my problems with french car ownership...errr, what problems???!
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  1. #1
    SMP addict pugjet's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Default my problems with french car ownership...errr, what problems???!

    hope i dont jinx myself.

    ive owned two french cars (one of which i still currently own) in recent times., and hope to own another soon.

    my first peugeot was purchased in 1997 and was a '95 306s16 purchased with approx. 45 thou on the odo. i sold her for a shit price 3 years later with over 160,000km on the clock. yup... lurved driving her (and she still makes me hard, thinking about her). during those three years, i serviced her at most recommended intervals. during these three years the only problems i had were the remote stuffing up for the central locking, and a power steering rack pump (?), pack up. And the usual consumables. i drove her hard, but the racv test (when sellling her) came up trumps. no problemo.

    i had to sell her 'coz i was gonna lose too much money (considering its kms and the age of the car) and well, i wanted to upgrade. apart from that, i would kept her.

    in 2000, after the sydney olympics, i upgraded to an '88 205gti! yup, upgraded.

    tell you what, i did quite a bit of research re: 205gtis. and promised to thrash/test drive a few.

    but i had the bug. back then, it seemed, good 205gtis were few and far bw. i had planned to test drive/thrash a few, but ended up buying the first 205gti, i drove!hahaha!

    i know if i had waited i wouldve come across better presented examples, but this 205gti just felt right... so i bought it, dings and all, at approximately 205,000kms on the odo (what an omen, ey?).

    and yeah, if i knew then what i know now about 205gtis, my first pug wouldve been a 205gti!

    its now almost covered 300,000 kms and i have had few reasons to complain.

    except for the last 11 months, it was used as a daily driver... and yeah, i drove her everywhere... to sydney and back a few times, adelaide and back, and all over victoria. and ive driven her hard.

    so far, ive only had to replace the usual consumables, one battery, one clutch, one alternator, had a problem with leaking coolant (which was traced to a pin hole on a pipe), a passenger side central locking mechanism... and yeah thats all!

    its idle is a real shitter at start up, but comes good after moment or so.

    my glovebox doesnt work and my dash is cracked, like most s1s.

    it also rattles like a giant piggy bank with a million 5 cent pieces... but hey, i dont much care.

    a smokey exhaust (which was brought to my attention by a few 206gti drivers on a certain melbourne cruise (the cruise was not affiliated with aussiefrogs in any way and the 206gti girls shall remain nameless) some months back, along with a miss, has somewhat been rectified with the advice of gti180 (simon). thanks, simon.

    her suspensions is way overdue for replacement and valve stem seals/o-rings need to be replaced, on the advice of mr cavanagh.

    apart from that, dings and all... and of course the big as pammies mammaries rims... shes still sweet as.

    yeah, obviously im a little bored tonight, and also feeling somewhat lucky in retropsect re french car ownership - it hasnt cause me to file for bankupty or caused too much brain damage.

    am i just on a lucky streak? is there forseeable disaster?

    do any of you have similar non-problematic french car ownership stories, amongst the plethora of angst i see posted in this forum?

    current frogs :
    '94 s3 alpine 205GTi

    daily ding magnet: '98 1.8 16v citroen xsara

    previous frogs:

    88 S1 205GTi
    '95 306S16

    gimme corners. . .

  2. #2
    Member nlq206's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Lysterfield, Victoria


    "Why are you getting a peugeot for. I had one in 1955 and it was the biggest lemon in the whole lemondom of cars."

    "You do realise that all French cars have bad reputations for being expensive to maintain and .....blah blah blah

    This is what I was told when it became common knowledge that I was getting a 206Gti as my first car, no congratulations on purchasing a fine European vehicle it was what the hell are you doing that for.

    Thank god I didn't listen to what people were telling me or I could have been the 'proud' owner of one bland generic I'm like everyother car on the road car
    Instead I followed my heart and went for the car that called to me the greatest.

    Yes at original time of purchase it should have been how the car drove not by looks that make the final decision but it is a bit hard to test drive a car when you don't have a license, that was how much I wanted this little car.

    It will be 4 years in March that I've had the pug and yes there have been some minor problems, nothing that wasn't easily fixed, but overall he has been a dream car to own and I'm still extremely happy at the end of each day to get in the car and relish the 50 minutes or so that it takes me to drive home.

    As long as the smile stays on my face the next car will most likely be a Peugeot but I'm not looking forward to the prospect of having to get rid the current one. Apparantly first cars always stay with you whether in the driveway or in your heart

    The love of my life at the moment is a 2001 Silver 206Gti


  3. #3
    wielder of the sword Australdi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    Although not my first car (well, it was the first car that I bought though) my first Fuego is still with me, and I refuse to part with it because it was such a good car. it is waiting to be ressurected as a rally car.
    Like you guys, I can honestly say; the car owes me nothing! In the time I have owned it (13 years) it has consumed the usuals, (probably less than the usuals), yes it's had things like water pump, radiator, alternator, shocks & suspension done among other things. But it hasn't had anything like gearbox, engine (other than tune & timing belt change) head or electrics done.
    The car had 199,000 on the clock when I bought it & its now got about 400,000 on the above list doesn't sound that impressive....until you find out that It's already been past 999,999 once with me!
    It's seen Cairns, and Perth and everything in between and to look'd never know. It's been a workhorse on the road, sometimes clocking up 800kms per day....every day. It's record run was 1400kms one day and basically it has done all that without complaint and without anything resembling pampering
    So if someone tries to tell you that french cars aren't reliable, expensive to run, hard to get parts, and won't last the can safely assume that the person telling you that has Never owned one, driven one, or bothered to talk to someone who actually has!
    I love my Renaults! and only because they have earned it!

