Citroen DS front end wiring – part 1

The Citroen DS has easily removable front wings.   They can be removed in a matter of minutes for various maintenance jobs.   Instead of one big plug like you would find on other cars (e.g. a Mercedes-Benz), individual bullet terminals need to be connected up for all the wiring to things like indicators, headlights, horns etc.

Turns out that when my car was painted, the labels for the wires came off.   When it was re-assembled, the car was doing some really strange things. This pointed to the wires not being connected back the same way.    This was further complicated by the fact that my car was modified for headlight relays.   This is a good thing,  but the way it was done meant some wires were no longer used.    The general way the wiring  is supposed to work is that each front wing is independent and the wiring is only for that side.   My car has been fitted with relays, which have broken that philosophy in that wiring from the passengers side crosses over to the drivers side.  Some connections (particularly on the drivers side) are no longer needed.   This is primarily because the battery is on the passengers side.


When I got the car back I was getting some really strange behavior from the front end lights.   So I disconnected everything again.

My thought process was to first identify the source wires with a multi-meter by turning on each function in the car.   I could then use a test lead to identify the destination wires.   I got a few odd results, but I was able to try and identify wires and colour code them.

Coded Wires

A friend came over to help with this process as its easier to have one person turning switches and the other armed with a multi-meter.   Our efforts were not all that fruitful. So far we have the horn blowing when the high beams are turned on.    I’m also seeing low beam on the opposite side but not the drivers side.

I then moved to a far simpler task for the re-assembly.  I had purchased new washers for the rear wing bolts so as not to scratch my new paint when removing them.


As can be seen, there is a big difference in the old cracked ones, and the new ones.



Finally, a working blower motor

My story of fixing the W126 climate control can be summed up by:   If everything points to a problem with an expensive part, don’t waste your time trying to replace the cheaper parts around it in a futile hope it will solve the problem!

After trying a used Climate Control Unit, new fan resistor etc, I finally bit the bullet and bought a rebuilt climate control unit.   This solved the problem.   In retrospect I probably didn’t need to buy the resistor and I certainly didn’t need the used CCU.     It also pays to shop around as a rebuilt CCU was much cheaper directly from the source than the usual online parts vendors.   I got my from ProgRama Inc.


This job should have been simple.     As I discovered earlier, the blower fans are different LHD to RHD.   This meant I re-used the housing from my old one.   What I didn’t realize until I had it all fitted was that the fan direction is obviously different too.   My new blower was blowing, but no air was coming out.    In the end I had to reverse the terminals of the controller to get air flow through the vents.


The aftermarket controller was slightly different at the back as well, so I had to file down part of my housing to make it fit.

The next steps will be to have the new A/C compressor I have purchased fitted.   This is not something I am equipped to do myself.   In any case, you need a licence to handle refrigerant in Australia.

Overall I like the W126 climate control system when it works.   However, I would have preferred a system with manual climate control.   Mercedes-Benz Australia to my knowledge ordered all the 2nd generation models with Automatic Climate control.   This would mean finding a private import with a manual set up.   A rather difficult task.

W126 Climate control woes

I’ve been fighting with the W126 Climate Control system for the last few months – and it’s been winning.    When I purchased the car in November last year, it was a very hot day and the A/C worked great.   It had a new radiator, so I took the evidence of leaking coolant to be history rather than a current problem.   Turned out the water pump was leaking and over the next 3 months that leak got worse.   My theory is that the leaking coolant shorted out the compressor clutch,  as it stopped working around the same time.

I was able to check this by bypassing the Klima relay, and the compressor popped the fuse even when the engine was not running.   This did not happen when the compressor was disconnected.

I have since sourced a new compressor which will go on in November when the car goes for its rego.

The blower motor was also very noisy and would turn on and off on its own.   I first thought the issue was with the aspirator fan, which is a small fan to blow air over the temperature sensor.   These are known to get very noisy with age.   Only problem was somebody had completely removed this fan from my car.      Next, I was able to determine that the main blower fan was the problem.     These are still available for a reasonable price, unlike the 107 fan that took me years to find one that was not seriously overpriced.    The one I got was for a left hand drive car (they are different in the 126), but this is not a problem as the plastic housing can be re-used and the actual fan that wears out is the same.

