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AS Vel Satis - the story continues


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Seeing as this car has such a history on the forum, I thought I'd actually make the effort to document my time with it;

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V5C arrived yesterday, it's not far off a 1-owner per year average which is quite impressive;

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How many of those 14 former keepers are on here? I think @barefoot

,@BorniteIdentity, @Fat_Pirate, @NorthernMonkey, any others? 

 

First impressions so far are that the seats are astonishingly comfortable, and that these things are a bit bigger than they look in pictures, I think the weird proportions are deceptive.

No great long term plan here except to attempt to fix a few little niggles, enjoy wafting around like a french executive for a bit, hope nothing too major goes kaput, and then maybe in 6 months it'll be up for roffle again, we'll see.

 

The initial to-do list looks like this;

- replace cracked rear light cluster

- make the screenwash wash

- make the heater blower blow

- make driver's door card less flappy

- find a centre cap for one of the alloys

- clean up some interior plastics

I think that's the lot so far. I'm sure more will be added!

 

Any more info on its history would be welcome, and any advice on these things generally, the first time I'd even seen one was when it arrived on my driveway last week, and it's the first Renault I've ever actually owned.

 

Obligatory picture of massive arse;

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Mmmm

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Great to see this still alive and well in the walled garden of Autoshite.  It's not fast, nor economical, it doesn't handle, but I really enjoyed wombling about in this as there really is nothing else like it.  And everyone I know was very glad of that fact... I've never had a such a universally hated car!

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Job 1 on the list was completed yesterday afternoon and was pleasantly straightforward

 

Step 1 - observe cracked light cluster;

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Step 2 - open boot to find replacement light cluster supplied by one of the many previous owners (thanks!), and access to this single 10mm bolt, undo it;

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Step 3 - gently pull out the broken unit and disconnect the wiring plug;

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Step 4 - half-heartedly wipe away some of the dirt, connect the wiring plug to the replacement unit, push into place, tighten up the bolt on the inside, admire your handiwork;

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Step 5 (not pictured) - realise you're a numpty who forgot to check the bulbs in the replacement cluster worked before fitting it... swear loudly, remove the new cluster, swap out the working bulbs from the old cluster into the new cluster, fit the new cluster back on again, call the wife outside to check all the lights do actually come on now, sigh in relief, go back inside for a warm cup of coffee

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21 minutes ago, NorthernMonkey said:

It was my first roffle win on here (lucky ball number 39) from @chodweaver if I remember correctly. It then went to @The Moog before moving on to the members listed above, before coming back to me to sort the clutch out and re-roffled this time.

Nice, since you've had it twice I make that exactly half its owners on here then, 7 of 14 (including me). In time there may be even more.

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I bought the rear light cluster thing, I was idly browsing ebay thinking, 'I'll bet light clusters are like rocking horse shit' and there it was - eight quid! There's also a replacement washer tank with a selection of sensors that may or may not work, although I understand that it takes more than the removal of one bolt to replace. 

Incidentally, although you say that its not fast, it certainly doesn't feel fast, but I often used to look in the mirror exiting a junction/roundabout/etc to find that I'd left a lot of traffic a long way behind without really trying. It is a totally bizarre vehicle and I hope it doesn't cause you too much grief. The fair Mrs barefoot covered the best part of our 18,000 miles in it. She used it for her daily 54 mile M1 commute and was sorry to see it go. The first time that she took it to work, I forgot to mention to her that it was perhaps a little bit bigger than it looked!

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3 hours ago, BorniteIdentity said:

Mrs @barefoothad it for over a year too. 

The screen wash works doesn’t it? It’s just the sensor telling you it’s empty. Obvs of it doesn’t work it shouldn’t have an MOT 😉 

Yep, if the washers aren’t working, they just need some water in. They work fine...it’s just the sensor that’s faulty.

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Heart-warming. Do like the various AS bikes.

27 minutes ago, motorpunk said:

Didn’t these kill the Avantime when Renault decided to do their own thing and shat on Matra? I’m easily confused.

Yes, pretty much, though how much wisdom there was in building an MPV-coupe at all is certainly something to question. Certainly, it was a bit odd to set Matra to building the Avantime, while launching a second large luxury car (albeit a rather more practical one). I suspect they were trying to soften Matra up before taking the Escape from them altogether.

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4 hours ago, BorniteIdentity said:

Mrs @barefoothad it for over a year too. 

The screen wash works doesn’t it? It’s just the sensor telling you it’s empty. Obvs of it doesn’t work it shouldn’t have an MOT 😉 

 

59 minutes ago, NorthernMonkey said:

Yep, if the washers aren’t working, they just need some water in. They work fine...it’s just the sensor that’s faulty.

Sadly not, I have topped it up but at the moment the (very cool) headlight washers spray fine but nothing comes out of the windscreen ones, or the rear screen ones when I try those. A quick google suggested these have a separate pump for the headlight wash so I guess the main pump has failed, or maybe even just a loose connection or something. I should get a chance to investigate properly at the weekend if the weather's not too grim.

