Citroen Traction Avant 1st MOT (2006)

First MOT EVER (2006)

After 13 years of storage at the previous owner, the first MOT was quite a challenge. 

In the Netherlands MOT , in Dutch called ‘APK’, became gradually obliged from 1985.  So, given the history of the car, an APK or MOT has never yet happened.

And- besides the MOT issues the car appeared to have a non-moving engine, broken gearbox, broken exhaust, brakes, stub axle covers and the like, there was also a lot to be done on the electricity.

June 2006: In any case, there was a lot of visible sheet metal damage and…, the engine was stuck, the brakes didn’t work, not even the handbrake.

The front bumper was in the cab, the chrome on this car seemed to be completely exhausted, including the associated rust marks. In the boot that could hardly be opened there should be some spare material left.

Included in the sale were new front bumper mounts, because the front bumper was completely loose from the bumper mounts.

The good news: The bottom and the adhesion to the engine mounts at the front of the car was okay, the doors were good and above all: the bodywork was hard all around.

Nice detail was that the tubes on all visible parts were provided with the familiar small plastic caps, which shows that this car has ever had a complete anti-corrosion treatment, including injected tubular chassis. Also the underside of the chassis is completely covered with a thick layer of mud, possibly ML, Dinitrol or underseal. This layer is peeling off in different places.

In any case, it didn’t prevent the fenders from rusting through. At the places where the water splashes against the screens while driving, they have rotted well…

Anyway, the sale is closed and on July 1st I went to the previous owner, with a car ambulance and my purchase price.

The car is neatly registered in the Netherlands and was built in 1955 but only later imported into the Netherlands.

And… There you go, for the first time, with my own Traction Avant.

It was very hot and there were quite a few old people on the road on Sunday morning. I saw myself riding it. The first striking feature of this car is its respectable length, which leaves little room for tinkering at the front and rear of the car.

The garage is 5.3 meters long and 3.3. meters wide. The width is good, but lengthwise I moved the stuff in the back of the garage to a different place. The idea is to keep as much rubbish as possible out of the garage for the time being.

And… here we go: The first inspection! First we have to spray the release sprayer in the spark plug holes that have already been removed from the spark plugs, let it work in for a few minutes and hang it on the crank handle….

Repeated action and then injected every day for a week and hung on the pendulum, next to that rocking back and forth in 3rd gear. Nothing at all.

Expert advice requested. Advice is: Leave it for a few weeks with a lot of rust dissolver in the holes and occasionally a little movement in its gear.

I’m curious to see if this has given me some relief after my holiday, where I’m writing this now, so let’s have a look at the other things.

All moving body parts are treated with a rust solvent because everything was more or less stuck. That worked anyway.

Found some interesting things in the trunk of the car, so I now own the following extra:

Stove to be placed in front of the car (to be connected to the cooling circuit) with covers and air hoses;

3 full carburettors with intact membranes and nozzles etcetera;

Fully used workshop manual;

Oil bearing booklet for the 11 and 15;

Full gasket set including new head gasket

A large number of bolts and nutsHoses for everything

Clignoteur / lamp holders and defective caps


The missing wooden window crank button from left rear

Sleeping bag

Flooring and so on

After careful selection, my junkbox was packed and I had 2 boxes with possibly useful parts left in the future.In the cabin

I discovered that the original upholstery under the red ribcoard covers still looks pretty good.

The lining of the doors with the holes in the control handles is different. I had already noticed that the window of the right front door is only attached to the control in the door with one attachment point.

The ventilation flap wouldn’t open either.

After careful study I discovered that this was just sprayed with lacquer. After a good touch and feel I started with the removal of all steel filler.

Apparently this car was once taken care of by a putty expert and after that it was mostly sprayed.

After removing the filler I was left with a body that didn’t really have that many holes in it, and certainly no holes in the wrong places. The holes in the body can be easily welded on with new sheet metal. That will happen. The left front mudguard looked like a disappointment because there was a lot of filler that had cracked at the bottom of the tip.

