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Bye bye GTi...

After getting into financial trouble and stupidly swapping my 172 for an older 206 GTi, Ive spotted a Williams 3 for approx. £6k. Not sure of the milage but it is a 1996 N-reg model and Im going to go and have a test drive tomorrow. Can someone tell me what the main things I need to look out for because if it is in reasonable nick I am going to buy it, but dont want to get myself a lemon!



PS: I think this has something to do with watching Jons Willy159 rocketing past me at speeds the 206 can only dream about :mad::mad::mad::mad:
  320d M Sport

do it! get one! let me know how u get on! mine was just as quick as jons in the end! Result!

Rear wheel arches......Deffo get fsh, renault or not this is a MUST. Front ball joints. Make sure it actually has the williams engine by checking for a tubular manifold at the rear of the engine..apart from that...same as any other car.

Oh and....damn fine choice sir !. You wont be disappointed.



The Clio Williams is closely based on the 16v, so theres not much more to check apart from the authenticity of the car itself (someone else will have to detail what to look for there.

Overall, Im of the opinion that Williams owners are of the demographic that look after their cars well. However, the cars are fairly maintenace-intensive, so, as ever, the care it has received thus far will usually dictate condition. Look for a big folder of bills.

What you should then be looking for then can be split into categories:


- Rear arch lips are susceptible to rusting, front ones are plastic so arent a problem. Rust also possible on door bottoms, around window rear quarters and boot bottom. Rear arches are now only available as an entire quarter panel - £330 from Renault inc VAT each side - so make for an expensive repair. Other body panels are surprisingly reasonable after a recent price cut.

- Front fogs (expensive) are prone to cracking due to stone chips.

- Bonnet and front bumper also prone to stone chips.


N.B. due to engine size, many otherwise simple jobs on 16v/Willy are engine-out jobs.

- Cambelts must have been done before 72k (many advise a cambelt change far earlier); fairly big bill in itself and mega bill if it snaps in service.

- Diffs, gbox and clutch are all expensive jobs so check carefully. Jump off the accelerator in 2nd to see if it pops out, if so, then suspect the box or the "dog bone" engine-to-subframe engine mount.

- Rear brake callipers can seize. New rear discs also necessitates new wheel bearings.

- Check aftermarket exhaust mountings - often a poor fit; rumbling under load can be caused by poor exhaust manifold to downpipe gasket (cheap job, disturbing noise).

- Erratic idle commonly due to faulty throttle potentionometer or idle speed control valve (respectively a specialist job and a straight swap).

- 16v/Willy run hot, so check coolant system - hoses, rad, expansion tank, water pump, anti-percolation (if you can). Radweld works wonders with minor radiator leaks.

- Engine mounts often go - embarassing and expensive to have your engine fall out, so see if engine rocks back and forth by opening bonnet and pulling accelerator cable.

- If car has induction kit check security of air hoses - can explain erratic idle or apparent air leak.

- Steering racks and columns are common failures. The handling reaction will be a second or two behind steering input in such a case; car will also tramline and follow road too much.

- Check for snapped front springs.

- CV gaiters should be checked - manifested by clicking noise on full lock.

- Handbrake is normally not good.

- If lowered, will need new front strut top mounts sooner or later. If majorly lowered, check to see that brake pressure-regulating control valve has been adjusted at the rear - otherwise the back wheels will lock too easily. Lowering also places extra strain on front anti-roll bar mountings and bushes and the track rod ends.


- Sunroofs leak (only a problem on Williams 3 if specified).

- Electric window and mirror (not on Williams 1) switches are very expensive - so check them too.

- Front seat belt reels often become ineffective - especially the drivers one.

- Door handle rods in door mechanism can come loose, so that the handle wont work. A time-consuming but easy job.

Cheers guys. Will print that lot off and take it along tomorrow. Given that list of problems, I hope the car will be worth it!!!


Damn right Paddy. Wouldnt touch the 206 180 for fear that it might be something like the 140bhp version. Its just too "soft" to be a true GTi...

Am looking forward to going back to the Clio. They might rattle more, but theyre much more fun to drive!



ClioSport Club Member
  E90 LCI 330d

Yeah, I drove a couple of 206 GTis recently as I thought I might like one, but it was just not what I expected and it put me off... :cry:

My Mum has a 206 diesel, which is a nice looking car and drives well, but the current GTi was just nothing special and did nothing for me. Not that quick, too soft on the ride, high driving position, crap gear change, etc... Id had a 106 GTi for 2 years before that and I now have a 306 Rallye, so I do like my Pugs, but the 206 aint for me.

However, do not poo-poo the GTi-180 and think it will be anything like the current 206 GTi, becuase it most definately will not be! :devilish:

It aint just the old car with more power and a set of new wheels, there are a LOT of differences under the skinand by all accounts it is gonna be very worthy of the GTi badge like the other great Pugs that have gone before it.

Should be quick too with 180bhp and weighing in at a mere 1050kg, so the power to weight ratio is 171bhp/tonne and thats actually more than the mk1 & mk2 172, the CTR and about the same as the Clio Cup!!! :eek:

Make no mistake, it will be rapid and comes in at £14,995 aimed directly at the Clio as its closest rival.

make sre its n 96 williams that I nearly bought. It had been smashed :)

it was for sale near telford by a guy called matt.

RichD- im a interested to see how the pug will do, from first looks it has a distinctly aftermarket feel, which doesnt appeal to me in the slightest. Its good that it weighs so little..ill keep an eye on its development as at the moment im torn between a clio 172 or the upcoming 150bhp TT coming out as my next car.
  H22A7 Accord Type R

a 150bhp TT????? didnt kno they were making one of those?! 150bhp, probably couldnt pull your foreskin back ;)
  Scirocco GT TSi DSG

150bhp TT - get a 172, CTR or another car, the current 180 TT is not very good performance wise so the 150 will be terrible, only good TT is the 225.

Realy depends on whether you want performance or looks.