Paul's Pearl

It's been a while so I think were due an update. I managed to get the car booked in for the belts doing early September. Booked in for a Tuesday ingot a call the Friday before from the garage who informed me they couldn't get a dephaser as they were on back order and nobody had one. Damn. I need to chase it up again but its not exactly what I want to be spending my Xmas booze budget on :laughing:.
Annoyed by that I decided to see if I could do something with these;
The horrible tint was peeling off the tail lights and getting very annoying so I had at them with my sander until it was all off and then set about smoothing them off by hand upto 2500 wet and dry. Back on the car then and outwith the DA for a polish to see if they were heading for the bin or not.
Half polished;
And done;
How much better does that look!
Not much happened after that, until the dash suspension started rattling. The roads on my commute aren't nice, they are absolutely bloody shocking actually so it's not surprising that some issues have reared up. Having jacked the front up I was disappointed to not find anything obviously loose so I didn't the only sensible thing and ordered some parts.
Starting with new non cup front dampers and top mounts. I should have bought new swivel bearings at the same time as I only had one side done for the MOT before so I'll get them and have them swapped into the spare hub I have. Now it's November I'm not feeling the need to crawl under the car as much though!
Roll on a week or so and the dash started flashing lights at me. Briefly and in short bursts initially but after a week I had permanent uninvited illumination.
It started with the abs and esp lights flickering on and off and then the check esp message appeared and stayed put. Then a week later it started beeping at me and saying braking fault. Again this started off occasionally but then as we were out last weekend it became like morse code as it flashed on and off constantly. A bit or searching revealed that low brake fluid can cause this issue but it wasn't below the minimum marker as far as I could see but a little top up has cleared the brake warning message and just leslft me with the abs and esp lights. I need to find clip to see what's going on in it's silly French brain rather than waste my time checking random things. The way it started it does seem like it'll be a dodgy connector or sensor though. It's looking like when I book it in for the belts doing it will be a much bigger bill unfortunately.
The pearl has been in constant use though and hasn't broken down yet so I can't complain too much, being dragged out of a 3 year lay up and thrust into daily use would shock anything into submission I think.
I'll finish off with a pic of the most perfect parking space I've ever come across, and in carpark that was 85% full too!

Any help with the warning lights would be most appreciated, or if anyone has clip near Barnsley and can read the pearls innermost secrets please get in touch.
Pop the rear disks off and check the ABS brackets. Mine started doing similar and they ended up being absolutely FUBAR'd
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Where you planning to get the belts done?

Lights look great, what a transformation!
It was booked in with JS Services in Rotherham. I was going to use Ricky P again but its easier to get hold of Elvis than Ricky!
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Pop the rear disks off and check the ABS brackets. Mine started doing similar and they ended up being absolutely FUBAR'd
I've seen pics of what's left of those brackets, made of the same stuff as the radiator support it seems. I'll have a look at them :thumb:.
Aaand it's broken! Took my son to work and on the way home having had my fill of motorway idiots I went through town instead. It didn't take long before I noticed some resistance to selecting gears and when pulling off from traffic lights the clutch bite was very low, like with the pedal still on the carpet low. At the back end of last year I had the 'braking fault' and an annoying beep on and off for a journey which was diagnosed on here as low brake fluid level and yep a top up did stop it. A few weeks later it happened again, I guess its a leak on the clutch side then. So it's sat in broke clio corner with the 182 on the drive:laughing: and it looks like I need to read up on the clutch system.
I've also picked up a can clip clone with the hope I can get some codes for all the warning lights. Well what ballache that is! I installed V172 which worked with the 182 but didn't want to know the 200 so I updated to V214 and that doesn't see my clip tool :weary:. Roll back to V182 and it talks to the 200 but I still seem to have isues.
So the computer scan shows we have some stuff going on! If I select the abs computer and hit diagnose I get:
Abs diag2.jpg
As you can see there's 3 active faults. So go to the diagnostic tool and I get this:
Scan tool 2.jpg
And then:Scan tool 3.jpg
So I can't suck any error codes out and I'm left no better off after spending hours pissing about on the laptop getting the bloody software to work! If I had hair I'd be pulling it out! Of course this is all moot now the car is immobile. If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them, or even better if there's someone near Rotherham with clip and a couple of spare hours I'd love to be put out of my misery!

