1971

UPDATED
5/2022

Mid-year 1971 was a pivotal time for Canadian DS's.  Specifically, all cars made after April of 1971 for the Canadian market had many simultaneous changes that brought them to a configuration almost identical to their American counterparts. Note that a manufacturing date of April, 1971 would imply a late 1971 delivery. We will refer to cars made after this date as mid-1971 cars. 

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EXTERIOR LIGHTING

The headlights, tail lights, and turn signals on 1971 US model DS's were identical to 1970 models.

 

However, in mid-1971, the metal frames for the USA side marker light housings became plastic on the front and rear of both sedans and wagons. More detail on the side marker lights can be found in the "side marker light summary" section. 

Also in-mid 1971, Canadian cars (both sedans and wagons) sadly lost all of the Euro lighting and received full USA lighting, front and rear. 

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Illuminated side marker light with plastic housing

REAR BUMPER

In mid-1971, Canadian DS sedans finally received the USA rear bumper and rear license plate pan. 

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USA rear bumper with flattened area to allow better visibility of the license plate - Used in USA between 1969 1/2 and 1972 and in Canada in late 1971 and 1972

DASHBOARD AND WIRING

There were very few dashboard differences on 1971 USA models as compared to 1970 USA models. 

 

In mid-1971 Canadian cars received the USA glove box door with the rotary open/close knob instead of the Euro rectangular grab pocket. Refer to the 1970 section for more details and photos.

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Canadian cars received the rotary knob glove box door in mid-1971

INTERIOR APPOINTMENTS

 

1971 D-Specials sold in the USA and Canada went back to more luxurious appointments, including padded door panels, cloth headliners, padded carpets, vinyl in the trunk, and a clock - features oddly missing on 1970 D-Specials sold in the USA. 

 

Generation 3 headrests with snap-on pillows started showing up on US cars in 1971. For Canadian cars, generation 3 headrests most likely showed up in mid-1971 when many of the other USA changes were incorporated. 

Generation 3 headrests with snap-on pillows on 1971 and 1972 USA models

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EMISSION AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT

 

Much of the emission and safety equipment remained the same for 1971. The main new thing for 1971 was the addition of an evaporative loss system. 

 

Evaporative loss systems to capture fuel tank vapors became mandated in the USA in this era, and the main component of an evaporative loss system is a charcoal canister. The parts books suggest that 1970, 1971, and 1972 USA cars received an evaporative loss system; but this is an error - only 1971 and 1972 cars for the USA had the system. 

 

We understand that the state of California required evaporative loss systems for fuel tanks for foreign cars as of 1970, but Citroën received a one year exemption from the state since they were unable to comply in time for 1970 models.  But by 1971, Citroën was able to bring the cars into compliance and thus 1971 and 1972 DS’s had the charcoal canister.  Note that by 1971, evaporative loss systems were not only a California requirement, but were also a federal requirement. 

 

The charcoal canister was mounted inside the front right fender and had hoses to the air cleaner and to the fuel tank. The air cleaner itself was unique on USA cars since it had a spigot for the charcoal canister hose (see photo). 

This system also included a plastic vapor recovery tank that was mounted in the right wheel well area (item #1 in the parts book snippet).

In 4/71, Canadian cars finally received the same smog controls that USA cars had.  The parts books show that Canadian cars never received a vapor recovery system, but we believe that this is in error and that emission controls became identical between USA and Canadian cars as of mid-1971. 

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Parts book image showing fuel evaporative loss system components - the charcoal canister is shown circled

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Rubber hose leading from the charcoal canister in the right fender to the air cleaner

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Charcoal canister inside front right fender

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Charcoal canisters, two different manufacturers were used

(The same unit(s) were used on the SM)

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Plastic vapor recovery tank in right rear wheel well

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CARBURATION ON D-SPECIALS

 

1971 and 1972 D-Specials intended for the USA were equipped with an unusual and not particularly desirable single barrel Solex carburetor that was part of the smog certification (Solex model 35 EISA). 

 

It was equipped with an electrically-actuated idle jet cutoff solenoid.  The wire to this solenoid had a nasty habit of falling off, thus causing the car to stall at inopportune times. 

This carburetor required a unique intake manifold since the bolt spacing on the mounting flange was different than that of the standard Solex 34 PB1C carburetor that had been used on all earlier D-Specials and ID19’s.  The unique intake manifold created an interference with the fuel pump outlet spigot, thus requiring a unique fuel pump that has not been available for many years. 

Based on the problems with this carburetor and near zero spare parts availability, almost all 1971 and 1972 D-Specials in the USA have been retrofitted with a different intake manifold and a DS21-style Weber carburetor, or the ubiquitous Solex 34 PB1C with its manifold.

 

Canadian D-Specials received this unusual Solex carburetor a few months after USA cars, in mid-1971. 

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Smogged Solex 35 EISA carburetor used on USA 1971 and 1972 D-Specials.

BRAKE SYSTEM

Starting in 1968, USA safety regulators started imposing more stringent regulations on automotive brake systems (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS 105-68). Among other things, this safety standard imposed a dual-circuit master cylinder; one circuit was for the front brakes, and a second circuit was for the rear brakes. With this split between the front and rear brake systems, a failure of a tube or a seal somewhere in the car would only render two of the brakes inoperative. As an example, if a hydraulic tube to the rear brakes rusted through and spilled all of the fluid for the rear brakes, a dual-circuit master cylinder would allow the front brakes to be fully operational. If a circuit indeed failed, a light would be illuminated on the dashboard indicating that something needed repair. 

