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Datsuncog's Heaps: 20/07/21 - Torque to me...


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On 11/15/2017 at 9:08 PM, Patent said:

As a youth my parents owned a 1996 RT Estate in 2.2 NA Diesel flavour. It came complete with rear facing seats in the boot á la Renault 21.

It wouldn't pull you out of bed but it did soldier on for 260k miles. Would love another with the same powerhouse

I stumbled across this NA dizzler only the other week while out shopping - quite a surprise. Plate's probably worth more than the car, mind!

P1060865.JPG

They're tough old things - I tried to buy a really tidy local example with the seven-seat option a year or so ago, but someone else beat me to it. Hope you find one!

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On 11/15/2017 at 9:19 PM, bramz7 said:

Here is 'that Laguna' I mentioned earlier:

e36391328834_7da395c356_b.jpg1995 Renault Laguna RT. by Sam Osbon, on Flickr

Only 27k!!!!

Seems like this has now turned into an appreciation thread too. I'd like one to pair the 406, get the late 90s BTCC vibe going. 

Oh my... now that is an absolute stunner, and a pretty early one too. April '95 - and it just looks so right! Dare I say it, this one looks even nicer than the KFG example, and even fewer miles. Does no harm to leave your name and number, just in case!

I came out of the cinema earlier this year to find a pre-facelift 406 parked behind me, and a crusty Xantia just across the way. That was a good day.

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On 11/16/2017 at 12:30 AM, alcyonecorporation said:

I had a part spesh DTi diesel estate Laguna I phase 2, which wasn't the full yellow bentines DCi. Partridge still has it. 

Both were common rail (I think). 

It was deathly slow but never gave less than 50 mpg, handled pretty well and could carry a fair bit. 

I dread to think how sluggish a 2.2 IDE must have been. 

Will always have a soft spot for Laguna Is. That I bought another after the world's most appalling V6 Monaco is a measure of how much I like them. 

xcOQrsg.jpg

vpVWjW3.jpg

I reckon they're rather underrated cars all round, and I'm mightily heartened by the love-in tonight for the Laguna 1 - and great to know so many upstanding shiters think highly of them, as I was expecting at least a little bit of "just fucking scrap it, it's a Gooner".

But I gotta ask... is the story behind that Monaco being hiab'd with extreme prejudice already recounted on a thread I've missed? Because there's got to be quite a story there...

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Just to keep on with the updates for TAZ, I wazzed the bottle of CataClean into the tank this evening and had a bit of a blast down the motorway to try to shift any unwanted deposits from around the cat.

I don't think I'm imagining it - the car feels noticeably better on the road than it was when first obtained back in July. I'd put the slightly hesitant motor down to having higher miles than my '96 RN, plus extras like aircon to slow it down. But it just feels more willing, more responsive, and definitely smoother than before. It's possible the dodgy coil pack hadn't been pulling its weight for some time.

MOT is at the end of the month, so I've a week or two to sort some other niggles before finding out whether the cat's been ruined by three-pot running. Stay tuned, folks...

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I always liked the phase 2 RT Sports with the multispoke OZ Racing alloys some of them had, optional extra possibly?

 

Renault-Laguna-RTi.jpg

 

Never understood why they changed from the nice smoked and red tail lights of the phase 1 to the amber and red tail lights on the phase 2, usually it was the other way about when cars got updated.

 

I think a lot of the reason there are very few mk1 Lags about now is because of how badly they depreciated, I remember the local Renner Dealer having a 4 year old 2000 X reg 1.6 RT in white for £3500, one of the last before the Lag II, a lot of car for the money, you wouldn’t have got a Vectra or Mondeo 4 years old in mid spec trim that cheap, which meant as they got older they became worthless and died out.

 

Lag II prefacelift were a nice looking car, smart interior, nice to drive/be driven in, comfy seats and well equipped, I remember doing work experience in said Renner dealership in late 2002 when they were current and they were cracking cars (reliability aside which wasn’t fully known then, except for the Tyre pressure sensors, a tyre change would see the display thinking the car was driving around with a wheel missing, when that particular corner of the display flashed along with warnings)

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I reckon they're rather underrated cars all round, and I'm mightily heartened by the love-in tonight for the Laguna 1 - and great to know so many upstanding shiters think highly of them, as I was expecting at least a little bit of "just fucking scrap it, it's a Gooner".

 

But I gotta ask... is the story behind that Monaco being hiab'd with extreme prejudice already recounted on a thread I've missed? Because there's got to be quite a story there...

Not much to tell.

 

I paid £100 for it, went down to Haverfordwest on a school night (from Peterborough) to get it, and it blew a head gasket 14 miles into the journey back.

 

It was recovered, I tried to sell it for spares and got various sarky comments from Corsa fans. 25v6turbo wanted it delivering to his gaff within the price (or for next to nothing, I can't actually remember now) so I fragged it. This was after it vomited coolant out of the header tank all over Captain Slow's £5 valeted Rover 75 (open window!) and the scrap metal merchant pissed me around twice and then tried to blame the rescheduling on me.

At the time, scrap metal prices were on their arse. I got nothing for it other than a lot of whinging from HIAB man.