W126 Blower Motors

The blower was refitted and didn’t work.   Next step was to test both motors on a spare battery.   When connected up to 12 volts both motors worked well, although the old was was noisy as expected.    Next step was to check if the motor was getting voltage, and it was. Blower Voltage

This meant that either the resistor that controls the blower speed, or the climate control unit itself were not working.   The resistor can be seen in the photo above and is known as the porcupine.   The blower is fed 12v through a dedicated, high amperage fuse.   The CCU supplies a current to tell the porcupine how fast to run the blower.   I wasn’t able to detect that control voltage from either of the two CCUs I have.  This may have led to trying another CCU, but I decided to change the porcupine first as they are much cheaper than CCUs and known to fail.     Now I have two porcupines, two CCUs and still not even a working blower motor, let alone working climate control.

I did manage to find a company that offers rebuilt CCUs at a much more reasonable price than the main parts supplier (and looking at the pictures, seems to be the source of their inventory).   I have ordered one of those, and hopefully it will at least get the system and working, ready for the new compressor.  They suggest some checks on the resistance values from the monovalve and Aux water pump. Finally some good news, they are working as expected.

300SE poor hot starts

The 300SE has been suffering from poor hot starts.   It required a lot of cranking before it fired.   On a K-Jet car, this is normally caused by a faulty fuel accumulator.   From what I understand it’s the job of the accumulator to hold fuel pressure after the car is switched off.   I also planned to change the fuel filter as I didn’t know when it was last changed.

Filter and Accumulator

I also had the small in-line filter that fits in before the fuel distributor.    It will have to wait as I didn’t have time to change it this time.

Obviously when working around fuel I had to take precautions.   A friend of mine lost his workshop to a petrol fire.   chief among these is making sure the battery is disconnected and the appropriate fire extinguisher is available.

The job is not hard, but it is fiddly and messy.   The whole tank can drain out once the accumulator is removed unless the line is plugged.  The accumulator, fuel pump and fuel filter are all joined together and are hiding behind a cover near the drivers side rear wheel.   My fuel pump looked old, but it has not given me any trouble so did not replace it.   One thing that surprised me was how much dirt came out of the fuel filter when it was removed.


The filter is directional, so once fuel was able to run the other way, the dirt could escape from the filter.    Shows the importance of regular fuel filter changes!

finished I have not really been able to test this repair, but the car started easily between testing for leaks and tidying up after the job (15 mins).  Before it would have been harder to start.    This is a good sign.

While I was under the car at the back I also replaced the little connector for the height corrector.   Mine had pretty much completely disintegrated.   I noticed this a while back, but hadn’t been able to get to it.

Height corrector

Slowly, I am getting the 300SE to the level where it can be a reliable daily driver.   Having owned many Mercedes from this era, this one has been the most needy so far.   My hope is once these key jobs are done I will have years of trouble free motoring.   This is likely a pipe dream!

2017 Sydney German Car Show

The Sydney German Car Show 2017 was held today and as usual it did not disappoint.    A great selection of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, VW and Audi’s were on display.   The only downside was that aside from the Micro cars, there was no representation from the niche German cars.    There was also only one pre-war car.   This event has really grown by leaps and bounds in the 9 years since it was started.   I remember the first one well.

This year was notable for the strong turnout of W111/W112 Coupe and Cabriolet models.   From the lows of the last couple of years, there were seven entered for judging and five on regular display.  Last year’s show winner was not present which would have been one more.  There was also a special section for AMG models.   For one reason or another the 300SL Gullwing was parked there despite not being an AMG.   Gullwings can park where they like if it will get one to the show!

I entered my 250SE same as last year.   I don’t ever expect to win anything as I don’t take the concours as seriously as most.   A quick wash and vacuum and I’m ready to go.   It’s always fun to participate and since I like to keep my car fairly original, it doesn’t look out of place.    I prefer to drive the car than do the work necessary to score really well.

The BMW display was quite nice, with many of their sporting coupes such as the 2002’s, E9s, 6 Series, and 8 series.

My Mercedes Collection

Mercedes Collection

My Mercedes collection after giving them a quick wash.   A representative from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

250SE Minor Improvements

I had a couple of small jobs on the 250SE I had been meaning to do for months.   Since the car is to be displayed at the German Car show, it seemed like a good time to do them.