 

Somehow Citroën avoided having to make design changes to meet these regulations until April of 1971. Then strange things started to happen to the brake system on DS’s headed for North America:

D-SPECIAL BRAKES

ID19’s and D-Specials always had a simplified brake system with a conventional brake pedal in lieu of the champignon (mushroom) brake pedal. This is true on US and Canadian DS's, except for a few months in mid-1971 when USA and Canadian D-Specials received the champignon brake pedal, oddly without a brake accumulator sphere! We suspect this change was an interim solution associated with compliance with USA safety regulations (see "Leak Finder" discussion below). For 1972, D-specials for USA and Canada went back to a simplified brake system, albeit a different design than earlier D-Specials. 

 

LEAK FINDERS

Also in mid-1971, in conjunction with the mushroom brake pedal, all USA and Canadian DS’s and D-Specials received hydraulic components called leak finders (two per car).  Leak finders were small hydraulic components that were located in the tubing leading to the front and rear brakes.  If there was a hydraulic leak somewhere downstream in the brake system, the leak finders would shut off flow to the affected brake(s), thus retaining the hydraulic system integrity for the remaining brakes, as well as for other hydraulic systems on the car. If a leak finder detected a leak and shut off flow, a switch at the end of the leak finder would be actuated to illuminate the red STOP warning light on the dashboard.  The leak finders mimicked the function of a dual-circuit master cylinder that other car manufacturers were required to have incorporated by 1968. Leak finders were also installed on DS’s intended for some of the Scandinavian countries in mid-1971. 

In industrial and aviation circles, the leak finder type of device is called a volumetric hydraulic fuse, since it passes a specific volume of fluid before it “sets” and shuts off flow. The fluid volume needed to “set” the fuse is designed to be somewhat more than the normal volume of fluid needed to apply the brakes. In this manner, the fuse will never “set” with normal braking activity, but will “set” if an abnormally high volume of fluid passes out to a set of brakes.

Leak finders made bleeding the brakes a bit of a chore since the leak finders interpreted brake bleeding as a leak and therefore would shut off flow to that set of brakes. The key to bleeding the brakes was to press on the pedal exceedingly lightly which allowed a very small flow around the outside diameter of the leak finder piston, without setting the fuse. 

 

On DS21's and D-Specials equipped with the champignon brake pedal, the leak finders were mounted in the driver’s footwell area, directly on the brake valve. Leak finders were installed on the lower left side of the engine compartment on 1972 D-Specials with the simplified brake system.   

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Mushroom brake pedal on a late 1971 D-Special. 

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Leak finders as found in late 1971 (and 1972) DS’s with the champignon brake pedal

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Leak finders as found in late 1971 (and 1972) DS’s with the champignon brake pedal

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Leak finders were moved to the engine compartment in 1972 D-Specials

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Disassembled leak finder

THE RECALL

If you read the above passages on Leak Finders carefully, you will note that all DS's imported into North America received Leak Finders starting in April of 1971. 

 

But it turns out that Citroën made a critical manufacturing error with the tubing for the Leak Finders! It looks like they inadvertently reversed the tubing such that the pressure intended for the front brakes actually went to the rear brakes and vice-versa. This clearly represents a safety hazard since it could result in the rear brakes actuating first! 

Citroën had no choice other than to initiate a recall campaign. For some reason, this error wasn't immediately discovered, so the recall notice applies to all North American DS's manufactured between April 1971 and October 1971. 

The recall notice provided troubleshooting steps to verify if a car was affected and if it was, then the tubing assembly on the brake pedal unit needed to be replaced with a corrected tube assembly.  

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Affected Tube Assembly

RILSAN COATED TUBES

In addition to the leak finders, North American DS's had some of the hydraulic tubing associated with the brakes coated with Rilsan to help prevent corrosion. Rilsan is a Nylon-like coating, white in color. These coated tubes were mostly in the rear end of the car in the exposed areas.

 

According to the parts books, these tubes started showing up at different times, some in mid-1970 and then again more tubes in mid-1971. A few of the Scandinavian countries received Rilsan coated tubes in similar (but not identical) locations. An example of a tube with Rilsan coating is the tube to the rear brake cylinders. See photo. 

Rilsan coated tube for the rear brakes

Recall Notice

(click to read entire notice)

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TRANSPORT CANADA STICKER

 

At some point, Canadian cars received a Transport Canada sticker identifying that the car complied with Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS).  After digging through Canadian government paperwork available on-line, we found a vague reference in a document that suggests this sticker may have been required as of 1971.  An example of a 1972 DS21 with the CMVSS sticker is shown. 

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CMVSS sticker on a 1972 Canadian DS

TIRES

 

Between 1969 and 1972, all DS’s in the USA had 180-380 (180-15) Michelin XH tires.  Euro equivalent cars would have had XAS tires, with most Euro models having narrower tires in the rear. 

 

We believe that Canadian 1966 to 1972 sedans and wagons were delivered with 180-380 XAS tires. 

Refer to the early 1969 section for more information and photos of XH tires.