Roy's Matra Enthusiasts pages
FAQ's: Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it possible to fit air conditioning to the Murena?
The simple answer is: I'm afraid no. The longer answer is: Maybe, but it will not be easy or cheap! First, make sure your heater turns off fully (see previous answer) which may help more than you think. You may then decide that the following work is unnecessary and too expensive to justify.
There are two problem areas that have to be overcome to fit air conditioning. The lack of space in the engine compartment, for the air conditioning compressor and the lack of space inside for the evaporator. In the early years of the Murena, the chances of getting a compressor to fit were, I would say, zero. However, the latest micro sports cars like the Cappacino have air conditioning thanks to some modern smaller units. It may be possible to engineer one of these on to the engine, but it will certainly require making some special brackets and using a different drive belt. Once the compressor can be fitted and driven, you are half way there. Mounting a condenser in front of the radiator should present little difficulty, and plumbing it together should also not be too taxing.
So the remaining problem is the evaporator. If you are willing to lose some or all of the 'glove box' space then this also may be possible. Once you have a complete system, then I would suggest you simply stick to an On/Off switch for simplicity, and away you go. Since the capacity will be small, a simple On/Off should be adequate and save all the complication of a looped feedback to get it to maintain a set temperature. As of 2015 I see Car Builder Solutions have an all-in-one unit comprising heater and cooling matricies with switches and wiring and may be the ideal unit. If you do manage to install an air conditioning system, be aware of two requirements: 1) you must use it regularly all year (say at least every week); and 2) it will require a gas check and possible top up approximately every four years. The reason it must be used regularly is to keep the seals supple and help prevent gas loss. Not everyone realises that proper air conditioning can be used with a warm heater setting. You will find it gets rid of the moisture from the windows very quickly and is a great help in winter. However, I don't think this is possible with the simpler Car Builder Solutions unit.
- Would you like an improved top gear?
Whilst we are talking about Murena improvements, one of the things that most annoyed me after I first bought my 2.2 back in 1983 was the low top gear. The car was definitely under-geared. Some years ago I pioneered fitting a high fifth gear to the 2.2 which suits it much better. The modification was quite straight forward for any mechanic or competent person who looks after their own car. You needed a special kit from CitroŽn: 2344CO, but I doubt it is still available now. I can always supply full fitting details if you manage to find suitable parts. Update Mid-2020: This kit is definitely unavailable, so unless you can find a suitable old CX transaxle to take the parts from, it is probably no longer an option.
- I cannot remove the Murena left hand driveshaft from the differential. Why?
To remove the left hand drive shaft you should only need to put a lever between the CV joint and the
casing and give a quick pull, and it should come out. The shaft is held by a spring clip inside the drive flange, which sits in a groove in the shaft and should open to allow the shaft to come out, but unfortunately it often seizes up. (If it won't come out easily, with a quick pull on the lever, DON'T force it or use a longer lever. You will simply end up breaking something!) This is a common problem, and stems from the fact that a core plug was fitted to the inner end of the drive flange to stop the oil coming out when the driveshaft is removed. However, this means the splines and retaining clip stay dry, corrode because they†are bare metal, and seize up after a while! If you are only trying to remove the driveshaft to remove the transaxle, say to change a clutch, then I would suggest leaving it in. It is short enough not to be a problem, and will save a lot of work.
If you really need to remove the shaft, say to change oil seals or carry out transaxle repairs, you will have to strip the differential to get at the other end of the drive flange. Once you have access to the inner end, first remove the core plug, and then you will need two small hardened pins. You tap these down two opposite splines until they reach the clip, then tap them in further to open up the clip, at which point the shaft should come out easily. Once out, you should grease the clip and splines to prevent them seizing up again, making further removal a simple job as originally intended.
The right hand drive shaft is not held by a clip, since the long shaft is secured by the support bearing.
- The Murena tail glass won't open. What can I do?
The release handle in the B pillar is connected to the rear glass catches with a long cable. It is fastened rigidly, so each time the release is pulled it has to flex. Eventually it will break, usually right by the handle. If you take out the handle (one screw) you may just be able to get hold of the broken end of the cable with a pair of grips and pull it, releasing the glass. (since the cable goes upwards from the handle, look upwards behind the panel after removing the handle, to find the end). Another way to access the cable, and when fitting the new one, is to remove the fibre strip that seals the gap between the body and chassis at the front of the rear wheel arch. This is only held on by rivets. In a real emergency where other methods have failed, access may also be possible another way in some but not all cases, but as this is an open website FAQ I will not divulge it here for security! Please contact me if you need to know.
- My Murena heated rear window (H.R.W.) does not work. What is wrong?
First, have you checked that the H.R.W. relay is getting voltage and is working? The relay is mounted in the engine compartment on the right of the bulkhead between the engine and cabin just below the window. It gets it's main feed from the circuit board at the front, via a multi-plug just near and hidden under the windscreen washer bottle. Check this connection carefully because the large red wire has usually corroded badly and there will be no feed to the relay. If you can hear the relay click when the switch is operated, and there is voltage at the red terminal and output to the window, then the next item to check is the earth on the left hand side. The feed from the relay goes up the right hand rear glass strut and the earth goes down the left hand one. The earth often breaks at the bottom of the left hand strut. Once you have a full circuit, you may find some of the
individual lines are broken. You can sometimes repair them with a special kit that is available from most motor factors. You mask each side of the line and 'paint' it onto the glass to re-join the line.
- What books are available on Matra?
There are a number of books still available but many are now out of print. A good place to start might be a French classic cars books website, or someone like Chater & Scott in the U.K. In fact, check any good motoring specialist bookshop as they occasionally have some out of print copies available. For current books try Amazon. Current books and magazines are listed on this website. Most will be in French but some are English.
- Can I get discount insurance for my Matra? What is the best insurance?
There are not enough Matra on the road in the U.K. to give any company enough business to offer a club discount, unlike say MG or Triumph. So I'm afraid it is down to the individual to obtain the best quote to suit their particular criteria. As long as you want limited mileage, agreed value, classic insurance, you should not have a problem. If you want unlimited mileage, you might find it more difficult, and you may not get an agreed value, which could mean the value will be much lower than it is worth. For normal classic insurance, try the usual ones listed in the magazines, like Footman James or Norton Heritage, but don't expect the person answering the phone to recognise Matra if you call them. The companies do know the cars since other club members insure with them, and they advertise in our club magazine, but the operators sometime do not know every rare marque. Simply leave the details and ask them to ring back once they have a quote for you.
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This was last updated 5th April '21