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How to cook a Very Special 2cv, Part II

© Copyright: J.Cats.

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For the construction of this car, go to Part I, the construction

January 2001
Let's do some driving! This is an awesome machine, handles very well, is quite fast and it fits me like a glove. But driving it does reveal some weak points:

  • The car requires a nose down stance or it will take off at speeds over 140km/h.
  • 2cv front doors don't stand speeds of over 140km/h, they start bending open at the top.
  • Twin anti roll bars really screw up the handling, makes the car misbehave in corners.
  • Ami Super driveshafts are very poor, even new ones can't stand the power. Some of the rebuilt ones are of VERY poor quality: they don't seat properly in the hub, wrong gaiters fitted, not enough grease in the gaiter, play on the CV joint when still in the box etc etc.

During the summer of 2001 the car behaves pretty well. The only reoccurring problem is the driveshafts.

The winter of 2001/2002 clearly shows the deficiency of the heating system.

Spring 2002
The engine is playing up and with a compression test it's clear 2 exhaust valves have burned and are now leaking. This is clearly down to lean running, I should have followed my own advice and rejet the carb! The engine has a somewhat mixed history so it's decided to put this engine away and start with a fresh engine. A 1300cc Axel engine is taken from our stock of parts. It's started and runs immediately, no smoke, so looks good.

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And out she goes...

With the headlights now back on the original supports the car looks much better, especialy together with the modified indicators and front bumper. The new engine definetly needs rejetting with only a different airfilter and modified exhaust. Going from .95mm tot 1.20mm on the main jet gives the required result. I still prefer the 1130 engine because of it's much better revving capability. Nothing can match the sheer grunt of the modded 1300 though.

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Front after modified headlights, indicators and bumper

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Engine bay

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Dashboard and seats

Winter 2002-2003
It's time for a rebuilt.

After running the car for 2 years something has to happen. The car is going to be modified to make it suitable for track days and sprinting events.

Where to start:
  • Chassis / frame:
    Nothing wrong with the frame, some more rustproofing is always welcome.
  • Front Axle:
    Kingpins are holding up suprisingly well, over 40.000km and there is hardly any play in them! So no need for a upper suspension arm as found on 2cv racers. Wheel bearings are doing a lot worse. They develop excessive play very quickly but never start making rumbling sounds. Maybe the GSA rims i'm using are causing this, they sit a few mm further inwards (offset). Not sure how to cure this apart from keeping a set of SKF bearings on the shelf all the time. Driveshafts falling apart isn't doing any good either.
  • Drive shafts:
    These things are a pain. The Ami super drive shafts are NOT suited for the car. They are GS items made shorter, but an Ami Super has much more suspension travel then a GS so the driveshafts have to work at much wider angle ranges. On my setup drive shaft angles are kept at a minimum but still both the gearbox side and wheel side joint keep falling apart. I have a set of flanges so 2cv drive shafts can be used. I'll try these for a while and if that doesn't work I'm having drive shafts made:,
  • Gearbox:
    Currently a short ratio GSA X3 5 speed is fitted. This is really the worst gearbox to use, 5th is too short, too much overlap between gears. There are 2 better gearboxes. First is obviously the GSA 5 speed long ratio. Second is the Axel 5 speed which has even longer ratios as it was designed for 13 inch wheels.
    Click for full screen Axel 5 speed gearbox.
    I love sequential gearboxes and Hewland has some nice sequential boxes but they are expensive and too big. So we'll stick to the Axel gearbox for now.
  • Front brakes:
    Currently the rear brakes still lock up earlier then the front ones. Braking is still not quite what I'd like it to be, even though the car has 260mm front vented discs already. Discs which cool even better and have more bite would be nice.
    AP racing CP5100, useful brake stuff.
    Different calipers means converting the car to DOT brake fluid (currently LHM). One advantage of this would be that I can then convert to twin master cylinder setup with balance bar. Much cheaper alternative is to fit EBC black stuff pads (and pray these are better heat resistant the the orignals). Only available from need for speed as far as I can tell. I also got some new OEM discs to replaced the current slightly warped ones, never keep your foot on the brakes when they have just overheated and you've stopped the car! Massive air ducting to the front brakes might help. I'd like to get the discs grooved but the last quote I got was slightly rediculous so we'll save that for later. I want to see how the current setup works on a circuit before I start spending even more money.
  • Rear axle and brakes:
    Nothing wrong here. The rear is too light anyway so easily over braked. I'll fit EBC black stuff shoes. These are only available from need for speed
  • Springs:
    I have the stiffest springs available, the car is lighter then the original Ami super and still the springs seem slightly soft. I don't know how to upgrade this.
  • Shock absorbers:
    The current ones are not good at all. Upgrading to Boge or LIPS seems a good idea. Spax adjustables might even be better. I've bought a set of Boge Ami Super Break shock absorbers to start with.
  • Tyres:
    The front currently has Pirelli p3000 175/65-15 since the summer of 2002 and I must say I'm very happy with these. So I invested in some more rubber.
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  • Weight:
    The body could do with some weight saving. The current heating system is made from thick wall steel tube. The whole heating system will be cut out and replaced by one or two citroën 2cv windscreen demister horns. These are made from 0.6mm steel and very light. Reducing weight will be futher done by replacing side and rear glass with polycarbonat. The current racing seats are a bit heavy (together with the thick wall steel tube support at least 50kgs!) and could be replaced by glass fibre ones, if I can fit in them! I found some nice and light seats with plays-kool and tillett. Maybe GRP nose (flip front) and boot lid in the far away future. I think current weight is around 700kg, but i'm not sure. Ideal would be to get the weight below 650kg, but this will be hard I think. Also important is to get the weight of the driver reduced...
  • Engine:
    Fed up with trying to set up the solex carb, i'm switching to fuel injection. Fuel injection should also reduce the difference between the left and right cylinder banks i'm currently experiencing. Fuel injection is also the only way to handle boost. Read more about it here

