I have had reports over the last few years of erratic steering involving tractions, the first was described to me like this “the car steers fine until I hit a bump, then it pulls to the left, I hit another bump and it is fine again”, what do you think is wrong with it?

The second case was a newly restored car that had not long passed a roadworthy but described similar symptoms. In both cases the problem was traced to a loose steering arm where it passes through the front wheel hub.

These arms which connect to the steering rods and are fitted to the hubs with a taper and woodruff key are secured with a cassellated nut and split pin and had over the years worked loose to the extent the woodruff key had worn very badly and the arms could move in their tapers. In both instances removal, cleaning and refitting with a new key cured the problem.

I am issuing this warning because none of these arms appeared loose on inspection and were not noticeably loose on removal, as these arms move it affects the wheel alignment causing the erratic steering symptoms, so if you are restoring or just servicing your traction these arms should be included on your checklist.

Neither of these cars had been fitted with a power steering modification but highlights the need to carry out checks on all steering components before doing so. I have highlighted the need for this in the fitting instructions but have not specifically mentioned these steering arms as it is only recently the second case came to my attention.


In the parts diagram below the steering arm part numbers are 427189 RH & 427190 LH, the woodruff key and retaining nut are clearly visible. 

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Tom Campbell

10.1.1942 ~ 6.1.2017
Aged 74 years
Late of Glebe

Cherished husband of Helen.

Brilliant father and father-in-law of Genevieve and Roger.
Jolly Sir Thomas Pep to Matilda and Josephine.
Adored twin brother of Janet and loved elder brother of Sue and Judy.

Family and friends of Tom are invited to attend his Funeral Service to be held at The Refectory, Holme Building at Sydney University, Science Road, Camperdown on Friday January 13, 2017 commencing at 11.00 am. A private cremation will follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse would be appreciated, envelopes will be available at the service.

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Door Open Warning Light by Peter Stringer

What traction owner hasn’t experienced or heard of those suicuide doors swinging open unexpectedly and testing those coronory arteries. Well  after experiencing such an event Peter Stringer thought he would do something about it. Click on the link for an interesting read.  Door open warning light by Peter Stringer

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Oz-Traction Naracoorte 2016 by Liz Pike

At this year’s Oz-Traction, members of Club Citroën South Australia (CCSA)  were invited to join. We have already heard what a great success it was from Ted Cross & now we have a South Australian version of the event by Liz Pike who  kindly offered to share the article she wrote for the CCSA magazine. To read Liz’s article and see some pics click on the link. Oz -Traction Naracoorte 2016 by Liz Pike

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Oz-Traction Naracoorte

Oz-Traction  was such a success this year that Ted Cross could not resist hitting the keyboard to tell the non-attenders all about it. Click the link to read on.Oz-Traction Naracoorte 2016

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Graeme Stanton

For those members who knew Graeme Stanton and did not attend his funeral Ted Cross
has kindly written a few words about the service and supplied an Order of Service.

“Yesterday, we sadly attended the unexpected funeral of Graeme Stanton who was a longstanding CCOCA member. There were several members of CCOCA and CCCV there; including  our president Max Lewis.
Graeme was born on 1/3/1934 and passed away on 5/5/2016.He was fondly remembered by those many people who attended the funeral and we heard many stories about Graeme and his early years. Many of these family stories were news to me.During his life Graeme was a loving husband to Lyn, magician, successful businessman,  keen fisherman and aboats-man, longstanding Peugeot tragic and more recently a keen Citroen owner. Over his life his joy of family and entertaining others was clearly revealed. We have all enjoyed seeing Lyn, Graeme and Glenis at Oz-traction and Cit-in events over the years and we will miss those special times we had together.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Lyn and her family and we trust that Lyn will decide to continue with her CCOCA friendships in future.

Ted Cross
12/05/2016 ”
Click on link for Order of Service.     Graeme Stanton Order of Service

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An Exhausting Challenge by Peter Stringer

An Exhausting Challenge. by Peter Stringer

This is the story of yet another trial I have encountered during the restoration of a Big 6.

The area of concern was the exhaust manifold or should I say the lack of one. What was left of the original attached to the cylinder head was about 3 inches followed by bits of 35 x 35 RHS joining to bits of 50 x50 RHS with lots of cracks at all the joins between. As this heap of scrap was obviously beyond salvage it was disposed of and a new one ordered (not the cheapest I might add). In due time the new one arrived and looked quite impressive on the outside so I turned it over and got quite a shock. None of the ports was anything like round, the best one could say was there was a hole! The bottom end wasn’t any better.