After removing the decorative point and removing all putty, a nice aluminium support was visible underneath the point where the putty was hanging on. Long live the doing-it-yourself-work! That goes off nicely. Order a new point, weld on and that’s it. This also brings back the shape stability of the entire front fender. Now you can push and move the middle part up and down a good centimetre vertically. there are no holes in the trunk, a lot of rust has been removed but all in all I just removed a quarter of the filling from my dustpan and can.

All rubbish has been removed from the inside and the first dents have been dented with the spherical hammer and counterstamp.

Then at least the model is neatly back in, so let’s look for a good rust converter because I don’t have the illusion anymore to make a new car out of it. Preservation now seems to be the best option for both the bottom and the superstructure.  On the internet I’ve seen a good tool with which you can edit the entire substructure by first cleaning everything, removing as much rust as possible and then applying this tool to it. This makes a connection with the corrosion on the steel, then seals it completely. My dream was to make the car bare and to kick the coque, but I’ll leave that for now. First I have to see if an MOT is in it in the long run. First I have to go on with the visible part of the outside: All rust spots were made bare with a putty knife and brushed with the steel brush on the drill. Then, with old-fashioned Noverox lubricated on top of it, it won’t rust for a while.

On such a gray car you know where you need to fix something, because the Noverox where it is corrosion forms a black part. The grill, bonnet, between the engine and the front wings, the front wings, doors, doorposts, gutters, rear window, suitcase, rear mudguards and so on have all been treated and all in all it was not that bad. In the meantime I tried to start with a battery once to get the engine loose, but you get it already: No result at all.

I wonder if the car was parked with the engine running. Just take a good look at the oil in the crankcase. I don’t know if you can draw any conclusions from this after about 13 to 20 years but the oil was at the right level and looked dark and used. Not like I know from my old Renault after a leaky head gasket: all white. Anyway, if the engine doesn’t come loose, it will have to come out anyway. Removing the head without further disassembly is no use, but on a closer inspection tour again. Apparently the previous tinkererer has already fixed up the front train because it is completely in the orange lead mixture, the kind that is so handy but that you can’t buy nowadays because of the environmental aspects.The carburettor was removed and the right 2 studs of the inlet/outlet manifold were turned off completely incompetently just in the head. That’s another nice job for the drill and the print set.

Broken off studs in cylinder head;  Fixed but in the rust remover. I might as well remove the manifolds and put all new studs in.

OK, that way you’ll get your chores done, but good.

If the engine has to be removed, the manifolds have to be removed anyway.  Maybe I’ll replace the valve seats for harder ones because of the unleaded gasoline, but then I’ll have to continue the inspection: All the original things you wouldn’t expect from a craft car are still there, like an original 2 litre oil can with mounting bracket and spring on the inside of the left bonnet, so just fill and charge the 6 Volt battery. There’s just a little bit of life left in it. Enough for the horns and lighting. But the clignoteur doesn’t work or just isn’t there. Just have to check the chassis- and coquenumber to see what the year and month of manufacture is. Well a nice detail is that the radiator is renewed, at least the inner part and that the original operation of the roll screen for the radiator still works flawlessly. After the necessary rust and careful help of the roller gauze worked very neatly as it was originally intended, then you do not want to have a thermostat anymore! To the parts dealer and there they had indeed still original brake fluid for TA and ID / DS early years. Was errug old bottle but still purchased. Price was still in guilders with old VAT rate but with what is yet to come I can use an old price! As long as the engine is still soaking in with the rust remover I will continue my discovery where I will restore everything I encounter as much as possible to its original state. First you have to apply the brakes. I’m still on an inspection tour under the car and that looks very tight. At all possible places with my priest and putty knife black sludge was removed but everywhere neat steel appears. It seems as if a whole new base plate has been put in it or that the car has just been very well maintained in this respect. Anyway, it’s a boost I need because with only negative messages it doesn’t get very far either. By the way, I still have to order new license plates, at least one because on the front there’s one where the plastic letters have largely disappeared. And oh well, my license plate part 1 is almost torn and a part of the paper has perished. I don’t know which text I’m missing but the serial number and stuff is still on it. I will send a request asap to the RDW for replacement of part 1. Luckily you don’t really need that when transferring, at least not at the second office of post offices like where I was.

