Citroen 2cv van restoration

  1. Chickenjohn

    Chickenjohn Morris Minor and Porsche 944 fan

    East Kent
    They don't have a winter there- it is warm/ hot all year round, so all they have to worry about is keeping the rain off!

    What amazes me is the panels they make from sheet steel with the simplest of basic tools!
  2. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    I think this'll work out all right. :cool:


    It's got a bit of flex to it still, if you grab both of the shorter ends and twist, it'll go 'whopf' (Or whatever the noise is) and settle one of two different positions, neither flat (Does that make sense?). But it only needs a little pressure to flatten it out completely, and I think there should be sufficient material in the van around / behind it.

    Thanks Hitch, I thought it looked different to the other zintec parts I had, I'll make sure I clean it up. Galv flu doesn't sound much fun! :vsad:

    Yes I saw that thread, incredible stuff - I've still got a little bit to learn! :whistle:



    Speaking of which, I was considering upgrading my tarpaulin, because currently it's more 'hole' than tarp.
    This is almost certainly a stupid idea, I just thought I make sure - if I were to get one of those 'portable garage' gazebo things, and use copious amounts of duct tape, could I possibly make it airtight enough to use for spray painting 2-pack...? :whistle:
  3. madkayaker

    madkayaker Pro sparkey Pro Welder

    with enougth duct tape anything is possible
  4. Cal Member

    Bristol, UK
    I've just quickly read through this thread and you sir are an absolute star:clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping:
  5. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Thank you! :hug:

    Though I'll admit I'm often selective with the pictures, when I screw something up, I tend to spend hours righting it myself, and only tell other people if I've managed to fix it satisfactorily... :whistle:

    I'll try and finish off the bulkhead and get some pictures up sometime, but I've got loads of exams this / next month so there probably won't be much interesting news to share. :(
  6. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Well, exams all over for now, and the van is back up. My summer seems to be rapidly filling up with other things to do, but I hope to have a good crack at it, and hopefully get all of the welding on the bodyshell finished before next term.

    Firstly, I made a battery tray for the bulkhead. Nothing to special, although the original design tends to fracture at the bottom corners, so I think I might beef it up slightly.



    I'm still not great with thin metal (Bit of a disadvantage when working on 2cvs! :laughing:) but since then I picked up a reel of 0.6mm wire which I've never used before, it really makes life a lot easier! :whistle:


    Van back in my outside workshop - It's really good of my neighbours to let me work there, I must drive them mad with all the grinding. :ashamed: Sun is shining, I get chickens poking around wondering what I'm doing, and even given free cake! :D


    So today was work on the 'A panel' and door pillars etc. It was completely rotten at the bottom, annoyingly you can get a repair panel for the bottom, but it wasn't quite high enough. The edges of the panel were rusty / holey / missing as well. Yes, I probably could have repaired it, or made myself a replacement quite easily, but dad was ordering a few bits for his 2cv (The disease is spreading) and I just decided to get a new one. Should arrive soon hopefully.


    The panel came out without a fuss at all, which surprised me. I used to have spot weld drill bits with a spring loaded center, and cutting ring around the edge. I don't know if it's just me but they never seemed to work, jumping out of holes, loosing teeth and so on. I just found one more like a conventional drill bit, and it works brilliantly! 12 welds drilled in a couple of minutes.

    Anyway, whilst it was out, I thought I'd repair the bottom of the door pillar, which was looking a bit sorry for itself.


    Yup, a bit sorry! Someone had brazed a patch over a rusty hole there, but on top of the metal, not flush. Then filled over it. This gave it a tapered appearance, which had been puzzling me why my two door pillars should be different!


    New section of door pillar fitted, then I stuck in my door hinge mounting bracket. I spent absolutely ages trying to perfectly align everything, it was a real pain, but worth it. The door swings shut beautifully now. It's the little things like that I'd quite like to get right on this one.

    Hopefully I'll have about a week to work on it now, I want to get the new A panel fitted, bonnet hinge replaced and bulkhead fitted, then that will be the worst of the front end out of the way. ;)

    Sorry I haven't done anything for so long! :(

    More updates soon!
  7. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Sorry - I told you I wasn't good at regular / chronological updates :ashamed:

    Here's some work on the N/S A panel, followed by attaching the bonnet hinge.