Manifold Big 6 potos_0001

From the pictures you can see the mismatch between what the ports should have been and what I got. But there was more (I will explain about the MDF template shortly), after positioning the manifold on the cylinder head you could see that the mould on the right hand side must have moved a bit during casting because there was a progressive misalignment with the stud positions so that by the time you got to the last one you were lucky to have the stud come through the hole.

Manifold Big 6 potos_0004




At this point I decided to check the match of the gasket to the cylinder head ports.

Manifold Big 6 potos_0005



Not Happy! What to do?

Well the first step was to very carefully measure the position and sizes of the ports and studs with a vernier gauge and then drawer them up in Auto Cad. After exporting the file in DXF format I was able to cut out a template on the CNC at work and compare. It took about six attempts before I was happy with the match. In the process it became apparent that a way had to be found to locate the position of the exhaust manifold on the head without the intake manifold being attached as only the intake manifold has locating pins. At each end of the exhaust manifold there is a 11mm dia. stud hole so I had a collar made to fit over the 7mm stud and into the 11mm hole to create a locating pinat each end. The right hand end had to be made eccentric for obvious reasons.

Manifold Big 6 potos_0002


So now I had a template that matched the cylinder head ports and could be matched in position onto the exhaust manifold. This gave me the result seen in the first pictures and a good idea of what had to be ground away. So with my new Makita die grinder I set to work and an hour later the job was done.

Manifold Big 6 potos_0003


All to do now was fit the intake manifold to the exhaust and check with the template how the alignment was for the intake ports, easy! Well fitting was easy, aligning wasn’t. On the 4 cylinder engines the intake manifold sits at right angles to the cylinder head face so adjusting the position up and down or left and right if you could doesn’t move its position as it sits against the cylinder head. On the Six the junction is at 45 deg. When I bolted the two manifolds to the cylinder head there should have been a uniform 2mm gap between where the two manifolds attach to each other to allow for a gasket. What did I have, well it varied from about 0.6mm to about 1.6mm diagonally. Next head ache.  So working on the assumption that the original old intake manifold was made better than the new exhaust manifold I took measurements of the gap variations and headed down to my tool maker who had just taken possession of a very good quality second hand milling machine that he was very proud of and gave him the challenge to regrind the angled face on the exhaust manifold. It took two runs with nothing to spare at the end, not perfect but good enough. With the two manifolds now firmly bolted together I had the faces reground as they were a bit out of alignment. A check with the template showed things were still ok, all I needed now was a matching manifold gasket. As it turned out I actually had one albeit made of MDF, not exactly hi temp stuff. However with the DXF file, I gave this to Associated Gaskets and for the princely sum of $70 they cut one by water jet technology, (and all in one piece) piece of cake!

Onward a restoring we go!

Manifold Big 6 potos_0006















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Setting the timing on a Traction Engine

Setting the timing on a Traction Engine by Peter Stringer

Anybody who has attempted to do the timing on the Perfo engine would know how to get the flywheel set to 8 deg. BTDC. The old drop the pin in the hole trick. It is even tricker to remember to take it out. You haven’t been inducted to Traction maintenance till you‘ve been there, that starter motor is merciless! So you have 8deg but the book recommends 12deg, it also has this fancy gizmo you put on the distributor to get you there. This was obviously devised before the strobe light was designed (probably invented by Edgerton and Germeshausen in 1931) to be used for auto tuning. There had to be another way.

I didn’t like the idea of markings on the camshaft pulley because of the amount of backlash although that may not be as big a problem as imagined. What I did notice was that you can see the back of the flywheel when looking underneath between the edge of the sump and the bell housing cover plate. I figured if I could put some timing marks there on the flywheel that might do the trick. After some highly advanced mathematical calculation it was determined that 2 deg of arc translated to 2.2mm on the circumference of the flywheel. Some white paint was sprayed on the exposed portion of the flywheel (while set at 8 deg. BTDC) and allowed to dry. A small piece of thin aluminium had three slots cut using a thin cutting disk on a Dremell to make a stencil. The one referencing 8 deg. being twice as long as the 10 and 12 deg. slots. This was then stuck on to the flywheel with some masking tape then very quickly sprayed with black then quickly removed to try and reduce the effect of the paint bleeding under the stencil. It worked sort of. A pointer was made from a piece 3x25mm flatbar bent at right angles and attached as close as possible to the flywheel by using the bolt positions of the engine block to bell housing brackets, see photo.

IMG_2705 - Copy

Later I had to remove the engine to rectify an excessive oil leak on the main seal so I took the opportunity to make the marks more permanent with a sharp Cole chisel. With a new timing light that looked like something out of starwars the setup was tested and worked very nicely but was a two man job. One person under with the timing light the other adjusting the distributor. What was needed was a mirror held at 45deg to reflect an image back up beside the engine block. After a bit of scrounging around for bits a tool was fashioned from a piece of flatbar and a spare diagonal mirror from a small telescope. See photo.

