French cars unreliability.
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  1. #1
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Icon10 French cars unreliability.

    How often do we hear the gullible tell us tales about how expensive it is to keep a French car on the road and how they are money pits full of hidden traps for the unwary. The biggest hidden trap for the unwary IMHO wears overalls and tells stories that would do Hans Christian Anderson proud; here's my tale from last week.
    On Thursday, I take my 2.0i Xantia manual with almost 230K klms on it and give it its annual oil change. I fit a new filter, total cost around $30. Check tyres, coolant and washer fluid; all seem good.
    Friday early we load up. 5 adults ranging from me the smallest @ 5'6" and 78kgs to 6'5" son and all sizes in between.
    Luggage on par with a trip around the World filling the boot, parcel shelf, floor in front of SWMBO who always allows enough spare gear to carry us through a Nuclear holocaust as well as a pile of crap under the feet of the rear seat passengers. We take off on a 900+ klms each way trip around 6am. Arrive at our destination 10 hours later after a couple of stops. The cars thermometer shows 47C as we arrive that rises to 49 as we park it up at the Motel. A few local trips and Sunday we head home still full as a goog, still same 5 passengers. Cover one stretch of around 120 klms at an average speed of just over 130 KPH. Hit a regional area out west and it records a massive 50 C in the main street. It takes until around 8 hours into the trip for the reading to drop below 40 so air/con has been thumping away all the way in both directions.
    Average speed for entire trip including several stops in excess of 90 KPH, full load (and then some) air/con on all the way, average external temp approx 43 - 45 deg C and fuel consumption 9L/100klms.
    Problems? I seem to have blown a low beam on the passengers side headlight.
    Was passed by one car, a Dunnydoor who sneaked past at the end of one divided lane and then got under my feet so I went round him.
    Moral of the story, what else could I have bought for less than $5K that could have matched this performance? Any suggestions???

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    Alan S
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  2. #2
    UFO
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    Blew half a headlight bulb!?!?! Stupid unreliable piece of French crap! Should be banned!!!!!

    Come to think of it, the bulb was probably made in Chermany anyvay!

    Sounds like that stupid unreliable piece of rubbish we drove to Perth and back last year with 50kg of tools and minor spares taking up valulable camp gear space in the boot. Damn car never even LOOKED like it was going to fail! If I had known that I would have left the tools at home and borrowed a proper Engel to keep me beer kewl!! (thirsty work that tent putting up!)
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    Fellow Frogger! doggiedog's Avatar
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    Blown Low Beam, you must have got a friday Car!!!!
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  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Few years back my mate bought a Subaru 1400DL for $2000 from an old lady. It was 20 years old then. They drove it around Australia for 6 months, outback, dirt, everywhere. Only ever put petrol in it. No service, nothing. Sold it at a small profit.
    John

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  5. #5
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    Few years back my mate bought a Subaru 1400DL for $2000 from an old lady. It was 20 years old then. They drove it around Australia for 6 months, outback, dirt, everywhere. Only ever put petrol in it. No service, nothing. Sold it at a small profit.
    Ah well, that does it..............I'll trade it in on a Jap VW but only if I get a guarantee they don't blow headlight bulbs.


    Alan S
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  6. #6
    UFO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    Ah well, that does it..............I'll trade it in on a Jap VW but only if I get a guarantee they don't blow headlight bulbs.


    Alan S
    Ah, that'd be the optional additional warrenee mayte. Geez, thad'll costya heeeeps mayte......
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  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    Ah well, that does it..............I'll trade it in on a Jap VW but only if I get a guarantee they don't blow headlight bulbs.


    Alan S
    Oh no, I'm sure it would *never* have blown a bulb. And I'm sure they'd be just as comfortable as your creaky old Xantia . Last forever they do, although come to think of it, I can't recall seeing an old Subaru for a very long time whereas I saw 3 GS's on Sunday....

    The Xantia, aside from some annoying electrical reliability gremlins (and once you resolve the irritating driving position) has to be one of the high points of French motoring in the past three decades. Never had anyone ride in ours without streams of positive comments. And I've never driven a car better suited to such a broad range of Australian conditions. Makes the 406 redundant IMHO.
    John

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  8. #8
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    And you weren't all that keen to take this car at first! Your tale reminds us that grief-free motoring has it merits. Most of us have had our share of "fails to proceed" moments. I've had a few, but I reckon most of them were my own fault (didn't heed the warning signs, didn't put it back together carefully enough after I pulled it apart, didn't replace or check the fluids properly). I've tried to learn from each one. All of them have been in European cars (French, German, English), yet I have probably driven as many miles in Australian and Japanese cars as I have in European ones in my 25 years of driving. I'm still trying to work out whether the relative failure rates mean something.

    Glad your trip was safe and comfortable Alan.

    Roger

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts HONG KONG PUGGY's Avatar
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    Great story Alan.
    The thing that I was thinking about the other day is that when someone tells you a story about a French car and the it's unreliability and you counter with an argument that all cars break down they ask for specifics but you can't give any because people don't bother telling tales about common junk breaking down. May-be it is a tall poppy related thing. It would be nice to think French Cars are held in higher regard and therefore have further to fall!
    Nope, I believe the threat is like you say overall clad mugs
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  10. #10
    Fellow Frogger! tlampre's Avatar
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    I had a nice BMW 320i E36 for a while. Only 90,000 km on it and was fastidiously maintained by the previous owner. But the ECU decided it only wanted to send a pulse to 5 of the 6 injectors after a few months. Apparently this was a weakness they had due to it being located in a place that let water in. The ECU had been refurbished once before and was now fubar. Couldn't get a change over from anywhere in Oz as they are snapped up too quickly. New cost $1200.

    I had just lost my job and couldn't afford to repair it. I reckoned God was punishing me for having a nice car for the first time in my life. Ended up having to back-trade it on a Magna TS at a considerable loss.

    So much for German reliablility - funny I don't hear stories about such things.

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlampre
    I had a nice BMW 320i E36 for a while. Only 90,000 km on it and was fastidiously maintained by the previous owner. But the ECU decided it only wanted to send a pulse to 5 of the 6 injectors after a few months. Apparently this was a weakness they had due to it being located in a place that let water in. The ECU had been refurbished once before and was now fubar. Couldn't get a change over from anywhere in Oz as they are snapped up too quickly. New cost $1200.

    I had just lost my job and couldn't afford to repair it. I reckoned God was punishing me for having a nice car for the first time in my life. Ended up having to back-trade it on a Magna TS at a considerable loss.

    So much for German reliablility - funny I don't hear stories about such things.
    Sounds like you needed a few hours with a soldering iron and a megasquirt kit!!

    Dave


  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger! tlampre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave
    Sounds like you needed a few hours with a soldering iron and a megasquirt kit!!

    Dave

    The MegaSquirt doesn't do ignition (yet), or control the valve timing on a Vanos motor. Besides, I was living in a caravan park in Canberra at the time.

    Anyway, I have my ultra-reliable BX hemorrhaging green blood in an Adelaide suburban street right now.

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts Dave's Avatar
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    The megasquirt can do ignition now.

    My ultra reliable bx isn't leaking...but its missing the engine - see below:



    Dave


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    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    We have two friends who have Camrys and one with a Corolla. All around 10 years old and have travelled a similar distance to our Xantia. One needed a catalytic converter once but otherwise nothing has gone wrong. I don't even think one of them really ever gets serviced more than every couple of years. Toyota appear to engineer their products from scratch to be reliable to a fault. Citroen just did not build in quite this degree of reliability to each and every part of the Xantia in the way Toyota appear to have done. If they had we would not have had the number of little faults we did in its first 3-4 years, nor would there be as many common issues with these cars. Its not all down to the overalled amongst us, its due to just-adequate components being used in the first place.

    And yet, I would never buy a Toyota and we're on our 7th Frenchy
    John

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    Fellow Frogger! tlampre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    And yet, I would never buy a Toyota and we're on our 7th Frenchy
    Driven quite a few Toyota rentals in the last year, Camry, Corolla, Tarago. All nice, quiet and comfortable. Kind of like McDonalds. Nothing tastes awful, but then nothing is really all that tasty either. Guaranteed not offend. Bright cheery restaurants, smiling staff who all think they have a future with one of the worlds biggest mulit-national franchises....

    Whoa! Better stop, I'm scaring myself!

    (Think I forgot to take my meds this morning..)
    .
    .
    .
    (I want my car back! )

  16. #16
    Fellow Frogger! tlampre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave
    The megasquirt can do ignition now.

    Cool... I've been toying with the idea of fitting EFI to the TRS (if I can ever keep it on the road long enough to take it back off again)
    My ultra reliable bx isn't leaking...but its missing the engine - see below:
    Dave
    Can I have it?

