Done – well almost. There are still a few loose ends to tie up but I’m happy with the result and after a couple of test runs out, I can confirm that the van feels like it did before I started. The same rattles are still there (but none are new), the doors could fit better but on the plus side, it looks tidier and with so much new metal I feel a lot safer driving it than I did before all the restoration work.
Outside – the paintwork will never win any prizes but it looks about right for an old van
Inside – There’s not much to it but it took a good deal of time to sort out, especially routing the cables and controls through the bulkhead.
Under the bonnet – with so much new metal under the hood, it’s no surprise that it looks much better than when I first started – just in care you forgot, here’s a shot part way through the strip down.
And here’s one when I wondered if I’d ever get it finished
Looking back on the project, the top PITA jobs are as follows
Lights – I must have spent days working out what was wrong with the lights. I had parking lights – (these are the sidelights lit either left or right depending on which position the separate sidelight switch is on) , but no dipped beam. When I put the main beam on, both the dipped and main filaments were lighting up. Oddly, there was a scotch connector at the front which joined 2 of the 4 wires that connect to the lamp bar. These 2 wires were for each of the sidelights – one left and one right, so how they operated independently as parking lights is a mystery that will never be solved. 6 wires come out of the lamp bar. 3 of these had been snipped off and there were wires leading from one headlamp to the other which had been added at some point…
I just could not fathom out how any of it could possibly work, so I took the lamp bar off and sat at home with it, battery and multi-meter to try and work out what each wire was connected to. After a bit of investigation I deduced that there was a single wire for each sidelight – one for the left and one right. There were also separate wires for the main and dipped beam filaments to the headlight bulb. This was good news because I could splice each pair of dipped and main beam wires and do away with all the extraneous external wiring mods. I removed the scotchlock which joined the 2 sidelights together and I was good to go. I had 4 connectors at the headlamp bar (2 sides, 1 main, 1 dipped) and four connectors coming out of the front wiring loom, which meant that the switch gear could operate the lights properly. Or so I thought…. No combination of swapping connectors around would work. I moved further back along the loom into the dark recesses behind the battery box and speedometer. Inside is a birds nest of mostly green wires and a plethora of connectors, not all of which were used. There are more female connectors than males – anyway, these were put back together according to the labels I put on each connector when I removed the loom – with the same few spare wires floating about. To cut to the chase, it seems I’d wired the switch incorrectly. Eventually I got all the lighting functions I need, but not necessarily in the correct order. I can live with this.
Stripping old paint – I’ve banged on about this loads of times, stripping a brush painted car is just about the worst job in the world. If you embark on a restoration project for a car which has been brush painted then try and budget for soda blasting or expect to spend a lot of time and effort hand stripping. There’s no easy way to hand strip paintwork.
Welding thin metal – very, very tricky. More difficult when joining new metal to old, so try and avoid this where possible. It’s better to spend a bit more money on new panels than trying to patch up existing bodywork – unless of course you’re time rich and cash poor.
Bag, take pictures and label everything – even if it seems obvious what it is and where it goes – I spent countless hours looking at things I’d taken apart, trying to fathom out what they were and where they came from.
Know your limits – you can’t spend enough time preparing for paint, but when you do it yourself there comes a point when you have to accept what you are capable of – and what you have the time to do. If you want your project to look better than when it left the factory, take it to a professional body shop – BUT, it will cost you. It is very, very labour intensive.
Anyway- there we are. If you are reading this and are considering doing your own 2CV or one of it’s derivatives, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience.