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Citroën 2CV

Published: 16th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Citroën 2CV
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2CV specifications changed during production; consult manufacturer’s literature for full details of each aspect of maintenance, specific to your model.

Note 1: Mileage/time intervals shown are suggested for typical use; frequency may need to be increased under harsh operating conditions. 2CV specifications changed during production; consult manufacturer’s literature for full details of each aspect of maintenance, specific to your model.
Note 2: For better access to the sides of the engine, the front wings can be unbolted and removed; much quicker and easier than it sounds. Take great care not to damage the wings while not fitted to the car! Take care when jacking the car; the suspension travel is considerable.


Spark plugs: Champion L85 or L87Y, AC42FF or equivalent. Gap 0.6 to 0.7mm. (0.024in. to 0.027in.). Check/clean every 6000 miles or annually (whichever comes first); renew regardless every 12,000 miles. Remove rubber plugs from ducting in order to reach plugs.
Contact points: Gap 0.4±0.05mm. (0.014 to 0.018in.), corresponding with dwell angle reading of 109±3 degrees. In each case, check/clean points every 6,000 miles or annually (whichever comes first); renew regardless every 12,000 miles (note – contact breakers operate at half speed of that required for a four cylinder engine, and so can survive longer). To reach contact points… First remove cooling fan cowl and release/remove fan securing nut (deep 14mm. Socket or box spanner; tap on extension bar with hammer to loosen fan, which is located on crankshaft taper). With points box cover removed, re-fit fan securing nut and, using 14mm socket spanner, rotate engine until points are fully open; inspect their condition (renew if necessary) and check gap, adjusting it if neccessary (which will alter the ignition timing). Finally apply a little high melting point grease to cam lobes but not too much.
High tension leads: Every 3000 miles, clean and check condition, ensuring that all connections are sound.
Timing: Check timing while contact points box is still exposed. Static setting is 12 degrees BTDC. To check, connect a 12 volt test lamp between contact points terminal and battery’s positive connection. Pass a 6mm diameter rod (or 5mm hexagon) through aperture in flywheel housing and slowly rotate engine until rod engages in the timing hole in the flywheel. With test lamp connected and ignition ‘on’, slacken contact points box support bolts and rotate box clockwise, then anti-clockwise until lamp just extinguishes. (Note: A voltmeter can be used instead of a test lamp). Re-tighten contact box bolts and re-assemble.


(1985 2CV6 specification taken as example) Air-cooled, overhead valve, horizontally opposed (‘flat’) twin cylinder 602cc, 29bhp

Valve clearances

Inlet and exhaust (cold), 0.2mm. (0.008in.); adjustment is by screw and locknut. Rotate engine until one valve is fully open, then check/adjust clearance on corresponding valve on opposite cylinder. Repeat process for all valves.

Sundry items

Every 3000 miles, or annually (whichever comes first)... Examine alternator belt and re-tension if necessary, aiming for approx. 1/4in. (6.5mm.) play in centre of longest belt run. Check cleanliness/security of all electrical connections; inspect wiring for damage. Ensure that all wiring in engine compartment is secured well clear of hot components. Check headlamp adjustment; use knurled adjuster inside car (rotate clockwise to lower beams; anticlockwise to raise them). Assess condition/security of all steering and running gear components and suspension mounting bushes. Check exhaust system for leaks. Inspect underbody for damage and rectify paint chips, rusting, and so on.


At least every 3000 miles or annually, whichever comes first, examine front brake pads and discs (brake shoes and drums at front on early cars; the brakes are inboard-mounted and difficult to reach, so are often ignored. On these, the driveshafts first need to be separated from the drums, by removing six bolts on each side. Always inspect cylinders for leaks and renew in axle sets if leaking). Examine also the rear shoes, cylinders and drums (remove drums for proper inspection; main hub nut requires a 44mm socket spanner to remove, then brake drum needs to be removed using a puller, or by carefully levering simultaneously from both sides. Check also brake pipes, flexible hoses and master cylinder. Renew any ailing components AT ONCE. AVOID INHALING DUST FROM PADS/SHOES – MAY CONTAIN ASBESTOS. Adjust brake shoe to drum clearances as required. Check handbrake adjustment (handbrake operates on front wheels. On drum-braked cars, rotate wingnut adjuster located at rear of engine compartment, near to transmission assembly; take up cable slack without applying tension. On disc-braked cars rotate eccentric until pads lock disc, then back off; lock eccentric and adjust cables so that cable ends protrude equally).
(Note: Front brake pads require replacement if they can’t be adjusted to grip disc). At least every two years, change brake fluid.


Engine oil: For optimum engine life, ideally change oil and filter at least every 3000 miles or annually (whichever comes first). (Note: Early cars lacked a conventional external filter; on these the oil needs to be changed at least every 1500 miles). Use top quality multigrade engine oil. Please dispose of old oil in environmentally friendly manner - local councils provide waste oil collection points. Oil capacity (for oil change): Approx. 2.2 litres (3.9 pints).
Manual Gearbox oil: Every 3000 miles/annually (whichever comes first), check/top up gearbox (with car horizontal). Use SAE 80EP oil. Gearbox capacity: 0.9 litres (1.6 pints) (Provision is made for draining the transmission when required).
Running gear: At least every 1000 miles, lubricate all these grease nipples as follows: King pins – pump in grease until it emerges from between each king pin and the axle assembly; ensure king pin sealing plugs are intact. Driveshaft joints (ensure that gaiters are not damaged).
Other aspects: Every 3000 miles, lubricate hinges and lock mechanisms (wipe off excess lubricant).

Fuel system

Every 3000 miles or annually (whichever comes first), examine all fuel system pipework/connections; renew at once any ailing components. Every 3000 miles, check condition of air filter element (it can be swilled in clean paraffin; dry before re-fitting); ideally renew filter regardless every 6000 miles (or when seriously clogged). Every 3000 miles, check carburettor controls for correct operation; lightly oil moving parts. After valve clearances and all ignition settings have been checked/set, and with engine fully warmed up, check/re-set carburettor mixture/idle speed settings. Aim for idling speed of approximately 800 to 850 rpm (0.8 to 1.6%CO).

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