DS Door trim after paint

Today’s job was to work on the DS door trim.  Most importantly, re-mounting the door cards.   The door cards were new in 2014 and still in great shape.   The grey velour goes very well with the darker shade of red.    Before I mounted them, I took the opportunity to spray the inside of the doors with some fish oil and lubricate the window mechanism.

I also decided to fit new moisture barriers.   The previous ones were not in good shape and new set was not expensive.   Unlike in other cars, the moisture barrier is one one big sheet, but small pieces the cover the inspection holes.

Moisture barriers

There are three per door.   I checked the window alignment again and made some minor updates to the front passengers door before I did the barriers.   The drivers door alignment could use a minor adjustment, but this looks like it is done at the hinge.   The door cards just pop one and what a difference they make.

Door card

The last door trim of the day was fitting some of the rubber covers for the window adjustment mechanism.   The reproduction rubber seemed quite thin, so we will see how well they hold up.   DS reproduction rubber does not have a good reputation.

The window winders go on next.  I didn’t fit them yet as I wanted to review some of my DS books and see which direction they are supposed to face when the window is wound up.   I bought some used window winders at the same time I got the other parts as mine were the wrong type.  This will be the next job.   I have also ordered the parts I need to finalize the rear lights.


Mounting the DS boot lid

The DS is finally looking more like a car, now I have mounted the boot lid.   A couple of weeks ago I prepared the boot lid for mounting.   This involved adding the seal, locking hardware etc.   Today, I added the top seal and then fitted it to the car.  The top seal has metal clips to hold it in place.  Its much easier to add the seal with the metal clips attached rather than trying to remove them.

The first task was to attach the hinges to the boot lid.   There are four bolts and some rubber gaskets between the hinges.   I had already polished up the hinges as best as I could.   The DS hinges are polished aluminum on the non-Pallas models like mine.   While mine are pitted and in average shape, I wasn’t able to find any better ones.  The Pallas ones are chromed, but the metal underneath is fairly poor quality and the chrome flakes off.   Many owners of DS Pallas models try and source the non-Pallas hinges!

The hinge attaches to the car with one bolt each side.   I did a test fitting and it all seemed to fit quite well.  With a few adjustments on each side I was able to get it to latch properly.   The top seal is not a great fit on the drivers side, same as before I disassembled the car.

Test fitting the boot hinges

When I removed the boot lid from the car originally, I first removed the C-pillar trim and then the boot hinges.   Trying to use the same method to-reassemble proved impossible and I lost a few hours.  it was much easier to remove the boot lid again and fit the trims to the hinges.   I purchased a brand new one for the drivers side, and for some reason they don’t come pre-drilled for the indicator ground.   I had to drill a hole in the top for this before fitting it.

New Trim

Once the trims were fitted to the hinge, the the whole assembly could be offered up to the car.   It was a bit fiddly to get it all lined up, but much faster than trying to add the trims after the boot hinges are in place.   Once the assembly is sitting properly, the trims are screwed into the car, and the vertical chrome strip attached.   Both use small screws straight into the body work.   I’m really liking how these new trims look on the car.   Much better than the wavy old ones with bad overspray.

C pillar trim

The indicator trumpets go on next.   These mostly just slide on, there is one screw that is used to hold in the indicator light.   First the main trumpet slides onto the car, then the embellisher is screwed in as part of the indicator light bracket.   Unfortunately, one of the ground wires came out of my indicator light when I was fitting it.  clearly it had already been welded once before, so it is probably better to buy a new one.

indicator trumpet

The final step is installing the actual indicator light and lens.   Since one of them is broken, it will have to wait for another day.   I did refit the rear wings as they only need to be removed to bolt the hinges to the car.    I feel like I made a lot of progress today, with the boot lid mounted, new c-pillar trims etc.   Next step is mounting the door cards to complete the interior.   I would like to get the car back on the road before the end of May if possible.   The DS is not much fun to drive in the heat of summer, but the rest of the year it is great!

Wings attached

Halogen Headlight Upgrade

About 18 months ago, I had my E-Type upgraded from sealed beams to Halogen headlights.  Last night, I took the car on the first extended night drive since the upgrade.    What a difference!

The Halogen upgrade also included relays and wiring directly from the battery to the lights.     Before this upgrade I never felt particularly comfortable driving the car at night.   With this upgrade both the dipped and main beams really illuminate the road.

I took the car on a drive through Galston Gorge and then up the Old Northern road, almost to Wisemans Ferry.   Hawkins lookout is a nice place to stretch your legs and turn around.   This is a nice drive and there was little traffic.   Too bad so many drivers do not dip their beams when there is oncoming traffic.

