Citroen '66 to '72 DS/ID Buyers Guide
The following buyers guides are based on Rudy Heilig's experience in 25 years
of buying, selling, inspecting and repairing Citroens. The values listed
are based on his sales experience in Southern California - automobile
prices can be very regional and therefor these values should only be used
as a guide.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you feel we overlooked something that should be added to our buyers'
The DS was already eleven years old when it finally received its
first major mechanical revisions. The three-main bearing engine, dating
back to the 11CV, was replaced with a higher output five-main bearing engine.
The transmission was also updated as was the front braking system. The next
notable alteration to the DS took place in 1968 when Citroen decided to
incorporate some external changes. The car received four headlights instead
of two and a more streamlined look.
Because of the mechanical differences and wider availability, this guide
solely concentrates on the post 1966 D-series. Several models were sold
in the USA from 1966 to 1972, all of which had some notable differences
from their European counterparts. The Europeans changed from the LHS2 hydraulics
(a vegetable or brake fluid) to LHM (a mineral or oil based fluid) in 1966.
This change wasn't incorporated into the USA cars until late 1969 when DOT
finally approved the oil-based system. Although there were several external
differences between the USA and European cars, the most obvious were the
headlights. In 1968, the Europeans bought their DSs with glass-covered four
self-leveling headlights with the inner pair controlled by the steering.
Americans had to be satisfied with four exposed headlights that neither
turned nor self-leveled.
Up until the last American DS was sold in 1972. it was offered in three
forms with several minor variations: 2l75cc DS21, the l985cc ID19 or D Special
and the wagon or Familiale.
To help you to identify a good DS from a bad one, we created the following
buying guide. We won't cover any aspects that are apparent at first glance,
like the condition of the body, paint, interior, bumpers. tires, glass etc
The two different engine sizes available to the American buyer,
the 1985cc (the DV or ID19 engine) and 2175cc (the DX or DS21 engine), were
virtually indistinguishable from an external viewpoint. The difference internally
was the piston size, the 2175cc used 9Omm pistons and the 1985cc used 86mm
pistons. Any problem areas are therefor common to both engines. These engines
are fairly reliable, some have been known to do 250,000 miles before needing
a major overhaul, but others have required overhauls within 50,000 miles.
Remember, the three factors affecting engine life are maintenance, maintenance,
and maintenance. Therefor, ask to see any service records that might pertain
to the engine.
1. Check the compression. It should be fairly
even in the 120 to 140 range.
2. Check for oil leaks especially around the
bottom of the distributor which could indicate a camshaft-seal leak. If
this seal does leak, the transmission would have to be removed to fix it.
3. Listen for tappet noise. Noisy tappets might
mean a relatively simple valve adjustment or a worn camshaft and bad followers,
which would virtually necessitate an engine overhaul.
4. It's possible to check the timing chain
play by moving the main pulley. If there is play in the pulley, the engine
would have to be removed to replace the chain (make sure that when moving
the pulley that the camshaft is moving with it).
5. With the engine running, remove the hose
(coming up from the bottom of the engine) from the back of the carburator
top hose. Excessive smoke from this hose indicates bad piston rings.
Transmissions aren't prone to any special problems and most cars
even those with more than 300,000 miles still have the original unit. There
are a few problem spots to watch for, caused more by driver abuse than any
1. Drive the car and shift it through all the
gears. Make sure the transmission shifts smoothly. The second and third
gear synchromesh are usually the first to wear (usually due to excessive
high-speed down shifting). Transmission overhauls can be expensive ($2,500
2. While driving the car, listen for any whining
noises that change with the speed of the car. A noisy transmission could
indicate some bad bearings or even a worn crown and pinion.
3. Drive the car and check that the clutch
functions properly without slipping. Also check the amount of adjustment
still left on the adjustment screw. The screw is located at the end of the
fork at the top of the transmission bell housing. If the screw is turned
out about 1 1/2 inches or more~ you can expect a clutch replacement (from
$1,000 to $1400 depending on the model, if it has AC, etc.).
4. Check for play on the driveshafts. Open
the hood, engage the handbrake, and rock the car back and forth while watching
the shafts. Very little movement should be visible. If there is play, check
to see if it occurs at the housings mounted on the brake discs or in the
shafts themselves. A new driveshaft housing puts you back about $425.00,
a shaft costs even more.
The DS front brake assemblies are mounted on the side of the transmission
almost directly beneath the radiator. Although this helps in straight-line
braking, it makes servicing them more difficult than the average non-Citroen.
1. The front brake pads can be seen by looking
behind the radiator air ducting. A new pad has about l5mm of lining. Replacement
is recommended if the lining gets below 5mm.
