1955 11C Traction Avant Commerciale New Members Car

Traction Owner’s Club Forums Forum Archive Traction Owners Club Forum Introduce Yourself 1955 11C Traction Avant Commerciale New Members Car

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      Hi to all. Ive just purchased the above 1955 French car from e bay without seeing it first. It will need full restoration but I have been lucky as restoration was started (reputedly in the 80s) but abandoned as the owner died. Accordingly the body is not at all bad and will require little expenditure to restore. The engine reputedly runs but Ive not tested this yet as the petrol tank is off the car and the starter switch that sits on the top of the starter is missing.
      I will have to renew the braking system, exhaust. and tyres and no doubt the driving gear will need attention. The clutch is stuck in neutral and I would welcome any advice re freeing it up. I live in Monmouth in the Wye Valley and would like to make contact with any nearby Traction owners to take photos and ask question etc. I will post photos later and report on progress. I run the local classic car show in our village and hope to get the car ready for the next show which will be in August 2018. Im not a Traction virgin having owned a 1946 Light 15 in the early 60s Hope to hear from you John


        Welcome brave John!

        Looking forward to the pictures of this machine.

        To your question – “The clutch is stuck in neutral and I would welcome any advice re freeing it up” – do you mean…

        – The gearbox is in neutral
        – You can’t disengage the clutch
        – Therefore can’t disengage the interlock and change gear?

        If you want to be able to change gear without disengaging the clutch you can do that by releasing the little bracket (490856) [attachment=0:qvbno883]clutch.pdf[/attachment:qvbno883] that it driven by the clutch release bearing and pulls on the interlock rod. This uses a 5mm allen key and is at the bottom of the eiffel tower on the bell housing. You can adjust it so that it is always pulling on the rod – you’ll need some leverage to get it there – and don’t drop it into the clutch. If it doesn’t move it means that the rod is seized in the gearbox lid. if it does move and you still can’t change gear it means that the interlock balls are stuck. Either way you’ll need to take the lid off and dismantle it – which means getting the radiator out and the cross member off.

        If you want to free off the clutch it depends where it is stuck – but if it is stuck in a way that is preventing the release bearing from moving that sounds hard without taking the bellhousing off – of course it might free itself off if you ran the engine when you’re able to do so. But if your release bearing is stuck on the splines, then the bearing might be u/s anyway – both problems caused by water getting in.

        Or is the clutch cable stuck, or the operating fork stuck where it goes through the bellhousing? if the latter, WD40 might do it.

        All sounds like a lot of fun. If send an email to John Oates, membership@traction-owners.co.uk he can send you a list of members in your area.



          Thanks for that Chris, The clutch actuating rod moves ok on flooring the clutch so I must assume that the clutch plate is stuck due to the car standing for many years. I have made contact with Tony Malyon who lives nearby and hope to meet him next week. Being not very mechanically mjnded have you any thoughts on the the best workshop manual ie Haynes style for owners such as me. Finally I will post pictures once I have worked out how to do so Thanks again John


            I have experienced this after changing my antifreeze a few years ago, and spilling coolant all over the gearbox. The next time I came to use the car a couple of weeks later, the clutch was stuck. There is a previous post on ways to free this off, if you do a search on the forum.
            The CTA website also recommends the following:

            ‘Take the car out of the garage.

            Open the two hoods.

            With a water hose spraying water onto the clutch down by the gear selector tower. Keep this up for a good while.

            Let it stand for a while … about 15 minutes.

            Water the clutch again …

            Now you can try to start the engine in gear & clutch pedal depressed.

            If it starts as it means that the connection disconnected and there one can easily conclude by

            to release the clutch pedal gently.

            If it does not succeed watering the clutch again …

            NOTE: if this method is used and the connection comes off, it’s very important to

            Warm up the engine and clutch properly so that all the water centrifuge / heat away from

            lamella or it may occur again.

            The best is to take a real ride with the car and use the clutch properly.

            If you want to reduce the risk clutch stuck again in the future so you can face

            Winter arrangement to cut a piece of wood that is just the right length so that you can put it between the

            trampled the clutch pedal and the lower edge of the dashboard. This will prevent the lamella to

            be hard pressed between the flywheel and clutch.’

            I managed to free mine by starting up in gear with the clutch depressed and it freed immediately. You may have to resort to the above if the car has been left for a long time and everything is well and truly seized. If you use the above method then it is obviously essential that you dry everything out by at least running the engine and, if a run is out of the question, then wedge the pedal down as suggested.


              Just to clarify… clutch stuck in neutral…you depress the clutch pedal and try to select a gear.. does the gear stick allow any movement across the selector gate? Or is it this that is not moving? i.e the selector is jammed in the neutral position??
              Just a thought….


                To clarify the problem the gear selector will not allow me to get into any gear so it could well be the selector is jammed in neutral . I will look into that . Have you any experience of such a problem? It could well be that in addition the clutch is also stuck but if I could get a gear then the conventional methods of freeing the clutch become available. You can see that my technical knowledge is not good !


                  I have dismantled the gear selector when the gear stick went “floppy” It is hard to get to and just fiddly. What usually prevents the gear shifting across the gate are the “springs” (pn 515891) not allowing movement of the two arms to engage into the correct slots. I ended up in restricting the spring movement using ty-wraps so they would not get bent out and restrict movement. Coupled with this, if there is anything not set up with the gear change rods and tower etc gear changing will be fun or impossible. 🙂
                  It is a matter of playing with each element logically until you achieve a smooth gear change…easier said than done!
                  By the way, if the gear stick goes floppy then the pin that holds it has sheared and will all have to come out to replace it!


                    Thanks to all re your advice. Following the comments re the selector jamming in neutral I have fiddled with this and Can now move the gear lever into reverse and first ie the one rod is now operating successfully but not the other (2 an 3rd gear)This movement from neutral to a gear is only achievable when the clutch is depressed so looks to me the clutch is not stuck. However although the gear lever gets into gear ok and the one presently working selector moves through to the gearbox the car stays in neutral .I should be able to get the other gears working with a bit more fiddling but cant understand why the car remains in neutral after appearing to select a gear Any ideas?


                      When you move the gear lever into 1st / reverse do you get any movement down at the gearbox end? Is it pushing the rods that connect the forks inside the gear box? May need someone to help here… as one person selects gear and the other looks to see what is happening. If the rods are not setup correctly nothing will happen at the gearbox end….even if you are selecting gear in the car!

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