It seems that disaster is never far away with the engine in my Citroen Dyane, yet somehow it manages to avoid catastrophe and just keep going.
Somehow, this car got me home from Wiltshire when I bought it despite the ignition timing being too advanced, the oil cooler and cooling fins for the barrels being caked in filth and remnants of a carrier bag further impeding airflow. This is what you get when you decide to drive 140 miles in a car that has spent most of the past few years sitting in a field after years of field use.
I sorted all that out and then drove it to Sussex and back for the Goodwood Revival in September of last year, and it turns out I was luckier than I thought. Aside from the idle disappearing at times, the Dyane was trouble-free on that trip. Even when I twice managed to almost run it out of fuel! Yet work of the winter highlighted that actually, the engine may have suffered a partial seizure at some point, caused by overheating I suspect, especially given the issues contained in the second paragraph of this piece.
Even more remarkable, it turns out that there may have been a very small fracture in one of the small diameter pipes that feeds oil to the cylinder heads! I know that because having had to move said pipe to remove the cylinder head, there’s now a slightly larger fracture in the oil feed pipe, and oil is peeing out at a goodly rate.
So, I’m giving in. I do actually need to spend some money on this car. I’ll be purchasing new cupro-nickel oil feed pipes, which hopefully won’t rot in quite the same way, and I’m adding some much needed rubber pipes into the mix too, for the breather and carburettor – both pipes go to the air filter.
I still maintain that I’ve been lucky though. If one of those oil feed pipes fractures while you’re hurtling along a motorway, you may not know it until the oil has left your engine and it has seized up entirely. Certainly, all this work has confirmed that I was right to take the Dyane off the road for the winter, and while it’s disappointing that my plan to have it back on the road for February has not come to fruition, I can at least take comfort in the fact that the weather has generally remained awful, and the best place for this car is probably in my garage!
There will be further expenditure in the future too. The front brake discs look a little ‘lippy’ for my liking, both headlamps have lost some silvering, and there’s the big welding project to replace the lower windscreen panel – hopefully taking place next month.
Unsurprisingly, this car has required a fair degree of improving. There’s arguably no bigger gamble for the classic buyer than a project that has been left sitting, especially if it has been left sitting in the elements. It could have been much, much worse though and I’ve really enjoyed the process of steadily making it better.