 

I've since found a better place which pays actual money for cars (an unfamiliar concept to a lot of Renault and Peugeot fans).

 

Re: beko's - sadly, I'd press it and get on with the rest of my life.

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On 11/16/2017 at 2:22 AM, Hendry said:

I always liked the phase 2 RT Sports with the multispoke OZ Racing alloys some of them had, optional extra possibly?

Renault-Laguna-RTi.jpg

Never understood why they changed from the nice smoked and red tail lights of the phase 1 to the amber and red tail lights on the phase 2, usually it was the other way about when cars got updated.

I think a lot of the reason there are very few mk1 Lags about now is because of how badly they depreciated, I remember the local Renner Dealer having a 4 year old 2000 X reg 1.6 RT in white for £3500, one of the last before the Lag II, a lot of car for the money, you wouldn’t have got a Vectra or Mondeo 4 years old in mid spec trim that cheap, which meant as they got older they became worthless and died out.

Lag II prefacelift were a nice looking car, smart interior, nice to drive/be driven in, comfy seats and well equipped, I remember doing work experience in said Renner dealership in late 2002 when they were current and they were cracking cars (reliability aside which wasn’t fully known then, except for the Tyre pressure sensors, a tyre change would see the display thinking the car was driving around with a wheel missing, when that particular corner of the display flashed along with warnings)

Yes, indeed... my dad owned one of the first facelifted Mk1s, picking up a brand new 1.6 RT Sport in Venetian Red in August '98 - UBZ4994. It was our first new family car, replacing a succession of secondhand Sierra estates, and although I was busy at the time mucking about with a driveway of rusty shite (Cortina, Mini, Viva) I definitely appreciated this 'modern' - it drove amazingly well, the 16v engine had bags of go and it looked gorgeous. Must look out a proper photo -  it was the same shade as this, and was fitted with alloys too. According to the DVLA site, UBZ seems have been on the road until October 2007 when the last MOT was up (though oddly shows as having remained taxed until January 2009), so I'll assume it's long gone now. The only real problem it had was the gearbox, which was reluctant to engage in first unless you were moving off from a standstill, or double-declutched - not too good in a two year old car.

renault-laguna-1.6-031.jpg

I'm also perplexed about the change to amber and red lights for the facelift models - agree that it was contra to what most manufacturers were doing, and one of the reasons I prefer the pre-facelift models. The smoked lenses just look less cluttered.

I don't remember seeing many round our way with Oz alloys, at least from new - maybe a dealer option? - but they do look damn good. My favourite alloy style on the early Lagunas is the type I always mentally referred to as the 'criss-cross fries' alloy, so I was well pleased when the ad showed that TAZ had these fitted. Would love to know the proper name for them!

Laguna alloys - criss cross.jpg

Criss Cross Fries.gif

I think you're right that most Laguna 1s seem to have died of neglect and indifference - mechanical soundness and a spacious boot mixed with heavy depreciation is a bad combination for survival, and I recall a lot of them being worked to death by tradesmen as work hacks with ladders on the roof, seats flat in the back and paint all over the bootlid...

The £50 shitter I bought for parts had been used by a local gardener for seven years, and I literally had to clear the muck out of the interior using a trowel. He had paid £400 for it in 2008, and although he'd certainly got his money's worth (especially as he sold the original SAZ plate for £350!) he had at least maintained it up to the point the rust became too rampant underneath. Because they were cheap and plentiful, I imagine it made more economic sense for a lot of people just to weigh in a slightly shabby car that needed a good service, two tyres and the rear wheel bearings done (which both KAZ and TAZ have required) and simply buy another example for a few hundred quid. And then suddenly... they're not around anymore.

I never really took to the Laguna 2's styling, always feeling that the proportions were slightly wrong compared to the earlier model (boot quite high and stubby, nose with quite a big overhang and that weird silver grille insert) though my dad liked them a lot - and would have replaced his red Mk1 with one of the new models in 2001, but for my grandparents developing mobility problems and it was agreed that the Laguna 2 was too low and hard to get in and out of.

So we ended up with a Xsara Picasso instead, which I took to calling 'The Hippo'. Looking back, I think he dodged a bullet as I remember customers coming into my work reporting all manner of Laguna 2 electrical problems almost straightaway, and not long after with serious mechanical problems. I left Halfords (for the first time) in June 2002, and even then stories were filtering in of catastrophic engine failures and unfixable faults. I think this bad press tarnished the whole model range!

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I think you're right that most Laguna 1s seem to have died of neglect and indifference - mechanical soundness and a spacious boot mixed with heavy depreciation is a bad combination for survival, and I recall a lot of them being worked to death by tradesmen as work hacks with ladders on the roof, seats flat in the back and paint all over the bootlid... the £50 shitter I bought for parts had been used by a local gardener for seven years, and I literally had to clear the muck out of the interior using a trowel. He had paid £400 for it in 2008, and although he'd certainly got his money's worth (especially as he sold the original SAZ plate for £350!) he had at least maintained it up to the point the rust became too rampant underneath. Because they were cheap and plentiful, I imagine it made more economic sense for a lot of people just to weigh in a car that needed the rear wheel bearings done (which both KAZ and TAZ have required) and simply buy another for a few hundred quid. And then suddenly... they're not around anymore.

