Renault 5 Mk1 - Putting it back together

While waiting for bits to arrive for other jobs I'm starting to reassemble the Renault 5. I still need to rebuild the engine and there's even a bit of welding still to do before too much interior and glass can go back in.

The headlining was held up with upholstery pins when I bought the car. It's common for the headlining fabric to fall down on early Renault 5s - the problem appears to be caused by the foam the headlining is attached to going crumbly.

The headlining is supported by fibreboard glued to the roof panel. It's very difficult to remove the fibreboard from the roof without damaging one of the other, so I've brushed loose material from the roof and the headlining fabric and glued it back on with Trimfix spray adhesive (it needs to be high temperature adhesive or it'll fall off again when the car is left in the sunshine - carpet adhesive is no good).

The original plan was to scrape the original foam off and replace it with scrim foam, but the scrim foam took too long to arrive and I became impatient.

Headling fabric fallen down

The headlining fabric has a lot of holes which need to line up with the appropriate fitting. The sequence that worked best was glue the front bit, line up the tailgate holes, glue the middle of the roof, then line up the holes at the sides and glue them.

Mine is not a perfect job, but look at the wondrous way it stays up. You need to be awfully careful not to get any glue on the visible side of the headlining fabric as whatever you use to remove it will soak through and take the glue off the other side too. As with any trim getting a trimmer to fit a new headlining would be the neater option.

Headlining fabric glued back on

I've got a box of bits! I'm planning to replace all of the brakes, bearings and suspension joints while the car is apart. Also I needed a timing chain (in the expensive little box from Mecaparts in the background) and a bunch of engine gaskets.

It's a nice time to rebuild a Renault 5. Most of the parts are still available from motor factors and the cost of mechanical bits shouldn't be much more than £600. Add the cost of paint, other consumables and tyres and the total cost of restoration ought to come in less than £1500. Of course labour would be a good £10,000, but I'm not offering the service as I'd get complaints about headlinings and dog smells.

Box of bits

The engine is a pain to refit on the MK1 Renault 5. It needs to be offered in gearbox high and then moved backwards and downwards in many steps before it ends up in position. Probably it would have been easier had I removed the bonnet catch.

I still need to buy a new boot for the steering rack which will be easier to fit before the rack goes back in. Nothing else can sensibly be refitted before the steering rack but there is a whole load to do elsewhere on the car.

Engine fitted

It's good at this stage to try to make the car look a little more like a car, so I've fitted the lights and glass.

The screen trims are generic parts from Woolies Trim, and while they are slightly wider than the original trims they fit reasonably well (though it's a pain of a job to fit them even with the appropriate tool).

Rear end built up

Continuing the plan to make as much visual difference to the car as possible (rather than messing with oily bits underneath) I've started to refit the interior. I wish I had taken more photos during stripdown.

The plan works to a certain extent but I'm coming up against the order of assembly. Due to a comedy of dependencies, overlapping trim, access issues, and a little error, I need to remove the rear suspension before I can fit the seats.

That's because the the rear dampers need to be bolted before the trim in the rear of the car. But before I can do that I need to take the rear suspension off to fettle a couple of attachment holes I didn't make big enough (didn't realise the bolts were so big). That's one of the oily jobs I've been putting off underneath.

Carpets fitted

I had a break for a couple of months and on starting again I did all of the jobs I had been putting off. The rear suspension has been off and back on, the underneath has some underseal. Also most of the rusty bits knocking around in the garage have been shotblasted and painted ready to go back on.

The interior is mostly retitted now. Next step is to bolt some bits back in the engine bay. There will be a few more loops around the car after that before it is finished, but it is starting to look like a car again.

Interior fitted

Engine bays are normally an untidy mass of wires on Renaults of this era, but the TX is complicated a little more by the power steering.

I started the engine for the first time on the day the photo was taken. It seems to run smoothly but will perhaps be a little lean until I finish connecting up the vacuum pipes.

ENgine bay nearly complete

I've spent a lot of time repairing rusty bits that had become rusty because of silly mud traps.

Wheelarch liners should help prevent mud settling in the future. The new liners mean I'll need to modify the front of the exhaust system to fit.

Wheelarch liner

With the bonnet and front grille refitted the R5 is almost complete. It will drive but will not stop yet because I've not finished the brakes.

The bumpers and wheels will be removed again for painting. I fitted a replacement rear bumper from a Le Car which is painted siver so that needs to be returned to the original grey.

Bonnet and grille fitted

Last update 14th August 2012

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Other Restorations:

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Renault 5 restoration

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Rear suspension mounting repair

Damper tower repair

Front sill rust

Welding the RHS


Battery tray and longeron welding

Engine Rebuild


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