DSC_0014 - Copy

A bit of polished stainless steel would have done but that was all I could find so it was put to use. The mirror bracket sits on the torsion bar and is hand held in place with a thin flexible steel extension. The last photo shows the reflected image of the timing mark quite clearly allowing a one man operation to set the distributor timing.DSC_0011 - Copy

Keep those Tractions running,

Peter Stringer

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Addendum to thermostat article by Peter Stringer

Here is a news flash for all those wanting to fit a thermostat in their tractions. I have finally found the Tridon equivalent for the one used in the Renault 5 that I talked about in an earlier blog. It has the same diameter as the French Vernet brand so should push into the top hose ok.

The part number is TT237-180P, the 180 stands for degrees F which is about 82 deg C. There are two other different temp to choose -170P at 77 deg C and -192P at 89 deg C. I chose the 180P as that was the same temp as the Vernet, the higher operating temp 192P may be better, let me know what you think.

I paid $71.50 and got it through Auto One in Sydney.

Peter Stringer

From Web Wallah:

Also received this information as well from Michael Hose & a much earlier comment which I neglected to post from Frank Scott.

Michael Hose.

Regarding the fitment of a thermostat to the Traction vide the last magazine, the Australian company Tridon currently lists P/No TT237-180P with the same specificationsas the item used by Peter. Any supplier would be able to source them for about $20.

Frank Scott.

Hello Bruce .  read the article by Peter , and chatted briefly.     Would you please pass on to Peter that I’like one of the thermostats he brought in from France .

I followed up with   the main supplier in Aust,   wibroc ?  ( should know)    anyway they sellonly one  , of the same style as Peter brought in .  It is too big diameter @ 42 mm (Traction water hose is 38 mm  1  ½’’

I also reread your article on coolants   (great sympathy with your  concerns  for engine damage .   I’ve done a lot of miles in the bush during the ‘60s and ‘70s,  plenty of leaks  and holed  radiators)

Eggs into COLD water ,    or ground pepper  , worked well.  Never had any success with  the stop leak products of the day .    black Bostic worked well if you cut away the fins, to expose the damagd tube, and could flair it  some.

Finally,  What coolant to use today .  certainly Not the organic additives.  ( in older, and classic engines ,often with copper and brass,  which for me means older Cummins and Caterpillar engines, not a good choice . also,  these organic acids  cause leaks, in weeks , at water gaskets and  O rings. )

I use  TRIZONE  Multi Tech  Plus ;   in older machines , and have for years in my   1942 Willys Jeep.          Yes it is green, (the Trizone )  has some glycole   33%;  though at 20 :1 mix   not much.
Anyway,  etholene glycole  is,  a wetting agent: . for the coolant to better protect the liners .

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Thermostat for your Traction

Keeping your Traction happy with a thermostat.

Having become fully acquainted with the workings of the mighty “Perfo Power Train” in my Lt 15 during the course of its restoration, I noticed as probably everybody else has that no thermostat is fitted as an original part. Without going in to too much detail these devices help engine performance by regulating a more even engine temperature especially in cooler climates. During my research for improvements which could be implemented during a Traction engine/car restoration I found a small article in the TOC magazine by Roger Williams which is worth checking out if you can. In that article he makes a couple of points, if you fit a thermostat fit an expansion bottle and check that the return valve on the top tank is working. The thermostat he suggests to use is one out of a Renault 5 designed to fit in the top radiator hose itself. On the traction this is where the top hose connects to the water pump. If the insertion and fitting of the thermostat pushes up the hose and it touches the bonnet then remove 3-4 mm from the top of the outlet pipe on the water pump, also fit a hose clamp to hold the thermostat in position where it sits inside the hose above where it is clamped to the pump outlet.

The tricky part in all this was getting hold of the thermostat. The one out of the Renault 5 that Roger suggested is a QTH 205. Now while I was able to get correct Renault part number off the www it turns out Renault in Australia do not stock it. There is one available locally that fits into the hose but doesn’t sit very well on top of the pump outlet because of its design. (In hindsight this may not be the problem I thought it would be as if it is held in place by a separate hose clamp it could be put anywhere along the outlet hose). My solution was “relative”ly simple, my French son in law has a friend in France who recognised the little beast straight away and “voila” I now have four of them (why stop a one), they cost about 14 euro each . If anybody needs more info drop me a line.

Happy Tractioning,

Peter Stringer

Contact Web Wallah for Peter’s contact details.

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