Nothing to do with the 'Renault' build of the car except some minor electrical issues, turbo issues and a few miscellaneous issue -
Occasional dirty electrical connection.
Dead short on a spade connector floating around at the front of the engine bay (who did this... previous owner) led to wire burn out - quickly rectified:)
Failed turbo oil seals on after market fitted unit. Fitted second hand unit off a Nissan Skyline which is also about to fail.
Fuel line 'popped' off under boost in the engine bay resulting in a 'flash' but no fire (miracle?) :)
Engine tends to detonate under boost above 6 psi (J6R engine has a high compression ratio) however there is no inter cooler fitted. I have built and installed a water injection kit injecting the water via a fogging nozzle after the turbo compressor. This works VERY well at limiting detonation and allowing an increase in boost to be applied.
After the second turbo was fitted the old exhaust manifold gasket began to leak. This was diagnosed by a 'new' mechanic in my life as a worn water pump (later he said that I had melted a piston!). He changed the water pump and whilst at it did the timing belt and tensioner, flushed the radiator, changed the thermostat and replaced the cooling fan thermo switch (after burning out some more cabling as he did not test the cabling for faults first). All was in vane because all that was wrong was the exhaust maniflod gasket needed replacing (they should have done this in the first place). All other units were still in good condition (I was ripped off by the first mechanic although I think he meant well). Gasket replaced FOC by Turbo mechanic - All OK!! Engine now running a little hotter than before I took it in for the 'ticking' sound. I fixed this myself later on.
Squawking windscreen wipers.
The engine will run hot on city cycle traffic with ambient temps above 28 degree Celsius. To combat this fit a cooler opening thermostat and a manual over ride switch on the dual cooling fans. Easy!
If you get the chance - change the wheels from the metric wheels to 14 or 15 inch rims as the tyres that fit these are better and cheaper.
I was sceptical that this car would hold up over time. My last Renault, a 16TS lasted the first owner 250,000 kms and then me 200,000 kms (one engine change - second hand fitted with new clutch). This Renault looks like it will last very well indeed.
The car has considerable torque down in the low rpm range however the motor tends to thrash a bit at higher rpm. Max boost thus far with water injection is 10 psi with a relay fitted that retards the timing by 6 degree under boost above 4 psi when the water injection comes on. Approx 105 KW @ 5500 rpm.
The build quality of the car is good. It is nearly 20 years old and still looks fantastic. The interior has lasted very well in high Australian ambient temps.
This car is not fuel injected which would be nice. Tends to idle a little rough requiring a higher idle speed for smoothness - approx 1000 rpm.
With 2 ltr Turbo power, always starts and keeps running, good economy, comfortable interior, air-con, power steering, power windows, leather steering wheel and other trims, custom paint job, Pirelli tyres and a Pioneer stereo I believe I have got a great car for Australian $3000. That goes without saying really.
Awesome car - solid as a rock. Handles well under speed and braking. Puts most of the torque to the road.
I would not recommend this car to some one who knows little or nothing about motor vehicles. It requires consideration and care for longevity and reliability. Good lubricants, coolants and fuels. Attention to all all operating parameters is also wise. This is a enthusiasts car more than an every day buzz box. Generally people who have disliked these cars have done so because it was already shagged when they got it, or they did a very good job of shagging it themselves and don't understand (or care) what it was that they did.
If your into Renaults and like to play with them then this is a good buy.