Buying a 205 GTI questions - what to look for etc.
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Buying a 205 GTI questions - what to look for etc.

    Hey everybody.
    I hate to start one of these threads, but I tried a search but didn't turn up much useful information.

    I'm 101% sure I want a 205 GTI.

    I'd like to know a few more things about these cars before I jump into one.
    What common problems do Australian GTI's see?
    What are going to be the first few things costing me money on replacement parts?
    Just how reliable can these things be? I guess that's a bit like "how long is a piece of string", but seriously, how fast do parts wear and start to break down?

    I'm considering this car, which as the current owner states in the advert, needs a few cables replaced and is a 'project car'. I'm yet to see this car irl, but as long as the body is straight and it's not much more than a lot of faded paint and trim to fix up, i'm probably very keen.

    I'll come clean... I like a few particular things when it comes to my cars.
    1. A clean interior. (pic of my Golfs interior).
    2. Something a little odd-ball about them (right now I own a 1968 Benz and a 1978 MK1 Golf)
    3. That they aren't just going to "break" and leave me stranded, cost me thousands of dollars at a time etc.

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    As far as the plastics go, I think I know what to expect. Thin, flimsy trim panels not properly secured and lots of little rattles... correct? I've only ever driven an auto SI that is in pristine condition, and even that had some loose interior pieces... the map lights for instance. Sound familiar?
    I worked in plastic repairs for quite a while so I'm sure simple broken mounting tabs and similar problems can be easily fixed.

    What are the most commonly used sources for replacement parts and service items in Australia? I had a bit of a google search and found a few places.

    I'm really looking to 'save' the aforementioned GTI, bring it back to a very presentable condition and make a "reliable" weekend warrior out of it.
    Why that particular car? The hatch mid spoiler. It has the translucent fill panel between the rear lights. It's red. It's a GTI.
    Need I say more?

    TIA for any advice you more experienced folk can provide!
    Sorry to be long-winded but it's better than me being vague, right?

    Thanks.

    - Jace

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    Hello there.
    Welcome to AF,

    First of all. The 205 is all about how it drives. The interior is completely crap and if thats your thing then forget it.

    The early cars ( the one in your advert ) have a dash that will break if you look at it the wrong way. Series 2 and 3 cars have an updates dash, BUT most of them have been pulled apart by someone with no patience and are broken in places.

    They can be made reliable like any car, but you really need to look around for something that has a bit of history or has been owned by an enthusiast.
    Most of them will have worn out suspension, some will have had the major parts replaced, like rear beam shafts and bearings ( 800$+ ) but if not will need doing for sure. The clutch is not hard or expensive to replace but expect to pay 1200+ at a mechanic. Early engines are a bit gutless but can go to 300k. Most will smoke on start up due to hard valve stems, some will smoke when driving, mainly due to rings. ( poor servicing ). The intake systems are a bit fragile and can cause poor running, they run an AFM and SAD ( Supplementary air device ) with old school emissions control that can become dirty and clogged causing erratic idling etc. All these things can be cleaned and replaced for not to much money. Early gearboxes can crunch from 1st to 2nd due to the short nature of first and long second gear. If this is the case gearboxes can be had from about 200$ in reasonable condition, or a few on here can recondition them for you.

    Check for excessive cracking over the top or the B pillar towards the C pillar and also the spot weld at the bottom of the B pillar in the corner of the door frame.

    My advice is find the best series 3 you can for the money you can afford. They are a much nicer ( IMHO ) car and will hold their valve more. They also have the nicer dash your after!

    Do as much research as you can, there is a lot of info out there. These cars are getting on now and most are getting tired. Take your time to find the right one as it will be more rewarding in the end.

    Hope this helps
    Cam
    94 205 Gti Classic #9
    91 205 Si
    87 205 GTi Race Car
    http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/res...-race-car.html

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    This looks like a much better buy
    http://www.carsales.com.au/all-cars/...3064&silo=1011
    even though its more money. Its the series 2 with series 3 wheels which are nice and hard to find, its got histors and is in working order. The dash is the later style in the grey colour and looks to be is rather good condition.

    Cam
    94 205 Gti Classic #9
    91 205 Si
    87 205 GTi Race Car
    http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/res...-race-car.html

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jace View Post
    Hey everybody.
    I hate to start one of these threads, but I tried a search but didn't turn up much useful information.

    I'm 101% sure I want a 205 GTI.

    I'd like to know a few more things about these cars before I jump into one.
    What common problems do Australian GTI's see?
    What are going to be the first few things costing me money on replacement parts?
    Just how reliable can these things be? I guess that's a bit like "how long is a piece of string", but seriously, how fast do parts wear and start to break down?