Original license paper(s) (from 1970, import date in NL) part 1

In any case, I’ll cover the door panels, because that doesn’t look like it with those holes in it.

Then I can take care of the window mechanisms right away. I still have to figure out how to remove the door handle and window handle, but I have such a handy workshop manual for that which doesn’t contain it. So let’s have a good look at what the trick consists of: A hidden spring or just pulling hard….30-7-2006Sunday, time for reflection…Last week the tumbler shaft was removed, you never know…The engine is still stuck. By now the brakes at the rear in terms of piping have been replaced from steel to copper, at least where that was bad. Eventually it turned out to be only the pipe from left rear wheel to right rear wheel. It is attached to the rear axle with 3 clamps. Of course there will be leaks under the middle clamp, in the middle of the rear axle.overall condition of the rear floor is okay, with the exception of the left noose of the petrol tank, which is stuck with rope. The new way to loosen the engine is as follows: Take Carterpan out while the engine is still in it. If the pan can be removed it is important to remove the connecting rods one by one (first remove the oil pump?) and make the pistons moveable. I have the time so I should be able to do it this way, as long as the crankcase pan can be removed while the engine is still in the car.Be reluctant to remove the head. When I checked the water level was still above the cylinder head, so I assume that the head gasket doesn’t leak and so I’d better stay away from the head. If I can’t get the pistons etc loose with the engine in the car, there’s still the option to remove the head and remove the pistons including the connecting rods and wet bushings. First you have to notice of course but the condition remains that the crankcase has to be removed with the engine still in the car, I have removed the cover of the front doors. There was a lot of rust in the front right door AND at this door the window mechanism is broken. Must have a new rail in the bottom window. The rest is OK. I wonder if such a rail is for sale separately. It looks like a clamping rail around the steel edge at the bottom of the window. I also mounted the bumper supports and the bumper last week. Key cap 41 and just hang on the coquemoirs. Takes two hours to get both of them loose. Good stuff that rust solver. In the meantime all the gunk a bit removed from the triangles and other parts that go to the front wheels. I also found 12 lubrication points that I lubricated right away. It wasn’t too bad that I didn’t have to put a lot in it to make the gunk look like anything else. That’s a good sign because there was still some compound in the stub axles and bushes. Thought about what to do.Carterpan removed.

Took off the crankcase pan;

Checked the bottom of the cylinderbusses. At the front 3 cylinders the release fluid was running along the pistons, the rear one was completely dry.

Bottom-inner 3rd cilincer that was nice and oil-like

The bottom-inner 4th cylinder was now still firmly attachedControl rod of rear piston loosened, with the bolts still in the conrod.

The crankshaft moves when pressure is applied.

The first 3 pistons are loosened, the rear piston is fixed again, the water is drained out via a drain plug in the side of the block, the head was already removed, the head was removed including the water pump.

Disassembled cylinder head incl. water pump Cylinders and pistons AFTER the release operation, just before mounting the new cylinder head And yes, the cause of all misery: Leaky head gasket in the far right corner (as seen from the driver) at the rear (4th) cylinder, so rust in this cylinder but luckily the piston is almost in the bottom. Clean but look at the damage.Cylinder wall slightly rusted but no holes or corrosion. With 400 waterproof sandpaper you can gently remove the rust. Wet cans secured with rings and bolts so they don’t come loose by accident when the pistons are moving. Bottom of the cylinders sprayed with rust dissolver.With a block of soft round wood and a copper fist we very carefully tapped the 4th piston down.  Oil on the pistons and from the bottom the piston with a block of soft wood gently with a copper fist the 4th piston upwards.  Repeated this action a couple of times, where after the first time everything went noticeably smoother and then turned via the starting crank until everything went smoothly.After a good cleaning of the piston-tops, the cylinder head, valves and cleaning of the block and head where the gasket is to be placed, new head gasket smeared with oil and mounted, head on top and mounted.Tumbler shaft mounted, push rods mounted, valves set to cold on 0.4 mm.New crankcase pan gaskets mounted. Carterpan on again, manifold on again, that had to be taken off because the previous keyaar had broken 3 studs. So all new studs in and mounted again. I had left the water pump at the head, so that was all right.I put on ignition, put spark plugs in, bought water in the cooling system.bought the battery, 6 Volt of course, and connected.And… just start it.But only puffs and no nice roaring engine noise at all.well, just think about it….  What about it again, you need carburation, ignition and… Compression! The first 2 worked. So let’s measure the compression…  And yes, with cylinder 1 it was already a problem with compression of 1 bar.  Of course, such an engine never runs with it.  The 2nd one was a bit better and number 3 and 4 both 3 bar, so let’s put some oil on it (the pistons) and measure it again.  That means a problem with the cylinder head.  Head taken off, luckily I now know how to do that. Head made completely bald, all protruding parts removed and put in the back of the car.