Festival of the Unexceptional material right there.

 

My dad had a very early 1.8 RT, the first in string of Renaults from the then-local dealership Jackson & Edwards in Broadheath (it's now a Bristol Street Motors branch).

He later had two Espaces and a Scenic before moving on to a variety of poverty specification Audis and BMWs. None were as reliable as the Renaults.

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On 11/16/2017 at 10:32 AM, alcyonecorporation said:

Not much to tell.

I paid £100 for it, went down to Haverfordwest on a school night (from Peterborough) to get it, and it blew a head gasket 14 miles into the journey back.

It was recovered, I tried to sell it for spares and got various sarky comments from Corsa fans. 25v6turbo wanted it delivering to his gaff within the price (or for next to nothing, I can't actually remember now) so I fragged it. This was after it vomited coolant out of the header tank all over Captain Slow's £5 valeted Rover 75 (open window!) and the scrap metal merchant pissed me around twice and then tried to blame the rescheduling on me.

At the time, scrap metal prices were on their arse. I got nothing for it other than a lot of whinging from HIAB man.

I've since found a better place which pays actual money for cars (an unfamiliar concept to a lot of Renault and Peugeot fans).

Re: beko's - sadly, I'd press it and get on with the rest of my life.

Yow. Sounds like a bit of a bollocks... d'you reckon the vendor knew it was about to pop, at that bargain price, or were you just unlucky? Shame you got messed about so much, but swings and roundabouts I guess... I'd have quite fancied some Monaco goodies to fire into one of mine (rear courtesy lights, f'r instance) but that's the way it goes.

It's rarely difficult to distinguish a little ray of sunshine from a lad with a lifting boom... funny that. One chap from my local scrappy became actively incensed at the condition of a Datsun Sunny of mine he came to lift; you'd have thought I was asking him to fix it up like new, not take it away and squash it. It had been left standing for three years before I bought it purely for the glass. Hey ho. Also remember when scrap prices were so bad back in 2002 a friend's dad having to pay a metal recycler £100 or so to take in her rotten Nova - even after bringing it over to the yard and everything. To make matters worse, they nearly put a forklift through my Mk2 Fiesta that I'd brought round to give him a lift home.

But yeah, I don't think it'll be long before the early Lags become FotE material - and it's why I'm very loathe to scrap my non-running bASe Laguna RN. If I had a shed to shove it in, it could be up there with the Holy Grail dangly Sierra in a decade or so... it's nearly as battered. (The pics flatter it muchly)

IMG_20170330_185110.jpg

Agree that Beko's Sporttourer is probably better off being transformed into a fridge. I've not a lot of love for the late model Lags - and nine extremely fraught months of Alfa 156 ownership taught me never to throw money at a modern that's got more than one problem.

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As a further update...

The bottle of CataClean was bucked into the (quarter full) tank last night, and I took the Laguna out on a fairly brisk voyage along the entire length of the M5 and M3 from end to end (though, being Northern Ireland, I should point out that these fine pieces of road only cover less than five miles put together), and then onwards to Bangor - so about half an hour's running in total, at between 40 and 70-ish with a few stops for lights and roundabouts.

As I said earlier, it may be my imagination but she seems to be running significantly better - much more willing and sprightly than before. When I bought the car, the rear bearings were grumbling away ominously and although everything sounded much happier after I got them changed, it still seemed just a smidge sluggish. Obviously the dodgy coil pack was the main problem, but is it possible that the new ones are feeding all the plugs a bit better? I don't really know whether static units like this do start to lose efficiency over time, so maybe the replacements have added a little bit of pep to the proceedings. If they were indeed the original units, as I suspect from the lack of burring to the Torx retaining bolts, then they're close on 20 years old.

Changing the plugs may also have made a difference - if the spark gap is critical on these 8v units, then the electrodes on the old Champions had burned away 0.2mm below (what I believe to be) their pre-set 0.9mm gap, which may well be enough to affect the running. The replacement plugs aren't new, but are way less manky than before.

I may chance my arm online for a brand new set, as no stores seem to stock the HBOL prescribed plugs (Bosch WR8D+) or those recommended by Renault (Champion N7YCX). It's currently rocking a used set of NGK BPR6Es from the dormant silver Lag, and seems pretty perky with them in - so I'm tempted to just get a new set of these, since they seem to suit it. Any thoughts? I messed about with Bosch Super4s years ago, and although I liked to think they made a difference (in a 1256cc Viva), I'm now not so convinced... but if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Also looking to fit a new set of HT leads, while retaining the old ones as spares. Although they seem to be working okay, heat and oil have deformed the rubber flanges around the plug connector ends, and I figure that I'd rather just replace as much of the ignition system as I can to hopefully fend off future problems. If they're old, as I suspect they are, then they may be breaking down a little inside too.

What I'm most surprised at is a few other unrelated things that appear to have spontaneously fixed themselves.

