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Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

Hi Jim,

Its a Big 6H, well we believe it might be the only RHD hydraulic left in the UK and that only a handful remain world wide. There are a few more LHD hydraulics but very very few RHD as only 74 were ever made, not many exist now. It is a Slough built car, which has a nice history too it as a road research car. It was never a saloon car until my dad bought it, previously it had always been a working car and was in a very bad state when he first got it.

Its running on LHM. It does ride very softly indeed, though its handbrake is a bit of a quirk, as it works on the rear and there being so much suspension movement that you have to be careful with it. Park to close to something and as it settles it will be touching whatever you parked near, or be further away if reversed in. Also when doing hill starts the back end sinks right down onto the stops as you pull away. Hence why Citroen moved it to the front.

Im yet to drive it on the road, so im looking forward to that when its going again, its quite a car i must admit. Ive driven it around feilds at CCC events but not on the roads. Apart from having to double de clutch from 2nd to 1st its very much like driving a modern car.

Its stunning to see how unlike a old car it is, its very quiet on the road, will sit at 70 all day long, the steering is so very accurate. There is no need for the minor adjustments often required in modern cars to keep it in a straight line, its straight and true. Though that does make the steering very heavy, sometimes it takes two of use just to turn the wheel when parking! Its tyre pressures should be somehting like 22 psi front and 19psi rear, though we have them set to around 35 and 30 just to give a bit more ease on the steering.

It has long torsion bars on the front of the 6H to compliment the rear suspension, so it ride well all round. It certainly gets some looks especially with its suspension, as people dont expect it on such an old car.

Ill have to get some better pictues up once its on the road again, hopefully we will have it at some CCC events next year, so you might see it Jim, im sure a ride out wouldnt be out of the question either :lol:

Before its bearing went me and my dad used to go on local classic car runs around the yorkshire moor areas etc. I would drive our old Renault 4 whilst trying to keep up with the traction. It really took some doing, the 4 was not really one for corners, i was asured it would not fall over, though often it did seem like it would, i would just cling to the steering wheel with a huge grin on my face :lol: The traction keeps up with the more sporting things, but the little 4 had to work very hard.

We have three gearboxes for it, our one and two gearboxes borrowed from another traction owner so we have been trying those out previously as ours had problems with selecting gears and reversing on anything other than flat ground.

So we have had the gearbox back to the specialists and hopefully this time it will be fine, though its just a trial and error thing. We will be putting our gearbox and clutch back in, so hopefully the gearbox is ok now.

A better pic:

Image
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DickieG
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Post by DickieG »

Hmm, that looks nice 6 cylinders hydraulic and built jsut a few miles from me at what is now a chocolate factory :D

I take it the green rod sticking through the radiator is for the starting crank handle? :lol:
Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

Yep, all the modern technology :lol: Never used that, i think we have the handle somewhere though.

Our early start has become a bit late, so im going out to brave the elements and get cracking with it. :)

A chocolate factory, really? Is that Mars by any chance or am i thinking of somewhere else? :?
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DickieG
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Post by DickieG »

Citroenmad wrote:A chocolate factory, really? Is that Mars by any chance or am i thinking of somewhere else? :?
Yes, Mars
HDI
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Post by HDI »

Love that Traction , I've wanted one forever !! Impressed with the steering lock :shock:
Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

I heard it on a Citroen film that a lot of Citroen parts are still under the Mars plant, in the foundations. Dont know how true that may be though!

Well we have the gearbox and clutch fitted and fixed up, so it can now drive in and out of the garage. Tomorrow we will put the radiator back on, run it up to temperature and check its all ok, no leaks etc.

Its been freezing today, im still forzen now even though ive been inside for a few hours. Everyhing on the traction is so heavy and hard to shift, frezing to the touch now too. Im sure its gearbox weighs as much as a small petrol engine and box.

Then after we have done that we can start to put the front bodywork back on. Will see how far we get tomorrow with it. Still the bulk of the work is done i hope. Its nice to be able to get it in and out of the garage under its own steam again.

