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Citroen Saxo - what to look for?

Mr Laurence

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Yup, rust on the front inner wings, chassis legs and front jacking points mainly, with the boot floor sides not far behind.


Rebuit axles are £250 but you've got to fight with brake pipes to fit one. Look for camber on the rear wheels or creaking/bonging noises from them. 


VTR engines are hardy, gearboxes less so and 2nd and 3rd synchros go crunchy after 70-80k "hot hatch" miles. VTR ratios are different to base model boxes but any saxo/106 box will physically fit.

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Also, I'm going back years here:


Baggy gearshift will be the linkage rods, you used to be able to get a new set for £30 from Peugeot.

There will be knocks and clonks from the front suspension over bad bumps. They all do that. I spent hundreds of pounds trying to sort this on my saxos and 106s and never did. New wishbones, drop links, top mounts, springs, dampers, bearings, steering rack etc etc. 

If the power steering pump is very noisy, it won't last much longer. They're electric. Any louder than say, an old fuel injection pump on an XR3i and it's past the best. If it's fairly noticeable then it's got about a year left tops.


They're not that problematic over all for an old hot hatch, the axle is the main job. On a new car, on a ramp I bet it's only an hours work to change.

I've done four and they all took the best part of a day of swearing and cursing at snapped brake pipes and whatnot. Two of them were for 2nd hand axles (before recon ones were cheap) only to find out the "new" axle was worse than the old one!

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Check the floor hasn't had a jack underneath it too.  It's amazing how many people seem to think the correct way to jack up a Saxo is to use the floor pan.  This can cause rust in weird places.  Check the driver's seat is secure, if it's wobbling about then it's probably rust in the mounting points, or stress fractures, or both.

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Have a look at the back of my Pug...




You can see that the edges of the boot floor to rear wheel arch are a water trap and rust inside out. Whilst the nearside has faired better on this one, corrosion underneath the underseal may be much bigger than the minor rust suggests.

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I had a 8 year old mk2 VTR in "wicked red".. my mate gave me a lift to the scrappy in his mk1 VTR as mine had broken down yet again. We broke down on the way.

Mine was rust,rust,rust and abit more rust, coilpack, gear linkage,headgasket,electrical problems, driveshafts, piss poor build quality and i hated the driving position.

As the ex girlfriend wouldn't let me set light to it i sold it and bought a corsa sport.


Forgot to add my mate had trouble with the rear beam, a sign is the wheel leaning like a scene vw, and apprently if its been lowered it finishes the beam off quicker. 

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I financed a saxo vts when it was 3 years old. It was a mk1 T reg in that lovely metallic blue they do them in. I loved that car and have regretted selling it ever since. Handled brilliantly and felt really rapid. It could have done with another gear though. It would max out on the limiter no bother at 130!

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They have their issues (now they're 20+ years old!) but I love the Saxo/ 106.

I bought a brand new 106 GTi in 1999, cherry red with black leather interior  :wub:

Years later I ran a couple of diesels, a white van and a red 3-dr.  None of them ever gave serious grief and were always dirt cheap to run and maintain.

A good GTi/ Rallye/ VTR/S is worth money nowadays.


Main Achilles heel is of course the rear beam failing, but now rebuilt ones are £250, it's not worth messing about- get one, fit it (not difficult at all once the exhaust is off) and it'll outlast the rest of the car.

Rust is, as mentioned an issue and they do disintegrate behind the rubbery sealant; the metal can look immaculate to the eye but be non-existent when you apply light thumb pressure!

Get a good one and it'll do you well.

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I’m going for a look at a Saxo VTR (ph2) tomorrow. Everything looks okay in the photos and the MOT history doesn’t seem too scary, but is there anything I should look for on it? I know rust is an issue with these; where and what should I check?


Thank you


I have found these to be my third worst car ever. 


So, the rear bear bearings go and as such the wheels will be cambered in y0. The easiest way to rectify this is to swap the whole beam. 


Engine will be a 8v 1.6, generally alright and in most of the range of that era. 


Sunroofs leak if it has one


All the trims on the outside and inside are held on with the same crappy plastic clips. Always breaking. In fact, anything that moves will eventually snap off. 


Sometimes the mounting points for the front seats can rip out of the floor if someones be laid back swagger style. 


Water ingress boot. 


Get a 106 instead. Not particularly better but defintely hold their value and higher on the coolometer. 

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Big thank you to everyone who posted so far. So in summary:


Rear axle - check for negative camber, loud creaking and iffy ride height


Rust - basically everywhere, but check boot, jacking points, inner wings and seat mounts. Generally it’s much worse than it looks at first


Gearbox - crunchy 2nd and 3rd Sychros


Power steering - if the pumps noisy it’s on its way out


Anything I’ve missed?

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Okay, so back from a look now, here’s the verdict


Lovely car to drive. They pull away pretty quick and handle nicely too. The owner was selling as he was moving back to Poland, he seemed honest and was polite and friendly with me, so all good.


The body wasn’t too bad, I had a good prod around, especially the boot, which felt solid and looked like it hadn’t been welded. The passenger side rear inner arch was a bit scabby, but nothing that’d fail an mot. The worst of the rust looked like the battery tray. Other than that, nothing unexepected for a 16+ year old car, mostly just little scrapes and a bonnet that was silver on the inside.


Interior was all good, the seats and mounts felt solid. Everything was a bit grubby, but that’s just me being fussy. It had a sunroof, but with it being so cold out, it was frozen shut. There weren’t any signs it leaked, and the seller told me it worked. Don’t really have any reason to doubt him. My main gripe was the size. I’m ever so slightly above average height, and I’ve been driving a mini for over 2 years now so wasn’t expecting any problems, but it wasn’t all that comfy; my head touches the roof and my knees barely miss the steering wheel. No matter where I moved the seat I couldn’t get comfy.


The clutch seemed much heavier than I was expecting. It went into gear fine, but took some getting used to. Are they all like this?


And now the dreaded rear axle....


I couldn’t hear any obvious noises, but there was enough negative camber for me to think that it would need fixing pretty soon


The seller said he would take £750 for it. It was nice, but I’m not really sure that it was for me. Any thoughts?

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If it's a blue R reg have a look near the instrument binnacle, I bought a £10 strip of hash in 1998 and thought it best to place in the binnacle on the way home, fucker dissapeared down a tiny gap never to be seen again, still sore over that 20 yrs later  :-(


If Bornes nan's mini can turn up you never know ! 

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