As bought, the digital odometer was blank. The seller told me it was nothing to worry about, it just needed a pair of dash bulbs slotted in. After a fun* morning dismantling the dashboard (yeah - HBOL describes it as 'simple' and shows the instrument cluster just lifting straight out - but makes the charming assumption that you've already removed the steering wheel and airbag assembly just for the hell of it, like in their smudgy photos. Rather more of a faff with the wheel still in situ) I replaced the bulbs and screwed it back together. Odo was now appearing fine, though one half of the cluster then began to go dark intermittently. A sharp smack to the side of the binnacle sometimes brought them all back on, but obviously this isn't good for the PCB as a long-term solution. Curiously, since changing the coil packs on Tuesday night, the whole cluster has lit up properly each time I start it, and stays on. Hmm.

The car also had the original cassette player fitted when acquired. After a few weeks of reacquainting myself with some old 90s mix tapes (Cast, Northern Uproar and Catatonia, anyone?), the rubbish muzzy sound quality and tendency to flip sides mid-song annoyed me, so I pulled it and slung a cheap aftermarket Pioneer MP3 head unit in. Now, I had all the aftermarket stereo leads from a Blaupunkt CD player currently living in the silver RN, including steering column control interface leads, so thought this would be a simple swap with a only a change of patch lead needed from Blaupunkt (pin block) to Pioneer (3.5mm jack) - only it turned out to have a slightly different Philips wiring block for the control interface, meaning that I had to buy a whole new set of connectors (costing more than the bastarding head unit). Well, it was working anyway, and I could live with the blank space next to the digital clock where it once used to display the cassette direction or radio station.

The blank space now states 'RENAULT'. Which is kinda cool, but also makes me think - why? Why now? It's not like I even disconnected the battery like the HBOL advised while bolting in the new coil packs.

And yes, I know this makes no sense whatsoever, but the slightly notchy second gear is no longer notchy. I have no explanation why that might be. Usually it needs a little extra squeeze to slot it in fully, but not yesterday. Not this morning either. And the clutch - which is a bit worn and has a tendency to snatch - feels a bit tighter. I'm hoping that it's the Gods of Shite smiling upon me for persevering with this particular heap rather than just ringing the metal recycler, and not a warning sign that it's about to shit itself big time.

But yeah. So far, improvements. Let's just hope they last.

Oh yeah, maybe I should point out at this juncture that I'm planning on driving this car from the Belfast area over to Shetland in the spring, so I'd quite like it to be as reliable as possible.

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On 11/16/2017 at 12:16 PM, Rusty Sills said:

Didn’t these things go through gearboxes? I was told it was a problem for them.

My dad's facelift Series 1 was a torture to get into first unless actually stationary. Thankfully it went back to the lease company before it actually failed completely. I also drove a four year old example from a main dealer's forecourt that was clearly borked, despite the salesman's protestations.

The box in my silver RN has been a delight. Really smooth, precise shift, no bother at all. 65k when I got it, and over 90k now showing. I thought about changing the gearbox oil, but feared throwing it off balance by meddling. If it ain't broke, and all that...

The box in the green RT was extremely stiff when I first looked at it, and indeed I negotiated a few quid off the asking price because of this. I was told it hadn't been driven in about four months, and the seller insisted it was just from lack of use. True enough, it did ease up quite a bit on the drive home, and over the space of a week improved immensely. It can be slightly notchy and needing an extra tug when engaging second (it feels like it's engaged, but hasn't quite, leading to lots of delightful grinding when lifting off the clutch), but actually seems alright most of the time now I've accustomed myself to it. I've driven worse!

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When my dearly beloved and missed wife were first together, just bought our house etc and money was a tad tight, we used to deal old motors. Had much fun as a part time job instead of full time and we both had a right laugh going to auctions and buying stuff, chatting up the burger van ladies and getting EVERYTHING on a bun for sweet F.A. at closing time. Also, 'cos the wife was what is commonly known as a 'bit of a looker' she could play dumb (she wasn't) and charm dealers into giving her the good (or bad) word on stuff they were punting thru... never underestimate the value of a decent bit of skirt when dealing with the motor trade!

 

Anywho, one fine day (night actually) we were at Saltash and she was chatting to a dealer who suggested the Safrane and Citroen he had just brought in were both 'jolly decent velocipedes' so we bought them both.

 

The Safrane was a 1 owner RXE and about 4 years old and the Xantia was a high spec thing, similar age and also 1 owner. Both were under 30K miles and looked clean and straight, sounded good and so were bought.

 

The problem came later: we both LOVED them both! They were both utterly brilliant cars and we wanted to keep one or the other but couldn't decide which one to keep, so advertised them both for 'silly money' and would keep whichever didn't sell.

 

Of course, they both sold on the same day for full whack and our lass was (nearly) distraught at the loss of her two favourite cars. I was sort of saddened but glad to have made lots of folding stuff, which did soften the blow rather!

 

What got me though was how cheap they were! Neither was close to a grand when shit Vectras and Mundanos were several times that for older, leggier examples - everyone shied away from them and there was hardly any bidding. I thought I'd bought badly, but later events proved otherwise and they both sold easily. Never had another Safrane but we did get another Xantia later which was a bit older and a tad tired and emotional but was still a great car for £300 and sold for an easy profit. I have always liked older French stuff but, the newer gear... forget it!