Ah well, about the turning circle ... :lol: Tractions, especially the big 6s, dont have a great turning circle, which makes parking a chore and along with the heavy steering it can take some manouvering to get it where you want it. So its been slightly modified to have a better turning circle, mainly due to where its garage is located as its quite tight to get into. So it does make things easier. This modifacation was done years ago by a specialist in tractions, it doesnt really detract from the originality because there is no difference to be seen, its just easier to live with.

Image

I have more picutres of it in bits than i do in one piece. Before the bearing went we had it apart a few times to try different gearboxes and clutches.
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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

I'm enjoying this Traction stuff immensely Chris and really appreciate you posting it up for all our enjoyment. I love Tractions but for now, the closest I'm likely to get to owning one is the model Traction taxi I have :( One day maybe...

Is that an early R4 I see hiding in the corner? Another car I love 8) I had two in the 70s, the first being a 1968 one with 6V electrics. Truly wonderful cars :D

What's the story of the R4?
lexi
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Post by lexi »

What a lovely piece of work that Traction is. Front suspension is like a front wheel drive version of Lotus 7....on steroids.
Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

Its a 1972 4 TL Jim, it has the optional huge fabric sunroof, just like a 2cvs, ive never seen this option before or since.

Unfortunately we dont have that any more, that traction picture is two years old, though it looks the same no just minus the rad - until tomorrow.

We bought it in 1997, well i say bought but actually it was free. We overheard someone at a Rolls Royce club meeting (my parents are still in the club even though we no longer have a rolls) saying that they had an R4 which is free to a good home or it will be scrapped. My dad has had 5 R4s and couldnt let one to for scrap.

It had been stood in a garage for 11 years, it only had minor problems really, the main one being that the fual had gone off, it was like someone had filled the fuel lines with silicon which had set, it was like rubber, very odd. It needed a few things doing but didnt take long to get it on the road.

It was in original condition with a low milage of just 54K miles when we got it. It just sneaked into the free tax band on its age so it was very cheap to keep. The interior was sportless, nice black letherlook vinal which was like new, the roof was also in great condition. The body was a little scared in some places but very tidy for its age.

My dad tought me how to drive it that, along farm lanes, around our garden etc at the age of 11, im sure it was just a ploy to get me to put the cars away each night, as its been my job ever since :lol: After i passed my test in 2004 i used to drive it quite a bit, not as my daily car but to classic car events and just have a nice run out in the country on nice days. As i said just a few posts ago me in the R4 and my dad in the traction would do classic car event drives once a month.

We also had another R4 for a few years together with the 72 one. It was a newer GTL on a C reg. That one was white but its owner had a red one previously, which she wrote off. Not liking the plain white R4 she had the doors fitted from the red one, so it was a white car with red doors. Slightly more luxury in the GTL, it has a larger engine, almost 1.1, reversing lights, heated window and a conventional handbrake, unlike the 72s umberella handle :lol:

Very cool little cars in my opinion, i loved the red 72 R4, it always put a huge grin on my face every time i drove it. It gave me a different driving experience. the brakes are obviously poor on older cars, the suspension seemed to let the car corner on its dfoor handles, my dad asured me it would not roll over even if i pushed it, it really did feel like it was going to at times. Huge fun. It was faultlessly reliable too, started on the button every time, even though it could often sit in the garage for months without moving.

A couple of years ago we had been thinking about selling it, as it made parking exceptionally tight having it in the garage, thought we had had it for over 10 years. I squeazed it right over to one side of the garage, though its not really a double width garage and to get access to the tractions garage and get to the rear parking place where i keep all of the cars ment getting past the R4. With a decent sized car like the Xm i literally had less than an inch either side of the doors to squeeze the cars out. So that was the main reason we wanted rid of it.

So one year at the CCC event in weatherby someone expressed an interest in owning an R4, someone else then introduced them to us and he ended up buying the car. We had a whole load of bits for it which went with it, new wings etc. He did fit the new wings and had a lot of paintwork done, though it wasnt a great job as we went down to see it after it was done. Its since been sold again and now lives in Ireland, supposedly its getting a restoration job but im not sure, it would be nice but ive not heard about it since its move over there.