So what's the plan now then? The 182 is going for an MOT and I'll run that while I pull the 200 apart and find loads of other parts I want to refresh and then start to panic when it's still in a million bits 2 weeks before my Wales trip in September:laughing::laughing:.
One from the last jollie to the Motorist parked with my mates 220.

Next update I'll probably be asking 'where does this part go?':laughing:
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Hello, I'm still alive and so is the pearl! I did think about getting rid of it but I just can't. It's getting put in the garage soon and a load of new parts fired at it and it will be more of a weekend car after that so I'll try to keep the thread updated as that progresses. There's some catching up to do first, I just need to round up the pics from the last year or so. Have a teaser for now .
So While the pearl was sat after the clutch problem all the fluid escaped and the clutch pedal fell to the floor with only a glance at it. The 182 passed its MOT on Feb 24th and resumed daily duties while the pearl was abandoned. Unfortunately it didn't last long! on April 19th after a long night shift I left work at 7am, requested AA recovery at 5 past and got home at 10.25. So then i had 2 broken clio's on the drive again ☹️. I'd just made a left turn in 2nd gear and put my foot down and something gave way and the revs flared followed by a rattling noise and no drive. I just managed to clear the police station entrance and waited for the AA. I never dug into the cause but suspected a clutch failure. I only fitted it the year before. In May I parted ways with the only car I've ever owned longer than 2 years :sleepy:.
All of the proceeds went into the pearl (and the Recaro's eventually:smile:) . Also during this period the Twingo was killed off by a man in a van and replaced by the Gordini one above. It seems I've passed on the Renault affliction to my daughter! The 200 now needed fixing as I was stuck sharing the wifes mk4 dci.
A few emails back and forth with Mick at Diamond Motors and the car was booked in for him to :

1 diagnose and fix the clutch fault.

2 diagnose and fix the abs warning light.

3 diagnose and fix the airbag warning light.

4 carry out a belt service as its probably never been done before.

You can already tell this isn't going to be cheap can't you! . The car was delivered to Mick on a Thursday to be looked at on Saturday but he had an hour spare so gave it a once over and rang me Thursday afternoon. It's never a good sign when they say "are you sitting down?" but I knew the car was fucked and had a tube of lube ready. After changing a deformed o ring on the clutch slave feed pipe the clutch bled up and the car moved. Yay. But when fully depressed there was a knocking noise from the clutch. Boo. The next morning the drip tray Mick left under the car had some fluid in so there was still a leak. So time mick had allocated to doing the belts was spent pulling the gearbox to delve deeper into the clutch issues. Photos followed.
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Mick described it as "well and truly knackered". I knew car had been on track so meh it'll not hurt to swap it. It was also badly contaminated from the leak and the gearbox oil was low and in Mick's opinion the wrong grade. With the new clutch in and reassembled some good news arrived that the car drove perfectly and all untoward noises had gone. Thank god!

Onto No 2 the abs light. Turns out the rear abs brackets had corroded as Renault seemingly designed them to do so and the abs sensors had rubbed on the abs ring and fucked both up. Abs sensor brackets were on back order. Thanks to you lot I'd expected this so had bought some previously and sent them in the car . Sensors, rings and brackets replaced and all was good.

No 3 the airbag light which had been on since I bought the car and as the mot was due sometime soon needed to be extinguished. Easy fix with some reconfiguration in clip and the lights is off. Mick and I both think some bucket seats may have been fitted previously and the airbags adjusted to suit. Although my cruise control buttons don't seem to be working now that the car will let me turn cruise on so I might have to pull the wheel and check all is plugged in as I suspect an aftermarket wheel may have been on too.

