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59 4cv Restoration in North Carolina

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  • 59 4cv Restoration in North Carolina

    I am starting a thread on my 4cv restoration just in case anyone still looks at these forums. I purchased the car in mid September 2020. The car was owned by one family from 1959 to 2018. It was on the road until 1969, then stored in a farm building. The car finally changed hands when the farm property was cleared out - probably to sell it. The second owner gave up on the car when they figured out it would not be easy to get it running again. Pictures as purchased:

  • #2
    My 4cv was originally black. It was painted red in the mid 1960s, possibly after collision damage. The interior is in fair shape, but coated with nicotine. I am not sure how to clean it off the seats. The floor looked bad, buy only needed two small patches. I am sure the floor has lost a guage in thickness, but it is strong enough. I spent a week removing rust while keeping the sound metal. The brakes and pedal assembly were removed and repaired or replaced.
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    • #3
      My next task was to get the engine compartment cleaned and ready for finish paint. This has to be done before anything goes back together. The rear of the car had been hit, which mangled the rear panel. It had be fixed poorly and had to be remedied before painting the engine compartment. It took a week of hammer and dolly work along with welding to get it straight. I could have bought a new one, but shipping would be expensive. The entire panel needed a skim coat of filler and then primer surfacer.



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      • #4
        More pictures: Master cylinder and pedals reassembled, front brakes installed, shifter modified to have a bronze bushing instead of nylon, engine compartment preparation for paint, and engine compartment painted.

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        • #5
          More pictures and a little history. This picture came with the car, on the back was written "our car collection".

          Transmission and rear crossmember removed - this is when I knew there were problems with the axle trunnions. The needles in the trunnion bearings were worn and the axle trunnion surface was marked by the needles, as were the cups (to a lesser extent). The wear The SEV junior distributor has been disassembled, cleaned and lubricated.

          To repair the axles, I used a solution developed by members of the 4cv register of Australia with additional help from the aussiefrogs forum. The needles were removed and discarded, a special sleeve bearing was machined at a local shop from very hard aluminum bronze. The sleeve is pressed onto the axle and is a very close rotating fit in the cup. This gives more more area to bear the fore/aft axle loads than the original needle bearings. Now that the trunnions are repaired better than new, the transmission is ready for new gaskets and seals.

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          • #6
            I finally have my axles back on the gearbox. I had to use a clamp to get the cups on the axles. After a few hours, most of the air had escaped.
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            A little about the engine - probably the one that came in the car, but it had a rough life and then sat in a shed for 50 years. The crankshaft has not been machined, but will probably need it now. The camshaft is fine, but all the lifters are badly corroded on the underside. The block has a small crack in the web, I have found someone nearby who can weld it properly and may get it done this week. The engine has been rebuild before. There are small dings in the head on cylinders 3 and 4 - indicating broken rings or something similar. The pistons that came out of the engine are undamaged and have four rings instead of three and one is below the piston pin. I am guessing these are replacement pistons. I finally got the rocker oil feed orifice out of the block after 6 weeks of trying penetrating oil and heat!

            Since the engine was put together with the dings in the head, I would not expect that it has been surfaced. On the other hand, the head measures around 94mm from the valve cover gasket surface to the head gasket surface - which makes me think it was surfaced. It doesn't appear to be uneven more than .003". I will get the head gasket surface skimmed as little as possible. I am planning on using the Dauphine size cylinders and pistons. The various manuals show the combustion chamber volume to be the same for the 4cv and Dauphine. There are a number of head heights and combustion chamber volumes. The only ones I am concerned with are for an 8:1 compression ratio. The water distribution tube in the head is rusted badly on the water pump end, so it needs to be replaced. The engine number is shown below, the oval tag is 865769.

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            • #7
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              The engine block has been properly repaired. The crankshaft was machined, rods repaired and anything else needed to meet new specs. The head has a new water distribution tube, valves and valve guides. The head needed to be surfaced (0.010"). Since the head had already been machined before, I measured the combustion chamber volume. The new volume gives a compression ratio of 8.7:1. The engine started on the first try and runs perfectly.

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              • #8
                ‚ÄčEvery body panel on the car had been dented, some more than once and repaired poorly. Most panels required minor welding and small patches. Since most of the fenders had been damaged and repaired more than once, the metal was stretched and required a bit of work with a shrinking disc. Very little bondo was required after the metal finishing, none on some panels. The roof had been caved in and pushed back out. Fortunately, the metal had not been worked, so it went back to the proper shape without much shrinking.

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