2. Although the front pads have warning wires
for excessive wear, the warning system is frequently defective allowing
the pads to wear down to the metal backing. When this happens, the pads
damage the brake discs themselves, sometimes to the point of forcing their
replacement (the original disc thickness is l2mm, Citroen recommends replacement
at lOmm). Sad to say, the discs are very inaccessible and almost impossible
to replace by a non-mechanic. (Replacement costs $600 to $800, depending
on model and the car's accesories).
3. A common problem on pre-1969 cars with LHS2
hydraulic systems is that the front caliper pistons get stuck, especially
if the car is allowed to sit for any length of time. A good indication of
this problem is if the car pulls to one side upon hard braking. The brake
calipers need to be rebuilt to correct this problem (About $500 to $600
if no hard parts are needed).
4. Check the the operation of the handbrake
(engage the brake and attempt to move the car while in first gear). Also
check the wear of the handbrake pads (located on the front discs on the
side of the transmission bell housing). The pads aren't adjustable if they
are uneven or badly worn. If they do need replacement, expect a hefty repair
bill ($400 plus), especially if the car has air conditioning (the compressor
is in the way).
5. The rear brakes are usually not a problem
since they are used only under heavy braking. As a rule the rear shoes last
around 60,000 miles. Finally, check the rear brake cylinders for leakage
by looking for fluid inside of the rear wheels.
The fluid in the LHM hydraulic system is frequently replaced with Dextron
II (LHM is green, Dextron II is red). If this is the case,
expect hydraulic problems caused by the Dextron's abrasives and detergents.
The Dextron fluid can be changed back to LHM only if it has been in the
sytem less than 30-40,000 miles. Due to its higher viscosity, the Dextron
will work as a sealant in the sytem and changing back to the lower-viscosity
LHM would cause massive internal leakage.
Up until early 1969, Citroen used LHS2 (similar to brake fluid) in the American
D series. When fresh, the LHS2 is almost clear red in color. Over time the
fluid will become brownish from the material wear in the hydraulic system
(bits of metal, seals, etc.). The fluid also attracts water, through condensation,
which attacks any metal components in the system. It's therefor suggested
that the fluid is changed about every 18 months.
Do the following checks by idling the car in the normal suspension height.
1. Check the suspension by pushing down on
the front and rear of the car. If there is no travel in the suspension then
the spheres will need to be replaced.
2. Check the hydraulic recycling time. The
hydraulic pump should activate every 30 seconds or more. When the pump does
activate, it makes a short burping sound. If this sound is continuous or
occurs every few seconds, there is either an internal leak in the hydraulics
or the regulator or accumulator needs replacing.
3. To check the steering for an internal leak,
turn the steering from lock to lock. If, while turning the steering, you
can hear the pump continually cutting in, the steering has an internal leak.
Citromatic shift cars:
Usually any problems with the Citromatic shift can be found while driving
the car. For instance, an internal leak in the hydraulic brain
causes the transmission to pop out of second or third gear. A sticking valve
in the clutch selector can prevent the engagement of first or reverse gear.
A delay or jump in shifting is usually taken care of with an adjustment.
Another common but frequently overlooked Citromatic problem is a valve leak
on the clutch selector plate mounted on top of the transmission. Although
this problem doesn't really affect the transmission's shifting, the fluid
does leak in with the gear oil. The thinner hydraulic fluid affects the
lubrication of the transmission gears and could cause eventual damage. Periodic
checking of the transmission fluid (open checkplug on passenger's side of
the transmission) would prevent this problem.
Like most cars manufactured in the late sixties and early seventies,
the DS wasn't adequately protected against rust. Although rust on the DS's
body panels is of some concern (most body panels are no longer available
new), frame rot is a larger problem since it is virtually unfixable.
1. Check for rust on the bottom of the front
doors. Dirt collects there which traps any water which drains through the
2. Open the rear doors and check for rust in
the rear fenders. Damp climates cause the fenders to rust along the inner
3. Check for rust on the bottom of the door
4. Open the trunk lid and check for rust on
the trunk floor (caused by a leaking trunk seal) and for rust along the
trunk rails, especially in the corners.
5. Check for rust under the roof seal. If possible,
use a small screwdriver to lift the seal slightly away from the roof to
check the metal roof edge. This edge frequently rusts until it separates
from the roof.
6. On the wagon, rust can be a problem around
the rear window seals. Again, use a small screwdriver to slightly lift the
seal away from the body on both the side and the tailgate window.
7. Put the car in high position and check underneath
the car along the sides of the frame. If the car has been heavily undercoated,
use a screwdriver to poke along the frame.
8. Take the time to lift the front floor mats
and check for any rust or attempts to repair rust. The heavy foam in the
carpets retains water for a long time promoting the rust problem.
9. Check the frame for damage. The DS uses
a softer subframe on the front and rear of the car. An accident in the past
could have left these subframes damaged. This damage could make it difficult
to align the car and affect it's handling.