    I'm considering this car, which as the current owner states in the advert, needs a few cables replaced and is a 'project car'. I'm yet to see this car irl, but as long as the body is straight and it's not much more than a lot of faded paint and trim to fix up, i'm probably very keen.

    I'll come clean... I like a few particular things when it comes to my cars.
    1. A clean interior. (pic of my Golfs interior).
    2. Something a little odd-ball about them (right now I own a 1968 Benz and a 1978 MK1 Golf)
    3. That they aren't just going to "break" and leave me stranded, cost me thousands of dollars at a time etc.

    As far as the plastics go, I think I know what to expect. Thin, flimsy trim panels not properly secured and lots of little rattles... correct? I've only ever driven an auto SI that is in pristine condition, and even that had some loose interior pieces... the map lights for instance. Sound familiar?
    I worked in plastic repairs for quite a while so I'm sure simple broken mounting tabs and similar problems can be easily fixed.

    What are the most commonly used sources for replacement parts and service items in Australia? I had a bit of a google search and found a few places.

    I'm really looking to 'save' the aforementioned GTI, bring it back to a very presentable condition and make a "reliable" weekend warrior out of it.
    Why that particular car? The hatch mid spoiler. It has the translucent fill panel between the rear lights. It's red. It's a GTI.
    Need I say more?

    TIA for any advice you more experienced folk can provide!
    Sorry to be long-winded but it's better than me being vague, right?

    Thanks.

    - Jace

    ...as usual, great advice from cam...read it...remember it...



    welcome to the forum...68 merc and mark 1 golf...a man of taste...

    Have you driven the 205gti yet???...if not...do so...and drive a few. Once this is out of the way all the little issues wont matter...why? because they are THE GREATEST HOT HATCH...
    Consider your mark 1...its a lovely car...but it isnt fast...its just ok...it doesnt handle..but its ok...its interior lacks style and flare...but its ok...One thing the golf is good at is reliability...early mark 1 golfs once sorted are a solid package (ignoring rust issues which the pug shouldnt be showing)...get into the pug...and you get into style and packaging that is very driver focused...and because its a later generation vehicle it gets the more modern looks and finish...Plant the foot and she responds like an on/off switch...burn rubber endlessly or take off with controlled grip....easy...now plant it...shift though gears and get into that lovely mid band speed (70 through to 130)...here you became king...it doesnt matter what the other guy or gal is driving...they can not catch you..it is simply impossible...because she will dance to any music you play...and will hit every note with perfection...comparing it to other "pretenders" is just delusionary...go drive one...buy it and tick another box on the bucket list...dont let
    a few minor issues sway you against this beauty...try and buy the best money can buy and preferably "original" and untouched...should you ever want to sell in future...it will be these cars that will be in demand....




    good luck

    dino

    205 gti x 2
    s16
    604
    mi16 project
    Last edited by dino; 16th January 2011 at 11:12 PM.

  5. #5
    I might be slow... DRTDVL's Avatar
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    It's a pity your not in nz: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Mo...-347111486.htm

    This would suit you to a tee - except for the moonbuggy spec height settings...

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Just buy the absolute best one you can. Project cars are a complete waste of money, as I'm finding out now.
    1992 205 Si
    Current: shortened diff (4.4), short shifter, group N top mounts, rebuilt engine and box, solid engine mounts, 1.75" exhaust, strut brace, OMP wheel, GTI suspension & subframe front and rear, lowered 30mm front and rear, solid rear bush, Koni yellows, 306 XT front discs and calipers, ADR compliant braided brake lines, 14" rallye wheels, Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec tyres, immobiliser

  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Andrew Ch's Avatar
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    All good advice so far but I would add that the initial purchase price of a 205 GTI should only be seen as a deposit just ask any owner

  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger! DjB8V's Avatar
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    I double and triple what Andrew said.

    And, never ever think to yourself "nothing else can break now". LOL.

    They are great cars to drive but buy the best you can afford and try and get some form of service history.



    Chris

  9. #9
    Tadpole
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    Shit hot info there guys! Gold!
    I'm technically not a new member here... I had to re-register for whatever reason but thanks for the welcomes anyway!

    I know how an unreliable car can be. I had a Golf VR6 too. I just try to forget that portion of my life...

    Whatever car I eventually end up with, the interior would get stripped out, cleaned, insulated, cleaned some more, then put back together properly etc. anyway. It's definitely one bit of any car that I make sure I get it how I want it.

    I definitely have to get out and drive a few. Don't want to waste anybody's time or my own running around the country trying to find one that drives well just for the experience!

    I guess I was hoping for a cheap car to work on and eventually get back on the road looking and driving well. At least that's how I did my Golf; bought an unregistered POS, cleaned it up, replaced some junk and registered it.
    Sure, it's the expensive way of doing something... but it gives me more of an outlet for expression from the get-go and, if nothing else, gives me something productive to do for a while!

