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Clio III 1.2 16v - help requested, numerous issues & won't start!

  Renault Clio 1.2 08
Hi everyone,

I'm really hoping you can help. My car is a Clio III 1.2v 2008 Expression (the 2005-2012 model). This is going to be a long post, as there have been a number of issues which may (or may not) be linked, and I will list the things that we have tried to resolve this.

Historical issues with the car included - weird electrics - the lights would always be on, even when in 'off' position on the stalk. Wipers would only work intermittently. Eventually, I noticed that the wipers would work if I used the screenwash, or, bizarrely, if I indicated....looking into this was on my to do list, and then covid happened, homeworking etc and it al got forgotten about.

From March, the car wasn't really needed as I was homeworking straight away - It has been driven once per week roughly, up until autumn/winter time when it was barely driven at all. Due to parking issues my car had been parked down the street, under some trees. Now, we are all aware of the issues with the scuttle drains backing up and the stupid design of the way these vehicles are meant to drain. I will gladly hold my hands up and say that I should have been more careful, but in all honesty, it was simply an 'out of sight, out of mind' thing and I forgot to check the car. Anyway; as you can imagine - the drains were blocked and backed up, and water had come into the car, via (we think) the passenger footwell. Not 100% sure how but the wettest part was definitely there. It was extremely soggy in there, windows were steamed up and there was some evidence of mould on the front seats. I also heared sloshing coming from under the windscreen, and even saw it splash up when I went round corners etc. Once I realised this, we decided to bring the car up to the house to work on it. The car would not start. What I will list next is the whole sequence of sorry events and where we are up to with it now (totally stumped and really need your help guys!):

  • Went to move car to bring onto our driveway to unblock the drains, car would not start. Assumed dead battery given it hadn't been run in a while - would not jump start either. Noticed light on immobiliser flashed rapidly in quick succession when the key was in the 'on' position. As we had been doing some reading about the weird electrics, we'd found a forum post about broken connectors in the ECU, so by chance we gave the wires a bit of a jiggle and a shake and the car started! it also drove fine. Parked car outside house and tried to start following day - same thing - pushed the wires/connector again and car started.
  • The following day started the car again, started first time and was running (on the driveway) fine. It was at this point that we started looking at trying to dry the car out etc. Firstly, we disconnected the passenger airbag, removed the front seats, then began taking up the carpet, then the foam - all of which was sodden. They were all taken into the house for drying. We also got a small plug in heater and some cat litter in the floor to try and dry it all out.
  • The ECU in the passenger footwell/dash was taken out and it looked like there was possibly some corroded connections on 3 or 4 of the pins - no evidence of any damage inside so we put it back in.
  • Next, we cleaned the scuttle drains out, removed wheel arch covers and cleaned the sill drains. Ran the hose gently and it was all running out clear.
  • Whilst everything was drying, we thought we'd look at the weird lights/wipers issue. took stalk apart and found a wire broken in the connector between wiper and lights, removed broken wire, pushed wire back into connector. We then started the car (still with no seats in & with airbag disconnected) to test the lights/wipers and it hadn't fixed that issue - full beam and wipers not working.
  • We wondered at this point if it was possible that the ECU down in passenger footwell had in fact been damaged by water, so we sprayed it with WD40 contact cleaner in the wiring loom connector and ECU pins, and dried indoors overnight. We put this back into the car the following day.
  • 2 days later (we had really bad weather so all of these jobs were very stop/start), we tried to start the car again to test the lights/wipers and it would not start or turn over...and now this is our bigger problem!
  • We checked the battery, and it was reading 11.5v, we put on charge until it was 12v and tried to start again - nothing. We had a cheap diagnostics tool for the car called Foseal OBDII. We plugged this in, this confirmed 2 historical tests (from a few months back which was to do with us needing to change the coil pack and spark plugs which we had done). It also, however, had 8 additional results under a section called 'Extended diagnostics'. All of these codes seemed to be related to the airbag which at this point is still disconnected, and the seats removed from the vehicle (and I'm happy to list all the codes if it helps?).
  • Next, we connected the ground from the battery to gearbox housing and tried to start - nothing.
  • Then we tried 'hitting' the starter whisl trying to crank - nothing.
  • When turning the key we noticed a sound of some sort of power coming from under the bonnet - solenoid maybe? Noise lasts around 10-15 secs?
  • We checked the fuses in the engine bay, and there was some evidence of some water ingress around the housing of the fusebox and ECU. Tested the fuses and relays, all seemed to be ok apart from 1 x 20amp fuse, which according to wiring diagrams online says is the wiper motor.
  • Removed fusebox, opened and couldn't see any obvious signs of water damage or corrosion. Left inside overnight in case there was any small amounts of water.
  • This brings me to today. This morning we returned the fusebox, replaced the 20 amp fuse, re-assembled everything, turned airbag back on, connected battery - tried to start and absolutely nothing still. No turn over, nothing. Immobiliser light at the point of trying to crank goes to solid red, which I think it is meant to do? Tried to clear the error codes on the Foseal diagnostics tool, and althought it cleared the 2 historical ones from months ago, I don't think it cleared those 8 additional ones linked to the airbag as they came back. We tried to start again, and nothing. Battery at this point 13v.
  • At this point we decided to call it a day..
Wondering if the fact that we started it with no seats in made the car do a big confusion? I did read some posts somewhere about cars thinking they've been crashed and cutting off certain functions? Could that be the case here? If so, is it as simple as getting a replacement airbag ECU? Renbreakers have one for the same model for £15 but I'm unsure about coding etc? Totally clueless, sorry :confused:

I am so sorry for the huge essay. I figured the more detail I provided, the better it would be for any of you that are kind enough to help me out and provide any advice you can give. Please also excuse my ignorance if I used any incorrect terms or names for things. Am not a mechanic (clearly!), and up until this I'd only ever changed bulbs in my car before. It is good learning, though. I just really am stumped now and hours and hours of googling just isn't proving fruitful anymore, so I thought I'd turn to the experts :)

Thank you so much for anything you can do to guide me.
  Renault Clio 1.2 08
Here are those 8 codes it threw up:

U0100 - Lost Communication With ECM/PCM A (772 - Airbag)
U3003 - Battery Voltage (772 - Airbag)
U0140 - Lost Communication With Body Control Module (772 - Airbag)
B00B7 - "Driver Seat Occupant Position Sensor ""A"" (Subfault)" (772 - Airbag)
B1001 - Custom error code (772 - Airbag)
B1002 - Unknown trouble code (772 - Airbag)
B0028 - Custom error code (772 - Airbag)
B0020 - Left Side Airbag Deployment Control (Subfault) (772 - Airbag)
  Renault Clio 1.2 08
Also, just adding, the only warning lights on my dash are: the spanner (which has been there for a long time, as service overdue), and now the abs and STOP lights have come on since the non-starting issue. No airbag warning lights which now makes me think it's not the airbag ECU?
  Renault clio mk2 ph2
Mate.... I've just cured an airbag fault... drivers side airbag.... and the moment I sorted it another 3 fault have came up... I cried alittle.... still am.... . . . (These dots are cyber tears)


I've been cycling all winter :(