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Fuck it, 205 thread. 

Wuvvum posted a 205 diesel in the eBay thread a couple of weeks ago. 

I'd had it in my watchlist a while already and had spoken to some mates both on and off forum that all said go for it. 

~~

The C30's gearbox has been slipping of late, and despite weekly fluid changes to try and help matters, as a result I'd been driving it in manual mode as it seemed happier that way. I'd been opening my mind to manuals more and more as time has gone on, especially as I've had a hankering for a Renault 4 for a couple of years now. 
The Volvo's issues had made me realise there's more to life than automatics, fun to be had, and no end of cars to choose from, and using it in manual mode started to revive my muscle memory for clutches. I was looking for a new toy anyway, with the C30 firmly in place as daily, and the Jag sold as needs must, I had some money burning a hole in my pocket. I'd been searching eBay for autos already:  towards the end of lockdown was the time, so listings were starting to pick up a bit from the previous wasteland. I was searching by newly listed, as so little was on offer that it was the only way I could see different things even days apart. The first time I opened my mind to manuals, this 205 showed up not far from the top of the lis, it was already bid to £400 and change, but didn't move much through the week. I've been keen on 205s for a while, and I'd been particularly keen on a five door turbodiesel - in fantasy land I've been harbouring the idea of making a 5 door turbodiesel GTI replica, as the anti-GTI.  I've also always liked the spec of D Turbos, and having seen how rare they're becoming I became very keen to get hold of one. 

This car on eBay was merely listed as 'peugoet 205 diesel 1.8 turbo 12 months mot', and accompanied by an honest description, outlining pretty much every fault the car had, with photos to match, I was drawn in. The ad also mentioned the inclusion of a correctly coloured spare tailgate and a black headlining. 

The whole thing screamed 'honest', and I saw potential for a bargain, knowing 205 values more or less, I went for it, with a max bid of £750, I was pleasantly surprised to win the car for £560. 
Now, the car was between Newport and Cwmbran, about three miles from both. 

Oh wait, Wales isn't very open at the moment. 
But hey, trains are running, and the staff aren't allowed to interact with passengers. 
It's one train from Manchester to Cwmbran, and I have a Railcard. 
The car is less than three miles from the M4. 
If I get onto the M4, I can use motorways up until about 3 miles from my house. 
That's pretty good, considering I haven't driven a manual on the road since I was 18. (note: I'm 24). 
Anyway, as soon as the auction ended I text the seller, and he said 'collect at your leisure', wasn't arsed about a deposit, and provided his address. Sorted some insurance instantly as I hadn't got round to cancelling the Jag policy thanks to work, and the prices to insure it were virtually identical. so not much outlay. 

By coincedence, it was precisely a year after Shitefest '19, where I came home with a Peugeot 305 GLD estate without warning, and my parents weren't impressed. 
Much like last time, they had no idea about the 205. 
 

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So I went out, walked to the train station, got on a short boring train to Manchester, then on to the TFW train for the three hour ride to Cwmbran. 
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Passing Crewe yielded some railshite, and I note Crewe Heritage have a Metrolink somehow. Happy to see that. 

I was mostly reading a book about Britpop and New Labour so there's little more to see,  however the views of Wales from the train were truly idyllic, especially compared with the fact it was illegal for anyone to sit near me, and also the train staff weren't allowed near me. Pure travelling bliss. 

 

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When I got off in Cwmbran I had a couple of miles to walk. One house I passed had a couple of giffers knocking about in the open garage, but on the drive was some solid gold shite. Two sequentially registered Fords, that I don't doubt were his and hers from new. I sneakily took a pic: 


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His and hers, and together for 20 years. How bloody cool? 

Anyway, a mile of walking later, I get to my provided address, which is that of a farm shop. I text the chap, and he says his place is behind it. I nose about, walk through the farm shop, and find, amongst a load of other vehicular tat, a 205 tucked up:

 


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the furthest back shed was where I found the chap, grease stained and wearing a headtorch and fiddling with something. Out of shot was a Clio 172 on old turbine alloys, a partially stripped New Beetle, and in the shed were several washing machines, and a Jazz missing its tailgate and absolutely crammed full of Dyson vacuum cleaners. The place was organised chaos. He was very quiet but very friendly and relaxed. 
I had a nose about the car, and found it to be absolutely perfectly described, and I got exactly what was described and photographed. I told him as much and he was very modest about it, so I said I was happy and wasn't going to fuck about for that reason.