For anyone who has a classic car with the standard round sealed beams, I highly recommend this upgrade.   I generally like to keep cars stock, but this upgrade increases the drivability (and safety) of the car.  Relays are also a worthy addition to stop all that current going through the headlight switch.   Relays can be added to cars that already have halogen headlights.    The previous owner added relays to my DS and it also has excellent lighting.

2018 Shannons Sydney Autumn Classic Preview

I stopped by the upcoming 2018 Shannons Sydney Autumn Classic auction today to check out the cars on offer.    A big part of this auction is numeric plates.   These have proven to be a good investment for many of the last few years.  Personally I regard them a bit like Bitcoin, the latest fad without fundamentals.  It’s not like you can enjoy driving your #37 number plate even if it loses value.  Lots of people have made money though!   Looking at the cars, some of the more interesting lots were:

Lot 62:  1962 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 OTS

This is a nice looking 3.8 E-Type, with a guiding price of $185,000-$210,000.   It is a nice example and they will probably get it.   E-Types have shot up incredibly in the last few years.  While higher values mean they get saved, it also means many are now in the hands of speculators rather than enthusiasts.

Lot 59:  1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SL

At first some may run away scared with around 450,000 on the clock.   However, with all the work done this car may be good buying.   It is a really period colour (Silver Green) which is not to everyone’s taste, but is in great condition.   The asking price of $28,000-$35,000 is not unreasonable, but the odometer may put some off.

Lot 50: 1998 BMW 840Ci Coupe

The 8 series doesn’t have the same fan base of the earlier 6er, but to me is the most striking BMW to come out of the 90s.   Potentially the E39 M5 may be a better car to live with, but the 8 series has the looks and the V8 is reportedly less problematic than the V12.   The car is estimated at $25,000-$30,000

Lot 52: 1960 Jaguar XK150 FHC

The XK’s used to be similar money to the E-Type, but not anymore.    This nice 3.8 had a guiding range of $85,000-$95,000.   Personally, I prefer the XK140, but the 150 has the advantage of the 3.8 engine and is probably a more usable car.   British Racing Green is probably the best colour for these.   Lighter colours can make them look like a jellybean.

Lot 67:  1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II

The guiding range of $35,000-$50,000 may attract some to what is an extremely desirable pre-war Rolls Royce.   Having sat there since at least the 80s, I suspect the cost to just mechanically recommission this car would be astronomical.   After that you’re still stuck with a fairly dowdy re-body from the 60s.  Apparently there is a photo in the Phantom II book of the original and more attractive body.


S211 Rear Suspension

I don’t feature the E350 Wagon on this site much.     It is the main family car, mostly driven by my wife.   The S211 is (in my view) a much better option than the plethora of SUV’s on the road.   The lower ride height makes loading babies and prams easy and it drives and handles like a proper car.

Just after Christmas, the rear of the car would drop down on one side after the car was not used for a couple of days.   It quickly escalated to dropping down after only a few minutes.  At that time I didn’t understand the S211 rear suspension system so took the time to research it a little.  I didn’t think I had Airmatic on the car, so was quite surprised by this behaviour.

S211 rear suspension sag

I don’t normally do much work on this car, but my mechanic was away for the first few weeks of January.   Turns out that this is a common problem on the S211.   Unlike the S123, S124 and S210, the S211 uses air springs instead of a hydropneumatic system for self levelling.   It is a cut down version of airmatic, just like the older cars used a cut down version of the full hydropenumatic system.     Instead of steel springs, there are two air springs that are fed from an air compressor at the front of the car.   These air springs fail and no longer hold air pressure.   Over time, they also burn out the air compressor as it must run all the time to maintain ride height.

The Mercedes springs are very expensive, but Arnott make an aftermarket spring that apparently has a tougher bladder.   I read good things on the forums about other owners who had used these springs so ordered a pair.

Arnott provide a video explaining how to fit the springs.

The video makes it seem simple, and in some ways it is.   I did spend about 6 hours doing the first spring as there were a few things that were not obvious.   The first was that disconnecting the air line does not remove enough air pressure to remove the spring.   It needs to be manually deflated like a tyre.   I found a dental pick in the air intake was the easiest way to achieve this.   The video also suggests you undo the sway bar linkage and remove it.   I found that wasn’t necessary.   Removing the air line took a while at first, but a 10mm spanner proved easiest.

The new Arnott springs (below on the right) seemed more robust than the springs on the car.  I could not see any Mercedes part numbers, so I assume they have been changed before.

