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Monaco Money Pit



VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
After years of owning an MG ZS180 way back when enjoying tack days the one car at the time that would leave me standing was 172/182 of the time. After years of hating on them, I found myself wanting to get back into track days and scratching that itch. After many failed attempts on faceache marketplace, I found a Clio 172 for the right price and the right history. The owner played me up a little after we had agreed on a price to then tell me that someone was on their way to 'look at the car'. after telling them I will buy the car... the joys of marketplace.

Sadly I didn't get any photos of when I got her apart from one or two at castle combe action day

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Little paintwork is needed on the front and rear bumper but for £780 and receipts of the dephaser being done a year ago I was well happy.

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A couple from the action day which you can see I was getting mugged off by other Clios and the body roll..

After that small shakedown at Combe to find out that the car isn't going to blow up on me I booked up for a full track day at Combe with a local group. At this point I had picked up a used set of TD 1.2s with some life left in the tyres. Went and picked them up from a gent at Silverstone where Lotus Silverstone had an open day.

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I was probably the slowest thing there and having some decent tyres on just highlighted the body roll and how much the car needed some lows when sat on 15s. However it gave me something to think about, I did run into some issues which was exactly what I wanted out of the day to get the project rolling. A crunch in 3rd gear and pretty much cooked the brakes which put me out for the afternoon as it wasn't safe.

So some RBF 600 was needed along with a gearbox oil change.

Shortly after this was the BIG TEST of a sub £800 Clio. A trip to the ring....
 

VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Few jobs before the trip, added the cheaper ebay tow eye at the front and originally the centre section was held up with some wire.

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Early morning start for the drive from Gloucester to Folkstone. Met up with my friend locally for a coffee before we set off.

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The drive was perfect, and the car didn't put a foot wrong. The computer was telling me I was getting a decent average MPG on the way down.

Boarding onto the crossing and then continuing through France, Belgium and then into Germany. Eventually arriving at the hotel we've stayed at for the past few years.

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Quick unpack and then straight up to the ring for some laps.

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It was absolutely heaving here on Friday but the only queue we had was getting off the track and back into the paddock area.

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I planned on doing a couple of laps on the day we arrived but due to the number of people on track and the time it was taking for us to get off the ring we decided to go back to the hotel and get ready for the evening. As we entered Adenau we stopped off at the supermarket and got some beers for the room and booked a table at Pinocchios.

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For the next couple of days, it was laps, Go-karting and driving around to spots on the track and spectate. We stopped off at brunchen and found another Monaco friend. Also stopped off and took some photos of the cars. Followed by an evening meal and drinks in Blaue Ecke

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During our time out in Germany I found I hadn't solved my breaking issue and the discs are warped and getting some bad break judder. Apart from that, the car was flawless.
 
  2014 Clio 200t edc
i was going to say that! Car looks good though. I had a Monaco years ago that had lacquer peel but that was on the door and rear quarter. Yours looks a million times better than mine was though.
 

VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
You will see a trend in some plates being blanked and some not being blanked. More for the purpose when I was uploading them to facebook.
 
  2014 Clio 200t edc
I always block my plate when I post online, not sure why as I don’t when I drive about etc, but don’t like putting reg numbers online.
 

VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Once I got back from Germany the project was to really begin...

First up were some new HC discs and pads from George which sorted the braking issue out once and for all.

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After a lot of thought and changing my mind several times on what suspension to opt for I finally made my decision. Originally I was going to go for a set of Spax RSX. One of the lads at track day had a nicely done Clio running that setup and took me out for a few laps and I was really impressed with the RSX and how they performed. I had made this mistake in the past of buying top of the shelf suspension which was set up for another car and was never really happy, so this time I had decided to buy brand new. But one thing kept popping back up every time I would search the forum for suggestions and opinions the one thing which was constant throughout was "if you have the money, get AST".

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So I ended up with a set of AST and got some PMS solid top mounts to go with and the strut brace. In all fairness, I'm glad I did because they really are the dogs! So I set to work taking the old Shocks out which had seen better days considering the car has covered 100k miles.

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Apologies for all of you with OCD, I didn't take this opportunity to clean out the arches... I'm also very disappointed in myself.

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Anything I work on I pop a bit of copper slip to make life so much easier if and when you need to take it apart again!

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I was surprised just how easy the car was to work on, nothing really put up a fight to come undone and all went back together with no issues. Next was to fit the strut brace and actually start making holes in things that haven't already got holes in them.
 

VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
For all you eagle-eyed views, I was doing this at the same time as the suspension install. I started out by loosely assembling the brace and marking out the holes. I should have assembled it a little better as may have made life easier later on and not give myself such a scare when I thought I had cocked it all up. Looking back at these photos and realising just how messy the car is but need to remind myself it's a project now a show car.

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Really no going back now. It was at this point I thought I should have assembled it a little better and the "loosely" approach may have ballsed this up as I thought I got the holes in the wrong place and the brace mounts were facing slightly backwards and not across the engine bay.

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Luckily, when I started to assemble it again the brace and did line it, it was definitely slightly off but not enough that I couldn't get the brace into place. It did put up a fight and needed some force to get it into mounts and the bolts through, but I got there in the end and probably having a little bit of tension is a good thing.

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The engine bay isn't the nicest part of the car currently and the previous owner had that air filter cable tied to the bar that runs in front of the battery. It's not how I would have it but it does the job currently and that's how it's staying for now. I also got a set of black series top mounts for the rear shocks to go with the solid top mounts at the front.

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VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
While I was doing all of this I got an ACS roll centre kit from a user on here who had got it for his car but never got round to fitting it. It was only in Oxford so off I popped for a little road trip to get some nice shiny parts. At this point, I'm thinking the suspension alone is worth 3x the cost of the car!