  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlampre
    Driven quite a few Toyota rentals in the last year, Camry, Corolla, Tarago. All nice, quiet and comfortable. Kind of like McDonalds. Nothing tastes awful, but then nothing is really all that tasty either. Guaranteed not offend. Bright cheery restaurants, smiling staff who all think they have a future with one of the worlds biggest mulit-national franchises....

    Whoa! Better stop, I'm scaring myself!

    (Think I forgot to take my meds this morning..)
    .
    .
    .
    (I want my car back! )
    A fine analogy. I'm sick of sandwiches with components missing, drinks that have gone flat, cappucinos that have been carelessly and shoddily assembled, fruit that starts off crisp and sharp but deteriorates too quickly when handled with enthusiasm. I'm off to the arches for lunch, might even pop in to test drive an Avalon on the way back.
    John

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  18. #18
    Fellow Frogger! sdabel's Avatar
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    The difficulty of owning a french car in Australia (for me) is finding parts and people to fit the parts. If a simple part breaks on say your Astra (fully imported just like a Citroen) you can take it anywhere and get it fixed- usually the same day. Then you have to find someone who will actually work on the car. Yes any competant mechanic should be able to do it but that dosn't stop the attitude.

    Yes a replacement headlight or mirror of an XM costs the same as one for an Astra (made up examples don't jump on me) but it takes substantial effort to get the parts.

    So my XM is waiting for a cheap part that will take 10 minutes to fit when it arrives from the UK.



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  19. #19
    Fellow Frogger! AxGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlampre
    Can I have it?

    Ask dave about the compression

  20. #20
    jmn
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    Yeah these French cars are crap! The tyres won't even stay inflated. Had three flat tyres in the two that I have. The last one this afternoon when the missus bells me with her tale of woe. Stuck on Springhill road (UFO will know where I'm talking about) she was with the tyre absolutely r##ted.

    Both our cars are fairly young (25 and 35k) but my experience with cars so far has been that a lemon is a lemon just about from day one.

    My froggie experience started with a 96 306XR. Within a couple of days it showed a leak in the main engine seal. Fixed in a day under warranty and nothing else went u il it as traded on a 2000 Xsara at 30k.

  21. #21
    UFO
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmn
    Yeah these French cars are crap! The tyres won't even stay inflated. Had three flat tyres in the two that I have. The last one this afternoon when the missus bells me with her tale of woe. Stuck on Springhill road (UFO will know where I'm talking about) she was with the tyre absolutely r##ted.
    Good place NOT to break down. Mad driver territory. Heard of a BX Tri Auto that had a gearbox fail outside the main entrance to Bluescope (BHP) at about 4.30 on a weekday arvo just recently - in the middle lane
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    We have two friends who have Camrys and one with a Corolla. All around 10 years old and have travelled a similar distance to our Xantia. One needed a catalytic converter once but otherwise nothing has gone wrong. I don't even think one of them really ever gets serviced more than every couple of years. Toyota appear to engineer their products from scratch to be reliable to a fault. Citroen just did not build in quite this degree of reliability to each and every part of the Xantia in the way Toyota appear to have done. If they had we would not have had the number of little faults we did in its first 3-4 years, nor would there be as many common issues with these cars. Its not all down to the overalled amongst us, its due to just-adequate components being used in the first place.

    And yet, I would never buy a Toyota and we're on our 7th Frenchy
    Not all Toyotas are reliable in that manner. The engine in my MX83 Cressida (also in other models, including the Supra), the 7M-GE, loves blowing its head.

    Not all Toyota's are boring either. But then the same things apply for French cars. A lot of French cars are'nt really all that exciting either, even if they are 'different' (IMHO). Must say though, I thought Brenno's GS was sensational!

  23. #23
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergetov
    Not all Toyotas are reliable in that manner. The engine in my MX83 Cressida (also in other models, including the Supra), the 7M-GE, loves blowing its head.

    Not all Toyota's are boring either. But then the same things apply for French cars. A lot of French cars are'nt really all that exciting either, even if they are 'different' (IMHO). Must say though, I thought Brenno's GS was sensational!
    Sorry, all true. Sweeping generalisations aside, there are few current Toyotas that I would consider for my needs and desires (I'm excluding Lexus). Best not to single out those unexciting French cars here .
    John

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  24. #24
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    Sorry, all true. Sweeping generalisations aside, there are few current Toyotas that I would consider for my needs and desires (I'm excluding Lexus). Best not to single out those unexciting French cars here .

    Why not? My guess is that there's a lot of owners waiting with baited breath for him to do just that!!


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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