We did the paperwork before he'd even taken any money off me (!), he looked at my address on the V5 and he was a bit surprised how far I'd come, but wasn't bothered (I reduced his worries a little by telling him I was still living in the West Midlands and that I was registering it to my parents' place - something I learned selling the Jag).  Anyway we loaded the car up with the described spares, as well as a GTi bumper he had - winner! I'll be flogging that off. Amusingly he wasn't convinced the tailgate and headlining would fit in the car, and said I was welcome to come back for them later if I wished. However he realised it would be a bit of a fucker, so everything was loaded up, and to his surprise it all fit. 
I paid him in cash and he didn't even bother counting it before he let me go, I suppose he'd got a good feeling off me. 

Driving away, through the farm shop, and out onto the road, having not driven a manual in years....

it was as easy as the day I passed my test. You truly do never forget. 

I set the satnav for a Sainsbury's a couple of miles away by the M4, and set off... 

 

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Not long before the Sainsbury's after 2-3 miles, I found a layby: I stopped there to organise myself, my possessions, and such like. 
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Silly girl got homesick, wouldn't start. Relay clicking, no starter. 

I called the seller, who was a bit surprised I was having an issue, as he'd been regularly shifting the car about for two months or so without an issue. I told him where I was, and about five minutes later he arrived in a careworn* 406 HDi estate. 

He investigated the battery and thought it was OK as all the electrics worked, hit the starter with a hammer and chisel to no avail, nosed about the fuses and relays, and couldn't think of anything. He tried to bump start the car in the layby, but didn't have the space. Extremely apologetic and keen to get me on the road, he had a think, goes to the boot of his 406, and produces an A-frame. 

We agreed to A-frame the car to the Sainsbury's I was off to, tank it, bump start, and get onto the M4, as that's me home free once I'm into 5th, as long as I don't stop or stall... 180 miles home, and I already sort of need a piss. 

A little discussion revealed that the chap was an aeroplane mechanic, and his 406 was on 275k - he drove it all over Europe all the time. He'd got the 205 as his friend had a GTi and I assume he wanted to see what they were like/rescue it. He'd got it MOT'd for the first time in 10 years, but preferring the HDi, it wasn't quite his thing so it was sold.

He found a suitable hill, bump started the 205, and handed it back to me running. 

(For context, I admitted I hadn't driven a manual in years, and he was more than accommodating). 

I drove it home, in one shot, no stalls. 

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Wandered in, having been out all day. Mum's in the kitchen. 

'I've bought a car!'. 

'Where is it?'
I take mother dearest outside, and she's greeted with the above.

'Is that a 205?' 
She's always liked them, and I knew I could spring one on her with little issue as a result. 

Dad wanders out as well, has a poke about, doesn't really say anything, as he can't find fault. 
That's also approval, then. 

I explained the non-starting issue to him, turned the key, and it fired into life. 
It's been fine since. 
 

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Cleaned. It was stupidly dirty - just look at the water that came off it. I thought the paint was flat, but it was just years of dirt, it started to shine a little. Clay barring did nothing, but T-Cut and polish has started to make the metallic paint glitter again. Further to that I vacuumed it out and gave it a gentle yet thorough clean inside, and it came up really quite well. There's a very honest, straight and tidy car hiding, and it never deserved laying up, but has taken it admirably.


I'd posted a couple of pictures on a Facebook 205 group, and a previous owner from somewhere in southern England saw it and sent me a message. 


She had the car in the mid-late 2000s and sent me some photos from her ownership, it was the second car she ever had and she thought it to be long dead. She'd taken it for a free Kwik-Fit MOT, they tried to fleece her by telling her a brake line burst mid-test when it had visibly been cut. I'm not sure how the matter was resolved, but it was.
Both her and her son now have 406 HDIs. 
I noted all the brake pipes on the car have been painted red and ponder its relevance... 
She told me she wsa massively surprised it was still going, and that it'd made her year that the car was still alive (amongst other things her dad had died), and was happy someone was taking care of it. She also said 'it always did clean up well', and all things considered, it still does. 

She'd sold it in 2008 to a man from Newport with an identical D Turbo - he apparently arrived to view the car in an identically specced but poorer D Turbo, with the intention of making one good car out of the two, with what is now mine being the car to live on, and his the donor. 

He swapped some parts, did about 5k in the car in two years, then inexplicably laid it up for a decade before selling it to the chap I bought it from, who MOTd it. 

And that's where I came in.