    I bought that panel, rather than making it. It's quite a good fit, and the wing mounting stud on the sill helps to locate it, so fitting it was fairly simple. I drilled a line of holes down the door pillar side, and plug welded it in place.


    Where it meets the toeboard section, the original was just folded over and spot welded on - it's rather alarming seeing origami on cars, but I suppose it must work! Initially I was sure I would need a spot welder for this project, but actually plug welding with the mig seems to work perfectly well, and doesn't take much longer.



    I don't think I've got any pictures, but I just plug welded along that fold, and it all looks fine.


    Then to look at the bonnet hinge, a replacement panel came with the van, but it's not a very easy one to fit, and there were still a few rotten bits beyond the extent of the repair section. I cut a chunk out just to see how bad it was / how everything fitted together. (I know it sounds silly, but it's often actually quite difficult to work out how all the different panels join!


    This was quite a nerve wracking bit to do, butt welding the replacement section to the original metal, I believe they're both 0.6mm steel...
    Anyway, I took the plunge and cut a (Relatively) straight line across. (I think I'm writing this up in the wrong order I'm afraid, hope you don't mind!)


    There is a panel behind the bonnet hinge as well, the very edge of which had rusted away on mine, so I just made up a little 'Z' shaped part to bridge the gap between it and the replacement hinge panel.



    Then it was time to fit the panel! Scary!

    It all fitted in fairly well, with just a bit of filing to close up the gaps along the long butt weld. I tacked it in place from left to right, it worked really well. I just aligned the metal flush for each tack, and as I worked along it it all just fitted in perfectly :clapping:


    Welding it in took a while, it did it in about 5cm bursts, waiting for it to cool down between strips to prevent any distortion.



    That'll have to do for this post, my computer is complaining about uploading all of these pictures. Next instalment - the bulkhead! :D
  8. keith19 Forum Supporter

    Midlands UK
    Very nice job so far, mate.:clapping:
    You seem to have got the thin metal technique off pretty well. Those are a pretty scary machine to rebuild, because they used such thin metal, and years have gone by since that metal was new...
  9. malcolm

    malcolm & Clementine the Cat

    Bedford UK
    Getting on well - the welding especially looks really good.

    When I weld rusty old things (Renaults normally) I start thinking about what caused the rust in the first place and what can I do differently to stop the rust coming back again. Normally things like "that seam ought to have been better seam sealed" or "wheelarch liner would have saved that".

    What do you reckon the weak points for rust are on a 2CV and how do you reckon they can be sorted?
  10. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Thank you!

    I'm getting the hang of welding, it's a shame it's almost entirely such thin metal, I haven't had much chance to practice proper seams, rather than joined up tacks, but it seems to work perfectly well this way.

    I've been thinking about preventing rust when it's done, there aren't all that many changes I can easily make to the body to make it inherently less likely to rust. In a couple of places though, especially on the vans where several sheets of metal are spot welded together water can sit between the layers and merrily rust away. The windscreen surround looks as though it has 3 sheets of metal stuck together, so I might run a very thin bead of weld across the top, or just make sure the windscreen rubber fits properly etc.

    Mainly, I'm placing my hopes on painting / sealing it well, I still haven't decided what the best option is. Wax-oyl or equivilant inside the sills / door pillars and other places where you can't paint looks like the best option, and regularly topping it up.

    I don't know about underseal, it had underseal on, but where it had split it just sucked up the water and never dried out, so I'm wondering if it would be better to paint it really well and coat it with something more flexible? Or maybe underseal technology has moved on since whenever that was done.

    When I come to paint it, I think shot blasting it all back to bare steel would be worthwhile, then going for the longest lasting paints I can get my hands on. It's going to be a working van, so needs to put up with scratches!

    I've heard good reviews about the epoxy based stuff, I'm thinking about getting all the proper safety kit and doing 2K...

    It would be interesting to hear everyone else's opinions!

    Anyway, here's some more pictures.