    ".....the good health of a pond is held in a delicate balance. A pond's condition
    deteriorates when the bottom environment cannot support animal life.
    The bottom is the area that runs out of oxygen first, it is where the most oxygen is used........"

    '84 fuego GTX
    '87 fuego GTX
    '85 fuego GTX
    ....beginning to look a bit frightning isn't it.

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger!
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    South West Sydney, NSW


    Yes, I too have had that rant about being expensive to maintain! I took great delight in telling a Holden salesperson just how little my 406 cost to maintain and her subsequent reliability!

    After a succession of 504s x 2, 1 x 505, 2 x 405s and now the 406, I can honestly say they aren't as cheap as a Falcon for parts, but you don't replace as much or as often (having owned a Falcon, Cortina and Bluebird in the mix)!

    The 1st car always stays with you, which I why, 20 years later, I am still driving Frogs. Along with the 406, I now have had the pleasure of owning an '81 CX 5spd!

    Two very different cars, but each brings a smile on my face every time I sit behind the wheel.

    The CX hasn't been without it's pain and expense, but why holiday in exotic locations when you can visist France everyday, and besides, she is no spring chicken!

    The 406, 122,000kms on the speedo and requiring nothing more than routine servicing. A veteran of 4 trips to Adelaide and (with side visits to Melbourne and Broken Hill). I wouldn't hesitate taking her across the country.

    Anyone who has been in any of my French designed vehicles has marvelled at the engineering in the ride/handling/long distance abilities.

    French cars, drive one, own one and then tell me of your experience. Most of the horror stories you hear are from unscrupulous repairers who charge the earth for delivering a grain of sand.


  5. #5
    Local Tyrant gibgib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland


    Quote Originally Posted by Australdi
    The car had 199,000 on the clock when I bought it & its now got about 400,000 on the above list doesn't sound that impressive....until you find out that It's already been past 999,999 once with me!
    That's an amazing amount of k's
    The most I have ever achieved in one year was the first 12 months of my Berlingo ownership, 45,000 of suburban k's in Sydney. This did include Waterfall, Campbelltown, Penrith etc.

    Going back a few cars when I did my own maintenance, if I ever broke down in my Cit GS it was nearly always my own fault. Not checking on the usual things before undertaking a long trip was recipe for disaster.
    There were very few times I actually needed towing though, as I'd manage to Mc Gwiver my way out of things & sometimes limp home.

    If you have the space (which I did back then) & have the time & will, you can keep an older French car rolling for very little $ with spare parts cars. This probably applies to some newer ones (post 90's), but rarely do you see them at almost give away price.

  6. #6
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Burpengary and Murrumburrah, Qld and NSW


    Oh yes, I didn't get the full import of that on the first run through...

    The engine hasn't had rings and bearings? Absolutely amazing... that's mileage in the same numbers that I do. Though it's true that if you just keep them turning they don't wear as much.

  7. #7
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001


    The bad stories mainly come from people who dont have any idea what they are doing are like someone else said. Conartist mechanics.
    I think if a car is maintained properly it will be a great machine. Before buying check the service history and if its been serviced mainly by people who are experts with peculiar cars like, BX, CX, XM etc....

  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger! Stu17's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default damn reliable...

    "I remember back about 20 years ago", he said tugging a long white beard, banjo's playing in the background...

    Anyway, back then I had absolutely NO idea of anything mechanical. So, with not a glance under the hood, I ventured off to the bottom end of York Peninsular (Browns Beach to be exact) to meet some guys, have a fish, as you do on the Easter long weekend.

    Just as I'm getting about 20kms out of Ardrossan, the rumble from the gearbox is starting to get a bit violent. But, I notice that when I slow down into another gear it gets worse. No ones open/around anyway, so I just turn up the stereo and keep going!

    My mates still talk about how they (and everyone else camping there) were looking to see what was coming 5 minutes before I got to the camp site, but I was glad I had spent all that money on a good stereo!

    As I said to the guys, "as it got louder I just had to keep turning up the volume".

    Couple of days later when we left there was still hardly anyone open, but I got to a servo about 50kms away.
    Got some SAE 80 gearbox oil.
    Borrowed an adjustable spanner for the good old square nut.
    Spent about half an hour making sure it was good and full.
    Started up.
    Drove away. In almost total silence!
    Must admit, I was almost expecting it to disintegrate any minute for the next ten years after that abuse, but it never did!

    I think I sold a few people on the 12 that day, shameful though it was.

    - I agree its important to know/trust a good mechanic with experience with these beasts, and a bit of knowledge/DIY basics never hurt, but its the same with any car. There are some unscrupulous mongrels who will rip you off if they think they can.



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