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I'm smitten, and having no issues with driving a manual at all, so I poked about in the 205 for a few days instead of the C30, as I've left that with my dad due to it needing a driveshaft, after trying to do it myself and being confronted with a badly seized nut on the balljoint denying driveshaft removal, I was flummoxed. My arms are all over the place as strength wise as I recently worked out I'm probably actually left handed but my primary school teachers told me that was wrong. Dad couldn't get it off either so went out, bought an angle grinder and cut the nut off the balljoint.  The balljoint itself was still seized in place so needs further cuttage, but a replacement balljoint arrived today so hopefully dad will sort that on Monday and I'll take the 205 to work on decent tyres (see below). 

This week, it decided to rain, and thankfully not to my detriment I found that the 205's 2006-dated Chinese tyres are useless in the wet. Having almost had my old 740 aquaplane into a dry stone wall going over a crest coming home from Chumley 2017 (watagongcorporation might remember), I elected it was in everybody's interest to change them, went on eBay and got a set of 14" 205 GTI pepperpots for £125, with usable tyres. Hell, it's worth it just for the wheels, and the steels should sell well as they're a bit rare (someone on a facearse page already wants them). I'm not arsed as I don't have a full set, so they're not much cop to me if I have six matching alloys... 
As it was possible (with other uncut nuts), the C30 was put back into driveable condition. Having spent the best part of a week in the 205, and back in my sort of car, I really didn't get on with the C30. As a daily driver though it's more than fine.  

Some weird person on the 205 Facebook page tried to tell me the car would handle better on skinny 13" steels than 14x5.5" alloys, then started going on about how Pirelli P6000s were shit... sounds like he got the wrong tyres. 

Anyway, I'm off to retrieve said alloys in the C30 tomorrow, to make it look better, and so I can use it in all weathers. 

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To bring things up to date, in order to make the 205 more presentable, further to making the wheels all match (watch this space), I got a pair of driving lights as one is AWOL, and the other disintegrated as soon as I touched it: 
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It goes without saying that the one extant driving light had a duff bulb. The lens and bowl came away from the backing plate, and on both sides the factory mounting bolts sheared when they were removed, thankfully this didn't pose an issue.
The wiring to both driving lamps still had 12v, wired into the flash/main beam in proper French style.

The only thing was that the new lights mounted to the bumper horizontally instead of the standard vertical, but the bumper had flat sections in the driving light recesses that almost anticipated lights being mounted horizontally, so holes were drilled and lights added, and they aren't going anywhere. 

While I was working on this, the postman arrived with a couple of pertinent packages: 


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the first, a diecast C30 that was the spit of mine, can't say no to that. 

The second was some yellow caps for H4s: 
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so I cracked on, and the 205 is almost in full 90s Paris spec.
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Next update tomorrow when I get it on four matching wheels - as I found enough alloy wheel bolts in the boot to fit four alloys, a blessing as I understand them to be a little pricey! 


Not long after that, it's going to be service and cambelt time. 
People are also telling me the glowplugs are on the way out, but that can wait a little longer. 

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Great read looking forward to many more posts about this little car. 

 

I've always liked the 205. Never had one but wouldn't say no to one.

 

Anyway good luck it looks great and I love those seats

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That looks a fine example. My dad got one new in about 1992 but didn't keep it long as it wasn't really big enough for all of us. J33GEC, it was a pale metallic blue (Topaz?)  and it was the first turbo diesel I'd ever been in,thusly I remember my astonishment at just how well it went. Looking forward to reading more on this. 

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What a loverly example, really has come up a treat. When I had my XS on it's original 'dartboard' wheels (like your rear ones) it handled not much different to after I put 14" GTi rims on it after I buckled 2.

165/70 14 81 H should be the correct size tyre for one of these, 32psi rings a bell.

I hope you have a lot of enjoyment from this little go kart.

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Today I went to Walsall in the C30. 

Came back with some wheels: 

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One of the tyres had a perished sidewall and a three number DOT code, so was not fitted, but the other three were - two absoultely perfect Hankook Kinergy Evos, a few years old, but with ~2000 miles on them and not a crack to be seen. 
The other tyre was a Goodyear winter tyre, dated 2003 (!) but solid, supple and holding air. On it went. 
I thought 'bollocks to it' and jumped in the 205, and chucked it about the northern Peak District for three hours. 
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The car feels completely different, way more planted, sure footed and grippy. 

The only thing I need to work out is how to get an alloy into the spare wheel cradle, as I think the extra width poses a problem. I also noticed that the spare was shouldered to fuck, as was the nsf tyre. I'll have to check the tracking... 

