Citroen DS front end wiring – part 5

After all my hassles with the DS wiring, I wanted a better solution.  Not only were the existing bullet connectors old and brittle, but their colours had largely faded.   Instead of replacing the bullet connectors with new ones, I decided to use multi-wire plugs.   In this case, Deutsch connectors.   Instead of eight wires on one side and six on the other, there would be a couple of simple connectors to unplug each time the wings are removed.   On the DS, the wings are removed for many service jobs, so they come off every year or so.

 

Wiring in progress

I had to be careful to label each wire as I added it to the connector.   Getting one wrong would mean starting again.    The passengers side had 8 wires, so has two four wire connectors.  I had meant to wire them so they could not be mixed up (i.e. female/male on one side and male/female on the other).   However I used the wrong connectors and so they are both the same.    They should not get mixed up as the wires are different lengths.    The drivers side will use a single six wire connection.   Some of those wires are actually redundant as the headlight wiring in this care is non standard and goes through relays on the drivers side.

DS connectors

While not strictly correct, the connectors are a much better solution.  Neater, and will be much easier to use each time the wings are removed.   To protect the paintwork on the wing, I had all my tools laid out.   It looked like one of those backyard surgeons you see in mob movies.

Tools

The front wings will be coming off soon, as the front suspension boots need replacing.   This wiring upgrade should make it much easier.    A quick test showed all the front end lights/accessories working correctly.

250SE Battery disconnect switch

I like to fit a battery disconnect switch to all my cars.  It ensures the batteries don’t run down and prevents fires.    Fires are a real risk from cars with old wiring.   I had put one of those cheap on terminal switches on the 250SE when I got it a few years ago.   Of late it had been playing up and was difficult to reconnect each time.   I also wanted to close the bonnet on the car when connected to the trickle charger, but the alligator clips were too large.

Most of the battery disconnect switch models available online were quite ugly.    They also required holes to be drilled to mount them.   I wanted to come up with something that is:

  • Completely reversible, with no holes or modifications to the car.
  • Unobtrusive
  • Provision for a quick connect for my battery charger
  • Added security

I figured that I could create a housing for a switch that would sit next to the battery.   Summit racing had one online that is operated by a key and could be mounted inside a small housing.   I also bought a Ctek comfort indicator which is a charge port for the Ctek chargers that also incorporates a battery charge indicator.   I didn’t want to cut the factory battery cable, so I crimped another.    The plan was to connect the new short one from ground to the switch, then the factory one from switch to battery.

Battery disconnect switch components

The first step was to drill the necessary holes in the housing.  I purchased a housing normally used for computer parts.   It is plastic, but it is not near the hot engine so should be ok.  The housing came from ebay.   I needed holes for the Ctek adaptor, the actual switch and the two battery cables.

Battery disconnect switch housing

The components needed to be fitted in order.   First the switch, then the Ctek indicator then the battery cables.   The ground cable for the Ctek indicator can connect to the battery side ground post.   the positive side needs to connect to the battery.

battery disconnect switch components

The unit looked reasonably neat once it was fully assembled.   battery disconnect switch completed

I had originally planned to mount the unit black side out.   However it worked much better the other way.

battery disconnect switch mounted

Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out.   It would have been better if I could have attached it to the side of the battery, but the mounting post was in the way.   The good thing is that the solution is completely reversible.    The key operation will provide a little added security, although a dedicated thief could bypass it with their own ground cable.

If I find this works well for me, I will build a similar battery disconnect switch for the DS.

2011 Coldwater Car Show

One of the last car shows I attended in Michigan was the Coldwater Car Show in 2011.    As the Coldwater Car Show is held in May, it is quite early in the season.  I left Michigan in early July of the same year – this was probably the last decent road trip I did in my 560SEC.   The SEC was a great road trip car and I put a lot of miles on it in the roughly three years I owned it.   The drive was about two hours, a nice distance in that car.

At least back in 2011, this was a smaller regional show.   Looking at the website, it appears bigger now.   The bulk of the show in 2011 was American Muscle cars and Hotrods.  There were two rather rare cars at this show:

  • Pontiac GTO “The Judge”
  • 1971 Dodge Challenger 426 Hemi

The 426 Hemi was equipped with the pistol grip shifter made famous by the moving ‘Vanishing Point’.    It was quite cool to see one in the flesh.  It is much more common to see a 440 Challenger than a real Hemi.

At the time I attended this show, I did not have this website.   This is the last of the USA shows I attended that I had not uploaded.   Had I not moved away, I probably would have attended this show again if I was free on the day.

