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Chassis help needed!!

Chris

Enthusiast
Messages
33
#1
Hi everyone,

and good to see a few more contributors to the forum!

Having had my mind put to rest concerning the lead Replacement Petrol issue and with Sunday creeping ever nearer, (the day when I go to check out my potential Renault 4 purchase...), there's some more advice I could do with from wise sages such as yourselves!!

Predictably, I need help where the chassis is concerned. I've done all the research I can, and I know where to look for rust, etc. However, how will I REALLY know if the floor-pans are OK and the rear-suspension mounts etc are OK???? Should I panic and run a mile if I see any hint of rust in these areas??

I'm asking now, because I've just read about the red R4 featured on this website, (sorry, I've forgotten her name!!), and the fact that the chap who bought it initially was duped by the dealer as regards the condition of the rear suspension area. If that guy, who's a mechanic as far as I understand, can be tricked, what chance have I got??!!!!!!!!!

Any help and advice will be greatly appreciated....


Thanks, and here's hoping that by this time next week,
I'll be pottering about in my own Renault 4...!!



Chris
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,133
Location
Bedford UK
#2
Hi Chris,

The big problem with the Renault 4 is chassis rot close to the rear suspension mountings. It's expensive to repair the rear chassis members. Trouble is they are constructed from 2 or 3 thicknesses of metal and rust from the inside out.

You can tell if corrosion is starting if the chassis around the mountings has bulges in it. Rust between the inner and outer skins pushes the outer skin outwards, and creates wavyness in the metal. Most UK cars will be like this around the rear suspension inner mountings. I wouldn't be frightened off by this alone - the car could still have a few years left. When the rust gets worse it should be possible to see holes or cracks in the chassis. To be sure, tap around the area with a screwdriver. Start to worry if you start making holes, or if the steel starts breaking off layer by layer. There is a risk of MOT problems if the rust is obvious.

This is true for all 4 rear suspension mountings. Patching the chassis (badly welding on bits of metal to cover the holes) is common, and works for the MOT, although doesn't sort out the problem. If a car has been patched around the rear suspension then I would be inclined to avoid it. Patch repairs don't sort out the problem. You need a suspension off repair as in the restoration articles on this site.

The good news is that rust everywhere else on the renault 4 can be spotted quite easily and is less serious. See part 2 of this post (to arrive shortly).
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,133
Location
Bedford UK
#3
Part 2...

It's much easier to spot the rust in other parts of the chassis. All UK cars will have some rust on the side of the chassis at the front where a triangular reinforcement is welded on. I don't view that as important and wouldn't even bother to repair it unless the car failed it's inspection.

If there are holes along the length of the side members then avoid the car. This is pretty rare, although I've seen it once.

Otherwise, the floorpan can rust at each corner. The rust should be pretty obvious and can be fixed satisfactorily with a patch (as most cars have been).

Also the floorpan can rust at the front and back in line with the front torsion bars. Again patching is pretty satisfactory for a repair.

I think that's about all the places the R4 chassis will tend to rust. Can anyone else think of anywhere I've missed?
 

Anonymous

New Member
Messages
4
#4
Chassis advice

Thanks for all that,

and I'll definately be taking a good screwdriver with me on Sunday!!

The chap who owns the car has told me that the rear-suspension area is fine, but that he's been advised that to pass its next MOT, it needs a 10cmx12cm patch welded on, although he didn't say where exactly. I suppose that as long as this patch isn't near the rear suspension or the sides/sills, it's not much to worry about...???


Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted!


Chris
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,133
Location
Bedford UK
#5
One patch being required doesn't sound too bad. The floorpan is wafer thin so it's common for the odd hole to appear. Don't worry too much about holes in the horizontal surface of the main floor. It's those pesky (vertical) side members at the back that are the problem.
 
Messages
329
Location
London
#6
One quick way to find out is to lift the boot of the floor. On my car, there were too big rusty bulges which have come right through the boot floor from the chassis.

It may have to be very bad to be this easily visible, but it will take only two seconds and save you extra hassle
 

Anonymous

New Member
Messages
4
#7
Chassis patch

Hello again!

Chris here - I've just got back from checking out the potential R4 purchase I asked your advice about.

The car appears to be very clean and in very good order, and I checked for rust in all the usual places. It's just got a bit of rust on the roof, (near-side rear gutter), between the near-side rear wing and the panel above and also a bit of bubbly rust on the off-side front wing.

The inner front wings are in excellent condition, and the floor of the boot looks virtually immaculate. The car has the usual few little dents and scratches, but nothing serious.

What I would like to pick your brains about is, again, the rear suspension and where it joins the chassis. I'm mechanically illiterate, so it was difficult for me to guage the real condition of this area. There was no obvious corrosion at the corner of the chassis under the rear doors, and indeed there was hardly any rust in that corner when I opened the rear doors. The thing which I'm not sure about is that a small patch has been welded on in the area of the rear suspension - Clementine, you advised me not to go for a car if it has been patched around the rear suspension!!
Because I'm so mechanically stupid, it's difficult to explain the patch's exact location: it is sort of just above the inner rear suspension mounting, slightly to the right. Major concern, or not much to worry about??????? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I drove the car and had a massive grin on my face, and then had to tear myself away. I've got until tomorrow evening, then I have to say Yes or No......

I want it, but I'm not a rich man - I won't be able to throw money at a car which could potentially need welding in THAT area. Does the patch suggest that that is what will be needed??


Thanks again!!



Chris

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