Renault 5 TX Restoration

I reversed the R5 into the barn because I thought it would make a good barn find photo, though to be fair it has been living here in the barn without the hay for the last couple of years and has become a little dusty.

It's a Renault 5TX supplied by Twigdons Clwyd Garage in Llandudno in 1983 for the sum of £5222.33 (the invoice came with the car). The original owner kept the car until 2005 and covered around 50,000 miles. There were two further owners in Llandudno and Podders bought it in 2007 and then quickly sold it again to help fund a honeymoon in the Maldives (I've got a print of the eBay page too). A friend of mine in Leicester bought it in 2007 and ran it for a year before selling it to a guy in London who had head gasket trouble and ended up selling it back to my friend in Leicester.

It didn't make it all the way back to Leicester. It was dropped off here on the way for storage. We start this story 2 years on in 2011. It's astonishing to have the full history for a 28 year old hatchback.

Genuine barn find photo of Renault 5 Mk1

The car needs some restoration before it can make the transition between too good to scrap and a classic that needs looking after.

It has been very well looked after in the past - a good jet wash had the underneath looking as if it had just come out of the factory. All of the panels are original and the extensive factory sealant underneath is painted over with body colour.

Renault 5 TX

There are plenty of dents and scrapes, though most of them are below the fold line that goes from the top of the front wheel backwards. I'm hoping there is a chance to repair the car without getting carried away with complete resprays.

The top half of the car is very presentable. There was a partial respray done at some point (done very well) which covered a bit of fibreglass that fell out of the rear of the front wing when I was jet washing.

Renault 5 TX rear

The interior is almost the same spec as the Mk1 Renault 5 Gordini. The seats and the rest of the trim are the same, the only real difference is the instruments are more tasteful in the TX.

Yet the interior is the worst part of this car - it's in great condition but it smells of dog.

Renault 5 TX Interior

The TX has the sensible 1397cc engine. It is in a useable state of tune so there's no need to be dashing about if you don't want to.

It's immaculate under the bonnet, but unfortunately the 30 year old radiator cap seal had gone hard, and without pressure the water couldn't get to the temperature needed to kick in the cooling fan. Some overheating occurred and now the head gasket needs to be replaced.

Worse than that it has the bong bong noise from a worn timing chain. The timing chain has to do a lot of work on these engines because the ancillary drive is at the wrong end. On normal cars the ancillaries are driven directly from the crankshaft, but because of the engine orientation in the R5 they have to be driven from the camshaft which is driven by the timing chain, so the timing chain has to do more work. It's OK for the low power engines which only have an alternator and waterpump to drive, but the TX has a higher lift camshaft and also power steering which add too much load.

Renault 5 TX Engine

They reckon rust in the outer rear suspension mounting is the thing to watch for in the Renault 5 Mk1. There's plenty of that in this car and it does look like a fiddly job, but we're in restoration mode here and can be thankful that the rest of the car isn't rotten in the way it would be in an MGB.

That's not to say there's not a lot of rot in the poor thing. I suspect the rot (together with the dog smell) will become the focus of these pages.

Rust in rear suspension mounting

Cutting to the point - there's a restoration needed here. It's the first time I've tackled a Renault 5 so there's some thinking time needed. In the meantime I've done the easy bit and unbolted anything that looked like it might get in the way.

The interior would have needed to come out anyway to protect it from welding fires, but the main reason was to get rid of the smell of dog.

Renault stripped out awaiting work

Next: Rear suspension mounting repair

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Other Restorations:

Renault 4 Gordini

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Renault 5 restoration

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Rear suspension mounting repair

Damper tower repair

Front sill rust

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Engine Rebuild


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