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1984 Renault 11 GTL 1.4
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I've been meaning to move over to Retro Rides for a while now as Retro-Renault is dead and sure I was a bit late to that party anyway. I bought this Renault back in July 2011 with about 62,000 miles. Not bad for a 1984. It only had two previous owners, the first being a reverend. It starting out being a 'TL' model which in Renault terms is poverty spec. Exposed metal on the inside, no intermittent wipers, no rear wiper and bizarrley a one speaker radio. Can't even call it a stereo! There was a cardboard insert on the drivers side. I have to say I took a lot of modern car convenience features for granted when I first bought it. No power anything. The fanciest feature was electronic ignition. The only optional extra it was fitted with was a 5 speed transmission.
A Renault dealer had bought it off the last owner and fitted the 13" alloys probably from an R18 or Fuego (The turbo 11 wheels were 14"), mud flaps, new floor mats and seat covers as it looks like animals ate the originals. Paint work is fairly decent for a car of its age. Some rust bubbling on the door sills and one side of the boot area (tail gate gutter or something)
It has the old C1J 1.4 litre engine putting out 58 very tired ponies and the brakes are fairly rubbish. Just all round spongy with no feel for them being near lock up (if you can get them to lock!) The shock absorbers may as well have not been in the car. Probably original and totally useless. They'd bottom out with just me in the car going over a speed bump at low speed. Amazingly they pass the NCT (MOT) as they just have to be balanced either side.
I didn't have much plans at first for it at first. Just upgrade it slowly and make it a bit more tolerable for daily driving. Looking back, I can't believe I drove it with the suspension in such a state. The mudflaps constantly rubbed the ground with any weight in the car and it totally tipped in the corners.
First up was to add rear seatbelts. Having had so many E30 touring BMWs, I had loads of spares. the front seat belts from a 1990 BMW 316i fit the rear of the Renault. The bolt holes were already there behind some plastic caps.
A little chopping of the side panels in the boot and now only a slight lump that's barely noticable.
Next up was the radio. No picture of the original. Fitted a Sony which has been in every car I've owned I think. Put in some spare speakers in the foot wells too. OK sound now but no bass at all thanks to the totally open space where the speakers are fitted. I also put in a clock from my R19 which I had. It's a stupid place for it but then again the radio is in a terrible place to begin with. A really stupid design flaw. You have to take your eyes completely off the road in front of you to look at it.
At this point I still had an R19 but was thinking of maybe getting rid of it. It was a wreck when I got it for free. Every panel was dented, paint was peeling and the winter storms and snow with loads of second gear starts finished the clutch. I decided it would be a good project to learn how to change a clutch so I did it... Then the day I was finished I started it in gear and it smacked my next door neighbour's (at the time) brand new Skoda. Highly embarrassing is an understatement... All I did was break a couple of clips holding the head lights in on the Skoda but the 19 was caved in. Glad I wasn't in a real crash in it. Turns out it had been written off before but just went unreported and got a quick straightening out job. Did I do the sensible thing and junk it right away? No, I tied blue nylon rope to the front end and then the other end to a lampost. I kept slamming it in reverse until it was "straight enough", slapped on €100 worth of scrap yard bits and used a cable tie to open the bonnet. I took no pictures of this as it was so bloody shameful!
Here's my favourite shot of it. Grainy and slightly blurred. You can't see the horrific paint work or dents. I was showing my mom and a friend how to do hand brake turns in a snowy Lidl car park. The 19 proved very useful for parts later on.
Next on the list for the 11 was to do something about the basic gauge cluster. No tachometer and no coolant temperature gauge. Just the overheating light to tell you it's too late. I honestly never felt comfortable driving the car with no gauge as I've had many incidents in other cars where I've caught it before it was too late. I saw a 19 on the back of a flat bed on the motor way and I called the local scrap yard. I got there before they crushed it (who wants 19 parts anyway?). It was an RSi model so it pretty much had the interior from a 19 16V. I took the interior, the steering wheel and the gauge cluster.
I started pulling apart the cluster from the 19 and making it fit the 11.
The unit itself was a match. I think I cut a tab or two at the top
The plastic fronts are totally different
The 19 also had the black cover as part of the front housing. I had to re-use the 11s black plastic cover and cut out the extra holes with a stanley knife.
The wiring was a little different too. One problem was that the choke light and diesel pre-heat lights are swapped. I removed the diode on the 19s cluster beside the pre-heat light and ran a wire to where the light is supposed to be on the 11. The brake wear light stays on so I removed the bulb. I didn't want to spend time figuring it out when I wouldn't be stupid enough to let the pads go down that far anyway.
Mmm gauge clusters... How exciting!
Fits now no bother! The rev counter works with no wiring changes. The oil level gauge doesn't because there was no sensor on the engine for it and the temp gauge is dead also. This took me a long time to figure out. Turns out the sensor on the engine only had one wire going to it for the overheating light. There also wasn't even a wire in the harness for the gauge.
