Revised budget tyre for Citroen D Models

Remember the Nankang tyres we were testing on our ID19? Well, they passed all our tests without any problems and we pronounced them a worthy budget tyre for D models. The only niggle we had with them was that the Michelin XVS style tread pattern was made inside out on the Nankangs.

These tyres have now been revised and the first batch of them has arrived today. They are no longer branded Nankang, they are now “Retro” brand and the tread pattern is around the correct way, as per Michelin XVS. Everything else remains the same, including the H speed rating. Most budget tyres of this size have a lower speed rating than your original tyre.

So now, whatever your budget, your D Model can wear tyres which look the part too.

Click here for photos of the new Retro tyres.

How to tell a Citroen DS from a Citroen ID – a simple guide.

I was recently asked how to tell the difference between a DS and an ID and I guess for most people this can be a bit confusing as both look the same unless you know what to look for.

In terms of the workings, only one feature distinguished between them the whole way through production, and that is the braking system. DS based models always have the more complex brake control system with a brake accumulator sphere (or 2 in the case of DS19’s until July 1960). The brake accumulator sphere is usually mounted on the top of the chassis just below the hydraulic fluid reservoir. If your car doesn’t have one it’s ID based and if it does, it’s a DS. This does not apply to Estate models which are ID’s but with the DS braking system to cope with the heavier loads they were expected to carry.

In visual terms, if one was walking down the street and saw a D Series car, how would you tell if it was an ID or a DS?

The cars didn’t generally have any badging to tell the model until the mid-60’s, however the boot chevrons were always gold on a DS and silver on an ID.

Chevron gold  Chevron silver

When badging began to identify the model it was on DS21 models only with individual characters (gold colour) spelling out DS21. If the car had gold chevrons and no other boot badge it was a DS19.

The first ID model with a badge to say so was the 1969 model ID20 which had individual silver coloured characters spelling out ID20 on the boot lid. This only lasted for 1 year though, because for the 1970 model year onwards the ID20 was badged D SUPER and the ID19 (which previously had no badge, just silver chevrons) was badged D SPECIAL.

So on the outside, for the general public to see, Gold chevrons mean DS and silver chevrons mean ID and this applies from start to finish. Even on D Super5 models which have DS21 on the chassis plate, but are actually ID’s, the chevrons are silver.

The badges on the quarter panel were only on DS models and said either DS or Pallas, depending on model and age.

This information pertains to mainstream French assembled cars. Some cars assembled in countries other than France may have had different badging specific to the local market.

DS21 injection boot badge

New type D Series/SM driveshaft installation


  1. Remove old drive shaft. Remove and discard the rubber ring seal that sits in the groove in the hub where the drive shaft was. Clean inside of the front hub and lightly lubricate this area with grease.
  2. Slide the Outer CV-joint of the new assembly through the hub from the rear (turn the steering to facilitate this, then straighten once inserted) and place the inner tripod joint on the 6 studs at the gearbox side. (you may need to flatten the Ligarex buckle further to allow easier fitting through the hub.

Pre 1971 cars that where delivered with aluminum tripod joints need the studs to be replaced by shorter ones of the later cars.

  1. Put the 6 nuts that secure brake disc and tripod to the gearbox into place and tighten them to 10,5 -15,5 kg/m (76 – 112 ftlbs)
  2. Put mounting plate on the spline of the outer CV-joint and use loctite or another thread locker on the spline.
  3. Use the Wheel nuts to push mounting plate on to the hub surface and place the two phillips screws.
  4. Place the M12 bolt and washers also using thread locker and tighten it to 13,5 kg/m. (98 ftlbs)


Citroen DS instrument panel connections

We’ve had a few people asking us about the instrument panel connections on their post October 1969 Citroen DS or Citroen ID, so I’ve written this post to help you find the information easier.


A = Instrumentation illumination
B = + ignition feed for warning lamps
C = Fuel gauge (to tank unit)
D = – Earth
E = Tachometer (rev counter)
F = Temperature gauge (if fitted), to sensor on engine.

A = Main beam warning lamp (blue)
B = Dipped beam warning lamp (green)
C = Rear screen heater warning lamp
D = Hydraulic pressure warning lamp
E = Alternator (charging) warning lamp
F = Empty

A = Left indicator warning lamp
B = Engine oil pressure warning lamp
C = Brake pad wear warning lamp
D = Right indicator warning lamp
E = Hazard warning light (bottom middle red light)
F = Coolant temperature warning lamp

Items such as coolant temperature gauge and hazard lights are not fitted to all models, but the circuits already exist in the instrument panel so it is just a matter of connecting to the appropriate terminal should you wish to add these features to a car without.

