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Paul’s Pearl


ClioSport Club Member
Welcome to what will surely become a tale of woe and regret! After owning my 182 for 6 years I've only gone and bought myself a Clio 200. I have always been a fan of the mk3 RS shape but for some unknown reason more recently I switched from preferring the 197 front to that of the 200. When the 182 was in a prolonged state of dissassembley last year I started watching the market for 200's more closely and it apart from the general upturn in covid used prices I don't think 200 values areon the rise yet. Which is odd as they are surely one of the last of their type of hot hatches.
So I scraped together a budget and started shopping. I spotted the pearl on facebook marketplace in early January with a very low price tag and even less information. It was a hundred miles away and I had never driven a mk3 RS so I hit save and carried on browsing. In February a LY 200 came up for sale locally so I went for a look. The LY tax was strong on it but to my surprise even lowered on unknown springs the ride was better than I expected and it wasn't as slow as everyone says they are. Even in a colour that every Renaultsport enthsiast wants to own at some point it wasn't the car for me. Cue a few more weeks browsing and a couple more test drives and I returned to see if the pearl was still listed. My enquiry on facebook was met with a "please ring for details" reply and a chat with Paul the owner revealed that it was his personal car and not a trade sale. Unable to resist I took a trip to Liverpool to have a look.
First view (1).jpg

First view (2).jpg

Even from the advert pictures it was clear the car was filthy with accumulated muck but as he said it was straight and apart from some cracked paint on the front bumper the body was in good condition. He had bought the car at auction in 2018 as it rolled through with the wheels a garish blue (see the front RS badge!) and attracted very little attention and he was planning on using it as a track car. That plan was shelved when he decided it was too clean for track and discovered how rare pearl white 200's are so he refurbished the wheels and fitted new brakes and gearbox and clutch then drove something else! I can't find any info about the car on any forums or facebook groups but I do know that besides ST12 OTX it has worn L600 HEP while with its 3rd owner.

So why was it cheap? Obviously no MOT impacts value and who'd be daft enough to buy a car that hasn't had an MOT for 3 years? The MOT history is colourful too, although nothing majorly has gone wrong and some are through of prep by owners or overzealous testers.

There's got to be some problems with it though right? I have only had brief test drive in it and apart from an initial knock from the suspension there were no untoward noises, no wonky steering or lumpy running and nothing fell off. The only obviously broken things I found were the drivers seat wouldn't slide and the airbag light is on the dash and the brakes need a bleed. I was only the second person to go view the car and by that time I'd had it saved on facebook for 9 weeks! 2 weeks later it was delivered to my house.


WTF could possibly go wrong with this plan eh?:ROFLMAO:


ClioSport Club Member
What else could need attention I wonder?
Well the spoiler needs painting.

And the tail lights un-painting.

The rear beam has more rust than the 182's.

The wheels were painted spastic blue while on the car. So its on the calipers, the discs, the edges of the bumper and the bottom of the spoiler!!!

The airbag light is on.

And obviousley it wants a good service.

And the rad support is all but dust 😳

And the front dampers look a bit crusty too.

So a few jobs to do but nothing thats too major as to sour the deal yet. If it explodes on the way to the mot that'll be another thing though🤣.


ClioSport Club Member
Nice little project.

Can’t understand why people treat cars the way they do, I’m sure you’ll bring it back to its former glory though
People are bloody odd! The last owner bought it in October 2018 and the mot expired March 2019. He's owned it longer than any other person yet just had it sat there!


ClioSport Club Member
Can’t wait to see that after it’s been cleaned up and those horrible rear lights dealt with, it’ll be a transformation into a stunner! Great find, I’m sure you’ll turn it back into a great car, nice one 👍

Stay Puft

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
I literally have no idea why someone would sell a car in that state. A basic home clean, or pay someone £50 and you’ll sell it easier, and probably for more money.


ClioSport Club Member
It's a f**king heap that.
Want to buy it? Dirt cheap 🤣
This has al the hallmarks of a lovely project mate. All looks like fairy easy stuff to sort. I would bloody love to clean it! Super satisfying! Are the recaro’s from the 182 being swapped over!?
That was the plan for the seats but seeing what they are selling for these days they'd pay for belts and fresh suspension on the 200 so I can then spend the money I have for that on mods 😏.

No, stoppit. I'm not modifying this car at all.



ClioSport Club Member
I personally would put the recaros in it seeing as you already have them. It will make the car miles more desirable should you ever sell it.

This! False economy selling them IMO. Yeah it would pay for belts, but it would add to the value of this car no end I’m sure
I may have bought 9 Renault's but I'm not completely certifiable!

Already out of the 182 😂.


ClioSport Club Member
Nice project.

I think they are on the up, prices seem to have risen and availability dropped since I was looking for mine at the start of the year.

