During the last week I began to clean and dismantle the engine of that Peugeot 504 using whatever spare time I had.
I started by removing the battery plate, water and vacuum reservoirs and the hoses connecting them. I took a couple of detailed pictures so I don’t forget how to put it back together later.
I spent a while trying to figure out how to remove the radiator, it’s bolted to the car frame and there’s a plastic cover around the fan blades that doesn’t let it move up. The most obvious way seemed to remove the front grill and the body panel behind it but in order to do that I would have to tear apart the original glue and make a couple of cuts. I kept looking and feeling around until I discovered that the air guide is only held by two nuts on the top and locking pins on the bottom.
After removing them, it glided freely upwards and then to the back. With nothing else holding it, the radiator also came out.
That freed up some space in the engine bay. I moved on to the belts. This is a very good time to take note of how everything is installed.
Then I moved onto the hoses. Some were hard and brittle and others felt like new. But all were filled with rusty mud.
The water pump was no better, the impeller stayed inside the block.
The radiator has a lovely copper corrosion growth. After draining it I poured hot water on one side and let it flow, touching along the fins to see if there were clogs. Except for a small hand sized area on the bottom everything seemed fine.
Both the brakes and clutch didn’t work (besides not having fluid, the cylinders were stuck) so I set up to dismantle them.
After some contortions I managed to free the mechanism. A couple of hard lines broke around the fittings and part of the servo assist snapped while I was pulling.
The air filter in this unit is an oil bath one and was perfectly full. After draining it I used lots of gasoline, kitchen cleaner and boiling water to remove every trace of grim and oil. But now the filth migrated to the sink.
I also removed the valve cover to take a peek inside. It looks surprisingly clean and neat for a car of this age. The gasket was torn apart, that may explain the amount of oil on the block.
Today I bought a used battery and decided to crank this old Peugeot 504 to see if the engine was seized or other problems lurked.
It’s been sitting there since 1998 but the diesel in the tank did not smell funny so I used the little pump on the filter until it became hard. On the last strokes I heard a subtle noise and there was a tiny leak on the line.
When connecting the battery there was a small spark and the position lights turned on. I let the glow plugs do their job and tried to crank.
Nothing, just a small click of a relay inside the dash. After a couple of times it turned with some effort but refused to start.
I let the battery rest for a moment and tried again. This time it roared as I pressed the accelerator, puffed some smoke and then idled calmly. I can hardly believe it awoke from a two decade slumber just like that.
Now I have to fix the water circuit (the hoses are dry and crumbling) and the clutch so I can move it around with a bit of ease.
That’s a 1981 Peugeot 504 (diesel) that belonged to my grandfather. After his death about 20 years ago it’s been sitting first on the original garage and lately inside this shed that we are fixing up.
The tires have an inner tube as it was usual on that era and that’s an advantage, I doubt that any contemporary tubeless would still be sealed after spending so long being flat.
Tire after 20 years.
Tire after 20 years.
I had a bit of space to speed up while pushing and the front wheels went by with relative ease. However, there’s a small step and I couldn’t make it go further with the initial momentum alone.
I lifted the car with a jack and made a small ramp out of bricks and a slab of wood. I carefully released the jack and the car slowly moved on its own. The underside looks quite good for a machine of that vintage.