    Firstly, finishing off the ends of the bonnet hinge. I've got the rough shape, but still haven't finished this. Following a tip from Sean (Here, and on the 2cv forums) I used a flattened out bit of copper pipe pressed against the back of the metal, the weld doesn't stick to it so it's possible to bridge quite a big gap. Then it's just a matter of grinding it back, filling the odd holes that appear, welding again and so on. Not much fun, but should look all right in the end.


    Then I trial fitted the bulkhead, which went surprisingly well!


    Only needed a tiny bit of kicking in one corner to fit perfectly, so I drilled holes for the plug welds, scoured the house for every clamp I could find (Not many :() and began welding it in.




    Some pictures of how it was attached;





    That was all I did in that stint, I got a bit distracted by dads 2cv (Youtube vid Here of me getting the engine + box out if you're really bored! :D)

    I've now moved to the comfort of a neighbours barn, so I can no longer use the weather as an excuse not doing anything, and hopefully I'll be able to get up and do some stuff after school / weekends throughout winter. I'll be doing the second year of A levels next year, so I don't know how much free time I'll get, but I'm still holding out hope for the possibility of finishing it by the beginning of next August (In time for the ICCCR :D)

    Bit more work this week before I have to go back to school, I'll keep you updated ;)

    By the way - the 2cv 24 hour race at Snetterton started at 5pm today, if anyone's interested the live stream is at that link! :D
  11. TheJoker Member

    Near Oxford, UK
    Great work!!
    As for rust proofing, have you considered zink dipping it? It might be expensive (I have no idea at all!), but if you're planning on keeping it, it might be worth it. :)
  12. troppo Member

    What a thread, your doing some great work mate!
    As for the galv dipping, 20 years ago i was working in used car yards and a guy came round trying to sell an electronic rust proofing system, it passed a minute current through the car body that stoppoed it rusting, might be worth looking at it could be cheaper than gal dipping. Easy to fit and you can take it off if you ever sell the car and put it on another.
    Heres a link to an aussie mob that sells it
  13. HYJohn New Member

    Dursley, England
    Hi Gas Mark 5. Just had to register and say what a brilliant job you are doing on the AKS 400. I have one also which could be a twin of yours, it was not nearly so bad but I restored it and it was finished in 2002. I still have it of course! Registered HGO 940T. The rhd vans normally came from Jersey and I did collect some information from there. You have a very rare van, do pm me if you would like to visit and see mine, have a chat etc, I am not too far away. Cheers, HYJohn
  14. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    Still here everyone!

    I've been getting distracted quite a lot, building a second mobylette engine, restoring another whole mobylette, I'm going to pick up a '78 honda 125 twin, fixing my dads 2cv, and now I'm back at college being a bookworm - there's so little time for everything! :(


    I've looked at galvanising, the usual hot dip process is just about achievable with the cars, but I think it's just too hot for the vans, the panels would melt!


    An acadian van, not a 2cv van, but they're almost the same.

    Electroplating is an alternative, or even electrophoretically priming it to get a coating inside all the crossmembers, but I think the cost would just be prohibitive. Possible, but since paint works for almost every other car, I'm hoping if I make a good job of it it should last for a while.

    The high zinc content primers look interesting, I gather they act as a form of cold galvanising. The main problem seems to be adhesion to the steel, but if I get the whole bodyshell and panels shot blasted it shouldn't be a problem. With 2K paint on top of that and regular maintenance I'm hoping it should be a good few years before it starts rusting away again! :rolleyes:

    The electronic rust proofing system looks fun, I've come across a few of them before, but I'm still a bit dubious. I don't fully understand the mechanics of rusting (Dropping chemistry for second year of A levels :whistle:) but I'd like a bit more convincing they actually work. Usually I can get my head around these things, but the different companies explanations of how they work seem a bit dodgy really. Think I'll stick with my zinc paint, I can understand sacrificial anodes :laughing:

    Hi John! :waving:

    Thank you - I'm getting there slowly. Do you have any pictures of your van?
    I'll definitely be in contact, it would be good to learn a bit more about it (Maybe even pinch a few measurements from your van... :whistle:)

    I think mine was probably converted later to RHD, unless it really was that shoddy right from the factory... :ashamed: But I don't know all that much of it's history actually.

