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by George Dyke….
Yesterday I was working on a 2CV and inadvertently knocked the light switch stalk to the extent that I cracked the housing. The switch was intermittent and I was going to replace it anyway, so I wasn’t shedding a tear about the damage. Much to my surprise the casing that broke away gave a perfect window at the internals of the switch and so I took a few pictures.
The 2CV switch works by rotating a stalk for light control in a sort of “H shift” manner. It has two rotational positions and the stalk itself two physical positions; forward and back. The light positions are as follows:
- Rotate one turn from off “O” (to “V”) with the stalk in forward position = ville (running) lights
- Push the stalk back, leaving at one turn (“V”) = low beam headlights
- Rotate to second point (“R”) from off with the stalk in back position = low beam headlights
- Pull the stalk forward (in second rotational position – “R”) = high beam headlights
If switch is on off “O” position there is no light engagement no matter what position the stalk is in.
Regardless of the above pushing in the stalk (depressing it to the left) will activate the horn.
All in all – a very clever and simple design that works by making the appropriate contact on the electrical conductive surface of the large internal cylindrical section of the stalk. Since there are no relays in a 2CV it is passing full voltage (and amperage) at the contact points. With age these contacts can either wear or become grimy and at that point you end up with an intermittent light switch. If there is not too much wear it can be repaired by cleaning and closing the gap of the contacts, but as replacement switches are readily available from 2CV parts suppliers these days, it’s probably best to fit a new switch.
Since in my case the casing was cracked and the chrome on the stalk corroded, I opted to install a new switch I had on hand. But before tossing out the old switch, I took a few photos to show how it operates:
Close-up of switch in low beam headlight on – stalk back, one turn ville (“V”) position. (Note the 2 spring mounted ball bearings in the case holding the stalk. This controls and a gives a “click” when moving the stalk from the forward and back positions.)