The Gosford Car Museum Revisted

I first visited the Gosford Car Museum a bit over two years ago.   Back in 2016, the Museum had recently opened.   Since it operates as a hybrid dealership/museum, the collection slowly turns over.   This means a return visit two years later provides a lot of new cars to see.

I would estimate that at least 50% of the collection has turned over since that visit.    It is still a very impressive museum, although the collection is now 10-15% smaller.   In addition, there are probably fewer jaw dropping cars than before.   For example last time in the Mercedes Benz section there was a Gullwing, a 300Sc, 300SE Coupe etc.   This time there were a couple of Pagoda SL and a LHD W111 Coupe.

Some of the highlights for me:

  • An Aircraft engine car with a 10L De Havilland engine.
  • A Chrysler 300F
  • A Rolls Royce 20HP with a sleek tourer body
  • The Bentley 4.25 liter

The Gosford Car Museum is a great half day trip.  I got lucky today as the museum was having a free entry day.   I went in my brothers E63 650i, which really came into its own on the old Pacific Highway.   If only there were fewer packs of cyclists that ride 2-3 abreast.

I will probably go again in a couple of years to see if the collection has changed further.

2004-2015 Toyota Fortuner Review

My latest rental car was the Toyota Fortuner.   I’m not sure the exact year, but it was the previous generation model.    I needed a seven seater for a holiday in Thailand and the Fortuner was the largest car offered by Thai rent-a-car.   The Fortuner is based on the Hilux with the SUV body instead of the pickup truck.  The name sounds like it should be on a Pirate ship rather than a car.  I get mental images of swashbuckling pirates seeking gold and fortune.  Instead I’m driving a glorified Hilux.    As as seven seater the Fortuner works OK, although cars like the Tarago are superior people carriers.

Toyota Fortuner

This Toyota Fortuner is the 3.0 turbo diesel model.   Unlike the last couple of woefully underpowered rental cars, the 3.0 diesel has plenty of power, especially around town.   It has loads of torque down low and the transmission is geared for economy.   This leviathan gave me about 11l/100km which is excellent.  Those numbers included some extended idling to keep the A/C running.   This is better than the 3 cylinder hatchbacks I’ve had as previous rental cars.    The only downside of the engine is that it doesn’t like to rev so its fairly poor trying to overtake on the open road.   The acceleration from 60-120km/h is fairly average.

The A/C in the car is quite effective.  The only time it didn’t quite keep up was idling for about 20 minutes at 38C.    It has a separate button for rear A/C, which I left on the entire time we used the car.

The suspension is quite soft and the ride quality is only average.   Interior comfort is reasonably good, although it doesn’t have much in the way of tech.   It took me about 20 minutes to connect my phone to the bluetooth after much trial and error.   I had to first go deep into the setup and delete the previously connected phone.    Some people like the high driving position but I just found the ride quality substandard.

The biggest problem with the Toyota Fortuner is to do with the rear seat setup.   We had two child seats in the middle row.   This meant that 3rd row passengers have to enter the car from the tailgate which is very high.   We had a pensioner and a child in the 3rd row.   This meant the pensioner had to attempt to climb in through the back with one half of the rear seat folded up.   Then, the other half was unfolded, the booster seat passed over the back and the child lifted over the back into the booster seat.   It was a major pain.    Once the 3rd row is set up there is very little luggage space at all.

Overall the Fortuner has a good engine around town and is surprisingly frugal.   It’s a bit of a pain as a seven seater and only average to drive.

Rating: 3/5

2018 Shannons Eastern Creek Car Show

The Shannons Eastern Creek car show is probably the largest show in NSW each year.   It is notable for its variety.   Generally the cars on display are great examples of everyday models that are now rarely seen on the roads.    When was the last time you saw a Morris Minor, Ford Model A or Leyland P76?

It is also a family oriented event with double decker bus rides around the track, face painting, clowns etc.    Those who enter a car in the event get to do a parade lap around the track.  These events are also probably going to be increasingly important for politicians to see the extent of the old car hobby.   Certainly there has been pressure in Europe to do more to ‘ban’ older cars.   There will also be pressure once self-driving cars come about to restrict where humans can drive.

I went to this show in 2016, 2015 and 2013.    It is always a good event and hasn’t been ruined by the fun police like some events.   This year I was surprised to see quite a few triumph 2500 models in great condition.   Sadly this model is largely forgotten and is often seen in a rather dilapidated state.   I also saw a few nice Jaguar S-Type models.   This Jaguar is overshadowed by the MK2, mostly because of the MK2’s racing success.   Many prefer its styling too.   The S is the better car to cruise around in.

There was also a nice example of the original Saab Turbo.  I would regard this as a the pinnacle of the Saab company and it was good to see such a nice one.     It is also great to see the Micro car display!  The Goggomobil Dart is Australia’s own micro car and there were a couple of nice ones there.

2018 Concours d’Elegance of America

I have not been back in Detroit since 2011 when I moved away after four years.   As luck would have it, my first visit after seven years coincided with the date of the Concours d’Elegance of America.   I only discovered this event in my last full year living in metro Detroit, and I was blown away.   The 2010 event was (and remains) the best car show I have ever been to.    Naturally I had to go again given the opportunity.

The Concours d’Elegance of America is one of the top events in the calendar in the USA.  Perhaps not to the level of Pebble Beach, but it is certainly up there with events like Amelia Island.   Being in Detroit, gives it a unique flavor is there are normally historical concept cars from the big three on display.   This year was no different with the GM Firebird concept cars from the late 50s.

As far as I can tell, the core classes remain the same, but some special classes vary each year.   For example, this year they had a class for cars from 1958, Plymouth, Porsche, The Coachbuilder Rollston, Mercedes 300SL and others.    As with last year, the highlight for me was the cars from the Art Deco period.    Not only are these cars stunning, but the top cars had technology that was truly cutting edge for the day.   This includes vehicles from Bugatti, Delahaye, Delage, Duesenberg, Packard, Cadillac, Marmon and others.

The 2010 event was held at Meadow Brook, and some time between now and then it has moved to the Inn at St John.   The Inn is a nice venue too, but it doesn’t quite match the elegance of Meadow Brook.   It also means spectators must be bussed from remote parking sites.   As a frequent business traveler, I have little patience for shuttle buses.   One nice touch was that Hagerty were giving out free sunscreen and sunglasses.   Hagerty are a USA based classic car insurance company.  I used them when I lived in Detroit for my 250SE Coupe and Jaguar.

The great thing about this event for me is that it features cars that one does not see in Australia.   You also get to see them drive up to get their awards, and hear the drag cars start up.   There are so many great cars to look at, I was able to drain the battery in my camera.   That was before I had even looked at the historic racing Porsche’s.

It was good to be back in Detroit after 7 years.   Even better that it was the weekend of the Concours d’Elegance of America.

2018 Ford EcoSport Review

Ford announced recently they were discontinuing sedan sales in the United States.   While sedan sales have been on the decline for many years, this was still a very bold move.   Presumably this left a few gaps in their model range.   Given the market will buy pretty much any SUV car companies offer, the company has added the Ford EcoSport compact SUV to their line up.   This vehicle was sold previously in other markets but I understand is new to North America.   Compact SUVs may be popular with the public at large, but they are not popular with me.   Still, I have never bought a new car in my life, so it makes sense for the Ford Motor Company to ignore people like me and listen to their real buyers.

Ford EcoSport

I have been renting a 2018 Ford EcoSport from Avis while traveling for work in the United States.      I have the Titanium model, which I understand costs around USD $26k.   Were I in the market to spend USD $25k on a new or late model vehicle, I would not buy the EcoSport.

Apart from its height, the Ford EcoSport is quite small.   I understand it is based on on the Fiesta platform.   In the front the seats are a little narrow, but generally OK.   With the front seats adjusted however, there is no room for passengers with legs at the back.    Instead, because it is an SUV, you get height, and lots of it.    Basically this car is for drivers who like to wear a top hat and carry dual amputees in the back.

EcoSport

The EcoSport is equipped with a 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine that puts out a little over 120hp.   Unlike the Seat Ibiza that I tested earlier in the year, the EcoSport does have enough power and is able to cruise happily at 80mph.   The engine works very hard and the fuel consumption numbers are poor in the real world.   This car is available with a four cylinder engine and I’m sure this car is much better.  Happily, compared to most economy models, the Ford EcoSport is equipped with a real six speed automatic transmission rather than a hateful CVT.   This makes the world of difference.   Even with the a very small engine, it is not bogged down trying to raise RPM and is actually quite responsive.

As I rented the Titanium model, the EcoSport is fairly well equipped.    It has leather seats, sunroof, alloys, rear camera, blind spot monitoring, keyless go, navigation, USB ports for your phone, cruise control and probably more.   It also comes with the Bang and Olufsen sound system.   There was a time when B&O stood for high end audio systems.   Sadly, that is not the case anymore and it seems they are the Donald Trump of audio companies – they will put their name on anything.    Even the tinny little speakers in my HP laptop have the B&O logo on them, and they sound terrible.     I also don’t get the point of the Keyless go system.    You get this massive keyfob that you need to carry around with you, but now there is nowhere to put it except for the cupholder.    You also can’t turn on the car without depressing the brake pedal even if the car is in park with the handbrake on.

