Jump to content

Renault Clio Mk1 outbox woes: please save it for £100


Recommended Posts

Look at this thing!



It's a 1995 Clio RT auto, as seen recently on the bay tat thread. My colleague, who has had no working modern car for a while, made a rash decision and bought it at the beginning of the week. The whole thing was a disaster as the car shredded a tyre as it pulled away and the spare had a huge hole in the sidewall (cheers, vendor!) so it was abandoned overnight and we went back the next day, fitted pair of new tyres and went home again. Sadly, in all the hullabaloo, it only became obvious the following day that there is a serious issue with the gearbox, i.e. it's stuck in flipping' top gear. You can imagine the hilarity* this causes pulling away from a standstill. Basically, it's properly shit and borderline dangerous to drive, although once up to speed it's nice enough cruising along.


The obvious course of action is to grudgingly eat the £500 (plus two new tyres, ffs) and chalk it up to experience, but in other respects its actually really nice. It's virtually mint - it's obviously had a little old lady owner who kept it garaged for most of its life. The under bonnet is like new - freshest inner wings I've seen on any car - and the interior, which is funky, blue and comfortable, is virtually unmarked. For a 20-odd year old Renault, it's in remarkable condition. It's got no rust on it and the MoT history is fantastic.




I realise the obvious thing to do is to book it in at a friendly garage (are there any friendly garages in Sussex anymore? I don't know of any) but that's gonna be £100 just to figure out what the problem is and tell us it's gonna cost another £500 to fix. It might not fit with the ethos of this website, but it simply isn't worth spending any money on. By the same token, at the moment it's worth £75 in scrap value.


So, does anyone on here have insider knowledge on old Renault three-speed autoboxes? Is this a 'known' issue, or an easy fix? Or is it basically curtains for the car, and a monkey down the drain? Any comments or suggestions, no matter how stupid, welcome...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well first thing before going any further is check the fluid level in the 'box and make sure that it looks like ATF... wouldn't be the first time I've seen people put the wrong oil in and that cause problems.


Afraid beyond that I can't make any suggestions as I've no knowledge of the specific box.


Locking itself in top sounds like a "failsafe" type behaviour I'd expect if it's lost Comms with something important...so I'd probably have a nosey around the electronic connections to the gearbox and wherever it's ECU is hiding and make sure the loom hasn't been damaged. Pretty much first port of call on any electronic controlled auto box really.


If it's half as clean underneath as it looks in the photos it's likely to be worth spending a few quid on as it's likely to perform well and for a good long while once sorted I'd say.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doing a bit of googlising it looks like these default to 3rd gear when something goes wrong, not sure if these are ECU controlled boxes, but there may be some sort of simple computer/controller on the box somewhere, worth checking wiring and connections etc.


Is it worth doing a fluid change?


It'll be a shame if it's the death of the car!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I *think* Renault were one of the earlier companies to make sure use of computer controlled boxes - doubt it's something you can plug a generic code reader into though. The box on the 21 and 25 was from the mid 80s anyhow.


Just thinking of the "check the basics" situation - I've had several French cars of that age play funny buggers due to the ground leads between the engine and battery disintegrating. Worth checking it's not something daft like that.


In my opinion - purely based on a handful of photos - I'd reckon it's worth sorting even if the box is goosed. They're comfy little motors these and quite cheerful little things for what they are, the sort of car the French are particularly good at.


Really hope it can be saved, they're getting to be a bit of a rarer sight on the roads these days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, it doesn't stall, the gearbox works as it should except that it only has one forward speed (and no kickdown, obviously). I reckon wiring to the ECU is the first port of call, and there seem to be a few cheap s/h ECUs on ebay if that's what's at fault, so all might not be lost

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possibly not a very helpful interjection here, but the solution to this problem for the previous owner of the one I bought from Bramz was...a manual conversion. There's a hand written receipt for the job in with the handbook and assorted other bits of paperwork. £795 all in, apparently, including the cost of the parts (box, clutch, pedal box).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A manual conversation wpuld be nice but I can tell you right now it's not having £800 chucked at it under any circumstances. It was supposed to be a cheap boring stopgap but if it can't be sorted with the minimum of expense it's gonna be moved on as a project or sent to the bridge. If it was mine I might consider investing in it (not that I have £800) but I can tell the owner is already deeply pissed off with the whole thing. Hopefully a £25 ECU will sort it, otherwise...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Might be useful if you can get it onto an XR25 and look at the gearbox readings,its an AD4 gearbox,a computer swop might just solve it cheaply.