My shocks are all crusty like that too, I plan to refresh the entire suspension soon, not too expensive for all new from RPD.


ClioSport Club Member
  Minion Yellow
Looks a proper project, but please tell me you did not paid 5k for it


ClioSport Club Member
Ah spring cleaning😊, lets crack on shall we?

The first thing I wanted to sort out was the divers seat, I felt like Short Round driving it where it was😆. I was happy to see that the seats are bolted from inside the car and the wires are also easy to get to. In other words totally opposite to the 182! So with the seat out I had to remove the runners, after the height adjuster handle, the side trim, position sensor, tilt slide wire, some more plastic trim and a lot of muck. God alone knows how the handle was pulled out and I'm not sure its fully relocated which is annoying as I'll have to fit them to my CS's. I managed to get it all back together and working though.
200 interior  (9).jpg

Since the seats are easy to remove and the weather was good I decided to remove the passenger seat and rear bench and give the car a good vacuum. The centre console was filthy so I pulled that out too which made hoovering the dog and woman hair out much easier. Pissing around with your hair in the car should be banned, or women should be banned from cars😡😆. As I was busy with the vac my neighbour passed me a can of carpet cleaner. Damn it made a huge difference but would have taken weeks to do the whole lot so I dragged the wet vac out and started washing.
After initial vac.
200 interior  (10).jpg

And after a wash.
200 interior  (13).jpg
200 interior  (11).jpg

It's not perfect but it is much much better than it was. The rear bench came up really clean but as I'm not keeping the fronts they just got a quick once over. The tiny fabric part on the door card was the most surprising, the wet vac pulled some really dirty water out of them! I still need to clean the plastics so no finished pics yet. And the Renault favourite grey/filthy seatbelts need scrubing too.

The next job was to see if I could get the dipped beam working. All the other lights worked and after plenty of research I decided to follow the advice and check the bulbs first. Theres a guide on about changing them without removing the bumper which was very helpful so I pulled the drivers side bulb with the intention to test it after removal. Bulb swiftly removed I promptly fumbled it and dropped it on the floor. Yep it was definatley broken😂. I had 1 spare bulb so I plugged that in and thankfully it worked so I ordered a pair of nightbreakers from amazon.


ClioSport Club Member
While the bonnet was up I decided to have a look under the scuttle. With all that muck and tree deritus there wasn't much chance it would be dry. The wiper arms came off nice and easily so at least I didn't crack the windscreen like I did removing the 182 wipers!
There's drains in there somewhere, under all the water🙄.
scuttle (4).jpg
scuttle (3).jpg
scuttle (2).jpg

The water was just below the wiring on the wiper motor! Both drains totally clogged up as expected and with rain forecast it was good that I cleaned them when I did. I couldn't even see where the drain was on the drivers side as it was buried under so much crap. Cue one relieved clio😆.
scuttle (5).jpg

And after any flood there's a mess left behind.
scuttle (7).jpg
scuttle (6).jpg

I removed the wiper mechanism to give more space to clean and so I could make sure it was moving freely. As @jenic discovered the wiper mech on the mk3 is prone to seizing. This is caused by the blocked drain on the drivers side submerging the pivot at that end in water which then rusts solid. Mine was swimming but still moved freely but I took it to work and stripped it, cleaned it and regreased the moving parts to keep it in good working order. I pulled the wiper motor out too so I could clean that side and that looked a bit crusty too!
scuttle (15).jpg

It still works ok but I reckon it would be a good idea to have a spare motor and mech just in case. This will definately be a problem part as these cars get older.
And after a bit of cleaning:
scuttle (13).jpg
scuttle (12).jpg
scuttle (11).jpg

I've never even entertained the thought of cleaning under the bonnet before but since I started I best do the rest of it at some point.


ClioSport Club Member
The mk3 has top mount covers but as you can see in my last post the top of the strut is under water. The covers have a bead of squishy foam on the bottom but as theres a gap in it its obviousley not designed to keep water out which seems a bit odd if the water level can rise high enough to flood the damper and then not escape. AFter drying out the dampers I removed the knackered foam from the covers and replaced it with some butyl tape before refitting them later.
scuttle (8).jpg

A bit more under bonnet cleaning and it's looking a lot better. Just needs some trim restorer on the plastics to make them look newer. While the wiper arms were off I gave them a coat of matte black after rubbing and treating some small rust spots.

Inlet and cam cover need some work when I get around to changing the spark plugs.

After that I figured it was time to start cleaning the bits you can actually see, or at least nearly see. This meant pulling parts off:eek:.
Start at the top. ☹️

A good dose of citrus power and some brushing got rid of that crap😊

And then the green boot shut got some tlc while trying to not trap my fingers moving the tailgate so I could reach it all.