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I had a laguna RT , ex demo N reg I think it was, nice car, I'd only had it a few weeks when Mrs wack ripped the passenger door skin off on a luton van

 

Re euro car parts, if you're ordering online check carparts4less which is their sister site, they're usually cheaper, as an example I just priced that coil pack , ECP with their headline 33% off £23.19 CP4less with 12% off £20.49

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On 11/16/2017 at 4:16 PM, xtriple said:

When my dearly beloved and missed wife were first together, just bought our house etc and money was a tad tight, we used to deal old motors. Had much fun as a part time job instead of full time and we both had a right laugh going to auctions and buying stuff, chatting up the burger van ladies and getting EVERYTHING on a bun for sweet F.A. at closing time. Also, 'cos the wife was what is commonly known as a 'bit of a looker' she could play dumb (she wasn't) and charm dealers into giving her the good (or bad) word on stuff they were punting thru... never underestimate the value of a decent bit of skirt when dealing with the motor trade!

Anywho, one fine day (night actually) we were at Saltash and she was chatting to a dealer who suggested the Safrane and Citroen he had just brought in were both 'jolly decent velocipedes' so we bought them both.

The Safrane was a 1 owner RXE and about 4 years old and the Xantia was a high spec thing, similar age and also 1 owner. Both were under 30K miles and looked clean and straight, sounded good and so were bought.

The problem came later: we both LOVED them both! They were both utterly brilliant cars and we wanted to keep one or the other but couldn't decide which one to keep, so advertised them both for 'silly money' and would keep whichever didn't sell.

Of course, they both sold on the same day for full whack and our lass was (nearly) distraught at the loss of her two favourite cars. I was sort of saddened but glad to have made lots of folding stuff, which did soften the blow rather!

What got me though was how cheap they were! Neither was close to a grand when shit Vectras and Mundanos were several times that for older, leggier examples - everyone shied away from them and there was hardly any bidding. I thought I'd bought badly, but later events proved otherwise and they both sold easily. Never had another Safrane but we did get another Xantia later which was a bit older and a tad tired and emotional but was still a great car for £300 and sold for an easy profit. I have always liked older French stuff but, the newer gear... forget it!

Heh, that's awesome! I'd been warned off anything French from various tales of woe recited by customers - despite my dad owning four Renaults, two Peugeots and two Citroens over the years, which were largely drama-free. A semi-involuntary sojourn into XM ownership baffled and confused me, and it was only desperation that led me to accept a scruffy Laguna (but MOTd and driving okay) in exchange for a mortally wounded Alfa Romeo... so, like yourself, it's been a bit of a revelation!

I don't think these Series 1 Lagunas really deserve the pasting they receive (hell, even Wikipedia gives them a good kicking):

"The Mark 1 model has many bad reviews and reliability issues with everything from rear wheel bearing problems (a common Renault problem over several models) and heavy depreciation to problems with the bonnet latches (Renault use an unusual system that is difficult to set up properly). The reviews tended to be worse for the hatchback, with it suffering many more complaints and breakdowns than the estate variant, although no reasoning for this has been found."

While it does make for cheap, satisfying motoring (and yes, I'd be very attracted to a Safrane) to those in the know, it's a pity so many have already been cubed through lack of interest. The Lag is a much better car than the contemporary Vectra and Mondeo in pretty much every regard I can think of, but I suppose since the majority of fleet managers went down the Ford/GM route every time, those are the secondhand cars everybody wanted... *sigh*.

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I’d be tempted to leave the gearbox oil alone, sometimes on an older car or one that’s done a few miles, the thinner new oil can cause the box to develop noise that the thicker oil would have hidden. From memory the oil level was behind a plastic wing nut, you can buy an actual Renault dipstick to check with with.

 

The problem with gearboxes I think was being over tightly shimmed. Something that would have probably shown up before now.

 

What saw a lot off was stuff like leaking heater matrixes or a failed clutch etc. Given they haven’t much of a following any more, it’s likely something major on an otherwise good car sees it off.

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The Renault voice synthesiser story goes like this.  My old man was in the crash repair trade before he retired and his workshop was just by the back of a diary.  All the milkmen would arrive at stupid o'clock each morning to collect the milk floats and start their rounds.  My dad knew quite a lot of the milkmen a bit and although he was in crash repair he would do a bit of oil changing and other servicing for cash and it was dead convenient for the milkmen to drop their cars in with dad to be sorted whilst they were on their round.  At the time he had a Renault 25 he would give to customers as a courtesy car.  One day one of the milkmen brought the R25 back as his car had been in for a service which had taken a couple of days.  "What did you think of the Renault?", said my dad to the milkman.  "Most frightening car in the world," said the milkman. "You what?" replies dad.  So the milkman says, "3 o'clock this morning I got in the Renault to come over here and pick up the milk float to start my round.  I turn the key, engine starts no problem and I get 50 yards down the road when a voice says 'Fuel level is low".  Nearly had a heart attack."  Dad unplugged the speaker.

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On 11/16/2017 at 5:08 PM, Wack said:

I had a laguna RT , ex demo N reg I think it was, nice car, I'd only had it a few weeks when Mrs wack ripped the passenger door skin off on a luton van

Re euro car parts, if you're ordering online check carparts4less which is their sister site, they're usually cheaper, as an example I just priced that coil pack , ECP with their headline 33% off £23.19 CP4less with 12% off £20.49

Yeowch... did you get the door repaired, or was it off to the knacker's for that particular Lag? I once scraped the side of my Escort down a wall in a spectacularly inept reversing manoeuvre... and then drove it for another four years looking like a train had hit it.

