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Buying a Williams 3

Just been to see it. It was immaculate inside, with the only non-standard item being the head unit & cd changer. It had just been rained on so it was hard to tell about the paint, but the dealer says he had the bonnet re-sprayed and the passenger side rear wing lead blasted and resprayed due to some "bubbling" under the paintwork. It looks pristine. He had also had the wheels re-furbished.

The engine bay looks very clean, but someone mentioned that the manifold should be "tubular". I thought manifolds were generally tubular in construction. Does anyone have a picture or can they explain what I should be looking for?

The guy has said I can take it for a test drive by myself and am welcome to have any AA/RAC type test carried out on it.

My big concern....the cam-belt. Even though it has a full Renault service history (and all the MOT papers), he didnt know if the belt had been changed. Said it was a £130 job if it hadnt been done. Is this right? Is it likely to have been done at the 72000mile service? Is there any way I can tell if it has been done?

Generally just worried about the 81000mile on the clock. Ive never had an every day car with such a high milage.....


Mileage isnt a problem on these cars as long as all the jobs have been done. But 80k is kind of at the tail end of where things go wrong with the 16v/Willy. Like I said before, that should mean a big folder of bills if all has been seen to.

All you can do really is get an AA check and see what that throws up. The expensive jobs are transmission related and the cambelt (which will be more than £130 unless youre really lucky). The cambelt is part of the 72k service - can you get access to the bills?

well if he said he dont know whether the cambelt has change or not use that as a barginning tool, either he have it change or knock the price down, my dad manage to neogiate a new alloy, 2 new tyres and a full service plus a grand off when he brought his prelude.......

when you mentioned the manifold is tubular, on the willy is its tubular steel rather than cast iron.


as long as the colur matches it should be fine really. and a few rattles here and there are n ot unusual it is still a reno after all, new 172 rattles so a few on a willy should be liveable

i aint got a pic of a manifold but if u know anything about zorst its easy to tell apart. the 16v can with a right chunky 4-2-1 manifold but the williams came with a girly 4-1 manifold

best bet is to get rac/aa to check over the car and check over the bodyworkmin good light. if the car is straight and mechanicals are ok them there is plenty life in it yet.

make sure the paper work ties up as its very easy for dealers to make one up and if the SH is genuine reno then the belt would of been changed at 72k or even before if the car was owned by a caring owner

as i said engine will do 200k easily as long as its maintained but i would say at that mileage get the engine monuts done and the starter and alternator will let go soon too


Ben H - when you say "tail end of when things go wrong", do you mean that if anything major was going to go wrong, it would have already done so?

Wongy - Do you mean I need to get the engine mounts done asap or at 200k miles?! And yes, the manifold did look a bit wimpy....!



i mean its in your besi interest too

the main one is stron but will let go as will the dog bone one that stops the engine movement backwards and forwards

the main one u wanna do is the gearbox one. if this goes the engine drops down and will most probably take out the box too

if i were u get them change as peace of mind then just drive the willy as it was intended. u will be well suprised how much better the willy is


What I mean by the tail end of things going wrong is this:

By about 80k, youll find that most long-term perishable items such as the clutch, cambelt, brake discs, CVs, engine mounts and so on will have been replaced on a well cared-for Williams or 16v. If youre lucky (the previous owner unlucky), then you might find a new diff, steering column/rack or gbox by 80k. It just depends on the car, but by 80k, most of the problems inherrent to the 16v/Williams series will have come up.

Obviously, some jobs will be future issues - such as any of the above that havent been done already when you buy the car. My 16v is on 95k now with a healthy looking original gbox and steering rack/column. But I know that Ill have to do them some day. So thats why I suggest that the 16v and Williams shouldnt be relied on totally for daily transport - they can be off the road for weeks sometimes.

There will also be a whole host of smaller problems that come as the miles pile up, like electrics, brake callipers and suspension components. But these are usually just annoying rather than highly expensive jobs (unlike the gbox, diffs, cambelt etc). Thats why I also say to people to go for either a really low or a cared-for high mileage 16v or Willy - you delay the expense of big bills for as long as possible.

Heaven help people with a 50-70k 16v/Willy!
  BMW 320d Sport

lol well Id try and negotiate a lot off the price if they dont know about the cambelt. You *must* get that done and unless you know a mechanic mate of yours who doesnt mind doing really nasty jobs for 20 quid, youll be looking at a few hundred. I seem to remember Renault quote £500 or something stupid but most independents will still want a lot. Dont want to give you bad news, but I wouldnt be too keen on a Clio that looked mint but had just had a front end respray and was bubbling on the rear arch. A looked after Clio doesnt bubble on the rear arch, most people I know who have had rust bubbling bought it like that and if you dont pamper it from new, thats what happens IMHO.

What sort of money do they want and why was the front end resprayed? Get underneath and look at the subframe. Oh BTW things that may well be about to go at 80k (if theyve not been mentioned on recent receipts) - clutch, gearbox, engine mounts, shocks, cambelt, power steering pump, alternator, etc. All expensive jobs. Use these to bargain the price down and hope they dont actually give up for real!

Thats two quite different opinions on buying an 80000 miler! However, it does seem that Im going to have to be prepared to foot some bills if I want to drive a Williams.

Apparently the bonnet was quite badly stone chipped. Plausable reason??? Someone had put that the wheel arches were prone to rusting on a previous post .

To be fair, the guy did say that I should get the AA to look the car over. Oh yeah, Im also taking Craggy to look it over.

Jaspa - my address is"> - thanks!
  honda accord 2.4 type s

The only reason why my paint started "bubbling" was after a sh*te repair job by Nationwide Car Repairs!!! You gotta check the cambelt though, mine snapped and cost me (with discount!) £750, apart from that and a new power steering pump, mines been spot on (its only done 67000 miles though!)

Still worth the hassle (and money)