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With all that fitted I got the car booked in down at ProTyre as it was the only place that had a spot available. The usual tyre place I use was fully booked and me being me and impatient I booked in at ProTyre.

The car goes in and then 20 minutes later a lad came in and ask if he could show me something as he is having some issues with the adjustment. He seems to think the black anodised block has been cross-threaded onto the inner tie rod and is unable to move it. They have had the torch on it to heat it up and everything. I thinking to myself that it is impossible because I installed it and used copper slip and know for a fact it wasn't crossed. But sure enough, it was tight as f**k.

Then the car decides it doesn't want to start, it's now closing time for them and I get them to leave the gate open and call upon a friend to tow me home. My jumper pack wouldn't even start the car and it turned out to be the dry cell battery I had sitting around had died but that was the least of my worries at this point.

I got the car home and set about taking it all apart and thought the only way I can get it off is to cut the tie rod and got in touch with Anthony who made the ACS kit with his mate (who now makes the AM PRO kit) if he happened to have any spares and explained what had happened. Luckily he had 2 spares which I got anodised at work and then set about stripping the roll centre kit.

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I cut the tie rod and as it hit the floor I noticed the adjustment block moved... It was as free as a bird and what had happened was in the cars previous life someone had replaced the inner tie rods with ones that are too long and what was happening was the rose bearing and the inner tie rod was hitting each other on the thread giving the impression it was crossed-threaded.

I got the passenger side out and measured it and compared it with the drivers side which was now in two parts.

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With Anthony on hand and the forum and its conflicting information when it comes to tie rod lengths and much searching, we determined a length that would work that wouldn't foul on one another when it came to adjusting the geometry one the car.

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Whilst I was waiting for the second lot of tie rods to arrive I removed the acoustic valve which was destined for the bin until a lad on here from the Netherlands got in touch and asked if he could have it. So a part of my car is now abroad restoring someone else's car.

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VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Just a couple of little jobs done at this point. As it's a track car I wanted to swap over to a stud conversion to make swapping the wheels over quicker from track to road.

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Another plan for further down the line was to get a trailer and eventually run a splitter which would cause trouble loading and unloading off the trailer so after seeing a few peoples projects of quick-release bumpers I devised a plan of what I wanted to do. Originally I priced up the pins from demon tweaks but because I'm a tight bugger I went for Quik-latch which is a USA brand, the only supplier in Europe was in France and even then with buying 4 from France it was still cheaper than demon tweaks.

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Having the front bumper off for the first time I could see the AC rad had taken a knock. Not sure what has happened here but the AC still works and nothing else looks damaged behind it or around it.

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I also broke the bumper down and removed all plastic out to give it a bit of a refresh as they looked quite grey. The bumper sits fine but I think it can sit a little tighter to the lights so I will revisit this at a later date with a better design on attaching the pins to the crash bar as I was only using existing holes and can do a better job if I redesign the way the pins are mounted to the frame.

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Completing my days project and light left in the day I treated the car to a quick wash.

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VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Little update,
eBay was having a discount weekend which was posted on here. I was always on the hunt for a second set of wheels and with the discount added there wasn't much difference between getting a used set of wheels or buying a brand new from Demon Tweaks with the weekends discount added. So I opted for a black set of 15" TD 1.2 again as my "wet/daily" wheels. Which arrided quickly and set about getting some protection on them before wrapping them in Uniroyal Rainsports.

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While the bumper was off I stripped it down and removed all the heavy plastic reinforcement and refreshed the plastics as they were looking rather "tired" at the time..

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I managed to retain the OEM stickers on the grill by masking them up close to the edge and trimming the excess off so that the stickers look as if they have been renewed along with everything else.
 

VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Yeah, that was me mate. I was invited to a monthly classic car meet. Except I got my weekends mixed up so decided to go for a little spin.
 

VenomUK

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
After the suspension mods, I was itching to go and try them out, give the car a shakedown and find the next issue that needs fixing. I booked up another Slip N Grip day at Combe after enjoying my first meeting. The people who attend these were all welcoming and there weren't any nobs on track, so it seems the ideal thing to do to go and stretch the car's legs and give the new mods a workout.

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Starting off with the AST in the softest setting I was so impressed with how they performed and knew forking out the money was the right thing to do. After a few stints of learning the new set up, I ran into issues again with the brakes. This time it wasn't fade, they felt fine but I was getting brake warning light flashes up every time I would press the brakes and would stay on till I got on the brakes again. I checked online and the usual "check the fluid level" came up but this was all fine. The brakes felt fine so I pushed on. Apart from this and the annoying rattle of the heat shield on the exhaust which had dropped.

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Again my day was cut short by 2 o'clock, as I went out by this point I decided to see what these shocks could do and went full hard setting I got halfway around the track literally shouting in the car with amazement at how 12 clicks on all for corners the car felt like it was on rails. I was already impressed before but this was a whole different game. I got halfway round and then the car coughed. It was only a little one which made me think 'did it just misfire?' and question it. Next, turn all fine and then as I got on the power the car completely went into limp mode with a warning light. I tried turning it off and on again while rolling but nothing cleared so I limped it in, lucky I had just gone through Bobbies so I was close to the pit lane at which point I went under the Avon bridge and it cut out on me. I pushed it to the side of the road and managed to get it running again. This time the warning light had gone out but that was it for me. All confidence had gone in the car and didn't want to get stuck out on track and I still needed to get home.

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So I packed everything up slowly and took a slow drive home. The car again was fine and didn't miss a beat the whole way home. The next few days I took the car out or drove it to work and nothing happened again...?
 


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