1996 Ford Escort 1.6 LX.jpg

I hadn't heard of Carparts4less - thanks for that! Worth checking for future bits, although the £5.95 carriage charge and four day delivery to Northern Ireland might even out the price difference on cheaper bits... still, no harm adding it to my favourites bar, cheers!

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On 11/16/2017 at 5:46 PM, sierraman said:

I’d be tempted to leave the gearbox oil alone, sometimes on an older car or one that’s done a few miles, the thinner new oil can cause the box to develop noise that the thicker oil would have hidden. From memory the oil level was behind a plastic wing nut, you can buy an actual Renault dipstick to check with with.

The problem with gearboxes I think was being over tightly shimmed. Something that would have probably shown up before now.

What saw a lot off was stuff like leaking heater matrixes or a failed clutch etc. Given they haven’t much of a following any more, it’s likely something major on an otherwise good car sees it off.

Hell yeah - I have no intention of messing about with the box unless it becomes absolutely critical!

I checked the level in the silver Lag's box not long after getting it, using the short end of an IKEA hex key as an impromptu dipstick - and it looked fairly good for both level and consistency. Back went the plug, and I've not been near it since. Haven't checked the green car yet, but with 120k on it now, I'm sure it wouldn't be shy in letting me know if there was a problem brewing. I'd never received an explanation for the cheese gearboxes that some cars experienced, but I can see how overshimming at the factory could condemn an otherwise lovely car to untimely failure.

I expect that this one will need a new clutch before too long, but I'm happy to put the work in - I've been looking for a decent Laguna for a while, preferably a low-mile, one elderly owner example to keep as a long-term driver. The miles aren't that low and while there's a fair bit of cosmetic work needed, it seems generally sound. I fully expected to have to travel over to mainland GB to find one this good, so the fact that this one turned up only down the road has already saved me £300+ in airfare, fuel and ferry costs. I like the fact that it's a car from my hometown - and it's nice to think that I could well have done a bit of work on it myself in the late 90s when it was just new and I was working in Halfords.

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On 11/16/2017 at 9:31 PM, artdjones said:

My brother in Spain has a 96 RN with a/c that he's owned for 15 years.When I was out there in September it was running very poorly.Guess what,one new coil pack fixed it,so I suppose it will go on for at least one more year.Driving it is like driving a really comfortable armchair.

Glad to hear that! They are really comfy things to drive, I've been surprised how nice they are long-distance. The RT seats are a bit more awkward to get out of than those in the RN, but I think they've even more support - I drove 250miles from Galway to Belfast last week with only a ten-minute stop at services, and felt remarkably fresh at the other end. The same journey in my wife's Yaris, my back was always aching... Hopefully your brother will get many more years out of his!

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On 11/16/2017 at 10:39 PM, Niffleman said:

The Renault voice synthesiser story goes like this.  My old man was in the crash repair trade before he retired and his workshop was just by the back of a diary.  All the milkmen would arrive at stupid o'clock each morning to collect the milk floats and start their rounds.  My dad knew quite a lot of the milkmen a bit and although he was in crash repair he would do a bit of oil changing and other servicing for cash and it was dead convenient for the milkmen to drop their cars in with dad to be sorted whilst they were on their round.  At the time he had a Renault 25 he would give to customers as a courtesy car.  One day one of the milkmen brought the R25 back as his car had been in for a service which had taken a couple of days.  "What did you think of the Renault?", said my dad to the milkman.  "Most frightening car in the world," said the milkman. "You what?" replies dad.  So the milkman says, "3 o'clock this morning I got in the Renault to come over here and pick up the milk float to start my round.  I turn the key, engine starts no problem and I get 50 yards down the road when a voice says 'Fuel level is low".  Nearly had a heart attack."  Dad unplugged the speaker.

That's a brilliant tale! I would have been scared shitless too... The speaker mounting point in the Laguna's just below the steering column, so a disembodied voice floating up from the floor would not go down too well if I hadn't been expecting it...

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Minor update:

Throwing caution to the winds, I ordered up a new set of HT Leads off of The Bay; Quinton Hazell jobs, that look the right shape and size for the 18 months or whatever this particular ignition configuration was fitted. Only £6-odd, including postage. Leads for the other Laguna (dizzy version) would have been a mere £3!

Also currently involved in a minor bidding war for two packs of NGK BPR6E plugs, that started at £1 and have now gone up to £11.50... now these aren't recommended for the Laguna anywhere, but they ran quite sweetly in the silver Laguna for over three years and the same plugs are now happily doing their job in the green one, so I'd be happy sticking with them. Not critical right now, so if I don't win them I won't cry, though they're the V-Groove jobbers that I fancied made my Mk2 Fezzer run a bit smoother. Auction ends on Sunday.

The dashboard lights are all still illuminating as they should, strangely. Can't get my head round what's happened there, unless there was some sort of voltage fluctuation caused by the dying coil pack that made them not work when the ignition was turned? You can tell I know nothing about auto electrics...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Further update on what's been happening with the Green Gooner since last week...

