What’s Dan working on today? Citroen 2CV - year unimportant.

I need help. Months ago this car quit running, and I volunteered to resurrect it. It has now completely stumped me.


Starting at the start, we did a compression test - it was low, but pretty normal for something like this. It’s only 7:1 under perfect conditions. I got 40 PSI on one side, 60 on the other. It’s low, but I wouldn’t think that would completely keep it from running. Cleaned the plugs and reinstalled. At the end of a cranking attempt it would sometimes backfire up the carb. (I think the timing was radically out)

Moved on to ignition - normally the culprit. Pulled a plug and grounded it - huge bright sparks as it cranks. Timing was set all the way to one extreme, so I reset static timing - result was a midrange setting, which I thought was much more realistic. It would crank fine, and spark fine, but still wouldn’t run.

Moved on to fuel. Car has a Solex progressive 2BBL (18/26 I think) Tested the fuel pump, works well. Pulled the carb, changed out the very brown gas, blew out every passage, blew out every jet, set float level very carefully, re-assembled and re-installed. Still won’t run.

Tried starting fluid. This actually got some result. It would crank for a long time, then start firing a little, then finally catch and run... for about 15 seconds... then no matter the throttle position, the RPM would fade away and it would stop again. Starting fluid could make the procedure repeat, but it wouldn’t run for any length of time on its own.


Re-attacked the problem today. This time we tried clean fuel. Exactly the same as before - it would crank a long time, run for a few seconds, then die out.

It has an electronic ignition, and I’ve had some bad experiences with them. As a troubleshooting measure I tried switching back to points. After going back to points it won’t even try to fire.


The final thing I tried was just to see if it was pulling a vacuum. Put my hand over carb and cranked it - I won’t say it was strong, but it was definitely pulling.

To sum up, I’ve checked and confirmed the timing, compression, and carb. I’ve given it new gas, eliminated the possible issue of a wacky electronic ignition module. I’m out of ideas. I can think of several things that would make it run bad... but at this point I can’t think of what would make it not run at all.

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