78 GS Break: serious help needed
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  1. #1
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    Default 78 GS Break: serious help needed

    Hi all

    this car has been sitting for 5 years and is in a pretty sorry state, but I'd like to save it if poss. it goes. the engine i havent looked at yet. hydraulics, well, she still rises and stays up but i'm expecting some work there.

    as you'd expect the body is the big question. the floors are gone completely, you get a great view of the road. one of the windscreen pilllars is gone at the base in a big way. rear suspension mounts maybe too. sills likely to be shot. roof gutter line gone totally on one side and OK on the other. other bits here and there. doors OK, bonnet and tailgate good. i'm getting a MIG welder this week and learning how to use it so there's plenty of scope here.

    sure it makes no economic sense to try and get her back on the road but that's not really the point. there are so few of these left. anyway, what i'd like to know for starters from those who've been there is what 5 things would you suggest to start with on a car like this. i havent owned a GS before and would appreciate any help i can get.

    thanks

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    patrick
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    Two ways you can go:

    1/ Get it to a basic roadworthy standard with little or no cosmetic work factored in and just drive it and enjoy it for what it is - a practical hack

    2/ Rip into it and full on bring it back to its former glory or better and enjoy it for what it is - a practical hack

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    Quote Originally Posted by 74504
    Hi all

    this car has been sitting for 5 years and is in a pretty sorry state, but I'd like to save it if poss. it goes. the engine i havent looked at yet. hydraulics, well, she still rises and stays up but i'm expecting some work there.

    as you'd expect the body is the big question. the floors are gone completely, you get a great view of the road. one of the windscreen pilllars is gone at the base in a big way. rear suspension mounts maybe too. sills likely to be shot. roof gutter line gone totally on one side and OK on the other. other bits here and there. doors OK, bonnet and tailgate good. i'm getting a MIG welder this week and learning how to use it so there's plenty of scope here.

    sure it makes no economic sense to try and get her back on the road but that's not really the point. there are so few of these left. anyway, what i'd like to know for starters from those who've been there is what 5 things would you suggest to start with on a car like this. i havent owned a GS before and would appreciate any help i can get.

    thanks

    patrick
    auckland nz
    1970 European 'Car of the Year'. Brilliant.

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    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    The GS break is my personal Car of the Century. Nice to save one, but I can't help wondering if it would be cheaper to find another one in more sound condition structurally. Certainly there are still a few pottering around Sydney, and ours (74) was pretty good aside from the bottoms of the doors when we parted company 5 years ago (hail damage insurance write-off and blowing smoke). Is the NZ climate harsher perhaps?
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    The GS break is my personal Car of the Century. Nice to save one, but I can't help wondering if it would be cheaper to find another one in more sound condition structurally. Certainly there are still a few pottering around Sydney, and ours (74) was pretty good aside from the bottoms of the doors when we parted company 5 years ago (hail damage insurance write-off and blowing smoke). Is the NZ climate harsher perhaps?
    I saw a white one about 3 months ago in Balmain in absolute mint condition (white). It was being driven by two oldies with their doggy in the back (had to be in their late 70's, if not 80's) and by the look of it, they had bought it new and had it for 30 years +. It was truly amazing.

  6. #6
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74504
    Hi all

    this car has been sitting for 5 years and is in a pretty sorry state, but I'd like to save it if poss. it goes. the engine i havent looked at yet. hydraulics, well, she still rises and stays up but i'm expecting some work there.

    as you'd expect the body is the big question. the floors are gone completely, you get a great view of the road. one of the windscreen pilllars is gone at the base in a big way. rear suspension mounts maybe too. sills likely to be shot. roof gutter line gone totally on one side and OK on the other. other bits here and there. doors OK, bonnet and tailgate good. i'm getting a MIG welder this week and learning how to use it so there's plenty of scope here.

    sure it makes no economic sense to try and get her back on the road but that's not really the point. there are so few of these left. anyway, what i'd like to know for starters from those who've been there is what 5 things would you suggest to start with on a car like this. i havent owned a GS before and would appreciate any help i can get.

    thanks

    patrick
    auckland nz

    IMO ... It's a parts car with that rust. Find another that has a structurally sound monoque and make a good one out of the two of them....