Seeking to slay the ignition demons for once and for all, I ordered up a set of new HT leads from EvilBay for £6 or so, which duly arrived. They turned out not to be QH items as advertised, but made by CI (nothing to do with the caravans, I'll assume). But they seem to be the right length and connector type, so on they went. Zero difference noticed, so I'll keep the old ones for now as a back-up.

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I also won two sets of new and boxed NGK BPR6E spark plugs in an Ebay auction, topping out at £12 for eight plugs including p&p - which is still cheaper than just buying them singly. The original plugs appeared to date from some time around the Norman Conquest and had burned away at the electrode to the tune of 0.2mm, so although the poor running was definitely a failing coil pack, I doubt the plug condition was helping matters. This will allow a pack for each Laguna, and may go some way to isolating the cause of the silver Laguna RN's obstinate and mysterious FTP (of which you will note I've been rather silent, thus far).

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Unfortunately, as the spark plug parcel was sent via MyHerpes, it's ended up with a neighbour who happened to be in to sign for it - but who then went away for the weekend before I came home from work on Friday to retrieve it. I can see the bastarding parcel sitting on their hall console table and all. Apparently they'll be home tomorrow night. Apparently.

Now the real fun starts.

The MOT on the Green Gooner expires on Thursday.

For those who have become involved in tedious discussions with Northern Irish shiters before, you will be well aware that MOTs in this fair land are administered by dedicated government testing centres run by the Department for Infrastructure, and conducted rather in the manner of a PSV test (which they also carry out), where the vehicle is assessed and either passed or failed - and in the case of the latter, the car is to be taken away, repaired, and returned for a re-test at some future date. There's no repairs done on site, and no latitude for the most part - if you're out of screen wash or an indicator bulb's gone, there's no opportunity to fix it. You get a FAIL, are allowed to slink home, fix whatever needs fixing, and then shell out £19 or so to apply for the re-test in a week or so's time. If you're really unlucky, they'll run a full re-test rather than just check the failure item, and then fail you again on something not picked up on the first time.

The official line is that there are no targets for failure, nothing like that AT ALL, but lads I've spoken to who have worked there have told me that they have a weekly fail quota. If they want to find a fault with your car, they will. And sometimes it will be extremely subjective (a fail on a "perished brake hose" that the rectifying mechanic could find absolutely no signs of perishing on - but had no option but to fit a new one, to secure a retest pass) or entirely spurious (a work colleague's Grand Vitara had recently had a full suspension rebuild - but the tester used a three foot pry bar and enormous force to fail it on "excessive movement in the ball joint" or something. He simply cleaned the part and resubmitted it for testing. It passed - there was nothing wrong with it).

My cars have historically tended to attract 'extra attention' (and not always unfairly - my XM estate turned out to have sills constructed from lengths of plastic electrical conduit, polythene bags and lashings and lashings of Isopon, and was a deserving fail - which makes it all the more worrying that it had a fresh ticket when I bought it a year earlier).

XM Sill Rot.jpg

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So I've devised a few methods to secure a pass - namely, booking the last slot on a weekday evening, as the fail quota will probably have been met earlier so the lads just want to go home rather than fine-toothcomb whatever wreck I've seen fit to drag up on the ramps. Also, valeting the fuck out of it and shining the tyres, plus having all the rear seatbelts clipped into place so they don't have to go guddling down the back of the squab for the lap belt. It usually helps.

So as you can imagine, the approach of the MOT in an unknown-quantity recent acquisition is a cause for mild alarm. Especially as dumping unburnt fuel down the exhaust for a hundred or so miles earlier in the month isn't likely to have done the cat much good for the emissions test. But there's not much choice. So I went out this morning (in the snow!!) to give it a check over.

I'd been scratching my chin over whether to stick some new tyres on, as the existing fronts had a fair bit of meat on them but the rears were starting to get a bit closer to the wear indicators than I'd like.The thawing slush on the road settled my mind - I'd agreed to take Mrs DC over to an event in the afternoon some 50 miles distant, over an honest-to-God mountain range, and thoughts of slip-sliding all over the place on the incline to Castlewellan loomed large. I went down to the local independent fast-fit, a decent place with decent prices that I've used for years.

Typically, most of the tyre options were 'in the warehouse in Mallusk' and my choices off the rack were limited. Eschewing the Shong Kee Slidemaster budget option, and also the Avon 'premium' (not just stinginess - I shod both cars with Avons about three years back, and both the Yaris and Laguna experienced really bad sidewall cracking after only 18 months or so), leaving me with a pair of mid-range Rikens at £40 a pop. I asked them to swap the front wheels to the back, and fit the new tyres up front, handed over the keys, then settled back with my free coffee and an eight-month old copy of Auto Express.

About five minutes later, one of the mechanics came into the waiting room, holding half a locking wheel bolt. Just the top half. He explained that this had been held on to one of the wheels with about half a turn of thread; the shank had previously cracked and the top bit had apparently just been screwed back in, as it had come off in his hand. But it was doing very little in terms of keeping the wheel on.

