Citroen 2cv van restoration

  1. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Hello all,

    I don't know why I haven't got round to making this thread earlier, especially since I've had so much friendly help and advice from various members, but better late than never! :ashamed:

    Anyway, here's my Citroen 2cv AKS400 van I picked up... probably about a year ago now.



    It's worth pointing out I'm only just 17, and have never had any experience of cars prior to this, and am learning from a mix of Haynes manuals, trial and error, and amazingly helpful members of various forums.

    Anyway, when we got it home, I proceeded to pull/cut various chunks out of it, after a fairly shaky start.


    It wasn't really too bad underneath, but I decided since I had got this far I might as well do it properly, and in any case I don't like welding underneath cars - painful sparks!

    So this happened;


    Followed by prolonged use of an angle grinder;


    I cut rather a lot more out over the summer, before realising the difficult part was putting new metal back in. I've got my own welder, but this is the first time I've really been using it for prolonged periods. I think I'm getting the hang of it, just a matter of practice now. It does only go down to 35 amps or something though, so welding 0.6mm 2cv metal is a challenge to say the least!






    Then I made up a large chunk of cross-member that was rotten, using cardboard templates and everything. Quite excited to find it fitted almost perfectly! :clapping:


    The next bit didn't go so well, replacing very small chunks of floor, using my very own, patent pending technique... :ashamed:





    They didn't fit too badly, but the surrounding metal was still a bit rusty, and I can't do thin metal well yet. Got fed up with that part then and moved onto more interesting bits, I'll revisit it later, and maybe weld in a large section of that corrugated stuff over all the holes. Or maybe just replace the entire floor :rolleyes:...

    That'll have to do for part one, my computer is complaining about uploading all these pictures. Once my posts have caught up with current progress, don't expect regular or logical updates, I can only work on it during holidays / long weekends etc. and in any case I don't do 'logical' or 'regular' very well. :(



    P.S. You may have gathered I find pictures preferable to writing lots, is this OK? Does it slow everything down? Is uploading to this site the best way of doing it? Is there any way of rotating images etc. ?
    barking mat and cliff366 like this.
  2. madkayaker

    madkayaker Pro sparkey Pro Welder

    keep up the good work my first car was a 2CV
  3. Paul.

    Paul. Moderator Staff Member

    Northampton. UK
    Uploading to the site is how we prefer it George, you need to rotate your images before you upload them, its easy enough in windows, no special software needed,
    Good work, keep us up with progress.
    barking mat likes this.
  4. Fergus Member

    I'll keep an eye on this one, one of my boys has a hankering for a 2CV and apart from being a mildly terrified passenger in one I've never touched one.
  5. keith19 Forum Supporter

    Midlands UK
    Nice work, George. An interesting choice for a resto, and a good one for learning thin metal welding.:clapping:
    These are an amazingly tough little van. Friends of mine back in the 80's had one, it was used to cart stuff for a food co-op, and went pretty well anywhere, across fields, up sticky back lanes, nearly anywhere a tractor could go.
    When empty and driven enthusiastically it used to corner on the door handles; the body roll was incredible. As a passenger I always wore brown trousers.
    Considering how it was treated by people who had no mechanical sympathy whatsoever, it took a huge amount of punishment without complaint. I think we had to replace the driver's footwell once or twice, where it used to rot out, and there were a couple of tricky jobs where we didn't have the special Citroen tools required, but we managed with brute force and long levers.;)

    A great little motor, best of luck with the restoration!
  6. danelectro

    danelectro Member

    Great stuff, nice pics too....I do like a story with pics, makes it much better!!!
  7. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    They are all ready rotated on my computer, but I use ubuntu, maybe it doesn't like that :(

    Oh well.

    Thanks for the comments all - I know they're not to everyone's taste, but they have a lot going for them. Lightweight, fuel efficient, easy to work on, cheap to run etc. Plus it's nice to be different. ;)

    Part 2 (Not necessarily in chronological order, you understand)

    Bit of work on the 'A-pillar' - actually this was the first bit of real work I did on the van, which I was rather pleased with. I think I might revisit the triangular panel though, as it is still a bit wobbly in the middle.




    Then I used some thick grey gloopy primer just to stop the rust, currently I'm using up my 2 gallons of red oxide on work I've done, but eventually it will all be stripped back to bare metal and painted properly. I haven't quite decided how yet, I'll probably do it myself with cellulose, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    Some work on the engine / gearbox. It was running when I got it, but leaving it alone would be far to boring. I took all the cowling off and painted it with what came to hand, some black hammerite 'super doper high temperature magic paint' or something. I don't believe it for a minute, but I'm not too fussed about what my engine looks like as long as it works! Since it was all working anyway I didn't delve into the crankcase, I replaced and set points and condenser (You can get electronic ignition for them, but I like points. I know where I stand with points setup.) Took the heads off, cleaned out all the gunk, replaced a couple of iffy looking valves, had lots of trouble replacing a cracked valve guide, which finally was resolved by cooking the heads in the oven. (Can't believe I got away with it! :whistle:). Cleaned out the carb, new gaskets, all that sort of thing.