    Best option Buy the BEST car you can find (regardless of price) and keep it in that condition. Trust me it'll be cheaper and far less stressful in the long run (unless of course you enjoy restoring cars ).

    seeya,
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    Icon11 I Agree Don't even try

    You cann't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Even good cars have rust , bad cars unless their priceless models with providance will alwys be bogg filled rust buckets or bankrupt you . You cann't remake a machine pressed and biult car without tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and years of proffessional experience. I know I've tried more than once , especially if you intend to use the car all you've got to look forward to is crooked panel fit and shrinking and cracking paint and bog sorry to be a wet sock but Shane is right
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    Icon14

    thanks to everyone for the honest advice. i'm stubborn (and dumb) enough to still have a go, but as i've only got her home the other night i think i'll pull it apart a bit further before deciding whether it is total insanity to go ahead. (my wife has already written me off on that score). agree the sensible thing is to try and find a better car, but there are bugger all GS/GSA left over here in any condition, and a break is a rare sight indeed. i did see a white one parked in K Rd Auckland last week but cant remember when i saw one before that.

    anyway, i'll keep you posted.

    patrick

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    Default 78 GS Break

    Hi Patrick,

    Sounds like you've signed up for a mammoth task there.
    NZ contacts, who'll be able to help are AutoFrance in Papatoetoe - Phil and Dave will probably point you in the direction of Graham Ranford in Napier. When we last saw him (about 3 years ago) he was collecting old GS wrecks; including our old blue 77 GS Break that had been run into the ground by its new owner.

    Cheers
    Daz

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    Quote Originally Posted by onlyfrogcars
    Hi Patrick,

    Sounds like you've signed up for a mammoth task there.
    NZ contacts, who'll be able to help are AutoFrance in Papatoetoe - Phil and Dave will probably point you in the direction of Graham Ranford in Napier. When we last saw him (about 3 years ago) he was collecting old GS wrecks; including our old blue 77 GS Break that had been run into the ground by its new owner.

    Cheers
    Daz
    Hi Daz yep I was thinking of the AutoFrance guys, and I think Graham was going to come up and get this one eventuallly but the guy who had it in Auck was moving house and it had to go, either to me or the scrapper. so i took it. at this stage it looks pretty terminal, i was going to go out and explore further tonite but have some work i better get out of the way.

    catch you later
    patrick

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    [QUOTE=74504]thanks to everyone for the honest advice. i'm stubborn (and dumb) enough to still have a go, but as i've only got her home the other night i think i'll pull it apart a bit further before deciding whether it is total insanity to go ahead. (my wife has already written me off on that score).


    If you have the time and a streak of insanity coupled with genius anythings possible! I've done a few basket cases that turned out ok. An early Hillman Super Minx Estate being one. Best of luck dude!
    See ya
    Chris G
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    [QUOTE=docchevron1472]
    Quote Originally Posted by 74504
    thanks to everyone for the honest advice. i'm stubborn (and dumb) enough to still have a go, but as i've only got her home the other night i think i'll pull it apart a bit further before deciding whether it is total insanity to go ahead. (my wife has already written me off on that score).


    If you have the time and a streak of insanity coupled with genius anythings possible! I've done a few basket cases that turned out ok. An early Hillman Super Minx Estate being one. Best of luck dude!
    See ya
    Chris G
    thanks buddy. genius nope, time i can find even if it's night time, insanity yep. having yanked all the seats, scuttle panel and front wings, while there's plenty of the crumbly stuff it could definitely be worse. although i am writing this after a few beers and the prospect of a redundancy cheque from my present employers, it may look different tomorrow.

    patrick

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    [QUOTE=docchevron1472]
    Quote Originally Posted by 74504
    thanks to everyone for the honest advice. i'm stubborn (and dumb) enough to still have a go, but as i've only got her home the other night i think i'll pull it apart a bit further before deciding whether it is total insanity to go ahead. (my wife has already written me off on that score).


    If you have the time and a streak of insanity coupled with genius anythings possible! I've done a few basket cases that turned out ok. An early Hillman Super Minx Estate being one. Best of luck dude!
    See ya
    Chris G
    I did read that didn't I??? Hillman Super Minx. In my experience, the Super Minx, although sort of solid and honest, had the worst understeer of anything I've ever driven - cross plies of course. Ever. Still, we all learn and move on. It took me nearly 40 years to finally get a CX, so I can't criticise!

