Hi all ,just arrived home after stopovers at lovely Honfleur and yesterday in Dieppe.Had super time with like minded enthusiasts at Thenay and great to win prize after all those hours of hard work and thanks to Paul Cunningham aka Mr Reno for all his help and knowledge in the build.Jo learnt new card trick thanks to Eleanor.Look forward to meeting everyone again .Hope the two R4 breakdowns are fixed soon !!!
Cheers Si & Jo ..
Hi Simon, it was very nice to meet you and Jo. Our Sunday evening supper at Chez Brian and Matt with the Renospeed family was a larf eh? Hope to meet up with you both somewhere Renault themed in the not too distant future.
So where did it all go wrong? Well I won't go over the breakdown again when Derek very kindly came across us and attempted to get us going. After three hours by the roadside, the breakdown truck arrived and took us to a local garage, Dem's Autos in nearby Chartres. It was 6pm by then and the mechanics wanted to get home. They tried another coil but had no luck. They needed to order a new part, not a set of points but an entire bloody distributor. But the 'old mechanic' would be working on it during Saturday as 'he understood these old cars'. We were to see dozens of distributors for sale at Thenay. We caught a taxi and booked into a hotel in the city.
On Saturday we returned but the glum expression on the face of the old mechanic said enough. We hired from Hertz an Opal Corsa and headed off to our pre-booked hotel, two hours away, in Pontlevoy, 1.5km from the 4L International in Thenay. We failed to sleep that night, a combination of the occasional heavy lorries thundering through the sleepy village and and increasing stomach bug we were each increasingly getting.
Our experience of similar events was with the 2CV crowd. Salbris, with 7,000 cars, was terrific, and seemed very well supported. Aragon was 100f and fiercely hot. Everybody was wilting so after a couple of days we left to drive to San Sebastian which was far cooler. Thenay? Well it wasn't too bad and clearly not quite so busy. There were some smashing cars there and the Melun-Retro-Passion (www.melun-retro-passion.com) stand was very well stocked, but my heart (and stomach) just wasn't in it. And four WC's for men for the entire place just was daft.
Madame phoned the garage next morning and the part had not arrived, so we drove to Amboise to see the chateaux, followed by Tours and Montrichard.
Madame phoned again the next morning but joy upon joy, the part had arrived. We paid the bill and rushed off back to the garage at Chartres. "Why have you come" they said, "the part has arrived but we need to order a second part". We drove back to the same Chartres hotel and booked in for three more nights. At 5.30pm we had a phone call to say that the car was ready and could we collect it. No we couldn't.
Now initially the garage had given me a form to sign to say I agreed to pay €150 for the distributor + labour, so when I was handed the bill for €320.21 was slightly shocked. Just a touch, you understand. But with no English from them nor French from us, we were stuck. At least the car now has a shiny new Ducelier distributor and went.
We decided that the holiday with plans to go to the 2CV World meeting in Portugal was hopeless as we would struggle to reach there and return to our pre-booked ferry at Bilbao. We would return home but not before catching a train to Paris for the day, and that turned out to be a terrific day. We visited the Rodin Museum and spent a fabulous couple of hours admiring his statues as well as visiting the old mansion with more paintings and sculptures. We walked to the Ile de Paris and caught a Batobus and took an hour long cruise along the Seine. A long walk back to the Montparnasse station, a meal at a bistro on the way (50cl of Leffe = €10) and caught the train back to Chartres.
Next day we drove back to Calais, the car not missing a beat, the ferry to Dover and arrived back, utterly shattered, and probably penniless.
Looking on the bright side, as we must, we did enjoy quite a bit of it. Chartres Cathedral, with it's lightshow of coloured moving lights projected off the 12th century walls, was incredible. It's withought doubt the most beautiful cathedral we've ever visited and knocks Canterbury into a cocked hat. We also had some very enjoyable, if expensive meals. But then France is expensive. It was just a shame that the Alden Electric Ignition developed a fault which I shall send back for appraisal. I noticed this morning the mechanic has cut off the red wire flush with the whatsit (sensor?). Quite why he did that, I don't know as it was intact when we handed the car over. I doubt we shall go to Thenay again. Driving a R4 at a steady 60 to 65mph for hour upon hour is exceedingly tiring and I must invest in more sound deadening. Nor has the stomach bug completely gone.
Well done on getting the now-happy R4 back here in the end; a trip to remember if not to cherish altogether!
I'm keeping my old-school contact-breakers fitted .
I use earplugs when motorway cruising - just turn the radio up and it's like driving a modern quieter car. Failing that, sound-deadening must be the best solution but not one I have really tackled yet (bulkhead seems to be the key culprit).