One of the hubcaps was in poor condition.  I had another set of used hubcaps painted almost a year ago now.   However, I had not swapped the worst of the hubcaps on the car with one of the newly painted caps.     A small thing, but it made a big difference.

Next, the engine breather hose was cracked.   A simple thing to replace.   The rubber had gone very hard on the old one.

The boot light had always been missing since I got the car.   The wiring was there for it, coiled up in the corner of the boot, but the light itself was not.   It was a simple job to run the wiring through the boot lid and fit a replacement boot light.

Boot Light

Boot Light

Unlike in the modern cars, the light is only on when the headlights or parking lights are also turned on.

Finally, the washer reservoir was not mounted correctly.   At the time the car was restored, the battery hold down was missing.   The battery hold down has mounting points for the reservoir.   Since this was missing, an alternate mount was built nearby.   As the correct battery hold down was later found, the reservoir needed to be moved to the right spot and the tubes re-routed.   While I was at it, the reservoir bottle was filthy, but responded well to a good cleaning with Sugar Soap.  I didn’t want to go to far with the bottle in case it developed a crack.


2017 ACT German Car Show

This weekend I was down in Canberra.  Since the 2017 ACT German Car Show was on, I stopped by.   Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for 10 minutes as I had assumed it was held in the regular location near the national library.   Turns out it had moved to Pialligo Estate, near the Airport.   Perhaps not as picturesque a venue, but more room and there were various food options etc available.

I’m always impressed with the ACT show.  It’s about half the size of the Sydney event.  Impressive given the population disparity.    Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to take a detailed look, but it was a nice 10 minute stop.

Mounting NSW Historic plates

NSW has a great historic registration system.   It allows for classics to be used for 60 days on a logbook for a drastically reduced fee.   For unknown reasons the plates issued are tiny plates with purple numerals.   The plates are so small they are not wide enough for the mounting holes on most cars.   As these plates don’t end up on some disposable SUV where new holes can simply be drilled, a mounting plate is required.    On the 250SE and Traction Avant, I fabricated my own mounting plates out of sheet aluminium.    I didn’t have time to do this for the 450SLC, so was looking for a more off the shelf solution.   I found plenty of covers, and one company who could do it a substantial fee, but no simple adaptor.

Instead, I found a company that makes novelty plates the same size as regular issue.   Normally, the purchaser of such plates nominates the letters to be printed on the plate, but I ordered them with no letters at all – a ready made adaptor!


The picture above illustrates the size difference between a standard plate and the historic one.   I simply needed to drill a few extra holes in the ‘adaptor’ plate, which cost me $30, and mount it to the car.

NSW Historic plate mount

I used pop rivets to attach the plate to the adaptor.   The 450SLC requires additional holes drilled to mount it to the car.   I don;’t mind drilling into the plate, just not the car.   I purchased the adaptor plate from ‘shh-boom‘.   I purchased an additional plate to use as an adaptor for the E-Type.    I will mount that one  soon.

NSW Historic plate mount

This solution seems to work well given the limitations of these tiny plates.   I’ve seen some really horrible ways of mounting these plates.   A common (and ugly) one is to take the old number plate and reverse it, using it as a plate.   You can still see the back of the letters embossed.    Looks terrible.   This seems the fastest and most cost effective way of getting a NSW Historic plate mount.

Instead of having to make an adaptor plate, it would be better if the NSW historic plates were a more regular size.   Personally I would make them like the old black and white plates, but add the historic vehicle tag.   The black and white would be more in keeping with the historic vehicles than purple.

2011 British Car Show

The 2017 British Car Show was the 37th such event.   The first one I attended was the 2011 British Car show.   This website did not exist in 2011, so the photos were never posted.     Its interesting to see many of the same cars are still attending the show.   Many of these are now sporting classic registration as NSW has adopted a workable system.     The W.O. Bentley that I admired this year was also in attendance in 2011, along with another car.     In addition, there was a nice display of Jensen Interceptors, something missing in 2017.    The Daimler display was also larger and consisted of more of their classic models.

I had originally gone back to these old photos to see if I could spot a Derby Bentley.   I have recently read a book on them and was curious if I had spotted one at any of these shows.

Back in 2011, I was hoping to bring my E-Type to the show, but it had not yet arrived in Sydney from its voyage from the USA.   It would not be until the 2016 show that I would display it.