Nothing beyond perfectly normal wear to be expected during 7 times around the world travel!
- Replaced or renewed water pump, generator, starter, battery, windscreen, radiator, lower balljoints, absorbers, exhaust tube.
- Gasoline first transfer pump power lead fixed once.
- Cylinder head & valve job at 270K km. Was not necessary but I intended to keep the car for long.
* Never left me on the road *
- Stopped once at -15C at a service station, when unrepaired radiator leak eventually opened fully - my own fault.
(Leaking radiator especially in winter is a BAD idea!)
- Once refused to start at -20C because of probable Renix malfunction. Usually no problems to start in any winter condition down to -32C. Car was outside 8 years summer and winter.
- In general Renix injection system worked well. Some comfort problems with even speed and light pedal, but can be cured by slightly adjusting the trimmer inside the control unit - keeping within pollution standards of course. If Renix shows warning light anomalies they may indicate eg. blown temp sensor.
All repairs were done by a private specialist buddy who knows R's in and out (Brand garages can only charge yet workmanship stinks at times).
Got it as a company car at 55K km, later bought it. Kept it 8 years, then gave to my father, now happily driving it towards 400K km. (Old man had 5 R4s in his time so he's all grins now!)
By my limited experience (11 cars owned), R21 is easily the best car I've ever owned, especially for my below-average budget. Wins hands down when comfort points are added. Spacious family car with enough performance. A joy to drive. Reasonably, few can ask for more reliability than I got with it.
As a comment, R21 can be made to last 500K easily I believe, given attention to:
1) R21 engine head and gasket. It has a small design flaw (oil channels on the "outside"=wrong side at the back end of cylinder head). Do engine top and valves once and you're OK.
2) Annual care of brakes when driving in Scandinavian/winter conditions. All vehicles need special attention here, French, Italian, Spanish maybe a little more.
3) Sensible rust prevention measures, especially winter countries. Late 1980's Renaults are far better than their reputation in this sense, but need reasonable attention.
4) Normal maintenance, eg. all external subsystems that revolve every 100K to 250K km, as is necessary - like in any vehicle.
Level of "special R21 care" is still very reasonable for what you get in return! If R21 does not get its proper attention, at old age and mileage it becomes flawed with several problems that are partially reasons for "bad press".. - This is the difference of a French beauty to MB or other solid German "tanks" who go despite lack of service - but then, there is no joy as in Renaults !