    Quote Originally Posted by cam85 View Post
    It does look a mile cleaner than the red car. IIRC, the sunroof tracks are prone to rust yeah?
    At least that car is closer and driveable. I might just have to go and check it out. It does have higher K's than I'd like though.

    Oh, how are Peugeots for parts interchangeability? I mean, is there many, or any parts from say a 405 that will work with a 205? Power window motors? Heater matrixes?
    I dunno, just that it's one thing that old VW's have going for them.

    Thanks a bunch to all you dudes. I really appreciate it!
    And see? Not even one French joke from me!!



    - Jace

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DjB8V View Post
    I double and triple what Andrew said.

    And, never ever think to yourself "nothing else can break now". LOL.

    They are great cars to drive but buy the best you can afford and try and get some form of service history.



    Chris
    There are now very few good cars left, everyone is looking for one, and many then get modified leaving even fewer, bit like Datsun 1600s which are now worth a fortune.
    So maybe look at buying one for a few hundred and build it up yourself to what you want.
    You will destroy the interior of even a good late car if you pull it apart, so might as well start with one that needs work.
    This will only work if you do it yourself and know what you are doing or alternatively paying a lot of money to someone else who does, this usually results in long delays as these people are few and far between and have a lot on their plate.
    You can buy excellent 205 Sis for very little money, these are equivalent to a series 3 GTi in many ways, get one of these plus a run down series 1 GTi and build up what you want from the two.


    Graham

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    Default Si or Series 3 GTi?

    It's a bit like the difference between a Torana SL 3300 and an A9X. Everyone remembers and wants an A9X.

    Just make sure you verify the rear beam of what ever you buy. If it hasn't been reconditioned it will be well and truly stuffed by now. Repair is $800 minimum. Either the buyer shows you receipts for the repairs or it becomes a haggling point.

    '92 205 Mi16
    '90 Mi16x4

  12. #12
    Tadpole
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
    It's a bit like the difference between a Torana SL 3300 and an A9X. Everyone remembers and wants an A9X.

    Just make sure you verify the rear beam of what ever you buy. If it hasn't been reconditioned it will be well and truly stuffed by now. Repair is $800 minimum. Either the buyer shows you receipts for the repairs or it becomes a haggling point.
    That's quality advice. Thanks!

    Graham, I simply wouldn't buy an SI, I would rather stick with what I have.
    Do you mean that the interiors are so brittle that any attempt to dismantle them will result in breakages, or that it simply might not go back together properly?

    I wouldn't purchase a concours condition car for the very reason that I don't have a dedicated garage space!
    That said, I would rather buy a clean car with minimal repairs needed and do what I like with it. Maybe even rust the bonnet like some of the VW guys do...

    Oh, and Dino, you didn't by any chance do the voice overs for 205 advertisements in the 80's, did you?

    - Jace

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jace View Post
    That's quality advice. Thanks!

    Graham, I simply wouldn't buy an SI, I would rather stick with what I have.
    Do you mean that the interiors are so brittle that any attempt to dismantle them will result in breakages, or that it simply might not go back together properly?

    I wouldn't purchase a concours condition car for the very reason that I don't have a dedicated garage space!
    That said, I would rather buy a clean car with minimal repairs needed and do what I like with it. Maybe even rust the bonnet like some of the VW guys do...

    Oh, and Dino, you didn't by any chance do the voice overs for 205 advertisements in the 80's, did you?

    - Jace
    The idea is to use the interior and other goodies such as power steering in the GTi.
    You can put the Si head on the GTi as it has bigger valves and will also raise the compression.
    But don't do that as it will mean another Si off the road, when there are all gone people will realise too late they were one of the best cars Peugeot ever made. A GTI wilthout the bugs and almost as fast.
    Graham

  14. #14
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    Dont touch a mint interior dash.
    I have one in my S3, Im about to paint the car and have chosen to leave the dash in the car as Im to scared to take it apart.
    FWIW, Ive taken apart 7 dashes and only one cracked once. They are unbelievably brittle and strange to pull apart unless you know what your doing. I would be happy to help though...

    The white one looks great, go and drive it to get a feel for them and then drive 5 more to get an understanding of what to look out for. Trust everyone here, its worth the time.
    Cam
    94 205 Gti Classic #9
    91 205 Si
    87 205 GTi Race Car
    http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/res...-race-car.html

  15. #15
    Tadpole
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    Ahhh so it's like that huh! I like to think I have a mountain of patience and am pretty decent at interior stuff; but because it's so strongly advised against I might just have to leave it be!

    Well I'm waiting on a few reply emails right now.
    I'll be sure to keep you guys informed and I'll no doubt have more questions. Once I do actually find a car for me it'll get it's own thread anyway!

    Thanks again guys.

    - Jace

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