So 8am this morning I dropped the car of with Birchdown Auto Services who are a highly recommended Renault specialist, they provided me with a courtesy car so off I went to work:
Gave them the list of work I wanted doing knowing they would never get everything done in one day but to do their best with of course belts, pulleys and service taking priority.
Also requested they wipe and clean every as working on the car and thoroughly inspect and drive the car to give me a list of any issues or advise they find to get done on the car.
So come 17:30, I arrive back at Birchdown, the first thing I notice is the car parked outside looking incredible, the grams lowering springs aesthetically are spot on, not slammed, the huge arch gap that could previously be used for smuggling is now gone leave a 2-3 finger gap, they may settle a little more further but the car was full of original suspension in boot too so probably won't much, some pictures I took before chatting with Andy and Steve:
So they basically told me I am lucky as the pulley had broken which normally leads to the auxiliary belt slipping off and taking the cambelt with it, destroying the engine, not just that but the cambelt was very heavily cracked and did not have much life in in and was one of the worse they had seen. The dephaser was also totally knackered, but I knew that from how loud the engine was at warm idle.
Of course this was expected, hence parking it and keep RPM's very low, I enquired as to what other issues they found and they said the only issues they discovered was knackered rear dampers and a little play in the inner track rods, which you already have all the parts for.
They said they could not find any other issues with the car and said it was rust and corrosion free on the underside as well, commenting its a fantastic honest example just in need of TLC, which it has now had by myself and them. They did say on their test drive they were surprised at how strong the car feels, more so than normal and how tight it felt even though they did not complete the full suspension refresh. Again they said this was surprising considering the miss-matched tyres but it drove beyond expectations. They think the previous owner did not really drive it hard as even though were replacing all bushes, wishbones, the ones on there are in good condition and they said though the dog bone mount and lower mount were worn it was not typical wear of 50,000 miles, so its had an easy life, probably why the belts did not snap.
He also said that the oil leak was purely from the power steering valve which they fixed and that the engine had no oil leaks which is rare on them and now with a new rocker cover and re-seal should all be good.
So then I got the bad bit, the bill.
Very fair price as a full days work plus they also supplied a lot of the hardware, all paid up and time to look forward to the drive home which was all pretty much national speed limit country roads, oh boy is the car a huge amount of fun, its pretty damn epic, crazy how much fun can be had for so little money!
Car idles silent, no more rattle or diesel type noise. I never opened it up before but car at low RPM is smoother and feels like stronger torque. So I finally got to enjoy opening the car up and it pulls really strong through entire rev range but at 5500rpm area it seems to come on cam and pulls harder to around 7300rpm and is eager, it feels much stronger than 160HP they supposedly all run, of course it does not weigh much which will help but its quite torque for a petrol 2.0l, certainly in something only weighing a tonne.
Car has great corner grip once into the corner, you can then just make the tyres scream, I'd forgotton how easy and fun FWD can be in sorted chassis that just begs to be driven hard, huge fun.
Only complaints are steering is a bit vague and loose feeling over undulations which am putting down to track rods, steering rack bushes (still yet to do).
Brakes do the job, could be better though, going to look into what is available here.
Back-end feels planted now and turn in is fantastic, feels like it just holds on for deer life even with 4 budget tyres and one been a winter, lol.
Did I say, GREAT FUN! It gets to 100mph pretty swiftly too!
So time to give it a full tank of Vpower, £52, nice I cannot believe how good on fuel this car is, even driving it hard the consumption seems to good to be true, but in comparison the SVR and M3 absolutely drink fuel unless cruising, but the Clio on a cruise nearly returned 50mpg, but its not a cruising car as gearing is not suited to 70-80mph at all.
The drove home on some of my favourite roads, its amazing how you can chuck it in way too fast, my the tyres squeal through a corner or roundabout, then just bury the throttle with it giving a tad torque steer and the tyres screaming for mercy as you slide and accelerate down the road, a lot of fun, but also capable, can't wait to refresh suspension and get a set of AD08R's on the car!
So got home, emptied all the old stuff out the boot and parts they had not yet fitted, plus a spare litre of oil:
Plus a picture of the engine bay after some more cleaning and new header tank in place:
So its booked back in at Birchdown next month by which time the wheels will have been refurbed and have the AD08R's fitted to have the remainder done which is:
- Renault inner track rod arms x2
- Lemforder outer track rod arms x2
- Powerflex anti-roll bar bushes x4
- Powerflex steering bushes x2
- Upper engine mount and Powerflex insert (may do myself)
- Powerflex rear beam bushes
- New front pair wishbones
- Alignment to factory settings
- Might do a full brake refresh for some higher quality disc and pads, or maybe a Brembo conversion? Whats available?
- There is either a lot of tyre/road roar or a wheel bearing is a little dry as around 40-50mph got the typical wheel bearing humm/drone noise of a dry bearing, did typical clutch in neutral, no change so either bearing or tyre roar.
So now I can use the car, which I shall be doing, its a lot of fun and its only going to get better.