Water pump (2 nice green painted parts) and manifold

When I bought a revision head from CTA, I could also drive on unleaded gasoline.

Still in plastic packed overhaul-cylinderhead

Head at home with new gasket mounted (and water pump, manifold, rocker shaft, push rods, valves, carburettor, etc…, splash of gasoline poured in the carburettor hole) and… Start in one go!

Moving images! Fuel pump connected, fuel in the tank, filter in between, start and… Carburettor adjusted to idle speed. Runs fantastic stable slowly, let it run for an hour and let it cool down.  Spark plugs removed and compression measured.  Each cylinder between 6 and 6,5 Bar.  LightingAll lights checked and replaced where necessary, clignoteur mounted. First test drive On Sunday morning the time had come: Nice and quiet on the road so let’s see how it goes. By now the car is insured because that’s very handy when it goes to the MOT in a minute, driving is possible, the clutch bites a lot. Shifting goes well if you do it very slowly. The second gear makes a strange noise. Braking is just scary: In addition to the different sounds, the car pulls all the way to the left. When I get back, I decided to do the following first: Brakes, gearbox/gears, clutch plates, clutch clutch cleaners, diff shafts oil seals, diff shafts and short shaft nuts were found to be loose on the differential. Oops, luckily I made a short test drive….I bought a brake wheel after-tractor because with my universal tractors I can’t do it. They are very hard on the inside. No pits or anything like that.  New cups and dust caps mounted. Pipes are OK. New liners mounted.

Lining of left front wheel largely simply disappeared; remainder worn out to halfway the copper rivets

Brake lining very thin Test drive made.  Halfway more and more noise when the bucket is in 2 state. Further only driven in 1 and 3 and quickly went home. Brakes are doing well. Still has to do the rear wheels in terms of brakes. gearbox jack under crankcase (with a lot of stop wood) and jack under clutch housing All removed first: bonnet, grill, horns and radiator guard, radiator, fan fan, pulley of the drive shaft for water pump e.e., subframe.

Before the major disassembly operation of the bucket, clutch, drive.

When the gearbox cover was removed, 2 teeth of the 2nd gear cog on the primary shaft were disappeared. OK. A bit of a disappointment. I found both the missing teeth at the bottom of the gearbox. 1 is old damage and 1 is test drive damage. Sprocket ordered from the TAN club 2nd hand.

That’s how bad it can be in a gearbox. Play on the bearings measured and is all within standard. To remove primary shaft must remove crown wheel. Entire ‘clock’ removed.

Beautiful original green painted

10-9-2006: Replaced the clutch plates. The clutch housing has been removed, cleaned and sprayed green.  Replace the difficult M7 bolts next to the drive shaft for the water pump and alternator with Imbus M8. The 2 holes in the clutch housing drilled to 8 mm and the thread in the engine block drilled to 7 mm and tapped on M8 metric.

Cross-shaped piece after thorough cleaning, reusable as a paperweight

The bearings are cleaned completely and compounded. New spring that retracts thrust bearing mounted because it was gone. Pressure group cleaned with compressed air. Clutch surfaces cleaned of pressure group and flywheel. New clutch plates mounted.