Video of funky headlight washers in action;

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36 minutes ago, barefoot said:

The heater blower is new - I had that fitted, the previous one made screechy bearing noises before making no noises at all.

@NorthernMonkey thinks it's the resistor pack rather than the blower itself that's gone, looks like replacement shouldn't be too difficult, maybe just a bit fiddly

NM - is this the thing you meant? https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/Renault-Vel-Satis-Blower-Motor-Heater-Resistor-Auto-Climate-Control-7701048766/143616103031

or would I be better getting one with wires attached like this? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Heater-Motor-Resistor-Loom-For-Alfa-Romeo-159-Brera-GT-Renault-Laguna-Vel-Satis/173528549467

 

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Just remove the blue ‘hedgehog’ and have a look at the connectors that plug into it. I think they’re ok but without removing the resistor, it’s hard to tell for sure. Any sign of burnt bits and you’ll need the one with wires but otherwise, the cheaper one will be fine.

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There used to be 2 of these Opposite Netherton Church (West Mids)..one a very light blue colour that suited it really well, the other was the same as the AS Whore..

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Just so weirdly French & cool.  It just couldn't have come from any other country, take one look & you know it's French.

There's a house in Lytham Lancs that has two of these outside, they've been there years (not sure if they're in use, but I don't think they are) & were still there a few months ago. 

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Like the Avantime, I love the Vel Satis simply because it exists.

Last week, there was a silver one on the forecourt of the Renault specialist on the industrial estate opposite where I work in Chelmsford; I hadn't seen one for years until then.  I presume that it was a customer's car, but it could very well have been a courtesy car. Great fun if you're lent it while your Clio 1.2 is in for servicing :)

I got a 1996 Safrane 2.5 Executive as a courtesy car from a Volvo/Renault specialist who did some work on The Volvo in 2004, so anything's possible.

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Went to collect the shopping last night and it decided to be french

 

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I'm sure I saw on one of the previous threads that it's done this before so the initial plan is to ignore it and see if it goes away. The parking brake itself is working fine, applies, holds, releases no problem.

Is it meant to apply the brake automatically when you stop the engine, and if so is it that function not working which is causing the warning message?

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1 minute ago, BorniteIdentity said:

It won't go away, but you can ignore it.

Barefoot had an OBDII reader and would just clear it when it comes up (generally once every few weeks).  From memory, it's because the car has handbrake cables from a Laguna on it or something or another.

 

Ah yeah I do remember reading that now, no major issue

I've got a cheapo code reader myself that should hopefully be able to do the same, I'll give it a try

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The handbrake is a fucking nightmare. Almost everything has been replaced including the very expensive control box thing. It once applied itself in a box junction with the fair wife driving & I had to ensure that it never happened again! There is an emergency release handle, underneath the centre cubby. My OBD (although it could delete the frequent 'O2 sensor not operating at peak effiiency' which trips the engine fault light, but doesn't affect how it runs) couldn't see the handbrake controller, so I had to become very good friends with a local Renault licker. He used to reset the unit for me. Apparently the problem is that when it's parked up and the ground is not entirely flat, the brake controller detects movement as the brakes cool & it tries to tighten the brakes a little bit more. But because the cables are Laguna & adjusted to the exact length with washers, this causes the car to have a habdab. I was informed that the correct cables would resolve it. The parking brake is way more complicated than it has any need to be, he used to park it on a hill and then move it to the flat so that he could tell the handbrake when it was parked on the flat.

Incidentally I disabled the 'auto headlights on' function. The comedy fucker would put the lights on but didn't put them off again. How handy is that?

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On 1/14/2021 at 10:43 AM, Dan_ZTT said:

 

Sadly not, I have topped it up but at the moment the (very cool) headlight washers spray fine but nothing comes out of the windscreen ones, or the rear screen ones when I try those. A quick google suggested these have a separate pump for the headlight wash so I guess the main pump has failed, or maybe even just a loose connection or something. I should get a chance to investigate properly at the weekend if the weather's not too grim.

Video of funky headlight washers in action;

 

I pulled the fuse out on my headlamp washers and left it out.  A waste of fekkin time imho especially if you haven’t got mini wipers on headlamps.  The Velshatis might have, but i can’t see them, could be hidden.

all headlamp washers do is increase the amount of times you have to top up the washer bottle.   In the winter they freeze ‘half hanging out the bumper’ and if you are down on luck the little bumper cap goes walkies 

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I used to sit with the car in n at lights as it didn't apply the handbrake like P, and just sit on the brakes like a massive wanker as I was scared... Never gave me any bother though, bar when the rear calipers siezed but I don't blame the handbrake for that. 

If you apply and release it 30 times in a row though it throws a fault... 

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The automatic handbrake was about the only thing that never gave me any trouble in my Vel Satis (although I did have handbrake issues on one of the Scénics). 

I do like these - a petrol one with the Nissan 350Z engine is still on my bucket list.  Wouldn't touch another V6 DCi with a bargepole though.

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