10. The steel hydraulic lines running from
front to rear are also prone to rust, especially in damp or cold climates.
Unfortunately these lines are difficult to check unless the seller lets
you remove the front and rear inspection panels (under the left front and
rear fenders) to inspect them.
11. Most importantly, check for rust near the
rear suspension cylinders. The seams around the cylinder brackets are prone
to rust and can cause the cylinders to break away from the frame. If this
is the case, the car probably isn't worth buying.
1. If the DS is a Pallas model,
check to make sure all the body mouldings are on the car. When
having their cars repainted, some owners remove these mouldings and never
install them again. If you want to make the Pallas original again, buying
the mouldings could be an expensive proposition (some of the larger mouldings
retail for over $150 each).
2. If the car has air conditioning, check to
see that it operates. Also check to see if the dash unit is complete and
unbroken. (Note: the "factory" AC units with the behind-the-bumper
condensors, cross-flow radiators with electric secondary fans and full-length
under-dash consoles installed on the late-1971 and 1972 models are the only
worthwhile systems, the other earlier AC units are outright garbage and
don't add to the value of the car.
3. If possible check the the balljoints by
driving the car on a bumpy road. A knocking noise means they need adjusting
4. Listen for creaking from the front suspension
and check for shimmying at highway speeds. This could indicate cracks on
the suspension-arm assembly nuts. The cracks cause the car to shimmy and
vibrate at speeds over 50mph. The entire drivetrain has to be removed to
properly fix this problem.
5. When raising the car from low to normal
position listen for creaks from the rear suspension. A worn suspension rod
and/or ball is the cause of this problem. If left untreated. it could cause
the rod to snap.
6. Bad vibrations at idle and lower revs indicate
one or both of the engine mounts have collapsed. Even if only one mount
is at fault, both should be replaced to properly balance the motor again.
Now that you have a pretty good idea what to look for, let's try to determine
your D's worth. From a practical standpoint, the 1970 or newer DS is more
desirable because of better parts availability and the LHM hydraulics. We
tried to make the following chart as accurate as possible, however prices
should only be used as a general guide.
We use the following rating system to figure out in which category your
'Parts Car' Not running,
incomplete, and unrestorable due to rust.
doesn't run but car is complete and can be restored.
'Fair' Car is
complete and runnable but needs a lot of work.
'Good' Car is
regularly maintained but could use some upgrading.
is in near-showroom condition.
Please note that there are always exceptions to
the rule - for instance a California car will get a higher price than a similar
condition East-Coast car, low-mileage cars (less than 50,000 original miles)
will get a higher price than a similar condition high-mileage car (over 150,000
miles) and freshly restored and refurbished cars virtually set their own price
(a restored DS21 was sold at the 2012 Retromobile Artcurial auction for almost
| '66-'67 ID19
|| $300 to $2,500
|| $2,500 to $4,500
|| $4,500 to $9,000
|| $9,000 to $16,000
|| $16,000 to $24,000|
| '66-'67 DS21
|| $500 to $2,500
|| $2,500 to $5,000
|| $5,000 to $10,000
|| $10,000 to $18,000
|| $18,000 to $28,000|
| '66-'67 Wagon
|| $400 to $2,500
|| $2,500 to $4,500
|| $4,500 to $9,000
|| $9,000 to $18,000
|| $18,000 to $25,000|
| '68-'69 ID19
|| $500 to $2,200
|| $2,200 to $4,500
|| $4,500 to $8,500
|| $8,500 to $15,000
|| $15,000 to $23,500|
| '68-'69 DS21
|| $700 to $3,000
|| $3,000 to $6,000
|| $6,000 to $10,000
|| $10,000 to $16,500
|| $16,500 to $27,000|
| '68-'69 Wagon
|| $500 to $2,500
|| $2,500 to $5,500
|| $5,500 to $10,000
|| $10,000 to $16,000
|| $16,000 to $26,000|
|| $500 to $2,800
|| $2,800 to $5,500
|| $5,500 to $10,000
|| $10,000 to $16,000
|| $16,000 to $25,000|
|| $500 to $3,500
|| $3,500 to $7,000
|| $7,000 to $12,500
|| $12,500 to $20,000
|| $20,000 to $35,000|
|| $500 to $3,500
|| $3,500 to $6,500
|| $6,500 to $12,000
|| $12,000 to $20,000
|| $20,000 to $30,000|
|| Pallas Model
|| 'Factory' AC
|| European Headlights
|| 5-speed Transmission|
|| $300 to $4,000
|| $3,500 to $8,000
|| $500 to $4,500
|| $600 to $1,800
|| $1,000 to $3,500|
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Regular car maintenance may seem simple next to the building maintenance of a large
New York City office, but both have their own particular challenges. While it
may take only one experienced auto tech to maintain a car, it can take a team
of cleaning service professionals to ready an office for the next day's
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