Early 1969

UPDATED

9/2020

The year 1969 brought curious changes to DS’s bound for the USA. There were significant mid-year changes in 1969, so we will identify cars from early and late 1969 as; Early 1969 cars and 1969 1/2 cars. This section deals with the early 1969 cars. 

 

 

EXTERIOR LIGHTING

 

Early 1969 cars bound for the USA (both sedans and wagons) received the same exterior lighting that 1968 USA cars had.  In early 1969, Canadian sedans and wagons still had full Euro lighting.  

 

DASHBOARD AND WIRING

 

1969 DS’s for the USA had two dashboard designs, one appearing on early 1969 cars and a different one that appeared on 1969 ½ cars.  The early 1969 dashboard changes are described below:

 

  • The most notable dashboard change on USA DS’s in early 1969 was that the little round dashboard switches that had been used for a number of years were replaced with rectangular rocker switches made by Jaeger.  These rocker switches were only used for a few months in early 1969 and were apparently an interim solution to comply with US crashworthiness rules associated with occupant safety.  There is an ID19 dashboard from early 1969 that also uses the Jaeger switches.  Annoyingly, some of these switches didn't have symbols on them, so one had to memorize the function. See photos. 

 

  • The ignition switch was moved from the main dashboard facia to the left side of the steering wheel pod, also presumably to comply with US crashworthiness rules. 

 

  • Hazard lights were now factory incorporated into the wiring and operated by one of the rectangular Jaeger rocker switches.   

 

The above changes started driving even more substantial differences in the wiring between USA and Euro models.

Early 1969 cars for the USA still had different turn signal switches than Euro cars and a separate turn signal flasher unit. However by 1969, the flasher was no longer made by Klaxon. Instead the unit was made by Scintex (P/N DX 575 100). 

Early 1969 USA DS21 dashboard with Jaeger Rocker switches. This particular car has Coolaire A/C

Early 1969 ID19 USA dashboard with Jaeger switches

Typical Jaeger Switch used on an early 1969 DS dashboard

The Citroën parts book suggests that these USA dashboards with Jaeger switches may have been used on late 1968 models as well, but we believe this is not true.  To our knowledge, these dashboards were only used on early 1969 USA models.  

 

Canadian cars received new dashboards in 1969 as well, but the dashes were much closer to their European counterparts, with rectangular push-on, push-off switches made by Gelbon.  

 

The speedometer on USA/Canadian cars continued to have minor differences (units in MPH and minor warning light differences).  

DOOR LATCHES

 

1969 through 1971 USA models had different door latches and striker plates than the Euro models.  These changes were to help prevent the doors from popping open during an accident (they were called anti-burst latches).  Specifically, the striker plate had an extra layer of metal that would prevent the door latch from disengaging from the striker plate if the pillar moved away from the door in an accident. 

 

A second door latch change occurred on 1969 through 1971 cars.  The front doors received a little black knob on the aft edge of the door that could be used to lock the front doors from the inside.  We believe that this was required by US regulations. See photo. 

 

The parts book suggests that these unique door latches were on some 1968 USA models as well, but we believe that the parts book is in error and they were only used on 1969 to 1971 USA cars. 

 

It is noted that the Euro and USA door latch and striker plate components cannot be intermixed, thus making it difficult to find a matching spare part.  There are latches that are chrome-plated or not chrome plated, left or right, front or rear, USA or Euro. By our count, there are 16 different door latch part numbers! And it doesn’t help that the 1966-1969 parts book is hopelessly confusing for door latches. 

 

Although the parts books do not reflect it correctly, we believe that Canadian cars received the Euro door latches until late 1971 when the configuration of Canadian cars essentially merged with USA cars. This means that Canadian cars had USA anti-burst door latches for only a few months in late 1971, noting that in 1972 the door latch design changed considerably. 

USA 1969-1971 DS anti-burst striker plate

Typical Euro striker plate

USA 1969-1971 DS door latch comparison - Euro is on the left, USA anti-burst on the right

USA 1969-1971 DS’s had a black knob to lock front doors from inside

To help sort out the confusing 1966-1969 parts book description of door latches, we have sorted it out for you (see table below).  

TABLE NOTES:

  • Most of the EURO latch part numbers were also used before 1966 but this article is only addressing 1966 -1972 cars. 

  • Pallas door latches are chrome-plated. Other than the visual difference of the chrome plating, Pallas and non-Pallas latches are interchangeable.  

EMISSION AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Smog controls remained virtually unchanged on 1969 cars for the USA market. The only noticeable smog difference was that the oil cap on the engine’s valve cover was vented with a hose for 1969 (oil cap P/X DX 132-81). The other end of this hose went to a spigot on the intake manifold at the base of the carburetor.  This vented oil cap seems to have disappeared by 1970.

 

Canadian cars still matched Euro cars and had none of the USA emission controls. 

Vented oil cap used on USA 1969 and 1969 1/2 DS's

TIRES

 

By 1969, all DS’s in the USA were equipped with an unusual and mostly forgotten Michelin tire, called the XH (size was 180-380, used on the front and rear).  Euro equivalent cars had XAS tires, with most Euro models having narrower tires in the rear. 

 

We believe that Canadian 1966 to 1972 sedans and wagons were all delivered with 180-380 XAS tires, however documentation is scant. 

Michelin XH tire

Extract from a 1969 USA owners manual specifying 180-380 Michelin XH tires.  We found several owners manuals from this era where this page was stapled or glued over the original page that showed XAS tires.

STRUCTURAL

 

In a curious move, Citroën added stiffeners to the chassis in several areas, just for USA models. This occurred in several locations and affected numerous years.  

 

One of the stiffening tactics that does not seem to be documented in the parts books are a pair of channels added to the floor, just in front of the muffler box.  We believe that these stiffeners were only used on early 1969 USA DS’s. They disappeared by 1969 ½.  

Also, the floors in the front footwell were double-layered in this era (equivalent Euro cars only had a single layer front floorboard). Very few of these unique USA structural modifications are documented in the parts books or repair manuals. 

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