Yes the orange colour and the font is wrong but at least I have a full cluster. Also, it was very easy to match the mileage on the two speedos. No wonder clocking cars mileage used to be so common.
I drove the car like this until about May 2012. It used to die at the most inconvenient times. Once it bucked me out onto an intersection in Dublin city centre with busses coming at me from all sides. Turned out to be a worn distributor cap and rotor. I just wasn't used to the maintenance needed on an older car. The carb was always giving me trouble. It used to hesitate and buck the car violently when you hit the accelerator after decelerating. At the time I knew nothing about carbs. Again looking back after learning so much I know that it was probably just the accelerator pump wasn't working seeing as the idle mix screw did nothing to solve it.
I decided to scrap the 19 at this point but not before pulling the engine and gearbox. It failed the NCT on a misaligned rear axle and I wasn't going to replace it. Surprisingly not on my terrible repair job, semi-crumpled front support bars or partially collapsed steering collumn with washers to stop the steering wheel from rubbing.
Bye bye R19!
I wanted to try and fit the energy engine from the 19 into the 11. It would be a good learning project. The idea of 80hp vs 58hp (sadly the torque or lack of it is the same) and fuel injection sounding tempting. I was inspired by a thread somewhere about a Renault 5 campus with an energy engine swap too.
The initial plan was fuel injection but it proved to be a headache even to plan. I didn't want to deal with high pressure lines, fitting an electric pump and somehow pressurising the current fuel tank (as it isn't sealed) or fitting a swirl pot. It just sounded like it could only end in tears... or fire.
Will it fit? This was my biggest problem. I know it fits in a 19, 5 (from that project thread) and clio but I measured it (not that accurately) and it looks to be slightly longer (possibly an inch) than the c-type engine. I was afraid that even after I removed the power steering pulley from the crank that it may still not clear the 11s body. Cut and weld I hope not. It will be a very tight fit if it fits. (At this point I'm tired and just copying and pasting from my old thread and I've given up on changing present to past tense. Sorry)
At this point it started to really slow down. We were down to one car at home (my 11) as we were waiting on the Volvo 480 to come back from the garage yet again. I was also in my final year in college (Well I thought it was final year at the time but then I did an add on year for my sins)
I bought a 1990 Renault 19 Chamade GTS for scrap value so I could convert the energy engine I pulled from my white 19 (getting confusing now!) to a weber carb setup. A lovely brown interior!
What I needed to turn my E7J into an E6J:
Weber 32/32 TLDR carb (vacuum operated twin barrel)
mechanical fuel pump
Flywheel sensor (for the ignition)
The Chamade was a non runner. It had sat on a farm for years with the owner's sons driving it around fields or something. It was a wreck.
Last photos I took (at my cousin's wedding) before I took it off the road for the engine swap.
All the wires labelled, hoses disconnected and ready to be pulled.
Out with the C1J
Empty engine bay. I had to cut the exhaust as the manifold bolts were seized. I didn't mind as I knew it was going to require a bit of fabrication with the energy exhaust.
Realising there was more work than I had originally thought...
It sat like this for about three or four months... When I lowered the energy engine in it was stopped by the alternator fouling the brake master cylinder I thought I may as well just swap the cylinder and booster from the 19. It could also help the spongy feeling.
Nope, not happening. R19 on the right.
I also discovered that the master cylinder had started leaking around the booster so I bought a new one from France and replaced it. Again, nope! I was wrong. The leaky one is from the 19 and not the 11. I somehow got confused at the time with them out. All I acomplished here was wasting money and getting air in the brake lines. I didn't realise my error until this year while uploading these photos. It was also going to cause a lot more trouble in the future and more wasted money...
Looking back now on the alternator problem, I don't know if it would have fit if I had just removed it, fitted the engine and then re-attached it. I don't think so though. The early 11s had that brake cylinder you see above which is longer that the 19s and I believe the 5 so that's why other people haven't run into that issue.
I decided to move the alternator to the front like in the c-type engine's design. In this case I just used the alternator from the C1j engine and make some adapters.
It's mounted probably where the A/C compressor would go. That's another piece of steel there on top that I added.
I cut the timing belt cover and added an idle pulley from a BMW M43 engine.
I also changed the timing belt and water pump at this point. They were overdue anyway. Also, I'm pretty sure the engine had about 132,000 miles on it at the time. It may sound a bit mad to put an engine in with double the mileage of the car but the 19 had been maintained by the same Renault mechanic since day 1 so it never missed a service. The previous owner (a friend's mom) had an uncle or brother in law working for Renault.
The belt system in all its glory but before I got a shorter belt to fit perfectly.
Don't you just love northern european weather! Notice the spare wheel on the back. I don't know how many flats I had while it was sitting up.