Me and my dad really miss the little R4, almong with the Activa its one of the two cars we wish we still had.

Image

Image

You never see R4s now do you, though i did spot a one on a drive a few weeks ago, it had been there some time by th elook of it, but a nice slight non the less. The following weekend i spotted an R4 Van! WHich looked to be in daily use and was mint.

It will be nice to get the traction back on the road Jim, was wasnt sure if to post any info up of its rebuild or not. Though im glad someone is enjoying it :)

Hopefully it wont be long until im saying its MOTd and usable, but you never know. These past few years its been like taking one step forward and two back at every stage or trying to get it going again.

The last day the traction worked was a drive to the CCC event at weatherby, where it won the judges choice award or somehting similar. It had never gone so well, a good gearbox, engine seemed perfect. Untill the bearing went on the way home from the event, in the pouring rain on the motorway :( Still, its getting there and hopefully we will make some events in it next year.
HDI
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Post by HDI »

R4's are mega rare now , especially in anything like good condition. I had a 1960's one about 6 or 7 years ago with only 24 K miles on it !!! Full history , mileage verified etc. Loved the driving experience , 3 speed box , amber plastic gear knob , 6 volt electrics. Wonderful car , but lost some storage space so I was forced to sell it :cry:
Can't recall the eact year now , I'll have to find the pix to check that.
Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

Oh, the very early one with the rounded grill? I think ours was one of the earlier ones to have a 4 speed gearbox.

Yours wasnt blue was it? There was a lovely light blue very early R4 for sale years ago, around the same time, maybe 6-7 years ago, it was mint and i think very low mileage. Yes they are very rare now.
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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

That R4 is gorgeous 8) I hope it did find a good home and got the restoration it deserves [-o<

Brings back memories too. My first 1968 R4 was in that lovely metallic blue colour and it must have been an early four-speed but still with the amber gear knob. It's shift pattern was different from the early R5 dad had at the time. His had the umbrella handle gearchange like my R4 but first and reverse were swapped so first in the R4 was reverse in the R5 and vicky-verky :twisted: You can guess the rest :roll: I was one day driving dad's R5 and came to a T junction. All I can say is it was a good job there was nobody behind me :lol: :lol:

That leatherette upholstery was indeed great. Handling was amazing for something that rolled so much. My pals used to lean opposite going around corners when travelling in it to try and counteract the roll.

That little R4 with it's 6V electrics was a plucky little thing and despite less than perfect maintenance, it never let me down, even when the rotor arm practically burned away! One problem was with the hand brake (one the front wheels) and in cold weather water would get in the cables and freeze the handbrake on. That cost me a driveshaft in the end :twisted:

In a big snow one winter, my R4 was one of the first cars to get mobile, just behind a 2CV. Nothing else could move.

I sold it for a Poxhall Viva. :evil: :evil: :evil: I didn't keep it for long. Horrible bloody thing that began my lifelong detestation of anything Vauxhall :evil: Another R4 was soon located :D

My next R4 was a 1972 model with 12V electrics but otherwise much the same but in that rather girly powder-pink colour. Did I ever get some ribbing for that :lol: "here comes Jim in his pouffy pink shed on wheels.." :lol: :lol: :twisted:

Just like my first R4, it was a brilliant thing. It even got a full rebuild after being nearly written off when someone ran in the back of me and pushed me into the back of another car. It was rebuilt using the later front-end so had a different grille and indicators.

The only real major jobs we did on it was replace the clutch and repair the voltage regulator after it packed up and massively overcharged the battery... Apart from that, reliable as the day was long.

After the second R4 I moved on to an R5. Lovely but lacking the character of the R4. Great in many ways but after two R4s it was somehow a bit sterile if you know what I mean...

