A Citroen GS or GSA for a novice?
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    Default A Citroen GS or GSA for a novice?

    I have owned several French cars and am not afraid of working on them myself. I have recently thought about purchasing a GS. I last drove a GS in circa 1982 from Ray Gulson in Fyshwick, ACT, to the pits in Woden. Ray didn't like a cent to pass him unearned (God love him) so I think the 1015cc GS I drove back then was probably too expensive for me. I remember it was gutles and had a huge exhaust leak.
    But I have not ever driven one since. That is a long time. So my question has two parts: A) Is the GS expensive to maintain; b) Is there anyone in Sydney who is willing to let me look/drive/drool over their GS so I have an idea of what I might buy, if I have to do so interstate?

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    a) Parts are getting rarer and more expensive even in France. Fuel economy depends on the weight of your right foot.
    b) Mine is in France
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    Theres an ex daily driver wagon for sale in broadbeach gold coast ,looks quite good for $600 check cars for sale pugs, been agonizing about not being able to buy it

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    The thread Pugwash mentions:
    Citroen GS For Sale <$600> Price Drop

    600.00 is cheap enough on a gamble. I wish I could buy it. I adore the GS and very much want a wagon.
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    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    I have owned both a 1015 and a 1220. The 1220 is a much better engine - it actually has some torque low down so you don't have to toast the clutch as much on steep hill starts and it will pull up steep hills ok of you can keep the revs above 4000 rpm.

    Maintenance is not too bad so long as you are a DIYer because it is fairly labour intensive. Or maybe time dims the pain.

    Cheers,

    Ken W

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    a) Consumables like oil and fuel filters, common consumables are easy to find, not very expensive. Through places like French Connection, Repco and then of course Australian or English EBay. It's only if you want to replace working parts like gauges and switches new for old that the going will get more expensive.

    b) Prime requirement for a prospective GS owner is a garage or carport. Parked outside or anywhere near trees and they can rot very quickly. Inside out of the weather in preferably a dark garage the ageing process will hopefully be very slow.

    c) We have a 1220 C-Matic Break. Buying it in Sydney we drove it to Melb averaging about 32mpg. Around town here in a lot of stop/start, cold start short runs, it's last fill was about 21/22mpg. (IPhone Road Trip fuel consumption app is set to read out in mpg)
    We use 98 octane Shell + Valvemaster

    d) Pros are very good brakes, very comfortable seats, a lot of space in the wagon for odd jobs, excellent headlights

    e) Cons are they do need to be warmed up (or at least ours does) especially when first heading out for the day. So not the sort of car to drive 200m down the shops for a litre of milk like you might in a modern EFI car

    e) I hadn't driven a GS at all when we bought ours. I was expecting something like an early 1970s Toyota Corolla feel to the car. Light steering and generally light in feel. But not the case. If you run across me on the road without the car warmed up properly or under 2500rpm I might impede your progress. But above 3000 rpm chances are you will be in the way. Like any non airconditioned car really hot weather is not ideal. In summer I wind both front windows down before heading out.

    Once at running temp our GS is very untemperemental, I don't think it's ever stalled, the idle is steady and I quite like the C-Matic and often take off in 2nd gear. We still have a little bit more fettling to do. There are little foibles like when you change the C-Matic transmission fluid you can only change about 1.8l at a time when in fact it holds possibly twice that. At the moment ours has been out about 7 or 8 days a month this year. Like most thing mechanical they like to be used.

    Increasingly I notice people stopping to have a chat. You don't see too many GSs on the road or that many cars of the same vintage. But you can always admire your side profile as you pass a set of shop windows. Often you'll have a range of people engaging in conversation. There's patently a lot of GS in the CX styling wise and viceversa.

    I should add neither of our wives have as much as sat in the GS. It's a "silent" protest! But driving around by yourself with the radio going is quite relaxing. And the thought is over time they will begrudgingly accept it's practicality and accept it's part of the family. Patently neither wife has spent enough time looking at the wonderful picnics and outings shown in the period GS advertisement. Thankfully with the Vic Club permit scheme the standing costs to keep a GS on the road are very reasonable.

    John
    Last edited by J'aime la vie; 17th February 2014 at 11:35 AM.
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    Thanks for the responses.

    I have noticed the rush of GS cars for sale in recent times; it's either feast or famine with these things. I noticed the same with the CX - I wanted to buy one a few years ago and there were hardly any for sale. Just after I gave up, it seemed there were heaps for sale...

    I have plenty of time to decide on what classic I will buy. I have a garage to work on and shelter the car, and don't need it as a daily. It really is a Sunday car.

    Interesting about the GS not liking being cold - could that be an issue with the carby? I only ask because I have owned flat fours in Canberra (Beetles) in the past and they didn't mind the cold really, and I have had a Blue 5.0-litre V8 carby (Rochester) overhauled on my last classic only a year ago and couldn't believe the difference. I always thought the auto choke was for decoration only; never had one work but the got this one going and worked well for the remaining 6 mtgs I has the car.

    Anyway, I will keep looking, in no rush ...

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sans_sagesse View Post
    Thanks for the responses.

    I have noticed the rush of GS cars for sale in recent times; it's either feast or famine with these things. I noticed the same with the CX - I wanted to buy one a few years ago and there were hardly any for sale. Just after I gave up, it seemed there were heaps for sale...

    I have plenty of time to decide on what classic I will buy. I have a garage to work on and shelter the car, and don't need it as a daily. It really is a Sunday car.

    Interesting about the GS not liking being cold - could that be an issue with the carby? I only ask because I have owned flat fours in Canberra (Beetles) in the past and they didn't mind the cold really, and I have had a Blue 5.0-litre V8 carby (Rochester) overhauled on my last classic only a year ago and couldn't believe the difference. I always thought the auto choke was for decoration only; never had one work but the got this one going and worked well for the remaining 6 mtgs I has the car.

    Anyway, I will keep looking, in no rush ...
    My experience is ............... GS's are a pig of a car when cold, I couldn't imagine driving a C-matic with a cold motor. You need to be able to ride the clutch. I think the issue is those long intake runners... Once warm there brilliant

    Fuel injection would no doubt solve the cold running issues as the injector will be down at the engine. That would be a fun little project anyway ... putting a megasquirt system onto a gs

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    [QUOTE=DoubleChevron;1232279]My experience is ............... GS's are a pig of a car when cold, I couldn't imagine driving a C-matic with a cold motor. You need to be able to ride the clutch. I think the issue is those long intake runners... Once warm there brilliant

    I used to have a GS in Denmark and it never had a problem in the cold, and it was cold down to -20 C. The main problem here is that most have had the pre heater tube removed, or the flexible tube from the exhaust manifold is missing, or the warm air thermostat in the air cleaner isn't working. I have all these on and working and don't have a problem in the cold up here in Ferny Creek.
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    Cheers Andrew

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    The solution for us with the 1220 C-Matic is just to let it warm up. So you can drive off with perhaps half an inch or less choke. Ours has the Weber carb. Once warm there's no clutch slipping needed. You can if you wish put your left foot on the brake and right on the accelerator in anticipation of the lights turning green. But only would do this in the first km or so. After that you are in business.

    There's a clip on You Tube of a guy in Europe called Eddie doing a GS EFI conversion. That would definitely be the way to go. Group project fellow GS owners?

    Cheers
    John
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    I used to have a GS in Denmark and it never had a problem in the cold, and it was cold down to -20 C. The main problem here is that most have had the pre heater tube removed, or the flexible tube from the exhaust manifold is missing, or the warm air thermostat in the air cleaner isn't working. I have all these on and working and don't have a problem in the cold up here in Ferny Creek.

    I do not know anything about these cars but it seems to me from what I have read that the cold starting problems are a result of the removal,disconnection of vital items & that the refitting & correct setup of these solves the problems. So, why are they taken off / disconnected in the first place? Perhaps they were residing in a warmer climate at the time & therefore deemed to be not needed. cheers Dave

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    GSs do suffer more than most when cold running. I agree about the long steel intake runners - I had a pair of IDAs ready to go onto my old GSX2 when the milkman backed into it and wrote it off. Bet that would have sorted it!

    The exhaust powered carb preheat box does help a little (early cars used engine oil instead of exhaust gases), but it definitely doesn't fix the problem. They often clog up, or leak (which often leads to the system being disconnected entirely).

    After many, many KMs in various GSs and GSAs, I can advise the best method of driving them when cold - full throttle!

    The biggest annoyance with them is their inability to hold onto their oil - the oil return tubes from the head have large rubber O-rings that get cooked hard by the exhaust and stop sealing. You hardly ever see a GS without an oily undertray.

    My suggestion - buy at least two so you have spares.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sans_sagesse View Post
    I have owned several French cars and am not afraid of working on them myself. I have recently thought about purchasing a GS. I last drove a GS in circa 1982 from Ray Gulson in Fyshwick, ACT, to the pits in Woden. Ray didn't like a cent to pass him unearned (God love him) so I think the 1015cc GS I drove back then was probably too expensive for me. I remember it was gutles and had a huge exhaust leak.
    But I have not ever driven one since. That is a long time. So my question has two parts: A) Is the GS expensive to maintain; b) Is there anyone in Sydney who is willing to let me look/drive/drool over their GS so I have an idea of what I might buy, if I have to do so interstate?
    If you haven't already you could join the Citroen Club NSW and talk directly with GS owners at a club event or monthly meeting.
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    I do not know anything about these cars but it seems to me from what I have read that the cold starting problems are a result of the removal,disconnection of vital items & that the refitting & correct setup of these solves the problems. So, why are they taken off / disconnected in the first place? Perhaps they were residing in a warmer climate at the time & therefore deemed to be not needed. cheers Dave

    Most of the GS I have seen in Australia have had the pre heater tubes butchered off, when I asked why I was usually told that they weren't needed in Australia. Well 40 C in Australia is the same 40 C in the South of France, and I can't believe Citroen would put something on that wasn't needed. They even improved the pre heater from oil to exhaust heat. If you want to really enjoy a GS then put it back to original, the way it was designed.
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    Cheers Andrew

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotrodelectric View Post
    The thread Pugwash mentions:
    Citroen GS For Sale <$600> Price Drop

    600.00 is cheap enough on a gamble. I wish I could buy it. I adore the GS and very much want a wagon.
    You're a civilised man...
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    My wagon's pre-heater tubes were removed / blocked off when I had stainless pipes made up for the complete exhaust system and the risers for the pre-heater pipes were not fabricated into the first sections. For a car that is randomly used it was easier to put up with cold-running problems than frequently having to replace the front exhaust pipe that kept rotting out.


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    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    The exhaust pre heat tubes were often disconnected or blanked off as a cure for the fact that the cast aluminium manifold for the carb would rot out quickly due to the acids produced by combustion gasses accumulating in the preheat chamber. This leads to exhaust fumes entering the engine bay and then the cabin ( through the not so well sealed firewall ). It would be preferable to renew the manifold and preheat chamber however expense dictated the cheap and shoddy fix. I was guilty of this approach on Mum's car as a cheap expedient.
    I have yet to see a good unit for the Solex carb and have only managed to obtain one for the Weber. The car now has a Weber instead of its original Solex and the proper system is reinstalled!
    Does any one have one for a Solex that is not rotted out? I would be pleased to take it off your hands!
    Cheers Gerry

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    I have yet to see a good unit for the Solex carb and have only managed to obtain one for the Weber. The car now has a Weber instead of its original Solex and the proper system is reinstalled!
    Does any one have one for a Solex that is not rotted out? I would be pleased to take it off your hands!

    Here you go

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    You're a civilised man...
    You take that back!!
    The measure of your character isn't what you do when people are watching- it's what you do when they aren't watching.

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    Out and about GSing today. 9th day in Feb for a total of about 220km. So average 25km a day when out.
    Timed my warm up... about 3 mins. That's enough so there's not coughing or stalling once underway. About 2 to 2.5km into the journey the car is pretty much up to running temp.

    Must admit I've always been fairly lightfooted on the accelerator. Reckon could count on 2 hands the number of times have used WOT. Just wonder how a leadfoot affects the economy?
    Last edited by J'aime la vie; 19th February 2014 at 05:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J'aime la vie View Post
    Out and about GSing today. 9th day in Feb for a total of about 220km. So average 25km a day when out.
    Timed my warm up... about 3 mins. That's enough so there's not coughing or stalling once underway. About 2 to 2.5km into the journey the car is pretty much up to running temp.

    Must admit I've always been fairly lightfooted on the accelerator. Reckon could count on 2 hands the number of times have used WOT. Just wonder how a leadfoot affects the economy?
    Jeez mate,
    with a GS you gotta wring it's little neck - they thrive on it. Red-line everywhere, particularly with the 1015s.
    roger
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    Ashtray Polisher donat's Avatar
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    Never change gear at anything under 4,000rpm.
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    Did this little baby ever get sold? Looks like a great project. Chris M

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    Didn't end up getting sold. It's still sitting in my garage.
    It isn't getting much love now that I have contracted the Alfa 105 virus!
    Andrew

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    Ohhohhh, AF may be experiencing a mass exodus with migration to Alfa! That's 2 in as many days isn't it
    Although the 105 is a lot sexier than my 147! Nice.

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