Clementine's Garage
Clementine the Cat
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Réparateur d'automobiles

Chassis patch weld...


New Member
Hello again!

Chris here - the one who's been asking for advice about chassis and rusty bits prior to viewing a potential R4 purchase...

I've just got back from seeing the car and it appears to be very clean and in very good order, and I checked for rust in all the usual places. It's 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 almost immaculate. The car in general has the few usual small dents and scratches, but nothing serious.

What I would like to ask you all about is, again, the chassis around the rear suspension. 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 those corners with the rear doors open. Generally, though, the suspension/chassis area was so kind of 'well-used' with plenty of muck and dirt that I couldn't really tell. I gave everything a good prod with my screw-driver and no bits fell/flaked off and the chap selling the car told me that all's well in that area. He's a realy nice guy, so I believe him! The potential problem is a patch that has been welded on in the area of the rear suspension...

...It's difficult to explain exactly where this patch is because I'm so mechanically stupid, but I'll try!! It's sort of just above the inner rear suspension mounting, just to the right of all the suspension bits and pieces, and it's a small vertical weld. Hope that description is sufficient!!
I'm a little worried about it because last week, Clementine the Cat advised me not to go for a R4 which has been welded/patched in the area of the rear suspension.... Does it sound like something to be majorly concerned about, or a harmless little patch????

Basically, I want the car but I'm not a rich man - I won't be able to throw money at a car which could potentially need further welding in THAT area. Does the patch I described suggest that more (serious) welding will be needed soon???

Your help and advice will be, as always, greatly appreciated!! I need to know quickly because I have to tell the chap Yes or No by tomorrow evening.

As I said, the rest of the car looks good. Floor pans are good, new clutch and brakes, low mileage, etc etc.

Looking forward to your replies!!



& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Bedford UK
Oops, I'm really sorry - I was working in France this week and didn't have an internet connection. Seems I might be a little late.

I think the patch in the rear chassis would indicate that rust has started in that area so work would probably be required within the next couple of years. The other areas of rust you described are cosmetic. They are all normal for a Renault 4, and they are generally OK for the car test (MOT) until jagged bits start pointing out. Even then, gaffer tape is an acceptable fix.

Whether to buy would probably have to depend on the asking price.
Personally I wouldn't pay over £500 (assuming it has a long MOT). You could probably assume it'll go 2 years, so it's not bad value per year. After that is's either a bonus or you'll need to pay for welding. If it doesn't have a long MOT I'd not pay above £250. (A really good car without the cosmetic problems or the rear chassis rust would go for anywhere between £800 to £2000.)

Having said all that: we are talking an ugly patch on the chassis with uneven welding around the edges aren't we? The rear chassis has an extra thickness in this area as standard - this would look just like the edge of a single sheet of metal without the uneven welding. If this is the case, then depending on the condition of the rest of the car then the car might be worth up to £1000.