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Supernaut's Cars - 323i / Megane


Supernaut

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7 minutes ago, cort1977 said:

Still great looking cars.  Not sure how successful the side skirts look now though...

I just found a couple of 3 series books if you want them? Haynes and some kind of enthusiasts companion book about the model.

Yeah, I remember putting dibs on those books in your thread for them! Will you be going to the cars and coffee thing in Alford on the 4th of May?

 

I know one of my sideskirts is coming slightly unclipped but it's still fine (it's in the middle).

The temptation to remove them is high, but I don't have the non sideskirt plugs for the jacking points.

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I think I like the Megane.

I reset all the trip counters then kicked absolute fucking death out of it for 70-odd miles today.

That's just silly.

 

Also, 75mph is the width of the tachometer needle over 2,000rpm. That's positively intergalactic gearing compared to everything else I've owned.

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When I was driving the Megane the other day, it developed a fun* new fault.

The left-side speakers randomly cut out and come back. Faulty radio or just loose wiring? Hmmmmm.

 

Getting to the back of the radio on these looks fun*. Lots of plastic to unclip.

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Today I answered a question that's surely on everybody's lips: Just how much of a Megane Mk3's dashboard can you disassemble with just your bare hands?

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Yes.

I was trying to recreate the random left speakers cutting out problem. I even grabbed the wiring loom going to the passenger side door and pulled on it quite forcefully and the speakers worked perfectly!

I still can't seem to quite get the radio itself out to check the connections on the back, despite putting the radio keys in the slots shown on the youtube video I found.

I managed to fix a rather serious problem while I was messing about, though. I went through all the radio's menus and found that it was set with maximum treble, minimum bass and the loudness turned off! Shocking state of affairs, and all of that was reversed post-haste and tested with my heavy metal Spotify playlist.

 

Anyway. I got distracted by that bit of plastic trim above the glovebox being a bit scuffed up and sad looking.

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I had a war painting this.

I put some Halfords gloss black on it after priming it, and it bloody reacted! So I sanded it all off and tried again. It reacted again.

It now has a couple of coats of Simonz acrylic matt black on it, and it's fine. A couple of coats of lacquer too, and now it's drying overnight before I put it back in the car.

 

While I had all the black paint out I decided to re-do the mirror caps on the BMW. I fitted these standard mirrors shortly after buying the car in late 2021 (it had some M3 replicas on it when I bought it). These mirrors came from a Boston Green convertible, and I very hastily sprayed them gloss black.

The same Halfords gloss black that reacted on the Megane's dashboard trim went on these fine, followed by a generous amount of lacquer. They definitely need a polish or some wet and dry once the lacquer's cured for a few days though!

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Oh yes, this morning I also washed the BMW and used some super resin polish!

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Yeah, it doesn't hide the rust or the scuffs, but look at the water beading! Ooooooooh, distracting.

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Today I replaced the drop links on the Megane. They were definitely due. Rattling like a skeleton in a biscuit tin, and I could just grab them and wobble them by hand.

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Three of the nuts came off with mole grips and spanners, but the top drivers side put up a fight.

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The angle grinder won, though.

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More random fucking about.

Yesterday I thought the trailer looked a bit sad. So I broke out the drill mounted wire brush, some rust converter, and some black paint.

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I actually did all the wheels, including the spare, plus a grab handle on the front. Just didn't take many pictures.

 

Today, I realised the Megane was still rattling from the driver's side. Worse than ever, actually.

Turned out the lower nut on that new drop link still had about half a turn left in it. Good job at fitting those, me.

I then decided to fit the replacement external temperature sensor while I was on a roll.

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It seems plausible. Better than it constantly reading minus 20 or some other such bullshit.

Yes, it is held in with a bit of cardboard and a blob of JB weld.

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I am currently sitting many many miles away from the Megane but...

I'm still thinking about it. It seems to be a fundamentally good car, and very economical while also not painfully slow. It has no cambelt history but the belt on there seems good.

Do I just bite the bullet and ask my mechanic neighbour to replace the belt, tensioner and water pump? Seems like the best way forward. I can then pile on the miles with peace of mind.

I'll be away on holiday in June for a week so may drop it off with him then (if it doesn't blow up before then).

 

I'll also add; replacing the drop links has dramatically improved the general experience, i.e. there's no more constant rattling.

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If it's proving solid and a good car that you want to keep then yes. Also do the aux belt and tensioner. Renault engines love to shit their aux belt which smashes through the plastic cambelt cover and mangles into the cambelt. The results of such incident are as expected.

I don't think the belts are even that hard or difficult on these? Either way, so many of these engines have been made that every mechanic in this country should have done at least one before.

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I had today off work today as time off in lieu due to the training course all weekend (I also have Friday as TOIL too).

So, today has been a day of exhausts. Both my cars had rattly exhausts this morning.

 

I started on the Megane and its tinny rattle at warm idle.

I jacked up the left-hand side and put some axle stands under it and peered in. The heat shield just in front of the fuel tank looked a bit bent towards the exhaust, so I bent it back. It had also come away around one of the bolts, so I fitted a larger washer, plus a nut to a bare stud a few inches further forward. A few bashes with my calibrated hand and it was deemed satisfactory. The combination of the new front drop links and now this heat shield securing has definitely quietened the car down a lot.

 

Buoyed by that success I moved onto the BMW's tinny rattling at about 2 grand while under load. I kicked the exhaust a few times, then jacked up the right-hand side and peered underneath.

