I’ll start this blog with a quote from ECAS (parts suppler for all things Citroen 2CV) regarding the windscreen repair panel.
‘Please note: This panel is not easy to fit and might require the attention of an expert car body specialist.’
I’m no expert car body specialist and having made a pigs ear of fitting one of these first time round, I have to agree that easy, it is not. It took me most of a day of fiddling around to get it into the right position in order to weld it into place. The most challenging part is aligning it with the A panels, which I have not properly fitted yet – and can’t do so, until the bottom of the A posts have been repaired and the sills are fixed in place. Trying to stretch and bend a recalcitrant second rate steel pressing around a framework of loose and equally floppy bits of metal is enough to try anyones patience and being the type of person that likes to adopt his approach on the fly does not help matters. I could have drawn up a Gannt chart and plotted the critical path for this project, and then nothing would have been done out of order, there would be no known unknowns but that would have been dull and I would not be writing this blog and you would not be reading it. Still, as you are reading it out of interest or if you want to replace your own 2CV windscreen surround with a pattern part pressing then read on.
I fixed the sides of the panel to the existing frame first with 3 puddle welds each side and then seam welded the join between the edge of the old frame and the new. This went reasonably well, except that the new panel doesn’t have the same depth of the old. There’s a bit of a gap which I will have to seal up, either with mastic, solder (lead loading) or braze. I’ll have to try solder and brazing first and if I make a fist of it, run a bead of mastic over the join.
Back to the other side, I drilled, rather than punched 3 holes to puddle weld it to the door frame
Having secured the sides, I set about welding the lower side of the vent flap opening from the inside to the windscreen panel. Lots of puddle welds, which all went fine. I ground them flat, even though they will not be visible once the dash panel is in place..
Welding the screen panel to the upper cross member was a whole new world of pain. There’s no room to get the hole punch into the screen frame, besides I wanted to weld it from the inside so that the screen rubber would fit properly. In the end, I turned the welder down to minimum and ran bead of weld along the edge of the seam where the 2 panels meet. It took ages as I had to stitch it together a few inches at a time and then grind back the excess (aka huge blobs of weld) along the edge. By the time I was done, I’d become tired and emotional and just wanted to wrap up fo the day. I’ll finish grinding the edge back next time I go to the workshop and will post a picture. I’m not sure what the recommended method is for this last bit of fixing is – probably to use a proper bodyshop spot welder, but I think I’ve managed to sort it the hard way.
To finish off the job, I’ll need to join the new panel to the upper lip of the firewall – I think this will have to be another seam welding job, as I forgot to punch any holes in the bulkhead flange before I welded all the other edges and now I can’t get the tool anywhere near it to make the necessary holes for puddle welding. Another job that would have been on the critical path.
So yes, it was tricky but not impossible. I wonder how much I’d have to pay a body shop just to fit this one part – and how they would go about it.
Next job is to replace the bottoms of the A posts, weld on the hinge brackets to the sills and trial fit the doors again. I have a feeling that the doors are going to be my nemesis – even before I started they appeared to be too big for the door frames…
All in all, not a bad day. I’m going to finish off by having a quick rant about the Citroen 2CV club. (2CVGB) I joined the club seven years ago so that I could go to the world meeting in Oxford in my newly acquired van. I ‘unjoined’ when I found out afterwards that I was charged the same entrance fee to the meeting as a non member which I though was a bit rich and not really in in the spirit of things. However, 6 years later, I thought I’d give them another go – really this is so that I can get onto the forums. The 2CVGB must be the only car club in the UK that sets membership as a prerequisite for partaking in what would otherwise be a public forum. No matter, It’s under £30 for a yearly membership so is not gong to break the bank. Anyway, my membership details arrived yesterday and as instructed, I went on to the forum site to get registered. It failed. ‘Your email address has already been registered with this site’ was the pithy message that was displayed. Brilliant, I thought – I just need to reset my password then. Nope, I can’t do that because I’m not registered according to the next helpful error message. I work in IT and this sort of nonsense really gets my goat. I’d be more than happy to help the admin sort this out, but I have no way of communicating with them without access to the forums…