    I totally agree regarding your advice Shane - the car sounds near hopeless to me. Anything can be done with large injections of time and larger ones of money but........ I've always decided what to get and then waited for a really good one. As long as it takes. That works.

    Cheers
    JohnW

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    Hi Patrick,

    When I left NZ I sold my Pallas sedan for $500, and that was a nice tidy car with a 5-speed gearbox fitted and a thoroughly groovy velour interior. Cars are cheap in NZ, GSes are cheaper. Just because the loony Poms replace sills doesn't mean it's worth it for the rest of us!

    The number one source of Citroen bits in NZ is Alan Sklenars in Hamilton, wrecker and parts supplier and general fount of knowledge. It's not impossible he would know of a break either on the market or in better shape than yours, which honestly sounds like it's beyond saving.

    Stick to it, if I bring my car back from Oz in a few years time we can rendevous somewhere

    Chris
    GS 1220 break. Beige cars go faster

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris
    Hi Patrick,

    When I left NZ I sold my Pallas sedan for $500, and that was a nice tidy car with a 5-speed gearbox fitted and a thoroughly groovy velour interior. Cars are cheap in NZ, GSes are cheaper. Just because the loony Poms replace sills doesn't mean it's worth it for the rest of us!

    The number one source of Citroen bits in NZ is Alan Sklenars in Hamilton, wrecker and parts supplier and general fount of knowledge. It's not impossible he would know of a break either on the market or in better shape than yours, which honestly sounds like it's beyond saving.

    Stick to it, if I bring my car back from Oz in a few years time we can rendevous somewhere

    Chris
    thanks Chris, havent been able to do much last few days cos of work stuff, but it does look pretty bad. am planning to put some time in over the weekend but it is looking more like a parting out situation at the mo. I think I've got the hamilton guy's number around somewhere he could be a good guy to call.

    Patrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by 74504
    thanks Chris, havent been able to do much last few days cos of work stuff, but it does look pretty bad. am planning to put some time in over the weekend but it is looking more like a parting out situation at the mo. I think I've got the hamilton guy's number around somewhere he could be a good guy to call.

    Patrick
    Just adding to that earlier comment where someone suggested seeing the folks at AutoFrance. I'd second that with bells on! - I was out there today - they were showing me the projects going on 'out the back' - some serious restoration projects -amazing - some literally from the ground up!
    I like the way they do things -they're are a little 'old school' - but personally I like that, and I think they are very 'straight up'. I reckon they would have a really good idea whether your project was worth the time and the money.
    Good luck - whatever your final decision!
    BTW its a 1939 Panhard Autobus, and if you look very carefully there's a Citroen Traction (approx 1 pixel x 1pixel), approaching from behind the guy who's about to get on the bus.

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    From what you said about the body, it will never be worth the time and money, strictly a labour of love if you go agead with it.

    For example, a paint job, 2000 for an average job, 5000 for a really good one, would the car ever be worth more than 5000 ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by petermelb
    would the car ever be worth more than 5000 ?
    only to the owner...

    but yeah, you'll never recoup that sort of money...

    but then again, since when are cars an investment?

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    Just in case anyone's still checking this one, I've just about got it stripped out , engine's still in at the mo cos i'll need to hire a crane to yank it out. apart from those floorpans, the rest of the rust is fairly localised and repairable or i can get secondhand replacements. at this point i'm still gonna try and get 'er back on the road. with the floorpans i'm getting some via this pommy outfit cos they look like a real bitch to fix otherwise, even if yr real handy on the welding front. i think this is the cheapest option here.

    of course it doesnt make any sense dollar wise, but i'm doing this cos i like it. crazy huh?

    patrick
    auckland nz

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    Quote Originally Posted by 74504
    Just in case anyone's still checking this one, I've just about got it stripped out , engine's still in at the mo cos i'll need to hire a crane to yank it out. apart from those floorpans, the rest of the rust is fairly localised and repairable or i can get secondhand replacements. at this point i'm still gonna try and get 'er back on the road. with the floorpans i'm getting some via this pommy outfit cos they look like a real bitch to fix otherwise, even if yr real handy on the welding front. i think this is the cheapest option here.

    of course it doesnt make any sense dollar wise, but i'm doing this cos i like it. crazy huh?

    patrick
    auckland nz
    Pleased to hear the link was useful. Perhaps you could post some info about the quality and fit of the panels after they've arrived and have been installed. I'd expect them to be OK but would be interesting to hear your thoughts. There might be someone here in Oz who may want to give them a try as well sometime... But full marks for taking the job on, as most wouldn't!

    Cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    IMO ... It's a parts car with that rust. Find another that has a structurally sound monoque and make a good one out of the two of them....

    Best option Buy the BEST car you can find (regardless of price) and keep it in that condition. Trust me it'll be cheaper and far less stressful in the long run (unless of course you enjoy restoring cars ).

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    I second this... two of the 3 GS/GSA's we had in the family died due to rust not mechanical problems. My one developed a massive hole in the footwell, which I temporarily patched up, it also had rust holes in the windscreen wiper cavity, between the boot and the rear wheel arche ,and numerous other places.

    Worse still, the body design of the GS means that even when you fix all the VISIBLE rust, it WILL still have major hidden structural rust problems that you CANNOT SEE due to the multilayer body/chassis construction, unless you totally strip it down to a bodyshell.

    Fixing one that is as badly rusted out as yours would be an absolutely MAMOTH task - don't do it. Look around for one that has a good body and is going cheap due to (for example) hydraulic problems, as hydraulic problems that stump the uninitiated are usually relatively easy to sort out for those in the know, especially if you have your current car as a source of spare parts.

    I had endless trouble keeping my car on the road due to rust reasons, every trip to the testing stations was a very anxious time as there was always some new area of rust they found, and that was 10 years ago, the testing requirements for rust in NZ are MUCH stricter now than they were then, I would have never got away with what I did today...

    The issue of body rust is one reason why when I came back looking for a Citroen again this year after many years with Jap cars I went for a Xantia - it has a proven track record of being almost indestructable when it comes to body rust. Every single one that I've seen over here in NZ has no body rust - unheard of for other cars of the same age.

    Hydraulic problems and some mechanical problems I can cope with - body damage and/or rust/paint problems I cannot....

    Regards,
    Simon
    Last edited by Mandrake; 11th November 2005 at 07:39 AM.

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    A few years ago I managed to take a GS engine and gearbox out and put it back in without a crane, they are really quite light. With the front of the removed, and the unit free, I slid the engine forward in the car and then slid it onto a milk crate or similar under the sump, then rolled the car backwards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by petermelb
    A few years ago I managed to take a GS engine and gearbox out and put it back in without a crane, they are really quite light. With the front of the removed, and the unit free, I slid the engine forward in the car and then slid it onto a milk crate or similar under the sump, then rolled the car backwards.
    They are really light and this would be OK if the engine and gearbox were coming out together as you did Peter (although getting a milk crate under a GS engine with the car on it's bump stops would be a challenge). For anyone removing an engine by itself it is not a good idea though, as it's possible to damage the input shaft to the gearbox without a lifting device, if it's bent during engine removal.
    Cheers,

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    In my time of owning a GS I never removed both engine & gearbox together. There are 4 X 14mm head nuts that are easily accessible with a tap type wrench holding the gearbox to the engine. Undo these to separate & make things easier.

    I was able to carry the engine on my own & could manipulate it onto a 20litre drum so it was easy to work on. I could not carry a Renault 4 engine though

    To get the spline to line up on the gearbox when putting the engine back in, if you chock the gearbox up slightly on the crossmember you can wiggle it over the spline quite successfully.

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    yes, it's very easy to split engine/gearbox in half. Just the lower two bolts are a bit awkward but you get used to it.

    but gibgib, how could you lift the engine on your own ??? Just two weeks ago me and my friend were breaking a GS and moving the engine for 25 meters was probably the hardest part. Ok, we're not exatcly Arnold Schwarzeneggers but not 10-years-old-Macaulay Culkins either.

    Can you perhaps post some pics, 74504 ? I'd like to see what's considered a terminally rusted car in the Antipodes, it's probably what we in Europe call quite sound one

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