    IMG_4987.jpg IMG_4985.jpg





    Then I put some of it back together, and it just about ran - advice from This forum suggested a blocked jet in the carb, anyway a friend came over and we spent a day merrily cleaning carburettor components. I don't know if I can embed youtube videos here, but here's the link anyway -
    I'm still not entirely convinced it's perfect, seems to hesitate a lot when accelerating. The fuel pumps knackered though, maybe when I sort that out it'll pull itself together. The timing's spot on anyway. It just needs the cowling putting back on again, then it can go back. It's only a temporary engine anyway, I'm rebuilding a later dyane engine to go in there (I know, 29 BHP just isn't enough for me, upgrading to all of 33 British horses of power!). If it was the original engine I would keep it, but it has all ready been replaced at some stage previously. Actually, I'm experimenting with running engines on hydrogen gas, and eventually I would love to have this running off hydrogen, but that's another project :D.

    That'll have to do for part two before my connection times out again!



    Edit: Pictures sorted. I just have to rotate them 90 degrees clockwise, then rotate them back again. Gawd knows why... :mad:
  8. mangocrazy

    mangocrazy Italian V-twin nutjob

    Sheffield, UK
    Fascinating stuff. I've always had a hankering for one of these, but prices now are starting to get a little silly. I just love the way they look like a garden shed on wheels.

    It was a 2CV AKS400 that transported me and my broken down RD350LC (holed piston, unsurprisingly) back from Central Spain to Santander for the ferry. The bike front wheel was digging me in the back all the way through the journey, but the way it coped with atrocious road surfaces was amazing.

    I remembered seeing us heading towards a monster pothole and thinking that we were in real trouble. The suspension just went 'ba-doomp' and that was it. No problem.

    Keep us posted as you can...
  9. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    I know, complete shed's go for well over £1,000, and some 'fully restored' ones exceed £10,000 :o
    Which seems completely mad, ok, they're great little cars, but they were never meant to be showroom cars, they are working vehicles.

    Anyhow, all semblance of order has been lost now, let's have some pictures of my wheel arches :clapping:

    There's a thread Here asking what to do about them, I'm afraid I can't find the pics on my computer anywhere, so I will have to use one photobucket picture... :ashamed:


    That's what they looked like before, bent, buckled and badly patched on this side, covered in rust lurking beneath underseal on the other side. And no replacement wheel arch panels available. :(

    Anyway, lots of suggestions on the forum, but I took paul33 up on his very generous offer of a morning playing with his bead roller!

    Spent an evening marking out bits of steel, with my faithful hound by my side. :rolleyes:


    Then a day cutting it out with a blunt jigsaw. Outside. In the rain. There has to be a better way! :mad:


    However, hopefully that should have paid off, one very happy morning spent doing this;




    I still need to practice my metal bashing, and nicely round off the ends of the ripples, maybe sharpen the corner slightly, and fabricate some bits to go on it, and of course fit it to the van! (I know, I know, I need to get my act together! those panels were rolled ages ago!)


  10. anjer Member

    Hi, I.m doing my daughters 2cv6 special. where did you buy the repair panels from
  11. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK

    I don't think I'm allowed to give specific company names here, but a google for '2cv parts' should point you in the right direction. Most panels for a standard 2cv are available now, though some fit better than others.

    I have to suggest This club if you're into 2cvs, and there's another forum Here which you might find useful.

    Good luck!

  12. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Again, in no particular order, here's some work on the underside / rear bumper.

    Here's me working my way along the floor, I just want to make sure there were no nasty surprises hiding beneath the under-seal. The paint is just temporary to stop it rusting.


    A few shots of the bumper cross-member thing. I think it's intended more as a crumple zone than a bumper to be honest!


    The remains of one of the 'reinforcing plates' :clapping:


    The rear panel finally came off in one piece, it had been plastered in filler to almost an inch in places! Fortunately that seemed to have protected it from the worst of the rust, so I cleaned it all up and bashed it back to something fairly level. (Severely irritating the neighbours in the process.)


    More cutting out of large chunks, fortunately I had repair panels for this bit. They don't fit perfectly, but it's better than nothing!




    The 'legs' of the tubular bumper had rotted away, but the rest was good, so I chopped all the legs off and welded some new tubing in. I wasn't sure about doing all of this area given I have zero experience other than this project, and it's quite a structurally important area! But I'm rebuilding it to how it originally was, with the exception of marginally thicker metal. And all my welds look good to me, so hopefully it should be all right - it can only be an improvement on what was there previously! :D





    Getting there!

