Lighting up a Traction

Lighting up a Traction

By Peter Stringer


Greetings fellow Tractionites and other members of the Citroen family. I have been asked to write CCOCA’s first blog post on the web site so I thought I would write an illuminating article on the lighting I have incorporated in my traction during its restoration.

It all started with headlights. The Lucas M140 headlight bucket is designed to have 8” reflectors. If you want to use modern round sealed or semi sealed reflectors they come in 7” so a step down rim is required to hold them in place. I didn’t like the look of those so I started searching on the web and eventually  found Paul Goffs bike and bulbs website, .  From the home page go to – Motorcycle & car lighting – scroll down a couple of items and you will find what I was looking for, 8” pre focus headlights. These are a copy of the Lucas Cats-eye original without the word “LUCAS” on the glass and made as a semi sealed unit. They can take a Halogen globe and a pilot light which I fitted with a LED to use as a day time running light (see photo).

daytime running light

The main globe base fits the British Pre-Focus P36d bulbs of which three different wattages are available (as well as 6 & 12 volt) depending on what you think your generator can handle.  I chose the 60/55 watt then set about changing as many of the other globes (brake, tail, indicator, interior and panel) as I could to LED’s to maximise current availability to the headlamps. With everything turned on and engine running, the amp meter sits pretty much on zero so I am happy with that.

Having got the basic lighting system working ok it was time to “pimp my ride” as my daughter informed me. On the 80th anniversary run, judging by the audience response of awws, ooos and ahhs everybody seemed to be impressed with the under bonnet lighting Under Bonnet Lighting

and illuminated chevrons on the radiator grille.

Chevron Lighting

So how was this feat of incandescent beauty achieved you might ask, well basically it took some LED and a lot of fiddling about.

The under bonnet lights were simple, two strips of self adhesive waterproof cool light 4 watt LED positioned just above and running the full length of the gills. I used dobs of poly urethane adhesive to attach the power supply cables to the underside of the bonnet and ran them back to a central quick release connector at the firewall to allow easy removal of the bonnet. My main concern was how the adhesive on the LED’s would stand up to engine bay heat, well so far (1800 miles) they are still there.

The Chevrons. My main concern here was again heat but also minimising any change in the normal appearance of the chevrons themselves. I visited my sheet metal fabricator and had some U channel made out of polished stainless steel, (polished face on the inside of the U) of the same profile as the chevrons but 4mm wider. This material was cut and joined to make two new chevrons that fitted behind the original chevrons but showing only a thin 2mm gap either side. A self adhesive waterproof LED strip was attached to the inside back of the original chevrons. The light from these shines on to the polished stainless surface of the backing chevrons and escapes through the 2mm gap either side of the front chevrons thus “illuminating” them. The tricky part was holding these “backing chevrons” in place. The brass threads braised to the grill were not long enough and to make it more challenging 2.5mm dia. What to do? I needed some tube nuts about 15mm long with a 2.5mm thread and some mushroom head 2.5mm dia thread screws. Who sells that sort of stuff? Internet to the rescue. A bloke in Sydney was selling 5mm hex brass rod 200mm long on eBay. Got that and with a lathe and a 2.5 threading tap made the tube nuts. The screws I sourced from this amazing company based in Brisbane called Small Parts and Bearings. You have to check this site out, they currently have 154812 items available in 3732 categories. So armed with these vital components and some Loctite I was able to get it all together, wired up and with a switch positioned in an out of site location the travelling light show was on the road.

Flushed with the success of lighting the exterior my attention then turned to the interior. Supercheap Auto had some small discrete low wattage interior LED lights in a small chrome plastic mounting (see photo) which I attached under the dash to shine down to the foot well of both the driver and passenger front seats.

foot well lighting

These are switched at the door pillars and come on when the door is opened. They make quite a difference especially when you have black carpet.

I am currently looking at ways to improve the lighting of the instrument panels. The speedo in particular is very poorly lit, so the possibilities here include a new coat of white paint on the inside of the gauges (this seems to have helped), a product called “Light wire”, and restoring and remaking the dials to work with back lighting (as in modern vehicles). This last one is challenging but more about that at a later time when we might discuss instrument restoration. For now however let us enjoy what light (15) we have.

The Beast

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