As with many SUVs, this car has blindspots galore.   Thankfully this is alleviated somewhat with the reversing camera and blind spot monitoring.     It also manages to have a front blindspot.   Since the car has somewhat of a bubble roof, even when the seat is at its lowest,  a tall driver’s eye line is right at the top of the windscreen.   This means you cannot see traffic signals when stopped at the lights unless you crane your neck forward.

So far this car isn’t sounding great.   But the worst part by a mile is the ride, which is Terrible.   The suspension is shockingly bad.   Even my $230 Rover with disintegrated bushes was better than this car.   Every tiny imperfection in the road is fed back to the passenger compartment.   On a road with minor cracking it is like driving on Belgian pave.    Even a road that looks perfectly smooth has the noise of the rear suspension going up and down to sound like the clickety clack of a train as it runs along the rails.     I know Ford can do better than this.     Even the biggest fan of the blue oval can find better ways to spend $26k.   The most obvious is a run out model of the much maligned Ford Fusion.

Rating: 2/5.

2018 French Car Show Sydney

My car show season normally kicks off with the French car show.   The show is timed for Bastille day, so always occurs mid July.  It was a lovely sunny day for the 2018 French Car Show, so the turnout was great.   This was in contrast to 2016 (the last one I attended) where poor weather kept the numbers down.

I took the DS for the first time since 2014.   It was looking great in its new paint job, the Rouge Massena really coming alive out in the sun.   I’ve noticed that since DS values have more than doubled over the last 5 years or so, people are spending a lot more on the cars.   There were about 10-15 cars this year and they were all looking great.  I’m in two minds about this.  While the increased values have helped people justify improving their cars, I hope the values don’t go up too much more or like with other marques, the cars will end up as garage queens for ‘investors’ rather than enthusiasts who drive them.

For the first time since I have been attending there was a real Chapron Cabriolet.    You can really contrast between a real cabriolet and the ‘replica’ cars that have attended in past years.  All the D’s in attendance this year were 3rd nose variants.   Sadly there were no 1st or 2nd nose cars on display and no Aussie built ID19s.   These cars have a special place in DS history and have been spotted in prior years.

There were four Tractions on display.   A Big Six, A Big 15, an 11B and a cabriolet conversion.   Quite a surprise to not see an 11BL or Light 15 since they were by far the most common model.

In addition, on display at the Citroen section was a nice lineup of 2CV, a GS, a CX and some moderns, including two nice C6.

Outside the Citroen display, there were a number of rather nice Peugeots and Renaults.   The highlight for me though was seeing the Bugatti Type 44.   The car was apparently bodied in Melbourne (both times) firstly with an open body and the later with a closed body after the owners new wife didn’t like traveling in an open car.   There was also a 1909 Delahaye as well as a few other early French cars.  I understand both the Bugatti and the Delahaye made it to the show under their own power.   It’s great to see cars like this on our roads.

My old W123 280CE is for sale

I owned a 1982 W123 280CE for just over a year between mid 2013 and mid 2014.    I hadn’t planned to purchase this car, but I saw it on ebay with Mercedes mis-spelled and nobody else bid on it.    The car was described as needing a new radiator, but actually it needed a new water pump.   This was better for me. While the labour to change the water pump is orders of magnitude more than the radiator, the part cost is a lot less.

Around the same time, my brother was in need of a car and wasn’t looking to spend a whole lot of money.   As a previous 280CE owner, he was keen on the car so I agreed to sell it to him for a sharp price.   We did the last few things needed to get it on the road and registered.   This can all be found on this website.  At the time I sold it in mid 2014, it had just over 310,000km.   It now has almost 340,000 and has been used daily during that time.  He also put in a rebuilt steering box about a year ago.  This made a big difference to how it drives.

He’s now bought a late model BMW, so the 280CE is surplus to requirements.   It also needs some brake work for its next registration, so makes sense to sell it.    Its up on carsales.com.au and the asking price is $2,500 which I feel is reasonable for the condition.   It is a Mercedes-Benz pillarless coupe after all!

Ideally somebody will buy this and spend a little money tidying up the car.   It’s a little tatty in places but nothing that can’t be addressed. The W123 is a great first classic car as its quite simple and can be used regularly.    My first Mercedes was a W123.