Clutch housing mounted.

17-9-2006: 2nd gear sprocket mounted again,

Primary axle with mounted 2nd gear, above the axle is the synchronizer and on the right the 3rd gear. On the left just above the axle the gearwheel for 1st or reverse.Primary axle in it, pinpoint clearance set at 1.3 mm between pinion and satellite housing by removing 2 shims and at the same time inserting the gasket on the front of the gearbox of secondary axle.


Front of the gearbox with (top) mounted primary axle and (bottom) secondary pinion axle.

Shim and bearing housing secondary shaft , Shims and feeler gauges for measuring pinion clearance
20-9-2006: Crown wheel play set at 0.2 mm by means of the settings of the differential thrust bearings.

Measurement practice in my brother’s garage

And the theory from the original workshop manual Differential parts mounted with new retaining rings. Gaskets fitted between the clutch housing and gearbox, gearbox fitted,

Sliding the bucket onto the clutch housing. The short drive axles are still loose in relation to the differential. Connections between diffusers and drive shafts connected with new M8 locknuts. Then everything is reassembled: Flywheel, dynamo, water pump pulley, shifting rods, protection plate, gearbox cover with new gasket, oil refilled, all with new bolts and nuts mounted.radiator mounted, car cleaned and stripped of all grease and grease.All rust removed, Fertan applied, rinsed and gray Bodyschutz applied to all parts that I can no longer access later.

Car mounted so far that the engine is running again and everything can be tried outThe people of the RDW have very neatly picked it up and made a new one without additional costs against return of the previous version. Nice test drive on a very sunny Friday afternoon 22 September 2006. Thought of everything but still forgot to bring gasoline. The tank was leaking and so I stopped after about 4 kilometers. Luckily a helpful brother who arrived on the bike with 5 liters of spare fuel. Put some gasoline in it, start up again and go go go!

On the way I lost some oil because the valve cover gasket was made of rubber: such a beautiful new one, about 2 centimetres longer. The fuel tank leaked so badly that it completely emptied out, and I drove home with a hose in the spare tank. The positive news: Braking, steering, (dis)clutching and shifting like a sunshine. Road handling fine, no strange noises from the engine or gearbox, etc. Still have to check the carburettor for acceleration pump and sprinklers because idle is fine, full throttle is fine but in between it’s a bump and that’s a shame. Meanwhile the air horn has been repaired and that’s a nice way to get back on the road. In the meantime all instruments and control lights have been replaced, the cockpit lights have been replaced and a real steering switch has been installed for the driver. Replaced the light in the original switch.Antenna mounted for the 6 Volt Philips car radio which also works nice and original.

Inside with the included ribcoard (red) seat covers and the original upholstery of course, with here and there a wear spot.

Back-side view in the garage

Side-view in the garage 2-10 to 9-10-2006:

Rear brake linings, wheel brake cylinders, replace lines

Repaired airhorn

Oil pressure gauge and water temperature gauge or sensors mounted

Front and rear brakes replace flex parts
Hole in inner shield at the right rear, welded closed
Replace carburettor because car jolts and jolts when idling and accelerating

Hole in floor in front right : plate point welded
New flexible hoses for vacuum advance fitted WITH clamp on ignition connection

Defective noose under petrol tank repaired and petrol tank replaced

Replace Exhaust
Towbar mounted

Ventilation grille rusted and temporarily painted
Steering wheel replaced by newly purchased original steering wheel
Bottom side of the car should be cleared, Fertan on it, rinsed and sprayed in grey bodyschutz

Reverse lamp, cabling and switch installed

Fog lamp, cabling and switch installed 
Washing, colouring and reapplying: red chair covers

Original heater connection mounted on radiator
Replacing windscreen wipers
New power distributor complete with socket, new spark plugs, ignition cables

Leather dust covers steering system mounted
Replace the rear flashing lamps and fit 25 Watt lamps.
Lemon plate mounted
New ignition coil
Body repainted on rusty parts
Upholstery floor for front seats fitted (temporary)
Valves set
Inflammation set

MOT done on 12-10-2006; NOGO
Actions taken on the basis of MOT (14-10 to 30/10/2006):

001: Identification number 11B 415027 found on a coque (original is therefore broken upside down and difficult to read)!

