Early one morning last week I put the car up on bricks to grease the kingpins in the faint hope this might help us get through the MOT. It’s a good job I did, because there it wouldn’t have been the kingpins that caused a fail – it would have been the fact that there was a whopping big hole in the driveshaft rubber boot. On both sides. So I put her back down again and went to work.
Last weekend I had to write a feature so was very strong and left the tools in the garage. Today has been set aside for grease and spanners. Strangely it’s the only big job on a 2CV I know how to do, because I’ve done it before, some time around 1995. Only on the one side, that time. I still have the Special Tool, which is a Ligarex Spanner (bloody good job too, I’d forgotten how much it was!). The other Special Tool was the lid off a bottle of Sure deodorent, which I recall was the only way to get a tight fitting rubber boot over a rather large driveshaft.
The whole job is very dubious, there’s an awful lot of taking a firm but sensitive hold of shafts, covering them with lubricant and trying to stuff them into small spaces. The nuts holding the driveshaft flanges to the gearbox have been torqued up, the wings put back on and tools cleaned up and put away. A less vain woman would have paid someone else to do the work but this is my car and fixing her is my responsibility. And there’s a great satisfaction to be had in it. All the nuts went back in sweetly – no crossthreading here – and I’m slowly clearing up the twenty years of grease and crap that have accumulated in Hortense’s lower regions. It turns out that underneath that cultured exterior she is a bit of a dirty girl. But then again, aren’t we all?