Last but not least the best service. Mick assured me that I'd have a little change from my budget with a belt change too so he cracked on with it. As I said I have no idea if the belts have ever been changed as when I bought the car it was on 67000 miles and 10 years old but came with barely any history. I've done a couple of thousand miles in it and barely gone over 5k rpm so it's a massive relief to have fresh belts on finally. I did have it booked in for them doing the previous September but parts weren't available then, something that is becoming an annoying issue for us all for certain parts.

So all done and Mick had had the car just over a week and emailed to say it was ready for collection so I said I'd head down the next day, Saturday. Just for clarity I went online to check when the mot expired. Friday.
Mot nightmare to follow...
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So panicking I asked Mick if he could try get it mot'd and he managed to get the garage near him to do it, but as and when they could on Saturday. I woke up at 9am to an email from Mick saying it had failed .
Reg plate lamp is the stupidist fail ever imo, the f**king reg plates are reflective for gods sake! The headlamp bulb had either broken somehow or become dislodged. I fitted it when I got the car as neither dipped beam worked when I got it so that needed looking at. The emissions though . Bane of my bloody life with the 182 and t'internet folklore says the 197/200 will pass with just a pre cat in situ. Well mine had a standard exhaust still so should pass easy right? It was borderline out of spec and Mick reported that the rattling from the exhaust was the cat so it's not fully effective. He offered to sort the exhaust for me if I got a replacement cat but he was booking work in for August by then so unfortunately that wasn't an option. He also couldn't store the car any longer, he'd already had it a week longer than planned so I set off to collect it.
There she was ready to go, bitter sweet with all the planned issues fixed but now with no mot or tax. Mick said in all his years he'd never seen a pearl white mk3 and I wonder how many of the other 45 are still out there? Anyway after handing over nearly £2k I left him to his work and drove the car to a pre booked mot not far from home.

Whis the fool? I'm the fool. But finally being able to rev the thing out I don't think I'll regret selling the 182 as much as I was, the 200 is still a great car it's just different to a 182 is all.
So mot part 2 and I informed my usual tester that it barely missed out on the emissions test. He had a Co worker plug the exhaust as the probe wouldn't fit in the tailpipe very far because with the diffuser trim and the heat shroud the actual end of the tailpipe is about 3" back on the 200. Still it struggled, but with a few extra revs it eventually got green lights. Then when he got in the car to pull onto the rollers he said "you've got a warning light on". Like f**k I have it was all clear for the first time ever.
Stop and engine overheat were on the dash. The lights went out after a restart but the temp was rather high!
It seemed the radiator fan didn't work. I'd never had an issue with it before, it actually looked like the thermostat was stuck open previously as the temp rarely got over the 2nd line when the norm should be the 3rd line. There was a small puddle of coolant under the car too but this had blown out of the cap. By the time the test was finished the temp was back to normal and the car ran fine, it stayed normal on the 5 mile trip home which is good because if I'd not had the pass cert in hand it might have just overheated and caught fire. I ordered some type d from rpd and left it alone for the week to see if it leaked at all.
the following weekend I set about checking the fuses and relays to see if I could get the fan working. I couldn't find any faulty so it would have to go for diag on the fan as electrical diagrams are wasted on me and even with the big bill I found it much more enjoyable to pay Mick to do all that work.
I topped up the coolant and fired the car up to let it warm up. Level after the MOT:
I got no air out of the bleed screws and the heater blew red hot so I'm sure the overheat was due to the lack of fan on a red hot day with the high revs while stationary in an even hotter garage unit.
As it was getting near temp I sat in and watched the needle. was a touch nervous as it climbed through the third mark before my eyes but that's where it stopped even without the fan kicking in at all. I took it for a quick spin around the block which included some hard acceleration on the bypass and the temp only showed a slight drop so I was relieved the car wasn't fucked. It was pretty warm that afternoon too!

Panic over I made a note to book it in my local garage for the fan looking at. But before that I gave it a wash for a planned trip to The Motorist.
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Great write up, sounds like a chaotic few months! I’ve never seen a pearl in person before but always heard how they look good in the flesh.

Maybe not a fair comparison but I definitely enjoyed driving my track prepped 200 more than my mostly standard 182. The induction noise is the only thing I really miss.
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I was worried it was going to die when I saw the temp gauge through the roof, that would have been the end of my relationship with Renault for sure. In hindsight maybe that would have been a blessing :tearsofjoy:.
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After the recent work on the car I still had a few new parts that needed fitting. It had a knock from the front that I thought would be the top mount and if I was doing those I may as well fit new dampers too. I'd read the guides on here saying to remove the damper and hub assembly as one and that seemed to be the best way to me and as it had all been taken apart last year I shouldn't have met too much resistance. Except for the driveshaft nut which was bigger than my biggest socket. Balls.
A week later and I'd got all the tools needed and some new axle stands as the ones I had just don't sit well anywhere under the car. So I set about doing the drivers side as the knocking was definitely coming from that side and the week previous it had a annoying rattle/knock too which seemed to be from that side.
Things I've learned; trust nobody with wheel nuts. They were very loose! The little torx screw that holds the brake pipe to the hub doesn't need to be that tight. The anti roll bar nut that's supposed to be 44Nm is difficult to remove when it's 440Nm. A damper, spring and hub combo isn't to be dropped on a foot. Again.
Anyway everything came apart relatively easily and all went back on with the correct torque .
Old v new.
The old dampers had very little compression resistance so were probably years overdue. I fitted non cup ones to soften the rutted and bumpy roads of Rotherham a little bit.
New top mounts went on in the later small variety.

That was the beginning of July 2023 and the car did daily duties 8 miles to work and back without any issues for a few weeks until CSF came around quicker than expected. The pearl had it's longest journey in at least 4 years to Anglesey for CSF23 and apart from the cruise control not working most of the trip was uneventful. Remember the fan issue that I discovered during the MOT? Yeah I had totally forgotten to get that looked at. During a very long queue because of some roadworks on the busiest road between home and Manchester the car started to overheat again. By that point I'd already started to turn the engine off as we were sat for longer periods than we were moving but with no fan temps crept up. Heater on full blast (bringing back memories of past GT Turbo ownership!) while I stop started to an available detour the temp was kept the right side of meltdown and then was steady the rest of the journey. I bought a thermostat after the MOT as I wasn't sure that was working right. Unfortunately genuine renault ones were out of stock everywhere so I got one off ebay. And then never fitted it and then couldn't find it . I got the car booked into the garage the following week and that reminded me about the thermostat and surprisingly RPD had them! Not a cheap part but needs must.
The journey home from CSF was thankfully uneventful. Got home and realised I'd not taken any photos all weekend. Luckily someone did get a decent pic of the pearl.

The cruise not working was annoying so I decided to check the connectors in the steering wheel. I had a hunch that the car might have had different seats and steering wheel at some point. The airbag config was a bloody mess which Brigsy sorted out at CSF for me so I hoped the cruise wires not being plugged in might be an easy fix . After a 10 minute fight and skinned knuckles I got the airbag off. Unfortunately it all seemed to be connected as it should be. Cruise is still on the to do list!
IMG_20230901_155411 (1).jpg

The week before CSF I managed to bag some Recaro bases as I foolishly dumped mine as I was adamant I'd never sell the 182 and the seats would never grace a mk3 again. Doh! Anyway they were fitted before CSF and omg they are so much better than the standard seats.
IMG_20230901_172647.jpgRe-trim needed in the future at some point though as the drivers upper bolster has started to wear through.
After removing the airbag the car felt odd going to work. There was a huge dead spot in the steering which was worryingly noticeable on roundabouts. The only thing I'd done since the day before was turn the steering wheel 180° so I could see the hole for the airbag catch. So starting at the top and working down...

