What shock absorbers should I use on the front of my Traction Avant?
There is a wide range of options/opinions on this subject so this page has been developed so others can make a personal decision.
Looking at the diagram supplied by most parts suppliers the shock absorbers have an original Citroen number of 354.396 however these went out of production a long time ago so anything available now with be 'compatible' but not actual to the same specification as the original.
Option (1) The ones TOC Spares department supply are actually numbered 738080 and are made in Mexico (well the ones I had fitted on my car were). Googling that part number brings up results that imply that they were original equipment on 1970's USA Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep etc. and according to a renowned traction specialist in London are 'too firm' when used on a Traction Avant. My personal experience confirms that prognosis, especially over rough roads and at motorway speeds as the car tended to 'bounce'.
Option (2) He recommends 1960's MK1 Ford Escort shock absorbers and supplied as Japanese KYB 443020. However these are NOT a straight swop as the top and bottom mounting holes need to be 16mm in diameter so a bit of alteration is required as they come as 12mm mounting bore.
Basically you press out the bushes in the KYB 443020 and fit rubber bushes 421.014 and washers 088.584 (12.5x28x1.5 mm) either side which has the effect of compressing the rubber bushes onto the mounting pins when the castellated retaining nuts are tightened.
Option (3) Alternatively Sachs 290241 (EAN: 4013872373260) which are listed by José Fransen sprl are confirmed by Sachs Technical department as having a 16mm bore top and bottom so should be a straight replacement, however I have not personally tried those.
I went down Option (2) route, buying shock absorbers on eBay and fitting the rubber bushes 421.014 costs circa 50% of the cost of buying from TOC Spares! I can confirm that the ride and handling at motorway speeds is much improved.
Rear Shock Absorbers, to date I have left the TOC supplied ones in place but I am told that Ford Sierra rears are good on a Traction Avant. I don't have part numbers though at this time.