That shed some light on the mystery of the three locking wheel bolts in a case, along with the removal key, that I'd found in the boot. A cursory glance while checking tyre pressures had indicated that all the wheel bolts were standard non-locking, and as I've been gambling on 14" alloys for a twenty year old French hatchback being an unpopular choice for the criminal element, I had thought very little of it. But it appears that one locking nut had in fact been left on. The one that was broken, with the threaded shank buried deep inside the hub.

The mechanic explained the problem, and promised that he'd do his best to extract the bolt. From the waiting area, I couldn't see the work as it progressed but I was sat there for nearly two hours as other cars came and went so knew that something major was going down. Eventually, another mechanic came in and, in rather broken English, explained that the hub had needed to be drilled and rethreaded, and an oversize wheel bolt fitted - and I might need a new hub. I nodded, thanked him, paid and left, as increasingly terse text messages were coming through from Mrs DC, who I'd left with a cheery "see you in half an hour!" some two hours earlier. The Lag was parked directly outside; there were tyres on, and there were bolts holding the wheels on. Excellent. That'll do. I scooted home, picked up my OH, and blasted off for Rostrevor.

Appointment achieved, we parked up outside Kilkeel to watch the sunset, which I'm sure you'll agree was rather pleasant.

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And then, as I'm wont to do on awaydays, I turned round to snap a pic of my steed.

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And then I noticed.

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Ah, bollocks.

Technician #2 hadn't been telling me what he'd done. He'd been telling me what I needed to do: drill the fecker out, rethread it, and fit an oversize bolt. Or fit a new hub. They'd left the damn thing in there - and, with it being on the nearside and me being in a hurry, I hadn't noticed. I was now 50 miles from home in a car missing one of the bits that holds an essential bit on.

I checked the other three bolts and they were still on tightly. I knew that a missing bolt didn't make it into an automatic death-trap. But I can't say I felt especially happy on the drive home, especially given the eventful* nature of the last long-distance hop in the same car. It was, of course, inky-black and sleeting by the time we reached home, so not ideal for further investigation.

A quick online search of local motor factor websites reveals precisely no-one who can supply me with a new hub tomorrow, or even on Monday - even assuming I could manage to drill the bastard out using my B&Q hammer drill that was never quite the same after I used it to chase out cable channels while fitting a kitchen.

The MOT is at 7.40 on Monday. I cannot imagine it passing with a missing/sheared wheelbolt. But If I cancel it tomorrow, I'll lose my £35 test fee anyway. I may as well take it over to the test, see what else is wrong, and then book a re-test while hoping I can find someone to do the hub and whatever other work needs doing, in short order.

It's such a stupid, pointless thing. I'd thought briefly that maybe I could swap some parts over from the silver Laguna, but that's not likely to work because:

  • despite being Phase 1 cars built 18 months apart, so far neither car appears to share any commonality bar the bootlid badge and the flip-up stereo cover
  • I doubt I'll be able to get either the brake disc or hub off the green car with the sheared bolt still in place. It's gonna have to be drilled
  • I'm fairly useless at this sort of thing

I've been kicking myself for not having asked to keep the sheared locking bolt as, whilst a far from ideal solution, I could at least have screwed it back on so it looked like it did before. I don't believe the testers check the wheelnuts, and who knows how many MOTs the previous owner put it through like that? At least that would have bought me time to get it fixed properly. But I was in a rush, and thought the car was all sorted.

And then the thought occurred, the kind of desperate thought that seems vaguely plausible at 2.30 am after a few IPAs...

What if I broke a fake plastic chrome wheelnut off an old wheeltrim, and bunged it in the vacant hole?

I'm hoping the morning brings better options, because right now that's all I've got.

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On 11/26/2017 at 7:30 AM, twosmoke300 said:

Filing down brake pads and now plastic fake wheel bolts !

My flabber is gasted

I'm not seriously advocating this. As stated, it's the kind of idiot thought that comes at 3am after a few drinks, based on the shaky reasoning that the car has (unwittingly) covered at least 3,000 miles under my ownership with a non-load bearing wheel bolt on the front n/s without mishap; the fast-fit seemed to think it was safe enough to drive away; and while the work definitely will be done ASAFP, I have no means of getting it done by tomorrow evening's MOT appointment - at which the tightness of wheelnuts will not be checked but a missing one will certainly be noted and (presumably) cited as cause for failure.

As things stand, I'm waiting for a gap in the rain to go out and take the wheel off and see how bad it is (i.e. if two hours of unsuccessful butchering yesterday has caused more damage to surrounding components). My intention remains to go over to the test station as planned, take the inevitable fail on the chin, and book a re-test for the end of the week - and hope that I can find someone to repair/replace the hub in the interim. It has, at least, taken my mind off the emissions test concerns.

But if you've any other suggestions to get me out of this hole, I'm all ears...

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Repair washer and bolt on the hub side and then hotmelt glue a nut onto the plastic chrome part of the wheel trim nut?

 

Kinda trolling but also kinda serious at the same time. Obviously order the correct parts so you can fit them asap and drive the car the bare minimum.

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Have fun drilling that out. I'd remove the hub & get an engineering place to do it as without a pillar drill I can't see you getting it straight.

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