Yes Adam, the bulkhead is the next place as I have covered the under-roof, floor, and doors plus the under bonnet. There was some really thick sound-deadening at Thenay but I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to buy it, well not at €50 a roll when I needed quite a bit less than that. I wear hearing aids which I remove when driving the R4 and it's quite tolerable however four hours, even if we stopped every couple of hours, really took it's toll. Radio? I even fitted a brand new aerial and couldn't get a single channel in France on any of the wavebands. As for the electronic ignition, the Alden one get's very good comments about it and are supposed to be just about faultless. After all, all modern cars have them. I shall send the entire distributor back to them to see what on earth happened. Total mileage = 551 miles.
Glad to hear that you got the car sorted Paul, and that you are now safety home. Pity the guy cut the cable close to the sensor, as it could have been a faulty cable. Now, who was the bas__ard who recommended you fit electronic ignition?
Yes, that's a bit weird Brian, not your recommendation of course but why cut the wire? Alden could easily say the fault must have lay with the cut wire but without it, where's the evidence? Our experience with the garage was difficult to say the least as we were 'covered' by AA Assistance. Even though the garage had our mobile numbers, they never, not once, phoned us, preferring to deal with AA Assistance, who in turn would phone us, a different operator each time.
Now I am certainly not paranoid but it doesn't mean I am not constantly aware of slightly different noises with the car. I pulled into a Renault dealership to buy some oil (FR huil, pronounced H-wheel) and driving very slowly around the crowded car park, I could distinctively hear a slight knock-knock-knock from the front left driveshaft. She got us back but I must take a look at it. Also there's a strange occasional knock near the bottom of the driver's side A-post. (They're coming to take me away, ha ha...)
A strange thing happened when we boarded the Pride of France, a truly monster P&O ferry. We were directed to one of a pair of very steep slopes either side of the main deck. Now as we'd been to the Cité Europe, we were heavily loaded with stuff (mostly glass) and with the slope being ribbed and wet, I just knew what was about to happen. The car in front momentarily came to a halt before moving off and we had to do a hill start. The front tyres slithered and screeched alarmingly as she refused to budge and only by seesawing at the wheel, could we get to the next deck.
Some years ago I used the same ferry but on my 600 lb touring motorbike..........and again it was wet. She went up with a spinning back wheel but coming down was lethal. I inched down almost not daring to use the front brake and I swear she was on the point of slithering away from me. Another of life's experiences.
(Much later) Now I've had a better look at it, it's obvious why they cut the red wire off as they needed a wire between the points and the coil. But why not use a fresh piece of wire with a ring terminal at each end?
Hi Paul, at least you got your car home, so you can now investigate the drive shaft at your leisure.I'm not sure what that noise by the A post might be, but my car has strange squeaks and rattles that come and go. All part of R4 ownership. Just turn the radio up
As a footnote Paul, be very careful if you choose to disassemble your driveshaft, as it contains very small needle roller bearings which could make a bid to escape.
Paul, what a story! Our Citroën Xantia always behaves itself in France (well, it behaves pretty well anyway!) my wife's theory being that it's nearer to its "place of birth" so wouldn't want to "let the side down"! Clearly your Renault didn't think in quite the same way.......
Hi Andrew, as Paul's car is RHD, it was most likely assembled in County Wexford in the Republic of Ireland. Renault had a factory there from the late seventies until 1986. So I guess a trip to France was quite a shock for it.
I don't blame the car but the apparently faultfree Alden electronic ignition although we'll see the result when I return the entire distributor to Alden's. I noticed this morning that the fuse box cover has been 'lost' by the mechanics too. The biggest frustration by far was the garage who failed to keep us informed even though they had one English speaking staff member. Still back home, in a comfy bed, cool bedroom, 'Gardener's World' and proper tea. I knew things would get better :-)
I noticed on my travels that the bonnet lifts up and down a little when travelling at speed, and found that one of the hinges has a nut (10mm spanner) which needs tightening to take up the slack. with rusty threads have you ever tried to get in there with a spanner? A ring spanner with 1/12th of a turn each time. And whilst under there I noticed a fair bit of oil coating the undersides of the transmission and engine even though I slavishly tightened the cleaned sump plugs last time and cleaned everything up.
This afternoon, happily thumbing through my Melun-Passion catalogue seeing all those parts I should have bought but failed to at Thenay.
Took the gear lever out and cured the swivelling gear lever knob but drilling and fitting a 5mm alloy pop rivet to replace the 3mm one I fitted last year and which had failed.
(Later) Actually it was an M7 thread so the nut required an 11mm spanner. Interesting how many M7 threads there are on R4s as on 2CVs.