Arnott Air Springs

The job would be simple with an assistant, one person to pull down on the suspension arm and the other to remove/fit the air spring.    I didn’t have one, so found that some plastic tube allowed me to use my weight to pull down on the suspension in a gradual way to perform the job.

S211 rear suspension

The picture above shows this in action.   This was the first side I did, as I removed the sway bar linkage here.    I also found that if you try and test the system with only one side done, you get a malfunction message on the dash.     After all the trial error on the first side, the other side was done in 1/3 the time.    The job is also easier with access to a 16mm and 18mm spanner.  I had those sizes in sockets, but not spanners.

Once I was finished, at first I thought I had stuffed up the job.   When I drove the car home it drove great, but then sank down once I had parked it.  Turns out one of the air lines had come out and everything was back to normal after it was reconnected.   I used a zip tie to attach the air line to the wiring connection as it was before which should hopefully prevent that from happening again.

Citroen DS rear bumper reassembly

The world’s slowest Citroen DS reassembly continues.   Today’s job was to reassemble the bumper in readiness to put it back on the car.   I had taken the opportunity to polish the bumper while it was off the car.   Since the DS rear bumper is made from stainless steel it came up very well with a bit of autosol.

DS rear bumper

I went through a whole bag of ebay polishing attachments from my drill, but each one made the bumper just a little bit better.   I also took the time to fit a new overrider on one side.   You have to be careful parking a DS – it gradually sinks!   I had parked the car with the rear just touching the back wall of the garage.  As the car sank, the friction ripped the overrider from the bumper.

When I was disassembling the bumper, I was not able to remove the bumper irons.    This time they came free and it was a much better way of removing the bumper from the car.   In fact, I probably didn’t need to disassemble the bumper other than it made polishing easier.    After a year I had forgotten what a couple of key parts in my ‘rear bumper’ bag were.  These are illustrated as part 11 below.

DS rear bumper

The part is shown vertical here, but turns out it is horizontal and is used (with the rubber plug shown in #2) to stop the bumper touching the rear wing.   A bit of help from the aussiefrogs forum and I was back in business.

DS rear bumper

The DS rear bumper assembly is made up of a few different pieces that need to be bolted together.   This means that if the bumper is damaged, only the necessary pieces need to be changed.  It is much easier to do off the car.

DS rear bumper

I found it easier to first mount the top piece, then the two connecting pieces, then the main bottom bumper bar.   I am missing one of the rubber stops which I will need to order.

DS rear bumper

Preparing the Citroen DS boot lid

The Citroen DS boot lid is almost ready to be mounted on the car.   Before Xmas I was able to finally fit the badges properly.   The next task was mounting all the other hardware and fitting a new boot lid seal.

The latching hardware and handle goes on quite easily if you have a 36mm spanner.   The only fiddly bit is getting the drainage tube through the two holes in the lid.   I used a pair of dental picks to accomplish this.

Boot hardwareThe standard Citroen DS boot lid seal is a very thick rubber that squashes down as the boot is closed.   Unlike in most cars, the seal is attached to the boot lid.   This seal has mixed reviews in the DS community.   The original ones retained water, causing many boot lids to rust out.  This is probably what happened to my car as it is now sporting an aluminium boot lid from an early DS19.   The reproduction ones are closed cell, but can make the lid sit higher.     The D Special and D Super didn’t use this seal at all, just some simple rubber pieces on the lip of the chassis.   These don’t cause rust, but don’t always seal all that well and let dust into the car.

Citroen DS Boot seal

Based on a recommendation from Aussiefrogs, I used a sikaflex product to glue down my seal.    It is not a flat channel, so I am using a set of clamps to hold it down as the glue dries.   So as not to damage the paint, I am using towels to stop scratching and cardboard to spread the pressure.  I hope this works!

Citroen DS Boot sealThe only thing left will be to fit the rubber seal that sits between the top of the boot lid and the window glass.   This is very easy as there is a channel in the boot lid it fits into.

Today I also fitted the carpets and rear seat to the car.  Progress has been very slow – my aim is to get the car back on the road in the next two to three months.

2018 CARnivale

Adding overzealous private security guards rarely enhances an event and the 2018 CARnivale was no exception.     This event used to be held in the city and was relocated to Parramatta Park a few years ago.    It is now much smaller and the cars are squeezed into a small area so unnecessary security barriers can be put up to contain them.

This year we saw the farce of thousands of people wanting to go and see the cars but being held up due to some kind of security ‘all clear’.   Spectators were being yelled at and I can’t imagine it was much fun for the car owners either.    This can be seen from the first photo.    Cars were packed in so tight I imagine many were trapped in until enough cars had left for the day.