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So when are you getting a manual MX5? ;)

5 out of 6 second hand automatic cars I've bought have had something wrong with them. Shunting when warm, banging gears, slow changes, juddery take off, etc. Only one that didn't have any real trouble, bizzarly, was the Laguna II V6 with the AW55 box?! If I ignore the odd occasions when flooring from the lights the car would clunk and not accelerate or engage out of neutral, but I'll blame frenchness for that. 

For comparison I've never had a manual car with gearbox problems! Clutch slipping and flywheels juddering maybe, but when you have control of the engagement rather than a computer, it's possible to drive around it rather than refusing to do its job. 

My opinion is that the problem is most UK garages haven't got a clue with automatic boxes and treat them as mystical black magic. Thus they don't want to do any maintenance like fluid changed or level checks. So on services a decent garage tells the owner to go to dealer/gearbox specialist or others don't tell the owner at all about it needing fluid changes. Hence the old fluid kills them by the time they are a decade old. This isn't helped by manufacturers (Volvo especially in this) specifying the ATF is filled for life!

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Yeah, it's not like in the US or Australia where autos are more common, and fluid changes are done regularly. 
I agree with you re:black magic. On the C30 you have to know where the dipstick is or you'd think it didn't have one.

You have to remove the airbox to get to it, which you need tools for. 

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9 hours ago, captain_cal said:

Hey mate you got a source on those yellow caps? Love that gallic yellow tinge with the lights off, would like a set for the 944.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/YELLOW-GLASS-CAP-FOR-H4-472-HEADLIGHT-BULB-x2/124039634615?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

These are the ones I got. You remove the bulb and clip them on, then replace the bulb. Not sure they exist for any other bulbs than H4. 

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On 6/21/2020 at 3:35 AM, Ghosty said:

 

Some weird person on the 205 Facebook page tried to tell me the car would handle better on skinny 13" steels than 14x5.5" alloys, then started going on about how Pirelli P6000s were shit... sounds like he got the wrong tyres. 
 

I found the opposite to be true, fitting partner van 14s made the steering lighter and more direct on my old GT without PAS. Had a K plate DTurbo 11 years ago as well, this has got me needing another. I daresay you got a bargain there, and it looks spot on with the yellow lighting

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What a great read Ghosty, that looks like a good find. Ideal for an economical thrash around the Peak.

If your parents are still tutting about a new car turning up when you're 24 then they'll probably do it for life! I'm 50 and obvs don't live at my folks place but whenever I turn up with a new* car I always get the run down.

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Marvellous work. Now I feel compelled to call down to my mate's dad, who has a 5-door 205 that looks identical to this, and lowball the life out of him...

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Been driving the 205 all week as I'm having CV joint issues with the C30. 
Observations: 
 

  • tracking is duff (pulls left), a rear wheel isn't on straight and a wishbone is knocking. Some investigation required. 
  • central locking now works more often than not, which is a plus. 
  • wiper blades are shit
  • thermostat is possibly duff, temp gauge never exceeds 1/3 unless it's a hot day. I hear there are two different 'stats for XUDs, is that true and how do I know which to get? 

I can't change the cambelt this weekend as I'm waiting on a water pump, but I think the car's decided by itself what I'm doing tomorrow. It was absolutely pissing it down on the way home today, and I had the rear wiper on. I could hear it working, but I looked in the rear view mirror and it wasn't there. Eh? I quickly jumped out of the car at some lights and found that something has come loose, and the wiper had dropped down, scratched the already mangled tailgate, and was trying to clean the bumper or something instead. I put the wiper in its home position and switched it off. 
The other tailgate I have is the same colour, undented, doesn't have any cracks in the plastic trim, and has the brown glass - it's all round in better condition. As well as the wiper failing, I came home and met the postman, who handed me a package from France: 

 

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a brand new replica boot badge! Wasn't cheap, but certainly worth it. I don't have one on either tailgate (and both are from D Turbos). 

As I've got to mess about anyway, I'll fit the new tailgate tomorrow. Maybe change the filters and oil too.



 

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Great read. I’ve always had a soft spot for the 205, a real icon in my opinion. Peugeot really messed it up with it’s replacement, the 206.

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I'd love a Diesel 205.

Predictably, there's pretty much none left within about 200 miles of here.

Oddly, of all the old cars that have survived up here, the 205 is probably the most plentiful. Virtually all are 1.1's though. Which probably suggests they were the toughest of the range.

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  • Ghosty changed the title to Ghostly Goings On

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