From Citroen SM Wiki

Heater Valve Background

The heater tends to fail fully on or fully off.

The function of the heat sensor tube is to close the tap when exiting air gets too hot, using expansion of the fluid inside it, which is heated by the exiting air. Thus thermostatic control of the heater air is achieved.

The working fluid can leak fron this tube, and this regularly leads to an always on heater.

The SM heater has over closed capability. This means that as you go past the start of the white section towards the blue the valve is already closed, but the actuator, being mechanical, continues to travel in the same direction.

When left closed for very long periods, the tap diaphragm can become 'glued' to the sealing face. This effect leads to failure of the pull off cup inside the valve. As the sealing spring is quite strong, once failed, the pull off pin will not work again.

Recommendation: Store your SM with the heater valve open.

It is relatively easy to 'shim' the thermostatic element to achive closure of the tap but without thermostatic control. Repair of the always closed situation is much more difficult.


Remove the drivers side centre console side panel and determine if the valve quadrant is responding to the lever and linkage cable, and moves in both directions to the maximum possibility. If it is it is, and you have heat when the control is anywhere in the blue sector it is a failing/failed heat thermostat sensor tube assembly.

Cut the spring

do not do this.

(or) Add a Spacer

Put a short slug (shim) (2-3mm) made from a 5mm bolt into the head of the heater capsule and all is well. But you do have to take it apart, nearly a 5 minute job (really).