It has an interesting arrangement to hold the downpipes before they combine and go into the first cat (about level with the front seats). There's basically a horse-shoe shaped bracket hanging down below the gearbox, with a horizontal strip of mild steel bolted to it, which comes out sideways to the downpipes and cups around them. The bit of this bolted under the gearbox was perfectly preserved by the historic oil leaks. The outboard section under the exhaust itself was functionally non-existent. I just grabbed it and ripped it off. No more rattle, and a lot less resonance through the car at low revs under load (i.e. cruising at 60mph in 5th and gently applying power to go up a hill) due to no longer having a bit of metal contacting the exhaust about level with where my feet are!

I reckon that bracket wasn't doing anything useful for a while! I've ordered a whole new assembly for a whopping £15 though, and I'll paint the new one with some VHT paint to at least give it a fighting chance. I'm not putting another bare mild steel bracket back under there if I can help it.

 

I was working on parts 6 and 11 on the below, from RealOEM:

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Basically, the cups around the exhaust itself were mostly non-existent. Just rusty stumps that were rattling against things under load.

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Some administrative work was carried out on the cars today.

I've got the Megane pencilled in for timing belt work during the week I'm away on holiday in mid-June (I'll take the BMW on that holiday).

I then claimed expenses from work for the weekend training course, then spent all of the expense money on a full set of EBC greenstuff pads for the BMW. 🤣

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I just tightened up the drop links on the Megane... Again?!

They've only done about 300 miles but the shitty nyloc flange nuts had just backed off a tad. I really put my weight into the 15mm spanner when doing them up this time.

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16 minutes ago, SiC said:

Drop of thread lock next time?

If they fucking do it again, aye!

 

Anyway, the Megane is very much impressing me otherwise. My commute is about 20 or so miles each way on the sorts of roads that would make a good tarmac rally stage. I also drive along them in a similar manner.

The bloody thing still averages 48mpg. I brimmed the tank, err... 3 weeks ago? It's only just hit a quarter now.

It also drives like a proper French hatchback. Handling and ride quality combined, unlike that crashy mk8 Civic.

 

My particular one is an odd spec. Most powerful 1.5 dci option but otherwise base spec. It has all round electric windows, manual air conditioning (that doesn't work) and, um... Nope.

No cruise control, 15" steelies, black plastic everywhere, no Bluetooth.

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Today I used an engine crane as an overkill bicycle work stand.

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Then we bolted the sills on, and trial fitted some more bits inside the Land Rover.

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As hilarious as the shiny floor panels are, they'll get painted.

The seat box is back out again, as we were repairing a split along the trailing edge.

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On 15/05/2024 at 19:18, Supernaut said:

If they fucking do it again, aye!

 

Anyway, the Megane is very much impressing me otherwise. My commute is about 20 or so miles each way on the sorts of roads that would make a good tarmac rally stage. I also drive along them in a similar manner.

The bloody thing still averages 48mpg. I brimmed the tank, err... 3 weeks ago? It's only just hit a quarter now.

It also drives like a proper French hatchback. Handling and ride quality combined, unlike that crashy mk8 Civic.

 

My particular one is an odd spec. Most powerful 1.5 dci option but otherwise base spec. It has all round electric windows, manual air conditioning (that doesn't work) and, um... Nope.

No cruise control, 15" steelies, black plastic everywhere, no Bluetooth.

Wierd company car tax bracket dodge spec? 

Surely scrapyard higher spec parts should just plug and play if you wanted it fancier? 15" steelies sound like a massive win though 

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11 minutes ago, beko1987 said:

Wierd company car tax bracket dodge spec? 

Surely scrapyard higher spec parts should just plug and play if you wanted it fancier? 15" steelies sound like a massive win though 

I've seen mentions of specific OBD software involved when swapping to higher spec radios etc..

 

 

I might disassemble some of its dashboard at some point soon, though. I discovered a major fault.

The aux in port doesn't work!

It has stupid red and white phono inputs (really, Renault?) and with the appropriate lead plugged in, no sound! Same lead plugged into my soundbar indoors works just fine.

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Megane bodging!

I took the aux port completely out as it seems to be totally dead. It's a pair of phono connectors going into a tiny circuit board, which then goes into a multiplug that disappears into the car somewhere. Instead of going somewhere logical like straight into the back of the radio...

Soooooo I wrapped the vent clip on the magnetic mount for the Bluetooth receiver in a load of paper and tape. This made it a friction fit in the rectangular hole left by the aux port thingy.

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Ta da! Probably still too much workmanship for this car.

Also yes, I have never put the cover back on the OBD port. That would just be tempting fate!

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Some stuff for the BMW arrived in the post today.

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I don't like the exhaust bracket being plain mild steel. The old one had just basically stopped existing under the exhaust. So I decided to sand it and spray it with etch primer:

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Followed by some VHT paint:

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I was looking for black but could only find silver. Whatever.

 

I'll fit all that stuff later in the week or at the weekend.

 

The commute to and from work today in the Megane was nice with the Bluetooth thingy down low, not blocking the vents or reflecting the sun in my face.

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Fitted.

I also fitted the new exhaust bracket but no photo because I was completely under the car and in no position to whip out my phone for a photo.

I then adjusted the handbrake. It's still shite, because they always are on old BMWs. Still, it's surprisingly roomy and comfortable in the back. I just had a wee sit down for a few minutes there.

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I debated putting those EBC stickers somewhere. They ended up in the glovebox.

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