111: Flashlight caps turn signals for changing from white to orange



502: Replace 4 pieces of grease bags stub axles L+R at the bottom + at the top.
112: Headlight front left replaced by new glass and a new (56 years old still new in original box, cost 109 Euro) mirror, both headlights are notified at the same time.
801: Replace the right rear wheel with a spare wheel and the brakes at the right rear are loosened slightly due to a slight acceleration.

502: Bronze bushings in triangle weld looks like steel on steel but this is original bronze on iron so no action is needed, there is no play on the bushings, but there is some lateral play within the norm. Only a lot of lubrication is needed

702: Steering balls L+R grease (steel+rolled rubber ring) replaced, lubricated
702: Steering balls L+R adjusted for > 1 mm clearance

Replace and adjust the end stop (adjustable part) of the left hand side steering section.

Exhaust with extra support attached to gearbox

Driving on Sunday 15-10-2006

Ordered 13-11-2006:

Air filter rubber carburettor 11D

Carburettor repair set Solex 32/34 PBIC4 pieces

Fuseekogel key 11CV

Pedal rubber brake/clutch

Spatboard piping, gloss black Ø7mm

Spraybox window frames light grey

Dynamo alternating current 7.4V/35Amp + support

Spressure regulator electronic 7V

Later still done (2007):

Body where necessary spraying in gray (original color)

Upholstery and felt bottom and side / under dashboard is ordered 5-10-2006 at CTA

Purchases inner decorative caps chrome

Tank cap with lock

6 to 12 Volt converter

Better sound, radio and CD with MP3

heater mounted (Clayton) and windscreen heater connected

Fenders fully repaired and painted black

Restoration of the body shell plate in original color

Printed seat/bench upholstery and door cladding panels has been purchased, must be installed again, after all rust has been removed and the roof cladding has been removed

Ready to drive – Completely finished but still working on the upholstery and the fenders. In this picture the holes in the mudguards have been provisionally closed, in which a few times 200 kilometres have been driven in a row without any problems.Total driven about 2000 kilometres until April 2007.From the beginning of April 2007 we started to refurbish the outside of the car. See the next pictures.  In addition, some work to do on the brakes because the return is too stiff, causing the brakes to heat up in traffic jams.  The front wheel bearings also need to be adjusted because there is some wheel play.  The mounted thermostat does its job well but because of 1 splash of hot water in the radiator, the final level in the radiator is about 5 centimeters below the top edge. This turns out to be sufficient in practice. Despite the thermostat, the radiator roller hat has proved necessary in the winter.PS: 1 small hole has been drilled in the thermostat in order to keep the circulation running a little bit. The welding and spraying work10 until 30 April 2007:Mudguards disassembled.First everything as bare as possible, Fertan on top of it, let it work out and rinsed off.Made bald around the holes. Bad parts ground out.1 Replacement part welded in (point left for mudguard)For all parts to be replaced, knocked out body steel of 1.5 mm, welded in and welded in (MIG)Grinded where necessaryBrushed with INOX, both inside and outside, against rust of the welding workPlastered with 2K, sanded in model with 120 and 180Spray puttyFine putty, flat-grinded with 600 and 800Black 2K lacquer on it.Mudguards with new piping fitted.

After the mudguards it’s the turn of the body, all the rusted spots cleared, Fertan welded on, where necessary, and then polished.then putty, sanding, stuffing, sanding, etc.Spray putty on and then the (most) original colour on top of it.reassemble everything, polish it and then drive it proudly! That all sounds more simple than it has taken about 3 months time anyway…

July 2007: After the paint job on the body it was enough, the trunk, hood and grill will be replaced next time. All rust on the grill, trunk and hood has been preserved and the bare spots have been painted as a temporary measure.The headlight brackets have been replaced by aluminium polished brackets.After spraying the trunk, hood and grill, the replacement of the interior will take place…Probably in the winter of 2007/2008.

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