Engine is in! (it's a much later photo because I have no idea why I didn't take any at the time) So the crank pulley had to be swapped for one from the Chamade with no power steering. It woulnd't have fit otherwise and the 11 has no power steering anyway. The JB101 gearbox from the 11 did not fit. Only half the bolt holes matched. The internet seems to inform you that any JB1 gearbox is interchangable. Then again the internet will let you believe anything you want. I had to keep the JB1025 from my white 19 with it's weird ratios and slow final drive. Thankfully the driveshafts were the same length. The exhaust was actually too long so it was cut and welded at the local exhaust centre. You can see I used the E6J massive air filter from the Chamade. I wish I hadn't but at the time I hadn't known of the Fiesta XR2 Weber TLDM carb being so similar to the TLDR and having a nice chrome filter for it. Well I haven't tried it but it looks like it'll fit. Maybe someday... As for the engine mounts, the front engine mount is from the Chamade as I didn't need the power steering pump mount. The gearbox one I think was the same on the 19 and 11. The rear is from the 11.
I also tried to use the 11's radiator but it wasn't crossflow so the pipes lined up differently. Why I scrapped two 19s with both radiators is beyond me. Originally I butchered the pipes tried a mash up but it was ugly. So here I am at this stage paying the local scrap yard something like €40 for a disgracefully battered radiator to test and megane hoses which don't really match up properly.
It's past my bedtime so I'll finish this tomorrow. It's up to about December 2012 now.
Funny, another thread that I really like about a car that I normally would not even look at.
I just enjoy the commitment from people to their car.
I enjoy how people make a normal car their own.
Good luck with it and keep us posted.
Good to see another 80s Renault on here. I really like those wheels too.
I've got the same dash in my R21 and similar interior look.
I'm very interested in the R19 too for the F7P 135hp 16v engine which would fit nicely in the transverse engined 21. I think they're quite thin on the ground certainly in the UK but here there's a few.. seems even more than in France.
But I've had the R21 piece of merde for four years and have never been on the road with it! I hope you fared better. I await the next installment
love renault 9 s and 11 s mother father had both
düdo , I've been keeping up on your R21 for a while now and yes my 11 is currently on the road! (as of this month).
That ad has been up for ages! It's a wreck though. I just spent the past hour and a half typing up the rest of the report so far and I accidentally hit the back button on my keyboard ahhhh!
lol i done it loads of times
Engine view from the other side.
The throttle cable was badly frayed and snapped. Thankfully not while I was driving. I used a bike brake cable to make up the rest. I've since packed up the screw clamp with epoxy and it's still like this today. Someday I'll replace it.
At this point the engine was not really running at all. It was incredibly difficult to start and would shortly flood and die after starting. If I could keep it running, it would never run with the choke off. Basically it couldn't idle. I really didn't know much about carburettors at the time so it was a slow process. I knew it was fueling or ignition. I tried a replacement ignition module from a scrapyard intended for a Volvo 440 but the same results after I fixed a ground issue. Sadly I lost the original and correct module when I moved house and had to wait months to source the right one from France.
I decided at the time to move on to the interior and to sort other cosmetic issues.
First up was to put on the correct plate style. They were expensive but it's what pre 1986 Renaults generally came with in Ireland. Very few cars left with red plates and raised plastic digits. That's the main reason I went for them. The black and silver do look a bit better but they're way more common from so many classic imports.
I decided to fit the 19 phase one cluster as I liked the yellow. Only a die hard (or just sad) Renault fan will notice what I've done. If you compare it to the photo previously when the dash was in the Chamade, the warning light icons were all yellow. I swapped these parts from the phase 2 dash. It looks much better and illuminates better too.
Another big interior improvement was getting rid of that nasty solid plastic steering wheel and putting in the one I took from the 19 RSi. The steering wheel boss wasn't compatible so I took a gamble and bought a boss for a Renault 5. (It's the larger one on the left). To my surprise, it worked. The indicators cancel too.
Yellow dash and clock fitted along with the RSi steering wheel. Someday I'll get the correct middle section with the older diamond badge. Notice the missing hood over the dash. This stupid vinyl covered piece of very brittle plastic has been one of the most annoying problems with the car. It used to constantly squeak or just collapse while driving. All the securing bolt holes are plastic and had snapped. I took it off to repair it at some point.
I was browsing eBay one day and came across a generic remote central locking kit for about €30. I decided to see if it could work.
Rear door actuator placement
This is what the front doors look like. I mounted the actuators at the bottom of the doors and used the included rods of various lengths with a screw clamp to secure it to the door lock pin that was already there. The rears were done in reverse and only needed the wires swapped to make all the doors lock and unlock together. I mounted the control unit above the driver's foot well and got power from behind the radio. Only took a few hours with very few holes drilled. Totally worth it. Unfortunately it doesn't work for the boot but I don't think any kit would.
I then changed the boot struts as I was sick of it falling on my head and the rear shock absorbers. No photos though. The boot struts were supposed to come with a pin on either end. This is for the defogger which uses both struts as part of the wiring. I have plans to rewire the defogger away from the struts. As of today I still haven't started it.
Next on my list was to replace the rotten interior. I started with the rear bench.
R19 rear seat covers removed leaving discoloured 19 year old foam
The seat backs were totally different between the 19 and 11 and of course totally incompatible. I was going to lose the 60/40 split and the headrests. Time to get creative! After many trips to fabric and upholstery shops I made it work well enough.
The seat back in place. No split here! At least the fabric and cushions from the 19 attached with minimal modifications. Just a bit of sewing.
The two buttons either side to lover the seat back down. On the 19 they were levers at the side.
Probably the ugliest part of the job. I capped off the head rests with black plastic and used elastic string to hold them down so they wouldn't wobble all over the place.
The seat bottom is the fabric from the 19 and the cushion from the 11. I secured the cover with eyelets, hooks and that white covered metal coil used for net curtains. Looks a bit ugly but you can't see it.
All in place. Someday in the distant future I'll dye the door cards black to match or find the very last 9 or 11 headed to the scrap yard with full door cards. Wishful thinking I suppose.
The front seats would have to wait. The 11 uses a weird pedestal type stand for the seats and the 19 uses traditional side rails. Not compatible at all so I designed an adapter. I won't be posting that picture this time seeing as I made one wrong measurement and threw €200 down the drain. I'm still kicking myself over it. As of today, I still haven't made them because I'm too embarrassed to go back to that place!
The old cushions made exellent luxury dog beds for a while until they started smelling.
Our famly moved home in December 2012. this was where the Renault stood for a long time. Between moving house and being in my final year in college, I didn't get anything done. The carb was knackered, the battery wasn't charging and there were big cooling issues. The fan wouldn't cut in even though the fan itself and the switch tested fine. Luckily I wasn't driving it so I didn't wreck the motor.
I then moved to New York in June 2013 and I would only do a bit of tinkering here and there when I was home. The best I did was run a wire from the temp sensor straight to the dash so I finally had a temperature gauge. Most of the time I was home was spent fixing my mom's cars. New one every time I was home. Each worse than the last. I managed an engine swap in a day on a 1999 Corolla, in the driveway, in mid January... The replacement engine lasted a total of six months. Never again. I'd get calls in work 5000 miles away and I'd have to tell her how to get it going. At least she can push start a car and cruise with the engine off when the car over heats!
I came home for a month in June 2015 so that was plenty of time to get the Renault moving under its own power once and for all. I had learned a lot having worked on my car in NY. A 1999 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro 5 speed. Utterly maddening to work on! I never thought I'd enjoy working on an old French car so much after the Audi.
I started ripping everything apart in the engine bay and realised I had made some really big rookie mistakes. I coudn't believe I had done them even with the knowledge I had at the time.
The thermostat was in backwards! That simple all along. I replaced the bolts on the housing seeing as one snapped. Nothing unusual when working on an old car. I also made a gaskets for it the old fashioned way. Stamping gasket paper and cutting it out. I seemingly boring task I found satisfying. In the process I replaced the radiator with a new one and also got new hoses from France.
As for the charging, I tried a second alternator from a 1996 R5. Wasted €40 or something on that. I pulled out all the wires and found that I had managed to run both terminals on the alternator to ground. My stupidity amazes even myself sometimes! Once wired correctly, it all works! Somehow I didn't fry anything.
As for the actual running of the engine, it was worse that ever. It ran horribly and would stall in a matter of seconds. I towed the car to a local old timer mechanic and he found the tank had taken on a lot of water, the carb was gunked up and the idle jet was completely blocked. This explains why it never idled. It actually was able to move under its own power at last! Still plenty of issues though. It was awful until the engine warmed up and there was a horrible hesitation still on acceleration. The very reason why I got sick of the last engine...
This was it for 2015.
I was home again this year in January for about 5 months. I had quit my job, drove the Audi to California, didn't like San Francisco at all... parked the Audi at my cousin's in California and decided to come home for a while and think about what I wanted to do. Obviously I got loads more done on the Renault.
The car was looking very sad now. The plastic trim had totally faded to light grey, the headlights were rusting badly, two tyres had gone flat and cracked and the front was starting to get surface rust. I didn't realise at the time that parking over grass is a terrible idea with moisture and rust! I decided to do the front springs finally.
New and old shocks
Getting the struts out was simple but removing the top nut was not. I've never been a fan of spring compressors because I rather like my face not caved in so this was a job I never like doing. Anyway, after a few hours, lots of cursing and scuffed knuckles, I gave up and bailed. Air gun time. I parted with €20 to have the springs and mounts swapped.
New struts ready to go in. I also got four part worn tyres that are like new.
I thought I should have an attempt at adjusting the valve clearances. What a fiddly job I don't want to do again! Only two exhaust valves needed a slight adjustment. It was reassuring to see how sludge and gunk free the head was.
The choke light on the dash was always intermittent so I went to adjust the connector on the cable... The housing snapped!
How NOT to repair it. I used cable ties which is fine but in this picture I had only secured it properly on one side. Using the choke a couple of times caused the cable to kink. It now sticks a bit when you pull it out. I'll have to just change the whole cable at some point.
Time to tackle the dash hood.
I used JB Weld epoxy to stick on some washers where the plastic holes had snapped through. The vinyl was also shrinking so I stretched and glued it back on.
One of the biggest issues with the 19 was the vauge gear change. The shifter and bushings were totally worn out. The 11 wasn't as bad. Unfortunately a combination of both 19 and 11 parts results in an impossible gearbox. It was sort of a mystery as to what gear you were getting until you let out the clutch. Reverse instead of first was common and stalling in third from a standstill was the most common. Parts are difficult to find so I had to settle for a short shift kit ment for a Renault 5. I don't like short shift nor do I think that a gearbox made of cheese can handle it.
New on the left
It's noticablly shorter. It's also missing the locking pin hole in the middle as it was intended to be used with a nasty aluminium knob and sleeve. The ball joint (or bushing) in the middle is metal instead of rubber so the gear change should be a lot more firm. I packed it with grease anyway. I went about modifying both the new lever and shortening the black plastic sleeve so I could get a factory look.
The parts I kept.
I don't have much photos of the job because it involved a lot of grease and shouting at a giant circlip. I cut a large portion out of the reverse lock sleeve, used a copper plumbing fitment, some JB Weld epoxy and drilled a hole in the same place as on the original shifter for the spring lock pin. I also had to bore out the bottom of the original sleeve to fit around the bottom of the new rod. I also had to use an angle grinder to break of the old rivet/bolt holding the bottom on. The new shifter was actually too narrow at the end so I had to use a couple of nylon washers to stop it wobbling. It took a couple of days and lots of trial and error but in the end, I got an OEM look. Oh and I used some TEK7 to keep the knob on. I didn't dare use the replacement short shift part on the gearbox end. I just replaced the plastic bushing that was the main cause of the wrong selcted gear.
Renault still stock the bushing It was pretty awful to get the old one out.
To keep the bushing in place there is a dreaded circlip. Invented by the devil himself. Getting this in was the single worst job I've done on the Renault or even any car although the rear engine mount on the 90s Corolla comes very close. I spent probably two hours under the car screaming at it.
Old on the left. Totally not reusable.
Anyway I thought it was fine so I then take the car for a test drive... Down to the local shop at the end of my estate (nothing in date so can't go on public roads yet), I drive towards the underground car park, it's closed, one way road... Try to reverse back out then I hear a pop. No more reverse, only forward gear that engages is third. I am now blocking the main entrance while having to open the door and do a three point turn scooting the car with my right leg on the ground, then burn the clutch and drive home in third!
After waiting at least a day for another two circlips from Renault (I bought two this time just in case) I spotted my previous error. Renault in their infinite wisdom inverted the colours on the bushing from the original one to the one I put in. Going by the colours, I put it in upside down. Stuff like this is what makes people hate French cars.
I then spent even more time aligning the shifter rod. I either had fifth/ no reverse or reverse and first without lifting the lock. All in all, the shifting is a bit stiff (probably the metal ball joint vs original rubber/plastic combo) but it's incredibly precise now. Never seen an old Renault like it.
Next was the mess that is the interior and stereo wiring. Bought some screw block connectors and cleaned everything up. I decided to do a little something about the terrible sound quality while I was at it. Whatever way they designed the speaker mounts in the foot wells (or they didn't bother design it), there was a serious lack of anything resembling low frequencies even with decent speakers. I had this old awful underseat "sub" that was in some old BMW when we bought it years ago. I had kept it for some future project. I decided to try my hand at making a speaker enclosure. My goal for this was to spend little or no money seeing as the sub wasn't even good to begin with. At 6" it's more of a woofer than sub-woofer. It also has no markings or model number on it so I can't even find any specs. I used MDF and copious amounts of TEK7 to seal it up. The back is shaped to fit around the gear shifter. I didn't bother clean it up or paint it as it's mounted between the stereo and gear shifter under the centre console.
In place with the centre console removed. That tiny 20W amp was a previous college project. Enough power for this anyway. For those nerds out there, that's half a Pentium 75MHz heatsink. I later added cables that remove ground loop humming.
It just fits! You can also see the stock looking shifter. I mounted both the amp and speaker case by bolting on a couple of old hard drive magnets, and carving a few squares out of the carpet. They aren't moving anywhere.
So now I decided to bite the bullet and try my hand at rebuilding the carb. I bought a cheap kit from Croatia off eBat. It honestly wasn't that bad of a job but what a mess the carb was. Totally full of crud and gunk, mst diaphragms punctured and jets blocked...
Opened it. Mmm so not clean.
The float looks awfully crusty. Surprisingly that was one of the few things on the carb that actually worked.
I don't think that was working properly
All cleaned up and back together.
No more stumbling or hesitations on acceleration. I could push the choke in all the way much sooner now too. There were still issues though. You have to have the choke fully out to start when cold (normal) but if you don't immediately push it over 3/4 way in it will stumble and die from flooding. The idle mix screw was also turned out way too far. If you pump the brakes the idle raises up about 500rpm or so. Then more confusingly, once the car is well warm (a half an hour or so of being driven), the brakes drop the engine speed. It even stalls under heavy braking. I started suspecting a big vacuum leak.
Pulled out all the vacuum hoses and then changed them all. No change though in the running of the car. I wouldn't get back to this untl September.
I pulled the headlights and immediately the glass fell off one.
Definitely going to need replacing...
I tried the heat gun method of restoring the bumper plastic
It works but I wouldn't reccomend it on French plastic. It warped one of the side panels slightly. I gave up after a bit anyway as it was so tedious and I was probably running up a huge electricity bill.
I went back to America for the summer and so this is how the car sat until September. My plan was to come back to Ireland in September to do a masters. In the meantime, I had to move my car from my cousin's so why not another road trip back to NY!
My automobile for the next three months. I parked it up in New York until next year.
Tomorrow I'll post what I have done since I came home in September and got it back on the road.
A really enjoyable thread. I take my hat of to you for your tenacity. Many moons a go i used to work for Renault at the import centre in Southampton. Many of the cars were stored in compounds that would flood at neap tides. I can recall having to work on a Sunday afternoon dragging non starters brand new off the boat and then towing them down to the inspection area to have new interiors fitted. The old(new) ones all being salt water damaged.F4 vans, 9, 11, 14's and Fuegos. The cars we used to tow them were two 9's that had been 4 wheel drive originally and we'd converted them into pick ups with battery storage and jump leads. It is hardly surprising they are so rare nowadays as most had rust when they went out to the dealers. They used to have an import centre in Goole and Ireland. The Irish ones had some strange specifications and colours not normally sold in England. Ah those were the days.
Nice to see an old Renault getting some love. Can't remember when I last saw an 11, must be at least 10 years.
Shame about the demise of the retro-renault forum.
So I arrived back in Ireland just one week before college started this September. It was a rush to try and get the car sorted. It took longer than I had thought though and it only got going a couple of weeks ago.
Shortly before I left for the summer, I started working on the rust and I have been continuing it to now. I also left the car with a small solar charger plugged in. The Renault fired up straight away after three months!
The driver's door sill after I had poked out and started cutting out the rust. The black stuff is rust treater.
It seems to collect water here unfortunately. This wasn't going to be a simple patch and I still haven't learned to weld. I decided that for the time being I'll cut out the rusted areas and put a whole new piece over it. I went to the local recycling centre and came home with a boiler cover and bought a dremel at the hardware store. The metal was about the right thickness for the job (too thin really but so is the Renault's sheet metal).
A healthy dose of steel epoxy, fiberglass filler, putty and lots of sanding later.
Three coats of primer later. This is where it is now. Just did this yesterday.
It's a bit ugly towards the right hand side because I couldn't get the curve right with hand tools but for the most part you won't see much when I finish painting it. The crappy can of Halford's finest primer also started dribbling on the last coat which really just ruined everything. You can't really see it in the photo. Some sanding and more (better) primer next week should sort it out.
Driver's side rear door
Paper clips and a screw to hold it while curing. I don't have any photos of it all painted up but it needs to be done again anyway. I did it before I left for the summer and as I was running out of time I didn't put filler over it. Just sanded down and painted leaving a slight depression where the plate is.
Same for the sides of the tailgate gutter thing
And this part just inside of both front wings.
My dad found a Renault 11 being broken near him in England so he sent over a box of Renault bits I needed. I replaced three out of four headlights and the passenger's side door mirror as the boy next door kicked a football at it and snapped it off last year! I also changed the expansion bottle as the old one had become brittle and cracked. No photos of the interior or exterior really yet as I want to clean it first. We somehow don't have a garden hose at home at the moment.
At this point I had a load of photos on my phone but that's lost or stolen now (never lost a phone before) so I only have after-the-fact photos to show.
The brakes had to be done before I could even consider driving it. I bled them using my brother as an accomplice on the pedal but they still weren't right. I stomped on them to test and I heard a clunk. I looked under the bonnet and saw the master cylinder coming off! Good job I didn't go and drive it! As it turned out, when I mistakenly changed the master cylinder a couple of years ago I must have picked up one of the nuts from the 19 and tightened it on... stripping the stud on the booster...
Awfully cramped in there!
Now I had to pull off the brake lines again and the master cylinder. I always put on gloves but they always end up ripping and the brake fluid starts burning my hands within a minute. I really hate working on brakes. In order to get the booster out I had to push it down through the brake lines, carefully pushing them out of the way. Then along back and under the intake and carb and up and out on the other side of the engine bay. This involed removing a few clips on the firewall that were used to hold hoses that are no longer there anyway. I also had to disconnect the intake coolant hose and both interior heater hoses.... Just after I had put in fresh coolant! What a truely horrendous job. This is the main reason I didn't drive it for all of September. I had to find another 11 being broken in England and part with £100 for the scrap yard to remove it and post it over. This time I bought one of those EZbleed things to do the brake bleeding. Glad I did as it worked great.
So I thought it was ready to go. Got it insured and taxed (€56 a year now that it's over 30!). Checked the oil and water. I noticed that the oil looked a little grey and seemed a bit thin but it was full. Drove around town all day and it was fine. Took it on the motorway and it stalled at 100km/h. Pulled over and just cranked it over and over again. Seemed like it ran out of petrol but I had just put 20 litres in at the beginning of the day! I limped home after stalling a few more times. Checked the oil, it was higher now? It also smelled of petrol. I suspected the mechanical pump.
Got a new one from eBay for under €20. It's brass coloured instead of black and a different shape but it works fine after yet another oil change! I can also turn in the idle mix screw a bit more so it was definietly getting starved of fuel.
So now I'm really ready to go! I have found the issues with cold starting now but haven't fixed it yet. The Weber 32 TLDR has a traditional choke pull off valve. From my understanding, when you start the car cold, you pull out the choke cable which completely closes over in the body of the carb. Once the engine fires it'll flood and die if this doesn't open. That's where the pull off valve comes in. Manifold pressure pulls the choke pull off valve diaphragm which in turns opens the choke plate slightly. A quick look at it starting with the air filter off showed this wasn't happening at all.
See that black box on the right?
This Weber has a black box which took me a while to figure out what it did. It's some sort of vacuum accumulator which aids the choke pull off. I took it off and blowing through it showed a blockage. No fixing it unfortunately. I have routed the pull off straight to the carb base. Now it pulls open the choke plate about 1mm which isn't enough to stop it flooding but makes it easier to coax to life when I push the choke in quickly after starting. No adjusting the pull off made any difference. Luckily another carb just showed up on eBay and I bought it for £32 including shipping. It should be here by the end of the week! Looking forward to hopefully having a normal starting procedure.
Back to cosmetics!
This happened a few years ago when it was still on the old engine.
The useless mud flaps were always catching and the final straw was when I went up a driveway, the driver's side one got caught, broke off and wrecked a clip on this piece of plastic side cladding. I just chucked them out because I'm sick of them and the only good they do is trap water and muck. No wait... That's a bad thing. No good points then at all. I also sanded down the sills of the car and gave them a fresh coat of rustoleum satin black to ward away corossion. Photos on the lost phone...
The plastic has really faded now. I made a concoction which I'm testing for the restoration of the plastic. I've taped off everything to avoid over spill.
As a side note: At some stage I did some fiddling with the brake lights. I've never been a fan of dual filament bulbs especially with no centre brake light. I added a second bulb holder to the passenger's side fog light housing and now I use those as brake lights. The fog light is what the right brake light used to be. I'll get a photo of that at some stage.
My concotion consists of boiled linseed oil, white spirits and yacht varnish (my secret ingredient!)
Most of the internet tells you to use boiled linseed oil mixed 50/50 with mineral spirits to thin it out. I did this first and coated the plastic. I touched up any place that needed it as it dried. Took hours to dry. For coats two and three I made the same mix but with a couple of teaspoons of the varnish. It is polyurethane based and has UV and water protection. It was a gamble as it looked brown in the tin. Worked out OK but took a whole day to dry.
The difference! The shininess disappears when it dries. Again no complete photo until I wash the car!
And to finish off here's the engine bay as it looked yesterday morning. New radiator, top and bottom hoses and expansion bottle. You can see just barely that I changed the useless hand screw battery terminal clamps to generic ones. I've painted the slam panel and chassis rails black after sanding down the surface rust. The radiator still needs to be secured properly though.
I drove it the 435km (~270 mile) round trip to college across the country and it made it just fine with no hiccups. Averaged 40mpg which I thought should be better to be honest especially seeing as I stuck to 60mph.
Some observations though... The car still handles like a wet matress even with new shocks all round. I guess I'm just not used to old French cars anymore. I've been getting ideas in my head about slightly lowered and stiffer turbo springs and then matching the rear (if it isn't seized!) Some poly bushes too on the roll bar and it should be much better. It's a distant dream for a poor student though...
The battery light also flickered a few times. I checked the belt and it's fine. It happens randomly wether you're accelerating, cruising or idling. I firgure it's the alternator. Good job I stupidly bought a second when I grounded both wires! Turns out the newer R5 one is at fault. I swapped the original 1984 one back in and it's been fine... for now anyway.
So my list of things to do:
*Repair choke pull off with parts from eBay mystery carb
*Swap secondary throttle valve/diaphragm from mystery carb (Sure why not? Everything else on the carb so far has needed replacing!)
*Find a way to keep the backs of the headlights covered as the rubbers have dried out and shrunk
*Finish bodyword and painting
*Put it through the NCT before I get in trouble as it expired in 2012
*Get those front seats in so they don't rot in the shed
*Replace choke cable
*Replace frayed throttle cable
*Gear shifter moves quite a bit with the engine so maybe a new rear mount (and then stiffen it up as I'm sure it was sloppy to begin with)
And now the pipe dreams (never say never):
*Turbo springs and lower the back end slightly to match (probably very doable for under €100)
*Vented discs up front (from a 5GTT, 11 or 9 Turbo or even an early Megane) This will involve new wheel bearings, discs and pads so it's out of my student budget for now.
*R19 16V rear end (because I'm never going to find a turbo rear end) Slightly wider track and better torsion beam, better rear brakes although I'm just looking for a firmer pedal and the discs will do that.
*K7M bottom end with my current early Energy head then jet the carb to match. Let's not get carried away though! A pre '99 Megane 1.6 could do the job. Shouldn't actually be that tough. I don't care about a HP increase, I just want some usable torque. The 1.4 is a bit gutless.
That brings us right up to today's ordeal which I'll get into later. I think I need to calm down for a while first...
When we were growing up my dad had an R11 'midlife crisis' turbo 3 door, which he very much loved. It was quick (R5 turbo engine I believe) and it started his love of MPG trip-computers.
Great to see one of the few left getting some TLC... Nice one!
Yeah that's me in about '88 with my £1 cheap-shop Tom Cruise Shades hamming it up...
brickinthewall, in the five years I've owned the car, I've never seen another on the road in Ireland or England. There are a few out there though somewhere. Last time I saw one was in France in 2008. There is a beige Renault 9 automatic where I live though. I've been told an Oxford professor owns it so it only gets driven when he's in the country. That fact and that it's kept in a garage is probably why it's still driving. I see him once every two years or so. He waved at me once in the 11.
Littlepixel haha the year before I was born no less! Funny, you'd be back in fashion now with those shades. The hipsters would be jealous! You've also just reminded me of another item on my wish list. The 14" version of my wheels which are from the turbo. I'd get bigger brakes in then.
So I was home this weekend working on the car as I posted above. I went to head back to college for the week last night but my mom had blocked me in the driveway and left with the keys! That's something I'd usually do though. So I left at 7am this morning on a 135 mile trip for a mid term exam during rush hour traffic... All went well up through Dublin in start stop traffic and onto the M7. Then about 45 miles into the journey it all went to hell. I was passing a truck and got the dreaded buck from the engine. I backed off the accelerator for a few seconds and went back in the left lane behind the truck. Then it just totally died so I pulled over in the hard shoulder. I couldn't understand! New fuel pump, rebuilt carb, all fuel lines in the engine bay were new, the tank was emptied in June, the fuel filter was changed last year when it was off the road! The spark plugs, wires and distributor cap were changed when I did the clutch right beofre moving the engine.
It was acting like it ran out of fuel and I know there was fuel in the tank. I should have mentioned before that the sender unit is on its way out. The gauge barely works now after years of non use. It tends to bounce from empty to an accurate reading or somewhere inbetween. The dash gauge is fine I think.
Anyway back to my horrible morning... I managed to get it going, drive a couple of minutes, it would stall, flashers on, pull over and sometimes it would push start itself before coming to a complete stop. I kept it going by not being steady on the accelerator hoping to make the flow of petrol change speed. It started getting worse and worse with only about 20 seconds between stalling. I just bailed and drove in the hard shoulder for an hour with the flashers on. Eventually I made it to a small town after stalling on a roundabout and nearly causing an accident and put €20 of petrol in. Then it started driving absolutely fine? I made it into college (with no breakfast) after four hours of white knuckle driving at exactly 11am. I dumped it in the paid car park and sprinted into my exam 5 miuntes late... Never again!
So I'm stumped now... It turns out it was the first time since back on the road I had let the tank drop below a quarter. I've done a bit of reading and I can only come to the conclusion that it's the fuel sender. I know from looking at it before that it has three hoses coming out of it. Presumably an output, a return and a vent. Most diagrams on the internet show american cars with a single fuel line but my Weber has a return and a vent (total three fuel pipes) which matches the fuel sender.
I can only hope the Renault being junked in England where I got the booster from is not a cube yet!
A stonking thread.
Have you looked inside the tank? I would suggest combination of sludge and perhaps corrosion of the sender? I can only lend my own R21 experiences. Hope you get it sorted... by 2020. haha. Not laughing at your problems but reflecting on my own Renault never ending story. Good luck
Well I'm not giving up on it. I just have the fear again. That feeling when you start the car and wonder if you'll make it to your destination. Not a great state of mind to be driving in. I had a look inside the tank before the summer and the petrol was clean and no sludge. I've had it drained twice over the years. The inside has lots of discolouration and what looks like a bit of corrosion. I'm betting it's the sender. Good to hear from another Renault owner. I was only guessing that the gauge sender is also the fuel pickup. The weight of more than a 1/4 tank of fuel must be enough to push past whatever the problem is.
I'm going to replace the sender (if I find one!), the inline filter I put in the engine bay and maybe even swap out the eBay mystery carb entirely. If all else fails... then maybe it's time to reconsider the EFI retrofit with R19 parts. I don't really want that headache though.
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