Aye that might not be right. Getting a pair of spanners on there was a painful job but I managed to nip it up and that play was then gone. More scratched knuckles though . The pedal arms are surprisingly sharp! The steeing still feelt a bit odd. I've did a spanner check on the front suspension, even though I knew everything was torqued to the correct spec and there was nothing loose or broken that I could see. It still went around corners but I didn't like it. It also had a knock when turning the steering wheel but oddly didn't do it all the time. Strange.

With the Wales trip looming I wanted to get some decent brake pads as I had no idea what was fitted. I was just about to order some 1144's when my mate put some up for sale on facebook so I negotiated mates rates and got a great discount against shop prices for a brand new set and he even included some decent used caliper pins incase mine put up a solid fight. To my relief the pins all came out easily and it seemed the previous owner told the truth when he said he'd fitted new discs and pads as they had very little wear.
New and old pads.
No lip on the discs.
The 1144's felt much better and were the saviour of my front bumper and a rather hefty sheep in the wilds of Wales. Another pre Wales job was new tyres.
When I bought the car it had yoko eco slip tyres on the front and some unheard of ditch finders on the rear. Any amount of damp and the car would slide like a corsa on Teflon maccies trays. I was debating between eagle F1 asymmetric 6 or accelera 651 sports when a guy on put a set of 651's up for sale for a bargain price so I figured I may as well give them a try. Quick trip to Derby and i had an as new set for £100.
Three of them are still on the car now after a few thousand miles and a slippery winter. One suffered a slow puncture during a week when our house sale completed and I was busy moving out. I had acquired a couple of oe wheels free so had a ditch finder put on one when I had a spare minute as I plan to swap the wheels in the future. The 651's have been decent though and lasted much longer than I expected especially as they are the 200 tread wear variety and I would happily run them as a summer tyre again. Snow they are not at home in though!
The lad I got the seat bases off was breaking a 200 and advertised a full standard exhaust for £100 so I bought that as mine had been "modified" in a rather shocking way. So while the car was having the rad fan and thermostat done I had the exhaust swapped too.
Yeah some pillok drilled the backbox to try and make it sound better. It did not work. I also found out why it struggled to pass emissions.
No guts in the cat. The exhaust had not been removed before as it was still in one piece so not sure how it blew its guts, luckily I got one with the replacement exhaust. The old exhaust had had some remedial work in the past too. They are so heavy they just fall apart.
The garage managed to fix the rad fan. Apparently the issue was a broken wire in the loom at the side of the battery tray. The loom apparently comes from the relays and then loops back up which was a pinch point and the wire had broken there. Fan now kicks in as it should and temp sits solid on the correct mark for once.

Next up was Wales...
Wales never disappoint's. If you enjoy driving and ever need to get away from the daily grind a few days exploring Wales is highly recommended. This time we booked a cottage for the duration which was so much better than racing from one booking to the next and gave us plenty of options for exploring. The car still had the annoying dead spot in the steering but as I was unable to find the cause I figured the best thing to do was to see if it would break properly and do the trip anyway:LOL: . I had the tyres fitted Thursday morning and after a wash on Friday I then headed to kwik fit for an alignment.

