My 1968 DS19A Pallas

Working on the front suspension, march 2004

This all started early 2003 when I made a short spin around our village, this was the first time the car got out of the garage that year. After a short drive I noticed some fluid under the car, a closer look revealed that Madame was leaking heavily somewhere from the engine bay. I quickly put the car back in the garage and soon found out that it was the clutch cylinder that was leaking.

Now putting a new seal in a clutch cylinder isn't that much work, but after removing the radiator and the HP pump, in order to get access to the clutch cylinder, the general accessibility of things in the engine bay became so good that I thought this would be a good occasion to do some other things I'd be wanting do on my car for a longer time. These were replacing the (welded sphere type) main accumulator by an original screwed sphere type and checking the front suspension (anti-roll bar bearings, suspension arm bearings, pivots) for play.

The new main accumulator and a new seal for the clutch cylinder were easily ordered from my favourite german parts dealer (Dirk Sassen). At Citromobiel 2003 in Utrecht I was able to buy two NOS upper pivots, as well a puller for separating the front wheel hubs from the supsension arms. A cheap smaller puller for the steering arms was found on the Veterama. However somehow I didn't really came further then replacing the clutch cylinder seal and the accumulator, which is not a big deal when the alternator is removed. It took me until one year later to start to complete the job.

Height corrector control rod bearing

Just before I wanted to remove the connection from the anti-roll bar to the upper suspension arm I discovered, by moving the suspension arm, that there is considerable play in the height corrector control rod bearing, see the photos below. Because of the play, moving the suspension arms result in a clearly audible clicking noise (of the control rod moving in the bearing). Is this normal ?

Anti-roll bar bearings

After removing the anti-roll bar from the suspension arm units I expected to see a nice smooth anti-roll bar and (badly) worn plastic bearing shells. However, to my great surprise, what I saw (felt) is a anti-roll bar which is obviously worn over the length of the bearings, only at the two positions where the plastic shells have a groove (for the distribution of the grease that is inserted through the grease nipple) the original diameter of the anti-roll bar is retained. At both sides of the grooves the anti-roll bar is clearly worn! I don't understand this, the metal of the anti-roll bar is much harder then the plastic bearing shells, isn't it ?

Again the question, is this normal ? The anti-roll bar of my 1958 ID19 looks&feels far less worn !

Both sides of the anti-roll bar are similar, the photos below are from the right side which is worn more. The red ellipses mark the grease groove and the corresponding "rings" on the anti-roll bar where the metal is not worn.

Anti-roll bar + bearing plastic bearing shell

Close-up of anti-roll bar (lower marking in left photo)
At the position where the two anti-rattling spring press against the anti-roll bar (with two plastic bushings) the wear is much more like what I expected to see.
Close-up of anti-roll bar at anti-rattling spring position

Removing front suspension arm units

Removing the suspension arm units from the car with the engine still in the car is not a real problem. On the right hand side the only issue is the upper bolt which is at the inside of the chassis members and very close (1cm) to exhaust. The only tool that I have that would fit is a flat 19 mm spanner which didn't fit too well ... The upper bolt can't be screwed out completely unless you pull the complete unit a bit away from the chassis (i.e after removing the lower three bolts and one nut). All five bolts/nuts were not very tight to my surprise.

On the left hand side the upper bolt is not a problem but here a few hydraulic lines need to be removed and/or detached for the unit to pulled away from the chassis. Don't forget to remove and fold away the height control connection rod !

Suspension arm unit removed, right side

Suspension arm unit removed, left side

Panel under gearbox

Oops, I was going to proudly present the cleaned cooling ducts for the front brakes and the NOS panel under gearbox that I bought years ago, but now that I put the "before" and "after" pictures aside of each other I notice that the new panel is not the correct one ! The new part has two holes !
The correct panel has part number DX 741-99A, but on the NOS panel it says DX 741-270A which I can't find in my part books. Maybe this panel is for a DS with an Borg-Warner automatic gearbox ?

Cooling ducts and panel as they came from the car Cleaned cooling ducts and (wrong) NOS panel

Cleaning the gear box

With the panel under the gearbox removed (and cleaned) I found it too tempting not thoroughly clean the gearbox also. With the help of some "cold cleaner" this was not a difficult but a very messy job. The result looks nice for a 36 old gearbox I think. Many of the yellow chromated nuts and bolt on the gearbox really look like they just came from the factory ! The greasy layer of brake dust, grease and oil has been a good protection of the years.

As you can see the brake disks and break calipers were removed also. This will make mounting the brake disks and trying to get them lined up as good as possible much easier.


Radiator air cowl

The cowl behind the radiator was partly painted with an aluminium colour paint which made it look dull, also the inside was pretty much black.
After some cleaning with very fine sandpaper and some polishing it almost looks like new (if one doesn't look too close ...).


Pulling the tri-axes from the drive-shaft

Removing the tri-axis from the drive-shaft is not difficult with the right tools. One definitively needs a big heavy-duty two-arm puller and a solid vise to hold the drive-shaft. Sometimes the tri-axis comes off with a loud bang, sometimes is just slowly slides off.

On post february 1970 cars a complete drive-shaft can removed from the car without removing the wheel hub also. This is possible since on those cars the tri-axe just slides out of its housing (on the brake disk). This allows one to pull the complete driveshaft through the wheel hub.

Photos by Jint Nijman.