    That was done months ago though, and I still haven't gotten round to grinding back the welds and getting some paint on there. :ashamed:

    These posts have almost caught up with it's current condition, so updates are going to get a lot less frequent, and less progress per update. I will see this project through to the end though!

  13. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    More or less caught up now. Since the only place I can work on it is outside, and involves pushing the van up a steep hill, I can only really work on it during long weekends or holidays. (I'm still a student, so thankfully holidays are plentiful. It's just annoying we're supposed to do 'revision' or something in them. :mad:) I'll try and keep this thread updated though as and when things get done.

    A while ago I tried fitting my shiny new floors, unfortunately the galvanised replacement chassis has slightly different outriggers, so they wouldn't fit. Fortunatley, someone suggested drilling out the spot welds on the floor panels, and rotating the cross-member bit 180 degrees, and sticking it back on. I don't know why that didn't occur to me, but it works perfectly.



    Also in my stash of shiny new parts was a LHD toeboard / bulkhead or whatever you want to call it! (RHD ones are unavailable.) Taking the difficult option, as ever, I cut out a chunk from either end, swapped them round, and welded them back in again. It meant I was bridging a 1mm gap from the width of the cutting disc the whole way, and I had to keep stopping and waiting for it to cool down to prevent wild distortion. And I ran out of gas halfway through. And I was working outside in the rain. :(

    Anyway, all done and it works. :D



    Which left me today with a full bottle of gas, perfectly fitting panels, and the sun shining!



    Woop woop!

    Shiny new stuff!

    Also, check out the nonchalant welding pose; :clapping: :ashamed:


    All is well with the world :clapping:

  14. Sparkey

    Sparkey Bouncing along!


    Great!! Mig welding model!!:cool:
    But it doesn't look comfy to me!;)
  15. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    No! It was very painful. But the alternative was lying underneath it, and getting sparks down my neck... :(

    I must get some ramps!
  16. Sean Another 602 fan

  17. Robotstar5

    Robotstar5 Casanunda Staff Member

    I like the lateral thinking for the "toe board", once it's cleaned up and painted no one will ever know..... well, apart from a few thousand forum viewers :laughing:
  18. paul33

    paul33 Member

    Somerset England
    Brilliant thread George, you are doing a really very good job. Keep up the good work and keep the photos flowing!
  19. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Thank you everyone! ;)

    It's back in the garage now, realistically the next time I can get it out is Easter. I must try and find a workshop!

    I just covered everything in the vicinity with thick red gooey stuff to stop it rusting in the mean time, it seems to work quite well and comes off again easily. (And it's cheap!)


    I know you all hate it, but if you get bored there are more pictures in my Botophucket account of mostly 2cv related stuff.

    I'll try and get the upper bulkhead patched up and sorted out, so as I can get that stuck in over Easter, then that'll be the front part of the body sorted. Then for the wheel arches... :o


  20. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    I know it's still a long, long way off, but could I have some opinions regarding paint? The only 'painting' I've done before involved hammerite and rusty garden rails, so I'll be learning everything as I go along. I've been reading up on it here, as well as some other sites, and have succeeded in thoroughly confusing myself :dontknow:

    First of all I was all for hot-dip galvanising the entire body, and electroplating the doors, bonnet and so on for ultimate corrosion resistance :clapping:. Unfortunately the bodywork is just way to thin for that, it would crumple up and melt. I had a look at zinc Flame Spray techniques, which actually look perfect, but I somehow doubt are realistic as I don't know where I can get it done and there's no way I can afford my own set-up. :vsad:

    Moving onto slightly more realistic options, I think it boils down to 2K or cellulose. If 2K really is that much better, it would mean getting it done by a professional paint-shop, as I can't afford all the safety equipment. I don't really want to do that as I fancy the challenge and experience of painting it myself, and anyway the quotes I've had for getting it fully sprayed are horrific! :o

    Which leaves cellulose. I was thinking of trying to borrow / rent or whatever a compressor, grit blasting equipment, spraying equipment and so on, taking all of it back to bare metal (Almost all of it has a little rust anyway, so bare metal is probably best) and covering it with that epoxy primer stuff. I was going to use acid etch, but as far as I can see the epoxy has the advantage of being very water resistant, which is useful as it has to be stored in a leaky garage, and it will probably take a very long time to paint all of the parts. Then several coats of the high build celly primer stuff, topcoat and lacquer, or something.

    If I do it all properly, and when finished regularly wax-oyl, keep it clean and touch up and scratches quickly etc. Will it last? I've been rather put off by horror stories of how quickly 2cvs rust, and since I'm putting this much effort in now I rather fancy a bit of a break at the end of it! :D

    Am I being paranoid...? :rolleyes: