Dyane: The New To Do List

Having successfully proven that it can actually undertake journeys of a goodly length, the Dyane has nonetheless managed to acquire quite a To Do list.

First and foremost, it really does need the cylinder heads removing, lapping in and refitting. There’s a very strong smell of fumes inside the car. This is something of a 2CV trait and is because there is no gasket between the cylinder head and the barrel. Things are made worse if the ignition timing is too advanced, as the subsequent pinking – where the spark plug fires before the piston has reached the top of its travel – puts enormous strain on the joint. I have to hope that the head has not become too corroded.

This joint leaks and causes fumes to enter cabin.

This joint leaks and causes fumes to enter cabin.

You learn as a 2CVer to smell the difference between head fumes and general exhaust fumes. I have one or two leaky clamps so I get that smell too! The cylinder head leak fumes are a bit sweeter. Less sharp. They typically occur when the engine is under high load, with a surge in aroma as you lift off the throttle. Exhaust fumes tend to be at their worse as the car is slowing or travelling downhill on a closed throttle, but in gear. There may also be a popping noise.

The drill is to get the cylinder head off the car, apply some grinding paste and I use a cut-down barrel to clean up the cylinder head. You turn the old barrel back and forth repeatedly, pushing down as you do so. You have to use a barrel with the cooling fins cut off as the fins otherwise prevent the barrel from turning between the pushrod tubes. You have to do all of this very carefully, as the soft, aluminium head can quite easily be damaged. You need to be especially careful when refitting the head to the engine. Ask me how I know…

I’ll fit new ‘spectacle’ seals when doing that, and will inspect all other oil seals and pipes. The engine is still losing some oil, just far, far less than it was. After 625 miles, the level had dropped to about halfway on the dipstick.

lapping it up

Lapping the cylinder head with an old barrel.

The windscreen wipers and washers need some improvement too, and I need to stop quite so much water getting into the car – though I will also try to reduce wet weather use, especially over the winter. I also have clacking CV joints to replace – the entire lower driveshaft needs replacement, so I’ll probably pinch the good ones from the 2CV.

Finally for now, I’d like to go over the braking system. The front discs have quite a lip on them and may need replacement, while the pedal feels a bit firm to me – I may need to check all is well with the rear brakes. I’m not convinced they’re proving as much stopping power as they should.

This all ignores the fact that there are bodywork problems to overcome too. All in good time. I hope!

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