Winter 2002-2003
The car won't pass the technical test before the front axle is rebuilt. Both steering and wheel bearings are showing massive play. A spare Ami Super Break chassis has been purchased, complete with engine, gearbox and both axles. The front axle has been removed and taken apart. ECAS UK has the necesary guide ring for the front axle refurbishment. More info on the work involved can be found here.

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Empty spare front axle

2cv driveshafts will be fitted as a test to see if they really are better then the Ami Super ones. The expensive adaptor rings come from duckservice who use them on their own 4 cylinder Acadiane.

Spring 2003

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Front is a bit rough!

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The rebuilt commences

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Preperation, the rebuilt front axle.

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And off with the nose.

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Split gaiter and too little grease in the rebuilt 2000km old driveshafts.

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Engine and gearbox out.

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Chassis covered in the remains of 1 blown engine and 4 sets of knackered driveshafts.

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Loose steering rod nut, 50.000km clutch: slipping but hardly any wear!

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New and old front axle.

October 2004

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New reinforced clutch cover, padle disc with sintered linings. Clutch kit bought from Dutch Power Trading, a very pleasant company to deal with. It's a kit for a AX Gti and Peugeot 205 / 106 Rally.

May 2006

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Been a long time with no progress on this project. But today the adaptor rings for the fitting of 2cv driveshafts onto the G series gearbox arrived.

June 2006

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"new" gearbox (axel 5 speed) as found and after some cleaning.

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Fitted the GSA 5 speed back cover on the Axel box and taken off the bellhousing to swap input shafts.

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Left bellhousing is Axel , right is ami super, difference is 10mm, GSA bellhousing is even longer!
Unfortunatly the input shaft seals are always shot and an odd size, so stuck for now.

April 2007
Got the gearbox input shaft seals from Chevronics in the UK so the gearbox can finaly be completed. Also got a set of AVO adjustable shockabsorbers. And the body has been donated to my ex-girlfriend. I will have to do with this one

For the construction of this car, go to Part I, the construction
For the construction of the engine, go to Part III, the engine

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