Millimetre observations of IRAS selected red carbon stars are presented. About 260 stars have been observed with SEST and IRAM in the CO (1-0) and CO (2-1) lines and partially in HCN (1-0) and SiO (3-2). An overall detection rate, in at least one line, of about 80% is achieved. The survey represents the second largest survey for AGB stars, and the largest ever for carbon stars. Two new detections in SiO (3-2) in carbon stars are reported. When available, the SiO/HCN and HCN/CO (1-0) line ratios are consistent with the ratios expected for carbon stars.