts on to the back end of the bolt holding the HP pump bracing bar. (On some cars this is bolted to the front - where the bracing bar is).
Pipe routing on my car
The pipe goes down towards the gearbox and will duck under the steering rack and join the O/S front brake caliper (which is why that brake is bled from the nipple on the centrifugal regulator).

Last up was the long pipe from the accelerated idling device on the carb, down to the N/S brake caliber (again - being the reason the N/S brake is bled via the accelerated idling device). 

I spent a LOT of time trying to get the shape of this right. Shape is important as the pipe ends need to enter the receiving holes dead straight - otherwise you risk cross threading the flare nut (or it won't do up at all). Anyway, after much bending and twisting, I succeeded in....... weakening it and breaking it in half!

 Luckily it is a 'simple' pipe without any flanges - it just has a flare nut at each end. I'd bought a pipe flaring rig from Plaiedes back in 2015 and finally was getting to use it. The (replacement) pipe, with protective sleeve, runs under the CRC......

........down by the fuel pump..........

.......where it crosses behind the HP pump pipe (I was careful to make sure these two could not rub against each other) before running forward to the N/S brake caliper,

Next up will have to be a rebuild of the front brakes and I will be able to connect these stray brake pipes.