It wasn't until I saw that photo that I noticed the Renaultsport logo on the underside of the cup spoiler! Nice little touch imo. The door seals were full of muck and took a lot of work to get clean but it was very satisfying to get them and the door shuts clean. 😊


Removing the side repeaters wasn't pleasant. They were bloody tight and I thought they were going to brek and drop shrapnel into the door which would be forever rattling about. Luckily that didn't happen and I managed to remove the bump strips withoug dropping the tiny screw into the door either.

That sort of neglect is shameful! Luckily it cleaned up nicely...


ClioSport Club Member
...But when cleaning the trim I noticed the side repeaters have some green inside them so they will need replacing.

I just love the pearl :love:

I still had the reat of the car to wash but at this point the headlamp bulbs arrived so I decided to get that ticked off the list.

The driver side one is easy to change just needing the filler neck for the screen wash bottle pulling out which gives plenty of room to get to the back of the headlamp.

Another part needed then😆. Thankfully on the 200 there's no silly clips holding the bulbs in, the plug secures it in the headlamp so you just fit the bulb in the holder and then insert it in the hedlamp. Onto the passenger side then. That needs a slightly different angle of attack as the battery/ fuse box is in the way. However all is not lost, you just need to undo the acoustic valve and bend it out of the way.

Oh. Someone had been here before as one nut was already sheared off and the second one broke off as soon as I tried removing it. I expect the acoustic valve can be removed like on the 182 anyway, I'll do that later😆. With that moved you can contort yourself enough to reach the bulb and swap it out as before.

Job done and a potential headache easily solved. All lights now fully functual. Back to cleaning in the daylight.


ClioSport Club Member
A bit of catching up to do on this. The rear lights are shameful so I removed them to see if the tint spray would come off with any chemicals. It doesnt and sanding them back isn't worth the effort so I need to source a pair of clean ones. The muck behind them did come off though.


Having cleaned there were some rust spots left behind.


Luckily this is just particles that have rusted and not the car itself. Some iron out and a bit of polish got it off.


With all the edges done I figured I may as well take the number plates off as there would surely be lots of muck behind them. I was surprised to see the screws were stainless so hadn't rusted to the point of snapping. Alas whoever put them on was a funny t**t and had also used sticky pads. Lots of sticky pads.


I nearly pulled the bloody bumpers off and the plates looked like they were going to snap! Half an hour with a heat gun got all the pads off the car and melted my finger prints too. Finally ready to give the car a wash, undeterred by the rain I gave it a coat of bilt hamber auto foam and agitated the foam into the edges and grilles with my trusty detailing brush. After a good rinse I gave it a wash with auto finesse lather and then after rinsing again I went around the car with iron out. At this point it looked like a clio trophy as it went very pink 😂

After a rinse my drive looked like a murder scene! Another wash with fresh lather and it's 95% clean. There are some marks that need polishing and of course now the layer of muck is gone I can see the stone chips. The front bumper has a few but happily as the wheels are still tucked as Renault intended the rear quarters are mostly unscathed. I'm deliberating removing the stickers on the flanks but am a bit worried how different the paint below them will look if they have been on there for a few years?
The sun even came out for an after pic so I could see the pearl :love:

Needs a run over with a clay bar and some polish. That'll probably happen in 2030😂.

The Chubby Pirate

ClioSport Club Member
  Golf R
Great progress mate, i’m still on the honey moon period with mine!

Are these actually prone to rust? They’re absolutely not the fastest things in the world but my god i’m enjoying it! Corners like nothing i’ve driven before!


ClioSport Club Member
Cleaning it wasn't totally uneventful.


Yes the RS badge on the grille was painted spastic blue too and apparently was pulled off the backing to do it. Thats a blessing in disguise because there would be blue on the bumper, bonnet and god knows where else! £50 for a new one isn't very Yorkshire though😭. It'll need sticking bac on if the blue s**t and glue comes off. Fitting a new one requires the bumper off, as does removing the front diamond which clearly needs attention too.

A week later it was sunny and I had nothing to do so figured I'd have a look at the centre caps which I found in the door pocket along with half the wheel nuts!

Well, not only was the colour choice poor but the implementation equally so. A bit of thinners and some rubbbing revealed the oe finish hadn't been keyed at all and was there in all it's glory beneath.

The refurb is also a pretty decent match. Result!
With the centre caps looking that good under the paint what we're the odds of the RS badge being mint underneath too? Well the paint was that thick it chipped off fairly easily and in large chunks. I didn't even need to melt it with the thinners.
That'll do. THe paint was that thick it chipped off in big chunks and didn't need any thinners. I managed to clean all the glue off the back of the badge and the backing plate so it can go back on when I remember to buy some suitable adhesive. That's over £100 saved. The wheels are still fugly though😆.
As the sun was still out I gave the wiper arms a rub down and prime and coat of matte black as they were tatty with some rust coming through.