Thanks for bringing back a few memories Chris :D :D
Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

I think if i remember rightly the GTl had a different gear configuration. The 72 was to the left and towards you for first and to the left and towards the dash for reverse, im sure the GTL was the other way around.

In truth the R4 did break down on me. Coming down the steep banks from Elwick village towards my house it cut out. So i managed to free wheel down to the bottom where my dad towed me back with the Xm. Nothing serious just a wire had falled off.

Ah, a clutch in those isnt a nice job really though is it. We put one in the GTL and i think it was a few day job to replace the clutch.

I was amased at how much grip it had, you could really push it around and all it would do is produce more body roll, which really had my friends a bit scared :lol:

Its also amasing how much space they have, a huge boot and lots of interior space given the size of the car. Though thats mainly down to the thin seats and doors i would imagine.

My dad had a few R4s when he was younger, his second car was a very early R4, which he did actually roll over in the snow. Just onto its side on a snow bank. He mates put it back on its wheels and off it went again, virtually undamaged. :lol:

Excellent cars, you certainly dont have as much fun in modern cars as you do older ones. Driving the R4 at normal speeds of modern cars is almost terrifying, modern cars brakes and suspension are so controlled its almost boring! I think the top speed of the R4 was around 70, though it really felt more like 120 :lol:

I do wish we still had that.

Anyway, im off to but some antifreeze and get started with the traction again. Ill let you know how it goes :)
HDI
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Post by HDI »

Citroenmad wrote:Oh, the very early one with the rounded grill? I think ours was one of the earlier ones to have a 4 speed gearbox.

Yours wasnt blue was it? There was a lovely light blue very early R4 for sale years ago, around the same time, maybe 6-7 years ago, it was mint and i think very low mileage. Yes they are very rare now.
Yes . rounded , bright anodised aluminium grill. Was dark green with tan interior. Still have the original genuine Renault workshop manual !
Just found some pix , it was a 1967 on an E plate.
Citroenmad
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Post by Citroenmad »

Sounds very nice, what engine was that? I think they got bigger as time went by. We still have an original workshop manual too. We didnt have any history with ours, but it was a good solid car.

We have got the tractions radiator back on now, filled with coolent and ready to go. It took us a lot of running around to day sourcing some new belts for the dynamo, hydraulic pump and water upmp. As the ones we had didnt quite fit right, so we wanted better ones. Though finding the right sizes and widths isnt easy as many places dont stock them. Anyway we got there in the end.

We had it running for around 30 minutes adjusting the carb and getting it running right. It really does sound very nice, it ran up to temperature fine and didnt get too hot, the clutch works nicely, nice and light and the gears seem very smooth to get. It was the first time in years ive been able to drive it in and out of the garage without having to push it :lol:

We have always had problems with the gearbox on it, mainly with reverse. Tyring to reverse up a hill, slope, gradient or curb would result in a lot of vibrations through the car and very little backwards movement. However it would reverse fine on the flat. The gearbox specialist who rebuilt the gearbox said it could not be the gearbox and must be the clutch. We have tried other clutches which still does the same. Though while its been off the road we have been back to the specialists with the borrowed gearboxes to use them as a test, as they reverse fine when fitted to our car. I think part of the problem was a lack of lay in the gearboxes, the old ones have a lot but ours was very tight. Ive only reversed it into the garage but there is a bit of a lip to get into the garage, before you would have to have a little run up to get in but now you can force the wheels over the bump with the clutch and there is no juddering. So maybe that problem is now fixed.

Another gearbox issue was it sometimes became hard to select gears, though that seems cured now too, ill cross my fingers about the box until its on the road though.

So all is looking good at the moment, we should be doing some more work on it tomorrow, which should hopefully be putting the wings on and grill. A bit of a fiddly job to get them lined up and without damaging them too

The bonnets are in the back of the Xm estate which is at the bodyshop egtting a bit of tlc. We had the bonnets dipped, stripped and repainted. So we will have to wait to get the xm back before we can put those on, though im sure it will be a while before they are needed.

Cant take it for an MOT this time of year though, far too much salt around! :lol: