From the You Learn Something New Everyday Dept:
(Requires paid member status to access.)
Did you think that all Tractions manufactured in France and Belgium were negative ground? Apparently not. Citroënvie member Jean-Jacques Sanfaçon purchased a 1955 Traction Avant 11B two years ago that was built in France for the German market. The car was manufactured with a positive ground.
Up until now we knew of very Tractions that were wired this way; (Very early Slough built Tractions had positive ground).
Jean-Jacques was told by the seller at the time of purchase that the car was that way. It was imported into Canada by a soldier who had served in Germany. Jean-Jacques bought an alternator from Brad Nauss 2 years ago, with positive ground so he knew that positive ground was required for the 123. However on the 123 Ignition website many distributor models for British cars with positive ground are offered, but not for Citroëns.
Jean-Jacques wanted to fit an electronic ignition in his Traction 11B. The reason for the switch from the the original distributor was with the vacuum advance did not work, and the part was not available. He ordered the 123-DS-A-V thinking that it should work plus improve the car’s performance.
Reading the manual when it arrived, and being a former electronic technician, Jean-Jacques was astute enough to check on the wiring before installing the 123. He knew he would damage the 123’s circuits if he installed it the way it came. However, in the installation manual it is mentioned that there is a POS option or feature, but as that’s all the manual said, what was it?
The 123 Ignition website lists the the 123-DS-A-V as a DS/ID part even though people use the same product on earlier 4 cylinder Tractions (after all the DS/ID used the same 4 cylinder engine as the Traction Avant):
“The 123\CITROEN-4-A-V (also known as 123\DS-A-V) is a distributor, specifically targeted for the Citroën ID/DS. It contains all the curves for carbureted ID/DS-engines as originally specified by Citroën, for cars after July 1959.”
Could this 123 be converted to positive ground or should some another one be purchased? Conversion was preferred because Jean-Jacques did not want to incur additional shipping costs and customs fees.
Just reversing the battery was not an option as the starter, the alternator and the rest of the electronics, even the side amber lights, were wired for German spec positive ground.
Jean-Jacques enlisted Erik DeWidt to offer assistance as he purchased the 123 from him. Erik posed the question (in Dutch) about the POS option to Ron Tettero at Albertronic (engineers of the at 123 ignition) who responded saying that the unit can be converted to positive ground by making the modification shown here:
Ron cautions though, not to go too deep grinding!
So even though on the 123 Ignition website there is no mention of a positive ground distributor for any Traction, there is a solution should you find yourself with one of these very rare types.