Frederick the Frog and the Art of Renault 4 Maintenance

Clementine is joined in the garage by Frederick the Frog to demonstrate how to resolve common Renault 4 problems (without spending money).

See the forum for more technical questions and answers.

Oil change

How to do an oil change
Frederick's guide to changing the engine oil and filter.

Oil sludge

Why oil changes are important
Fredrick the Frog finds an unloved Renault 4 engine.

Starter motor repairs

Starter motor
Does your Renault 4 turn over very slowly on the starter motor? If so your problem might be dirt in the solenoid. Frederick the Frog explains how to fix it.

clutch seizing

Clutch seizing
The Renault 4 clutch should be light and smooth in operation, but seizes up after many years of use. Frederick shows how to un-seize the clutch without taking anything apart.

Replacing distributor points

Replacing the points
In a Femsa distributor from a Renault 4 GTL.

Battery swap

Was it the battery after all? Save money by fitting a cheaper battery from a Mini.

RHD Headlamp conversion

Renault only supply headlamps for left hand drive R4s. Frederick the frog shows how you convert them to right hand drive and fit a sidelight.


It's common to get pinking when the ignition timing is too advanced or the points need replacing. If you have pinking in perfect tune it's worth trying Frederick's trick.

Gas Pressurised Dampers (shock absorbers)
Most dampers supplied for the Renault 4 don't work properly. Find out why and how to select good dampers.

Fitting rear dampers

Fitting Rear Dampers
How to fit gas pressurised dampers without all the problems of them expanding too much.

Front suspension lower balljoint

Front suspension lower balljoint
Frederick decides a creaking sound is caused by a lower balljoint and tries to replace it with a new one bought on eBay.

Brake Discs

Front Brake Discs
Frederick fits new brake discs and pads.

Brake shoes

Rear Brake Shoes
Bendix and Girling rear shoes together with some wheel bearing action.

Frederick and the lathe

Gordini Wheel Nuts
Frederick does some cool things with a lathe.

Frederick's grinder

Frederick's angle grinder (RIP)
Frederick's angle grinder passed away today giving him another opportunity to take something apart.

Serious Technical Stuff:

Rear suspension Jig

Rear Suspension Jig
A positioning jig for rear chassis welding repairs. Don't leave home without one!

Torsion bar tool

Torsion Bar Unloading Tool
A tool to unload the tension from front torsion bars prior to removal or adjustment.

Chassis Jig

Building a full chassis jig
The chassis jig will be used in the Gordini project - lots of rust in the chassis to repair on that one. There's also a page with dimensions for building a chassis jig.

Frederick's Renault 4 Workshop
Frederick the Frog
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Yellow R4
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Tech tips


How to do an oil change

Why oil changes are important

Starter motor

Clutch seizing


Replacing the points




Gas pressurised dampers

Fitting rear dampers

Front suspension lower balljoint

Brakes and hubs

Front brake discs

Rear brake shoes

Gordini wheel nuts


Frederick's angle grinder (RIP)

Very technical

Rear suspension jig

Torsion bar unloading tool

Building a full chassis jig

Dimensions for the chassis jig