On the positive side there were a number of nice cars to look at.   This event normally attracts a different crowd of cars.   Due to being part of a larger festival you get more of the general public at this event rather than car people.   This means children climbing on the cars and so on.   The cars in attendance therefore are often more everyday examples which may not be seen at other shows.

Bucking that trend, there was also in attendance a lovely Jaguar MK V, Rolls Royce Silver Dawn, a Concours condition Rover P5B Coupe, a BMW 3.0 CSL.    However, the show is really more about previously common cars like Austin 7s, FJ/EH Holdens, Minis, various Austins and Morris models and so on.    Nice to see them out and about.

While the car event is not what it was, the 2018 CARnivale is still worth a visit as there is a lot to do for the whole family.   They have various kids events, rides, food stalls etc.

British Motor Museum Reserve Collection

The British Motor Museum has more cars than they can display in their main collection.   Unlike most museums, they open up their reserve collection to browse.   The cars are obviously packed in close together to fit them all, so harder to see all the details and photograph.  I still think  its great that the museum opens this part of the collection to the public.

The museum offers volunteer tours of the reserve collection twice per day.   Despite many people at the museum during my visit, I was the only one to avail myself of the tour.   I ended up with a two hour private tour of the reserve collection instead of the 45 minute highlights a big group would get.   This was the highlight of the whole museum for me.     The tour also included the Jaguar Heritage collection.

Probably the most fascinating part of the tour was some of the descriptions of an early Lanchster.   I had heard of Lanchester, but more about the cars they built during their ownership by Daimler.    However, the most interesting cars were built by Frederick Lanchester.   Like W.O. Bentley, Lanchester was a brilliant engineer but not a great businessman.  And unlike Henry Royce, who had Charles Rolls and then later professional managers, Lanchester never had a partner to handle the business side of things.

The car we looked at had an epicyclic gearbox, years before Henry Ford adopted it for the Model T, twin crankshaft engine for smoothness, was much faster than the competition and many other clever touches.   Sadly, the Lanchester brand ended up building a series of forgettable cars under Daimler ownership.

Another interesting part of the museum was a collection of test cars showing off different safety ideas of the 70s.   One in particular looks like a mousetrap – it was designed to come up during a collision to improve pedestrian safety.   There is also another one to try and show American regulators how silly a proposed law was that focused on rear visibility.    It is fitted with a large periscope as the only way of complying with the regulations.

The collection also contains three interesting Rover P5 models.   The main collection houses one of the Queen’s P5Bs and the overflow collection has the other.   There is also the Prime ministerial P5B, and interesting for me, a 1965 P5 Coupe with a manual transmission.   A similar car (transmission aside) from my old rover and identical spec to a couple of cars being restored by a friend of mine.    Continuing the Rover theme, there is a Rover Speed 14 Streamline Saloon, a rather performance oriented model by the company.

Also of interest was a very impressive Daimler Green Goddess.   This is a very imposing car and you can certainly understand the stir it created when first unveiled.   However, if I could have taken one car home from the museum, it would have been the Bentley R Type Continental.


British Motor Museum Main Collection

The British Motor Museum contains the world’s largest collection of historic British vehicles.   It was a really impressive museum and worth a visit if you’re ever in the UK.   It is a nice combination of early vehicles, examples of popular British cars, concept cars and competition cars.

The museum is located in Warwick, near Birmingham, about an hour or so north of London on the M40.

One of the first cars you see is an 1897 Daimler, the oldest UK built example.   It was used extensively in its heyday and is still in working condition.   You can see its flame ignition system, which is essentially a pair of Bunsen burners heating metal tubes that ignite the fuel.   The car was later fitted with an elephant hide hood.

Proceeding into the museum you see a number of concept cars such as a Rover SD1 estate, and a BL electric car.    From there, the museum is divided into a number of exhibits.   These include:

  • The concept cars described above
  • Famous Jaguar Competition cars
  • Royal vehicles, including the Queen’s personal Rover P5
  • ‘Memory Lane’ type exhibits that show popular vehicles from a particular time period
  • Competition and record breaking cars
  • Estate cars
  • Land Rover/Range Rover
  • British Sports cars including an excellent cutaway MGB GT

Including spending time at the Overflow collection and the Jaguar Heritage Collection, I spent the entire day there.

The British Motor Museum is also the home of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust archives.   The archives are the suppliers of heritage certificates.    There is also a reading room which is available for research by appointment.