Mystery Citroen wheel trims

I have been contacted by someone with a number of these original Citroen wheel trims, but we can’t work out what they fit.

I think they are an accessory rather than a model specific factory fit, but could be wrong.

Part number is ZC9 853 120U  I’ve not been able to find in any parts books.

The trims measure approx. 36cm across and the centre is approx. 19.5cm which makes me think they are for 14″ wheels and appear to be pre-1980’s, so CX or C25?

mystery wheel trim Mystery wheel trim 1

Can anyone positively identify these so I can let the chap with them know?

New budget tyre for D models

There is now a new 185/80 R15 budget car tyre on the market, perfect for DS and ID models, and I have just fitted a set to our test car for evaluation. These are Taiwanese made Nankang tyres, and get this, the tread pattern is a close copy of the Michelin XVS, albeit a mirror image. image    image   The tyres appear to be assymetric as they are marked “inside” and “outside” which hopefully does not relate to the tread, seeing it is on the opposite way to how Michelin puts it! As I’ve said before, I prefer Michelin XAS tyres on post 1965 D models, but I realise not everyone can stretch that far and a DS on the road is better than one sitting unused whilst funds for tyres are found.  By the way, the Michelin XVS is not as well suited to D Models as XAS as it has a flat tread, whereas the XAS has a rounded tread surface suited to the DS’s characteristics. When a DS corners it has a bit of body roll, more than average you might say, and due to the suspension design, the wheels stay parallel to the body meaning they lean with it when cornering. The rounded XAS tread keeps maximum tread in contact with the road, whereas a flatter tread tilts onto one edge when the wheel leans meaning less contact with the road and faster wearing edges.
That’s why you don’t see motorcycles with flat tread tyres, they are all rounded because the bikes lean when cornering.

This is also something to bear in mind when looking at budget alternatives which will also have a flat tread.
I currently recommend Federal tyres as the best budget choice but need to evaluate any new alternatives as they become available. First impressions of the tyres are that dry grip is very good, the ride quality has improved and they are quieter on the road than my previous tyres. Not sure how good a comparison that is as my previous tyres were also on for evaluation too, being 165 Firestone F560’s on the rear and 195/80 15’s on SM wheels on the front. Neither one can I recommend at all. When it rains I’ll be able to check wet grip on the Nankangs and time will tell how well they last. These can be had for less than £60 a piece, so even if they wear out quickly, it’s not a big deal. Will update here when I know more. image  


September 2014 Update: I have now travelled over 1600 miles (2600km) on these tyres and have so far been unable to fault them. They did squeal a little easier under hard cornering after 1000 miles but then I checked the pressures and they’d dropped a couple of psi. I’m running 32psi in the front and 29 in the rear, the same as I do with Michelin. Topping the pressures up meant it’s hard to make them squeal again. We’ve not yet had any rain to speak of in our area, so I still don’t know how they are in the wet or cold. Wear rate seems good, especially the way I’ve been testing them! Will update again when the weather turns wetter and colder.

October 2014 update: With the last week or so of cooler wet weather, I’ve been throwing the car around roundabouts and corners where safe to do so, and also tried numerous emergency stops on different surfaces. So far I’ve not found any lack of grip, they are certainly a lot better than the budget tyres I had on my AX a year or two ago. I really cannot fault these tyres at all, even at double the price they’d be great value.   In summary, I say use Michelin XAS as your default 15″  D Series tyre because that’s what should be on there, but if you really cannot stretch that far pricewise, these Nankang tyres are the next best with the bonus of looking a bit like they should too!

February 2015 update: I’ve now used these tyres in all weather conditions and temperatures that most of us will encounter and still have been unable to fault them. As long as the pressures are kept up, they just do the job without fuss.  However, there are changes afoot….. I have recently found out that these tyres are no longer going to be branded Nankang. The name on the side will be “Classic Tyre” or something similar and the tread will be turned around the right way, the same as Michelin. The good news is that the price stays low, the grip should be even better on corners, and we’ll still be stocking them. We’ll also soon be able to supply brand new 5 stud wheels with square hole (5.5J) for D models and then you’ll be able to order the wheels by themselves or with new tyres (including Michelin) fitted. Check out our website shop as they’ll be listed on there as soon as we have them.


Technical weekends

We’re holding another Technical weekend for D owners in the Citroen Car Club.

They were started over ten years ago, to help owners learn simple fixes to help keep their cars on the road.

Usual jobs completed across a weekend include:

  • Engine work – setting tappets, change spark plugs, cleaning, clutch adjustment
  • Body work – adjusting panels, grease points/greasing, removing and refitting wings
  • Electrical work – cleaning connectors,  ignition work, fitting 123/points& condensers, tidying up
  • General maintenance – changing oil, bleeding brakes, changing rear gaiters,  checking fluid levels, changing wiper blades
  • New owner help – what the buttons do, changing tyres, maintenance schedule, what to look out for
  • The weekends are a great place to get together with other D owners and help each other.
  • This coming Tech weekend (on April 12 & 13 2014) is fully subscribed, but there is contact information on the Citroen Car Club site, if you are interested in attending further Technical weekends


Job Vacancy at Citroen Classics

26th September 2013

Due to imminent retirement, we have a vacancy in our parts department for a “switched on” enthusiastic person to join our small team.

The position is full time and working hours are 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Duties will include taking telephone orders and enquiries, invoicing, picking and packing orders, re-ordering stock and helping to expand and maintain our web shop and stock control systems.

You will need to be fully conversant with the workings of classic automobiles and knowledge of classic Citroen vehicles will be a particular advantage. You must be computer literate and able to work on own initiative. Attention to detail is a must as are good numeracy skills.

Remuneration dependent on experience and ability.

If you think you are the person we need to help grow our business, contact us or send your CV to

We are also always looking for mechanics with experience working on pre- 1990’s Citroens.


What tyres are people using on their D Model?

At the Citroen Car Club D Rally last weekend, I was curious as to what tyres people are using on their cars. My recommendations are in another article, but what are people actually using?


Of the 20 cars I checked on the Saturday evening, it was pleasing to see the majority were wearing Michelin rubber.  Seven of the 20 had Michelin tyres front and rear and a further two had Michelins on the front only.

The next most popular tyre choice was Vredestein with six cars having them on the front wheels and five having them on the rear. Federals were next with two cars having them on the front and three with Federal tyres on the rear.

Hankook and Kumho were also represented with one car each having them on the front and the same number with them on the rear. Bridgestone 195/80 x 15 were on the front of another car and the remaining rear wheels wore Nankang, Firestone and Courier Driver (185/65×15) tyres.


I say it’s pleasing to see the majority of the cars wearing Michelin rubber and I always quote the Textar brake pad example when people ask why they should fit Michelin tyres when there are cheaper alternatives.

Textar used to make the original brake pads for D models and these were sold via Citroen and later via the aftermarket. They were a bit pricey, but by far the best brake pad available. An inferior alternative came on the market at about half the price and so many people bought the cheap alternative, oblivious to the shortcomings of these pads and only seeing the price, that demand for the good Textar pads dropped to the point where Textar stopped making them. Now people who actually drive their cars and notice if the brakes are working properly or not and who want/need the good pads cannot get them.

It is also possible that this could happen with Michelin tyres. If too many people buy tyres based on price rather than quality, they could be endangering the supply of the good tyres for everyone else. OK, unlike the brake pads, it’s not just Citroen D models that these tyres fit, so the market is much larger and the likelihood of demand dropping below economical production level is much less, but it’s worth thinking about.


I know lot of D owners take their car out only a few times a year and are unable to justify spending more than absolutely necessary on tyres which will likely perish with age long before they are worn out, and that’s fine, I understand. But anyone who uses their car a lot should really be using the good stuff as the more Michelins are used, the longer the price will stay down to an affordable level. They are the right size and have the right characteristics for your car after all.


Credit card security and fallout.

We’ve noticed an increasing number of customers complain that their card transaction is being declined, apparently for no reason, when using our website to buy parts. This is mainly over the past 2 weeks and I’ve looked into each case. Most of the time it is due to the address details entered not matching those on the card authorisation database. I guess the card processing people, in our case Cardsave, have tightened up their security checks. I have spoken with them and the only way to avoid being caught by it is to enter your payment address details exactly as shown on your card statement.

One side effect of this, as we discovered with one such case this week, is that if a transaction is declined due to incorrect address details, the money is still set aside in case the transaction is later authorised. The money apparently does not actually leave your account, but is just not available for you to use. The problem is that if you only just have enough money in the account to cover the transaction and you try again with the correct address details, it gets declined again,  this time due to lack of available funds caused by the first declined transaction.

I’d not heard of this happening before, and to me it seems like complete madness – surely nothing should happen to your funds if a transaction is declined,  but after speaking to Cardsave about it, they tell me that this is standard procedure and the money is available to use back  in your account in 4 – 5 days.  I’m guessing all the card processing companies will operate in a similar way.

Apparently it only happens when a transaction is declined due to incorrect address details. Nothing happens to your funds if the transaction is declined for any other reason.

I do not like this, but security is security and there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. The key is to avoid it happening by very carefully entering your details exactly as they are on your card statement. If your transaction is declined, it is unlikely to be a fault with our website, although we will always investigate if you think it is, it is more likely a slight mismatch of your details compared to the card company database.

What are your thoughts, experiences and comments?