    Here are a few more pictures anyway, a friendly farmer said I could use his barn to shove the van in, which is brilliant because it means I can leave all my tools up there, and I don't have to worry about rain any more! Wooo! :D

    I just replaced a small section of sill;


    then started attacking another bit of rot, this time on the O/S door pillar. I spent quite a bit of time deliberating how best to curve it, but in the end I decided it was best to cut lots of thin slits with cutting disks, then weld it up again. Quite awkward to get the right amount of curvature, but I think it worked out all right.





    (Notice the waitrose shreddies, nothing but the finest for me! :laughing:)






    Er... I think that's an old sill - waste not want not ;)


    Phew! Okay, that'll have to do for this post, uploading pictures is taking an age today for some reason.

    Very packed packed schedule for the immediate future, but I'll try and work on the van / update this thread as often as I can.

    Thanks everyone! ;)

  15. TheJoker Member

    Near Oxford, UK
    Brilliant! My dad taught me a saying that unfortunately doesn't sound good in English, but translating it directly it goes "Rather breadless than meansless". Meaning something along the lines that if you've got ways to figure things out you'll never starve. Which you've showed; the lack of a shrinker/stretcher made you cut-n-weld. Just brilliant!
  16. Gas mark 5

    Gas mark 5 Member

    Leeds / Harwell, UK
    What's the original expression?

    I know exactly what you mean, although I think there's definitely a balance. Quite a few of the repair panels I bought, I could have probably made myself from sheet steel etc.
    But as well as learning from this project, I'd actually quite like to finish at some point too! :laughing:

    Anyway, here's a little more. Our pooch has sadly snuffed it, but I was dog sitting for our neighbours, and it reminded me how much of a nuisance they are! :vsad:



    Anyway, I somehow managed to get the gutter channel stuck in place and the A panel prepared. Whilst the N/S panel was a dream to fit, this one took loads of wrestling. I think the wing mounting stud on the end of the sill is at fault, but anyway it seemed to work eventually.


    Actually, I've starting persuading some of my friends who are rather brave (Foolhardy...?) to spend a day attacking it with me, so credit for 7 of the plug welds goes to Freya - thank you! :waving:

    It's slowly taking shape, that's got to be the majority of the cab done now.

    Oh... except for this bit :whistle:

    Van 009.jpg

    Hmm... Well I attacked it with a wire brush on the grinder, and quite a few holes appeared. Fortunately the roof part of it seems to be fairly good except for the very edges, but I'll need to replace the door pillar and guter section for quite a length. It had been replaced previously, but clearly not all that well! :laughing:






    That's as far as I got, had to rush off and syphon diesel out of a petrol mower... :doh:

    So I think the same cutting and bending technique is in order, shame it takes so long!

    No idea when I'll next get to work on it, but I'll keep you updated

    Thanks! ;)

    (By the way - that piece of 15mm copper pipe, any ideas? I found it inside the door pillar when I cut it open. I assume it was to help when welding the section in place, but surely it would have to be firmly pressed against the steel to have any effect...? )
  17. paul33

    paul33 Member

    Somerset England
    Another way to stretch one side of an angle and promote a curve is to gently hammer over the end of a rounded chisel clamped upright in a vice. not a very good description but I cant come up with a better one! must be beer o'clock!
  18. Sean Another 602 fan

    Yup ;)

    will also have been used to keep the new section of rail in alignment as it was welded, the internal radius of the teardrop is pretty close to the OD od 15mm pipe, but your right would have had to have been in close contact to have done much good.

    unfortunatley its not so easy to get a curve on that section its not a simple angle more of a teardrop section tube with a flange at the pointy bit, Gasmark5 id be looking to get a bit cut from a saloon shell ask on I2f or 2cvgb.
  19. TheJoker Member

    Near Oxford, UK
    In Swedish "Hellre brödlös än rådlös". :)
  20. daviddb

    daviddb Member

    Chapeau! Stunning work - can't wait for the next episode......