Its gone into safety mode,try disconnecting the battery(although it will wipe the radio code)and see if it resets,but it will come back.

its an OBD 1 reader aswell.

Renbreakers are listing one at £35.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience, sadly when they do this it's a total minefield of uneconomically viable possibilities.  I've had a few, and never successfully solved auto box woes cheaply or easily.  I delivered Chinese food in one almost identical to yours while I was still at school.  I bought it for £100 with 6 months tax and test, but the auto box was missing second gear.   You had to properly floor it to get the revs way up for changing out of first to have any kind of power when it thumped straight into third.  Fluid was present and correct, anything I tried cheaply to solve it didn't work.


It got worse and worse, to the point where it was starting off in third as yours is.  I gave that thing hells abuse three nights a week for the sake of North Belfast getting their chicken balls on time.  It lasted about four months, until one night it totally lost drive.  I had to reverse about 1.5 miles back to base at 1am and that was that.  It made me the money I needed for the Mégane II I had my heart set on as a lovestruck 18 year old though. That was whole other story......


Hope ya get sorted.  Seller is a top tosser for palming that off without mentioning it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hornsey Automatic Transmissions near me seem good. I've only used them for basic stuff but they were straight and prices reasonable. They've been in business for years and were recommended by my trusted mechanic when my wife's beetle had issues... Around here, other garages farm out auto box work to them. Could be worth a call, at least.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a fantastic looking little car. Hope it gets fixed.


This is pretty much all I have to offer on the subject too.


It's a flipping minefield at this price point.  The price of purchase and the price of repairs are mutually exclusive; a new gearbox is £700 when the car was bought for £700 - and yet the gearbox was still £700 when the car was £7k.


Really hope there's a good outcome with this.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By eddyramrod
      Copied over from Shite In Miniature...
      Note for future reference...  I've decided most of my Matchbox (-sized) cars can go.  It's a vast collection,   Most have been repainted at least once - by me, obviously.  My eyes and hand aren't good enough to do them again.  I've got way too many to list so ask if there's something you want and if I've got it, we can do a deal.  Most will be 50p each plus postage, so it'll make sense to build up a parcel.
      I thought it best to do this, then I'm not clogging up the main thread.  This could well go on for months.
    • By Tepper
      I've just bought this. Came up on FB marketplace just down the road from my unit, couldn't say no! Do I need it? No. Will it cause me grief? Almost certainly yes. Is it a big majestic bastard? Absolutely. It needs a few bits and pieces doing, including spheres all round and some warning lights supposedly caused by an ABS sensor. My Lexia won't talk to it, so that's the first order of business. Wish me luck!

    • By omegod
      My efforts of the last few months have come to fruition and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome  
      I'm a serial Omega botherer and some years ago I got a sniff of this 1996 Vauxhall Omega 2.5 V6 24v CDX manual that was no longer being used as it's only owner was no longer able to drive, sad circumstances meant it was stored unused for 5-6 years .  She was a non runner and in a neglected state by the time I was able to rescue it and  @worldofceriwas employed to bring her to me, excellent service and highly recommended! 
       When she arrived she was covered in the usual moss and grime and was still on the original 1996 tyres which were perished and barely held air.  Non running cause was found to be a completely ruined fuel system as the petrol in the tank had turned to a bright green mess that had dissolved all of the internal rubber pipes into a black sticky goo, I don't think I've ever smelt anything so toxic,  a thorough tank clean, new piping, sender unit refurbed , filter and new pump  and she burst back into life.   
      Further recommissioning work required was 4 x new Michelin tyres, Cambelt and waterpump kit , complete replacement exhaust system, service , wipers, alternator was refurbished with new internals, new battery and literally scores of hours of cleaning and gentle refurbishment . 
      The main dealer service history is incredible with 8 miles between services some years.  She walked her MOT and  now drives like a she has just rolled out of the showroom, unsurprisingly given she's only covered 17 k from new, the interior leather looks like it's just had the plastic removed at the dealers and the rear seats have allegedly never been sat in   

    • By 320touring
      After a fun* 30 mins phonecall to insure the latest purchase, I thought I'd cheer myself up by starting a collection thread a wee bitty early!
      First clue.
      I ain't had one of these before..
    • By ruffgeezer
      Ok I'm going to see if we've enough interest in the Autoshite Dealership stickers to run off another batch.
      I will need to pre-sell a minimum of 120 before I will place another order, and I have contacted the company that made them to recheck the run price.
      I am also considering a new design with the url in it, but done so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb (and I corrected the boobies for this run!):

      Please state your interest by copying the following and adding your name below:
      Ruffgeezer: 1
  • Create New...