The back was spot on but the front needed a slight adjustment, nothing was found to be loose so off I went on the 181 mile journey. Apart from the dead steering I had no issues but the last 20m on a dirt track had some really concerning rattling coming from the front suspension. Steve and Jez were there as Jon and I arrived.
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WIth my car making scary noises and feeling a bit sketchy I did the sensible thing and ignored it all and headed out Saturday at the back of the convoy. On smooth roads and loaded up in corners you'd never believe anything was playing up at all, the car handled perfectly and over the weekend I threw it about, used all the revs and even did an emergency stop and nothing broke. It certainly sounded like it was broken though with lumpy town roads rattling the suspension and occasionally a judder under braking. Very strange behaviour which definitely needs investigating. I learned a few things about the car while using it properly too. the mk3 is not as slow as people make out it really does pull well all the way to the shift light. The driving position although better than the 182 still needs refinement as the seat is too high and the steering wheel too far away. The mpg is worse than the 182 but not enough to break the bank. I'm not missing the 182 as much as I was initially when the 200 needed work before I was confident to drive it properly.
Pic dump time!
Wales was great, England not so much. On my way home I was calling into see a mate who was over from America and staying only 50 miles from where we were. The route was quite nice with some nicely twisting roads, although the surface was substantially worse than the Welsh roads! No wonder the Ferrari 430 didn't keep up:LOL: ( reg was A430 FER !) Pulling in through the gate where they were staying my exhaust caught on the gate stop and the clamp at the front promptly let go. Having no tools and my back given up a couple of days earlier it was a good job I hadn't cancelled my AA membership.
He managed to reattach it but the centre section was twisted so the silencer and the connection to the rear box were low. Halfway home it started knocking too so It needed attention. I managed to get home without it falling off thankfully.
So I now had more jobs to do on the car but all in I think the trip went well and I didn't manage to break the steering fully either.
It took some effort to wash Wales from the exterior upon getting home!

All the problems were ignored as the house sale went tits up and the father in law passed away while me and the wife were calling it quits. The car didn't even get washed until Jan 24 and by that time it was nearly as grotty as when I first got it! I snapped a pic at work as the pearl always pops under the lights, shame the camera never catches it.
At some point in Jan it hit a milestone too.
Yeah I reset the trip to make it look pretty. I'd run the 651 tyres through winter and if you go by the old saying "drive to the conditions" they wont spit you off the road in the snow! One progressed from a slow puncture to absolutely dead flat the week the house sale completed so the car sat for a week until I got time to get a tyre put on a spare wheel I have. After packing all my tools into storage it was rather annoying to find the wheel brace in the boot is the wrong size for the wheel nuts. Amazon to the rescue with some wheel nut sockets and we were rolling again a couple of days later. Surprisingly the car didn't mind the rest and resumed daily duties without issue.
While it was abandoned I took the opportunity to get the keycard sorted out too. In the midst of winter it stopped being seen by the car meaning I had to unlock the passenger door, put the card in the slot so the unlock button would work so I could get in the drivers side. I'd called the AA about it as I had key cover and after an argument with them about how useless the key cover is I sent it to an ebay repair service. It came back in a new case with new buttons and repaired and working from the safety of my pocket again, the door lock button on the drivers handle still doesn't work though!
Not as pretty as an oe keycard but function over form right. For some reason the dash still tells me to replace the keycard battery months later.
I stumbled on a post on where someone had cured loose steering by fitting new anti rotation links so I figured it would be worth a shot as I was still using the car daily and it really didn't feel like I should have been.
New febi bilbo ones fitted and the old ones were indeed absolutely knackered. The car felt better but they didn't solve it fully and the knocking was still present.

Mid Feb the drivers headlamp bulb died. remember when I got the car and both bulbs were dead? The osram nightbreaker didn't last very long really so I replaced it with philliips racing vision instead. I replaced the blown bulb and it didn't work. So I checked the fuses, all good. Scratched and scraped my knuckles taking the bulb out and putting it back in to make sure it was in correctly and it still didn't work. It wasn't until I put the main beam on that I realised I'd swapped that bulb instead of the dipped one. Doh! It worked in the right position too thank god.
I didn't swap the passenger side bulb and I reckon the osram is a bit brighter than the phillips. They look the same colour too so I left them as is.
After that daily duties continued, the steering still feels a bit loose yet it will still hold on on a twisty road. After a bit of a search I found a house with a nice garage so the plan to finally sort the clio can commence.
That will be it's home for a while now while I load up the parts cannon and I'm sure that I'll get carried away and making it work will turn into a restoration! Lucky my son left his car here when he started in the RAF a few weeks ago. Unfortunately a 1.4 fiesta is shit so I bought myself a new daily driver last week.
Besides the fiesta that's the first time I've bought other than Renault in 8 years! Clio updates will come as they happen from now on, don't hold your breath though!