1. Why does my pump cut in every few seconds?
Frequently Asked Questions.
The difficulty with this problem is establishing whether the cause is lack of gas pressure in the accumulator or excessive internal leakage or a mixture of both.
If the pump cutting in (cycle) has been ok and suddenly dropped to a few seconds, it is likely to be a lack of gas pressure in the single piece accumulator. The diaphragm that separates the gas from the oil can fail. Generally that means a new accumulator.
On the other hand, a fully gassed accumulator will mostly last 2 years or over depending on how much driving is done. So if the two years is up, suspect the accumulator. When you have a pump cycle of about 15 seconds or over there is an opportunity to test the accumulator. Put a 12 mm spanner on the regulator bleed screw and take the reservoir filler cap off. With the engine idling and the hand on the spanner, just as the pump cuts out open the bleed screw a couple of flats and see if there is a rush of oil in the reservoir. If not your accumulator needs a regas.
The next possibility is excessive leakage and the most likely cause is the power steering valves. These valves are the busiest in the system gently opening and closing keeping the car under control. A simple but not necessarily definitive test is to put the steering on full lock trying to push past the end stop. If you get a major improvement in the pump cycle then the valves in the steering may need renewing.
Warning, if the piston seal is internally leaking, this test can be misleading.
It is easy to test the suspension valves front and back. See how long the car stays up with the engine switched off. My car stays up for a few hours, but I have seen cars gradually drop in front of my eyes.
If you have an hydraulique, there are nearly twice as many valves to leak. The main component to look at is the centrifugal regulator. Internal leakage can be observed by disconnecting the two rubber return lines on the top of the reservoir and seeing how much oil is flowing. They go from the CFR to the reservoir.
Finally there is a fool’s paradise situation. Beware of the car that comes up quickly first thing in the morning. See Question 8.
2. Where can I buy LHS2 seals.
Some of the pre 1965 cars have been converted to LHM. However there are a lot that have not. I have some of the original seals in stock.
3. When I brake, why do my drive shafts knock?
When you brake in an ordinary slow down the front dives a little and the balls in the triaxes are then working in a different position. Under load, they are now sliding across (rather than in) ruts in the grooves that are worn by the main movement. It reminds me of driving over corrugations. Whilst new triaxes are available, it may be better to consider the last drive shaft that Citroen made for the DS. That is a unit incorporating the triax, the cv and the five hole plate that goes over the five bolts on the hub. They are about $600 each side.
4. How do I put my car on historic rego?
Most of the State transport departments in Australia delegate the certification of a car for being in the discount registration scheme to car clubs. Generally you are required to join the club and after a few procedures drive your historic car for about a quarter of the cost of normal rego.
5. Is it o.k. to use Dextron 2 / red fluid in my hydraulic system?
Unfortunately there is no industry information on the suitability of Dextron 2 in hydraulic systems. Nor should there be. But the two reasons that citroen owners may consider using it is first: it is the right viscosity and secondly: it is a mineral oil. The rest of the characteristics may not be compatible.
6. Is the pipe from the reservoir to the pump particularly special?
Yes. Because this pipe/ tube is under negative pressure, in other words suction. It must be designed not to collapse or close up. If you examine the correct rubber pipe, it has no integrated webbing in the wall and the wall is quite thick.
7. Can I still get the correct asymmetric tyre, the Michelin XAS for my DS?
They are still available and expensive. You will also have to push the system because they seem to be a closely guarded secret by Michelin.
8. My car comes up in a few seconds first thing in the morning, is this good?
Probably not. Think of it this way. Say the car is completely devoid of pressurised nitrogen gas and just has oil in the system. Oil will not compress and reduce in volume. So if there is no gas in the system the only place the oil can go is into the suspension cylinders- and up goes the car.
On the other hand if the system has gas in the spheres and accumulators, that means there is a least one litre of volume of gas that needs to be replaced with oil. So the car will take time to rise if it has been dormant for many hours or a day or two.
9. I have an air leak in my pump and I can’t find it.
The first point to be clear about is you are unlikely to find this leak by looking for oil. The most likely cause is a hard and brittle suction hose. A possible spot is the connection of the hose to the reservoir. Many D’s may still have the original rubber pipe.
10. Where can I get parts for my Safari?
If you have in mind the rear suspension seals I have them in stock. The suspension stops are also different and I have those.
11. Why is my steering twitchy?
One of the problems of dealing with the power steering on the Citroen, it is like no other. Comparing it with other cars is only misleading. Swing the steering wheel from left to right will tell you nothing.
In the following tests, you may not get reliable results if there is any fault in the linkage such as sticky steering relays or wear in the tie rods. To test, put the front of the car on stands to take the weight off the front wheels. Lower the car sufficiently to allow the front of the car to sit on the stands. Taking the spring tension off the cam at the end of the steering column is helpful.
With the engine running put your finger and thumb on the steering wheel and gently move it about 2 or 3 millemetres. It should not have a life of it’s own but simply follow your movement. It should not flick. Let the system stabilise for a few seconds and then try it in the opposite direction. Once again there should be no reaction from the steering wheel other than to follow your finger and thumb. Try this at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 6 and 9.
If there is twitching, it could either be incorrect installation or incorrect adjustment of the valves. If the flicking is constant on N.E.S and WEST then it is probably the valve adjustment. If the flicking varies in each quadrant it could be the installation. Do not discount both possibilities.
The next test is to put your pointed finger against the spoke and move it through 360 degrees. If the rack is correctly installed, there should be an even force and resistance right round the circle.
12. Why cant I get the rack and pinion overhauled separately?
Because the rack and the pinion talk to each other by way of feedback, doing the jobs separately can lead to disagreements about who is responsible for what.
13. How do I fix the leak in my roof?
Citroen had a number of different designs for the D roof. They all had a seal and they were all bolted down. The decision you have to make is whether to maintain the originality or take advantage of modern sealants and adhesives.
The down side of using a sealant adhesive like polyurathane is removing it, if that should need to be the case.
When installing, a major objective is not to create a possibility of trapping the water.
14. The inner door handle for the late model seems to be different from the spare parts catalogue?
For the D there are 3 types of inner handle. The early that had short
(73mm) thumb tongues front and rear. Then the late that uses long (90mm) tongues in the front and medium tongues (79mm) in the rear.
For reasons that I don’t know the Australian version of the late uses short tongues (73mm) in the rear.
15. How do I fix the 3 pulley water pump for the air conditioning?
It is not easy to see but the 3 and 2 pulley water pumps have different bodies. This is to accommodate a larger bearing.
16. When I accelerate quickly from bottom gear to top, I sometimes get shaking in the front end?
This maybe because the 4 mountings for each half axle have cracked from the side member. This can be fixed by welding in large washers to the chassis.
17. Do I need a special petrol pump for the efi?
The original 3 pipe pump is no longer available. An after market arrangement is available but care must be taken to make sure the fittings are safe. It is easy to have a fire.
18. Where can I get Borg Warner seal kits?
There are two types of B W auto boxes: an early and late. The seal sizes are different. I have both in stock new. Other parts for the BW are available second hand.
19. Is it OK to steam clean my engine?
Absolutely not. There are a number of bearings that are exposed to the water and you also run the risk of it draining into the gear box.